8 June 2011 — Stop NATO
- NATO’s Libyan Air War: 10,177 Sorties, 3,860 Combat Missions
- Sixty Blasts Tear Through Tripoli As NATO Steps Up Bombing
- NATO Defense Chiefs Discuss Libya As Tripoli Bombing Is Intensified
- No NATO Operations In Syria And Yemen…Except With UN Resolutions
- Expanded Shanghai Cooperation Organization Can Offset U.S.-Dominated Unipolar World, Eastern NATO
- New Silk Road Could Revitalize War-Torn Afghanistan
- American Drone Reported Shot Down In Afghanistan
- 150,000 NATO Troops Destroy Afghan Agricultural Base, Fuel Opium Production
- NATO Holds 60-Nation Strategic Military Conference In Serbia
- Moroccan Navy Participates In NATO Mediterranean Exercise
- U.S. Energy Envoy Lauds Political, Strategic Importance Of Trans-Eurasian Pipeline Projects
NATO’s Libyan Air War: 10,177 Sorties, 3,860 Combat Missions
North Atlantic Treaty Organization
June 8, 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:
Since the beginning of the NATO operation (31 March 2011, 08.00GMT) a total of 10177 sorties, including 3860 strike sorties, have been conducted.
Sorties conducted 07 JUNE: 157
Strike sorties conducted 07 JUNE: 66
Sixty Blasts Tear Through Tripoli As NATO Steps Up Bombing
Voice of Russia
June 8, 2011
NATO aircraft pound Tripoli
NATO aircraft delivered at least 10 strikes on the Libyan capital Tripoli this morning.
60 blasts tore through the city yesterday in what proved the heaviest strikes since the start of the operation against the Muammar Gaddafi regime.
State television claims dozens have been killed and/or wounded. The worst hit was the area around the Libyan leader’s residence.
Gaddafi said yesterday that he was not about to leave the country. The State TV channel showed Gaddafi driving along Tripoli streets.
The NATO leaders insist that strikes on civilian facilities are prompted by the fact that these may harbour Army command posts.
NATO Defense Chiefs Discuss Libya As Tripoli Bombing Is Intensified
June 8, 2011
NATO defence ministers discuss Libya as Tripoli bombing intensifies
NATO defence ministers came together on Wednesday for a meeting expected to be dominated by Libya, hours after the military alliance stepped up its airstrikes on Tripoli, which remains under the control of embattled leader Moamer Gaddafi.
NATO has conducted more than 10,170 sorties over Libya since March 31, when it took over a no-fly zone and strategic bombing operations…DPA reported.
Most of NATO’s hits on Tuesday were in Tripoli, with five command and control facilities bombed in the capital and another one in its vicinity, according to the latest operational update.
Gaddafi’s compound appeared to be the target, according to local media and witness reports. NATO has in the past defended attacks on the compound, arguing that it constitutes a command and control facility…
Fourteen of 28 NATO members are taking part in the “Unified Protector” operation. But only nine countries – NATO members Britain, France, Italy, Canada, Belgium, Denmark, Norway, and the United States, plus the United Arab Emirates – have agreed to conduct air raids.
France and Britain, which have recently committed combat helicopters, and Italy, which joined the bombing campaign in April, are experiencing a “certain fatigue” and would like others to join the fray, a diplomat said.
NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said that he would press countries that have shied away from joining the fight in Libya – such as Germany and Poland – and those that are providing limited support – such as Spain and Turkey – to reverse their positions.
“I absolutely understand that there is a certain strain in these countries – not least because of the length of the operation – and a hope that the operation will soon end,” Germany’s secretary of state for defence, Christian Schmidt, said as he arrived at NATO headquarters in Brussels.
But Schmidt also said that Germany would stick with its position of not participating in the Libya mission.
No NATO Operations In Syria And Yemen…Except With UN Resolutions
June 8, 2011
NATO will not hold Syria, Yemen operations without UN sanction – official
BRUSSELS: There is no sense in discussing a possibility of a new NATO operation in North Africa or in the Middle East without the relevant resolution of the United Nations Security Council, said Admiral Giampaolo Di Paola, chairman of the NATO Military Committee.
“The question is not whether it is possible or not; it is not NATO who decides what should happen in Syria or Yemen; it was not NATO who decided to hold the operation in Libya – there was a UN resolution which asked NATO to make this step, he said in an interview with Interfax ahead of a NATO-Russia Council meeting at the level of defense ministers in Brussels on Wednesday.
“Every country, including, probably, Russia as well, and every international or regional organization complies with UN Security Council resolutions, which is what we did. We are fulfilling the UN resolution. There is no other similar resolution, except Libya,” the NATO Military Committee chairman said.
Russian Information Agency Novosti
June 8, 2011
EU allies seek resolution on Syria
Moscow: France and Britain are seeking a UN resolution condemning the Syrian government’s crackdown on protesters, according to media reports.
France, Britain, Germany and Portugal have prepared a draft resolution for the UN Security Council condemning violent attempts by Syrian President Bashar Assad to suppress protesters in the country and calling for Syrian cities to be opened to humanitarian organizations.
Britain and France are trying to build up support among the members of UN Security Council for a resolution, in order to head off a possible veto from Russia and China.
“It is inconceivable that the United Nations remains silent on the matter. We are working with our UK friends to have as large a majority as possible on the Security Council” French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said after a council meeting.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Tuesday the ongoing conflicts in Syria and other countries in the region should be resolved by political means without UN Security Council involvement.
Expanded Shanghai Cooperation Organization Can Offset U.S.-Dominated Unipolar World, Eastern NATO
Russia & India Report
June 2, 1011
The Indian subcontinent and Eurasian security
-The failed “unipolar” or “post-American world” is becoming more complicated in terms of structure and organisation, casting about for a framework that might contain the chaos driven by the “Arab revolutions” and the Libyan crisis. The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), to be joined by India and Pakistan in mid-June, promises to be just such a cementing factor.
-US leaders, who enjoy the understanding and support of influential groups within the Indian establishment, seriously hope that a strategic alliance with Delhi would help “contain China’s expansion” in the Asia Pacific region: the “alliance of four democracies” – America, Japan, Australia and India – is routinely referred to in China as “the Eastern NATO.”
South Asia’s population may reach 2 billion by 2030. Pakistan, Bangladesh and India have, of course, particularly acute social and economic development problems and stability in the region and of state institutions there hinges on the South Asian countries’ social and economic policies.
The Indian subcontinent and adjacent territories have, of course, had millions of invisible links with Central Asia since time immemorial, these constituting a traditional concern for Russian, especially since the recent “Arab revolutions.”
Many experts believe that political tranquility in Central Asia depends directly on the balance of economic and political institutions in Pakistan. Russia must, therefore, not only engage actively in the intricate balance of geopolitical forces emerging before our eyes in South Asia, but also use its diplomatic skills and expanding foreign economic links to defuse conflicts between the states of the region and steer them towards constant dialogue and meaningful mutual understanding.
The President of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, Asif Ali Zardari, made an official visit to Russia in mid-May and this will apparently determine the trajectory of Russian-Pakistani relations and the dynamics of political processes in South Asia and adjacent territories in the foreseeable future.
During the visit, the two Presidents, Dmitry Medvedev and Asif Ali Zardari, discussed the fight against terrorism and drug trafficking. They also focused considerably on improving and intensifying bilateral trade and economic relations because the two countries’ mutual trade, which stands at $400 million, clearly falls short of its potential and their geopolitical ambitions. No wonder particular attention during the summit was paid to promoting trade, investment and joint projects. Russia’s participation in building a gas pipeline from Turkmenistan to India was discussed in practical terms. The pipeline would pass through Afghanistan and Pakistan. Incidentally, the bilateral projects between Russia and Pakistan are considerably more ambitious than similar American-Pakistani initiatives. The air link between the two countries is at last to be restored.
Cooperation with Pakistan also has distinct geopolitical implications. During President Zardari’s visit, the parties reaffirmed the vital importance of maintaining internal peace and stability in Afghanistan, stressing that national reconciliation there could only be achieved by the Afghans themselves. Multilateral regional development projects based on the premise that the national economies of South Asia countries are mutually complementary may go a long way towards promoting an internal political settlement in Afghanistan. (India remains the biggest regional donor, having invested more than $1.5 in Afghanistan’s economy. China, however, has invested in Afghanistan at least twice as much).
Asif Zardari’s visit to Russia has shown that Pakistan is actively diversifying it 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.
While developing its relations with Pakistan, Russia should remember its strategic partnership with India, which was recently described as “privileged.” In view of the development of Indian-Chinese relations, India’s foreign policy position in the region needs to be bolstered. The relations with those South Asian neighbours with which China is actively developing bilateral ties remain to be regulated.
China is seeking to neutralise potentially anti-Chinese forces among the Indian regional elites by, for example, planning massive investments in the economy of Gujarat state, and this is only the beginning, according to experts.
India has to restore its relations with Russia as a potential countervailing force to China and one that can act in India’s interests in South Asia (including through organisations outside the region). It would seem that India’s concern about China’s geopolitical intentions might be addressed by closer cooperation among the BRIC countries. However, as Russian experts note, “the Russian political elite lacks a common strategic vision of BRIC’s role in the future world order.”
It must be admitted that the current delicate state of Russia’s relations with the “world’s biggest democracy,” India, is the upshot of neglect by some elements within the Russian elite with regard to Indian initiatives in the 1990s, notably the ideas of a geopolitical “triangle” of Russia, India and China.
The failed “unipolar” or “post-American world” is becoming more complicated in terms of structure and organisation, casting about for a framework that might contain the chaos driven by the “Arab revolutions” and the Libyan crisis. The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), to be joined by India and Pakistan in mid-June, promises to be just such a cementing factor.
Not surprisingly, the prospect of SCO enlargement and its growing influence on world politics is hardly welcomed by the Americans, who see these new processes as signs of the growing geopolitical activity of China and possibly Russia.
There is logic to their concern. Like in the times of Mackinder (1861-1947), Eurasia remains the world’s heartland.
At the same time, America – no matter which institutions, mechanisms and informal ties it might resort to – is finding it increasingly difficult to control the behaviour of continental powers (Russia, Germany and so on), let alone China. Effective help to the US from Britain and France – today and especially in the future – is even less likely. So, the role of India, another major continental power, is dramatically increasing for America’s plans for preserving its global pre-eminence. US leaders, who enjoy the understanding and support of influential groups within the Indian establishment, seriously hope that a strategic alliance with Delhi would help “contain China’s expansion” in the Asia Pacific region: the “alliance of four democracies” – America, Japan, Australia and India – is routinely referred to in China as “the Eastern NATO.”
Reflecting on the role of the Indian subcontinent in ensuring Eurasian security, we should remember the progressive development of Russian-Indian relations and seek to get rid of the negative baggage accumulated in the relations between the two countries over the last two decades. It should be remembered that the collapse of the USSR, followed by Russia’s “withdrawal” from India (in geopolitical, foreign trade and cultural-ideological terms), created a negative attitude towards our country among various social-political strata in Indian society. Influential groups within the ruling class have already relegated Russia to “the second league” in world politics. In the current system of foreign policy coordinates, the Indian political establishment sees Russia as a regional state with a limited influence on world events.
The skeptics in Delhi took for granted Russia’s setback in the tender to supply 126 multi-purpose fighter planes to India (a contract worth $9.2 billion). Russia, however, would do well to look at this setback in a broader political-economic and geopolitical light.
This brings up two questions that must be addressed promptly and effectively if Russia’s foreign policy is to be effective and Russia is to remain a “gravitation field” in the world system. First, could it be that the Indian (or any other) military-political establishment is having doubts about the ability of the Russian defence industry to provide its partners with the necessary weapons systems, incorporating the latest military-technical platforms capable of ensuring their security in the medium and long term, say, until 2050? Second, does the Russian state pursue an effective policy with regard to the defence industry in a world where the country’s foreign policy depends on its scientific and technical potential and the ability of the economy to absorb the latest intellectual achievements quickly?
The answers to these general questions will help Russia “reset” its relations with India and other South Asian countries and make a tangible contribution to security in Eurasia.
*Andrei Volodin is Senior Researcher with the Russian Academy of Sciences’ (RAS) Institute of World Economy and International Relations.
New Silk Road Could Revitalize War-Torn Afghanistan
June 6, 2011
New Silk Road could revitalize war-torn Afghanistan
By Li Xiguang*
-For thousands of years, the Pamir passes have served as the crossroads of goods, ideas, cultures and religions between China, the Arab world and Europe. If there were no wars in the region, tens of thousands of trucks and buses would transport cargo and people every day among the three countries…As a responsible world power and the biggest neighbor of Afghanistan, China should also help its neighbor turn a new page, by using its influence to tell the NATO countries that the three-decade wars in Afghanistan must end now.
A recent Wall Street Journal report claims that Pakistan has urged Afghan President Hamid Karzai to turn to China as a reliable ally to lead Afghanistan and Pakistan out of their messy situations.
Despite the denials by both the Pakistani and Afghan governments, the message reflects the truth that the decade-long Afghan war is now shifting to Pakistan, transforming the Afghan war more like a regional war in which China has a stake.
The Pamir Mountains include the Tianshan, Karakoram and Hindu Kush mountain ranges. In the Pamir region, China, Afghanistan and Pakistan not only have common landscape, they also share a history and culture.
For thousands of years, the Pamir passes have served as the crossroads of goods, ideas, cultures and religions between China, the Arab world and Europe. If there were no wars in the region, tens of thousands of trucks and buses would transport cargo and people every day among the three countries.
After the death of Osama bin Laden, China needs to redefine the issue of Afghanistan. China should lose no time to initiate regional cooperation among China, Pakistan and Afghanistan to realize the tremendous potential of the legendary medieval Silk Road. Any prospect of reviving regional trade has been disrupted since the 1970s by first the Soviet and then the NATO invasions of Afghanistan.
As a responsible world power and the biggest neighbor of Afghanistan, China should also help its neighbor turn a new page, by using its influence to tell the NATO countries that the three-decade wars in Afghanistan must end now.
Despite the war in Afghanistan, recent years have seen Chinese companies taking an active part in the country’s economic reconstruction by undertaking road construction, communications and other infrastructure projects. For example, China’s biggest investment in a single foreign project is the Aynak Copper Mine project. ZTE, Huawei and Sinohydro are among the Chinese giant companies involved in the country. The Jomhuri Hospital, the largest China-assisted project in Afghanistan, was handed over to the Afghan government. The two countries jointly cracked a number of major drug-trafficking cases. There is now a Confucius Institute in Kabul University with 35 students.
But in the long run, China, Pakistan and Afghanistan need to form a Pamir group, a strategic trilateral partnership to support sustainable peace and prosperity in the region.
The Pamir countries could revive the Silk Road with China’s intensifying its investment in building a network of roads, energy pipelines, electric grids and other infrastructure connecting Afghanistan, and Pakistan with China.
The wars and killings in Afghanistan not only harm the national interests of the country, but also endanger regional development and cooperation. Within the Pamir group and serving as a mediator to bring peace between the warring factions of the region, China can work collectively with Afghanistan and Pakistan to stop violence among the local people, helping an Afghan government that makes all fighting peoples and factions sit at the table for political settlement and national reconciliation.
Northeastern Afghanistan once contained the Wakhan Corridor to China, where Hungarian explorer Aurel Stein reported in 1906 that at least 100 pony loads of goods crossed to China annually.
Today, a few hours of drive away from Wakhan lies Kashgar, a newly-developed special economic zone in the far western end of Xinjiang, where visitors can see plots of land for the Central and South Asia Industrial Park, factories making goods for export to Pakistan and warehouses storing cargo headed for Central and South Asia.
With tens of billions of dollars pumped into Kashgar, China hopes the city will be restored to the position it had in the legendary Silk Road, serving as a launch pad into Pakistan, Afghanistan and Central Asian countries.
Although the war has devastated Afghanistan, history shows that Afghanistan is a resilient nation. Despite the chill of the Afghan war and the Pamir’s freezing climate, with the forming of a Pamir group for regional cooperation, the people of the region will see a warm future of peace and prosperity.
*The author is director of the Tsinghua University Center for Pakistan Studies.
American Drone Reported Shot Down In Afghanistan
Russian Information Agency Novosti
June 8, 2011
Taliban says shoots down U.S. drone
Kabul: A U.S. unmanned aerial vehicle has been shot down by Taliban forces in Afghanistan’s eastern Kunar province, Taliban spokesman Zabiulla Mojahed said on Wednesday.
He said the UAV, brought down on Tuesday evening, is the second in the past two days.
The International Security Assistance Force has yet to comment on the incident.
UAVs are used in Afghanistan for aerial reconnaissance, missile strikes, and ammunition deliveries to remote military garrisons.
150,000 NATO Troops Destroy Afghan Agricultural Base, Fuel Opium Production
Voice of Russia
June 8, 2011
Russian anti-drug outlet
A high concentration of NATO troops in Afghanistan seems to be peacefully coexisting with the world’s highest concentration of opium poppy plantations, which both calls into question the antiterrorist mission and makes it possible to expect that the mission will have disastrous humanitarian consequences. This came in a statement by the Head of the Russian Federal Drug Control Service Victor Ivanov.
According to expert estimates, one Al-Qaeda fighter is opposed by 2,000 foreign servicemen in Afghanistan.
Ivanov also said that unceasing fighting on arable land, agricultural produce transportation routes and in trade areas have destroyed the Afghan agricultural industry.
NATO Holds 60-Nation Strategic Military Conference In Serbia
June 6, 2011
Strategic military conference in Belgrade on 13–15 June
The Ministry of Defence stated that a Strategic Military Partner Conference, in which representatives from NATO countries, the Partnership for Peace, the Mediterranean Dialogue and the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative will participate, has been scheduled for 13–15 June in Belgrade.
The statement adds that the conference is organised by the NATO Allied Command Transformation, and that its goal is to exchange experience and opinions about key strategic issues of common interest.
The invitation has been sent to the Chairman of the EU Military Committee, the Director of NATO International Military Secretariat and the Head of the Supreme Allied Command Operations.
This year’s conference is themed “Post Lisbon – Delivering Transformation”, while within working groups experts will have an opportunity to share experience in other subjects as well.
Based on the conclusions from NATO Summit in Riga on 29 November 2006, the Allied Command Transformation started organising a strategic military conference for partners once a year, the statement adds.
Moroccan Navy Participates In NATO Mediterranean Exercise
June 7, 2011
Moroccan Navy takes part in NATO exercise
ATHENS: Morocco has participated in a naval exercise sponsored by NATO.
The Royal Moroccan Navy contributed personnel to Phoenix Express-2011, held at a NATO base in the Greek island of Crete. Moroccan sailors joined their counterparts from Croatia, Greece and the United States in maritime interdiction simulations held at the NATO center in Souda Bay, Crete in an effort to enhance interoperability with the Western alliance.
“What we take away from this class will help us to know each other better and be more coherent in our duties,” Royal Morocco Navy Lt. Amine Khalid said.
U.S. Energy Envoy Lauds Political, Strategic Importance Of Trans-Eurasian Pipeline Projects
Trend News Agency
June 7, 2011
U.S. considers Nabucco most profitable politically and strategically
The Nabucco pipeline project, designed to transport gas from the Caspian region and the Middle East to the EU, is the most profitable from the political and strategic point of view, the U.S. State Department Special Envoy for Eurasian Energy Richard Morningstar said in Baku on Monday.
He said the only question is whether this project will be commercially viable. The U.S. has no doubt that there is enough gas for the Nabucco. Ultimately, Azerbaijan can have enough gas to fill the pipeline, he said. Also, it is likely to transport gas from Iraq. The only question is when all of these volumes of gas will be available.
“The main issue is whether by 2017 (the planned date of commencement of gas supplies for Nabucco) there will be enough gas,” said Morningstar.
He said if it is decided that Nabucco is not now a commercially viable project, then other options will be considered – small pipelines, which can later be enhanced as new volumes of gas are available. It can be TGI (Turkey-Greece-Italy Pipeline), TAP (Trans Adriatic Pipeline).
U.S. supports all projects within the Southern Corridor, he said.
“Priority number one is the gas from Shah Deniz, which will be transported via Turkey to Europe. We therefore support any pipeline under the Southern Corridor,” said Morningstar.
Morningstar considers a good option combining several projects of the Southern Gas Corridor.
Speaking about the Trans-Caspian gas pipeline project, he said that the U.S. supports its implementation, but it should be agreed by three parties – Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan and the EU.
“We have always had political support for the realization of this project. We are now ready to offer necessary support and we hope that this project will be implemented,” said Morningstar.
The Southern Corridor is a priority EU energy project diversifying energy supply routes and sources and increasing EU energy security.
The construction of the Nabucco gas pipeline, with a maximum capacity of 31 billion cubic meters per year, is scheduled for 2013 and first deliveries are expected in 2017.