Libyan war updates/Stop NATO news 22 May, 2011: NATO’s Air War: 7,732 Sorties, 2,975 Combat Missions

22 May, 2011 — Stop NATO

  • NATO’s Air War: 7,732 Sorties, 2,975 Combat Missions
  • NATO Intensifies Bombing Of Tripoli, Libya’s Main Harbor
  • Obama In Europe To Boost “Global Action” With NATO Allies
  • “Here For The Long Term”: EU Opens Office In Benghazi
  • EU Foreign Ministers Plan Additional Sanctions Against Belarus
  • U.S. To Build New Radar-Evading, Long-Range Nuclear Bombers
  • Afghan War: Jordanian Officer Killed, Four Soldiers Wounded
  • Pakistan: Thousands Participate In Anti-NATO Protest
  • Elections: Cyprus Heading Toward NATO?
  • Georgia: U.S.-Trained Army Called Upon To Back Power Transfer

NATO’s Air War: 7,732 Sorties, 2,975 Combat Missions

North Atlantic Treaty Organization

May 22, 2011

NATO and Libya

Allied Joint Force Command NAPLES, SHAPE, NATO HQ

Over the past 24 hours, NATO has conducted the following activities associated with Operation UNIFIED PROTECTOR:

Air Operations

Since the beginning of the NATO operation (31 March 2011, 08.00GMT) a total of 7732 sorties, including 2975 strike sorties,have been conducted.

Sorties conducted 21 May: 147

Strike sorties conducted 21 May: 49

A total of 21 ships under NATO command are actively patrolling the Central Mediterranean.

10 Vessels were hailed on 21 May to determine destination and cargo. Noboardings(nodiversions) were conducted.

A total of 1002 vessels have been hailed.

47 boardings and 7 diversions have been conducted since the beginning of arms embargo operations.


NATO Intensifies Bombing Of Tripoli, Libya’s Main Harbor

Voice of Russia

May 22, 2011

NATO stages another air strike on Gaddafi compound

NATO has launched a new air strike on Muammar Gaddafi’s compound in Tripoli, Libyan authorities said on Sunday.

The attack is the latest in a string of airstrikes that the alliance has staged since the beginning of its military action against Libya in March.

Dozens of civilians were killed in the air strikes, which NATO claims are allegedly needed to enforce the UN Security Council resolution on introducing a no-fly zone over Libya.


Russian Information Agency Novosti

May 22, 2011

NATO destroys Libyan warship

NATO aircraft patrolling the skies above Libya carried out 147 sorties on Saturday, destroying a warship and a tank, an alliance spokesperson said on Sunday.

The sorties on Saturday included 49 combat missions, and also hit two air defense radars, two command and control facilities, and one ammunition store, the official said.

Since March 31, when the operation to enforce a no-fly zone over Libya came under NATO command, alliance aircraft have made 7,732 flights, of which 2,975 were combat.

Russia abstained in the March 17 UN Security Council vote authorizing military operations in Libya, and it has repeatedly criticized NATO for going beyond the bounds of the resolution and bombing “civilian facilities” in Libya, including leader Muammar Gaddafi’s compounds in Tripoli…

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov met with Libyan representatives in Moscow last Tuesday and said the government was ready to comply with UN Security Council resolutions if NATO ends its airstrikes and the rebels cease hostilities.


Obama In Europe To Boost “Global Action” With NATO Allies

Xinhua News Agency

May 22, 2011

Obama leaves for Europe to reaffirm bond

WASHINGTON: With a variety of issues on agenda, U.S. President Barack Obama is leaving Sunday for a six-day visit to Europe, which will take him to Ireland, Britain, France and Poland.

Addressing the British parliament is supposed to be a key moment of the visit, in which the U.S. leader is expected to reassert his emphasis on trans-Atlantic relations, even it would certainly be viewed by many Europeans as a request for their continent to share some of America’s burdens.


Liz Sherwood-Randall, special assistant to the president and senior director for European affairs, said there are essentially three themes of the trip.

One is to highlight “our enduring commitment” to Europe because European security and prosperity benefit the United States as much as they do Europe.

The second is to “highlight the vitality of the transatlantic link through the institutions of Europe with which we work every day,” Sherwood-Randall said, noting that Obama has “invested a great deal” in ensuring that the trans-Atlantic military alliance of NATO is modernized and relevant “to the challenges of the 21st century.”

The third and “perhaps most important” theme, he said, is the growing U.S. cooperation with Europe as a “catalyst for global action” on issues like Afghanistan, Libya and the unrest in the Middle East and North Africa.

Ben Rhodes, deputy national security adviser for strategic communications, described the visit as “a very important visit” for the president to reaffirm “our core alliances” in the world.


“Here For The Long Term”: EU Opens Office In Benghazi

BBC News

May 22, 2011

Libya: Catherine Ashton opens EU office in Benghazi

The European Union’s foreign policy chief has opened an EU office in the rebel-held Libyan city of Benghazi.

Catherine Ashton said the rebel Transitional National Council (TNC) represented the aspirations of Libyans and would receive support from the EU.

Her visit is being seen as a boost for the TNC as it seeks recognition.

It came after Nato warplanes carried out further attacks on government targets in Tripoli, including Col Muammar Gaddafi’s compound.

Opening the new EU mission in Benghazi, Baroness Ashton said: “We are here for the long term.”


So far the TNC has been recognised as Libya’s legitimate government by only a handful of countries, including France and Italy – although most EU countries support the Nato air campaign aimed at protecting civilians.

Baroness Ashton said the EU regarded the council as “people with whom we have a strong dialogue”.

The head of the TNC, Mustafa Abdul Jalil, thanked “the European Union for supporting the revolution”.

In Tripoli, Col Gaddafi’s government said opening an EU office in rebel-held territory was tantamount to the “recognition of an illegitimate entity”.

“This will have repercussions on Libya’s rapport with several EU countries and institutions,” a foreign ministry statement said.

The rebels rose up against Col Gaddafi’s 41-year rule in February, swiftly capturing Benghazi and other eastern cities.

Col Gaddafi’s forces remain entrenched in Tripoli and the west, despite the Nato campaign.

The latest strike on Tripoli struck the port area and Col Gaddafi’s sprawling Bab al-Aziziya compound.


EU Foreign Ministers Plan Additional Sanctions Against Belarus

Russian Information Agency Novosti

May 22, 2011

EU foreign ministers to consider sanctions against Belarus

The European Union’s Council of Foreign Ministers will discuss during its session on Monday additional sanctions against Belarus regarding the country’s human rights record, a European diplomatic source said.

He said additional sanctions may expand a list of Belarusian officials banned from traveling within the EU member states.


U.S. To Build New Radar-Evading, Long-Range Nuclear Bombers

Xinhua News Agency

May 23, 2011

U.S. to build new radar-evading, long-range bombers: report

-[O]n the Pentagon wish list is a proposed fleet of 80 to 100 nuclear-capable bombers that could operate with or without a pilot in the cockpit, the report said.

LOS ANGELES: The U.S. largest defense contractors are expected to vie for an estimated 55-billion-dollar contract to build a fleet of radar-evading, long-range bombers at Air Force Plant 42 in California’s Mojave Desert, a newspaper report said on Sunday.

Pentagon weapons acquisition chief Ashton Carter met separately with representatives of Northrop, Boeing Co. and Lockheed Martin Corp. last month to discuss plans to build the bombers that the military hopes to have ready for action by the mid-2020s, the Los Angeles Times said.

The plane would be the first long-range bomber built in the U.S. since the last of the 21 bat-winged B-2 stealth bombers by Northrop Grumman Corp. rolled off the assembly lines at Plant 42 more than a decade ago, according to the report.

The Air Force owns the 5,800-acre (2,349-hectare) industrial park and leases space to aerospace contractors.

Now on the Pentagon wish list is a proposed fleet of 80 to 100 nuclear-capable bombers that could operate with or without a pilot in the cockpit, the report said.

Although the contractors declined to discuss the high-level meetings, Northrop and Boeing were quick to express interest in competing for the contract when the acquisition plan is laid out, said the report.

“Northrop Grumman employees in California designed, produced and currently maintain the nation’s newest bomber in the U.S. Air Force fleet, the B-2 Spirit stealth bomber,” said Randy Belote, a Northrop spokesman.

There are 197 million dollars set aside for developing the bomber in the 2012 fiscal budget, and 3.7 billion dollars are allocated for the program over the next five years, Maj. Chad Steffey, an Air Force spokesman, was quoted as saying.

The program’s prospects in Congress also look strong, with the support of prominent congressional Republicans such as Rep. Howard P. “Buck” McKeon, chairman of the House Armed Services Committee.

“The Defense Department is serious about doing this program,” said Todd Harrison, a defense analyst for the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments in Washington, D.C. “The last time they tried to upgrade their bomber force, they bought 21 B-2s. That’s not nearly enough to modernize the fleet.” The B-2 fleet now numbers 20 – one crashed in Guam in 2008. The Air Force also has 66 B-1 bombers, built in the 1980s, and 85 B-52 bombers, which were built in the 1960s and modified for use today.

“The Air Force believes it’s overdue for an upgrade,” Harrison said, adding that funding for the new bomber program could already be underway through the Air Force’s 12.6-billion-dollar classified, or “black,” budget for weapons research and development.


Afghan War: Jordanian Officer Killed, Four Soldiers Wounded

Trend News Agency/Deutsche Presse-Agentur

May 23, 2011

Jordanian officer killed, four injured in Afghanistan

A Jordanian officer was killed and four soldiers injured Sunday when a roadside bomb exploded as a…convoy passed through the Afghan province of Lugar, a spokesman for the Jordanian armed forces said in a statement.

“The general command of the armed forces is making the necessary arrangements with the Jordanian contingent in Afghanistan to bring home the martyr and the wounded, so that they can receive treatment at Jordanian hospitals,” he added, dpa reported.

This is the second Jordanian fatality in Afghanistan in less than 18 months.

On December 30, 2009, a Jordanian intelligence officer, Captain Ali bin Zeid, was killed along with seven members of the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) at a US forward base in the eastern province of Khost when a Jordanian doctor, Humam Balawi, carried out a suicide attack.

The new fatality is expected to stir a new wave of criticism inside Jordan, which has witnessed a series of demonstrations over the past four months to press demands for reform and fighting corruption.

The authorities so far kept a tight lid on the number of Jordanian troops operating in Afghanistan…but NATO’s website put the number at 90 alongside other contributions to the multinational force.


Pakistan: Thousands Participate In Anti-NATO Protest

Daily Times

May 23, 2011

Thousands demand end to drone strikes

* Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf’s sit-in concludes with announcement of march towards Islamabad next month

* Imran Khan vows to stop NATO supplies if US continues drone attacks

By Asad Farooq

KARACHI: Thousands of people from various political and religious parties participated in the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI)’s two-day sit-in protest organised here as a symbolic suspension of NATO forces supply against US drone attacks.

The sit-in concluded on Sunday with an announcement of a march next month from Multan to Islamabad via Lahore. PTI chairman Imran Khan said in his concluding address, “It is time to launch a final drive for saving Pakistan.” Terming the present government incapable, he said, “People have lost their hopes and are ready for a final measure.”

“Contrary to the recent campaigns, we will not demand the Parliament to act upon their passed resolutions but to resign.”

“A revolution has been initiated”, he declared.

Supporting the launch of his campaign, he said, Wikileaks cables had put question marks on the credibility of forces, the government, and the state. He termed the ‘War on Terror’ a war of aliens, saying that the rulers have adopted it for dollars.

“Besides a loss of about $68 billion, we have been deprived of basic necessities such as water, electricity and gas”, he said.

“I had been warning the Parliament against participating in this war but rulers are only interested in dollars and palaces. I asked Chief of the Army Staff General Ashfaq Pervez Kiyani to look in the eye while interacting with the US,” Khan said.

Khan claimed that a government of the PTI would sweep terrorism [away] within 90 days and Pashtuns and Urdu speakers will join…

He also announced that PTI would suspend NATO supplies everywhere if any drone attack is carried out. Workers of several religious parties from both Shia and Sunni sects participated in the protest. Before the protest Imran Khan invited various political parties, particularly religious parties…


Elections: Cyprus Heading Toward NATO?

Voice of Russia

May 23, 2011

Right-wing opposition wins Cyprus election

With 34 percent of votes won, the opposition Democratic Rally party has emerged the victory of Sunday’s parliamentary elections in Cyprus.

The ruling leftwing Progressive party of the Working People came second with 33 percent.

Analysts warn that the right-wingers’ success…may dent the re-election chances of Demetris Christofias, the Communist president, who is handling complex reunification talks with Turkish Cypriots.


Georgia: U.S.-Trained Army Called Upon To Back Power Transfer

Civil Georgia

May 22, 2011

Okruashvili: ‘Army’s Choice Will Decide Georgia’s Fate’

Tbilisi: In a second phone interview with the Tbilisi-based Maestro TV on May 22, ex-defense minister and leader of the Georgian Party called on the Georgian army “to stand beside the people” on May 25, when his party plans to, as he put it, “hit a final blow to the Saakashvili’s regime.”

In an earlier interview with Maestro TV also on Sunday, Okruashvili, who lives in exile in France, said that he would return back to Georgia on May 25 “to put an end to the Saakashvili’s regime.”

“Several days ago I called on the soldiers, officers, privates [of the Georgian army] that in a few days – this is May 25 – we will be standing on the one side of the barricade and there will be Saakashvili’s gang on the other side,” he continued. “They [the army] should make a choice where they will be standing; they can’t be neutral in that situation and I want to request them to make a choice in favor of the Georgian people their choice will decide the fate of Georgia.”

“On May 25 I will be in Georgia together with my people. I will not talk about details. On May 25 we will manage to put an end to Saakashvili’s regime with minimal losses. If there is a great public support, the losses will be minimal. So, everybody should acknowledge the responsibility, which should be assumed before our country.”

The Georgian Party announced on Sunday that it would launch a decisive struggle against President Saakashvili on May 25 at a rally on Avlabari Square – the presidential palace is located close to that square.

After that announcement the Georgian Party joined the rally outside the public broadcaster on the Kostava Street, which is led by the People’s Assembly in which a key figure is Nino Burjanadze, the ex-parliamentary speaker.

Meanwhile, the Interior Ministry again reiterated on May 22, that the police would act according to the law and arrest Irakli Okruashvili if he returns back to Georgia.

Since 2007, when he went into opposition, Okruashvili lives in France, where he has received political asylum; in Georgia he was sentenced to an 11-year prison term in absentia in March, 2008.

Okruashvili said that with his planned arrival in Georgia on May 25, Interior Minister Vano Merabishvili “will face a great test.”

“A myth about his [Merabishvili’s] omnipotence may be shattered in one day and I will do it, I promise,” Okruashvili said.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.