Updates on Libya war/Stop NATO news: September 22, 2011

22 September 2011 — Stop NATO

  • Pentagon, NATO Plot ‘Next Steps’ In Libya
  • Bolivia’s Morales Sees Oil, Greed Behind NATO Mission In Libya
  • Northrop Wins Missile Defense Agency’s Precision Tracking Space System Bid
  • Turkish Opposition: NATO Missile Radar Part Of Shield For Israel
  • U.S. Drones Kill Ten As Yemen Heads Toward Civil War
  • Pakistan Lodges Complaint At UN Against Drone Attacks
  • Pan-Albanian Separatists Spread Kosovo Unrest To South Serbia
  • Romanian President On NATO-Russia Armed Conflict Over Moldova, Transdniester
  • China Protests New U.S. Arms Sales To Taiwan
  • Russia To Refit Nuclear Missile Cruisers
  • U.S. Air Force’s Expanding NATO-European-African-Asian Nexus
  • Pentagon Building Secret Bases In Indian Ocean, Horn Of Africa
  • Troubling News From Africa: AFRICOM Hatches New Operations
  • 850 U.S.-Trained Mongolian Troops Headed To South Sudan
  • Contra Russia, Iran: Azerbaijan And ‘Europe’s Energy Security’

Pentagon, NATO Plot ‘Next Steps’ In Libya

http://www.defense.gov/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=65395

U.S. Department of Defense
September 20, 2011

Panetta Begins Next-step Discussions with NATO Partners
By Cheryl Pellerin

WASHINGTON: As Operation Unified Protector winds down in Libya, the Defense Department and its NATO partners have had early discussions about future roles in that embattled nation, Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta said today.

Panetta briefed reporters here along with Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

‘Our view is that this mission went well [and] that the role that NATO performed there was the right one,’ Panetta said.

In the meantime, Panetta said, four military personnel arrived in Libya last week to help the State Department assess damage to the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli.

‘Within the last few days, we’ve deployed another 12,’ the secretary said, to try to reopen the embassy ‘within the next few weeks…

As to NATO’s future role there, ‘that’s something we’re going to be discussing with NATO as we see events unfold in Libya,’ Panetta said, adding that he’s begun discussions with his NATO partners, ‘trying to decide … what should be the next steps.’

Mullen met with the NATO chiefs of defense over the weekend. ‘A number of them went out of their way to thank the United States for the support to enable them to be able to succeed to this point,’ he said.

‘The decision was made, obviously, to put us in a support role,’ Mullen said. ‘That was, clearly, critical.’

NATO, he added, is ‘a critical alliance, has been, is and will be for the future.’

In New York today, at the first meeting of the ‘Friends of Libya,’ NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said NATO is committed to continuing its mission in Libya for as long as [it sees fit].

‘The days of the former regime are clearly numbered,’ Rasmussen said. ‘The recent positive developments in Libya are irreversible.’

He also welcomed the adoption of U.N. Security Council Resolution 2009, which establishes a U.N. mission in Libya, according to NATO…

‘Our operation has been a success,’ Rasmussen said.

‘Allies and partners [Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Morocco, Sweden, Malta, etc.] alike have made a difference by mounting a complex operation in very little time…,’ he said.

====

Bolivia’s Morales Sees Oil, Greed Behind NATO Mission In Libya

http://www.talkradionews.com/news/2011/9/21/bolivias-morales-sees-oil-greed-behind-nato-mission-in-libya.html

Talk Radio News
September 21, 2011

Bolivia’s Morales Sees Oil, Greed Behind NATO Mission In Libya

Evo Morales, Bolivia’s socialist president, says NATO’s intervention in Libya is an act of ‘imperialism’ motivated by the West’s desire to control natural resources.

In a press conference ahead of his address to the UN General Assembly this afternoon, Morales argued that the NATO bombing campaign against forces loyal to Colonel Muammar Gaddafi was part of a new strategy deployed by capitalist countries.

‘They are trying to overcome their financial problems by whatever means [necessary to control] the natural resources of other countries.’ he told reporters.

Morales says NATO and the UN Security Council’s refusal to intervene in the Israel-Palestine crisis – a conflict he maintains is comparable to that of Libya, without the important oil reserves –is evidence of the West’s double standard for military intervention.

‘There have been efforts in Libya to remove the government, drop bombs,’ he said ‘And what about in Palestine, where is NATO? Where Palestine is concerned where is the Security Council?’

Morales said he was disappointed by President Brack Obama’s opening remarks at the General Assembly.

‘I see a double standard on the part of President Obama which is disappointing. He talked about lasting peace, durable peace – but that can’t be through [American] bases or military intervention.’

President Morales also referred to the America’s failure to move forward on the Kyoto Protocols and the continued existence of a large US nuclear arsenal as evidence that the American President was insincere in his commitment to climate change and nuclear disarmament.

====

Northrop Wins Missile Defense Agency’s Precision Tracking Space System Bid

http://www.marketwatch.com/story/northrop-grumman-receives-systems-engineering-contract-for-missile-defense-agencys-precision-tracking-space-system-2011-09-21

Northrop Grumman Corporation
September 21, 2011

Northrop Grumman Receives Systems Engineering Contract for Missile Defense Agency’s Precision Tracking Space System

REDONDO BEACH, Calif. – Northrop Grumman Corporation has received a contract from the Applied Physics Laboratory (APL), a division of The Johns Hopkins University, to perform manufacturing and production readiness systems engineering for the U.S. Missile Defense Agency’s (MDA) Precision Tracking Space System (PTSS).

The company is one of six contractors selected by APL for the PTSS Integrated Systems Engineering Team (ISET). Northrop Grumman is working with APL in Laurel, Md., and other ISET member companies on systems engineering activities for the future space-borne sensor of the Ballistic Missile Defense System (BMDS) designed to track ballistic missiles shortly after launch and through midcourse.

‘As prime contractor for the MDA’s Space Tracking and Surveillance System demonstration program, we bring extensive systems engineering and integration experience in midcourse missile tracking to PTSS ISET,’ said Doug Young, vice president, missile defense and warning, for Northrop Grumman’s Aerospace Systems sector in Redondo Beach.

‘The STSS satellites currently are participating in integrated BMDS testing, meeting all test objectives and providing significant risk reduction for a future missile defense operational constellation,’ he added.

The [Missile Defense Agency] said a system requirements review was completed in March 2011, and that a preliminary design review is scheduled for fall 2012. Launch of the first two development satellites is planned for 2016.

This news release was distributed by GlobeNewswire, http://www.globenewswire.com

====

Turkish Opposition: NATO Missile Radar Part Of Shield For Israel

http://www.worldbulletin.net/?aType=haber&ArticleID=79206

Cihan News Agency
September 21, 2011

Turkey’s CHP calls NATO radar ‘shield for Israel’, plans protests

-’This is not a two sided agreement. This is entirely oriented towards NATO, this is a NATO program. The agreement was not made a subject of negotiation with Turkey.’

Calling the plans for a radar in the Kürecik district of Malatya province a ‘shield for Israel,’ CHP [Cumhuriyet Halk Partisi/Republican People’s Party] leaders are planning to hold protests throughout the country this week in an attempt to raise controversy over the government’s recent agreement with NATO.

The CHP’s opposition to the plan has been spearheaded by the stiff words of CHP chairman Kemal K?l?çdaro?lu, who has accused the prime minister of kowtowing to NATO and signing a deal that would share the radar’s strategic data with Israel. K?l?çdaro?lu recently promised protests throughout 81 provinces and vowed support for a referendum on the issue through the party’s Kürecik chapter.

A long debate, at home and abroad

The newest controversy over the site is just one chapter in a now lengthy debate, throughout which Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdo?an has sought to assuage fears over NATO plans at home while negotiating terms for the radar abroad.

Erdo?an has faced particularity strong criticism from K?l?çdaro?lu, who in a press conference stated, ‘The intelligence that the radar will provide will be used for Israel’s defense.’ Elaborating on his belief that information sharing was part of the agreement, he asked rhetorically, ‘Who is saying this? American officials themselves.’

K?l?çdaro?lu has also criticized the government for supposedly stepping in line with NATO orders without substantial debate. ‘This is not a two sided agreement,’ the chairman said as he answered questions from reporters. ‘This is entirely oriented towards NATO, this is a NATO program. The agreement was not made a subject of negotiation with Turkey.’

Controversy over Kürecik

Amidst a nationally escalating campaign to resist the proposal, the CHP has also been busy rallying the residents of Kürecik. Head of the CHP Malatya branch Veli A?baba has denounced the agreement and demanded that the radar plan be put up for referendum. On Wednesday, A?baba raised further alarm bells by stating that the site might make the community a target for missiles and could even expose residents to heightened cancer risk.

NATO has long viewed the radar installation as crucial to expanding its defense strategy in Eastern Europe. According to the NATO plan, missile interceptors in Romania and Poland combined with the radar in Turkey will create a broad system of protection for every NATO country against mid-range missile attacks.

====

U.S. Drones Kill Ten As Yemen Heads Toward Civil War

http://www.arabmonitor.info/news/dettaglio.php?idnews=34838&lang=en

Arab Monitor
September 21, 2011

US drones kill at least 10 while Yemen’s conflict heads toward civil war

Sanaa: Yemeni Republican Guards shelled districts of the capital held by defected armed forces, the Yemeni First Armoured Brigade commanded by General Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar as well as the Brigade’s headquarters located near the central Change (former Tahrir) Square, where demonstrations against President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s government are taking place. At least nine people are reported killed today by Republican Guards – the Yemeni special forces trained by US experts and commanded by President Saleh’s son Ahmed – during their shelling of a funeral.

Abdul Latif al-Zayani, the head of the Gulf Cooperation Council, wrapped up his mediation efforts and left Yemen today saying neither the Saleh camp nor that of al-Ahmar were ready for any agreement to prevent the conflict from escalating toward civil war. The other international mediator, UN envoy Jamal Benomar, said he would remain in Yemen and continue his efforts to reach a consensus between the two camps.

Meanwhile in southern Yemen US drones carried out two air raids on the town of Al-Mahfad in the Abyan province and two more on the village of Shaqra killing at least ten people, allegedly members of the al-Qaeda network. Late on Tuesday, the Washington Post said that the United States is building an array of secret new drone bases on the Arabian peninsula and in Djibuti to conduct strikes against al-Qaeda targets in Somalia and Yemen.

====

Pakistan Lodges Complaint At UN Against Drone Attacks

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2011%5C09%5C20%5Cstory_20-9-2011_pg7_2

Associated Press of Pakistan
September 20, 2011

Pakistan to lodge complaint with UN against drones

* Human Rights Ministry decides to file an official complain to Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions

ISLAMABAD: The Human Rights Ministry (HRM) has decided to take up the matter of drone attacks with the United Nations under international humanitarian law and file an official complain to the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions.

Addressing a media briefing on Monday, Adviser to Prime Minister Mustafa Nawaz Khokar said the matter would be discussed with all stakeholders of the government. After taking them on board an official complain will be lodged.

He categorically made it clear that drone strikes are not acceptable. He said so far the debate has only circled around loss of collateral damage and not about the specific legislation of the strikes in the light of international humanitarian law (law of war).

He explained that apart from being in violation of Pakistan’s territorial sovereignty, there was growing consensus among international law experts that these strikes can be aptly described as ‘Target Killing’, or ‘Extrajudicial Killing’ primarily because the targets are being ‘taken out’ without giving them the opportunity to defend themselves in a court of law.

This view is gaining ground in the international legal fraternity and is supported by various international treaties as well as the United States’ own constitution.

Giving a brief description of the history of drone attacks, Mustafa Khokar said the first drone attack was struck at Jordan and the UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial killings took serious notice and conveyed to the government of the US an explanation of their position in this regard. He opined that military action should be proportionate.

Mustafa mentioned that one does not have to be a legal expert to see that there is blatant disregard of international law, customary law, treaties and conventions by the American administration.

Moral and legal obligations are being flouted by the US administration, he said, adding that a complaint regarding drone attacks has already been lodged with the US several times but unfortunately it had not proved fruitful and the HRM has decided to take up this matter with UN.

Mustafa Khokar further said that a photo exhibition would start in London on Tuesday (today) titled ‘Gaming in Waziristan’, in which snapshots of drone attacks victims, including corpses of children and women, clothes, shoes and other belongings of these people would be displayed to unveil the reality in front of international forums.

The adviser said that the record of America and its allies is questionable, ranging from disrespecting environmental treaties to torturing detainees and now extrajudicial killings. He hoped that as the UN Special Rapporteur is considering the matter, Pakistan’s official communication in this regard might prove to be highly productive.

====

Pan-Albanian Separatists Spread Kosovo Unrest To South Serbia

http://www.novinite.com/view_news.php?id=132302

Sofia News Agency
September 21, 2011

Tensions Rise in Southeast Serbia as Ethnic Albanians Rally

-Back in 1999-2001, a paramilitary group called Liberation Army of Presevo, Medveda and Bujanovac modeled after the Kosovo Liberation Army was active in the region….In 2010, a poll found that a majority of the ethnic Albanians in Albania, Kosovo, and Macedonia were in favor of a ‘Greater Albania.’

Tensions in Southeastern Serbia have grown after several thousand ethnic Albanians rallied to protest against discrimination in the town of Presevo.

Residents of the three predominantly ethnic Albanian towns Presevo, Bujanovac, and Medveda took part in the rally, BGNES reported.

The demonstrators carried Albanian, US, and EU flags, and vast banners with their demands for the Serbian state authorities…

Wednesday’s demonstration is a follow-up of a rally organized in Bujanovac on September 13 that demanded the use of Albanian language by the administration and the recognition of diplomas acquired from the ethnic Albanian university in Kosovo’s capital Prishtina.

Presevo, Bujanovac, and Medveda are municipalities bordering Kosovo, the ethnic Albanian republic which declared independence in 2008.

Back in 1999-2001, a paramilitary group called Liberation Army of Presevo, Medveda and Bujanovac modeled after the Kosovo Liberation Army was active in the region.

The Liberation Army of Preševo, Medve?a and Bujanovac even has a Facebook fan page…

In 2010, a poll found that a majority of the ethnic Albanians in Albania, Kosovo, and Macedonia were in favor of a ‘Greater Albania.’

====

Romanian President On NATO-Russia Armed Conflict Over Moldova, Transdniester

http://www.nineoclock.ro/wikileaks-basescu-was-worried-about-possible-russian-romanian-conflict/

Nine O’Clock News
September 20, 2011

WikiLeaks: Basescu was worried about possible Russian-Romanian conflict

In a meeting with US Senator Richard Lugar on August 27, 2008 in Bucharest, President Traian Basescu voiced serious worries that Romania could have been drawn in a military conflict with Russia in Transdniester, according to a US Embassy cable released by WikiLeaks and made public by Gandul.info.

If Russia made a move in Trans­dniester as it did in Georgia at the beginning of August 2008, Romania would have to face ‘tough options,’ Basescu said.

In the cable, then US Ambassador Nicholas Taubman noted that ‘Basescu clearly worries that Russians may trigger a similar provocation in Moldova, which would practically require a Romanian military response, with broad implications for the EU and NATO.’

====

China Protests New U.S. Arms Sales To Taiwan

http://en.rian.ru/world/20110922/167024335.html

Russian Information Agency Novosti
September 22, 2011

China protests against U.S. arms sales to Taiwan

BEIJING: China expressed its ‘strong indignation and resolute opposition’ to the new round of U.S. arms sales to Taiwan, Xinhua said on Thursday.

U.S. Ambassador to China Gary Locke was summoned to the Chinese Foreign Ministry late on Wednesday, where Chinese Deputy Foreign Minister Zhang Zhijun lodged protest over the U.S. administration’s decision to sell weapons worth $5.85 billion to Taiwan.

However, the U.S. cancelled its previous decision to sell F-16C/D fighter jets to Taiwan, saying it would instead upgrade the Taiwan’s F-16 fighter jets.

‘China strongly urges the United States to be fully aware of the high sensitivity and serious harm of the issue, seriously treat the solemn stance of China, honor its commitment and immediately cancel the wrong decision,’ Xinhua quoted Zhang Zhijun as saying.

‘The wrongdoing by the U.S. side will inevitably undermine bilateral relations as well as exchanges and cooperation in military and security areas,’ he said.

The deal violates three U.S.-Chinese communiques, including the August 17, 1972 joint statement in which Washington said it would gradually reduce its arms sales to Taiwan, which Beijing considers a rebel region to be reunited with the mainland.

====

Russia To Refit Nuclear Missile Cruisers

http://en.rian.ru/mlitary_news/20110921/167012600.html

Russian Information Agency Novosti
September 21, 2011

Russia to refit nuclear missile cruisers – media

-The ships’ armament will get a major boost, with installation of advanced multi-module missile systems capable of firing a wide range of missiles and torpedoes, including P-800 Yakhont (SS-N-26) anti-ship cruise missiles.

The ships will also receive advanced air defense missile systems based on the land-based S-400 Triumf, and new point-defense systems.
Each cruiser will have a total missile carrying capacity of 300 missiles, making the ships among the best armed in the world.

The Russian Defense Ministry is planning to refit three mothballed nuclear-powered Kirov-class missile cruisers in a major boost for the Russian Navy’s combat strength, Izvestia newspaper said on Wednesday.

The Admiral Nakhimov, Admiral Lazarev and Admiral Ushakov nuclear missile cruisers were built in the Soviet era but have been decommissioned and laid up in dock for over a decade. The only active Kirov class cruiser is the Pyotr Veliky, the flagship of Russia’s Northern Fleet.

Izvestia cited a source in the Russian defense industry as saying the overhaul would include the hull and nuclear power plant repairs as well as a significant modernization of the ships’ electronics and weaponry.

‘All these measures will allow us to extend the service life of these ships until 2030-2040,’ the source said.

The ships’ armament will get a major boost, with installation of advanced multi-module missile systems capable of firing a wide range of missiles and torpedoes, including P-800 Yakhont (SS-N-26) anti-ship cruise missiles.

The ships will also receive advanced air defense missile systems based on the land-based S-400 Triumf, and new point-defense systems.

Each cruiser will have a total missile carrying capacity of 300 missiles, making the ships among the best armed in the world.

After the refit, the Kirov class cruisers will most likely be deployed with Russia’s Northern and Pacific fleets as part of large task forces set up to carry out a variety of combat missions – from ‘hunting’ the adversary’s aircraft carriers and submarines to massive land assaults.

Work on the Admiral Nakhimov has already started and the cruiser is expected to re-enter service with the Russian Navy in 2015, according to sources quoted in the media.

====

U.S. Air Force’s Expanding NATO-European-African-Asian Nexus

http://www.af.mil/news/story.asp?id=123272959

U.S. Air Forces in Europe
American Forces Press Service
September 21, 2011

USAFE commander highlights US, NATO partnership
by Staff Sgt. Mareshah Haynes

-’Every year in USAFE, we conduct about 1,765 military-to-military engagement activities with air forces of Europe and Africa,’ said Gen. Mark A. Welsh III, who is also the commander of the NATO Air Component Command and director of the Joint Air Power Competence Centre. ‘It has become the principle stay at home mission of Air Forces in Europe when we’re not helping to fight and win the war in Afghanistan and Iraq.’

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. – The commander of U.S. Air Forces in Europe shared his views on the evolution of the partnership between U.S. and European Airmen during the Air Force Association’s 2011 Air & Space Convention and Exposition here Sept. 20.

Since World War I and the days of the Lafayette Escadrille, and even before, Airmen have trained and fought alongside service members from other countries and that practice remains today.

‘Every year in USAFE, we conduct about 1,765 military-to-military engagement activities with air forces of Europe and Africa,’ said Gen. Mark A. Welsh III, who is also the commander of the NATO Air Component Command and director of the Joint Air Power Competence Centre. ‘It has become the principle stay at home mission of Air Forces in Europe when we’re not helping to fight and win the war in Afghanistan and Iraq.’

Welsh explained how the U.S.-European partnership translates to expanded capabilities on the battlefield. Out of 48 coalition partner nations fighting in Afghanistan, 37 of them are European.

‘The last time I was in Afghanistan, I talked to an Estonian (joint terminal attack controller) who was supporting a Czech infantry battalion,’ he said. ‘The day before, they had been operating as perimeter security for a Bulgarian security force that was operating in support of a U.S. counter-terror task force. They called in Dutch F-16s and Polish gunships for close-air support during the mission. ‘

The general said the battlefield looks a lot different now in terms of the countries who are on the ground in the fight.

The partnership continues outside of the battle space and the nations pooled their resources to be more effective and efficient. One such venture is the Strategic Airlift Consortium. Twelve NATO partners purchased three C-17 Globemaster IIIs and activated the multinational C-17 Heavy Airlift Wing based in Papa, Hungary.

‘The first time I went (to the HAW) I met a Bulgarian aircrew member and he talked to me about how proud he was to be in this wing,’ Welsh said…

Welsh said these joint capabilities potentially could expand into other areas like tactical airlift, air refueling and remotely piloted aircraft.

====

Pentagon Building Secret Bases In Indian Ocean, Horn Of Africa

http://www.stripes.com/news/middle-east/u-s-building-secret-mideast-region-drone-bases-officials-say-1.155721

Stars and Stripes
September 21, 2011

U.S. building secret Mideast region drone bases, officials say

The U.S. reliance on drones in the Arabian Peninsula and the Horn of Africa is growing, with a network of clandestine bases being used to strike al-Qaida cells in Somalia and Yemen, The Washington Post reports.

The U.S. government is known to have carried out drone attacks against high-value targets in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen.

One of the more interesting locations for these secret drone bases is the Seychelles, an Indian Ocean archipelago, the Post reported. The pilotless drones showed in an experimental mission earlier this month that it could reach Somalia from this island nation located about 800 miles to the southeast.

Leaked WikiLeaks cables revealed the presence of these secret drone bases in the Seychelles and elsewhere, the Post reports.

====

Troubling News From Africa: AFRICOM Hatches New Operations

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/11264/1176224-374-0.stm

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
September 21, 2011

Troubling news from Africa
By Dan Simpson*

[Edited]

Africa appears to be in the process of throwing up two new alarming problems, one of them piracy on the west coast, to add to that already rampant on the east coast, and generational fracturing within South Africa’s ruling party.

A third disturbing problem is that the approach to Africa by the administration of President Barack Obama is becoming increasingly dominated by the U.S. military, in the form of the U.S. Africa Command, created in 2008 during the administration of former President George W. Bush.

AFRICOM’s latest maneuver, undoubtedly part of an effort to prevent Defense Department budget cuts in upcoming cost-trimming exercises, has been the claim of its commander, Gen. Carter F. Ham, that al-Qaida seeks to coordinate its efforts in Africa. Gen. Ham’s contention is at variance with analysis of other observers. They see the pieces of al-Qaida acting increasingly independently of each other.

Gen. Ham says that the Shabab in Somalia in East Africa, Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb in North Africa and Boko Haram in Nigeria present a threat to the United States as they work to coordinate their activities. He cited no evidence to support his contention.

A quick glance at the map to see the distances between the three organizations’ areas of operation, the different characters of their memberships and their greatly varying objectives make Mr. Ham’s claim, at best, in need of documentation and, at worst, an indication that he is making his own Africa policy, independent of the rest of the U.S. government.

The U.S. Navy should in no case become involved [in the Gulf of Guinea]. A large number of American and other nations’ ships have been unable to end or even reduce east coast piracy much. Such deployments are very expensive and the United States cannot afford them at this point. Secondly, African oil-producing nations have the resources to tackle the problem without U.S. involvement.

There might be a temptation on the part of some Americans – including the Defense Department – to see the U.S. Navy today as somehow like the British Navy in the 18th and 19th centuries as it tried to suppress the Atlantic slave trade. This isn’t that. It’s protection of oil, with no humanitarian aspect.

We also should get over any idea that we are the British Empire of our times. Think, $15 trillion in national debt. Think, government divided to the point of impotence. Think, rusted American bridges, potholed roads and understaffed schools.

*Dan Simpson, a former U.S. ambassador, is a Post-Gazette associate editor

====

850 U.S.-Trained Mongolian Troops Headed To South Sudan

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english2010/world/2011-09/21/c_131152467.htm

Xinhua News Agency
September 21, 2011

Mongolia to send 850 peacekeepers to South Sudan

See:
Mongolia: Pentagon Trojan Horse Wedged Between China And Russia

ULAN BATOR: The Mongolian government would send 850 soldiers to South Sudan as peacekeepers, Mongolian Defense Minister Luvsanvandan Bold said Wednesday.

‘Sending soldiers to South Sudan, which is a newly independent country with a civil war, is a matter of honor,’ the minister said.

Mongolia had been engaged in U.N. peacekeeping missions since 2002 and was now seeking a bigger role in U.N. peacekeeping missions around the world, he said, adding a total of 5671 Mongolian soldiers had served in peacekeeping missions worldwide.

In the past, Mongolian peacekeepers had served in conflict zones such as Iraq, Sierra Leone, Chad, Sudan, Kosov0 and Afghanistan, according to the defense minister.

‘The responsibilities of Mongolian soldiers are also increasing. Previously, our soldiers were guarding military bases. Now they are guarding airports,’ he said.

The country is upgrading its military rehabilitation center, with the assistance of China and cooperating with the U.S., Germany, South Korea and Turkey, he said.

====

Contra Russia, Iran: Azerbaijan And ‘Europe’s Energy Security’

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english2010/world/2011-09/22/c_131152497.htm

Xinhua News Agency
September 22, 2011

Azerbaijian plays vital role as Europe’s energy supplier

BAKU: Azerbaijan was playing an increasingly important role in Europe as a gas supplier, the president of a state-owned oil company told an annual gas conference here Wednesday.

‘Azerbaijan’s role in ensuring Europe’s energy security will increase every year,’ Rovnag Abdullayev, from the State Oil Company of Azerbaijan Republic (SOCAR), said at Gas Infrastructure World Caspian 2011.

The Umid and Absheron gas fields, which had recently been discovered by leading European gas group Gas de France, showed the Caspian region possessed rich gas reserves, which enabled Azerbaijan to meet not only its domestic demand but also exports in the coming decades, he said.

Abdullayev said the company attached great importance to diversifying its gas export routes, such as via the planned Nabucco pipeline.

‘We hope negotiations with Turkey will reach a successful conclusion, which will boost the construction of a new exporting route to Europe,’ the president said.

SOCAR’s annual output would grow to 30 billion cubic meters in 2017-2018 and reach 50 billion by 2025 thanks to the latest discoveries of gas in Azerbaijan.

The Central Asian country, known as the oldest oil producing region in the world, witnessed an oil boom at the beginning of the 20th century.

Abdullayev said Azerbaijan had proved reserves of about 2.5 trillion cubic meters natural gas, however, the actual reserves might be much higher.

SOCAR, the 68th largest company in the world, runs the country’s two oil refineries and oil and natural gas pipelines throughout the country.

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