21 September 2011 — Stop NATO
- NATO To Remain In Libya, End The Mission When It Chooses
- 187 Days Of Bombing: 23,350 NATO Sorties, 8,751 Strike Missions
- Testing Ground: France Used Libya War To Push Warplane Sales To United Arab Emirates And India Against Iran And China
- Libya: Loyalist Fighters Continue Resistance In Capital
- China: Expert Warns Of NATO’s Use Of R2P For Military Interventions
- Sarkozy Urges Libya-Style UN Process Against Syria
- Libya: Canada To ‘See NATO Mission Through’
- NATO Chief Vows To ‘Stay The Course’ In Afghanistan
- Two NATO Soldiers Killed In Afghan Attack
- Nine To Twelve Spacecraft: Lockheed Supplies Pentagon With Space-Based Anti-Ballistic Missile Tracking System
- Raytheon Promotes Interceptor Missiles For 25 NATO Allies’ Warships
- Top NATO Commander Pressures Congress Over MEADS European Missile System
- NATO Signs First Contract For ALTBMD Interceptor System
- Turkish Opposition To Protest Against NATO Missile Radar
- Russia Concerned About U.S. Missile Shield Bases In Romania, Turkey
- Pentagon To Strike East Africa, Yemen From Seychelles And Djibouti
- The World Of Drone Warcraft
- U.S. Destroyer Squadron Leaves For NATO Naval Exercise Off Scotland
- MSNBC Grants Saakashvili Forum For Anti-Russian Diatribe
- NATO Troops Remove Barricade Erected By Besieged Kosovo Serbs
- Large-Scale CSTO Maneuvers In Wake Of ‘Arab Spring’
- Turkish Air Force Struck 152 Sites In Northern Iraq Since August 17
NATO To Remain In Libya, End The Mission When It Chooses
September 30, 2011
NATO to carry on mission, progress in Libya irreversible
New York: NATO said Tuesday it will carry on…and will end the mission when conditions allow.
NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen told a high-level conference on Libya at UN headquarters in New York that the mandate will remain in place until revoked by the UN Security Council.
Rasmussen said the Western military alliance had been effective in its Operation Unified Protector to assist the armed rebels against the former regime.
187 Days Of Bombing: 23,350 NATO Sorties, 8,751 Strike Missions
North Atlantic Treaty Organization
September 21, 2011
NATO and Libya
Allied Joint Force Command NAPLES, SHAPE, NATO HQ
Over the past 24 hours, NATO has conducted the following activities associated with Operation UNIFIED PROTECTOR:
Since the beginning of the NATO operation (31 March 2011, 06.00GMT) a total of 23,350 sorties, including 8,751 strike sorties, have been conducted.
Sorties conducted 20 SEPTEMBER: 102
Strike sorties conducted 20 SEPTEMBER: 32
Testing Ground: France Used Libya War To Push Warplane Sales To United Arab Emirates And India Against Iran And China
United Press International
September 20, 2011
Dassault uses Libya war to boost Rafale
-After scores of missions against Gadhafi’s forces by French Rafales, as part of the NATO air campaign to aid the Libyan rebels, Dassault feels it’s on a roll…India has shortlisted the Rafale, along with the Eurofighter Typhoon, for an $11 billion purchase of 126 combat jets…The emirates’ military says it wants missiles capable of reaching targets deep inside Iran. While the AM-39 has a range of 65 miles, the SLAM ER/2 can travel up to 160 miles…’The Mirages could in turn be sold to the new regime in Tripoli, Libya’s air fleet having largely been destroyed during the conflict.’
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates: Dassault Aviation hopes to capitalize on France’s participation with the United Arab Emirates in the air campaign against Moammar Gadhafi’s crumbling regime in Libya to promote the sale of 60 Rafale multi-role jets to the Persian Gulf state.
The leading French aircraft builder sent a team of executives to Abu Dhabi, the emirates’ capital, Sept. 3 to kick start negotiations that have dragged on for three years. The deal is potentially worth $9 billion-$10 billion and Dassault is desperate to sign its first foreign buyer for the twin-engine fighter.
It’s been in service with France’s air force and navy since 2006 but it needs a big overseas sale to keep the production line going to provide the 286 jets ordered by the French forces.
In 2007, the French bungled negotiations for the Rafale with Morocco, which bought Lockheed Martin’s F-16s.
After scores of missions against Gadhafi’s forces by French Rafales, as part of the NATO air campaign to aid the Libyan rebels, Dassault feels it’s on a roll.
‘We really feel like we’ve turned a corner and we’re at a level of extreme performance,’ Laurent Collet-Billon, head of the French defense procurement agency DGA, said at the Paris Air Show in June.
India has shortlisted the Rafale, along with the Eurofighter Typhoon, for an $11 billion purchase of 126 combat jets.
The Rafale’s up against Sweden’s Saab Gripen NG and Boeing’s F-18 Super Hornet in a competition for a $5 billion 36-fighter deal by Brazil.
Negotiations with the emirates hit a roadblock in February 2010 when Abu Dhabi demanded the Rafales had to be armed with Boeing’s SLAM ER/2 missile instead of the European-made MBDA AM-39 they’re fitted to carry.
The SLAM – for stand-off land-attack missile – is a spinoff from the radar-guided air-launched Harpoon anti-ship missile. It’s a high-precision guided munition for surgical strikes against fixed land targets and ships in port or at sea.
The AM-39 is a version of France’s Exocet anti-ship missile first used with considerable effect by Argentina’s air force against Britain’s navy in the 1982 Falklands War.
The emirates’ military says it wants missiles capable of reaching targets deep inside Iran. While the AM-39 has a range of 65 miles, the SLAM ER/2 can travel up to 160 miles.
The United Arab Emirates has built up what is widely viewed as the most formidable air force in the Persian Gulf. It has 184 combat aircraft, including 155 ground-attack fighters, mainly 55 Lockheed F-16E Block 60 Desert Eagles, 25 F-16F Block 60 Eagles and 18 French Dassault Mirage 2000-9DADs and 44 Mirage 2000-9RADs.
These Mirages could play a critical role in Dassault’s negotiations.
The Intelligence Online Web site reported this month that Dassault was now more open to an emirates’ proposal to take back the 2000-9s in part exchange for the Rafales.
‘The Mirages could in turn be sold to the new regime in Tripoli, Libya’s air fleet having largely been destroyed during the conflict,’ Intelligence Online noted.
‘By happy coincidence, the civil servant who is in charge of ensuring that the new regime (in Tripoli) gets access to Libya’s frozen funds is Frenchman Jacques-Emmanuel Lajugie, former director of international development at France’s military procurement agency, the DGA,’ Intelligence Online reported.
‘Before the Libyan uprising began, Lajugie had looked into selling the Rafale to Tripoli.’
Abu Dhabi has opened negotiations with Lockheed, which has offered to provide F-16s until it can deliver the fifth-general F-35 Joint Strike Fighter currently under development.
Libya: Loyalist Fighters Continue Resistance In Capital
Xinhua News Agency
September 21, 2011
Clashes between NTC fighters, Gaddafi remnants in central Libyan capital
TRIPOLI: Clashes took place between the fighters of the Libyan National Transitional Council (NTC) and members of the security troops of the fallen leader Muammar Gaddafi around nightfall on Tuesday in central Tripoli, a Xinhua witness said.
The witness on the scene said four pro-Gaddafi members were arrested by the NTC after the exchange of fire.
The names of the captured could not be confirmed, but they were arrested from a building believed to be the house of a senior military official of the collapsed Gaddafi regime. Some witnesses said the arrested are all sons of the official.
Before the four were arrested, they fired rocket-propelled grenades from inside the building towards the NTC fighters, who received information about their location from the intelligent sources, the Xinhua witness said, adding that the NTC fighters immediately fired back, and the clashes lasted for about half an hour.
The building, close to the Bad Al-Azizya military compound, was set ablaze after the clashes, which killed no one, but caused slight injuries to some NTC fighters.
Sporadic gunshots are still common in the Libyan capital, especially at night, ahead of the NTC’s announcement of the formation of a new government, which they have said will be within days.
China: Expert Warns Of NATO’s Use Of R2P For Military Interventions
Xinhua News Agency
September 21, 2011
Expert worries about ramification of NATO’s military operations in Libya
BEIJING: A Chinese human rights expert on Wednesday said he was concerned about the aftermath of NATO’s military operations in Libya and its ramification on future international intervention to solve conflicts within a sovereign country.
‘Military operations can quickly change a country’s government, but history tells us that new conflicts and tensions will soon emerge in the aftermath,’ said Wang Zaibang, vice dean of the University of International Relations, at a Beijing human rights forum.
‘Stability is usually hard to secure in an intervened country or region,’ he said.
From early on, China said it was concerned about increasing tensions in Libya which had caused many casualties and hoped involved parties would quickly reach a cease fire and resolve the crisis through dialogue and negotiation.
It was the third time NATO launched a military intervention after it sent troops to former Yugoslavia in 1999 and to Iraq in 2003, Wang said, adding that both of the previous interventions failed to achieve the stated goals and left many troubles behind.
In pushing to realize the ‘responsibility to protect,’ NATO military operations can derail their original good motive and even cause new humanitarian crises, Wang said.
Agreed to by world leaders at the 59th UN General Assembly in 2005, the ‘responsibility to protect’ – sometimes known as ‘R2P’ – holds states responsible for shielding their own populations from genocide and other major human rights abuses and requires the international community to step in if this obligation is not met.
Wang said the ‘responsibility to protect’ primarily falls on the sovereign country’s government while the international community should only ‘constructively intervene’ by supporting dialogue between the conflicting sides and helping to avoid military action.
The fourth Beijing Forum on Human Rights opened in Beijing on Wednesday with the focus on human dignity as well as on the diversity of culture and values. Over 100 Chinese and foreign human rights experts attended the forum.
Sarkozy Urges Libya-Style UN Process Against Syria
September 21, 2011
France’s Sarkozy urges UN to support Syrian people
French President Nicolas Sarkozy took a swipe at Syria on Tuesday for its harsh military repression of pro-democracy protesters, calling on the UN to give the Syrian people the same assistance given to the Libyans, dpa reported.
‘I wish the Security Council would assume all responsibilities for the protection, using appropriate methods, for the Syrian people against the repression of the condemned regime (in Damascus),’ Sarkozy told a high-level meeting on Libya in New York.
‘The Syrian people also have the right to take their destiny into their own hands,’ he said in a renewed demand to support democracy and freedom in Syria.
Contrary to forceful actions taken against the Moamer Gaddafi regime, division within the council has so far prevented it from authorizing sanctions and military action against the regime of Syrian President Bashir Assad. Russia and China opposed sanctions against Syria, citing Damascus’s important contribution to the Middle East peace process.
Sarkozy joined 21 heads of state and government, and dozens of government ministers, at UN headquarters to celebrate and to embrace the Transitional National Council, headed by Mustafa Abdel Jalil.
The new flag of Libya, adopted by Libyan rebel freedom fighters, was raised alongside the UN in New York for the first time.
Libya: Canada To ‘See NATO Mission Through’
September 20, 2011
Canada to see NATO Libya mission through: PM
UNITED NATIONS: Canada will see the NATO mission in Libya through to its conclusion, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said Tuesday, as pro-Kadhafi elements continued to engage in armed resistance.
‘Canada will see the NATO mission through to its conclusion,’ Harper said after a meeting in New York on Libya hosted by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon.
The mission is led by a Canadian general and Canada is one of the leading nations in the alliance that has conducted an aerial bombing campaign against Moamer Kadhafi’s regime since March…
Ottawa last week renewed its ties with Libya, now led by an interim government following the overthrow of Kadhafi, and freed up $2.2 billion of Libyan assets frozen in Canadian banks.
NATO Chief Vows To ‘Stay The Course’ In Afghanistan
September 20, 2011
NATO chief vows to stay course in Afghanistan
NEW YORK: NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen on Tuesday condemned an attack in Afghanistan that killed the head of the country’s peace council and vowed that the alliance would not leave before completing its mission.
He added: ‘We will stay the course.’
(Reporting by John Irish, writing by Louis Charbonneau; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)
Two NATO Soldiers Killed In Afghan Attack
September 21, 2011
Insurgent attack kills 2 NATO soldiers in Afghanistan
KABUL: Two coalition service members were killed as a result of an insurgent attack in southern Afghanistan on Wednesday, the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) said.
ISAF said two of its service members were killed as a result of an insurgent attack in southern Afghanistan on Wednesday morning. As usual, the multinational force gave no other details about the incident, including the exact location.
The nationalities of the service members were also not immediately disclosed by ISAF. ‘It is ISAF policy to defer casualty identification procedures to the relevant national authorities,’ a brief statement said.
Coalition casualties in Afghanistan have been rising sharply in recent years, with a total coalition death toll of 709 in 2010, making it the deadliest year for international troops since the war began…
So far this year, at least 447 coalition service members have been killed in Afghanistan. Most troops are American and are killed in the country’s south, which is plagued by IED attacks on troops and civilians. The deadliest incident happened last month when a U.S. helicopter crashed in eastern Afghanistan, killing 30 U.S. troops, seven Afghan troops and an Afghan interpreter.
Nine To Twelve Spacecraft: Lockheed Supplies Pentagon With Space-Based Anti-Ballistic Missile Tracking System
September 20, 2011
Lockheed Martin Is Leveraging Satellite and Missile Defense Expertise on Precision Tracking Space System Team
-Following the current prototype phase, the MDA has announced that it plans to competitively select one contractor for system development and production of an operational PTSS, consisting of nine to 12 spacecraft with associated ground control and processing equipment.
SUNNYVALE, Calif. – Lockheed Martin is leveraging its satellite and missile defense expertise on the Manufacturing and Production Readiness Integrated Systems Engineering Team for the Precision Tracking Space System (PTSS). PTSS will provide the U.S. Missile Defense Agency (MDA) with a space-based system for post-boost tracking of ballistic missile threats in a global infrastructure.
Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory awarded Lockheed Martin Space Systems a contract in February for $1.2 million covering a 24-month period of performance…
‘Lockheed Martin has extensive experience in advanced sensors, satellite surveillance systems, and missile defense systems, which is ideally suited to help address this critical fire control sensor capability for the Ballistic Missile Defense System,’ said Doug Graham, vice president of advanced programs, Strategic and Missile Defense Systems, Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company. ‘We are partnering with the Missile Defense Agency and Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab to provide the best integrated satellite solution for the agency’s network of sensors and weapon systems.’
Following the current prototype phase, the MDA has announced that it plans to competitively select one contractor for system development and production of an operational PTSS, consisting of nine to 12 spacecraft with associated ground control and processing equipment.
Headquartered in Bethesda, Md., Lockheed Martin is a global security company that employs about 126,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services. The Corporation’s 2010 sales from continuing operations were $45.8 billion.
Raytheon Promotes Interceptor Missiles For 25 NATO Allies’ Warships
Aviation International News
September 19, 2011
Raytheon Pitches SM-3 to European Countries for Ballistic Missile Defense
By Chris Pocock
-[I]n addition to Germany, Denmark, the Netherlands and Spain, Australia and Korea are also interested in acquiring the SM-3.
Raytheon has proposed that 10 European warships be equipped with the company’s standard SM-3 missile, so that the burden of providing a missile defense shield over Europe can be shared more equally among the NATO countries.
The alliance has crafted a Phased Adaptive Approach (PAA) to extending the shield, so that it covers the entire European continent. But the U.S. is providing the only system that can currently perform the exo-atmospheric interception of incoming missiles required to defend an entire region.
That system is the Aegis onboard U.S. Navy warships, which fires the SM-3 Block 1A.
Wes Kramer, vice president for air and missile defense, said that Raytheon had invested its own funds over the past 18 months to add an X-band datalink to the SM-3’s existing S-band datalink. This enables guidance of the SM-3 by the Smart-L or Active Phased Array Radars (APARs) carried by the 10 European warships – three German F124 frigates, three Danish patrol vessels and four Dutch ADCF frigates.
The SM-3 missile fits in the Mk41 launchers that are carried by all these warships, Kramer said. He noted that a further 15 European warships are capable of ballistic missile defense. They are the five Spanish Aegis destroyers, six British Type 45 destroyers, and four Horizon-class frigates operated by France and Italy (two each). European missile house MBDA has ambitions to equip at least the Horizon and Type 45 warships with a ballistic missile defense capability, by adapting the Aster missiles that they already carry.
Kramer said that the SM-3 is the most widely tested exo-atmospheric kill vehicle, despite a recent failed flight of the latest Block 1B. This version is slated for ground-based deployment in Romania from 2015 in the second phase of the PAA. The company has invested in a new factory at Huntsville that can produce up to eight SM-3s per month. Kramer said that in addition to Germany, Denmark, the Netherlands and Spain, Australia and Korea are also interested in acquiring the SM-3.
Top NATO Commander Pressures Congress Over MEADS European Missile System
Washington Business Journal
September 20, 2011
Defense officials urge Congress to fund MEADS development
Jill R. Aitoro
-The total price tag to develop MEADS is about $3.4 billion, with the U.S. contributing 58 percent of the funding and Italy and Germany making up the rest, as established under a 2005 memo of agreement among the countries. The U.S. is on the hook to contribute $806 million more in the next two years.
Officers from both the Army and Navy are the latest to voice their disapproval of Congress’ attempts to halt funding for development of a new international defense system.
Letters from Army General Peter Chiarelli and Navy Admiral J. Stavridis, which were obtained by Washington Business Journal, expressed strong support for funding development of the Medium Extended Air Defense System — or MEADS — which the U.S. is funding jointly with Italy and Germany. The new missile defense system is under development by Bethesda-based Lockheed Martin Corp.
Chiarelli, who sent eight letters to various members of House and Senate committees, pointed to the significant costs associated with a unilateral withdrawal from the agreement with the international partners, most of which ‘would likely fall upon the Army and consume resources currently programmed for other important Air and Missile Defense’ efforts, he wrote in the letter. Even the planned modernization of the current Patriot System — which some members of Congress have called for as a more cost-effective alternative to replacement — could be affected, he added.
Stavridis, who sent a letter to Sen. Thad Cockran, R-Miss., of the the Senate Appropriations Committee, argued that the U.S. government should honor its commitment to Germany and Italy, both of which sent their own letters in recent months, urging defense officials to convince Congress to support the program.
‘Over the past two years, the U.S. has repeatedly urged our Allies to share in the cost burdens associated with ballistic missile defense,’ Stavridis wrote. ‘An early termination of this program would prevent our Allies (specifically Germany and Italy) from receiving the necessary technology to acquire a system capable of enhancing their national military capabilities.’
These letters continue a debate that first erupted when the Senate Armed Services Committee voted to eliminate $406.6 million that Defense requested for MEADS in its version of the 2012 defense authorization bill that passed June 16.
The total price tag to develop MEADS is about $3.4 billion, with the U.S. contributing 58 percent of the funding and Italy and Germany making up the rest, as established under a 2005 memo of agreement among the countries. The U.S. is on the hook to contribute $806 million more in the next two years. Some argue that eliminating funding for the program would be a waste of valuable development and an embarrassment in the eyes of foreign government.
In August, Rep. Anne Marie Buerkle, R-N.Y., requested that the Government Accountability Office conduct a cost comparison for purchasing MEADS or upgrading and maintaining the current Patriot System.
NATO Signs First Contract For ALTBMD Interceptor System
North Atlantic Treaty Organization
September 21, 2011
NATO signs first contracts for territorial missile defence
By ?Alessandro Pera (Programme Manager, NATO ALTBMD Programme Office) and Russ Mayhew (Deputy Contracts Director, SAIC Enterprise and Mission Solutions Business Unit)
The NATO Active Layered Theatre Ballistic Missile Defence Programme Office contracted today with an industry team led by SAIC an effort worth 2.5 million Euro to analyze in detail the technical requirements to transform NATO’s Theatre Missile Defence Programme into a programme to protect the NATO territory…as well as deployed forces.
Industry engineers from France (EADS Astrium), Germany (IABG), Italy (SELEX SI), The Netherlands (TNO), UK (QINETIQ) and US (SAIC, Raytheon) will form the core of a technical team that will work in support of the ALTBMD Programme Office(who retains the product delivery responsibility) in its facilities at the NATO Consultation, Command and Control Agency (NC3A) in The Hague. It will be a year-long analytic effort that will define the additional requirements to expand the existing Theatre Missile Defence into a Ballistic Missile Defence for NATO Europe.
The results will then be taken forward for implementation in the NATO command and control network to broaden the capabilities of the NATO commander well beyond those demonstrated recently in missile defence testing between the United States and NATO elements last month.
‘The initiation of this work marks a significant step by the technical community to implement the decision taken at the Lisbon Summit to develop a NATO capability to defend NATO Europe…,’ said Alessandro Pera, Programme Manager for the NATO ALTBMD Programme Office, the organization charged with developing this capability for NATO, ‘We will work as a team with our industry and national partners, in close consultation with both the NATO military and relevant NATO Committees, to ensure we get the job done.’?
Turkish Opposition To Protest Against NATO Missile Radar
Trend News Agency
September 21, 2011
Turkish opposition is against NATO’s radar
Baku: Turkey’s opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) has strongly condemned plans to deploy a NATO early-warning radar system in the country, the CNN Turkish TV channel reported today. CHP stated that it will oppose the authorities’ decision.
CHP Deputy Chairman Nihad Matkab said the party will today discuss the issue of holding rallies against the radar deployment in the Turkish territory.
U.S. Ambassador to Turkey Francis Ricciardone and Adviser to the Turkish Foreign Minister Firuddin Sinirlioglu earlier signed an agreement to deploy the European missile defense system (MDS) in the Kurecik base, in the Turkish city of Malatya.
An early-warning radar system will be deployed in Turkey, the Turkish Foreign Ministry’s official representative Selcuk Unal, said earlier.
He said the decision on deploying an anti-missile defense system was adopted at the NATO summit in Lisbon in 2010. Turkey initially supported the initiative.
The already established anti-missile defense systems, including Aegis, are planned to be deployed in Europe at the first stage of creating European MDS. According to the plan, the missile deployment must be complete this year. The radar is an offshore radar detection system AN/TPY-2…
The second phase will be completed by 2015.
The third phase will begin in 2018. It involves the development, testing, and deployment of the advanced SM-3 (Block IIA).
The fourth phase is planned to be completed by 2020. It involves SM-3 (Block IIB) deployment.
Russia Concerned About U.S. Missile Shield Bases In Romania, Turkey
Voice of Russia
September 21, 2011
US missile defense bases cause Russia concern
Russia is concerned about US plans to deploy missile defense bases in Romania and Turkey but has no intention of overdramatizing the situation, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said.
Moscow is concerned over the fast pace of the deployment of missile defense bases and a complete disregard for the position of Russia.
Missile defense talks between Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in New York on Monday yielded no results.
The US is ready to provide security guarantees on paper but only in the form of non-binding declarations, Ryabkov said.
Pentagon To Strike East Africa, Yemen From Seychelles And Djibouti
Wall Street Journal
September 21, 2011
U.S. Expands Drone Flights to Take Aim at East Africa
By Julian E. Barnes
-The new MQ-9 Reapers deployed to the Seychelles, officials said, can be configured for both reconnaissance and strike missions. The Reapers can fire Hellfire missiles, as well as guided 500-pound bombs…Officials declined to specify what countries could be reached from the Seychelles base. However, based on the official range, an aircraft could conduct missions in Somalia and other countries in eastern Africa. A Reaper could also likely reach Yemen, if it were to land in Djibouti rather than return to the Seychelles.
WASHINGTON: The U.S. military is deploying a new force of armed drones to eastern Africa in an escalation of its campaign…officials said.
The military has reopened a base for the unmanned aircraft on the island nation of Seychelles to intensify attacks…in Somalia, defense officials told The Wall Street Journal.
The U.S. has used the Seychelles base for flying surveillance drones, and for the first time will fly armed MQ-9 Reapers from the Indian Ocean site, supplementing strikes from a U.S. drone base in Djibouti.
The U.S. military has long operated a base in Djibouti, in the Horn of Africa, and has already used drones against militants in Somalia.
The new Seychelles base, with the Reaper deployment, will allow for more flights and improved operational security, giving the military a better chance…in East Africa, officials said. Militants can sometimes spot and track drones that fly over land from the base at Camp Lemonier in Djibouti—something that will be more difficult at an island base.
The Seychelles’ capital, Victoria, is about 920 miles east of the southern tip Somalia, and about 650 miles northeast of Madagascar…A senior defense official said the U.S. hasn’t yet used the Reapers deployed to the Seychelles to conduct armed reconnaissance on pirate ships, but the option is open to use the drones to strike at pirates who have mounted attacks.
The U.S. stationed Reaper drones in the Seychelles from September 2009 until this past spring, when they were withdrawn…
The new MQ-9 Reapers deployed to the Seychelles, officials said, can be configured for both reconnaissance and strike missions. The Reapers can fire Hellfire missiles, as well as guided 500-pound bombs.
A Reaper can fly 1,150 miles from base, conduct missions and return home, military officials said. The time a drone can stay aloft depends on how heavily armed it is.
The MQ-9s are operated by the Air Force from Creech Air Force Base in Nevada and Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico. An Air Force team on the ground in the Seychelles launches and lands the drones as they start and finish their missions.
Officials declined to specify what countries could be reached from the Seychelles base. However, based on the official range, an aircraft could conduct missions in Somalia and other countries in eastern Africa. A Reaper could also likely reach Yemen, if it were to land in Djibouti rather than return to the Seychelles.
It would also be able to fly widely over the Indian Ocean to hunt for pirates. ‘It gives us reach into different areas,’ the senior defense official said.
The Central Intelligence Agency operates the U.S.’s best known drone campaign against militants in Pakistan. Drone strikes in Yemen, Somalia and elsewhere in Africa are currently conducted by the U.S. military.
Gen. Carter Ham, the commander of U.S. Africa Command, said he has seen ties between al Shabaab in Somalia, al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb in North Africa, and Boko Haram in northern Nigeria.
The World Of Drone Warcraft
Voice of Russia
September 21, 2011
The World of Drone Warcraft
U.S. officials have disclosed plans for further deployment of its drone planes in East Africa. A base on the Seychelles for Reaper unmanned aerial vehicles existed from September 2009 to spring 2011. Now, the U.S. has decided to reopen it. Another one is to be established in Ethiopia in addition to the existing one in Djibouti.
The need for further deployment of drone aircraft is explained by the growing fears in Washington that after the elimination of Osama bin Laden, the Al Qaeda network is swiftly spreading out its positions, and its base is shifting to East Africa. In recent years, it was Yemen that was considered Al Qaeda’s main haven, but with the uncertainty surrounding Yemen’s future, the terrorist network might look for other places which are beyond the control of U.S. intelligence.
The drones to be stationed on the Seychelles will not only perform intelligence surveillance functions, they are going to be equipped with Hellfire missiles (each carrying up to 8 kg of explosives) and satellite-guided bombs.
In recent months, the U.S. has acquired enough experience in using drones against suspected terrorists and other kinds of its foes in at least six countries – Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia and Libya. Now, with the deployment of new and the reopening of previously existing bases, the whole region of East Africa and the Gulf of Aden is going to be covered by U.S. drones. The area for this relatively new type of combat is expanding, and one could only wonder whether there is going to be an end to it.
The plans disclosed by the U.S. officials in simultaneous interviews to several leading American papers are alarming and questionable from both military and ethic points of view. As previous experience shows, one of the most common and ethically questionable consequences of the drone strikes is their non-discriminatory and unselective nature. In Afghanistan and Pakistan the drone strikes resulted in numerous casualties among civilians with a ratio of militants to civilians being hard to determine…
The political consequences are also well known. The U.S. has spoilt its relations with long-time allies in the region – both Pakistan and the present government of Afghanistan led by Hamid Karzai, who has always been looked upon as American minion.
Another consideration in regard to the proposed drone operations in East Africa and the Western part of the Indian Ocean can also be derived from previous experience. There are serious doubts that closer surveillance and intensified strikes over suspected terrorist bases in any new region of the world will really yield significant success in the fight against Al Qaeda. The whole network is a loose structure that can easily shift its operations and bases from one area to another, as it did when Afghanistan and Pakistan came under constant fire. Therefore, shifting the fire to East Africa will only mean further dissemination of the terrorist network.
What the plans do disclose, is the new tactics used by the U.S. military and likely to become the most widely used tactics in the 21st century warcraft. The difference between a drone aircraft and, say, an F-16 fighter is that the former is operated from a computer which can be located hundreds and even thousands miles from the actual battlefield. This reduces the number of casualties among the military, but not among the local population. For any U.S. president this will definitely mean additional points in the public opinion.
But, on the other hand, all this looks like turning a real war (which is always a tragedy) into a kind of computer game when the operator of a drone aircraft can easily confuse a virtual picture with reality. Thus, any new war will be simply turned into a game, which it definitely isn’t.
And this is what is really alarming.
U.S. Destroyer Squadron Leaves For NATO Naval Exercise Off Scotland
September 20, 2011
Destroyer Squadron 26 Departs for Joint Warrior 11-2
By Ensign Joe Keiley, Destroyer Squadron 26 Public Affairs
-The participating ships have been divided into forces that represent fictional regions engaged in territorial disputes. Ships and aircraft will participate in scenarios including small boat attacks, boarding operations, air defense, anti-submarine warfare and ship maneuvers.
USS ARLEIGH BURKE, At Sea: Commander, Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 26, embarked aboard the guided-missile destroyer USS Arleigh Burke (DDG 51), departed Naval Weapons Station Yorktown Sept. 16 to participate in the multinational exercise Joint Warrior 11-2 off the coast of Scotland.
Arleigh Burke and Fleet Replenishment Oiler USNS Kanawha (T-AO 196), based out of Norfolk, Va., will work alongside navies from the United Kingdom and other NATO allied partners.
‘We will be operating in a multi-warfare, multi-platform coalition environment with 12 other nations,’ said Capt. Peter DeMane, commodore of Destroyer Squadron 26…
Joint Warrior is a United Kingdom-led, multi-warfare exercise designed to improve interoperability between allied navies and prepare participating crews to conduct combined operations during deployment.
The exercise, scheduled from Oct. 1-17, promotes Commander, U.S. 2nd Fleet’s three focus areas: conducting safe and effective fleet operations to achieve mission success, providing ready maritime forces for global assignment and teaming with allies and partners in execution of the maritime strategy.
Joint Warrior allows Arleigh Burke and British ships to work together with maritime, land and air units from allied nations while providing each other with key services and logistical support.
‘Interoperability with, and tactical employment of, the warfighting capabilities provided by non-U.S. navies is a perishable competency. When we come together for Joint Warrior, U.S. ships are able to become more proficient at working in future real-world deployments with the other participating nations,’ said DeMane.
The participating ships have been divided into forces that represent fictional regions engaged in territorial disputes. Ships and aircraft will participate in scenarios including small boat attacks, boarding operations, air defense, anti-submarine warfare and ship maneuvers.
Joint Warrior serves as a certifying event for U.S. ships that will deploy with coalition forces in the future.
Other nations participating in the exercise are Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Turkey and the United Kingdom.
MSNBC Grants Saakashvili Forum For Anti-Russian Diatribe
September 20, 2011
Saakashvili interviewed by MSNBC
President of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili was invited to the morning talk-show broadcast on American television MSNBC. The president arrived in the United States today to attend the UN General Assembly.
Mikheil Saakashvili spoke about Georgia-Russian relations and said that even twenty years after the collapse of the Soviet Union the mentality of the Kremlin is unchanged and that Vladimir Putin strives to restore the Soviet Union.
Georgian President also gave a brief review of the reforms carried out in Georgia in recent years adding the country continued to build a democratic state despite permanent pressure and dangers.
NATO Troops Remove Barricade Erected By Besieged Kosovo Serbs
Tanjug News Agency
September 30, 2011
KFOR removes barbed wire at Brnjak
BRNJAK: KFOR members removed on Tuesday morning barbed wire from the Brnjak administrative crossing, which was shut down on September 16.
German and French troops of the NATO forces in the province removed the barbed wire from the checkpoint.
A barricade of gravel and soil was put up by local Serbs in reaction to the closing of the crossing remains in front of it.
KFOR members told Tanjug that the crossing has been open for traffic as of late Monday, but that the barricade prevents vehicles from passing.
The barbed wire was completely removed in the direction towards central Serbia and partly from the lane from central Serbia towards Kosovo.
Members of KFOR and EULEX stated that ‘as far as they are concerned the crossing is open’.
Besides KFOR soldiers, EULEX customs officers and policemen and Kosovo customs and police officers, sent by the Kosovo Albanian authorities in Priština, are also deployed at the Brnjak checkpoint.
Their arrival last week prompted Serbs to put up barricades on roads leading to both Brnjak and Jarinje.
The citizens near the barricades, who sought shelter from the rain in nearby facilities this morning, did not react to this move by KFOR.
Large-Scale CSTO Maneuvers In Wake Of ‘Arab Spring’
Russian Information Agency Novosti
September 21, 2011
Center-2011 exercises echo Arab Spring
-[L]ast week Chief of General Staff Nikolai Makarov [said], ‘The processes taking place in North Africa and the Middle East were difficult to forecast. What will happen next? What leadership will come to power? This has to be a warning to all states. We have similar questions for the Central Asian countries. We must be prepared for anything. This is why we are practicing with these drills,’ Makarov said, commenting on the objectives of Center-2011. He added that ‘Russia’s military organization must be ready for a worst-case scenario.’
Center-2011 exercises kicked off Monday in Russia and Central Asia. Center-2011 is a contingency plan for Russia and its Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) counterparts to practice the use of armed force ‘to stabilize the situation’ in Central Asia. This outspoken position taken by some officials indicates that the drills will practice armed support for Russia-friendly regimes.
Big exercise in Central Asia
This year’s largest strategic military exercise called Center-2011 will be held in Russia and in Central Asian states from September 19 through 26. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev will command the maneuvers.
Russia’s Chief of the General Staff Nikolai Makarov said no large army units will be involved. ‘Brigades at most, not armies’ will be set in motion.
Nevertheless, about 12,000 troops and some 1,000 pieces of combat equipment, including 70 aircraft, will take part in the exercise. The Caspian Military Flotilla will also be involved at almost full strength.
The purpose of the joint drills is stated rather bluntly: training and using mixed forces to stabilize a situation and conduct military operations in a Central Asian strategic sector. So the areas set aside for combat training are all mostly in Central Asia and southern Russia.
In Tajikistan, operations will be limited to command and staff exercises by the Collective Rapid Reaction Force (KSOR) at Russian military base No. 201. In Kyrgyzstan, Kazakh, Kyrgyz and Tajik troops, supported by Russian aircraft from Kant Air Base, will conduct full-scale tactical drills. Over a thousand Russian troops and two hundred pieces of combat equipment are heading for the Oimasha proving grounds in Kazakhstan.
Updated Russian combat manuals and corresponding changes in army control chain will be a new feature of the drills. Lower level commanders will be given a greater degree of freedom in decision-making.
‘Previously, senior commanders would describe every step to be taken by their subordinates two levels down. A battalion commander would issue instructions not only to the company, but also to platoon commanders. Now nobody will impede anyone’s initiative, and officers will have to think through their tactical moves themselves,’ Makarov said, commenting on the new manuals.
Top officials – both in Russia and outside – have already expressed concerns over the possible echoes of the Arab Spring in the CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States). Last month, for example, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko spoke openly that the Rapid Reaction Force could be used not only against an external aggression, but also against the threat of a ‘constitutional coup.’
Sergei Prikhodko, Russian presidential aide, supported Lukashenko’s stand. CSTO Secretary Nikolai Bordyuzha noted soon after the Belarusian leader’s fairly loud statement: ‘The events in North Africa have opened our eyes to many things. What is happening there calls for analysis, and for appropriate methods to protect each state.’
Later, Bordyuzha explained that his words, as well as Lukashenko’s wish, did not mean using the KSOR for interference in the domestic political affairs of the organization’s member-states. ‘We are categorically against the CSTO taking up policing functions or participating in a political struggle on the side of any political force,’ Bordyuzha said.
It should be noted, however, that a number of amendments made to CSTO documents in December 2010 that are aimed at ‘improving the response mechanism to crisis situations and strengthening the CSTO’s potential to counter threats and challenges to security’ make use of the KSOR in such cases unlikely, but – given a broader interpretation – possible. The former approach specifically ruled out any legitimate interference by the organization’s armed forces in the internal affairs of CSTO member-countries.
Literally last week Chief of General Staff Nikolai Makarov also spoke in the same vein. ‘The processes taking place in North Africa and the Middle East were difficult to forecast. What will happen next? What leadership will come to power? This has to be a warning to all states. We have similar questions for the Central Asian countries. We must be prepared for anything. This is why we are practicing with these drills,’ Makarov said, commenting on the objectives of Center-2011. He added that ‘Russia’s military organization must be ready for a worst-case scenario.’
These similarities in statement and allusion made openly by high-ranking officials can mean only one thing: the CSTO has acknowledged that the KSOR (read Russian armed forces, which make up the bulk of the CSTO united army), can be used to support the stability of political regimes in the organization’s member-states. ‘By other means, means of extreme violence,’ as Clausewitz said in his day, describing the relationship between war and politics.
Turkish Air Force Struck 152 Sites In Northern Iraq Since August 17
Trend News Agency
September 21, 2011
Air Force bombs 152 terrorist objects in northern Iraq
Baku: The General Staff has made an official statement today, the Sabah newspaper reported. The statement says that Turkish Air Force has destroyed 152 objects of Kurd separatists in operations on the Kandil Mountain since Aug.17.
According to the statement, The Turkish Air Force aircraft conducted air strikes to the positions and arsenals…
Air strikes were conducted after the militants’ terror attack in southeastern Turkey on Aug.17, killing nine Turkish servicemen.
This was Turkey’s first attack on northern Iraq in over a year.
The conflict between Turkey and the PKK has lasted for over 25 years, claiming over 40,000 lives…