Updates on Libyan war/Stop NATO news: July 27, 2011

27 July 2011 — Stop NATO

  • OPEC Won’t ‘Give NATO Carte Blanche To Bomb Oil-Producing Countries’
  • U.S. AFRICOM Commander Meets With Egyptian Junta Leader In Cairo
  • U.S. Planning To Maintain Military Bases In Afghanistan?
  • Poland Pushes West’s Eastern Partnership In Caucasus, Ex-USSR
  • Kosovo On Verge Of Armed Conflict
  • Sweden: Protest Held Outside Base Used For NATO Training

OPEC Won’t ‘Give NATO Carte Blanche To Bomb Oil-Producing Countries‘

http://english.ruvr.ru/2011/07/27/53777539.html

Voice of Russia
July 27, 2011

OPEC says no to NATO bombing

OPEC will not increase oil production as long as NATO continues to bomb Libya reported the Minister of Energy and Petroleum of Venezuela Rafael Ramirez, who is a member of OPEC.

‘We can not give NATO carte blanche to bomb oil-producing countries,’ he said.

Ramirez warned oil producers of the possibility of the repetition of the events of 1998, when in the wake of the economic crisis, the Asian oil market was so saturated that the price fell below the level of 10 dollars per barrel.

The Venezuelan minister believes that the economically developed countries deliberately try to destabilize the countries in OPEC because of those advocating a fair price for oil.

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U.S. AFRICOM Commander Meets With Egyptian Junta Leader In Cairo

http://www.almasryalyoum.com/en/node/480746

Al-Masry Al-Youm
July 26, 2011

Tantawy meets with commander of US Africa Command
Dalia Othman

Field Marshal Hussein Tantawy, president of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, met on Tuesday with General Carter Ham, commander of the United States Africa Command, who is heading a delegation to Cairo.

The meeting addressed issues of mutual interest, the latest political and economic developments in the region, Egypt’s role as a key partner in peace-keeping and the various challenges that face the African continent.

General Ham asserted his country’s interest in learning Egypt’s vision on African affairs, enhancing cooperation between Egypt…in Africa.

Egyptian Chief of Staff Sami Annan also met with Ham and discussed military cooperation between Egypt and the United States, the coordination of joint training in Africa and the exchange of political, economic and military expertise with African countries so as to achieve regional security in the Middle East and Africa.

The meeting was attended by leaders of the armed forces and the US ambassador to Egypt.

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U.S. Planning To Maintain Military Bases In Afghanistan?

http://english.ruvr.ru/2011/07/26/53753585.html

Voice of Russia
July 26, 2011

US military bases in Afghanistan: to be or not to be?
Andrei Ptashnikov

The new US Ambassador to Afghanistan Ryan Crocker has made a special declaration in Kabul about the alleged deployment of US military bases in that country.

The essence of this declaration is that the USA does not even think about establishing permanent military bases in Afghanistan after the withdrawal of its troops from that country in 2014. The ambassador stressed that there is no reason to fear that such bases may be used for putting military pressure on or even interfering in the internal affairs of countries bordering Afghanistan. Those countries are Iran and Pakistan and it is common knowledge that the USA’s relations with those countries are rather tense at present.

We wonder why Crocker decided to touch upon this subject in the early days of his period in office. Does he mean to confirm the USA’s peaceful plans in the region? He does, in a way, but this is obviously not the only reason. There have been a lot of rumours recently that the USA will not completely withdraw from Afghanistan even after 2014. The USA has not managed to defeat the Taliban even after almost ten years of war and it is unlikely that this objective will be achieved within the remaining three years. Who will control the country after the departure of US and NATO troops? Most experts admit that the Afghan army and security forces are incapable of establishing and maintaining law and order in the country so far. The current President Hamid Karzai is not a very strong political figure either, which is proved by the recent assassinations of his close associates.

In this case, is it possible that the Taliban can return to power as the best organized force in the country? It is possible and the White House is aware of this. A number of informed sources have leaked that the USA and the Taliban are carrying out secret talks on the future of Afghanistan after the full withdrawal of the troops of the international coalition from that country. If such talks are really in progress and if they are a success, can America trust the Taliban? Most likely no and Washington realizes this.

So what choice does the USA have to ensure that all its huge financial costs and human losses over 10 years of Afghan war were not in vain? It seems that there is very little choice. One option is to declare, as time gets closer to 2014, that the full withdrawal of American troops from the country is postponed until later. In that case the White House will not fulfil its promise and will confirm its helplessness in Afghanistan again. It is also unknown how long the war will have to last in that case because no one has ever managed to defeat that country or to impose one’s will on it in the course of its long history.

This means that the second option is more acceptable for America, which is establishing large US military bases in Afghanistan before US and NATO troops leave the country. This can be done, for example, on Hamid Karzai’s request. In that case all decencies will be observed, and the situation in that country will remain under control, and it will be easier to watch over uncooperative Iran. The White House can hardly fail to consider this option, no matter how vigorously the new US ambassador to Afghanistan denies this. There is no smoke without fire.

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Poland Pushes West’s Eastern Partnership In Caucasus, Ex-USSR

http://www.eurasianet.org/node/63953

STRATFOR
Juky 26, 2011

Poland’s Push for Influence in the Caucasus

Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski began a six-day tour of the South Caucasus on July 25 that will take him to Azerbaijan from July 25 to 26, Georgia from July 26 to 27 and Armenia from July 27 to 29. The tour is meant to advance the European Union’s Eastern Partnership (EP) program, which aims to boost the bloc’s cooperation with six former Soviet states (Belarus, Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan) on the European Union’s eastern periphery.

…The more tangible effect of the trip may be its domestic political significance ahead of general elections in October, demonstrating to the Polish public that the government is not soft on Russia. However, Warsaw hopes the trip will advance its own interests and serve as a small and symbolic step to weaken Russia’s grip over these countries.

Poland currently holds the European Union’s rotating presidency and has put strengthening the EP — which to this point has been limited in terms of scope and resources — at the top of its agenda. In line with this mission, Warsaw has focused on courting the three eastern European countries in the EP program that are on Poland’s periphery, especially Belarus and Ukraine (both countries where Poland has historic cultural influence). In Belarus, Poland has supported political opposition groups, and in Ukraine, Warsaw has played a leading role in trying to broker an association agreement and free trade agreement between the EU and Kiev. These moves and others by Poland are intended to counter the Russian resurgence and Moscow’s growing influence in these countries.

The three Caucasus countries of Azerbaijan, Georgia and Armenia have also been subject to Russia’s resurgence, but until this point have not received as much attention from Poland as part of the EP effort compared to the eastern European countries. This is something which Warsaw hopes to address via Komorowski’s weeklong tour…

Azerbaijan

Azerbaijan represents the pivot of the South Caucasus and is therefore the key country in the region for the West. Azerbaijan’s importance comes from both its location — it borders Russia and Iran in strategic areas — as well as its significant energy wealth. The latter has caused Azerbaijan to be heavily courted by the West to participate in energy projects like the Nabucco pipeline as a means of diversification from Russia’s energy grip. For this reason, Moscow has worked to block such projects…Poland has recently demonstrated an interest in reviving these talks, brokering a deal for the European Commission to begin negotiations with Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan (another potential supplier of Nabucco) on the energy project in September and, though this does not resolve the numerous challenges facing Nabucco, it does restart the discussion, which is itself important.

For Azerbaijan, Poland’s growing role in the EP also represents a unique opportunity. Azerbaijan is looking to diversify its military ties away from its traditional links to Russia, Belarus, Ukraine and Kazakhstan. It is in the process of attempting to build up its military, but the former Soviet military suppliers have capped what sort of equipment they are willing to supply. Baku is also interested in becoming more compliant to NATO standards. But in order to do this, Baku has to find a supplier willing to go against Russia’s wishes to supply weapons to the country. According to STRATFOR sources, Azerbaijan has been in discussions with Israel but is also looking for a NATO member to fill this role. Though Poland has not publicly stated any interest in this, it is the country that has been bold enough to stand up to Moscow in other areas, so they could potentially be the one Baku looks to in this matter.

Georgia

Georgia is the most pro-Western country in the Caucasus and hopes to eventually join Western institutions like the European Union and NATO…According to STRATFOR sources in Moscow, there have been rumors that the West — particularly the United States — wants to resume arms exports to Georgia, but Washington knows it would be too bold of a move against Moscow. Like the situation in Azerbaijan, there have been backchannel discussions that a third party could be such a supplier, such as Israel or Poland. Poland would likely be very careful in its consideration of such a move given the response from Russia, but Warsaw does want to show its support of Georgia in the security sphere in some way. Komorowski’s visit is therefore intended to show Georgia it has not lost its EU allies, and Poland’s regional presence and relationship with the United States could be a factor in making sure Tbilisi is on the European Union’s agenda.

Armenia

Armenia is the most difficult state for Poland and the West to woo, as it is essentially a Russian client state. Armenia hosts a Russian military base and Moscow owns much of Armenia’s energy and economic infrastructure. Therefore any cooperation between European Union and Armenia will be largely superficial, but economic deals could be a lever for Poland and the European Union to build a presence in the country over the long term.

Poland has a number of interests in increasing cooperation with the three Caucasus countries but also many significant challenges. Still, the EP is meant as an avenue for the European Union to build soft power and long-term influence in eastern states, and this is something Poland has seized as an avenue through which to advance its own interests, a goal which will face no shortage of opposition from Moscow.

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Kosovo On Verge Of Armed Conflict

http://english.ruvr.ru/2011/07/26/53771125.html

Voice of Russia
July 26, 2011

3 Serbs wounded in clashes near Zubin Potok in Kosovo

Three Serbs have been wounded in clashes in the village of Zubin Potok in the north of Kosovo, Radio KIM that broadcasts in Kosovo and Metohija reports. At about 4:00 p.m. local time, the sounds of gunfire were heard near the village of Varage. At least one Kosovo policeman was reportedly wounded. Controversial reports are coming from Kosovo.

The Tanjug News Agency quotes Milena Cvetkovic, the head doctor of a hospital at Kosovska Mitrovica, as saying that no new patients have been admitted since Tuesday morning. At the same time, Serbia’s Minister for Kosovo and Metohija Goran Bogdanovic has confirmed that the clashes did take place and that there are casualties among Serbs.

The Serbian television says that the Jarine border crossing in Kosovo has been shut. Reports about clashes near Zubin Potok have prompted local Serbs to seal off the road to the Brnjak border checkpoint. Earlier, Kosovo special task police made a failed attempt to storm the checkpoint, Mr. Boganovic said.

—————————————————————————

http://english.ruvr.ru/2011/07/27/53775277.html

Voice of Russia
July 26, 2011

Kosovo on verge of conflict

Three Serbs were wounded in clashes with riot police in Kosovo near the village of Zubin Potok. According to the local radio station K.I.M. the situation in northern Kosovo escalated on Monday evening, when Kosovo Prime Minister Hashim Thaci ordered the police to establish control over two checkpoints along the dividing line in central Serbia.

Normally the responsibility for these checkpoints is handled by the European Union Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo, EULEX.

One checkpoint was seized but later abandoned by Kosovo police commandos. The path to another checkpoint was blocked by local Serbs.

Tuesday afternoon, after the intervention of NATO international forces under the command of the Kosovo Force, KFOR, the situation seemed to have calmed down. But later it became apparent that it had not.

According to Serbian media on Tuesday the border crossing at Yasmin was closed. After reports of the clash near Zubin Potok, Kosovo Serbs also blocked the road leading to the border crossing at Brnyak.

The Voice of Russia talked to the head of the administration of Zubin Potok, Slavish Ristic, in Serbian and he had the following to say: ‘Zubin Potok still remains tense. People fear for their safety. The reasons for concern are the actions that members of the special forces of the Kosovo Police have taken.’

This morning the special division of the Kosovo police and members of the Rosa (Dew) Special Forces Unit seized the border checkpoint in the village of Brnyak. After lengthy negotiations which started at 13:00 hours between representatives of Belgrade, Pristina and KFOR, and representatives of ‘Rosa’, the border crossing was handed back to KFOR forces.

A half hour later, however, a different group of ‘Rosa’ Forces again attempted to penetrate into Zubin Potok. Members of the Special Forces Unit opened fire on unarmed civilians who attempted to block the road. Fortunately, there were no casualties.

Currently the reports coming out of Kosovo are conflicting in nature. At approximately 16:00 Belgrade time (18.00 GMT) gunfire was heard near the village of Varaga. At least one Kosovo policeman was injured.

The chief doctor of the Kosovo-Mitrovitsa hospital, Milena Cvetkovic told the Tanjug News Agency that there had been no admissions to the hospital during the morning. However, the Minister for Kosovo-Metohija affairs, Goran Bogdanovic, confirmed that clashes had in fact taken place and that there were Serbs among the victims.

The head of Kosovska-Mitrovitsya Region, Radenko Nedelkovic, reported that on Tuesday night negotiations between the northern Kosovo Serbian authorities and the representatives of NATO forces (KFOR) had taken place.

The Serbs insist that the Albanian leadership withdraw its police commandos and special forces from the border areas. At the same time there are reports coming in that the Albanian special forces have already left the checkpoint they captured and moved in the direction of Kosovo-Mitrovitsya, and are now in the village of Zhupche.

According to other reports Minister Goran Bogdanovic and the Political Director for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Serbia, Borislav Stefanovic, had negotiated with the commander of KFOR Erhard Bühler.

Observers say that the recent relations between Belgrade and Pristina have seriously deteriorated. Last week, the Kosovo government imposed a ban on the import of goods from Serbia, citing the decision by Serbian authorities not to recognize Kosovo’s customs seal and thereby prevent the importation of goods from Kosovo into Serbia. The dispute between Belgrade and Pristina had led to the disruption of another round of talks which were to have taken place on practical issues.

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Sweden: Protest Held Outside Base Used For NATO Training

http://english.ruvr.ru/2011/07/26/53771632.html

Voice of Russia
July 26, 2011

Pacifists hold protest campaign in Sweden

More than 200 pacifists from 17 countries gathered in Sweden to host a campaign of civil disobedience.

About 170 of them got into the territory of a test range in the northern town of Vidsel to express their protest against militarism.

The Vidsel test range is one of NATO`s major platforms for testing new military tactics.

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