Libyan war updates/Stop NATO news: June 12, 2011: NATO Wars Lead To Near Quintupling Of U.S. Arms Sales In Past Decade

12 June, 2011 — Stop NATO

  • Libya: 10,686 NATO Air Missions, 4,050 Combat Sorties
  • NATO Wars Lead To Near Quintupling Of U.S. Arms Sales In Past Decade
  • Russia: U.S. Interceptor Missile Ship In Black Sea Threat To National Security
  • U.S. Congressmen Demand Iraq Pay For Eight Years Of War, Occupation
  • Lithuania Hosts NATO Military Training For Iraq/Afghanistan/Somalia-Type Operations
  • Drive Southeast: NATO Oversees Balkans Chiefs Of Staff Conference
  • Ukraine: U.S. Marines, NATO Integrate Eastern European, Black Sea, Caucasus And North African Partners
  • NATO To Keep Hungarian Troops In Afghanistan Indefinitely
  • U.S. Subsidizes Czech Proxy Army For Afghan, Future Wars
  • Afghan War: Czech Death Toll Rises To Four
  • Analysis: Empire Games – But Who Writes The Rules?

Libya: 10,686 NATO Air Missions, 4,050 Combat Sorties

Click to access 20110612_110612-oup-update.pdf

North Atlantic Treaty Organization

June 12, 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 10686 sorties, including 4050 strike sorties,have been conducted.

Sorties conducted 11 JUNE: 116

Strike sorties conducted 11 JUNE: 51

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NATO Wars Lead To Near Quintupling Of U.S. Arms Sales In Past Decade

http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5giaxY6NDee1t39rItvfloCwTJAyQ?docId=CNG.aa14c6d16da2ae6f7555aa8e6cb5acad.191

Agence France-Presse

June 10, 2011

US foresees $46 billion in 2011 military sales

-[W]ith the war in Afghanistan and a higher operational tempo for many armed forces, clients are seeking quicker access to purchased progress, which explains the rise in the value of American exports, according to the admiral.

Several nations participating in the NATO-led air campaign on Libya have thus contacted the DSCA [Defense Security Cooperation Agency] to replenish their stocks of ammunition depleted by the operations.

-In all, over 13,000 contracts are currently underway with 165 countries for $327 billion…

WASHINGTON: The United States plans to export $46.1 billion in weapons this year, nearly doubling its 2010 figures, officials said.

During the fiscal year 2011, which ends September 30, Washington expects the sales of equipment and military services through its Foreign Military Sales process to grow. About 79 percent of these exports are financed by client countries and organizations, with the remainder funded by US aid programs.

US military equipment sales, confined to about $10 billion in the early 2000s, tripled to around $30 billion after 2005.

“From 2005 to 2010, we have delivered through the Foreign Military Sales process $96 billion worth of equipment, goods and services to partner countries,” said Defense Security Cooperation Agency Director Vice Admiral William Landay.

[W]ith the war in Afghanistan and a higher operational tempo for many armed forces, clients are seeking quicker access to purchased progress, which explains the rise in the value of American exports, according to the admiral.

Several nations participating in the NATO-led air campaign on Libya have thus contacted the DSCA to replenish their stocks of ammunition depleted by the operations.

Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Italy, Norway and the United Kingdom are all participating in the attacks on Moamer Kadhafi’s regime.

The rise in exports has led the DSCA to revise its procedures to ensure faster deliveries by determining what type of weapons or other military equipment should be delivered to which country before even being contacted by a client, and purchasing the equipment before it is sold.

In all, over 13,000 contracts are currently underway with 165 countries for $327 billion, according to Landay.

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Russia: U.S. Interceptor Missile Ship In Black Sea Threat To National Security

http://en.rian.ru/russia/20110612/164579761.html

Russian Information Agency Novosti

June 12, 2011

Russia expresses concern over U.S. warship Black Sea visit

Moscow: Russia’s Foreign Ministry voiced concerns on Sunday over the entry of a U.S. guided missile cruiser into the Black Sea for naval exercises with Ukraine.

The Monterrey cruiser equipped with the AEGIS air defense system is taking part in the joint Ukrainian-U.S. naval exercises, Sea Breeze 2011.

“While leaving aside the unsettled issue of a possible European missile shield architecture, Russia would like to know, in compliance with the Russia-NATO Lisbon summit decisions, what ‘aggravation’ the U.S. command meant by moving the basic strike unit of the regional missile defense grouping being formed by NATO in the region, from the Mediterranean to the east,” the ministry said in a statement.

According to the ministry’s statement, Monterrey was sent to European waters as part of the U.S. administration’s phased adaptive approach to building the European segment of the global missile shield. The program’s first stage envisages the deployment of a group of U.S. warships in the Adriatic, Aegean and Mediterranean Seas to protect South Europe from possible missile strikes.

The U.S. says the warships can move to the Black Sea only in case of aggravation of the situation in the region.

“If this is an ordinary visit, then it is unclear why a warship with this type of armament was chosen to move to this quite sensitive region,” the statement said.

The role of the U.S. warship’s missiles in the Sea Breeze 2011 anti-piracy exercises is also unclear, the statement said.

Russia has said on many occasions that it will perceive the appearance of U.S. strategic infrastructure elements close to its borders as a threat to its security.

“We have to state that our concerns continue to be ignored and under the guise of talks on European missile shield cooperation, efforts are under way to build the missile shield configuration whose consequences are dangerous and about which we have numerously informed our U.S. and NATO partners,” the statement said.

This approach clearly discourages the work to jointly define the concept and the architecture for the future missile shield in Europe, on which the Russian and U.S. presidents agreed in Lisbon, the statement said.

—————————————————————————

http://www.thehindu.com/news/international/article2098823.ece

The Hindu

June 12, 2011

Russia protests entry of US anti-missile cruiser into Black Sea

Vladimir Radyuhin

Russia has protested the entry of a U.S. anti-missile cruiser into the Black Sea calling it a threat to national security.

The U.S. Navy cruiser Monterey equipped with the Aegis anti-ballistic missile system sailed into the Black Sea to participate in the Ukrainian-U.S. Sea Breeze 2011 exercises, but Moscow said it saw the expedition as part of the “phased adaptive approach of the U.S. Administration towards building the European segment of a global missile shield.”

“The Russian side has repeatedly stressed that we will not let pass the appearance of elements of U.S. strategic infrastructure in the immediate proximity of our borders and will treat such moves as a threat to our security,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a commentary posted on its website on Sunday.

The Russian protest was issued three days after NATO rejected Moscow’s proposals for building a joint missile defence or for providing legal guarantees that the system will not be directed against Russia.

Moscow said that the U.S. was pushing ahead with its own missile shield in Europe in blatant disregard of Russian concerns.

“It is being done demonstratively, as if to tell Russia that no-one is going to take its opinion into account,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said.

Following the failure of his talks with NATO on Thursday Russia’s Defence Minister Antoly Serdyukov said that if Russia’s concerns about the European missile shield were not heeded, it “will be forced to look for ways of overcoming this shield.”

—————————————————————————

http://www.interfax.com/newsinf.asp?id=251194

Interfax

June 12, 2011

Moscow concerned about U.S. missile cruiser’s entry of Black Sea

MOSCOW: The emergence in the Black Sea of the U.S. guided missile cruiser Monterey, carrying Aegis missile systems, has aroused concerns in Russia, the Russian Foreign Ministry said.

“The Monterey was sent to the European waters under the plan to implement the U.S. administration’s step-by-step adaptive approach to the formation of the European segment of the global missile shield. The first stage in this program envisions the deployment in the Adriatic, Aegean and Mediterranean seas of an American naval force, tasked to defend the Southern European countries from hypothetical missile threats. In accordance with the official American version, the warships could also be sent to the Black Sea should the situation deteriorate in the region,” The Foreign Ministry said in a commentary on Sunday.

“Setting aside the remaining unagreed issues related to the architecture of the proposed European missile shield in compliance with the resolutions of the Russia-NATO Lisbon summit, it remains unclear what ‘deterioration’ the American command meant when it moved the backbone strike unit of the NATO territorial missile defense component currently under formation from the Mediterranean to the east,” it said.

“If a routine ‘visit’ to this extremely sensitive region is the issue, why was a warship with this particular type of weaponry chosen? What role was reserved for the Monterey’s anti-missiles in the scenario of the Sea Breeze 2011 drill, during which ‘an anti-pirate operation by NATO standards’ was exercised?” the Foreign Ministry said.

“The Russian side has said on many occasions that we will not leave without attention the emergence of elements of the U.S. strategic infrastructure in the direct vicinity of our borders and will take such steps as a threat to our security,” it said.

The Russian Foreign Ministry is compelled to state in this connection that, “our concerns have remained disregarded and that under the cover of the talks on cooperation in missile defense in Europe work is continuing to form a missile defense configuration fraught with dangerous consequences, of which we have warned our American and NATO partners many times. This is being done demonstratively, as if showing Russia that no one is going to take its opinion into account,” the Foreign Ministry said.

This sort of approach is counterproductive to the joint work to forge the concept and architecture of the future missile defense system in Europe, as agreed in Lisbon and at meetings between the Russian and American presidents, it said.

“Surprises, already emerging at the first stage in the implementation of the American ‘adaptive approach’ points to a high level of strategic uncertainty which the American missile defense system is creating,” the Foreign Ministry said.

“Still the more justifiable is the question about how reliable the verbal assurances are that it is not targeted against Russia,” it said.

“The reconnaissance of the Black Sea waters done by American missile warships confirms again that rigid legal guarantees must be worked out that the missile defense means to be deployed in Europe are not targeted against the Russian nuclear deterrence potential,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said.

Such guarantees must rest on the objective criteria of assessing whether the missile defense systems comply with the declared goal of countering missile threats from beyond Europe, the ministry said.

It is no less important to guarantee Russia’s equitable role in the development of the concept and architecture of the European missile defense system and envision adequate confidence-building and transparency measures.

“We were prepared to finally negotiate all this in Deauville. Unfortunately, this did not happen. We will continue demanding complete clarity in these profoundly serious questions in further talks with the United States and NATO,” the Foreign Ministry said.

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U.S. Congressmen Demand Iraq Pay For Eight Years Of War, Occupation

http://en.trend.az/regions/met/iraq/1890273.html

Trend News Agency

June 12, 2011

Iraqi president to discuss U.S. troops presence in Iraq

Iraqi President Jalal Talabani will chair a meeting with Iraqi political leaders to discuss the presence of thousands of U.S. troops in Iraq beyond the deadline of 2011, Xinhua reported according to official newspaper reported on Sunday.

“There will be a meeting headed by Talabani very soon to discuss the issue related to the U.S. troop withdrawal from Iraq,” the state-owned newspaper al-Sabah quoted government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh as saying.

Dabbagh’s announcement came amid tensions rose recently between the Iraqi government and the United States when Iraqi authorities asked for a U.S. congressional delegation to leave the country after the latter suggested that Iraq has to pay back the United States the money it has spent for the war in the country since the 2003 invasion.

“We have told the U.S. embassy Friday to ask the congressmen to leave Iraq,” Dabbagh said. “Those people are not welcome in Iraq, They are raising a controversial issue which affects the strategic relation between Iraq and the United States,” Dabbagh added.

The congressmen were also provocative in raising another controversial issue when they told Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki that they were investigating whether forces under his command had committed a “crime against humanity” when they killed 35 Iranian dissidents at a camp north of Baghdad earlier in the year.

In April, the Iraqi security forces raided Camp Ashraf which houses more than 3,000 members of an Iranian opposition group named People’s Mujahedeen Organization of Iran (PMOI).

The Iraqi forces clashed with the disarmed Iranians and there were reports said that some 35 unarmed people were killed in the clashes.

In mid-2010, U.S. troops in Iraq had been reduced to below 50,000 soldiers. Washington said that the remaining U.S. troops in Iraq are conducting support and training missions.

U.S. military forces are to pull out completely from Iraq by the end of 2011 according to the security pact named Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA), signed late in 2008 between Baghdad and Washington.

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Lithuania Hosts NATO Military Training For Iraq/Afghanistan/Somalia-Type Operations

http://www.baltic-course.com/eng/baltic_news/?doc=7341

Baltic Course

June 10, 2011

Amber Hope 2011 to encompass Land, Air and Naval Forces in Lithuania

-The multinational exercise Amber Hope 2011 will involve around 2,2 thousand military and civilian personnel from nine NATO member countries – Estonia, the USA, Canada, Latvia, Poland, Lithuania and Norway – and two Partnership for Peace (PfP) countries NATO partners – Georgia and Finland. Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Moldova and Ukraine are expected to send delegates to the exercise.

Vilnius: Lithuania will host the multinational exercise “Amber Hope 2011? on June 13-23 [which] will involve all the branches of the armed forces – land, naval, air and special operations. In the period of the exercise they will operate as an integrated multinational peace support force, reports BC [according to] the press service of the National Defence Ministry.

The land component during the exercise will train at the Lithuanian Armed Forces Pabrades Training Area; the maritime component at the Baltic Sea; the air component in the Kairiu and Pabrades Training Areas, and over the Baltic Sea, Special Operations troops will improve their skills at the Pabrades Training Area and seaside.

On the basis of the exercise scenario generated in close relation to the ongoing NATO and the EU operations in Iraq, Afghanistan and Somalia, and drawn to real-life conditions to the maximum extent, the training will put to the test readiness of troops to take part in contemporary NATO-led operations in multinational environments.

The land component of the exercise will consist of two multinational battalions….In Amber Hope 2011 it will be the biggest military unit in number.

Troops of the land component will train conducting live firing, suppressing riots, medical evacuation, escort, convoy, patrolling, and other tasks.

The air component will support participating units by integrated air operations. It will conduct close air support (CAS) operations, imitate air raids and air support operations, air surveillance, medical evacuation and airlift of the injured, search and rescue operations (SAR), tactical air lift (TAL). Air operations will involve two Mi-8 helicopters of the Lithuanian Air Force and two light assault L-39 ZA aircraft.

According to the maritime component plan of the Amber Hope 2011 scenario, six vessels of the Lithuanian Naval Force (LNF), harbour cutter H21, and the Sea and Coastal Surveillance Service will participate in the training.

The Exercise will also train for the readiness of ship crews and staff officers to respond to a changing situation in the process of naval operations at sea on the basis of a military conflict scenario.

Exercise “Amber Hope 2011? will proceed in two phases. During the first phase from June 13 to 18 participating military personnel will improve procedures related to tactical warships manoeuvring in formations, water-surface object detection and observation, battle with above-water targets, search and neutralisation of naval mines, artillery fire at sea, etc. The aim of the phase is to coordinate ability of several ships to implement joint military operations in an integral unit. In this phase special operations and air components will train together with warships.

During the following stage on June 19-23 the maritime component will operate according to an established scenario. Personnel of the maritime component will act in two groups. One of them will conduct maritime assistance and at-sea defence operations, the other a fictitious assault and diversions.

The Sea and Coastal Surveillance Service of the Lithuanian Naval Force will execute reinforced maritime surveillance from naval observation posts [and] record suspicious actions of the fictitious enemy at sea. The maritime component will operate jointly with the special operations component, hostile forces at sea will be played by a H21 harbour cutter and the search and rescue vessel “Sakiai”.

The multinational exercise Amber Hope 2011 will involve around 2,2 thousand military and civilian personnel from nine NATO member countries – Estonia, the USA, Canada, Latvia, Poland, Lithuania and Norway – and two Partnership for Peace (PfP) countries NATO partners – Georgia and Finland. Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Moldova and Ukraine are expected to send delegates to the exercise.

Lithuania will be represented by personnel from all the branches of the Lithuanian Armed Forces –the Land Force, the Air Force, the Naval Force and the Special Operations Forces…

The goal of the Exercise “Amber Hope 2011? is to enhance cooperation among the military divisions of Partnership for Peace and NATO countries while training to take part in joint crisis response operations and strengthen military cooperation between NATO and partners of the Alliance.

“Amber Hope 2011? will also improve and evaluate the readiness of the Lithuanian Armed Forces to deliver Host Nation Support (HNS) to incoming forces.

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Drive Southeast: NATO Oversees Balkans Chiefs Of Staff Conference

http://us.mc1117.mail.yahoo.com/mc/welcome?.gx=1&.tm=1307847100&.rand=97c24o39n4n7h#_pg=compose&&.rand=1555178537&clean&hash=cb843f95ad9887b74f5ec9aa8c445a5e&.jsrand=4747724

Macedonian Information Agency

June 8, 2011

Ohrid hosts 5. Conference of Balkan Chiefs of Staff

Ohrid: Ohrid hosts Wednesday the 5th Conference of Chiefs of Staff from Balkan countries.

Besides chairman, Chief of Macedonian Army (ARM) Staff, Lieutenant-General Miroslav Stojanovski, the meeting brings together his counterparts from Albania, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Bulgaria and Montenegro, Brigadier-General Maksim Malaj, Lieutenant-General Miladin Milojcic, General Simeon Simeonov and Vice Admiral Dragan Samardzic respectively, as well as Deputy-Chiefs of Staff of Greece, Romania and Serbia, Lieutenant-General Georgios Nakopoulos, Lieutenant-General Dan Ghika-Radu and General Miloje Miletic respectively, along with Commander of the Third Turkish Army, General Yalcin Ataman.

Deputy-Chairman of the NATO Military Committee, Lieutenant-General Walter Gaskin, Commander of the NATO Allied Joint Force Command Naples, Admiral Samuel Locklear, Deputy-Director for Planning of the U.S. Command Europe Michael Ryan, Slovenian Deputy-Chief of Staff, Counter Admiral Renato Petric and Croatian Deputy-Chief of Staff, Counter-Admiral Zdenko Simicic will also attend the conference as guests.

Moreover, President and Supreme Commander of Macedonia’s Armed Forces, Gjorge Ivanov will also address the meeting.

The first conference of the Balkan chiefs of staff was held in Thessaloniki (Greece) in 2007, followed by meetings in Antalya (Turkey), Belgrade (Serbia), and Brasov (Romania).

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Ukraine: U.S. Marines, NATO Integrate Eastern European, Black Sea, Caucasus And North African Partners

http://www.eucom.mil/english/fullstory.asp?article=US-Marines-Hold-NCO-Course-Multinational-Partners

Moldovan Ministry of Defense

June 10, 2011

U.S. Marines Hold NCO Course for Multinational Partners during Sea Breeze 2011

2nd Lt. Maria Arama, Moldovan Ministry of Defense Public Affairs

-Air, land and naval forces from Azerbaijan, Algeria, Belgium, Denmark, Georgia, Germany, Macedonia, Moldova, Sweden, Turkey, Ukraine, the United Kingdom and the United States are participating in Sea Breeze, the largest multinational maritime exercise this year in the Black Sea, June 6-18, and is co-hosted by the Ukrainian and U.S. Navies.

SHIROKYILAN, Ukraine: More than 30 non-commissioned officers (NCO) from Macedonia, the Republic of Moldova, Ukraine, and the U.S. deployed to Exercise Sea Breeze 2011 attended a two-day training course on leadership development held at the Shirokyilan facility from Nicolaev.

According to Sgt. Maj. Steven Peck, 3rd Battalion, 24th Marine Regiment, 4th Marine Division of the U.S. Marines, the training focused on such important issues as: developing a non-commissioned officer, rules of behavior, discipline, standards and expectations from NCOs, leadership styles, leading by example and others.

Vasily Chaicovski, a shooter within the Moldovan 22nd Peacekeeping Operation Battalion, felt the training was useful for Moldovan non-commissioned officers.

“This was a good chance to share our experiences of leader-subordinate relationship, leadership skills and discipline maintaining process with other militaries,” said Chaicovski.

Ukrainian Sgt. Anton Kornev considered the course to be very useful for his everyday service.

“This was new knowledge learned from our Macedonian, Moldovan, and U.S. partners,” said Kornev. “This was also a chance to apply all the acquired knowledge in our previous activities.”

The international contingent deployed to the Shirokyilan facility from Nicolaev is conducting tactical training exercises such as convoy escort, shooting, jump training, counter IED operations, and others.

Air, land and naval forces from Azerbaijan, Algeria, Belgium, Denmark, Georgia, Germany, Macedonia, Moldova, Sweden, Turkey, Ukraine, the United Kingdom and the United States are participating in Sea Breeze, the largest multinational maritime exercise this year in the Black Sea, June 6-18, and is co-hosted by the Ukrainian and U.S. Navies.

Exercise Sea Breeze 2011 aims to improve maritime safety, security and stability actions in the Black Sea by enhancing the capabilities of Partnership for Peace and Black Sea regional maritime security forces.

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NATO To Keep Hungarian Troops In Afghanistan Indefinitely

http://www.politics.hu/20110610/defense-minister-says-no-changes-in-hungarys-afghanistan-mission/

Hungarian News Agency

June 10, 2011

Defense minister says no changes in Hungary’s Afghanistan mission

-That fact that NATO wants to gradually pass control over to local authorities does not mean that they would leave the country; the presence of international forces is just being restructured…

Hungary’s largest NATO mission in Afghanistan will continue with its…responsibilities in the country’s northern Baghlan province, Defence Minister Csaba Hende told a press conference following a meeting of his NATO counterparts in Brussels on Thursday.

Both the Afghan authorities and NATO think that “conditions are not met” for local forces to guarantee security in the area as yet, Hende said.

That fact that NATO wants to gradually pass control over to local authorities does not mean that they would leave the country; the presence of international forces is just being restructured, Hende said.

Changes to the structure of command in NATO, aimed at higher efficiency, do not have a direct impact on Hungary, Hende said.

The two-day meeting also focussed on cyber-attacks, and participants adopted a policy against such attacks, with emphasis on prevention.

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U.S. Subsidizes Czech Proxy Army For Afghan, Future Wars

http://praguemonitor.com/2011/06/09/czech-military-acquire-us-equipment

Czech News Agency

June 9, 2011

Czech military to acquire US equipment

-The Defence Ministry budget only covered a part of the supplies primarily destined for Czech members of the mission in Afghanistan, while the rest was financed by the U.S.

Prague: The Czech government Wednesday approved the Defence Ministry’s plan to acquire some military equipment from U.S. foreign aid programmes, the government’s press section has told reporters.

According to the plan, the Czech troops are to get deciphering equipment, radio stations, night vision goggles, ammunition and rifles from the USA, the Defence Ministry’s press service said.

The Czech military also wants to have 17 identification, friend or foe (IFF) systems.

Their purchase is to be funded from the Defence Ministry budget.

On the other hand, Czechs are not to pay anything for the military equipment. The Defence Ministry wants to make use of the U.S. foreign aid to acquire 100 Swiss-made Sig 516 rifles along with accessories, 11,000 pieces of ammunition, tens of GPS devices and radio stations.

The U.S. administration is also to deliver eight night vision sights for small arms.

This may not be the first use of the U.S. military aid.

At the end of March, the government approved the acquisition of night vision devices, ammunition and communication equipment.

The Defence Ministry budget only covered a part of the supplies primarily destined for Czech members of the mission in Afghanistan, while the rest was financed by the U.S.

The soldiers in Afghanistan received the radio communication system Harris, a laser telemeter, night vision equipment and some field military GPS systems.

Helicopter pilots operating in the Paktika province received air helmets, night vision goggles and oxygen devices.

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Afghan War: Czech Death Toll Rises To Four

http://www.praguepost.com/news/8958-slain-soldier-returns-home-to-high-honors.html

Prague Post

June 8, 2011

Slain soldier returns home to high honors

Vondra awards state medal to Vyroubal, killed in Afghanistan

By Gordon LaForge

The body of a Czech soldier killed in Afghanistan arrived at the Prague-Kbely military airport June 5 to a hero’s welcome.

Sergeant Robert Vyroubal was killed after the vehicle carrying him, an Afghan interpreter and two other soldiers struck an improvised explosive device (IED) in Afghanistan’s Wardak province May 31, said Czech Army (A?R) spokeswoman Jana R??i?ková.

Vyroubal, 31, is the fourth Czech service member to die in Afghanistan and the first in three years. The Afghan interpreter was also killed in the explosion.

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Analysis: Empire Games – But Who Writes The Rules?

https://williambowles.info/2011/06/11/empire-games-but-who-writes-the-rules-by-william-bowles/

Empire Games – but who writes the rules?

By William Bowles

The Western left’s abdication, nay abandonment of principles that go to the heart of the socialist liberation project has been long in the making, centuries even and made all the more obvious by the left’s take on events in Libya and now Syria. Critiques of the ‘humanitarian, socialist interventionists’ came thick and thin but for the most part the fundamental question of why the left had abandoned its historic mission has not been asked.

“I am confused by the analyses of the Anglophone left with regard to the social revolts in Libya. The only thing folks seem able to muster is a series of bifurcated abstractions. Thus certain metaphors in the analyses of Libya prevail such as, ‘greed and grievance’, ‘patron and client’, ‘rapacious rule vs innocent population ‘, ‘madness vs sanity’ etc. Absent from the discussion are: social forces, social base, achievements and contradictions of Libya’s Green revolution, contradictions of liberal democracy, and the contradictions of market dependency on specific social formations.” — Elleni Centime Zeleke, ‘Libya: The Poverty of Analyses’, MRZine, 11 June 2011

All true and not merely of the ‘Anglophone left’ but the Western left in general suffers from a shallowness of thinking and the inevitable retreat into slogans and automatic writing. And although I agree with pretty much everything Zeleke has to say on the subject of the Western left I have a problem with the language Zeleke uses.

Zeleke’s essay suffers from the disease of left writing in general, inherited from its middle-class, ‘intellectual’ university roots. The tendency to speak in a private language that only those ‘in the know’ are privy to eg, “the contradictions of market dependency on specific social formations”.

Yeah okay, nobody’s saying it’s easy to figure out what’s going on and why things happen, but who are we talking to here? People who already agree with us? If so, surely it’s pretty much a wasted effort insofar as the objective is to persuade people to get involved in making change happen, not preaching to the converted (some of whom may actually understand what Zeleke is saying). And surely isn’t that the point of writing with a specific objective in mind? To explain what is happening and why.

Zeleke puts the confusion (is that the right word?) down to:

“One of the results of such a skewed discussion is that liberal democracy is idealized as the only viable political order in Libya (or the rest of the world for that matter). This is because absent of an analysis of social processes (which the left seems incapable of doing), liberal democracy gets proffered as at least having the institutional checks and balances to keep evil at bay.”

Again true but Zeleke doesn’t ask the question, why?

Why is there no real opposition to the by now ‘normal’ actions of our governments, that bomb at will anywhere, all the time with total impunity, using increasingly flimsy pretexts (‘humanitarian intervention’)? Because they know that there will be no real opposition from the citizens of Empire. This is the essential point missing from Zeleke’s essay: the Western left is not merely trapped in the illusion of a liberal democracy, it has contributed to its creation and the Western left is itself a product of liberal democracy.

And this is not a new phenomenon, it is rooted in the simple fact that we are citizens of Empire and we have enjoyed the benefits for centuries using identical methods to those now directed at Libya. The Western left’s total debacle over Libya and now Syria reflects the innate contradictions, essentially trying to square the circle, as its confusion over ‘what to do’ about Gaddafi reveals. Having gotten onto the ‘human rights’ bandwagon, it’s really difficult to get off it, opportunism raises its head. Protest is not only hollow, it is compromised from the getgo.

“For the first thirteen days starting on March 19 under the control of U.S. Africa Command and Operation Odyssey Dawn and thereafter the North Atlantic Treaty Organization-led Operation Unified Protector, the air assaults represent the second longest armed aggression in NATO’s history, already surpassing by a week the 78-day bombing of Yugoslavia in 1999. Only the now nearly decade-long war in Afghanistan exceeds the current campaign in length.

“The U.S.-dominated military bloc not only acknowledges but fairly boasts of conducting almost 11,000 air missions and over 4,000 combat sorties since March 31. Preceding that, hundreds of air strikes and over 160 cruise missile attacks were launched by the U.S., Britain, France and other NATO powers.” — ‘NATO’s Afrika Korps Escalates War Of Attrition Against Libya‘ By Rick Rozoff, Stop Nato

It’s the idea—so deeply embedded in Western thinking—that we have the right ‘to do something’ about Gaddafi that exposes the Empire’s ideology at work in all of us. The corollorary of this would be Gaddafi deciding he had ‘to do something’ about us bombing his country back into the stone age, not that he possesses the power or even the idea itself to ‘do something’ about our barbaric behaviour, this is an idea that belongs only to Western ‘civilization’.

We live in a world where political/economic events have at their centre the objectives of a relatively small group of very powerful people, say five thousand, who represent a handful of rich and powerful countries and corporations, and rivals they may be, but they are united in their desire to preserve and extend the power of capital. This is the bottom line and they will do literally anything to preserve their rule.

Thus it surely should be a gut reaction for those of us on the left when we hear the Pirates going on about ‘humanitarian intervention’ (with bombs and missiles), to reject the idea out-of-hand and reject the idea in principle. One thing inevitably flows from another and as surely as night follows day, declaring a ‘no-fly zone’ over Libya was an a priori act of war, any idiot can see that, even those who pushed for it knew it was an act of war and stated as such.

But not apparently the Western left. The left’s dilemma is further highlighted by the paucity of writing on events in Syria. It really is a case of should we? or shouldn’t we? Condemn? Support, or stay mum? Better stay mum.

I have only the sketchiest idea of what’s going on in Syria, and especially its root causes but of one thing I am sure, there is a Western hand in there somewhere, muddying the waters and this goes without saying.

“The State Department, for example, is financing the creation of stealth wireless networks that would enable activists to communicate outside the reach of governments in countries like Iran, Syria and Libya, according to participants in the projects.” — ‘U.S. Underwrites Internet Detour Around Censors‘, NYT 12 June, 2011

So the issue is clear just as it was back during the days of the liberation struggles in Africa and elsewhere; we in the West supported struggles against Western colonialism but we didn’t take sides or interfere in the internal struggles of colonized peoples (well that was the theory) and the principle still holds. The difference here is that the Empire is in the business of trying to re-colonize what it has lost, any fool can see that.

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