9 August 2011 — Stop NATO
- UNESCO Head Deplores NATO’s Killing Of Libyan Media Workers
- Zimbabwe Slams Libyan War, Warns Populace Against NATO
- U.S. Army College Trains Senior Officers From 66 ‘Friendly’ Countries
- South Caucasus: Remember 08.08.2008
- Kazakhstan: Over 1,400 Troops In U.S.-Led Military Exercise
- Afghanistan: America’s War Of Lies
- Afghanistan Needs Talks, Not Drones
- Letter: Stop Use Of Unmanned Drones
- NATO Continues Building Proxy Armies In Iraq And Afghanistan
- New NATO Kennan Doctrine To Push Russia Back In Arctic?
UNESCO Head Deplores NATO’s Killing Of Libyan Media Workers
UN News Centre
August 8, 2011
UN official deplores NATO attack on Libyan television station
The head of the United Nations agency entrusted with safeguarding press freedom today deplored a recent North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) attack on Libyan State broadcasting facilities last month which killed three media workers and injured 21 people.
‘Media outlets should not be targeted in military actions,’ UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Director-General Irina Bokova said in a statement, citing a Security Council resolution from 2006 that condemns acts of violence against journalists and media personnel in conflict situations.
‘The NATO strike is also contrary to the principles of the Geneva Conventions that establish the civilian status of journalists in times of war even when they engage in propaganda,’ she added. ‘Silencing the media is never a solution. Fostering independent and pluralistic media is the only way to enable people to form their own opinion.’
Zimbabwe Slams Libyan War, Warns Populace Against NATO
August 8, 2011
Mugabe Slams NATO Over Military Campaign In Libya
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has condemned NATO over its ongoing military campaign ‘Unified Protector’ in Libya.
Mugabe made a scathing attack on the western alliance while speaking at an event on Monday commemorating Zimbabwe’s liberation war against white-minority rule.
The long-ruling octogenarian president called upon his countrymen to ‘be in a state of preparedness’ against NATO.
He said that in the name of protecting civilians, NATO wants to topple Libyan leader Moammer Qadhafi.
He slammed the alliance over the recent reported deaths of the Libyan leader’s relatives.
Mugabe had previously accused NATO of eyeing the oil resources in Libya. He called it a ‘terrorist organization,’ and the Western leaders supporting the air strikes ‘vampires.’
Last week, NATO had made it clear that it would consider halting its airstrikes in Libya over the holy Muslim month of Ramadan only after Qadhafi implemented a ‘verifiable and credible’ ceasefire.
The military alliance has flown almost 17,500 sorties over Libya since March 31 to enforce a United Nations-mandated no-fly zone and protect the Libyan population from attacks by pro-Qadhafi forces.
NATO Deputy Spokesperson Carmen Romero vowed that NATO operations…will continue…
U.S. Army College Trains Senior Officers From 66 ‘Friendly’ Countries
August 7, 2011
U.S. Army War College Class of 2012 reports for duty
By Joseph Cress
The school year has started for the largest U.S. Army War College class to date.
The Class of 2012 boasts 368 students, including 67 International Fellows, who are senior military officers from countries friendly to the U.S.
The students will be in residence at Carlisle Barracks through June 9, 2012, when they will graduate with a AWC diploma and a Master of Strategic Studies degree. Academic coursework officially began on Monday.
The largest single category of students are the 210 Army officers from the active, reserve and guard components. U.S. military officers enrolled at the Army War College are board selected and typically have about 20 years of services, having reached the rank of lieutenant colonel, colonel or the equivalent rank depending on the military branch.
The American officers include 32 from the Air Force active, reserve and Guard; 15 from Navy, active and reserve; 18 from the Marine Corps, active and reserve; and one Coast Guard officer.
Twenty-five high-ranking civilian workers are also in the Class of 2012, representing such federal organizations as the Department of Defense, the Defense Intelligence Agency, the Department of the Army, the Department of State, the National Security Agency, the Department of Homeland Security and the Veterans Administration.
This year’s contingent of International Fellows is the largest ever for an Army War College class. It includes two officers from the Pakistani military along with one officer each from the following countries:
Afghanistan, Algeria, Australia, Bangladesh, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, Bulgaria, Burundi, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Egypt, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Germany, Honduras, India, Indonesia, Israel, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Kenya, Korea, Kuwait, Lebanon, Lithuania, Macedonia, Malawi, Malaysia, Mali, Mexico, Mongolia, Montenegro, Morocco, Nepal, the Netherlands, Nigeria, Norway, the Philippines, Poland, Romania, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Serbia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Suriname, Sweden, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, Uganda, Ukraine, the United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, Yemen and Zambia.
South Caucasus: Remember 08.08.2008
Voice of Russia
August 8, 2011
August 8th marks three years since the regime of Georgia’s President Mikhail Saakashvili started a war against South Ossetia, at that time an autonomous republic within Georgia.
Russia interfered into this war, defending not only Ossetians, but also a detachment of Russian peacekeepers which was deployed there. It took Russia only 5 days to make Saakashvili stop the war.
After the war, South Ossetia and another former Georgian autonomous republic, Abkhazia, proclaimed themselves sovereign states. Very few nations have recognized them as such, but Russia is one of them.
Now, Ossetians – and Russians together with them – are commemorating the victims of this war.
On August 8, Russia’s President Dmitry Medvedev arrived in Krasnodar, a city in the south of Russia. From there, he went to the nearby village of Molkino, where the 10th brigade of Russia’s Special Forces is deployed. In 2008, this brigade took part in Russia’s response to Georgia’s aggression against South Ossetia.
Addressing the servicemen, the president said:
‘On this day, 3 years ago, the Georgian army attacked South Ossetia. Hundreds of people were killed, and thousands faced a threat of being killed. However, Russian peacekeepers stopped the aggressor. Your brigade was in the center of this operation. Many of your comrades paid with their lives for the freedom of Ossetia. Now, I am awarding your brigade with the Order of Georgy Zhukov.’ (Georgy Zhukov was a Soviet military commander in WWII.)
At the Russian military base in Tskhinval, the capital of South Ossetia, the commanders and the soldiers commemorated the victims of this war with a minute of silence.
In Tskhinval itself, thousands of the city’s residents gathered in the main square, near an old cathedral, and South Ossetia’s President Eduard Kokoity addressed them with a speech. In his speech, Mr. Kokoity commemorated not only the Ossetian, but the Russian victims of this war as well.
Ms. Zamira Jioeva, South Ossetia’s Deputy Minister of Education, says:
‘Ossetians must always remember this day. It is a day when Saakashivli and his aides wanted to obliterate the whole Ossetian nation.’
Earlier, in an interview to a Western media company, President Kokoity said: ‘I believe, South Ossetia’s main achievement in the last few years is the fact that it has been recognized as a sovereign state by several countries. Now, when we are living in peace, our main task is to develop our country’s economy. Russia helped us in that war, and, now, it remains the country which helps us most of all. We appreciate Russia’s help – the more so, because Saakashvili may try to recoup.’
Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has called Saakashvili no less than ‘pathology’.
‘Russia will never cooperate with Saakashvili’s regime in any way,’ Mr. Lavrov says:
‘It looks like Saakashvili has not yet calmed down after the loss of South Ossetia and Abkhazia,’ Mr. Lavrov says. ‘Now, he is inventing all kinds of tales to make the world believe that it was Russia who was the aggressor in that war. He says that Russians and Ossetians ‘violated Georgia’s territorial integrity’. But I must tell you one thing. I have had private talks with many of the world’s politicians – and I have noticed that even those of them, who, in their official speeches, praise Saakashvili’s regime and condemn Russian ‘aggressors’, in private talks, show that they, in fact, realize the real state of affairs quite well. They praise Saakashvili because it is profitable for them to do so.’
‘However,’ Mr. Lavrov continues, ‘Russia’s President Medvedev has said that Russia does not associate the Georgian people with Saakashvili. We won’t cooperate with Saakashvili, but we are ready to cooperate with Georgians in business and in culture, Mr. Medvedev said.’
Russia and Georgia have never broken their contracts in the energy field. Airplanes still fly from Russia to Georgia and vice versa. ‘Russia is ready to conclude all kinds of business contracts with Georgia, if they are not politicized,’ President Medvedev says.
And, of course, if a new president replaces Saakashivi, Russia will seek for close cooperation with him or her.
Kazakhstan: Over 1,400 Troops In U.S.-Led Military Exercise
Trend News Agency
August 8, 2011
Kazakhstan launches Steppe Eagle exercises
Astana: The Steppe Eagle-2011 tactical peacekeeping exercises have launched on the Iliski polygon today, the Kazakh Defense Ministry reported.
The Kazakh army, UK armed forces, Lithuania, Kyrgyzstan and U.S. will take part in the exercises this year.
The joint exercises are held for the ninth time. Over 1,400 military men and about 100 units of operational technical armaments are being used.
Afghanistan: America’s War Of Lies
August 9, 2011
This war of lies
‘All war is based on deception.’ — Sun Tzu, in The Art of War
The decade-old Afghan war, which was built entirely on lies, has claimed innumerable lives and caused destruction too huge to be measured in terms of money. In October it will be ten years since the United States invaded Afghanistan, but it still remains unclear when, and whether, the occupation will ever end.
Aside from direct military action, US forces have been guilty of repeatedly bombing wedding parties and funerals. A recent review of Afghan military documents has revealed more than 1,100 instances in which US-led forces used white phosphorus against non-combatants, and in residential areas.
The 9/11 attacks were planned in Germany and Spain, and conducted by US-based Saudis, but a bloody war was imposed on the people of Afghanistan thousands of miles away. The majority of Americans, who have been conditioned to believe whatever their corporate media tells them, swallow the lies of their rulers with all the gullibility of a child.
The war’s biggest untruth is that the US is in this region in order to defeat terrorism. In fact, the Americans invaded Afghanistan with their eyes on the oil reserves of Central Asia. The Caspian Sea region has the world’s largest oil and gas reserves. Afghanistan occupies a strategic position between the Caspian and the markets of the South Asian subcontinent and East Asia.
The US claims that it is trying to liberate the people of Afghanistan from Taliban tyranny. Nothing can be farther from the truth. Since the beginning of the war in October 2001, the Pentagon and the CIA are aiding a rough coalition of armed groups, called the Northern Alliance, whose record is just as bloody as the Taliban’s. For the people of Afghanistan replacement of Taliban by the gangsters of the Northern Alliance is hardly an acceptable alternative. As for the Taliban and Al-Qaeda, it is also a matter of common knowledge now that in the late 1990s the CIA was planning to use Al-Qaeda to stir up Muslim Uyghurs against Chinese rule.
The Bush administration claimed that the US is fighting a war in Afghanistan to defend the values of civilisation. However, one of the things that have become absolutely clear in these ten years that the Americans’ involvement in Afghanistan is strictly about the defence of their global interests.
Nor is the US in Afghanistan to ‘fight international terrorism,’ as the Americans insist. In fact, the United States’ enemy in Afghanistan is a national resistance movement. The organisation has become decentralised, with nerve centres around the globe.
Now it is being claimed that the US is going to withdraw all of its troops from Afghanistan in 2014. But credible media reports say that the Pentagon is exploiting all available options, including bribing the Karzai government, to accept the presence of US troops on Afghan soil for an indefinite period of time. In this regard US military generals are also pressuring President Obama to back down on his commitment to withdraw troops from Afghanistan.
After a decade of occupation, the US finds itself fighting an irregular conflict with no clear victory conditions. One must inevitably say that the longer this war goes on, the more of a disaster it becomes for the people of Afghanistan. The death and destruction that the US government wreaks around the world are increasing the likelihood of terrorist attacks. Disturbingly, this war is only about the extension of the power of a small section of elites in the US having nothing to do with bringing the terrorists to justice.
Afghanistan Needs Talks, Not Drones
Gulf News (United Arab Emirates)
August 7, 2011
Afghanistan needs talks, not drones
Nato generals’ military optimism has weakened their leaders’ political strategy
The continued bombing of Taliban targets by Nato forces is no way to drive a political strategy for the future of Afghanistan. When US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton embraced a new political realism and announced in February that the United States was willing to talk to the Taliban, things seemed to be about to change. But unfortunately nothing has happened since then. The US has not launched a powerful round of diplomacy in the region that would be essential to coordinate efforts among Afghanistan’s neighbours.
Military thinking has continued to dominate Nato’s political strategy, with the hardline generals personified by General David Petraeus insisting that continued military surges and drone attacks are vital to defeat the Taliban before talks can start. The military mind is not accustomed to admit failure, and its domination of politicians over Afghanistan has forced Nato into the ludicrous position of arguing that it can impose a political solution on Afghan people.
The few tentative talks that have happened are understandably held in secret and no announcement has been made. If the hardline Taliban leaders know that one of their colleagues is talking to the United States, or to the Karzai government, they are very likely to kill him. Therefore the need for secrecy is obvious.
However, it is important that the Nato allies and the Karzai government give those Taliban who are willing to talk, some reason to do so. Those Taliban who want a negotiated settlement (and there are a growing number who do) need to show that they will gain something for their effort. The drone attacks are top of the average Pashtun’s hate list, and all too many will have seen the missiles falling from the skies, often killing civilians. Their continued use fatally weakens any political initiative.
Letter: Stop Use Of Unmanned Drones
August 6, 2011
Stop use of unmanned drones
Robert E. Lee once said, ‘It is well that war is so terrible – lest we should grow too fond of it.’ I fear that the U.S. has become too fond of bombing by means of the unmanned ‘drone’ aircraft we are using in six countries: Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia, the last three being CIA ‘covert’ operations.
In these three cases we are also in clear violation of international law and the U.N. Charter. Such ‘pre-emptive’ strikes are not justified by ‘self-defense,’ since that notion has traditionally been interpreted quite narrowly.
Politically, drones are appealing since bombing via unmanned planes allows officials to appear vigilant in fighting terrorism while avoiding more Americans put directly in harm’s way. However, their present use is wrong both morally and tactically.
First, drone bombings are unethical because they violate the basic human rights of the hundreds of innocents we have killed along the way. In general, killing others to secure some benefit to ourselves is not morally permissible regardless of where the victims live. This is quite apart from the very real question of whether killing merely suspected terrorists who have not yet acted against the U.S. is justified.
Moreover, our actions surely undermine our moral authority around the world. It is hypocritical to take pride in our commitment to the rule of law while flagrantly violating the law when doing so supposedly serves our interests. Certainly, we would find such attacks completely outrageous were we their victims rather than their perpetrators.
Finally, drone bombings are tactically foolish. Foreign Affairs magazine recently estimated that only 1 attack in 7 kills a militant leader, and by one count, we have killed Al Qaeda’s ‘number three’ some 20 times. The long term effect of our behavior is likely to be many new terrorists seeking revenge; no war has ever ended as a result of aerial bombings.
The drone bombings are thus both immoral and unlikely to serve our long-term interests.
NATO Continues Building Proxy Armies In Iraq And Afghanistan
North Atlantic Treaty Organization
NATO Training Mission – Iraq
August 8, 2011
NATO Training Mission–Iraq DCOM visits Iraqi Ground Forces Commander
NATO Training Mission-Iraq Deputy Commander, Maj. Gen. Giovanni Armentani, met Thursday August 4 with the Iraqi Ground Forces Commander, Staff Gen. Ali Ghaydan at the Iraqi Ministry of Defence.
The generals discussed possible ways to increase the existing cooperation between the Iraqi Army and NTM-I; in particular, they focused on the opportunity to further implement out-of-country courses for Iraqi Officers and NCOs.
Improvement in the fields of logistics, intelligence and NCO military education mentoring was also on the agenda of the high officers.
Maj. Gen. Armentani announced that an NTM-I liaison officer will be appointed soon to the Iraqi Ground Forces headquarters. Staff Gen. Ghaydan welcomed this decision, and said this will significantly add to the effectiveness of the common training activities.
The meeting concluded with the generals agreeing to meet again in the Iraqi Ground Forces Compound on Victory Base Complex to overview the current training system.
The NATO Training Mission in Iraq (NTM-I) was established in 2004…The aim of NTM-I is to assist in the development of Iraqi security forces training structures and institutions…
NTM-I is…a distinct training mission, under the political control of NATO’s North Atlantic Council. Itsoperational emphasis is on training and mentoring. The activities of the mission are coordinated with Iraqi authorities and the US-led Deputy Commanding General Advising and Training (DCG (A&T)) who is also dual-hatted as the Commander of NTM-I. NATO has an enduring commitment to Iraq.
NTM-I advises and supports the Defence University for Military Studies, National Defence College, War College, and the Defence Language Institute with the other institutions in Baghdad. Other cooperation projects for NATO in Iraq are out-of-country training courses for Iraqi nationals at NATO schools as well as the Iraqi Police (Iraqi Federal Police and Oil Police) training led by Italian Carabinieri.
Currently, NTM-I is a small tactical force of NATO/PfP personnel, representing 14 member nations (as at August 2011): Albania, Bulgaria, Denmark, Estonia, Hungary, Italy, Lithuania, Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Turkey, Ukraine (Partner for Peace), UK, USA.
North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Allied Command Operations
August 5, 2011
National Police Training Centre Wardak
Members of NATO Training Mission – Afghanistan’s counterinsurgency mobile training team trained 60 Afghan National Police trainees on multiple counterinsurgency elements and their benefits at National Police Training Center Wardak.
Over the course of three days members of NTM-A COIN MTT covered the fundamentals of insurgency, the fundamentals of counterinsurgency, COIN tactical posture and force protection, and partnering and information operations.
The COIN program, like many of training efforts being conducted throughout Afghanistan, is a part of NTM-A’s mission to train ‘train the trainers,’ teaching Afghan police and Soldiers how to conduct training themselves for the next generation of recruits.
By Master Sgt. Quinton T. Burris
RSC-East Public Affairs/NTM-A Public Affairs
New NATO Kennan Doctrine To Push Russia Back In Arctic?
August 6, 2011
Arctic Oil Geopolitics
Shell Oil is expected to get permission from the U.S. government to begin exploratory drilling in the Beaufort Sea north of Alaska next summer. The Shall news is being interpreted as an easing of the Obama administration’s policy toward offshore drilling, but it also is a reminder of the big oil and gas stakes increasingly disputed in the Arctic Ocean area.
Russia, which has coasts going about halfway around the ocean, is of course the big gorilla in the room. Three years ago, on August 2, 2007 to be exact, it got the world’s attention when one of its submarines planted a Russian flag on the seabed at the North Pole. No doubt the main purpose of the expedition was to assert a point, but it also had a quasi-scientific purpose – to gather evidence to bolster Russia’s claim to continental shelf reaching out to the Pole.
According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the Arctic may hold about one fifth of the world’s remaining oil and gas reserves. Some Russian planning takes the Arctic to be crucial to the country’s economic strategy and prospects, starting as early as 2020. Already, Russia’s Gazprom is involved with France’s Total and Norway’s Statoil in developing the Shtokman field, on Russia’s northern coast.
Until recently, areas along that coast were considered barely accessible, but with the summer ice thinning radically, ships are now able to traverse the fabled Northeast Passage, linking the North Atlantic to the northern Pacific. As one recent report noted, ‘A Norwegian cargo ship has already traversed the Northeast Passage faster than expected and without encountering any major challenges.’ As the Earth continues to warm, the cost of extracting Arctic oil and gas will fall, even as the need for it mounts…There’s also loose talk of developing a Kennan-style containment doctrine for the Arctic, to push Russia back and give NATO a new mission.
However inflated that kind of language may be, the stakes are not trivial. Norway and Russia are maneuvering for position in the Barents Sea, where Statoil recently made its biggest find in decades, advancing their claims at the United Nations Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf. Denmark is engaged in the same kind of struggle with Russia over seabed north of Greenland.
Canada, which is increasingly concerned as much about control of newly opening sea routes as it is over resource claims, is purchasing eight new armed ice-breaking patrol ships, has been conducting Arctic military exercises, and is constructing a base on Ellesmere Island. The European Union bidding for a seat on the Arctic Council, consisting of Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia, Sweden, and the United States.