Stop NATO News March 31, 2011

31 March 2011 — Stop NATO

Updates on Libyan war: March 31

    1. NATO Troops Kill Three Afghan Civilians, Wound Four More
    2. Top Military Commander: NATO Commands 50-Nation Army For Afghan War, NATO Members Need To Spend More On Military
    3. Afghan War Leaves 103 NATO Soldiers Dead In Three Months
    4. Pentagon’s Strategic Priorities: Cyberwarfare, Missile Shield, AFRICOM
    5. Belgium: NATO Inspects First U.S. Phased Adaptive Approach Interceptor Missile Warship
    6. U.S. Plans To Use India For Missile Shield Around Russia, China
    7. Video And Text: The Real Toll Of America’s Wars
    8. U.S. Tests NATO Version Of Global Hawk
    9. Pakistan: Families Of U.S. Missile Strike Victims Refuse Blood Money
    10. Saakashvili: Georgia Needs Advanced Weapons From U.S.
    11. Venezuela Calls On South America To Unite Against U.S. Threat
    12. Azerbaijan: Pentagon Builds Second Proxy Army In Caucasus
    13. NATO Extends Hungarian Military Deployment In Afghanistan

    1. NATO Troops Kill Three Afghan Civilians, Wound Four More

    english.ruvr.ru/2011/03/31/48238727.html

    Voice of Russia

    March 31, 2011

    NATO troops kill 3 Afghan civilians

    NATO soldiers killed three Afghan civilians and injured four others after opening fire on a car which the force said had tried to attack a patrol in the city of Kandahar.

    Local police say it was just a traffic accident.

    Civilian casualties in military operations are very frequent in Afghanistan as coalition troops are battling a Taliban-led insurgency ahead of a planned handover of security to Afghan forces.

    ——————————————————————–

    news.xinhuanet.com/english2010/world/2011-03/31/c_13807564.htm

    Xinhua News Agency

    March 31, 2011

    4 Afghan civilians, 3 NATO soldiers injured as NATO vehicle strikes civilian car

    KANDAHAR, Afghanistan: Four Afghan civilians and three NATO soldiers sustained injuries as a vehicle of the alliance struck a civilian car in Kandahar province 450 km south of capital Kabul on Thursday, police said.

    “The road accident happened in the north of the provincial capital Kandahar city at 09:00 a.m. local time as a result four civilians and three foreign soldiers were injured,” deputy to provincial police chief Fazal Ahmad Shirzad told Xinhua.

    Meantime, a doctor in the Mir Wais Hospital Daud Farhad confirmed that two civilian bodies that lost their lives in the road accident have been taken to hospital.

    On the other hand, the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in a statement released here confirmed the incident, saying two persons were killed and three others including the driver of the civilian car sustained injuries.

    It also confirmed the injuring of three soldiers in the accident by saying, “At least three members of an International Security Assistance Force were struck by a civilian vehicle in Kandahar district, Kandahar province today.”

    ====

    2. Top Military Commander: NATO Commands 50-Nation Army For Afghan War, NATO Members Need To Spend More On Military

    www.defense.gov/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=63367

    U.S. Department of Defense

    March 30, 2011

    Stavridis Praises Allies’ Afghanistan Efforts

    By Cheryl Pellerin

    WASHINGTON: The fight in Afghanistan has become a global effort, with committed partners from nations that include Mongolia, Bulgaria, Tonga and El Salvador, NATO’s supreme allied commander for Europe said here today.

    “In addition to the 49 countries with troops there, well over 80 countries are contributing financially to develop Afghanistan,” Navy Adm. James G. Stavridis told the House Armed Services Committee.

    In addition to contributing resources and capabilities, Stavridis said, allied nations “are in the fight.”

    Although U.S. forces in Afghanistan outnumber those of other nations by a 2-to-1 margin, the admiral said, allied nations have had 900 service members killed in action, compared to the U.S. total of about 1,400.

    “So they are suffering casualties at a higher rate per capita than we are here in the United States in many instances,” he said.

    One of the allies’ specific skills is training.

    Coalition partners also are at work in a command-and-control sense, Stavridis said, noting that Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, commander of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan, has a British deputy commander and a French chief of staff.

    “As you look around Afghanistan to the leaders in each regional command area, Kabul is commanded by a Turk,” Stavridis said. “In the far west, we see an Italian in command. In the north we see a German in command, in addition to U.S. commanders in the south and the east.

    Despite economic challenges, European allies have great resources, Stavridis said.

    “The [gross domestic product] of Europe is about $14 trillion, very similar to that of the United States, so if you put the United States’ GDP and Europe’s GDP together, about $28 [trillion] to $30 trillion, which is roughly half of the global GDP.

    “We’re lucky that our close allies in Europe live in prosperous societies that can contribute to defense,” he added. However, he acknowledged, many allies are not meeting the NATO standard of spending of at least 2 percent of their GDP on defense.

    A handful, including the United Kingdom, France, Turkey and Greece and others, are meeting the standard, he said.

    But the majority of NATO partners are not meeting the GDP defense-spending standard,” the admiral added.

    “So I am worried,” he said.

    Because the United States pays a much-higher percentage of GDP for its defense, Stavridis said.

    “We need to be emphatic with our European allies that they should spend at least the minimum NATO 2 percent,” he said.

    The admiral said he stresses that point with NATO allies.

    “I carry that message often, emphatically and very directly, frankly, not only to military counterparts but also to political actors in each of the nations in the alliance,” he said.

    A minimum defense spending goal of 2 percent of gross domestic product is very reasonable, Stavridis said, and one that the alliance should be able to support, noting that Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates also raise the issue with NATO members.

    “We are all leaning forward to make sure our allies do the right thing in this regard,” the admiral said.

    ====

    3. Afghan War Leaves 103 NATO Soldiers Dead In Three Months

    news.xinhuanet.com/english2010/world/2011-03/31/c_13807846.htm

    Xinhua News Agency

    March 31, 2011

    Afghan war leaves 103 NATO soldiers dead in 3 months

    By Abdul Haleem, Zhang Jianhua

    KABUL: Continued militancy and skirmishes have claimed the lives of more than 100 soldiers with NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in the first quarter of the current year.

    Since the beginning 2011, according to iCasalties, a website tracking the casualties of NATO-led forces in war on terror in Afghanistan, 103 soldiers with the majority of them Americans have been killed in the post-Taliban country.

    Thirty two soldiers with the military alliance, according to iCasualties, had been killed in January this year against 43 during the same period in 2010.

    In the latest waves of attacks against NATO-led troops for which Taliban militants claimed responsibility was a suicide car bomb attack in Kapisa province, some 70 km north Afghan capital Kabul, on Wednesday leaving nine people injured including four soldiers and five civilians.

    “It was a suicide attack carried out by militants against international troops in Tagab district at 02:30 p.m. local time ( 1000 GMT) as a result four foreign soldiers and five Afghan civilians were injured,” police chief of Tagab district Padshah Gul Bakhtyar told Xinhua.

    Meantime, Zabihullah Mujahid who claims to speak for the Taliban militants, in talks with media via telephone from an undisclosed location claimed responsibility and said a Taliban fighter namely Abdul Rahman exploded his explosive-laden car next to a convoy of French troops leaving himself and 12 French soldiers dead.

    However, police officer Bakhtyr rejected the claim, saying only nine persons including four foreign soldiers and five civilians’ sustained injuries in the blast.

    Out of 103 NATO-led soldiers have been killed in Afghan militancy so far this year, 71 are Americans, 14 are Britons and the remaining 18 belong to other nations contributing troops to Afghanistan within the framework of NATO-led ISAF force.

    Forty eight countries have contributed over 140,000-strong forces in Afghanistan with some 100,000 of them Americans, followed by Britain which has 9,500 troops to help stabilize security in the militancy-plagued nation.

    ====

    4. Pentagon’s Strategic Priorities: Cyberwarfare, Missile Shield, AFRICOM

    www.defense.gov/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=63362

    U.S. Department of Defense

    March 30, 2011

    Technology Extends Stratcom’s Priorities

    By Cheryl Pellerin

    WASHINGTON: U.S. Strategic Command’s priority is to deter nuclear attack on the United States and its allies, but broader responsibilities in the 21st century include cybersecurity and missile defense, the organization’s top officer said here yesterday.

    Air Force Gen. C. Robert Kehler testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee for the first time since he assumed command of Stratcom in January.

    While nuclear deterrence is Stratcom’s No. 1 priority, the general added, the command also has broader responsibilities in the 21st century, such as supporting U.S. Africa Command, he said.

    “We provided B-2s early in [Operation Odyssey Dawn] for Africom’s use,” Kehler said. “We are also taking steps … to make sure they have the space capabilities they need, to make sure the networks there are operational and have sufficient capacity and are secured.”

    Stratcom also has long-term engagement in other regions of the world in support of other combatant commanders, the general added. Such activities, he said, “are primarily synchronizing — synchronizing planning and capabilities for things like missile defense; intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance; electronic warfare; and combating weapons of mass destruction.”

    Another priority is to improve capabilities and operating concepts in the civil and national security areas of space and cyberspace, he added.

    “Space is increasingly contested, congested and competitive,” Kehler said, “and its importance to the United States goes far beyond national security.”

    Essential objectives include ensuring uninterrupted access to space and space-based capabilities, improving awareness of objects and activities in space, and enhancing the protection and resilience of critical systems, the general said. Achieving those objectives, he said, demands continued investments to improve space situational awareness and to sustain critical space capabilities while pursuing increased opportunities with allies and commercial partners.

    Stratcom and its subunified command U.S. Cyber Command, he said, “are working hard to improve our organizations and relationships, enhance our network situational awareness and protection, increase our technical capacity, and develop the human capital we need as we look to the future.”

    “Our greatest challenge in cyberspace is to improve our ability to operate and defend the DOD network at network speed,” Kehler said, “and to make sure our critical activities can continue, even in the face of adversary attempts to deny or disrupt them.”

    The memorandum of agreement on cyberspace signed in October between the Defense and Homeland Security departments, the general added, is “a very, very good start.” The next steps include improving situational cyber awareness among the combatant commands and into the public domain, he added.

    “Almost like every Marine is a rifleman [and] every sailor is a firefighter, every service member, certainly every airman, … is going to be a cyber defender,” he said.

    Another front for Stratcom, Kehler said, is the phased, adaptive approach for missile defense in Europe. Missile defense for the United States has been based on two major objectives, he said.

    The second objective that has emerged, Kehler said, has been to ensure Stratcom is responding to rapidly growing regional threats.

    The phased, adaptive approach is intended to put resources into the combatant command theaters to bolster the defenses of U.S. troops and allies in such a way that is adaptable to the threat, he said.

    “I support that,” he added. “I think that’s the right way to go forward.”

    ====

    5. Belgium: NATO Inspects First U.S. Phased Adaptive Approach Interceptor Missile Warship

    www.eucom.mil/english/fullstory.asp?article=USS-Monterey-Visits-Antwerp

    U.S. European Command

    March 30, 2011

    USS Monterey Visits Antwerp

    Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Edward Vasquez, Navy Public Affairs Support Element-East Detachment Europe

    -Cruisers are equipped with Tomahawk cruise missiles that give them additional long range strike warfare capability. Some, like Monterey, have been outfitted with a ballistic missile defense capability.

    ANTWERP, Belgium: USS Monterey (CG 61) arrived in Antwerp, Belgium, Mar. 27, as part of a scheduled port visit.

    While in port the crew will give NATO members an opportunity to tour the ship and view its ballistic missile defense capabilities.

    “We are the first ship to become a part of the European Phased Adaptive Approach of the missile defense mission,” said Capt. James W. Kilby, commanding officer of Monterey. “We are here in Belgium to coincide with a NATO convention and they are going to come and visit the ship to tour our missile defense capability.”

    The visit is part of a six-month deployment to visit with NATO countries to show the Monterey’s capabilities and host local officials.

    Modern U.S. Navy guided-missile cruisers perform primarily in a battle force role. The ships are capable of multi-mission support in carrier battle groups, amphibious forces, as flagships of surface action groups or operating independently. Cruisers are equipped with Tomahawk cruise missiles that give them additional long range strike warfare capability. Some, like Monterey, have been outfitted with a ballistic missile defense capability.

    Monterey, a Ticonderoga class guided-missile cruiser homeported out of Norfolk, Va., is on a scheduled six-month deployment in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of responsibility.

    ====

    6. U.S. Plans To Use India For Missile Shield Around Russia, China

    www.thehindu.com/news/international/article1588877.ece

    The Hindu

    April 1, 2011

    ‘U.S. wants to use India in missile shield against Russia, China’

    Vladimir Radyuhin

    The United States has been trying to rope in India for its plans to build a global missile defence system threatening Russia and China, the Komsomoloskaya Pravda, a popular Russian daily published from Moscow reported on Thursday.

    In a story based on the WikiLeaks releases, the report said the U.S. has not only been planning to deploy a missile shield against Russia in Europe, but had also been negotiating with countries along Russia’s borders, such as Japan and India, to jointly build missile defences that would also target Russia.

    “The noose [around Russia] is tightening,” the newspaper said. “Thanks to WikiLeaks, it has become known that Washington has been simultaneously conducting talks with countries in other parts of the world for building U.S. missile defences on their territories. Those are different countries, but they form a chain around Russia.”

    A 2007 confidential cable from the U.S. embassy in New Delhi carried by the daily refuted media reports that India had abruptly turned its back on a 2005 agreement with the U.S. to cooperate on missile defences. The cable said the Indian media had misinterpreted remarks by External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee after the Russia-India-China trilateral meeting in Harbin, China, on October 24, 2007. Mr. Mukherjee had dismissed as “groundless” the idea that India was going to join a U.S.-led missile defence system.

    Misconstrued

    “MEA contacts confirm this did not mean India was not interested in continuing to cooperate with the U.S. on missile defence technology and that there has been no change from the current level of bilateral missile defence cooperation,” the U.S. embassy cable said.

    The “MEA contacts” explained that Mr. Mukherjee’s comments were “misconstrued” by the Indian press. When Mr. Mukherjee said that “India does not take part in such military arrangements,” the officials said, he had had in mind the U.S. plan to install a missile-detection system in Europe, which his Russian and Chinese counterparts referred to in the same press interaction.

    “MEA Director Amandeep Singh Gill [Disarmament and International Security] confirmed to PolOff on October 26 that Mr. Mukherjee’s comment in Harbin cannot be interpreted as a deviation from the status quo of current U.S.-India Military Defence cooperation,” the cable said.

    The embassy recalled: “Then-Defence Minister Mukherjee and SecDef [U.S. Secretary of Defence] Rumsfeld agreed to expand collaboration relating to missile defence in the July 2005 U.S.-India Defence Framework Agreement.”

    Indo-U.S. collaboration on missile defence “has thus far been confined to technical and fact-finding discussions,” the cable said, noting that “the GOI has focused its attention increasingly on developing indigenous MD system capabilities.”

    Ring of systems

    The Russian newspaper said the U.S. had “cast a fishing net over India” to get it to join the U.S. plans for building a ring of missile defence systems encircling Russia.

    Eyeing resources?

    Washington’s “plans to deploy missile defences along Russian borders — first in Europe, then in other places — may result in a situation where they will twist our hands to make us share our natural riches,” the daily said.

    ====

    7. Video And Text: The Real Toll Of America’s Wars

    rt.com/usa/news/real-toll-americas-wars-odyssey-dawn/

    RT

    March 31, 2011

    The real toll of America’s wars

    Video

    As NATO formally takes over the operation in Libya, the US is set to continue injecting millions of dollars into operation Odyssey Dawn.

    The US has cultivated an enviable ease with which it invades nations. War 1, war 2, war 3… Locations change. The list of enemies grows. The habit becomes harder to shake, even as the costs rack up.

    From military spending, to casualties, to a badly stained world image – what is the real toll of America’s wars?

    Five and a half thousand people – that’s the official American death toll in Iraq and Afghanistan. Another 70,000 is the estimated number of injured US soldiers, while some 170,000 are thought to be suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.

    “But we are also looking at the number of people that are being killed by U.S. actions, and there we are getting up to the millions,” said co-founder of antiwar.com Eric Garris in San Francisco.

    It’s estimated that 100,000 to 1 million Iraqis are dead, with 4 million displaced. Aaron Emery, after a tour in Iraq, is tired of the US trying to run the rest of the world.

    “American way of life doesn’t work everywhere. We’ve seen this over and over again. We tried to bring it to Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, what we have going on in Libya now. It never works. It will only work if the people want it. But if they want it, they are going to do it on their own,” he said.

    Something the west did not allow the Libyans.

    In terms of money, the US is the proud owner of the largest defense budget in the world.

    “We have 54 percent of federal tax dollars going into defense and into the destruction of Afghanistan and Iraq, you have to really wonder how crazy this country is,” said editorial columnist Ted Rall.

    Another question begging to be asked – why would total military expenditure be nearing a staggering $900 billion? The answer – because war is expensive.

    Iraq has cost an estimated $3 trillion.

    “That was enough money to fix the social security problem in the United States for fifty years,” said Paul Craig Roberts, former Reagan Administration official.

    Afghanistan has cost another $3 trillion.

    “If we just took 243 troops – 243 – that’s all! That’s barely a drop in the bucket – for the hundreds of thousands that are over there right now – put them on a C-130 and flew them back home, we would save enough money to fund higher education for all of Afghanis for the entire year,” explained Derrick Crowe.

    Those wars are not over and done, yet the attack on Libya kicked off. The tab for the first 10 days in Libya is $550 million dollars with another $120 million to be pumped in over the next three weeks, followed by a monthly allowance of $40 million.

    “They said that now NATO is in charge. NATO spelt backwards is USA,” said trends forecaster Gerald Celente.

    Another less tangible price of war-waging is the soaring anti-American sentiment abroad, chipping away at a self-proclaimed key to successful diplomacy.

    “The United States is losing influence. It looks not like some sort of a democratic nation in pursuit of peace. It looks like a very aggressive war-monger,” said Roberts.

    “The United States has not won a war decisively since world war two,” echoed Rall.

    While former soldiers certainly get it, politicians seem blissfully unaware.

    Nathan Sassaman, a former commander of ground troops in Iraq explained that like Iraq, the conflict in Libya may last much longer than anticipated.

    “There are a lot of long-term consequences when you commit forces to the battlefield,” he explained, expressing that when the military is involved, the consequences are always great and unknown.

    No matter the reasons, when the military becomes involved the length of the commitment is longer, civilian casualties and military casualties on all sides rise, costs rise.

    “It’s a very very high cost,” he said. “I think there should have been a lot more consideration taken into account before we introduced American forces into this battlefield.”

    Sassaman said the US could be looking at another eight to ten years in Libya just like Iraq and Afghanistan.

    Writer and radio host Stephen Lendman said the US and others has actively covertly and overtly been supporting rebels – a ground invasion is planned if need be to oust the Libyan government. The US is committed for the long haul.

    “Obama is a painful liar,” he said, explaining the President’s words regarding regime change in Libya.

    Lendman said American involvement will continue even if it is under the name of NATO. It has all been planned and began last year. It’s classic western imperialism, he argued. There is no Libyan revolution; it is a western backed insurgency. The excuse of humanitarianism is non-existent, he said. The west caused the humanitarian crisis, not Gaddafi.

    The intervention in Libya is illegal and violates the UN chatter. No nation may attack another except in self-defense, he contended.

    ====

    8. U.S. Tests NATO Version Of Global Hawk

    www.af.mil/news/story.asp?id=123249301

    U.S. Air Forces in Europe

    American Forces Press Service

    March 30, 2011

    Euro Hawk undergoes testing at Edwards AFB

    by Kenji Thuloweit

    95th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

    EDWARDS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. – Engineers with the 772nd Test Squadron facilitated electromagnetic interference testing on a Euro Hawk unmanned aircraft at the Benefield Anechoic Facility here March 10 and 11.

    They teamed with representatives of Northrop Grumman Corporation and the German government to complete the testing.

    The Euro Hawk is similar to the Air Force’s operational RQ-4 Global Hawk, and although EMI testing already has been conducted on the Global Hawk, the Euro Hawk has never been flown in the unique radio frequency environment of Europe.

    “We know there are certain environments that the Euro Hawk is going to be subjected to across the ocean and while operating in its intended role,” Beaverson said. “Are those environments going to be safe from an electromagnetic interference and compatibility perspective? Partnering with the Global Vigilance Combined Test Force, Northrop Grumman and our German allies, we’ve developed a series of tests to see how the aircraft reacts to some known electromagnetic fields.”

    The Euro Hawk is an unmanned aircraft that has been authorized by U.S. officials for direct commercial sales to representatives of allied countries.

    Suh said German Ministry of Defence officials specifically wanted the Euro Hawk tested at the BAF because of the facility’s unique capabilities.

    This is one part of the Euro Hawk’s comprehensive testing at Edwards AFB that has been a collaborative effort between the U.S. military, private industry and a foreign ally.

    The Euro Hawk has been undergoing flight testing at Edwards AFB since last year and is expected to complete its visit to the high desert during the summer.

    ====

    9. Pakistan: Families Of U.S. Missile Strike Victims Refuse Blood Money

    en.trend.az/regions/world/usa/1853762.html

    Trend News Agency

    March 31, 2011

    Pakistani tribesmen refuse U.S. drone strike compensation

    Families of those Pakistani tribesmen who were killed and injured in March in U.S. drone strike Thursday refused to accept the government’s compensation and demanded halt to the American drone strikes in the region, Xinhua reported.

    The government had announced 300,000 rupees (about 3,530 US dollars) each for those killed and 100,000 rupees for the injured.

    Over 40 tribesmen were killed and many others injured in a drone strike on a jirga of council of tribal elders in Datta Khel area of North Waziristan on March 17. According to the local reports, the jirga was called to settle a dispute over the sale of mineral in the area when the deadly strike was launched.

    The Pakistan army chief in a rare reaction had strongly condemned the U.S. drone strike on the innocent tribesmen following the March 17th incident. In a harsh statement General Ashfaq Pervaiz Kayani said that “such aggression against people of Pakistan is unjustified and intolerable under any circumstances”.

    The Pakistani Foreign Ministry had also summoned the U.S. ambassador for a formal protest and Prime Minister Gilani also criticized the strike in a statement.

    A day after the strike, tribal elders at a press conference in the northwestern city Peshawar vowed revenge. Thousands had staged a demonstration in Miranshah against the strike.

    The local administrator in North Waziristan, on behalf of the central government, had announced compensation for the families of victims and also for the injured. This is the first ever compensation announced for the families affected by U.S. drone strikes.

    Three relatives of the drone strike victims, namely Sherza Ali, Sher Dad Khan and Mir Akbar, told a news conference in Miranshah, center of North Waziristan, on Thursday that they will not accept the compensation.

    “We will not accept the money. We ask the Pakistani rulers to stop strikes by American spy aircraft in future,” the tribesmen told the press conference.

    ====

    10. Saakashvili: Georgia Needs Advanced Weapons From U.S.

    en.trend.az/news/politics/1853523.html

    Trend News Agency

    March 31, 2011

    President: Georgia needs heavy weapons supplies from U.S

    N. Kirtskhalia

    Tbilisi: Georgia needs heavy armaments, Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili told The Cable blog during his recent visit to the United States. The Cable is owned by Foreign Policy magazine.

    He said at this stage, Georgia buys certain light weapons from the U.S.

    “But really it does not need light armaments,” Saakashvili said in an

    interview with The Cable, which was published on March 30. “Georgia

    has a lot of armaments. There are many alternative ways to buy them.”

    “Georgia needs one thing that we cannot get anywhere,” he said. “It is

    anti-aircraft and anti-tank armaments. It must be the next stage of

    cooperation between Georgia and the U.S. in the military sphere.”

    A few days ago, Commander of the United States European Command

    Admiral James Stavridis said the U.S. does not deliver heavy weapons

    to Georgia. The statement angered Sen. John McCain. He said he will

    achieve heavy weapons supplies for air defense systems in Georgia from

    the U.S leadership.

    ====

    11. Venezuela Calls On South America To Unite Against U.S. Threat

    news.xinhuanet.com/english2010/world/2011-04/01/c_13808438.htm

    Xinhua News Agency

    April 1, 2011

    Chavez calls on South American countries to unite against U.S. threat

    LA PAZ: Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez called on South American countries here on Thursday to unite against the “imperialism” of the United States which he said threatens world peace.

    Chavez said that it was important that countries in South America, a continent that suffered over five decades of brutal and bloody civil wars, consolidate themselves as a region of peace before the threat of their northern neighbor.

    “The empire is going crazy and it’s a real threat to world peace as the imperialism has entered its phase of extreme craziness,” Chavez said in reference to Western military intervention in conflict-torn Libya.

    “We don’t want any more imperialism,” he told reporters when meeting with Bolivian President Evo Morales.

    Chavez currently is on an official visit to Bolivia, which is part of his Latin American tour to strengthen Venezuela’s relations with countries in the region.

    Chavez already toured Argentina and Uruguay earlier this week and he will visit Colombia later.

    “This is an occasion to prove the willpower for the unity of South America which is growing stronger every day,” he said.

    Morales and Chavez are scheduled to attend activities in the southern Bolivian coca-growing region of Cochobamba, and sign a number of cooperation agreements on security, energy, mining, trade, agriculture and technology.

    ====

    12. Azerbaijan: Pentagon Builds Second Proxy Army In Caucasus

    en.trend.az/news/politics/1853341.html

    Trend News Agency

    March 31, 2011

    Azerbaijani, U.S. soldiers to hold joint activities

    K. Zarbaliyeva

    Baku: Azerbaijani and U.S. soldiers will hold joint activities in accordance with the Individual Partnership Program.

    Azerbaijani soldiers will take part in sub-surface operations in the United States from April 4 to Dec. 2, the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry reported.

    Under the Azerbaijani-U.S. work plan, the soldiers will take part in courses to be held in the Air Command and Staff College from April 6 to June 11 and the officers’ course of special designation from April 4 to Aug. 13.

    ====

    13. NATO Extends Hungarian Military Deployment In Afghanistan

    en.apa.az/news.php?id=143914

    Azeri Press Agency

    April 1, 2011

    Hungary prolongs stay of troops in Afghanistan

    Baku: Hungary has prolonged the stay of its troops in Afghanistan, the Hungarian Defense Ministry announced in Budapest on Thursday, APA reports quoting Xinhua.

    A statement circulated by the ministry said that the cabinet had extended the mandate of its Provincial Reconstruction Team stationed in Puli Khumri until October 1, 2011. The 240-member Hungarian force has been…in Baghlan Province since 2006.

    At the same time, it has extended the mandate of the Air Mentor Team, which is focused on training the Afghan Air Force, until May 1, 2012. This team is charged with training and mentoring Afghan forces, in keeping with NATO objectives…

    The Hungarian-American Operational Mentoring and Liaison Team mandate, a cooperation effort between the Ohio National Guard and a Hungarian unit that is also focused on promoting a self-sustaining Afghan force, was extended until August 31, 2012. This team, made up of law enforcement and military personnel, includes 30 Hungarians and one of its tasks has been to secure Kabul Airport.

    There are also 50 staff officers. Sixteen Hungarians are serving in Special Operations under U.S. command where they are involved in reconnaissance and other actions.

    To date four Hungarians have been killed in the line of duty.

    The statement underlined that Hungary’s policy towards Afghanistan was unchanged.

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