15 August 2011 Stop NATO
- Gaddafi Calls On Libyans To Take Up Arms Against NATO
- Libyan War: U.S. Global Hawk Drone ‘Reaches Critical Milestone’
- Iran Blasts NATO’s Meddling In Region As ‘Big Mistake’
- Israel Plants New Mines, Deploys More Troops Along Syrian Border
- NATO’s Arm, The Neo-Ottomans
- State Department: U.S. Shifts Geostrategic, Military Focus From Middle East To Asia
- Trillion Dollar War Budget: Old Days Of Entitlement In U.S. May Be Gone
- NATO, ICC Criminalise Stone Throwing, Legitimise Street Shooting
Gaddafi Calls On Libyans To Take Up Arms Against NATO
August 15, 2011
Gaddafi urges Libyans to take up arms against NATO
TRIPOLI: Libyan state television early on Monday broadcast what it said was a live speech by Muammar Gaddafi calling on the Libyan people to arm themselves to liberate the country from ‘traitors and from NATO.’
The speech, which was broadcast in audio only with no images, was the first time Gaddafi had spoken in public since rebel fighters launched their biggest offensive in months in the area around Tripoli.
‘The Libyan people will remain and the Fateh revolution (which brought Gaddafi to power in 1969) will remain. Move forward, challenge, pick up your weapons, go to the fight for liberating Libya inch by inch from the traitors and from NATO,’ the Libyan leader said.
‘Get ready for the fight…The blood of martyrs is fuel for the battlefield.’
Gaddafi says the rebels are criminals and al Qaeda militants, and has described the NATO bombing campaign as an act of colonial aggression aimed at stealing Libya’s plentiful oil reserves.
(Reporting by Missy Ryan; Writing by Christian Lowe; Editing by Tim Pearce)
Libyan War: U.S. Global Hawk Drone ‘Reaches Critical Milestone’
Air Force Link
American Forces Press Service
August 12, 2011
RQ-4 Block 30 Global Hawk reaches critical milestone
by Scott Knuteson
Air Combat Command Public Affairs
LANGLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Va. – The commander of Air Combat Command declared initial operational capability for the RQ-4 Block 30 Global Hawk Aug. 10.
The Air Force successfully deployed the Block 30 RQ-4 Global Hawk in support of Operation ODYSSEY DAWN in Libya and Operation TOMODACHI in Japan, and the IOC declaration is another significant milestone for the aircraft.
‘The basic requirement for Block 30 IOC is to support one continuous Block 30 24-hour orbit for 30 days,’ said Gen. William M. Fraser III. ‘There are enough assets and infrastructure in place to support the one continuous Block 30 orbit requirement for IOC.’
‘There is still much that needs to be done to reach Global Hawk full operational capability,’ Fraser added. ‘To that end, we’ll continue working closely with Headquarters Air Force and Northrop Grumman.’
Iran Blasts NATO’s Meddling In Region As ‘Big Mistake’
Fars News Agency
August 14, 2011
Ahmadinejad Blasts NATO’s Meddling in Region as ‘Big Mistake’
TEHRAN: Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad lashed out at NATO for its interference in the Middle-East and North Africa, Libya in particular, stressing that the regional states are able to govern their own affairs.
Speaking about the recent popular uprisings in the region during the past few months, President Ahmadinejad said that these developments display that people in the region are afflicted with major problems.
‘The entire world is not satisfied,’ he said in an interview with Russia Today.
‘There are class distinctions, there are pressures, armed conflicts, and a large number of nations are being humiliated all the time. Today, justice and dignity are among the requirements of all human beings. Nations in our region and in North Africa have the same aspirations.’
Ahmadinejad added that Iran believes that nations in the Middle-East and North Africa have the ability to run their own affairs and that NATO and the United Nations have made a big mistake by meddling in Libya.
‘NATO has interfered in Libya’s affairs. The (UN) Security Council has made a mistake,’ he said, adding, ‘Instead of sending bombs and planes to Libya they should have sent mediation groups, in order to (help them) prepare for free elections, under the auspices of the United Nations.’
Ahmadinejad opined that the Security Council’s hasty resolution has complicated the situation and led to numerous deaths among the civilian population.
Israel Plants New Mines, Deploys More Troops Along Syrian Border
Russian Information Agency Novosti
August 14, 2011
Israel army plants new mines on Syrian border
TEL AVIV: Israel’s army is planting new land mines along the armistice line with Syria in a bid to dissuade protesters from attempting to rush into the Golan Heights, Israeli media said on Sunday.
The old mines failed to explode when the Palestinian and Syrian supporters crossed the borders into Golan in mid May, according to the Israeli army’s weekly magazine Ba’mahaneh.
The preparations come as part of Israel’s increased measures ahead of demonstrations that Palestinians plan to hold in September, Ba’mahaneh reported.
The Israeli army announced a few days ago that it will also deploy more troops along the northern borders with Syria and the northwestern borders with Lebanon…
NATO’s Arm, The Neo-Ottomans
August 13, 2011
NATO’s Arm, the Neo-Ottomans
Turkey does not get its reputation from the history of its empire, despite the theories of its Foreign Minister Ahmet Davuto?lu, and despite the attempt to renew Ottomanism and return to the country’s roots and to its neighborhood, after the illusion of exile to Europe. Neither does it get its reputation from the history of its army, which ruled it and upheld ‘its secularism and its democracy’ until the Justice and Development Party (AKP – Adalet ve Kalk?nma Partisi) came to power, nor from oppressing Kurds and forbidding them from speaking their language.
Turkey gets its reputation and its power from being the second military force in the North Atlantic Alliance (NATO). In other words, Turkey is the arm of the Europeans and the Americans in the Middle East, not to say the policeman entrusted with guarding Western interests, without being accepted into the European Union because of its ancient and modern Islamic history. And it is well known that the United States has always been exerting pressures on the EU in favor of Ankara, and that France and Germany were those most opposed to its entry into the Union.
The Middle East’s policeman had also not been accepted in the region when the military controlled its political fate, and had adopted a path opposed to Arab causes, with the Palestinian Cause at their forefront. In fact, Turkey’s military went as far as sealing a strategic alliance with the Hebrew state in order to confront any Arab attempt to rise up.
Such recent history could not be erased by the leader of the ruling AKP party Recep Tayyip Erdo?an. His stances on Shimon Peres at the Davos forum, as well as his stance on the Gaza war, were only attempts at distinguishing himself from the Europeans and the Americans in order to prove that he had a regional role to play, without this meaning to depart from the interests of both, especially when it comes to issues that have a direct impact on his own domestic situation, such as his stance on the Iraq war.
Based on such a stance, Erdo?an started, from the first day of the events in Syria, behaving on the basis that this was an ‘internal Turkish matter’. He thus went on to exercise his policies on this basis. He hosted conferences for the Syrian opposition and adopted its slogans. Moreover, he contributed to shaping an Arab and international public opinion opposed to the Syrian regime, making use of the presence of thosee displaced from Jisr Al-Shughur on Turkish soil near the Syrian border.
Erdo?an was coordinating each of the steps he was taking with the United States and Europe, believing that the Syrian regime was doomed to fall, wagering on playing a role in shaping another regime that would succeed that of Assad, and presenting himself as a model of ‘democratic’ Islamists acceptable to the West. And after the events developed and reached what they have in Syria, he was systematically used by the Americans to convey messages to Assad – messages that could be summed up as ‘reform now or leave’. He is well aware that such a condition cannot be fulfilled. The violence will not stop, because it has gone beyond the phase of confrontation between security forces and peaceful protesters to one between armed fighters whom Damascus calls ‘terrorists’ and the army. Another reason is that reform ‘now’ is not possible in Syria, nor in any other country. Moreover, the promises made by Assad and the laws he is drafting are not
being accepted by the opposition nor by Western countries, which considered them to be ‘provocation’, as French Foreign Minister Alain Juppé said.
It is not true that Davuto?lu did not convey an American message to Assad. And it is not true that the warning directed at him by Erdo?an of ‘reform within 15 days or face dire consequences’ was a warning from Ankara alone. Rather, such a warning sums up the stances of the Europeans and the Americans, and those of the Arabs as well, however with a Turkish Islamic eloquence which both the West and the East understand. Moreover, the United States would prefer to arrive at consensus by ‘the international community, including Arab countries’, for many reasons, most importantly the fact that it does not want to take decisions ‘unilaterally’. Indeed, the US has learned from its experience in Iraq. And here it is waging the war in Libya with NATO forces and the support of some Arab countries, without bearing the blame alone for killing civilians and for the failure of the war to topple Gaddafi and spread democracy.
Turkey is preparing itself to lead change in Syria and in the Middle East, believing itself to be qualified to do so. Indeed, it is acceptable for both the Muslim World and the West, and its relations with Israel no longer represent an obstacle after ‘the threat of the Hebrew state has gone’, in addition to the fact that its situation is ideal for confronting Iran and its influence.
Turkey has returned to the region through the Syrian gateway, and it has the ambition of consecrating its leadership status by changing a regime that does not agree with its ‘democratic Islamism’, nor with its role as NATO’s arm. As for the legitimate and urgent demands of Syrians, neither Erdo?an, nor the United States, nor Europe will fulfill them.
State Department: U.S. Shifts Geostrategic, Military Focus From Middle East To Asia
August 15, 2011
US keeps an eagle eye on Asia
Greg Sheridan, Foreign editor
-’I think what you see is an across-the-board effort (by the US) to articulate India as playing a greater role in Asia, and also revitalising relations with ASEAN – both ASEAN as an institution, and with its key members, such as Indonesia, Vietnam and Singapore, and revitalising what used to be a very important relationship with The Philippines.’
-Campbell has made it a personal mission to revive US activism in the South Pacific, and recently led a US delegation around the region.
Washington’s foreign policy needs to pivot away from the Middle East and towards the Asia-Pacific, says US Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Kurt Campbell.
In an exclusive interview with The Australian, he says: ‘One of the most important challenges for US foreign policy is to effect a transition from the immediate and vexing challenges of the Middle East to the long-term and deeply consequential issues in Asia.’
Few officials would put the choice so starkly. Campbell is not suggesting that the US neglect its responsibilities in the Middle East. But his comments reflect a desire, widespread across the Obama administration, to deepen and widen US engagement in Asia.
Campbell has found that the economic troubles of the US have meant that he has to project a more basic message to Asia: that the US is in Asia to stay, and that its security and economic commitments in Asia remain as strong as ever.
This took particular form when Campbell’s boss, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, was scheduled to deliver an economic speech in Hong Kong recently. She had had various messages about market-opening and intellectual property to deliver. But the sense of the region changed the content of the speech.
‘When we travelled through Asia, before and after the ASEAN regional forum, it became clear that what a lot of Asians were interested in hearing about was the continued effectiveness and relevance of the United States,’ Campbell says.
When I conducted the interview with Campbell at the Perth meeting of the Australian American Leadership Dialogue, I also spoke to Mike Green, a former Asia director at the National Security Council under president George W. Bush, and now a professor at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, DC. ‘It’s inevitable that the economic problems have put a dent in our soft power,’ he says. ‘In material terms, it’s almost a non-story. The math in the Standard & Poor’s downgrade was incorrect.’
Campbell is a Democrat and Green a Republican, but they represent something of a broad continuity of the centre ground in US foreign policy, especially in relation to Asia.
Campbell believes the US will recover from its present economic problems and that reports of US decline are vastly overblown.
‘At the end of the Vietnam War, there was enormous dialogue about US power and whether we could continue to be effective. At the end of the Cold War there was rhetoric that the Cold War was over and that Japan had won,’ he says. ‘We’ve repeatedly proved the critics wrong. The underlying fundamentals – economic performance and political stability – make me confident we can do so again.’
The broader question is whether the US in particular, and the West in general, are seen as declining powers in Asia.
Green thinks that, outside Beijing, this view of Western decline is not widespread in Asia. But, he says: ‘There is a feeling in Beijing that’s palpable that the West is in rapid decline and that China’s century of humiliation is over.’
The minority of Chinese who do not buy the triumphalist line that the West is in radical decline, Green says, includes the Chinese leadership. ‘The netizens and others are constantly pressuring the government to stand up to America, and this is encouraged by the People’s Liberation Army.’
I asked Campbell about…the general disposition of China in Asia, especially in its massive military modernisation. ‘There is an undeniable assertive quality to Chinese foreign policy and we’re seeing that play out in the South China Sea and elsewhere ’ he says.
‘What has been effective in the past year or so is the number of countries in the Asia-Pacific (that) have been prepared to say to China that greater transparency (from China in military matters) is in the interests of the Asia-Pacific region.’
Campbell does not see, or present, US diplomacy in Asia as a zero sum game between Washington and Beijing. And the US is taking a wide array of measures to enhance its own many-layered dialogues with China. But at the same time it is deepening its relations with China’s neighbours.
‘I think what you see is an across-the-board effort (by the US) to articulate India as playing a greater role in Asia, and also revitalising relations with ASEAN – both ASEAN as an institution, and with its key members, such as Indonesia, Vietnam and Singapore, and revitalising what used to be a very important relationship with The Philippines.’
Green is much less diplomatic about China. He believes the PLA’s doctrine and practice of serial episodes of assertive confrontation with neighbours has not substantially changed, but that the Chinese Foreign Ministry has been given permission to negotiate some modest protocols for maritime engagements, especially with southeast Asian neighbours.
I asked Green what, then, is the thinking behind the PLA’s leadership…
‘The Chinese say it’s defensive because the US is creating a string of encircling alliances with troublemakers like Vietnam and Japan,’ Green says.
‘The second reason is they say it’s their right. The PLA has a new doctrine, which they call the Near Sea Doctrine, which is a bit ambiguous but takes their navy way out beyond the littoral chain of islands. The PLA view is that they should be able to deny foreign navies in this area and they also feel they need longer-range blue-water capabilities to defend their interests.
Campbell, a great champion of the US-Australian alliance, believes it is a central part of the Asia-Pacific architecture and that it is growing more significant to both nations. ‘The US-Australia alliance is undeniably more important. It requires more attention, it’s stronger and more durable than ever. I’m certain it is moving to become a more intimate alliance.’
But Green thinks Australia should stand up to China with more assertiveness.
Campbell has made it a personal mission to revive US activism in the South Pacific, and recently led a US delegation around the region.
‘This is your backyard,’ he says. ‘The US does have deep strategic interests in the South Pacific. We do see increased Chinese activity. We welcome it so long as it’s transparent and constructive.’
Trillion Dollar War Budget: Old Days Of Entitlement In U.S. May Be Gone
August 14, 2011
Old days of entitlement may be gone in US
By Rong Xiaoqing
-The US economy is likely to remain in intensive care or critical condition for some time to come. It could easily drag down the rest of the world with it. Tighten your seatbelts.
The US may just be starting to come to terms with some home truths.
No nation’s government can continue to spend $1 for every 60 cents it gets in revenue, and think it can borrow the rest. No country living beyond its means like that can spend $692 billion a year on its military, more than the spending by the next 16 countries added together, including China and all the leading countries in Europe. No nation can be so spendthrift and continue to waste tens of billions of dollars on a disastrously inept system of healthcare in which simple operations and drugs cost more than anywhere else in the world.
If you want to know why Standard & Poor’s cut the US triple-A credit rating, just consider some of these numbers and cringe at all the criticism leveled at the rating agency by Treasury and White House officials who behaved as if the US hadn’t gone on a spending and tax cutting spree in the past 11 years.
Remember that under former President Bill Clinton the budget was balanced and the US debt started to get paid off. But then the administration of George W. Bush began two very expensive wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, delivered two costly tax cuts, and then created the conditions for the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. Oh, and that financial crisis was caused by ridiculously exuberant borrowing by homebuyers and equally as ridiculous lending by the banks. The nation took its cue from the government: Spend today because there may be no tomorrow.
Well, now we are at that moment of truth which means that tomorrow is going to be very different from today and yesterday.
Things could be about to get very grim. Talk of a recession, which started about two weeks ago when the nation’s GDP figures were much worse than expected, has really picked up steam now as the markets have been sinking. The fear is that consumers will stop spending and businesses will stop investing because of the economic uncertainty, and this at a time when the government and the Federal Reserve have run out of money or monetary policy tools to stimulate demand.
It isn’t beyond the realms of possibility to imagine the jobless rate, already at 9.1 percent, surge well above double digits, or to see the economy contract next year, home prices fall another 10-20 percent, and social unrest in some major cities. This week’s riots in London could be a sign of things to come.
So, how can the Americans get out of this nightmare? First of all, they have to learn from countries that have been through major financial crises, such as Latin America in the 1980s or much of Asia in the 1990s. These nations bounced back through lower currencies, lower standards of living, increased savings rates, and austerity. In the same way as you or me would balance our personal income and spending if we had gone on a shopping binge, by cutting back.
For the US, the adjustment process would mean lower wages, less welfare, higher retirement ages, and more tax. And I almost forgot – this great nation can no longer spend as much on soldiers and weapons. It can’t afford it.
But will it happen? Unfortunately it may not anytime soon. Already, polls show that while Americans are concerned about the budget deficit and the massive debt burden, they don’t want to see the so-called entitlements of American society go away. Those entitlements include the social security pension system, the healthcare support for the elderly and poor, and the food stamps that tens of millions of Americans receive.
The US economy is likely to remain in intensive care or critical condition for some time to come. It could easily drag down the rest of the world with it. Tighten your seatbelts.
The author is a New York-based journalist. firstname.lastname@example.org
NATO, ICC Criminalise Stone Throwing, Legitimise Street Shooting
Joy Online (Ghana)
August 15, 2011
NATO and ICC: Criminalising stone throwing and legitimising street shooting
Bernard Anbataayela Mornah
‘This is pure criminality and must be confronted and defeated’. Just in case you were wondering where I was going with this statement, these are the words of Prime Minister David Cameron, which also represents the official position of No.10 Downing Street on the current unrest in what we use to know as the Great Britain. You know what; I will come back to that.
Comrades, I thought since it was our collective responsibility not to maintain silence on what is happening in the north of our continent I hold this discussion with you. Indeed, the silence from the leadership of our continent on the on-going uprisings in the north of Africa, most particularly the rebellion in Libya, suggests there are no more nations in the African Union.
Today, the neo-colonialism Osagyefo mentioned takes on much more meaning to me.
As we are all witnessing the most aggressive form of neo-colonialism in the north of our continent? Overnight, the Brits and the French have become so concerned about Africa as to have to appointed themselves as the overseers of the mixed reactions in the north of our continent.
I call it mixed because the external beneficiaries of these uprisings would want us to believe that these uprisings were conducted in the same manner and that there were no dynamics in the uprisings from one country to the other. I don’t remember it that way; what I remember is that in Tunisia and Egypt there were unarmed civilians on the streets that shouted their voices so loud as to be heard.
This, in my opinion, is a great departure from what we see in Libya today. You already know my position on brother Gaddafi – too much long service does not help. However, it is for the Libyan people to decide that and not the Brits or the French.
Only last month, two dramatic but revealing events took place. The first was a large-scale demonstration across Great Britain by unionists demanding a stop to some proposed changes in the pension scheme by the coalition government of the Conservatives and the Lib-Dems. The crowd I saw on the streets of Great Britain didn’t look any different from the one I saw in Tunisia in the wake of the Tunisian uprising. In fact, I could have confused the two for each other. Now for a moment let us move the location of Great Britain to anywhere in Africa: you know the obvious that would have happened more than I do.
The second and most dramatic event was the grappling of President Nicholas Sarkozy by a man from the crowed while he seems to be on a familiarisation tour, which I believe will count towards his re-election campaign. But for the immediate and swift intervention of his security he would have been brutally manhandled. It was not mentioned why the man in the crowed did what he had to do. However, my guess is on three premises.
1. The first might be an expression of dislike for his style of leadership.
2. The second, could be due to his involvement in the north of our continent and
3. Third, probably, his perceived involvement with the Strauss Kahn issue.
Either way there is a suggestion that some of the citizenry have rejected him just as it is in the case of Egypt, Libya and Tunisia. Interestingly, Sarkozy is still a hero in the European Union, going about resolving the financial crisis in Europe as we speak. Again, if Sarkozy was an African president you know the obvious that would have happened to him more than I do.
Comrades, I promised to come back to the opening quote that preceded our entire conversation. I therefore wish to do that now. Very recently, by dinner time, 563 people had been arrested in the unrest that was triggered by the gruesome murder of Mr. Mark Duggan (RIP) by the London Metropolitan Police. Just like the self-immolation of Mr. Mohamed Bouazizi that sparked the unrest in Tunisia, the murder of Mark Duggan cannot be treated as the remote reason for the uprising in Leeds, Liverpool, Birmingham, Manchester, Bristol, Nottingham and, most particularly, on the streets of Peckham, Hackney, Croydon and Tothingham. However, his death should be remembered as the explosion point for ordinary people that could no longer identify their role in the future of their own communities and nation because it has been taken away from them.
Comrades, I do not wish that we think of the consequences if this was an African country. What I would rather we do is to think of the advice Brother Gaddafi would have had for Prime Minister David Cameron if they were seated shoulder to shoulder. He would have probably whispered into his ears brotherly advice from Ambassador Karbral- ‘If they come for your brother in the morning they will come for you in the evening’. In fact, such advice would have certainly left us with a difficult question.
Admittedly, NATO came for one brother in the morning but who will come for the other brother in the evening? My guess is the American Army. I almost forgot, the American Army is probably tired from the invasion in Iraq. This is evident in the American privatisation of the war by employing the service of private American security companies to participate in the invasion because their hands were full. Maybe the French or even the Germans could be an option. Hmm, again, forgive my forgetfulness; they are equally tired from the Iraq invasion. Of course, the only option left now is NATO but their hands are equally full, simply because their over-‘generosity’ to the Libyan people has made them overstep the UN mandate on Libya.
I just thought of it, what about the human rights abuses that arise out of this ‘pure criminality that must be confronted and defeated’. At least, one thing comes to mind, the International Criminal Court of Justice (ICC) is watching, and Luis Moreno-Ocampo, the sword-bearer of the ICC must be encouraged to act with keen interest and with supersonic speed. However, as to whether he will not mince his words is something we can only hope for.
In conclusion, I have a proposal to make that is outside our earlier discussion. I have for a while now observed that our continent is gradually tilting away from the west. My proposition is that we move forward in search for a permanent interest rather than a permanent relationship because our newly found friends in the east might not be any different. Let Africa unite lest we perish in a world of cheats.