13 June 2011 — Stop NATO
- Pentagon Chief Praises NATO’s Arab Monarch Allies For Libyan War Aid
- U.S., NATO Hold Proliferation Security Initiative Drills In Mediterranean
- Libya: NATO Conducts 10,822 Sorties, 4,102 Strike Missions
- German Foreign Minister In Benghazi
- Syria On The Boil, U.S. Warship In The Black Sea
- Poland: Permanent U.S. Air Base, NATO Detachment Next Year
- U.S. To Deploy Military Personnel To Maintain Air Base In Poland
- U.S. Air Force In First Direct Arctic Overflight For Afghan War
- Revived 4th Fleet: U.S. Guided Missile Ships In War Games Off Chile
- 10-Member Pakistani Delegation To Visit NATO Headquarters
Pentagon Chief Praises NATO’s Arab Monarch Allies For Libyan War Aid
June 12, 2011
Gates credits Morocco, Jordan, UAE for roles
in NATO’s Libya mission
-Both Arab League states [Jordan and Morocco] have been members of NATO’s Mediterranean Dialogue, established in 1994.
WASHINGTON: Jordan and Morocco have been identified as participants in the NATO mission in Libya.
Defense Secretary Robert Gates said several Middle East states have joined the NATO mission against Libyan Col. Moammar Gadhafi. He cited Jordan, Morocco and the United Arab Emirates.
“In Libya, the involvement of Jordan, Morocco, the UAE and others in the Middle East have been hugely important,” Gates said.
In a June 10 address to the Brussels-based think tank Security and Defence Agenda, Gates did not provide details of the roles of Jordan and Morocco. Both Arab League states have been members of NATO’s Mediterranean Dialogue, established in 1994.
“I am not sure we would have moved forward to the UN, even undertaking this enterprise, had it not been for the vote in the Arab League that then paved for the UN Security Council resolutions,” Gates, in his last official policy address, said.
Officials said Jordan and Morocco have served support roles in the NATO mission in Libya. They said Qatar and the UAE were conducting air strike operations through their fleets of Mirage-2000 and F-16 fighter-jets.
Despite Arab support, Gates warned that NATO lacked combat support in the campaign against the Gadhafi regime…
U.S., NATO Hold Proliferation Security Initiative Drills In Mediterranean
Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe and Africa/U.S. 6th Fleet
June 11, 2011
Multinational Maritime Interdiction Teams Train during Phoenix Express
By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Edward Vasquez, Navy Public Affairs Support Element-East Detachment Europe
-Since it was first proposed by President George W. Bush in May 2003, PSI has generated broad international cooperation resulting in endorsement by 98 nations. Pacific Protector ’03, led by Australia, was the first example of this cooperation and was a maritime interdiction training exercise conducted in the Western Pacific Ocean in September 2003…More than 40 exercises incorporating PSI-related activities have been conducted since the drafting of the Statement of Interdiction Principles in September 2003.
-U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa staff personnel are…participating in this exercise alongside navies and armed forces personnel from Albania, Algeria, Croatia, Egypt, Greece, Italy, Malta, Mauritania, Morocco, Spain, Tunisia and Turkey.
MEDITERRANEAN SEA: An international maritime interdiction operations (MIO) team participating in Phoenix Express 2011 (PE-11), executed a boarding scenario that supported the aims of the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI), June 10.
PSI is a global cooperative effort that aims to stop trafficking in weapons of mass destruction (WMD), their delivery systems and related materials. PE-11 provided an opportunity to train multinational maritime interdiction operations (MIO) teams…
During PE-11, the MIO teams from the PSI-endorsing country of Morocco conducted a boarding to interdict a shipment of simulated dual use components on a target ship.
Lt. Amine Khalid, Royal Morocco armed forces, is an MIO team leader attached to RMS Hassan II.
In addition, nations also commit to work toward strengthening legal authorities in support of WMD-related interdictions. Since it was first proposed by President George W. Bush in May 2003, PSI has generated broad international cooperation resulting in endorsement by 98 nations. Pacific Protector ’03, led by Australia, was the first example of this cooperation and was a maritime interdiction training exercise conducted in the Western Pacific Ocean in September 2003.
“PSI participation is voluntary – each participating state decides on a case-by-case basis whether and how to engage, said Petty Officer 2nd Class David McClurg, assessment officer for PE 11. “To date, 98 countries have indicated their support of the PSI by endorsing the Statement of Interdiction Principles.”
More than 40 exercises incorporating PSI-related activities have been conducted since the drafting of the Statement of Interdiction Principles in September 2003.
“PSI exercises establish interoperability among PSI participants and impart useful skills and experience relevant to other duties for all international personnel involved,” said Ruppert.
U.S. units participating in Phoenix Express include USS Stephen W. Groves (FFG 29), USS Robert G. Bradley (FFG 49) and Military Sealift Command’s maritime prepositioning ship USNS LCPL Roy M. Wheat (T-AK 3016) and fleet replenishment oiler USNS Big Horn (T-AO 198).
Additional U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa staff personnel are also participating in this exercise alongside navies and armed forces personnel from Albania, Algeria, Croatia, Egypt, Greece, Italy, Malta, Mauritania, Morocco, Spain, Tunisia and Turkey.
Libya: NATO Conducts 10,822 Sorties, 4,102 Strike Missions
North Atlantic Treaty Organization
June 13, 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 10822 sorties, including 4102 strike sorties,have been conducted.
Sorties conducted 12 JUNE: 136
Strike sorties conducted 12 JUNE: 52
German Foreign Minister In Benghazi
June 13. 2011
German foreign minister visiting Benghazi
German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle has arrived in the Libyan rebel-held city of Benghazi following a stopover in Malta, official sources in Valletta told the German Press Agency dpa.
Germany last week said it was opening a liaison office in Benghazi as Berlin wants to broaden its ties with members of the Libyan opposition who are seeking to topple Libyan leader Moamer Gaddafi.
Germany abstained in a UN Security Council vote for the use of military force to protect civilians in Libya.
Westerwelle, who was accompanied by senior German government officials, arrived on an official German C-130 aircraft and transferred to a military transport airplane in Malta, the same sources said.
The German Minister is expected to return to Malta late Monday.
Syria On The Boil, U.S. Warship In The Black Sea
June 13, 2011
Syria on the boil, US warship in Black Sea
By M K Bhadrakumar
-Without doubt, the US is stepping up pressure on Russia’s Black Sea fleet. The US’s provocation is taking place against the backdrop of the turmoil in Syria. Russia is stubbornly blocking US attempts to drum up a case for Libya-style intervention in Syria. Moscow understands that a major reason for the US to push for regime change in Syria is to get the Russian naval base in that country wound up.
The Syrian base is the only toehold Russia has in the Mediterranean region. The Black Sea Fleet counts on the Syrian base for sustaining any effective Mediterranean presence by the Russian navy. With the establishment of US military bases in Romania and the appearance of the US warship in the Black Sea region, the arc of encirclement is tightening.
-[A]ny movement on the Israel-Palestine peace process on Israeli terms will be possible only if the US and Israel crack the hard Syrian nut. Washington and Tel Aviv have been trying to persuade Russia to fall in line and accept “defeat” over Syria. But Moscow has stuck to its guns. And now by sending the warship to the Black Sea, US has signaled that it will make Russia pay a price for its obduracy and pretensions as a Mediterranean and Middle Eastern power.
Seldom it is that the Russian Foreign Ministry chooses a Sunday to issue a formal statement. Evidently, something of extreme gravity arose for Moscow to speak out urgently. The provocation was the appearance of a United States guided missile cruiser in the Black Sea for naval exercises with Ukraine. The USS Monterrey cruiser equipped with the AEGIS air defense system is taking part in joint Ukrainian-US exercises, Sea Breeze 2011.
There is nothing extraordinary about a US-Ukraine naval exercise. Last year, too, an exercise took place. But, as Moscow posed, “While leaving aside the unsettled issue of a possible European missile shield architecture, Russia would like to know, in compliance with the Russia-NATO [North Atlantic Treaty Organization] Lisbon summit decisions, what ‘aggravation’ the US 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 Foreign Ministry statement then went on to give its own explanation that the Monterrey was sent to European waters as part of the US 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 US warships in the Adriatic, Aegean and Mediterranean Seas to protect South Europe from possible missile strikes. The role of the US warship’s missiles in the Sea Breeze 2011 anti-piracy exercises is also unclear, the statement said.
“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 US and NATO partners,” the Russian statement added.
The US claims that this is a routine naval exercise. On the other hand, Moscow asks: “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.”
Without doubt, the US is stepping up pressure on Russia’s Black Sea fleet. The US’s provocation is taking place against the backdrop of the turmoil in Syria. Russia is stubbornly blocking US attempts to drum up a case for Libya-style intervention in Syria. Moscow understands that a major reason for the US to push for regime change in Syria is to get the Russian naval base in that country wound up.
The Syrian base is the only toehold Russia has in the Mediterranean region. The Black Sea Fleet counts on the Syrian base for sustaining any effective Mediterranean presence by the Russian navy. With the establishment of US military bases in Romania and the appearance of the US warship in the Black Sea region, the arc of encirclement is tightening. It is a cat-and-mouse game, where the US is gaining the upper hand.
Ostensibly, the regime headed by Bashar al-Assad is repressive since almost everyday reports are coming out that more bloodshed has taken place. But the Western reports are completely silent as to the assistance that the Syrian opposition is getting from outside. No one is interested in probing or questioning, for instance, the circumstances in which 120 Syrian security personnel could have been shot and killed in one “incident”.
The Western, Saudi, Israeli and Turkish involvement in Syria’s unrest is almost crystal clear but that is beyond the zone of discussion when we speak of “Syria on the boil”. In short, Russia has lost the information war over Syria. Henceforth, its dilemma will be that it will be seen as being obstructionist and illogical when a laudable democratization process is unfolding in Syria and the “Arab Spring” is straining to make an appearance.
Moscow has made it clear that it will not brook a resolution at the United Nations Security Council over Syria, no matter its wording or contents. It also voted against the Western move at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) last week to open a Syria nuclear file – similar to the Iran file – at the UN Security Council.
Moscow’s dilemma is that it cannot openly explain its side of the US’s geopolitical agenda toward Syria. Any such explanation will expose the hollowness of the US-Russia reset, which the Kremlin under President Dmitry Medvedev assiduously worked for. But Washington is not going to let Russia off the hook either. It is certain to tighten the noose around Assad’s neck.
Put simply, the US wants Russia to leave Syria alone for the West to tackle. But Russia knows what follows will be that the Russian naval base there would get shut down by a pro-Western successor regime in Damascus that succeeds Assad.
The stakes are very high. Last year, the deputy head of Russian military intelligence was killed in mysterious circumstances while on an inspection tour of the naval base in Syria. His body was found floating on the Mediterranean off the Turkish coast. To be sure, many intelligence agencies are deeply embroiled in the Syrian broth.
First and foremost, a regime change in Syria has become absolutely critical for breaking Israel’s regional isolation. The US-Israeli hope is that the back of the Hezbollah can be broken only if the regime of Assad is overthrown in Damascus and the Syrian-Iranian alliance is ended. Again, a regime change in Syria will force the Hamas leadership to vacate Damascus. Hamas chief Khalid Meshaal has been living in Damascus under Assad’s protection for several years.
All in all, therefore, any movement on the Israel-Palestine peace process on Israeli terms will be possible only if the US and Israel crack the hard Syrian nut. Washington and Tel Aviv have been trying to persuade Russia to fall in line and accept “defeat” over Syria. But Moscow has stuck to its guns. And now by sending the warship to the Black Sea, US has signaled that it will make Russia pay a price for its obduracy and pretensions as a Mediterranean and Middle Eastern power.
The parliamentary election result in Turkey ensuring another term for the ruling “Islamist” party AKP (Justice and Development Party) significantly strengthens the US position on Syria. Ankara has hardened its stance on Assad and has begun openly criticizing him. A more obtrusive Turkish role in destabilizing Assad and forcing a regime change in Damascus can now be expected in the coming weeks. Ironically, Turkey also controls the Bosphorous Straits.
By improving ties with Turkey in the past decade, Moscow had been hoping that Ankara would gradually move toward an independent foreign policy. The Kremlin’s expectation was that the two countries could get together and form a condominium over the Black Sea. But as events unfold, it is becoming clear that Ankara is reverting to its earlier priorities as a NATO country and US’s pre-eminent partner in the region. Ankara cannot be faulted: it made a shrewd assessment and drew a balance sheet concluding that its interests are best served by identifying with the Western move to effect a regime change in Syria.
Additionally, Ankara finds it profitable that it identifies with the Saudi approach to the upheaval in the Middle East. The wealth Arabs in the oil-rich countries of the Persian Gulf are willing to send their “green money” to Turkey. Ankara also shares Saudi misgivings about Iran’s rise as regional power.
In sum, the US is slowly but steadily getting the upper hand over its agenda of a regime change in Syria. Whether Moscow will buckle under this immense pressure and accept a rollback of its influence in Syria is the big question. Moscow has threatened to cooperate with Beijing and adopt a common stance over Syria. But Moscow’s ability to counter the American juggernaut over Syria is weakening by the day.
The course of events over Syria will certainly impact profoundly on the US-Russia reset. The Obama administration seems to have done its homework and concluded that it is worth taking that risk for the sake of ensuring Israel’s security. The warship that sailed into the Black Sea carries a blunt message to Russia to accept that it is a mere pale shadow of the former Soviet Union.
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.
Poland: Permanent U.S. Air Base, NATO Detachment Next Year
June 13, 2011
Permanent NATO detachment in Poland from 2012?
A ‘memorandum of understanding’ was signed today in Warsaw on the stationing of a US Air Force base in Poland.
Polish Defence Minister Bogdan Klich and US Ambassador Lee Feinstein signed the agreement after a slight delay, as it was expected that US President Barack Obama would sign the agreement during his visit to Warsaw in May.
The details of the bilateral agreement are to be negotiated in 2012, with joint US-Polish military exercises expected to commence from 2013.
The memorandum establishes that joint Polish-American exercises may be carried out on Polish military training grounds, with the allowance for contingents from other countries to take part.
The US Air Force base is to be the first NATO detachment to be stationed in Poland, as when the country became a member of the pact in 1997, the North Atlantic Council issued a statement that there was no need to station large NATO detachments in new member states.
Three air bases which are to be used by the US Air Force are mentioned in the agreement: Krzesiny and Lask, where currently a combined total of 48 Polish F-16s are stationed, as well as Powidz, where eight C-130 Hercules transport aircraft are held.
According to unofficial information from Poland’s Defence Ministry, the number of aircraft and maintenance personnel may also increase thanks to the agreement.
Up until now, Polish pilots undertook training in the USA, as well as irregular training missions in Belgium, France, or more recently, in Spain.
U.S. To Deploy Military Personnel To Maintain Air Base In Poland
Russian Information Agency Novosti
June 13, 2011
Washington to send U.S. servicemen to maintain airbase in Poland
Warsaw: Polish Defense Minister Bogdan Klich and U.S. ambassador to Poland Lee Feinstein signed an agreement, stipulating deployment of 20 U.S. servicemen for maintaining fighters at the U.S. air detachment in Poland, Polish TV said on Monday.
In late May Washington and Warsaw agreed to create a permanent deployment of U.S. Air Force assets in Poland that would service F-16 fighter jets, Hercules transport planes, and land personnel periodically visiting Poland for the military exercises.
The first servicemen, responsible for maintaining F-16s and Hercules transport planes, are expected to arrive in Poland in 2012. The planes could arrive as early as in 2013.
Russia warned Poland against hosting U.S. fighter jets, saying it would counter the move.
U.S. Air Force In First Direct Arctic Overflight For Afghan War
Air Mobility Command
American Forces Press Service
June 10, 2011
Mobility Airmen take C-5M on first direct Arctic overflight to Afghanistan
by Master Sgt. Scott T. Sturkol
Air Mobility Command Public Affairs
-USTRANSCOM [U.S. Transportation Command and Air Mobility Command] planners said this flight is just the beginning of understanding new ways to strengthen the northern corridor.
BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan: Fourteen mobility Airmen teamed together to fly a C-5M Super Galaxy on a direct, non-stop mission from Dover Air Force Base, Del., here June 5 and 6, 2011.
The flight was the first time a U.S. Air Force plane flew this northern route from the U.S., over Canada and into the Arctic Circle, then back down through Russian and Kazakhstan airspace to Afghanistan.
U.S. Transportation Command and Air Mobility Command officials at Scott AFB, Ill., said the mission was a “proof-of-concept” flight that will help establish future sustainment operations in Afghanistan.
AMC’s 618 Tanker Airlift Control Center planners at Scott AFB tasked and built the mission plans for the effort. It’s part of TACC’s continuing effort to support and control airlift and air refueling missions around the globe.
AMC officials said the flight was a culmination of months of diplomatic efforts and operational planning, and further illustrates the military’s commitment to finding innovative new ways to operate with increasingly constrained resources.
Maj. John Rozsnyai, a planner in USTRANSCOM operations at Scott AFB, said his command worked with the U.S. State Department, regional combatant commands, AMC, TACC and numerous other agencies to get this historic mission under way.
“This partnership was especially important in coordinating transit agreements with Russia and Kazakhstan,” Major Rozsnyai said, “While civilian airlines have been using the airspace, this was the first time an AMC plane took this direct delivery route.”
To make the entire 15-plus hour flight to Afghanistan, the C-5M was refueled by a KC-135R Stratotanker from the New Hampshire Air National Guard 157th Air Refueling Wing at Pease Air National Guard Base. The refueling took place over northern Canada.
USTRANSCOM planners said this flight is just the beginning of understanding new ways to strengthen the northern corridor.
“There will most likely be other flights that will originate from the western U.S. and won’t require the use of tankers,” Major Rozsnyai said.
“This route used by the C-5M may also be useful for swap-outs of deployed tankers and crews and for redeploying troops. The benefit might also allow for quicker trips saving days at home for deploying Airmen as well as requiring less stops for aircraft.”
The aircrew for the mission combined active-duty and Reserve Airmen.
Revived 4th Fleet: U.S. Guided Missile Ships In War Games Off Chile
June 11, 2011
USS Boone, USS Thach Conduct Exercises with Chilean Sub
By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class (SW) Steve Smith
USS BOONE, At Sea: Guided-missile frigates USS Boone (FFG 28) and USS Thach (FFG 43) completed a series of exercises with Chilean navy submarine Carrera (SS-22), June 10.
During the four-day passing exercise (PASSEX), ships from both navies trained with each other in a series of antisubmarine warfare (ASW) and surface warfare exercises to promote communications, interoperability and partnership.
The exercises included unit-level training in submarine familiarization, passive and active tracking, coordinated tracking exercises and coordinated tactical exercises.
“It was important for Boone to work with an asset, the Chilean sub, which we do not get to see often,” said Ensign Loney Cason, Boone’s antisubmarine warfare officer. “It was great to track a sub in real-time, which helps train sonar technicians, operational watch standers and lookouts.”
This series of exercises also focused on coordination and effectiveness of tracking and hunting submarine threats.
Boone and Thach participated by leading the coordinated ASW exercises and alternately serving as the search and attack unit commander.
“One of our missions during Southern Seas 2011 is [to foster] theater security cooperation,” said Hoy. “We are learning the fundamentals of how other navies function, and learning how to work with them in a tactical environment and beyond.”
U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command/U.S. 4th Fleet (COMUSNAVSO/C4F) supports U.S. Southern Command joint and combined full-spectrum military operations by providing principally sea-based, forward presence to ensure freedom of maneuver in the maritime domain, to foster and sustain cooperative relationships with international partners and to fully exploit the sea as maneuver space…in the Caribbean, Central and South American regions.
10-Member Pakistani Delegation To Visit NATO Headquarters
Associated Press of Pakistan
June 13, 2011
Secretary Information to visit NATO HQs on Tuesday
ISLAMABAD: A 10-member delegation of spokespersons, pubic relations and communication experts headed by Secretary Information and Broadcasting Taimur Azmat Osman will visit NATO Headquarters in Brussels on Tuesday.
The purpose of the visit on the invitation from Public Diplomacy Division of NATO, aims at strengthening political dialogue and creating greater awareness among media experts and bureaucrats from Pakistan about NATO’s role and engagements in Afghanistan.
The delegation will be meeting a number of high ranking NATO officials including the Head Partnerships Section Michael Duray, Colone Emmanual Chapy, Deputy Head of the Policy Planning Unit, Private office of NATO Secretary General; Diego Ruiz Palmer, Head Strategic Analysis Capability, Emerging Security Challenges Division; Oana Lungescu, NATO Spokesperson; Ambassador Jacek Bylica, Head of Weapons of Mass Destruction Centre, Defence Policy and Planning Division; and Ambassador Giampaolo Di Paola, Chairman of the Military Committee.
Besides a briefing on ‘NATO’s new strategic concept’ ‘NATO Partnership Relations with special regards to Pakistan’, and ‘NATO’s Weapons of Mass Destruction and Non- Proliferation Policy’ the delegation will also visit SHAPE (Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe).
The delegation will meet with the members of Pakistan Press Club in Brussels.
The other members of the delegation include Maj. General Athar Abbas Director General ISPR; Babar Yaqoob Fateh Mohammad Additional Secretary, Prime Minister Secretariat; Munir Ahmed, Director Public Relations, President Secretariat; Sohail Ali Khan Director Public Relations, Khurram Agha Prime Minister Secretariat; Muhammad Tahir Hasan Director Ministry of Information and Broadcasting and Brig. Atiqur Rehman Deputy Director ISPR.