Updates on Libyan war/Stop NATO news: September 9, 2011

9 September 2011 — Stop NATO

  • Libya: NATO-Led Forces On Killing Spree Against Migrants, Immigrants
  • Canadian Forces Ready For Extended Libyan Mission: Military Chief
  • Why A U.S. War With China May Be Inevitable
  • Japan, U.S. Advance Layered Interceptor Missile System
  • Military Committee Chief: NATO Needs To Reinforce Separatists In Kosovo
  • U.S. Drone Strikes Kill 10, Wound Dozens In Southern Yemen
  • U.S. Naval War College Prepares For Arctic Intervention
  • Contest Of Power In Asia Pacific: Who Wins?

Libya: NATO-Led Forces On Killing Spree Against Migrants, Immigrants


Bulatlat (Philippines)
September 9, 2011

NATO-led rebels abducting, killing civilians in Libya, including migrants, immigrants
By Ina Alleco R. Silverio

Rebel forces allied with the United States and the Northern Alliance Treaty Organization (NATO) might be targeting migrants and citizens of other nationalities in Libya.

This is the fear of Migrante International after reports have surfaced that in the worsening conflict in Libya, rebel forces seeking to oust Libyan President Muammar Quaddafi might be going after migrants. The group said the Philippine government must speed up rescue and repatriate all Filipinos still in Libya. According to latest reports, there at least 14,000 Filipinos there. It raised the alarm anew after a series of attacks on the embassies and territories owned by Kenya, South Africa, Venezuela, Vietnam and the Philippines.

Of the six million population in Libya, an estimated 1.5 million are migrant workers. Before the conflict erupted, some 30,000 Filipinos were based in Libya. Only half have been repatriated by the Philippine government.

Migrante International chairperson Garry Martinez called on President Benigno Aquino III to hasten repatriation efforts and release updates on the well-being and whereabouts of the OFWS.

‘We have received reports that the rebels are killing and targeting dark-skinned people because they are viewed as ‘mercenaries’ and supporters of Gaddafi,’ he said.

Rebels abducting, killing civilians

According to international news reports, rebels in east Libya have begun a killing spree against immigrants. Nato-supported rebels are on the warpath against immigrants and foreigners and have started to detain, rape and even execute black immigrants, students and refugees. It has also been reported that in the last two weeks, more than 100 Africans from various Sub-Saharan states are believed to have been killed by Libyan rebels and their supporters.

Independent news media have been appealing for a stop to the carnage as they recounted reports from Somali refugees in Libya that at least five Somalis in Tripoli and Benghazi have been massacred by anti-Gaddafi mobs. Dozens of refugees and migrant workers from Ethiopia, Eritrea, Ghana, Nigeria, Chad, Mali and Niger have also reportedly been killed. Some of the victims were first led into the desert and then stabbed to death. Black Libyan men receiving medical care in hospitals in Benghazi were reportedly abducted by armed rebels.

They are part of more than 200 African immigrants held in secret locations by the rebels. The rebels are accusing dark-skinned migrants of being ‘mercenaries’ and Gaddafi loyalists.

‘We have also heard reports that Libyan rebels also hold in suspicion Venezuelans, Vietnamese and Filipino nationals whose governments have not yet officially recognized the Transitional National Council (TNC),’ said Martinez.

Earlier, rebels attacked and ransacked the Philippine Embassy in Tripoli. No Filipino was reported hurt but Martinez said the recent attack gives a clear picture of the still escalating chaos in Libya.

‘There is anarchy and lawlessness in Libya. It’s quite difficult to believe the Aquino government’s claims that no Filipinos have been contacting them for repatriation,’ he said.


Canadian Forces Ready For Extended Libyan Mission: Military Chief


Toronto Sun
September 8, 2011

Canadian Forces would be ready for extended Libya mission: Top general 28
By Daniel Proussalidis

OTTAWA: If Prime Minister Stephen Harper asks the Canadian military to extend its air force and naval mission in Libya beyond the end of September, the military’s top general says the Canadian Forces will be ready.

‘The Canadian Forces air, land, and sea have tremendous capability and depth,’ said Gen. Walter Natynczyk, chief of defence staff, outside the House of Commons on Thursday. ‘It depends on what the international community wants, but the Canadian government has all kinds of options.’

Parliament has blessed the involvement of the Canadian military in Libya until Sept. 27, but the Conservative government has hinted it will seek to extend those operations.

‘Canada will be a part of the military mission until it reaches its conclusion,’ Harper said in Paris earlier this month…

Libya is expected to be one of the first issues Parliament deals with when it resumes sitting on Sept. 19.


Why A U.S. War With China May Be Inevitable


U.S. News & World Report
September 8, 2011

Why a U.S. War With China May Be Inevitable
Stephen Glain

-If the events of the last 60 years has proven anything, it’s that threat inflation is as deeply entrenched an American tradition as predatory lending. Yet with the evaporation of one threat inevitably comes the rise of another. Just as radical Islam filled the vacuum created by the imploded Soviet Union as an existential core threat, so too has the degradation of al Qaeda cleared the decks for the coming war with China.

Unwittingly no doubt, the Pentagon is marking the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks by repeating one of the mistakes that provoked The Big One in the first place. In his 1996 fatwa against what he called the ‘Zionist-Crusader alliance,’ Osama bin Laden called the occupation of Saudi Arabia by U.S. troops after their eviction of Iraqi forces from Kuwait in 1991 the ‘latest and the greatest’ of American ‘aggressions’ against Islam.

This week, without a trace of irony, The New York Times reported that the Pentagon is fine-tuning a plan to keep 3,000 to 4,000 American troops in Iraq after the deadline for their withdrawal at the end of the year. Such a residual force, like the one in Saudi Arabia before it, will likely stoke resentment among Arab Islamists that will inevitably express itself with violence against U.S. citizens or perhaps even on American soil. It would also make a lie of President Obama’s pledge to bring all American forces home from that misbegotten war and it only multiplies the number of U.S. troops cooped up in wasteful and intrusive military bases abroad.

Of course, the Middle East theater has been all but downgraded as a priority in the Endless War celebrated by American militarists. Coincidental with the rush of 9/11 reflections has been the howling of war hounds for conflict with China. Princeton professor Aaron L. Friedberg, a former close adviser to Vice President Dick Cheney, another lingering specimen of the Bush Pathology, argued in the Times this week that American taxpayers must stump up whatever is needed to keep the Chinese dragon in its lair. ‘Strength deters aggression,’ argues Freidberg. ‘This will cost money.’ According to Friedberg, no economic crisis is so severe that it could distract Americans from the serious business of provoking its largest creditor.

Meanwhile, Dan Blumenthal, a commissioner of the reliably alarmist U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission, has cowritten a clarion call to preserve American hegemony in Asia and beyond. According to Blumenthal and his colleagues, the primary benefactor of the Pax Americana—China—is now doing everything possible to subvert it. In an essay posted on FP.Com this week, the authors warned a defense-spending floor of 4 percent of gross domestic product should be established to cope with the looming China threat. Otherwise, they argue, America will render itself vulnerable to Chinese prodding in Beijing’s own backyard. (‘Can we thrive as a nation if we need China’s permission to access Asia’s trade routes?’ the authors ask plaintively, as if Beijing was constructing a toll road through the South China Sea.) Even now, they warn, the Pentagon is forecasting strategic ‘shortfalls’ of badly needed fighter aircraft, naval ships, and submarines. A failure of Congressional nerve to cover those deficits, according to Team Blumenthal, could ‘lead to Armageddon.’

As a Tokyo-based correspondent in the mid-1990s, I used to lament the ‘irony deficiency’ of my hosts. Clearly, that ailment has gone viral and jumped the Pacific (along with stagnant economic growth and political dysfunction).

Have we forgotten the fraudulent ‘bomber’ and ‘missile’ gaps peddled by the Defense Department during the 1950s to leach taxpayers for ever more powerful, and as it turned out, largely unnecessary, weaponry against the Soviet Union? If the events of the last 60 years has proven anything, it’s that threat inflation is as deeply entrenched an American tradition as predatory lending. Yet with the evaporation of one threat inevitably comes the rise of another. Just as radical Islam filled the vacuum created by the imploded Soviet Union as an existential core threat, so too has the degradation of al Qaeda cleared the decks for the coming war with China.

In its annual report on China’s military modernization, the Pentagon this week expressed concerns about what it interprets as Beijing’s increasingly offensive posture and lack of transparency. (This from a bureaucracy that, according to its own inspector general, fails every year to account for hundreds of billions of dollars in unsupported expenditures.)

No doubt China has its own hegemonic ambitions for a region that has been largely Sino-centric for the last three millennia. Washington meanwhile, appeals for a ‘peaceful’ evolution of Chinese power even as it refuses to concede an inch of its own suzerainty over Asia’s seaways and air corridors. The two sides are talking past one another even as they engage in a menacing arms race; absent a diplomatic effort to reconcile their divergent positions, some kind of Sino-U.S. conflict is inevitable.


Japan, U.S. Advance Layered Interceptor Missile System


Kyodo News Agency
September 7, 2011

Japan begins collecting data to boost accuracy of missile detection

TOKYO: The Defense Ministry started activities Tuesday involving launching mock missiles and collecting data in a bid to boost the accuracy of detecting and tracking missiles under the missile defense plan.

In the simulated launch, an Air Self-Defense Force F-15 fighter plane fires a missile, which is not loaded, off the Noto Peninsula in central Japan facing the Sea of Japan, according to ministry officials.

The operation, involving the launch of a total of 15 mock missiles by the end of March 2013, will cost about 8.2 billion yen.

Under Japan’s missile defense plan, the sea-based Standard Missile-3 interceptor will be used to intercept a ballistic missile outside the Earth’s atmosphere.

If the interceptor misses the target, the ground-launched Patriot Advanced Capability-3 missile will be used to shoot down the target as it reenters the atmosphere.

Japan’s Self-Defense Forces, in cooperation with the U.S. military, have been conducting tests involving SM-3 and PAC-3 interceptors off Hawaii and the mainland United States.


Military Committee Chief: NATO Needs To Reinforce Separatists In Kosovo


Focus News Agency
September 8, 2011

Kosovo violence proves need for NATO presence: official

Pristina: Recent violence in the north of Kosovo in a trade row between Pristina and Belgrade underscored the need to retain NATO peacekeepers in the region, a top alliance official said Thursday, as quoted by AFP.

‘The recent…violence proves the need for NATO and partners to stay present in the region,’ NATO’s Military Committee chairman, Italian admiral Giampaolo Di Paola was quoted as saying in a statement released by the alliance’s KFOR mission.

Di Paola, who led a committee visit to Kosovo, said NATO ‘and contributing nations are and will stay committed to this region.’

‘Certainly there is still a delicate situation in the north,’ he said.

A trade row spilled over into violence late July when Pristina ordered its security forces to take over the two border crossings with Serbia to enforce a newly imposed ban on Serbian goods.

The ethnic Albanian Kosovo government said the ban was being ignored by ethnic Serb members of Kosovo’s border police.

Serbs in northern Kosovo reacted angrily and an ethnic Albanian police officer was killed and four injured in ensuing clashes.

KFOR troops stepped in when one of the border posts was set on fire and bulldozed, apparently by ethnic Serbs.


U.S. Drone Strikes Kill 10, Wound Dozens In Southern Yemen


September 7, 2011

US Drone Strikes Kill 10, Wound Dozens in Southern Yemen
by Jason Ditz

The usual fighting on the ground continued apace in the southern Yemeni province of Abyan, with 8 soldiers and 17 militants reportedly killed in today’s fighting. The Yemeni government has been trying to reoccupy the province since it was lost in late May.

Increasingly, however, the ground warfare is taking a back seat to air strikes. The Yemeni government has been pounding the area with its warplanes, and US drones are increasingly active, killing at least 10 people today in several strikes.

All 10 of the slain were termed ‘al-Qaeda militants’ by the Yemeni military, which is what they’ve called virtually everybody killed in the province. A group calling itself Ansar al-Sharia is in control of the provincial capital.

In addition to the slain, the US attacks wounded dozens of others. The targets included an abandoned hotel and a school near the city of Jaar, which was the site of a Yemeni government mosque bombing earlier this week.


U.S. Naval War College Prepares For Arctic Intervention


Navy NewsStand
September 8, 2011

U.S. Naval War College to Conduct Fleet Arctic Operations Game 2011
U.S. Naval War College Public Affairs

NEWPORT, R.I. – The U.S. Naval War College will explore the changing environment of the Arctic region in an operations table-top game, Sept. 13-16.

Fleet Arctic Operations Game 2011, sponsored by the Norfolk, Va.-based U.S. Fleet Forces Command (USFF), will explore many factors that impact the U.S. Navy’s ability to operate in the Arctic. Participants will identify gaps that limit sustained maritime operations in the region and explore possible mitigation strategies and long-term solutions needed to address these gaps.

‘The gradual change in global climate conditions, competition for natural resources and unresolved territorial claims continue to demand greater attention to the Arctic region,’ said Walter Berbrick, a professor in NWC’s War Gaming Department. ‘At any time, the U.S. Navy could be called upon to respond to any immediate threats in the region.’

Approximately 80 participants from a variety of military and civilian organizations, industry, and academia will engage in the four-day game…

Following the operations game, a comprehensive report will be shared with senior military and civilian leaders in the international maritime community.


Contest Of Power In Asia Pacific: Who Wins?


Jakarta Post
September 8, 2011

Contest of power in Asia Pacific: Who wins?
Calvin Michel Sidjaja

There is striking similarity between the US today and the ancient Roman Empire. The latter was the biggest empire in its time. It had the largest territory, economy and military influence in Europe.

However, there was a price for maintaining such power. As the state expanded its territory and added more colonies, the Roman Empire eventually had to pay more to maintain its city-states.

The pattern can be found in the histories of the rise and fall of great powers. Problems always begin with excessive debt, and state bankruptcy increases social unrest because the government must cut its spending, causing inflation and price hikes.

The US has always been the central power in the Asia-Pacific region. However, its position will be challenged, as it is struggling to manage its economic problems.

The US has more debt than any country in the world. Even if all the 9,300 tons of gold in Fort Knox were liquidated, assuming the price is US$1,898 per troy ounce, it would only bring in $425 billion — about 3 percent of the nation’s $14.3 trillion debt, of which $6.1 trillion was accumulated during the Bush administration, $2.4 trillion from Obama’s and the rest by former administrations.

The gold would be sufficient to pay all the debt if the value increased 33 times the current level to $63,000 per troy ounce. Gold has increased an average of 5 percent in value since 1901.

However, since 1970, the average growth has been 11 percent. If gold increases 11 percent per annum, it would cover the current national debt in 34 years — although the US would have probably accumulated more debt by then.

The reason the US survives is that the current economic system enables other countries to finance indebted countries by issuing sovereign bonds. The US survives because other countries believe the empty words of Washington.

Money is not created from thin air. But the US has cheated the system by issuing more debt it says it can afford. It is only backed by the fact that the US is still the largest economy in the world and backed by two AAA grades.

Interest rates are the common benchmarks of measuring inflation in a country. A low interest rate means the country needs to increase its consumption to stimulate economic growth. The US, however, suffers multiple jeopardies: a huge trade deficit, account deficit and a high unemployment rate.

Similar conditions happened in 1981: The US encountered twin deficits in export and budget. Paul Volcker raised interest rates, which triggered a Latin crisis and bankrupted Mexico because the commercial banks were unable to pay their debts due to higher interest and appreciation of the dollar.

The Fed has lowered interest rates to trigger more spending, but with the high unemployment rate, people are more concerned about their job security than taking loans from banks.

When the Western Roman Empire fell, the country dissolved. The Eastern Roman Empire — the Byzantine Empire — survived and became another great power in its age before it collapsed in the 14th century.

When the Soviet Union fell, the United States quickly filled its place and turned out to be a central hegemony. However, this hegemony is now challenged by China.

In Asia Pacific, the balance of power in sub-regions has been disturbed by the absence of the US. The region accounts for approximately 60 percent of the world’s GDP and has high importance in the global economy.

The China-ASEAN Free Trade Area is one of China’s successful feats in securing its economic influence in the Southeast Asian sub-region, as it is currently the area with largest economic growth and consumption spending. With excessive foreign reserves and undervalued currency, China could shut its ear to any complaints from its Southeast Asian neighbors.

Even with all the Southeast Asian countries combined, their economies and military powers are small compared to China’s. It is also worsened by the tension of the South China Sea conflict.

The ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) is still talking shop. It is still the only place to talk about security, consultation without a concrete result or binding decision.

The Middle Kingdom is the largest country in Asia — economically powerful with one of the largest military expenditures in the world and sophisticated technology. It puts China and ASEAN in a vertical position with little room to negotiate.

Indonesia, despite being the largest economy and country in Southeast Asia, is still unable to secure leadership in Southeast Asia. This is because it has tons of domestic problems, mainly corruption, aging infrastructure and government reform.

Its military expenditure is one of the smallest in the world (0.8 percent of GDP); it is not ready to balance China in Southeast Asia.

The US economic meltdown has created a vacuum of power in the Asia-Pacific region. There is not much to hope for from the US with its current recession.

Unless the US can tackle its domestic problem, China will be the new hegemony in the Asia-Pacific region.

The writer is a researcher from HD Asia Advisory.

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