Updates on Libyan war/Stop NATO news: July 30, 2011

30 July 2011 — Stop NATO

  • NATO Armored Vehicle Kills Child, Injures Seven Other Afghans
  • Mongolia: U.S. Leads NATO, Asian NATO Allies In Military Exercise
  • America’s Africa Partnership Station In East Africa
  • Call To Expand American Counterinsurgency Operations In Philippines
  • U.S. Military To Be Based In Australia To Confront China
  • U.S. Could Upgrade Polish Warships For Baltic Sea
  • Bulgaria: Pentagon Continues Upgrading Military Bases
  • U.S. Uses Romanian Air Base To Supply Afghan War

NATO Armored Vehicle Kills Child, Injures Seven Other Afghans

http://english.ruvr.ru/2011/07/29/53926694.html

Voice of Russia
July 29, 2011

One Afghan killed, 7 injured by NATO vehicle

A German armoured vehicle in Kunduz in northern Afghanistan has smashed a local minibus, leaving one passenger dead and 7 others injured.

The fatality is a ten-year-old girl. The other casualties are three men and four women.

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Mongolia: U.S. Leads NATO, Asian NATO Allies In Military Exercise

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english2010/world/2011-07/30/c_131018751.htm

Xinhua News Agency
July 30, 2011

Multinational peacekeeping exercise to be held in Mongolia

ULAN BATOR: A multinational peacekeeping exercise code-named ‘Khaan Quest 2011? will be staged in Mongolia from July 31 to August 12, a Mongolian Armed Forces officer announced here on Friday.

About 900 troops from 11 countries, including the United States, Japan, South Korea, Australia, Canada, India, Germany, Indonesia, Cambodia and Singapore, will participate in the war game, said Lt. Col. B. Bat-Erdene.

Mongolia has held the Khaan Quest exercises annually since 2003. In 2006, at the request of the U.S. Pacific Command, the training was turned into a multinational exercise.

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America’s Africa Partnership Station In East Africa

http://www.navy.mil/search/display.asp?story_id=61853

Navy NewsStand
July 29, 2011

APS Graduates 80 East African Students
By Lt. Cmdr. Suzanna Brugler, Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe and Africa/U.S. 6th Fleet Public Affairs

MOMBASA, Kenya: The Africa Partnership Station (APS) East Kenya Hub graduated 80 students representing six East African countries at Bandari College in Mombasa, Kenya, July 22.

The students came from the countries of Djibouti, Kenya, Mauritius, Mozambique, Tanzania and Uganda.

The graduates had one week of classroom training at the college and one week of hands-on training aboard small boats and the ship…

APS is an international security cooperation initiative facilitated by Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa, aimed at strengthening global maritime partnerships through training and collaborative activities in order to improve maritime safety and security in Africa.

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Call To Expand American Counterinsurgency Operations In Philippines

http://www.voanews.com/english/news/asia/US-Maintains-Quiet-Counterterrorism-Effort-in-Philippines-126348218.html

Voice of America News
July 29, 2011

US Maintains Quiet Counterterrorism Effort in Philippines
Gary Thomas

-Zeender believes progress against Philippine-based terrorist groups remains elusive without a deeper U.S. commitment in the Philippines.
‘We’ve lost some members of my old unit actually down there. And I don’t really see any gains being made…’
-[T]he two countries still hold joint military exercises. And Secretary of State Hillary Clinton reaffirmed the U.S. defense commitment to the Philippines in June amid rising tensions between Manila and Beijing over disputed islands in the South China Sea.

Washington: In [2001] the U.S. dispatched a military team to the Philippines to help the Manila government root out militant Islamic extremist groups…The military mission remains in the Philippines as part of the U.S.-led global anti-terrorism campaign.

Rocky Zeender spent two years on what he calls the ‘forgotten front’ of the war on terrorism – the Philippines.

‘Nobody knows about it. Right now all the funding and all the military support is going into the Middle East…,’ Zeender said.

As a member of the U.S. Special Forces, a ‘Green Beret’, Zeender slogged through the jungles and across mountains of the southern Philippines with Philippine troops from 2008 to 2010…

‘You do have some very sporadic cities throughout Mindanao, although it would pretty much resemble any Vietnam movie anyone has ever watched – pretty much nothing but jungle and mountains and rice paddies. I spent most of my time up in the mountains. It was extremely dense jungle, extremely dense forest, very steep terrain, and very difficult to travel, sometimes impossible to travel, by vehicle, only by foot,’ Zeender said.

The Joint Special Operations Task Force-Philippines, numbering about 600 men and women from the four U.S. armed services with an annual $90 million budget in the current fiscal year, was created in 2002…

…Zeender says U.S. troops did patrol with military troops and national police, and in doing so did take casualties, including some fatalities, primarily from improvised explosive devices.

‘The U.S. military is not allowed to actively target terrorist groups within the Philippines…However, if attacked, we do obviously have the right to self-defense, and that did happen under a couple of occasions while I was in the Philippines. And we worked very well with our counterparts,’ Zeender said.

Zeender believes progress against Philippine-based terrorist groups remains elusive without a deeper U.S. commitment in the Philippines.

‘We’ve lost some members of my old unit actually down there. And I don’t really see any gains being made. There seems to be one hand in the pot, and we’re not really fully committing. And I believe it would be almost kind of a stalemate. We’re not really gaining any ground or affecting anything on a large international level…,’ Zeender said.

But the issue of a U.S. troop presence is a sensitive one in the Philippines. The 1987 Philippines constitution bars foreign military bases from the country, and the U.S. bases were closed after Philippine Congress voted in 1991 not to extend the base leases. However, the two countries still hold joint military exercises. And Secretary of State Hillary Clinton reaffirmed the U.S. defense commitment to the Philippines in June amid rising tensions between Manila and Beijing over disputed islands in the South China Sea.

====

U.S. Military To Be Based In Australia To Confront China

http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/us-military-will-be-based-on-australian-soil-just-dont-call-it-a-us-base/story-e6frf7jo-1226103758228

Herald Sun
July 29, 2011

US military will be based on Australian soil – just don’t call it a US ‘base’
Ian McPhedran

-Mr Smith will have raised eyebrows in Beijing with his admission that Australia is the ‘southern tier’ of America’s strategic interest.

US military hardware and personnel are set to be permanently placed in Australia, though both governments continue to avoid the word ‘base’.

Defence Minister Stephen Smith in Washington yesterday revealed he was keen to cement formal links so that the US could:

POSITION military equipment on Australian soil.

HAVE greater access to Australian training and test ranges, such as Shoalwater Bay in Queensland and Woomera in SA.

REGULARLY use Australian bases and ports.

‘The strategic focus of our discussions with the United States is to the north of Australia and to the strategically important arc running from the Indian Ocean through to the Asia-Pacific region,’ Mr Smith told the Brookings Institution.

‘That would mean pre-positioning supplies, equipment and Navy platforms to be closer to where natural disasters may occur.’

Mr Smith was in Washington for high-level discussions with new US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta.

In addition to bases, the pair discussed worrying delays to the huge Joint Strike Fighter program and how the US could help Australia to develop its next generation of conventional submarines.

‘Part of this planning is to talk to our friends and partners who have significant expertise in designing, building and operating submarines,’ Mr Smith said.

‘Part of this planning is also making sure that our future submarine, its combat systems and capabilities, is interoperable with US forces, so we can continue to work together to meet security challenges into the future.’

Mr Smith will have raised eyebrows in Beijing with his admission that Australia is the ‘southern tier’ of America’s strategic interest.

====

U.S. Could Upgrade Polish Warships For Baltic Sea

http://www.upi.com/Business_News/Security-Industry/2011/07/29/Poland-asks-US-support-for-frigates/UPI-63341311943045/?spt=hs&or=si

United Press International
July 29, 2011

Poland asks U.S. support for frigates

WASHINGTON: Poland is seeking U.S. technical support and a service life extension program for two ex-FFG-7 class frigates.

The U.S. Defense Security Cooperation Agency said the Foreign Military Sale request carries a value of $200 million.

‘The proposed sale will improve Poland’s capability to meet current and future operational needs,’ the agency said in its notification to Congress. ‘Poland already has the capability to maintain the current frigates and will have no difficulty absorbing the upgraded shipboard systems into its armed forces.’

The proposed sale would involve multiple contractors, as well as U.S. Atlantic Coast shipyards that will compete for planning and execution of the system overhaul and upgrade projects.

Implementation of this proposed sale wouldn’t require the assignment of additional U.S. government or contractor representatives to Poland.

====

Bulgaria: Pentagon Continues Upgrading Military Bases

http://paper.standartnews.com/en/article.php?d=2011-07-29&article=36888

Standart News
July 29, 2011

Construction Companies Compete to Work for the USA Bases in Bulgaria
Martin Lekov

Three representatives of the US Army explained that only companies with experience in Bulgaria and the region may take part in the competition for selection of executor of construction projects in the US bases in Bulgaria.

Construction companies from Bulgaria, Germany and Greece will compete to be employed to work for the US bases in Bulgaria, it transpired at a seminar held in Sofia by representatives of the United States Army Corps of Engineers.

According to the marks, construction companies will get contracts for operational orders or the so called – Multiple Award Task Order Contracting (MATOC) orders. The maximum capacity of the contract is US$30 million and it is for 1 basic year. The US military men can extend the contract for two additional years.

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U.S. Uses Romanian Air Base To Supply Afghan War

http://www.stripes.com/news/u-s-moving-cargo-to-afghanistan-through-romania-1.150334

Stars and Stripes
July 27, 2011

U.S. moving cargo to Afghanistan through Romania
By John Vandiver

-Part of what makes the airfield so appealing is its proximity to the Black Sea port of Constanta, a key logistical link that opens access to other transit routes. Another advantage is that Romania, a NATO member, would allow equipment to flow both in and out of Afghanistan, Derner said. Not all countries allow traffic to flow both ways, he said.

STUTTGART, Germany: U.S. cargo planes have been delivering weapons and other supplies to a U.S. Army brigade in Afghanistan from a Romanian air base on the Black Sea for nearly three months, as U.S. military officials assess how large a role Mihail Kogalniceanu Air Base could play for the remainder of the war in Afghanistan. The base’s potential to serve as a logistical transport hub for other operations in the future also is being examined, military officials said.

‘The general area there in Romania has road, air and sea capacity, so it’s very conducive,’ said Lt. Col. Greg Derner, a logistics officer at U.S. European Command headquarters in Stuttgart.

For the U.S., getting equipment in and out of Afghanistan has long been a struggle. Land transit through Pakistan has proven risky, with many convoys coming under Taliban attack in the tribal areas along the border. Political unrest in Kyrgyzstan disrupted flights from U.S.-operated Manas Air Base for a time, and Russia has restrictions on what can move through its territory.

While the Romanian base wouldn’t eliminate all the challenges of transporting equipment and supplies into Afghanistan, running more missions out of Romania would ease some of the existing pressures, Derner said. The assessment of the base’s potential as a ‘multi-modal’ hub is expected to take several months and will include input from three commands: Central Command, Transportation Command and EUCOM, Derner said.

Since May, U.S.-based Contingency Response Wings have been operating at Mihail Kogalniceanu, testing the air field’s capacity. Currently, about 70 airmen are finishing the final phase of the operation — delivering 1,000 tons of equipment to the recently deployed 172nd Infantry Brigade out of Grafenwöhr.

‘This is the stuff they need to function downrange,’ said Lt. Col. John Platte, who is leading the California-based 615th Contingency Response Wing’s effort in Romania.

From Platte’s perspective, the mission has gone off without a hitch.

The 615th picked up the mission after a New Jersey-based wing completed the first leg of the exercise earlier this summer. During the initial phase, members of the 621st Contingency Response Wing moved nearly 1,000 tons of equipment in and out of Afghanistan during a three-week deployment.

Part of what makes the airfield so appealing is its proximity to the Black Sea port of Constanta, a key logistical link that opens access to other transit routes. Another advantage is that Romania, a NATO member, would allow equipment to flow both in and out of Afghanistan, Derner said. Not all countries allow traffic to flow both ways, he said.

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