Updates on Libyan war/Stop NATO news: June 7, 2011

7 June 2011 — Stop NATO

  • 81-Day War Against Libya: Over 10,000 NATO Sorties
  • Video And Text: NATO Intensifies Bombing Of Tripoli
  • Eurasian Heartland: U.S. Breathes Life Into New Cold War
  • Strait Of Malacca: U.S. To Establish New Base In Singapore
  • U.S. To Expand Military Presence In Asia: Gates
  • Largest-Ever U.S.-India Military Deal
  • Indian Ocean: The Focus Of New Rivalries
  • Australian Defence Minister To Attend NATO/ISAF Defense Chiefs Meeting
  • U.S. Warship Docks In Romania For NATO Missile Shield System
  • Romania: U.S. Marines Conduct Drone Training For Combat Zone Use
  • Estonia: 300 Experts Attend NATO Cyber Conflict Conference
  • British Defence Official Discusses Georgia’s NATO Integration
  • Britain To Assign Security Adviser To Georgian Military
  • Azerbaijan’s Defense Chief To Attend NATO’s Afghan War Council
  • SIPRI: Nuclear Threat Still High Despite Weapons Cuts

81-Day War Against Libya: Over 10,000 NATO Sorties


North Atlantic Treaty Organization

June 7, 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 10020 sorties, including 3794 strike sorties, have been conducted.

Sorties conducted 06 JUNE: 103

Strike sorties conducted 06 JUNE: 42


Video And Text: NATO Intensifies Bombing Of Tripoli


CNTV/Xinhua News Agency

June 7, 2011

NATO air strikes target various sites around Tripoli


BEIJING: A series of NATO air strikes have targeted various sites around Tripoli. A statement from the alliance confirmed bombing runs on a range of military sites, including missile storage areas, launchers, command and control facilities and a radar system.

Libyan officials took a group of journalists to view the remains of a government building they say was damaged the NATO strike early on Monday.

Deputy foreign minister Khaled Kaim said some schools and a broadcasting center near the bombings were also damaged. Kaim called for a ceasefire, while ruling out the prospect of Gaddafi stepping down.

He said, “There are a lot of initiatives. From the Arab tribes in Egypt, from African tribes in the neighbouring African countries like Chad and Niger, there is the roadmap from the African Union. There are a lot of initiatives. I think the Russians want to be a mediator. But for all these initiatives to be realised, we need to have a truce and a real ceasefire.”

Reporter’s question: Any sign that Colonel Gadhafi is prepared to go yet?

“It’s not in our agenda at all.”


Eurasian Heartland: U.S. Breathes Life Into New Cold War


Asia Times

June 7, 2011

US breathes life into a new cold war

By M K Bhadrakumar

There might have been a difference of opinion between the classical Greek dramatist Aeschylus and British romantic poet Percy Bysshe Shelley regarding the circumstances of the release of the Titan god Prometheus from captivity: whether it followed reconciliation with Jupiter, as the classicist thought, or a rebellion, as the romantic insisted. In either case, Prometheus was “unbound”.

The exact circumstances of the endgame in Iraq and Afghanistan will remain a moot point, but the outcome is certain to be that the United States, which like Prometheus was chained to a mountain where he was daily punished by Jupiter’s eagle and underwent immense suffering, is being “released” to normal life.

For Prometheus, it came as an existential moment and when

Hercules came to unbind him, he was so relieved at the freedom “long desired/And long delayed” that he pledged to his love that they “will sit and talk of time and change/As the world ebbs and flows, ourselves unchanged”.

The United States, too, is re-emerging “unchanged”. There is a flurry of activity as if making up for lost time – “unilateralist” military intervention in Libya; deployment of a F-16 squadron in Poland; establishment of military bases in Romania; resuscitation of the George W Bush era plans for deployment of a US missile defense system in Central Europe; revival of the entente cordiale among “new Europeans”; threatened “humanitarian intervention” in Syria; renewed talk of military action against Iran; a push for a long-term military presence in Iraq and Afghanistan; revving up of the expansion of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) into Central Asia; violation of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Pakistan; the threat of “regime change” in Sri Lanka; and last weekend the announcement of the deployment of light combat ships in Singapore.

All this has happened within a 100-day period. It was almost inevitable that the Caspian great game would be revived, too. After the unexplained hibernation in the period since the exit of the Bush presidency in the beginning of 2009, Richard Morningstar, the US’s special envoy for Eurasian energy, has returned to the arena.

If his testimony at the hearing conducted by the US House Committee on Foreign Affairs last week had one single message, it was that the US’s Eurasian energy strategy remained “unchanged” in its core agenda, namely, to challenge Russia’s potential to use its vast reserves as an energy exporter to re-emerge as a big power on the world stage.

Cold War rhetoric surfaces

The geopolitical agenda of the US’s Eurasian energy strategy was spelt out with characteristic bluntness at the same congressional hearing by noted Russia expert Ariel Cohen. There may be nothing strikingly new, arguably, in Cohen’s thesis about Russia’s “expansionist agenda” reflected in its energy policies, but nonetheless it merits reiteration by way of providing the backdrop to Morningstar’s testimony. He was constrained by the norms of diplomatic practice to hold back on direct criticism of Russia, with which the Barack Obama administration is engaged in a “reset” at the moment:

The Kremlin views energy as a tool to pursue an assertive foreign policy.

Europe’s level of dependence on Russia for energy is unacceptably high.

Russia’s attempts to exclude the US from Central Asian and Caspian energy markets.

Russia is using energy to “re-engage” India, Southeast Asia, the Middle East, Africa and Latin America.

Russia forces neighboring countries to direct their energy exports via its pipeline system.

The absence of a “rule of law” blocks Western companies’ entry into Russia’s energy sector.

Russia remains disinterested in developing energy ties with the US.

Cohen candidly spelt out the geopolitics. One, European demand for energy is projected to grow further and it could lead to greater dependence on energy from Russia, which has serious implications for Moscow’s ties with Europe.

The point is, the US apprehends that Moscow will exploit the growing energy ties to stabilize its relationship with the countries of Western Europe, and that could weaken the spirit of Euro-Atlanticism and incrementally loosen the US’s trans-Atlantic leadership.

Two, Germany has taken a strategic decision to abandon nuclear energy and to instead increase its energy imports from Russia. From the US viewpoint, steadily growing Russo-German ties have not only a historical resonance of great significance for European security but they could eventually weaken European unity and the underpinnings of NATO itself, which the US commands as its principal instrument for the pursuit of its global strategies.

Three, Russia is aspiring to graduate from the role of energy exporter to Europe to participation in the continent’s energy distribution system and retail trade as well. Europe may eventually “face tough choices between the cost and stability of their energy supply, and siding with the US on key issues”.

Conversely, Cohen anticipates, “As oil prices rise, it is safe to expect Russia’s cockiness to return.” What is this “cockiness” about? In geopolitical terms, it means a more assertive Russia in global politics. Cohen mentioned India more than once as a worrisome prospect for the US.

Chalk circles in South Asia

In essence, countries like India, where the US hopes to become entrenched as a strategic partner, may choose to be autonomous or “non-aligned” if Russia succeeds in developing stronger energy ties with them. With regard to India, in particular, the implications are far-reaching since the US’s Asia-Pacific strategy and its containment policy toward China would become seriously debilitated if New Delhi opted out.

Interestingly, Cohen brings in Syria in this context. He claimed that Russia was “seeking to re-engage in a centuries-old balance of power in the Middle East” and Syria – like India in the Asia-Pacific – is pivotal, which is the reason why Moscow is rebuilding naval bases in Tartus and Ladakiye and is “supplying modern weapons” to it – like it does with India.

Four, Russia is fostering the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) as an exclusive preserve to keep out the US, especially in the grouping’s energy club. The SCO comprises China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.

The US is getting frantic that the SCO is gearing up to admit India and Pakistan as full members and Afghanistan as an observer. So far, the US had banked on the reservations of Russia and China over the SCO membership claims of Pakistan and India respectively, but the rethink in Moscow and Beijing on this score has set alarm bells ringing in Washington.

Moscow is outflanking the US by rapidly building up ties with Pakistan. A crucial vector in this accelerating relationship is energy cooperation. Moscow has begun discussing with Pakistan the nuts and bolts of its participation in the TAPI (Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India) gas pipeline project.

The countries are restoring their air links; they have held two summit-level meetings within a year; and begun closely coordinating their approach to the stabilization of Afghanistan (which is integral to the execution of TAPI). Incidentally, Russia’s special representative on Afghanistan Zamir Kabulov (the Kremlin’s ace hand on Afghanistan) visited Islamabad last week for in-depth consultations.

The thrust of the Russian approach is to augment Pakistan’s strategic autonomy so that it can withstand Washington’s bullying. And Moscow estimates that Pakistan is keen to reciprocate. As a prominent South Asian scholar in Moscow, Andrey Volodin, wrote last week, “[Pakistan President] Asif Zardari’s visit to Russia has shown that Pakistan is actively diversifying its foreign economic ties and foreign policy. This attitude is welcomed by Pakistan’s main all-weather ally, China, which is pursuing a policy of ‘soft reverse containment’ of America in Asia, including Pakistan.”

No more a Turkmen pipedream

Thus, the Russian-Chinese initiative to induct Pakistan and India as full SCO members holds out the prospect of dealing a devastating blow to the US’s strategy to get “embedded” in Asia. The underpinning of a regional energy grid tapping into Turkmenistan’s energy reserves gives a profound character to the matrix.

The fact is that the US all along paid lip-service to the TAPI, but its real interest has been in the so-called Southern Corridor for transporting Turkmen energy to Western Europe so that Russian dominance of the European market would be whittled down.

Russia is killing two birds with one stone. By diverting Turkmen gas to the huge energy guzzlers of South Asia – India is potentially one of the world’s two or three biggest consumers of energy in the coming decades – Moscow is on the one hand undercutting the US’s Eurasian energy strategy to evacuate the gas to Europe, while at the same time retaining its pre-eminent footing on the European energy market from being challenged by the Turkmen gas.

The big question mark on TAPI has been all along two-fold. First, there was doubt regarding Turkmenistan’s energy reserves. However, the confirmation by British auditor Gaffney, Cline & Associates last week that Turkmenistan is sitting on the world’s second-largest gas field – South Yolatan – completely changes the scenario. (Afghan President Hamid Karzai made an air dash to Ashgabat as soon as he heard the news.) The vast South Yolatan field covers an area of about 3,500 square kilometers – bigger than the country of Luxembourg – and as a top executive of the British auditor put it, “The South Yolatan field is so big that it can sustain several developments in parallel.”

In short, Turkmenistan has the proven capacity to meet the energy requirements of China, India and Pakistan for many decades to come, and would still be left with a surplus for exports to Russia. The prospect is shocking for US strategy if the so-called “SCO energy club”, which is an idea that then-Russian president Vladimir Putin floated in 2005 a little ahead of time that is finally coming to fruition.

Thus, the robust Russian and Chinese diplomacy on Pakistan to encourage a paradigm shift in its Afghan policy; the growing US impatience over Pakistan’s “recalcitrance”; the SCO’s keenness to get involved in the stabilization of Afghanistan; the US’s insistence that it must have direct dealings with the Taliban rather than through an “Afghan-led” peace process; Washington’s push to establish a long-term military presence in Afghanistan; Russia’s and China’s hurry to get India and Pakistan on board as SCO members; the US’s overtures to India with a partnership that US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates described last week in a speech in Singapore at a regional gathering of defense ministers (including from China, Russia and India) as the “indispensable pillar of stability in South Asia and beyond”; Gates’ affirmation of US commitment to a “robust” and “enhanced” military presence in Asia, especially in the Malacca Straits – all these have a hugely

important “energy dimension”, too.

Cohen is a Russia expert, but he mentioned Central Asia more than once in this testimony and pointedly brought to the notice of US congressmen that Russia was attempting to “push the US out of Central Asia, and successfully limited US participation in new Caspian energy projects, excluding it from the SCO’s energy club”.

Containing the energy superpower

Ambassador Morningstar in his congressional testimony kept up the diplomatic decorum and neatly sidestepped the geopolitics, sticking to a detailed presentation of the US’s Eurasian energy strategy, which he projected as a mix of continuity from the George W Bush era but imbued with new realities. The principal vectors of the US strategy can be identified in the following terms:

The US’s intention to be deeply involved in Europe’s energy security is never in doubt since “Europe is our partner on any number of global issues from Afghanistan to Libya to the Middle East, from human rights to free trade.

The US will work for Europe’s “diverse energy mix” both in terms of its sources of supply and transportation routes as well as the type of energy – “diversity of suppliers, diversity of transportation routes and diversity of consumers, together with a focus on alternative technologies, and renewable and other clean energy technologies, and increased energy efficiency”. (The US is entering the European market as a big exporter of shale gas, which competes with Russia’s natural gas.)

The US’s aim is to encourage Europe to develop a “balanced and diverse energy strategy with multiple energy sources with multiple routes to market”. (Read reduce the dependence on Russia which is supplying one-third of Europe’s energy needs currently).

The US will encourage and help Central Asian and Caspian countries to “find new routes to the market”. (Read bypassing Russian territory and pipelines).

The US will push for the energy sector to be privatized, and to this end, will “create the political framework” in the post-Soviet space within which “businesses and commercial projects can thrive”.

The Obama administration’s commitment to the so-called Southern Corridor – to bring natural gas to Europe via Turkey from the Caspian and “potentially other sources beyond Europe’s southeastern frontiers” – is no less than that of the previous US administrations of Bill Clinton and Bush. The US will actively promote the three separate European pipeline consortia – the Nabucco, ITGI and TPA groups – and is “confident that a commercially viable Southern Corridor will be realized. The investment decisions to make that possible should occur by the end of this year.”

Washington pays particular attention to promoting Turkmenistan as a major supplier of gas for Europe via the Southern Corridor.

The US will pitch for the integration of the Baltic states into the European energy market so they do not remain vulnerable to Russian supplies and/or political pressure.

The US will challenge Russia’s efforts to get a monopoly hold over Ukraine’s energy sector.

Europe should develop a single market for energy so that the kind of bilateral relationships that are developing between Germany and Russia or Italy and Russia or France and Russia do not happen.

Europe should have more focus on shale gas development, which can be a substitute for Russian gas.

Europe should take initiatives for “unbundling the distribution and supply functions of energy firms” so that Russia’s leviathan company Gazprom’s efforts to penetrate downstream activities can be stalled.

It’s the Eurasian heartland, stupid

The US’s Eurasian energy strategy almost entirely aims at “containing” Russia’s pre-eminent role as Europe’s energy supplier and its vast influence over the Central Asian and Caspian energy-producing countries.

Cohen spoke of a future role for NATO as provider of security for the non-Russian pipelines, but unsurprisingly, Morningstar didn’t visit the controversial idea, which was first mooted by the Bush administration.

What is of utmost interest is that Morningstar didn’t say a word about the feasibility of Turkmenistan or the Central Asian region providing energy for the South Asian region, although US diplomats traveling to Delhi unfailingly profess a keen interest in TAPI. What emerges is that the US’s one hundred percent focus is on Europe’s energy security – how supplies can be developed from the Caspian, Central Asian and Middle Eastern regions for Europe – and it pays lip-service to the TAPI.

Clearly, the SCO summit meeting scheduled to be held in Kazakhstan next week becomes an historic occasion for the geopolitics of energy. The US congressional hearing in Washington last week was well-timed. The US apprehends a paradigm shift in the Asian power dynamic. The odds are heavily stacked against the US insofar as Russia and China are recrafting their South Asia polices that aim at harmonizing their ties with Pakistan and India respectively within the umbrella of the SCO.

A leading Chinese scholar, Yan Xuetong, director of the Institute of International Studies at Tsinghua University, stated at a recent seminar of the Institute of Asia-Pacific Studies, a branch of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences:

“If we can establish relations with neighboring countries like what we are doing with members of the SCO, we will also succeed in moving fast. The establishment of SCO in the 1990s was widely recognized as one of China’s most successful diplomatic moves. The purpose of establishing the SCO is to challenge the American strategic intention of extending its military breach to Central Asia.

“It destroyed America’s intention of making Central Asia its sphere of military influence. With the SCO, China’s relations with countries in the region have been greatly improved. In order to establish SCO-style relations with surrounding countries, China must … establish all-weather strategic partnerships with them. Or it will be impossible for China to have more and better friendly international relationships than America.”

Indeed, the Afghan endgame is inspiring the several tracks in the geopolitics of Eurasia and Central Asia and South Asia, some running tracks, some dormant, some visible, some others nor so visible, to begin to converge. But the focal point is Eurasia.”

Indeed, Sir Halford John Mackinder (1861-1947), the great English geographer and scholar-diplomat, who is considered one of the founding fathers of the esoteric subjects of geopolitics and geostrategy, based his famous Heartland Theory on the basis that Eurasia remains the heartland of international politics. Curiously, when Prometheus had his liver eaten out daily by Jupiter’s eagle – only to be regenerated at night – he was also chained to a rock in the Caucasus.

Ambassador M K Bhadrakumar was a career diplomat in the Indian Foreign Service. His assignments included the Soviet Union, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Germany, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Kuwait and Turkey.


Strait Of Malacca: U.S. To Establish New Base In Singapore


The Diplomat

June 6, 2011

US Eyes Singapore Base

By David Axe

-The 400-foot-long, high-speed warships, optimized for shallow-water operations, would be the first US military vessels permanently stationed in the tiny Southeast Asian country…The US Navy is meeting China’s naval expansion with an expansion of its own.

The US Navy will establish a new base in Singapore as a staging location for its latest class of warship.

Defence Secretary Robert Gates announced plans for the base during his visit to Singapore last week. Gates’ current Asian tour is his last. After five years heading the world’s most powerful military, he will step down on June 30.

‘We’ve taken a number of steps towards establishing a defence posture across the Asia-Pacific that is more geographically distributed, operationally resilient and politically sustainable,’ Gates said.

According to the Singaporean Defence Ministry, those steps include deploying to Singapore ‘one or two’ of the new Littoral Combat Ships current under construction in the United States. The 400-foot-long, high-speed warships, optimized for shallow-water operations, would be the first US military vessels permanently stationed in the tiny Southeast Asian country, although the Navy for many years has maintained a support facility there.

The Littoral Combat Ships are short-range vessels compared with the destroyers, cruisers and aircraft carriers that make up the bulk of the Navy’s 280-strong battle fleet. Typically, US warships on deployment in the Pacific sail from California or Japan and periodically receive supplies from supply vessels while on the move. The Littoral Combat Ships would require far more frequent resupplying than other vessels, making forward deployment to Singapore particularly attractive for them.

Perhaps coincidentally, the Singapore basing announcement comes at a time when China could be planning for its first overseas naval base – in Gwadar, western Pakistan. ‘We have asked our Chinese brothers to please build a naval base at Gwadar,’ Pakistan Defence Minister Chaudhry Ahmad Mukhtar said.

Beijing denied Mukhtar’s assertion.

Regardless, China’s rapid naval modernization, including nuclear submarines and a refurbished aircraft carrier, now has a clear US response. The US Navy is meeting China’s naval expansion with an expansion of its own.


U.S. To Expand Military Presence In Asia: Gates


Radio Australia

June 7, 2011

US to expand military presence in Asia

The US Secretary of Defence Robert Gates says America will expand its military presense across Asia and the Pacific and strengthen ties with its traditional allies.

The comments came at the Shangrila Security conference in Singapore at the weekend.

Seeking to reassure Asian countries mindful of China’s growing power and the US’s fiscal troubles, Mr Gates made it very clear that the US military would maintan a robust presence across Asia to protect allies and safeguard shipping lanes.

Mr Gates says the US would be investing in radar-evading-aircraft, surveillance drones, warships and cyber weapons. Washington will also work in tangent with the facilities provided by its partners like Australia and Singapore to ensure that it can maintain an appropriate presence in the region.


Largest-Ever U.S.-India Military Deal


Xinhua News Agency

June 7, 2011

India approves biggest defense deal with U.S.

NEW DELHI: India has approved its biggest defense deal with the United States for 10 Boeing C-17 strategic heavy-lift planes for 4.1 billion U.S. dollars, reported local media Tuesday.

The Indian cabinet committee on security chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Monday gave its nod for the deal to equip the Indian Air Force (IAF) with the aircraft, reported Indo-Asian News Service.

The clearance came six months after U.S. President Barack Obama visited India and two months after Boeing and Lockheed Martin were knocked out in bidding for a 10.4 billion U.S. dollar deal for 126 combat jets for the IAF.

The U.S. Congress had approved the sale of the fully loaded aircraft for 5.8 billion U.S. dollars under the Foreign Military Sales government-to-government route last June.

However, since India is yet to ink a key military pact with the U.S., the aircraft might come without some critical communications equipment.

India is yet to sign the Communication Interoperability and Security Memorandum of Agreement (CISMoA), a pact mandated by the U.S. law for the transfer of hi-tech military equipment to friendly countries.


Indian Ocean: The Focus Of New Rivalries


Radio Australia

June 6, 2011

Indian Ocean the focus of new rivalries

The US Secretary of Defence Robert Gates says America will expand its military presense across Asia and the Pacific… and strengthen ties with its traditional allies.

Addressing the Shangri-La Security conference in Singapore, Secretary Gates pointed to the record of growing U.S. engagement in Asia, combined with investments in preserving the region’s security, sovereignty and freedom.

In short, he said, America is putting its “money where its mouth is.”

The US commitment comes as China continues to expand its regional strategic reach, including seeking permanent access to the Indian ocean.


Australian Defence Minister To Attend NATO/ISAF Defense Chiefs Meeting


Australian Associated Press

June 7, 2011

Defence Minister Stephen Smith will attend NATO talks on the future of engagement in Afghanistan

Defence Minister Stephen Smith is heading for Brussels today for top level talks on Afghanistan, warning there is still a long way to go.

Mr Smith will join other North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) and International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) defence ministers to assess progress as Afghanistan moves into its summer campaign season.

He will also hold bilateral meetings with NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, Supreme Allied Commander Europe Stavridis, Belgian Defence Minister De Crem and Afghan Defence Minister Wardak.

“The NATO/ISAF defence ministers’ meeting comes at a difficult time in Australia’s commitment in Afghanistan with the recent tragic deaths of Sergeant Brett Wood, Lance Corporal Andrew Jones and Lieutenant Marcus Case,” he said in a statement.

“The defence ministers’ meeting will be a good opportunity to consider progress in Afghanistan, particularly given the beginning of the northern summer fighting season.”

Mr Smith visited the Netherlands yesterday, meeting Dutch Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Economic Affairs Maxime Verhagen.

Afghanistan was on the agenda, with discussions centering on the Netherland’s plan to deploy a police training mission to Kunduz.

During the visit Mr Smith laid a wreath at the Westduin War Graves Cemetery, where 87 Commonwealth servicemen, mostly airmen from World War II, are interred.


U.S. Warship Docks In Romania For NATO Missile Shield System


Russian Information Agency Novosti

June 7, 2011

U.S. Navy cruiser anchors in Romania for NATO European missile shield project

Moscow: The U.S. Navy cruiser Monterey anchored in the Romanian southeastern Passenger Berth of the Port of Constanta on the Black Sea within the NATO European missile shield project, Romania news agency Actmedia said on Tuesday.

“The cruiser’s visit to the Port of Constanta is part of the permanent efforts of the U.S. Navy in strengthening the partnership with the Romanian Navy and of increasing interoperability in the Black Sea area,” the U.S. Embassy to Romania was quoted as saying by the agency.

The Monterey is holding its first appearance within the project. It is equipped with the AEGIS air defense system and missiles.

“Moreover, the USS Monterey cruiser is equipped with the AEGIS air defense system that represents the first stage of the adaptive phase approach of the anti-missile shield, an important element to Romania, which agreed to host interceptors within the second phase of the program.”

The cruiser will stay in Romania until Thursday.

Russia and NATO agreed to cooperate on the so-called European missile shield during the NATO-Russia Council summit in Lisbon in November 2010. NATO insists there should be two independent systems that exchange information, while Russia favors a joint system.

Russia is opposed to the planned deployment of U.S. missile defense systems near its borders, claiming they would be a security threat. The U.S. is reluctant to provide legally binding guarantees that the system will not be directed against Russia.


Romania: U.S. Marines Conduct Drone Training For Combat Zone Use


U.S. Marine Corps

June 6, 2011

Black Sea Rotational Force 11 brings the Raven to Romania

By Sgt. Matt Lyman, Black Sea Rotational Force

-Learning the Raven system could prove important for Romanian soldiers, as the system is widely used in Afghanistan by U.S. forces, who work with and patrol alongside Romanian soldiers there.

Black Sea Rotational Force 11 is a rotational deployment of Marines to the Black Sea, Balkan and Caucasus regions to work with foreign nations and help build their military training capacity…and build enduring partnerships with 13 nations throughout Eastern Europe.

BUZAU, Romania: Recently, U.S. Marines and soldiers with Black Sea Rotational Force 11 travelled to Buzau, Romania to provide the Romanian army a familiarization course to display the capabilities of the Raven-B, unmanned aerial vehicle.

This familiarization course was presented over five days and was split between classroom lectures and practical application exercises, where Romanian soldiers were given some stick time on the Raven system.

The Raven is classified as a SUAV (Small Unmanned Aerial Vehicle), operates at a maximum service ceiling of 10,500 feet and each unit costs about $36,000; which is a small price to pay for the immense advantage the Raven system can generate on the battlefield.

“It’s a reconnaissance bird, once it’s in the air we can achieve a certain altitude where people on the ground can’t see it above and we can loiter over them and see what they’re doing, see if they’re friend or foe and give a view of the battlefield before we get there,” said U.S. Army SSgt. Stephen Provence, Raven operator.

“It has night and day capabilities, so we can see white hot or black hot. It’s easy to pick up signatures from above and it’s a great asset to the team.”

Adding a Raven system at the squad level would equip them to have an immediate eye in the sky, affording troops on the ground the capability to not only conduct route reconnaissance but shoot back real-time video back to the company commander, keeping him one step ahead of the enemy and allowing him to move resources as the battlefield or scenario dictates.

“[The Raven] is great for smaller level things: base security for small bases, route recon, patrolling, and things like that,” explained Sgt. Joshua WatersJackson, intelligence specialist/RAVEN operator, BSRF-11.

“If we would’ve had the Raven during my deployments our confidence level would’ve been way higher. There were several times when an asset like that would’ve been a force multiplier; we would’ve been able to get behind the bad guys, stop them from running away or at least follow them, because our biggest issue was positive identification of the enemy,” added WatersJackson.

During this familiarization course, the Romanian soldiers were given classes illustrating the physical characteristics of the Raven system to include: materials, assembly, maintenance, storage and components. Once the soldiers had a basic understanding of the physical specifications of the Raven, they were taught how to use the operating system, which includes a laptop computer and a global positioning system. The soldiers were given the opportunity to input missions, establish waypoints and synchronize the GPS.

Once the classroom portion was completed it was time to take to Kevlar wings for some practical application and some flight time. Under the watchful eye of Provence and the RAVEN operators the Romanian soldiers took turns plotting mission waypoints and piloting the RAVEN around a large field outside the classroom.

Learning the Raven system could prove important for Romanian soldiers, as the system is widely used in Afghanistan by U.S. forces, who work with and patrol alongside Romanian soldiers there.

Black Sea Rotational Force 11 is a rotational deployment of Marines to the Black Sea, Balkan and Caucasus regions to work with foreign nations and help build their military training capacity, promote stability throughout the region, and build enduring partnerships with 13 nations throughout Eastern Europe. They are slated to return to the United States, September.


Estonia: 300 Experts Attend NATO Cyber Conflict Conference

Keir Giles from the UK Conflict Studies Research Centre is to analyze global cyber attacks from Russia, and whether they can be seen as acting under a so-called Russian Cyber Command.

Talks will also focus on the recent US government decision to treat cyber attacks as military attacks and make relevant legislative changes.

“With cyber incidents becoming more and more intrusive, it is a logical step for militaries to develop capabilities to counter cyber attacks and be prepared to engage in proportional response to cyber attacks.”


Estonian Public Broadcasting

June 7, 2011

Cyber Conference to Open in Tallinn

Tallinn will host a major conference this week devoted to the new national niche industry, cyber security.

The June 8-10 conference, the third one organized by the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence based in the capital, will be opened by President Toomas Hendrik Ilves.

It will cover cyber defence from technical, legal and political angles, focusing in particular on developing cyberforce capability and the technologies, personnel and organizations a state needs to combat cyber threats.

Keynote speakers include German computer scientist Ralph Langner, who has publicized what has ben termed the world’s first “cyber weapon”, the Stuxnet worm; US special agent Richard LaTulip and American hacker Charlie Miller.

The conference will take place concurrently with a meeting of NATO’s defense ministers in Brussels, where a new a new cyber defense strategy will be adopted. There will be a video bridge between the conference and the meeting.

The NATO cyber defense center members include Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Slovakia and Spain.



Agence France-Presse

June 7, 2011

NATO tackles cyber security at Tallinn meet

TALLINN: Three hundred global cyber experts gathered in Tallinn Tuesday for a NATO Cyber Conflict conference focused on the legal and political aspects of national and global Internet security amid a rise in attacks.

“The special focus at the conference this year is on generating cyber forces, the technologies, people and organisations that nations require to mitigate cyber threats that have been increasing with rapid speed,” Colonel Ilmar Tamm, head of NATO’s Tallinn-based Cyber Defense Centre told AFP as the forum got underway Tuesday.

The Tallinn conference will coincide with a NATO defense ministers’ meeting in Brussels where a new cyber defence policy for NATO will be adopted.

Meanwhile, at the third annual Tallinn meeting, experts from 37 countries are to share cutting-edge cyber security research, Tamm explained.

Among others, Ralph Langner, the German computer scientist who conducted much of the ground-breaking research on the Stuxnet worm, will present an analysis of what has been called the world’s first cyber weapon.

Keir Giles from the UK Conflict Studies Research Centre is to analyze global cyber attacks from Russia, and whether they can be seen as acting under a so-called Russian Cyber Command.

Talks will also focus on the recent US government decision to treat cyber attacks as military attacks and make relevant legislative changes.

“The support the US initiative has got in many other states, including Estonia and the UK, indicates nations’ increasing willingness to discuss military responses to cyber attacks,” Tamm told AFP.

“With cyber incidents becoming more and more intrusive, it is a logical step for militaries to develop capabilities to counter cyber attacks and be prepared to engage in proportional response to cyber attacks,” he added.


British Defence Official Discusses Georgia’s NATO Integration

“I am pleased to announce today that the UK will provide a new full-time Security Defence Advisor, who will work within Georgia’s Ministry of Defence.”


Rustavi 2

June 6, 2011

British Defense Minister met with Georgian counterpart

Minister of Defense of Great Britain for International Security Gerald Howarth met with Minister of Defense of Georgia Bacho Akhalaia today.

Deputy Minister Nodar Kharshiladze and the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces Devi Chankotadze were also present at the meeting, where the sides discussed cooperation in various sectors, including the re-training of soldiers. The sides also discussed the steps which could facilitate Georgia`s integration into NATO.

The British Minister said at the meeting that the advisor for defense and security issues would arrive in Georgia from Britain soon. He added Georgia was an important friend of Great Britain.

British Minister thanked Georgian soldiers for their participation in the Afghanistan peace mission and for their contribution to peace and stability around the world.



Ministry of Defence of Georgia

June 7, 2011

The UK Defense Minister Visits Georgia

The Defence Minister of the United Kingdom for International Security Strategy Gerald Howarth pays an official visit to Georgia. The main purpose of his visit to Georgia is to strengthen relations in the defense sphere between the two countries.

The United Kingdom’s Minister for international security strategy of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland held a meeting with the Georgian Defence Minister Bacho Akhalaia. During the meeting both sides focused on the existing security situation in the region, Georgia’s integration to NATO and the ongoing reforms in the defense sphere.

In the framework of the official visit Gerald Howarth also met with the First Deputy Defence Minister Nodar Kharshiladze and the leadership of MoD and Joint Staff of Georgian Armed Forces. He also visited the NATO-Georgia Professional Development Programme (PDP) Center and held a meeting with the program manager and participants.

After the meeting Gerald Howarth made a statement for the media: “I am delighted to be visiting Tbilisi and to reaffirm my country’s support for Georgia’s Euro-Atlantic aspirations. The UK continues to provide Georgia with assistance to make the necessary reforms for NATO membership. Therefore, I am pleased to announce today that the UK will provide a new full-time Security Defence Advisor, who will work within Georgia’s Ministry of Defence. Georgia remains an important friend of the United Kingdom. We fight alongside each other in Afghanistan and I went to personally thank the people of Georgia for the sacrifices made in pursuit of global peace and stability”.

The basic direction of cooperation with Great Britain is in the educational sphere. Within the framework of the British Military Advisory Training Team (BMATT) Georgian instructors undergo annual training on international peacekeeping operations issues in the Military Academy in Viskovo (the Czech Republic). The representatives of the Georgian Defence Ministry are also able to undergo command and staff, English language and international relations training courses in Great Britain.


Britain To Assign Security Adviser To Georgian Military


Trend News Agency

June 7, 2011

UK to send security adviser to Georgian Defense Ministry

N. Kirtskhalia

Tbilisi: The UK will send a security adviser to the Georgian Defense Ministry.

The agreement was reached during a meeting between Georgian Defense Minister Bacho Akhalaia and British International Security Strategy Minister Gerald Howarth, the Georgian Defense Ministry told Trend.

The meeting was also attended by Deputy Defense Minister Nodar Kharshiladze and the Chief of Joint Staff Devi Chankotadze.

The meeting discussed deepening of relations in various spheres, including the training of military personnel, the Defense Ministry said.

Howarth said Georgia remains the UK’s important friend.

In Afghanistan, Georgian and British soldiers are fighting side by side. He thanked the Georgian military for the sacrifice that they make to preserve security and stability in the world.

“I am glad to visit Georgia. I want to stress that the UK supports Georgia in its integration into Euro-Atlantic structure. The UK will continue to support Georgia in the reforms to join NATO,” Howarth said.


Azerbaijan’s Defense Chief To Attend NATO’s Afghan War Council


Trend News Agency

June 7, 2011

Azerbaijani Defense Minister to attend NATO meeting

Baku: Azerbaijani Defense Minister, Colonel General Safar Abiyev, will attend a meeting of ministers of the relevant departments of NATO member countries and ISAF operation participants in Brussels, the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry said.

Abiyev’s visit will take place upon the NATO Secretary General’s invitation.


SIPRI: Nuclear Threat Still High Despite Weapons Cuts


Russian Information Agency Novosti

June 7, 2011

Nuclear threat still high despite weapons cuts, report says

Stockholm: More than 5,000 nuclear weapons are deployed around the world, and nuclear powers continue developing new programs to enhance their potential, undermining ongoing disarmament efforts, a report published on Tuesday said.

The eight nuclear powers – Russia, the United States, Britain, France, China, India, Pakistan and Israel – possess more than 20,500 nuclear weapons, the report shows.

“More than 5000 of these nuclear weapons are deployed and ready for use, including nearly 2,000 that are kept in a state of high operational alert,” according to the report, published by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).

As of January 2011, Russia had 11,000 nuclear weapons, including 2,427 deployed, while the United States had 8,500, including 2,150 deployed, the report says.

In April 2010, Russia and the United States signed a New START treaty replacing the expired START 1 agreement, which slashes the Russian and U.S. nuclear arsenals to a maximum of 1,550 nuclear warheads.

The report describes the cuts stipulated in the agreement as “modest,” adding that “both countries currently are either deploying new nuclear weapon delivery systems or have announced programs to do so, and appear determined to retain their nuclear arsenals for the indefinite future.”

“It’s a stretch to say that the New START cuts agreed by the USA and Russia are a genuine step towards nuclear disarmament when their planning for nuclear forces is done on a time scale that encompasses decades and when nuclear modernization is a major priority of their defense policies,” SIPRI Senior Researcher Shannon Kile was quoted on the organization’s website as saying.

The report also states that “India and Pakistan continue to develop new ballistic and cruise missile systems capable of delivering nuclear weapons” and are also “expanding their capacities to produce fissile material for military purposes.”

The study also argues that Israeli possesses 80 nuclear warheads, although the country has always denied that it has any.

SIPRI is an independent international institution that is half funded by the Swedish state.

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