- U.S. Marines Black Sea Force To Be Replicated In Africa
- South Sudan: Next NATO Intervention?
- Provincial Government: NATO Forces Guilty Of Deadly Pakistani Raids
- NATO Chief In Czech Republic To Discuss Global Transformation
- Million Dead, $1.8 Trillion Spent On Decade-Long U.S. ‘War On Terror’
U.S. Marine Black Sea Force To Be Replicated In Africa
Stars and Stripes
September 7, 2011
Marine rotational force mission in East Europe serves as model for future training
By John Vandiver
STUTTGART, Germany: The Marine Corps’ Black Sea Rotational Force will end a five-month mission in eastern Europe in the coming weeks, an operation that could serve as a model for how Marines conduct training missions in future.
Since April, Marine reservists operating from a base in Romania have set up noncommissioned officer academies and conducted counterinsurgency and peacekeeping training with more than a dozen countries from the Black Sea, Balkans and Caucasus regions. Many of those nations have contributed troops to the mission in Afghanistan.
‘What we bring to the table is the experiences of the last 10 years battling the war on terrorism,’ said Master Sgt. Daniel Devine, the platoon commander and training officer for the task force’s ground combat element. That cooperation, he said, makes it easier to work together in places such as Afghanistan.
…In addition to operations in Romania, the task force conducted missions in a host of other countries, including Georgia and Ukraine.
At one point during the deployment, Marines were working in six countries.
For Marine Forces Europe, with headquarters in Stuttgart, the Black Sea Rotational Force is an example of an efficient way to build up the capacity of foreign forces. That is expected to become a bigger focus for the Corps…
The Black Sea Rotational Force is an example of how to accomplish that, Marine officials said.
Last year, the Marines tested the concept of a rotational force in Europe with a three-month exercise in Romania. That was followed up with this year’s five-month rotation, which includes Marine reservists selected from units across the U.S. The rotational missions are expected to grow and continue through at least 2017.
The Marines have plans to launch a similar task force later this year in support of U.S. Africa Command.
The special purpose task force deployment model, which combines air and ground troop elements under a single commander, offers great flexibility and reach, according to Marines. It has enabled the Marines to work alongside troops from Romania, Bulgaria, Moldova, Serbia, Albania, Macedonia, Montenegro, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Ukraine, Turkey, Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan during the course of its current deployment.
Rear Adm. Mark Montgomery, deputy director of plans and strategy at U.S. European Command, said the group of rotating Marines has helped to augment EUCOM’s training initiatives across eastern Europe. While U.S. Army Europe continues to be the heart of EUCOM’s efforts, deploying thousands of troops for numerous training missions during the course of the year, the Marines are breaking new ground, he said.
South Sudan: Next NATO Intervention?
September 7, 2011
The State of South Sudan and NATO
Intentions on Trial
The magazine, Global Public Square, and the Times of London have recently published statements by US former envoy to Sudan, Andrew Natsios, in which he called on US government and European governments to create a long strategic alliance with the State of South Sudan.
In addition, Natsios called on the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) to include South Sudan in the NATO’s security system through entering into a security guarantee agreement with it whereby South Sudan would be included in NATO’s mandate and hence any aggression against South Sudan would be considered an aggression on all the NATO system.
However, many observers consider attempts by some powers to intimidate some regional parties by making them believe that the government of north Sudan has evil plans against its neighbors aim at creating regional tensions, a situation that justifies Western intervention.
These fears of north Sudan intentions had increased in the months that preceded the conduction of the referendum on self-determination of South Sudan with western circles claiming that the Sudanese government was adamant to abort the referendum process to prevent the South from attaining its independence and announcing its state.
Such plans and intimidations were clearly manifested in the reports of nongovernmental organizations that closely monitor the situation in Sudan, in the reports that have been regularly prepared by the United Nations Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) and in strategic studies centers’ reports; we should not forget the international conference on Sudan that was held last September at UN headquarters in New York.
All these fora have focused on fears that north and south Sudan would slip into war and violence assuming that the government of north Sudan may not be pleased with the secession of South Sudan and the difficulties it would face following the loss of 75 percent of the country’s oil.
However, all such expectations have proved to be baseless since they have been founded on wrong information and assumptions: the referendum process had gone on smoothly and without any problems, with 98 percent of Southern Sudanese voting for secession.
Following the announcement of the new Southern state on July 9, the same circles have begun again to warn against the risk of the eruption of war between the two neighboring states because of the many pending issues and differences between them, particularly the Abyei region.
These same circles use the difficulties being faced in arriving at a final solution to the Abyei question as a pretext for intimidation and planting differences between the two states in the north and the south in additional to regional parties.
Whether Natsios meant that South Sudan should be allowed to join NATO or that his statement was merely an invitation for a protection agreement within a strategic perspective, any of the options would form a strategic burden for the alliance…
The State of South Sudan, no matter how much Natsios’ doting on its unlimited wealth, would not be better than other Great Lakes countries whose natural resources, mineral and precious metals wealth have turned from a blessing to a curse, with these countries slipping into unending civil wars.
With the passage of time, these wars turned into regional ones and into wars-by-proxy when certain countries and what is commonly known as Resources Stealing Networks, interfered in these conflicts as active elements.
On this, we quote Natsios, who said, ‘International companies are racing for developing the huge south Sudan resources: rich soil, plenty of irrigation water, vast and open fertile lands, plenty of mineral resources, including valuable but depleting metals, such as gold, copper, diamonds and coltan in addition to 75 percent of both north and south Sudan oil reserves.’
According to experience, the inflow of capital and international companies are considered an element of corruption of the political class in many countries, particularly those newly born and fragile ones that are being ruled by former rebels who are not used to running a government.
Indeed, media reports published last July tell us that Norwegian Peoples Aid Society (NPAS), a non-profit Norwegian society, has revealed that some foreign governments, individuals, and companies have concluded deals with influential figures at the Government of the State of South Sudan (GoSS) under which the GoSS agreed to lease to them the most fertile lands in South Sudan for subsequent investment in the form of agricultural projects and bio-fuel production plants and the growing of vast areas of forests on an area estimated at 2.6 m hectares.
In commenting on these reports, NPAS said that the figures are ‘shocking since the areas of some of these projects are tremendous and that in addition, South Sudan is considered as one of the high-risk counties in terms of security.’
Ironically, a new report released by Maplecroft, an international firm that is concerned with risks analysis, has said under its terrorism risk index analysis that the South Sudan, though it is the newest country in the world, occupies the No 5 position in the list of the top countries that are most prone to terrorist attacks.
[T]he intervention of NATO in the State of South Sudan quagmire might shed more doubts on the deterring capabilities of NATO, particularly if the nascent state in South Sudan should involve itself in regional wars or local conflicts.
A slip of the tongue?
So, can we say that Andrew Natsios’s thoughts about expanding the NATO protection umbrella to include South Sudan State is a slip of the tongue or rather they are satanic thoughts in the making?
Largesse of good doers!
In order to garnish the idea of establishing a strategic alliance between the west and the state of South Sudan, Natsios is calling for the changing of the stereotyped image of the relations between the two parties: ‘During most of the twentieth century epoch, the South Sudan has been seen almost unanimously by Western partners as a helpless victim that needs international protection – which the West did – as a result of the brutality and aggressive policies of successive governments in Khartoum,’ he said once. He added with confirmation that the alliance he is calling for would be welcome by the South and will send clear signals to any government in Khartoum that it could face retribution from the US and Europe if it attacked the south. He added that such alliance would be an element of deterrence.
Provincial Government: NATO Forces Guilty Of Deadly Pakistani Raids
September 8, 2011
Nato forces responsible for Chitral incursion: KP govt
Riaz Khan Daudzai
PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government Wednesday held Nato forces operating in Afghanistan responsible for the infiltration and attack in Chitral and observed that the US-led Nato forces were either involved in the incident themselves or incapable of checking the incursions that would prove detrimental to regional peace.
Briefing the media after the 39th meeting of the provincial cabinet chaired by Chief Minister Ameer Haider Hoti, Information Minister and spokesperson for the provincial government Mian Iftikhar Hussain, said the cabinet expressed surprise that the attackers and terrorists who attacked Arundu last month were in Nato and Afghan forces’ uniform. The attack took place in the presence of Nato and Afghan forces, he said, adding that Nato forces were based in Afghanistan on a United Nations mandate, under which they have been tasked to operate against terrorists.
Around 400 Taliban from Afghanistan’s Nuristan province infiltrated into Chitral and eliminated three checkposts in Arandu and Mirkhani areas, killing about 16 Chitral Scouts and 10 border policemen on August 27.
‘Nato forces are operating in Afghanistan under an agreement and are there to maintain peace in the entire region, not only in Afghanistan. And it’s not their responsibility to work for peace in one region and carry out activities (attacks) in the other or let terrorists attack it,’ he said.
The minister said the cabinet condemned the attack and made it clear that the provincial government was taking it seriously. ‘The provincial government will not tolerate such attacks taking place in the presence of the Nato forces in the future. If such a situation repeats, the provincial government will go to the last extent and act on its own,’ he said.
Hussain said the international community, United Nations, Nato and Afghan government should take note of the situation as such incidents may harm global efforts and the war against terrorism.
To a question, he said the matter had been taken up with Afghan officials at the provincial level. He urged the federal government to raise it with the Afghan government so mutual ties with neighbouring state could stay normal. The cabinet also took note of the escape of some terrorists from Peshawar Central Prison and asked authorities to award exemplary punishment to those responsible in the light of the report of the ongoing inquiry into the incident. The minister admitted that terrorists were organising in jails since they had no special arrangements for such criminals.
NATO Chief In Czech Republic To Discuss Global Transformation
Czech News Agency
September 7, 2011
NATO chief to visit Prague today
Prague: NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen will visit Prague on Wednesday, September 7, and meet Czech Prime Minister Petr Necas, Defence Minister Alexandr Vondra and Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg.
Originally, Rasmussen was to have talks with President Vaclav Klaus on Thursday but this part of his programme had to be cancelled because he needs to return to Brussels.
Rasmussen talks with the Czech leaders are to focus on NATO’s transformation and its role in global security as well as on NATO’s 2012 summit, military operations in Afghanistan, anti-missile defence, relations to Russia, and further development in Libya.
Issues concerning Czech participation in foreign missions and allied operations will be discussed, too.
In July, Rasmussen addressed the defence ministers of the NATO member countries over possible cuts in their budgets that might threaten NATO’s functioning. His letter said it is necessary to meet the conclusions of NATO’s Lisbon summit and call for a reform of the military commands of their countries.
When Rasmussen visited the Czech Republic in March 2010, he asked the government to send more troops to Afghanistan.
In November 2012, a four-day session of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly will be organised in Prague.
Million Dead, $1.8 Trillion Spent On Decade-Long U.S. ‘War On Terror’
September 8, 2011
US pays price in blood and treasure for war on terror
By Tom Clonan
-In January 2002, the US began the lesser publicised Operation Enduring Freedom – Philippines…In October 2002, the US military started African military operations from Djibouti, establishing Operation Enduring Freedom – Horn of Africa…within Ethiopia, Somalia, Chad and Niger….This operation was subsequently broadened to include Operation Enduring Freedom – Trans Sahara, widening the scope of its operations to Central Africa and sub-Saharan Africa. This little-known war on terror in Africa has been fought in the main by thousands of US special forces and has been overshadowed by US military operations in Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan…[T]he US continues to wage its war on terror on several continents – from the Horn of Africa and Yemen to Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan.
In the decade since 9/11 about a million people worldwide have lost their lives in what is now known as the global war on terror. The term ‘war on terror’, was first used by President George Bush on September 16th, 2001, at Camp David as the US began to configure its military response to Osama bin Laden’s attacks on New York and the Pentagon.
In the weeks and months following 9/11, the Bush administration launched a series of robust military and intelligence interventions worldwide. The first phase started with the invasion of Afghanistan, or Operation Enduring Freedom, which began in October 2001.
The war aims were simple – to remove the Taliban leadership in Kabul and deny al-Qaeda physical sanctuary within the country. The US aimed to destroy al-Qaeda and disrupt its capacity to mount international operations from Afghan soil. It also sought to capture or kill bin Laden.
In January 2002, the US began the lesser publicised Operation Enduring Freedom – Philippines, to destroy the Islamist terror groups Jemaah Islamiyah and the Abu Sayaf group who had been co-ordinating terrorist operations throughout the Philippines and Indonesia from the island of Besilan…
In October 2002, the US military started African military operations from Djibouti, establishing Operation Enduring Freedom – Horn of Africa, designed to identify and destroy al-Qaeda affiliated Islamist terror cells within Ethiopia, Somalia, Chad and Niger.
This operation was subsequently broadened to include Operation Enduring Freedom – Trans Sahara, widening the scope of its operations to Central Africa and sub-Saharan Africa. This little-known war on terror in Africa has been fought in the main by thousands of US special forces and has been overshadowed by US military operations in Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan.
In March 2003, the US invaded Iraq in Operation Iraqi Freedom. The war aims of the US in Iraq were less clear than in its other interventions. Faulty and false intelligence reports on so-called weapons of mass destruction were mobilised as a motivation to attack Iraq.
The initial invasion phase, involving approximately 200,000 coalition troops, managed to topple Saddam Hussein’s regime. Saddam was subsequently captured, tried and hanged in Iraq. But no weapons of mass destruction were discovered and the invasion had the unintended consequence of strengthening Iran’s influence in the region.
A decade after the Twin Towers attacks, the US continues to wage its war on terror on several continents – from the Horn of Africa and Yemen to Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. The term ‘war on terror’ has entered the language as a catch-all phrase for everything from the inconvenience of security checks at airports to drone attacks in Pakistan. Officially, however, the global war on terror is now over. The Obama administration has rebranded and renamed the Global War on Terror, the Overseas Contingency Operation.
Since March 2009, the Pentagon and US Department of Defense have been requested to refrain from using the term, Global War on Terror.
In terms of blood and treasure, the wars have been costly for the US and Nato. In Iraq, the US and its allies lost almost 5,000 troops. More than 32,000 were wounded. In Afghanistan, where casualty rates have increased five-fold in five years, the US and its allies have lost almost 3,000 killed in action with a further 13,000 wounded.
More than 10,000 US and foreign mercenaries – euphemistically termed security contractors – have also been killed and injured in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The strain of a decade of war on America’s volunteer army has been heavy. According to the US Army Surgeon General 66,935 US troops suffer from acute combat stress reaction. In addition, the US Congressional Research Service has reported that a staggering 178,876 US veterans have suffered traumatic brain injuries. Almost 2,000 of these veterans are amputees and hundreds have also died of self-inflicted wounds or suicide while on active service in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The rate of suicide among US troops has more than doubled since 9/11. For civilians, the cost of war has been especially high. While estimates vary, British medical journal The Lancet suggests that a minimum of 655,000 Iraqi civilians were killed during Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Similar studies suggest that approximately 4,000 Afghan civilians have died during Operation Enduring Freedom. These figures represent those killed by both coalition troops and belligerent forces within Iraq and Afghanistan. The majority of civilian casualties, in both countries, were inflicted by insurgents.
The US Congressional Research Service, in its March 2011 report, states that the Overseas Contingency Operation has cost the US taxpayer $1.3 trillion – $130 billion per annum since 9/11. At present, US military operations worldwide cost $386 million per day, or $4,000 dollars per second. According to US Congressional estimates, the final bill will total $1.8 trillion.