Stop NATO News: 13 April, 2011

13 April, 2011 — Stop NATO

  • Berlin: NATO Assembles 50 Foreign Ministers On Libyan, Afghan Wars
  • Afghanistan: U.S. Combat Mission Until 2015, Continued Involvement Afterward
  • U.S.-Pakistan Tensions Reaching Boiling Point
  • Pakistan Condemns Resumption Of Deadly U.S. Missile Attacks
  • Pakistan: Plans For Large-Scale Sit-In Along NATO Supply Route
  • Africa: Long History Of French Military Intervention
  • Ivory Coast: World Bank Chief To Meet With Ex-IMF Official Ouattara’s Regime
  • Videos And Text: Americans Unwittingly Sponsor Nation’s Wars

Berlin: NATO Assembles 50 Foreign Ministers On Libyan, Afghan Wars

North Atlantic Treaty Organization

April 13, 2011

NATO Foreign Ministers gather in Berlin

-The Libya meeting will be folllowed by talks between the 48 countries which contribute to the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan.

-NATO sees the European Union as a unique and indispensable partner. EU High Representative Catherine Ashton will attend the meeting on partnerships.

-Friday morning will continue with a meeting of the NATO-Georgia Commission…NATO fully upholds Georgia’s territorial integrity and sovereignty, and is committed to supporting Georgia’s reforms and its integration into the Euro-Atlantic community.

The foreign ministers of NATO’s 28 nations and over 20 partner countries meet in Berlin on Thursday and Friday for talks covering issues ranging from operations over Libya to NATO’s relationship with its partners.

This is the first meeting of foreign ministers since NATO leaders approved the Alliance’s new Strategic Concept at a summit in Lisbon in November. The meeting showcases NATO’s role in working with partners to find cooperative solutions to common threats.

The meeting starts at midday on Thursday with talks on NATO-led operation in Libya, Operation Unified Protector…

NATO and six partner countries from Europe and the Arab world have put in place an arms embargo and no-fly zone…

All 34 countries involved in Operation Unified Protector will be represented at the meeting, which will discuss progress on the ground…

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen and a number of ministers will come to the meeting direct from international talks in Doha, allowing NATO and partners to take stock of the latest developments and chart their course in full coherence with the international community.

The Libya meeting will be folllowed by talks between the 48 countries which contribute to the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan. At the Lisbon summit, NATO and Afghanistan agreed an Enduring Partnership on cooperation which will last beyond the targeted end of NATO combat operations in 2014. Foreign ministers will discuss how to put the partnership into practice with concrete cooperation initatives starting this year.

On Friday, NATO foreign ministers will discuss how to update the Alliance’s policies to make our cooperation with partners more flexible, more efficient and more responsive to the challenges of the 21st Century security environment. NATO already works with a wide variety of partners on a wide variety of issues, from defence reform to the fight against terrorism, as well as in individual operations. The “Berlin partnership package” will enable the Alliance to work with more partners, on more issues, and in more ways.

NATO sees the European Union as a unique and indispensable partner. EU High Representative Catherine Ashton will attend the meeting on partnerships.

Friday morning will continue with a meeting of the NATO-Georgia Commission. Set up in 2008, this is the forum in which NATO and Georgia discuss all issues of common concern. Georgia has made a substantial contribution to ISAF and continues to press ahead with reforms. NATO fully upholds Georgia’s territorial integrity and sovereignty, and is committed to supporting Georgia’s reforms and its integration into the Euro-Atlantic community.

A meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Commission will follow. Ukraine has chosen to continue its current high rate of cooperation with NATO without moving closer to membership. NATO fully respects that decision and welcomes Ukraine’s contribution to a range of NATO-led operations. NATO is prepared to assist Ukraine in the goals it has chosen within our partnership, including defence reform and improving the ability of our military forces to operate together.

The series of meetings concludes with a session of the NATO-Russia Council. Russia is a strategic partner for NATO and our cooperation covers many vital aspects, from security in Afghanistan to the fight against terrorism. The talks with Foreign Minister Lavrov are expected to cover the full range of our relationship, including the situation in Libya and ongoing talks on the possibility of NATO-Russia cooperation on anti-ballistic-missile defence.


Afghanistan: U.S. Combat Mission Until 2015, Continued Involvement Afterward

Xinhua News Agency

April 13, 2011

U.S. aims to end combat mission in Afghanistan by 2015

DUSHANBE: The United States will continue to regulate Afghanistan’s security and development issues even after halting its combat mission in 2015, a U.S. official said here on Wednesday.

Robert Blake, the assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs, said the U.S. aims to prepare Afghan forces and law enforcement agencies for protection and security in their country.

“The preparation process will begin this year,” he said at a news conference. “The situation in Afghanistan gradually improving, but it is a very fragile condition.”

Blake said that Washington appreciates the assistance of Tajikistan and other Central Asian states in the stabilization of the Afghan situation.


U.S.-Pakistan Tensions Reaching Boiling Point

Voice of Russia

April 13, 2011

US-Pakistan tensions are about to reach boiling point

Vladimir Gladkov

The recent demand by Pakistani authorities to reduce the number of CIA agents in the country and to limit drone strikes in border regions marked another twist in US-Pakistan relations.

As Pakistani military and intelligence officials report, the tensions between two countries are about to reach the highest point ever since the moment of 9/11 attack. Among the main reasons are civilian killings by drone attacks, lack of progress in Afghanistan and rising discontent of the population with the presence of foreign military forces in the country. After a series of military and diplomatic failures America found itself at risk of losing a vital ally in the “war on terror”.

It seems that the US suddenly lost its luck in building relations with Pakistan. The first incident that frayed the partnership was the controversial release of CIA contractor Raymond Davis, accused of killing two Pakistani citizens. While Davis insisted he was acting in self-defence, the Islamist-led opposition was calling for the punishment of the American. Davis’s release in exchange for money compensation paid to the victim’s relatives ignited a storm of public outrage.

Just one day after Davis’s release anti-American sentiments were fueled by the tragic death of several civilians, mistakenly attacked by a CIA drone. Then the country was struck by a series of violent protests, sparked by a Florida pastor Terry Jones burning a Koran. Harsh criticism of Islamabad’s counter-terrorism activities in Pakistan’s tribal regions, repeated in a White House report last week, didn’t improve the situation either.

Now Pakistani officials and politicians say that the relationship between the two countries is about to reach boiling point.

“We will not accept the stigmatising of Pakistan,” said Salman Bashir, Pakistan’s foreign secretary. “We need to re-examine the fundamentals of our relationship with the United States to get greater clarity. There has been a pause. Now we must start again.”

Bashir’s position was backed by Rehman Malik, Pakistan’s interior minister, who stressed that the US tries to blame its ally for all failures in Afghanistan. “If the strategy is not right, all the stakeholders have to share responsibility,” Malik said.

The discontent of the Pakistani side was expressed during recent meetings between US and Pakistani intelligence officials at the CIA headquarters in the US state of Virginia.

The results of the talks between CIA Director Leon Panetta and the head of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence directorate, Ahmed Shuja Pasha, brought no relief. According to a report from The New York Times, Pakistan asked about 335 US personnel, CIA officers and contractors and special operations force personnel to leave the country. Pakistani officials also demand the removal of CIA agents that the Pakistani government was not been informed about. The reduction in CIA operations is believed to have been personally requested by Pakistan’s army chief Gen Ashfaq Kayani.

Another important point is Pakistan’s demand to limit the US drone campaign aimed at eliminating militant insurgents in the border regions.

The use of air drones became a stumbling block for the US-Pakistan partnership. Drones turned out to be an extremely effective weapon against Taliban forces in elusive border regions. At the same time hundreds of civilians have also died as a result of erroneous drone strikes. Just recently, the Pentagon admitted that it was investigating a case of alleged “friendly fire” when two US soldiers were killed by a drone missile strike.

The sad reality is that the US keeps losing its influence on the Pakistani government, which could bring about extremely negative consequences.

Despite all the tensions, Pakistan remains one of the most significant allies of the US in its “war on terror”. Any steps back made by the US would give more power to the Islamist-led opposition which could completely destabilize the region and affect the global counter-terrorist campaign.


Pakistan Condemns Resumption Of Deadly U.S. Missile Attacks


April 13, 2011

U.S. strike kills 6 in Pakistan, first since March

PESHAWAR, Pakistan: Pakistan condemned an attack on militants by U.S. drone aircraft on Wednesday, the first such strike in the controversial program in nearly a month.

The missiles, fired from two unmanned planes, hit a vehicle carrying militants in a village about 12 km (eight miles) east of the Afghan border in South Waziristan, residents and officials said.

“We have confirmation of six (dead) but the toll could be high,” a security official said.

Pakistan’s Foreign Office strongly condemned the latest attack and said it had protested to the U.S. ambassador.

“We have repeatedly said that such attacks are counterproductive and only contribute to strengthen the hands of the terrorists,” it said in a statement.

“Drone attacks have become a core irritant in the counter-terror campaign. Pakistan has taken up the matter with the U.S. at all levels.”

Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani, speaking in the National Assembly, also said the attacks turned people against the government.

“We admit we are against them. We were able to separate militants from local tribal people, and when drone attack takes place the local tribes get united with militants,” Gilani said.

Wednesday’s strike was made two days after Lieutenant-General Ahmad Shuja Pasha, head of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence, sought an end to the drone campaign in a meeting in Washington with CIA Director Leon Panetta, officials said.

It was the first since March 17, when a similar attack killed 38 tribal elders and suspected militants and drew rare condemnation from the country’s powerful military chief.

An intelligence official said the United States acted without any Pakistani help.

In March, Pakistan refused to attend a meeting to discuss the conflict in Afghanistan in protest against the strike in North Waziristan tribal agency, a known hub for al Qaeda and Taliban militants on the Afghan border.

Ties between the intelligence agencies of the United States and Pakistan soured further over the case of Raymond Davis, a CIA contractor who shot dead two Pakistanis in the eastern city of Lahore in January.

Pakistan held Davis despite U.S. insistence that he had diplomatic immunity. He was released last month after the families of the dead men were paid compensation, a custom in Pakistan and sanctioned in Islam.

(Reporting by Chris Allbritton, Hafiz Wazir and Saud Mehsud; Editing by Angus MacSwan)


Pakistan: Plans For Large-Scale Sit-In Along NATO Supply Route

Online International News Network (Pakistan)

April 13, 2011

PTI to stage a massive sit-in on NATO supply routes of Peshawar on 23rd and 24th April

LAHORE: The central and provincial leaders of PTI (Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf) have announced plans to stage a massive sit-in on NATO supply routes of Peshawar on 23rd and 24thApril.

Addressing a joint press conference at the PTI secretariat, the secretary of information of the PTI, Dr. Shahid Siddique Khan, and others have appealed to all segments of society to participate in the sit-in, which will be led by PTI chairman Imran Khan.

The PTI leadership strongly castigated American hegemony over Pakistan’s affairs and sovereignty, the Raymond Davis issue, and continuous drone attacks on the tribal belt of Pakistan.

They recalled that the so-called war against terrorism had so far induced a colossal damage of U.S. $53 billion, while America reimbursed only US. $10 billion, which the rulers embezzled unashamedly, and which has gone unaccounted for.

They reminded that so far 32,000 Pakistanis have fallen prey to this 11-year old morbidity, out of which approximately 5,000 were from the Armed forces, as the country’s economic and other factors had nosedived at an alarming pace.


Africa: Long History Of French Military Intervention

Agence France-Presse

April 13, 2011

France-Africa: a long history of military intervention

France, which is currently intervening militarily in both Ivory Coast and Libya, has a long history of armed action in Africa, mostly in its former colonies.

Herewith the main such interventions since 1960, when most of France’s African colonies became independent.

In addition to the conflicts listed, France fought an eight-year war in Algeria, which ended with that country’s independence in 1962.

– 1964, Gabon: French forces intervene to restore president after coup.

– 1968-1972, Chad: French troops intervene to put down northern rebellion.

– 1978-80, Chad: French forces defend government against rebels.

– 1978, Zaire: French and Belgian paratroops drop into the mineral-rich Katanga region of Zaire (today known as the Democratic Republic of Congo), [against] rebels…

– 1979, Central African Republic: French forces depose the eccentric Central African “emperor” Jean-Bedel Bokassa.

– 1983-84, Chad: New French intervention in Chad, where the government is threatened by rebels backed by Colonel Moamer Kadhafi’s Libya.

– 1986, Chad: Further operation against Chadian rebels; mainly using aviation.

– 1986, Togo: French reinforcements sent after coup attempt, which fails.

– 1989, Comoros: French forces go in when president is assassinated and mercenaries headed by Bob Denard, also French, take power.

– 1990, Gabon: French troops support the regime of president Omar Bongo…

– 1990-1993, Rwanda: French soldiers help evacuate French and other Europeans after rebels invade the country.

– 1991, Zaire: French troops deploy [to] capital Kinshasa during riots against the regime of Mobutu Sese Seko.

– 1992-94, Somalia: France intervenes alongside the US-led “Restore Hope” operation in Somalia.

– 1994: Rwanda: Two separate French interventions follow the death in a plane crash of Rwandan president Juvenal Habyarimana…

– 1995: Comoros: New French intervention to halt a coup, again led by the French mercenary Bob Denard.

– 1996-7: Central African Republic: Two French interventions to maintain order after munities among the local military.

– 1997: Republic of Congo: French troops intervene during civil war…

– 1996: Cameroon: France provides military assistance to Cameroon, which is involved in a dispute with Nigeria over an oil-rich border area. [Bakassi Peninsula]

– 1998: Democratic Republic of Congo (formerly Zaire): Intervention to evacuate foreigners from Kinshasa during unrest following the overthrow of the Mobutu regime by Laurent-Desire Kabila.

– 2002-present: Ivory Coast: French mount “Operation Licorne” after a military rebellion effectively cuts Ivory Coast in two. In 2004 they destroy Ivory Coast’s small air force after government forces bomb a French base.

– 2003: Democratic Republic of Congo: France provides most of the forces for a UN operation to protect civilians in the northeastern Ituri region of the DRC.

– 2008: Chad: New French intervention to bolster regime…

– 2011: Libya: France takes the lead in bombing campaign against Libya…

– 2011: Ivory Coast: French forces of the “Licorne” operation act alongside UN forces during the civil war sparked by Laurent Gbagbo’s refusal to leave power…


Ivory Coast: World Bank Chief To Meet With Ex-IMF Official Ouattara’s Regime


April 12, 2011

World Bank chief to meet Ivory Coast officials

WASHINGTON: World Bank President Robert Zoellick said on Tuesday he would meet with Ivory Coast officials this week to discuss how the development lender can help the country move beyond its political crisis.

Zoellick told a conference call with reporters ahead of semi-annual IMF and World Bank meetings in Washington this week that any help for Ivory Coast needed to involve West African regional blocs like ECOWAS. He said he hoped the World Bank could move forward on writing off the country’s debt.

The political standoff between election rivals in Ivory Coast ended on Monday after French forces helped to arrest Laurent Gbagbo, who refused to hand over power to…Alassane Ouattara.

(Reporting by Lesley Wroughton; Editing by James Dalgleish)


Videos And Text: Americans Unwittingly Sponsor Nation’s Wars


April 13, 2011

Americans unwittingly sponsor the country’s wars

In 2010 the US spent more on its military than the next ten highest spending countries combined


US lawmakers have decided on $38 billion spending cuts, none of which will be coming out of the country’s defense budget as this year planned military spending is $700 billion.

?Plenty seems to be on the US chopping block this week – healthcare, education, and infrastructure – everything except for the Pentagon.

“I would be very reluctant to cut defense spending with the two conflicts we’re in”, explained John McCain, US Senator.

Worldwide, in 2010, military spending increased by $20.6 billion, with $19.6 billion of that being in the US alone, according to the Stockholm International Peace research Institute.

Dr. Sam Perlo-Freeman, head of the Defense Expenditure Project at Sipri believes the US considers itself special: “The US very much sees itself as a global military power, the only global military power, the only superpower and it perceives its security interests as encompassing the whole world”.

Last year, the US spent more on its military than the next ten highest spending countries combined. Both Presidents Bush and Obama have ramped up the wars, forcing defense spending in the country to rise by 81% since 2001.

“This seems to reflect a bipartisan prioritization of military power and military conceptions of security even in the face of such difficult economic times”, said Dr. Sam Perlo-Freeman.

An American earning $50,000 a year will see more than $2,000 of their income go directly to the country’s wars.

Those tax dollars also go to maintaining over 1000 US bases and sites worldwide, as well as the Pentagon’s 234 golf courses.

“That means children, poor women, homeless take care of the needs of our population. To spend enormous amounts on the Pentagon budget while every social program is being cut is just fraudulent and obscene”, complained Liz Hourisan, a US peace activist.

Fifty-four cents of every dollar Americans pay in taxes goes to paying for past and future wars. But as President Obama calls on Americans to sacrifice during economically tough times, many Americans wonder when it will be the Pentagon’s turn to tighten its belt.

?Sherwood Ross, who runs the Anti-War News Service, believes that large corporations will do their best to keep the military-industrial complex going full force.

“Large corporations are making enormous money on this, while the rest of America’s economy is starving,” he said. “American opinion on the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq has been changing rapidly… Americans want peace, they don’t want wars.”

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