Updates on Libyan war/Stop NATO news: September 29, 2011

29 September 2011 — Stop NATO

  • Libya: NATO Air Strikes Destroy Central Sirte
  • NATO Continues To Bombard Sirte, Though Resistance Holds Out
  • U.S. Warplanes In Iraq Till 2020; $3 Billion F-16 Deal Signed
  • Video And Text: NATO Provoking New Balkans, European, World Conflict – Russian Envoy
  • Russian Ambassador On NATO Firing At Kosovo Serbs: Irresponsibility Of This Sort Leads To War
  • U.S. Condemns ‘Violent Attack By Serb Mob’ On NATO Troops
  • UN Security Council To Meet On Kosovo Violence
  • Kosovo Protected War Crimes Witness Found Dead In Germany
  • Women, Children Among 19 Killed In NATO-Led Afghan Operation
  • Five NATO Soldiers Killed In Afghanistan
  • More U.S. Military Actions In Pakistan Possible: Senator Graham
  • U.S.-Pakistan Crisis: Watershed Or Waterloo?
  • Pakistan: U.S. Seeks Scapegoat For Failed Afghan Policy
  • Netherlands To Join NATO Interceptor Missile System
  • NATO Implements Second Layer Of Continental Missile Shield
  • U.S.-Led Team Wins European Theater Interceptor Missile Contract
  • Netherlands Extends Libya War Mission
  • 40 Aircraft: Attack Helicopter In Scotland Ahead Of Major NATO Exercise
  • NATO Formalizes Complete Absorption Of Bulgaria
  • U.S. Marks 19th Anniversary Of Restructuring Bulgarian Military For NATO
  • Florida: Pentagon Trains Balkans, Caucasus, Eastern European Navies

Libya: NATO Air Strikes Destroy Central Sirte

http://english.ruvr.ru/2011/09/28/56895822.html

Itar-Tass/Voice of Russia
September 28, 2011

Sirte destroyed by NATO raid

Photo: EPA

Fresh NATO air raids have all but destroyed the central part of Gaddaf’s home city Sirte, where his loyalists are still holding out.

The anti-Gaddafi side is bringing in troops to reinforce its siege of the Mediterranean port.

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NATO Continues To Bombard Sirte, Though Resistance Holds Out

http://www.cadenagramonte.cu/english/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=7292:nato-bombs-sirte-resistance-persists-in-some-fronts&catid=3:world&Itemid=14

Prensa Latina
September 28, 2011

NATO Bombs Sirte; Resistance Persists in Some Fronts           

Tripoli: NATO warplanes strengthened on Wednesday air raids over Sirte backing the rebels´ land offensive, although those loyal to leader Muammar Gaddafi continue resisting in this city and two other southern strongholds.
Reports coming from Sirte, Gaddafi´s hometown, noted that pro-Gaddafi forces controls the downtown of the city despite NATO´s four-day-in-a-row air raids.

Rebels have captured many territories but are still facing a strong pro-Gaddafi resistance, according to numerous contradictory press reports that differ from the deliberately conflicting and triumphalist statements of the National Transitional Council though.

A NTC military source claimed that the rebels fully controlled the harbor in Sirte and some downtown areas as part of a strategy to advance from the eastern periphery and join the brigades deployed in the western flank.

Despite the fact that the NTC claimed that Bani Walid succumbed to its attacks, the rebels only control some outlying neighborhoods, but pro-Gaddafi artillery response prevents them from approaching the city´s downtown, where locals support Gaddafi.

Sabha, which was also declared as ‘liberated’ a week ago, is still not fully controlled by the rebels, who are not backed by the people, even though they set up a NTC headquarter in the Al-Gurtha neighborhood and checkpoints in the roads that lead to the city´s downtown.

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U.S. Warplanes In Iraq Till 2020; $3 Billion F-16 Deal Signed

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2011/09/28/501364/main20112723.shtml

CBS News/Associated Press
September 28, 2011

U.S.: Iraq inks $3B deal for F-16 fighter jets

-The deal has been in the works for years, but was shelved in February when Iraq decided to spend more on food rations for its poor before buying the fighter jets. In August, however, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki announced Iraq would buy 32 fighter jets — twice as many as originally planned.
-Iraq has said its air force is not ready to protect its air space alone, and the country’s top-ranked military officer last year said U.S. help may be needed until 2020.

BAGHDAD – Iraq has signed an estimated $3 billion deal to buy 18 fighter jets from the United States, officials said Tuesday…

The F-16s aren’t expected to arrive in Iraq until next fall at the earliest, and more likely not until 2013 — meaning U.S. troops may still be asked to patrol the country’s skies and train its air force for months, if not years, to come.

But U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Michael Ferriter called the F-16 deal ‘a game-changing capability.’

Iraq has said its air force is not ready to protect its air space alone, and the country’s top-ranked military officer last year said U.S. help may be needed until 2020.

Iraq’s Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari told The Associated Press in an interview on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly in New York that the importance of the deal is ‘for the world to know that Iraq is an ally of the United States in the region.’

The deal has been in the works for years, but was shelved in February when Iraq decided to spend more on food rations for its poor before buying the fighter jets. In August, however, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki announced Iraq would buy 32 fighter jets — twice as many as originally planned.

Iraqi government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh cited a recent push to revive the F-16 deal ‘because the country’s security is important, and the air force is the backbone for Iraq’s defense.’

The jets come with a package to train Iraqi pilots for up to 18 months and is valued at $3 billion, according to another senior U.S. official who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the security deal. Al-Dabbagh said $1.4 billion has already been transferred as a partial payment.

Ferriter said it’s still up to Iraq’s government to decide if it wants U.S. forces to do some of the training, or leave it all to private contractors.

Zebari, the Iraqi foreign minister, said ‘the idea, the policy, is to reach some training mission arrangements, agreement’ with the United States.

At least some of the training — including English-language classes — will be done in the United States, he said.

Washington is especially concerned about Iran’s extended influence in Baghdad and instability throughout the region. Negotiations to keep a few thousand American troops in Iraq next year are ongoing, although officials on both sides say little progress has been made.

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Video And Text: NATO Provoking New Balkans, European, World Conflict – Russian Envoy

http://rt.com/news/kosovo-nato-conflict-603/

RT
September 28, 2011

NATO provoking another conflict in Balkans – Rogozin

Video

The NATO peacekeeping force KFOR has sent more troops to the Serbian-Kosovo border following bloody clashes there. But as Russia’s envoy to NATO Dmitry Rogozin told RT, the alliance is creating a new conflict in the region.

‘It’s another mistake that NATO is making by provoking another conflict in the Balkans,’ Dmitry Rogozin said.

According to witnesses, KFOR has deployed armored vehicles, sandbags and barbed wire around the Jarinje border crossing, about 100 km (60 miles) from Kosovo’s capital, Pristina, on Wednesday.

‘It seems my NATO colleagues don’t have a clue what the consequences of their involvement in the conflict could be,’ Dmitry Rogozin said. ‘Instead of taking a neutral position in accordance with the UN Security Council resolution, they took the side of Kosovo-Albania. Basically, NATO is blocking the only road of life between the Kosovan Serbs and Serbia. It’s the international peacekeepers who are involved in the civil conflict in the north of the region.’

NATO reinforced the border a day after clashes which left 16 Kosovo Serbs and four KFOR members injured.

Milan Jakovljevi?, the director of Kosovska Mitrovica Health Center, said six people sustained serious injuries from live rounds and one person had been taken to the ophthalmology ward due to eye problems caused by tear-gas, Serbian radio and television broadcaster B92 reported.

Both sides blame each other for starting the violence, in which rubber bullets and tear-gas were used by NATO forces.

It is believed the clashes took place when alliance peacekeeping forces tried to dismantle a roadblock set up by Serbs. NATO’s spokesperson insists that KFOR troops had fired on Serb protesters in the Mitrovica region in response to an attack by the crowd.

Meanwhile, according to Rogozin, NATO does not want to discuss the situation in Kosovo or to investigate the latest bloody accident. 

‘They are hiding behind formal phrases that mean nothing,’ he said.

‘We are witnessing outright lies about what kinds of measures have been used against the civilian population in Kosovo. We have been told that only rubber bullets and tear-gas were used. But according to the information from the hospital, all the injured have gunshot wounds. And physicians from Mitrovica complained about the bombardment of ambulances, which were transporting the wounded from the conflict zone,’ Rogozin told Interfax news agency.

Russia has demanded that NATO creates a commission to investigate what happened in the region.

‘I have just asked for an objective investigation into what the so-called NATO peacekeepers are doing in Kosovo. But they just ignored my question,’ Rogozin said. ‘If NATO is concerned about its reputation they should stop this immediately, become neutral again, and investigate the crimes that have taken place against the civilians in northern Kosovo,’ he added.

He stressed that Russia would support and protect civilians, and would also protect decisions made by the UN Security Council. 

John Laughland of the Paris-based Institute for Democracy and Cooperation agrees the deployment of KFOR troops has reactivated a ‘frozen conflict.’

‘If they took away their newly sent force from the borders between the northern Kosovo and the rest of Serbia, then yes, I do think that the region would go back to being peaceful,’ John Laughland told RT.

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Russian Ambassador On NATO Firing At Kosovo Serbs: Irresponsibility Of This Sort Leads To War

http://www.itar-tass.com/en/c32/235813.html

Itar-Tass
September 28, 2011

Ambassador demands investigation of NATO’s firing at Kosovan Serbs

BRUSSELS: Russia’s ambassador to NATO, Dmitry Rogozin has issued a demand that NATO officials investigate the incident, in which NATO forces opened fire at Kosovan Serbs near the Jarinje check-post in Kosovo.

He wrote about his demand at his Twitter microblog.

‘I’ve demand an investigation of the fact of fire by NATO servicemen at Kosovan Serbs, who protested against the blocking of the administrative border between Kosovo and Serbia,’ Rogozin said.

‘What I’ve heard in response is apologies only,’ he said. ‘Irresponsibility of this sort leads to a war.’

Earlier, a demand to investigate the incident was made by Serbia’s President Boris Tadic, who had a telephone conversation with NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen.

Tuesday, KFOR servicemen made an attempt to pull down the barricades that the Kosovan Serbs had put up in front of the Jarinje check-post. They opened fire with rubber bullets and used teargas after the Serbs had thrown several stones at them.

In retaliation, the Serbs hurled a few improvised bombs at the troops.
The incident left four KFOR soldiers and seven Serbs wounded.

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U.S. Condemns ‘Violent Attack By Serb Mob’ On NATO Troops

http://www.focus-fen.net/index.php?id=n260507

Focus News Agency
September 29, 2011

US condemns violence in Kosovo

Washington: The United States on Wednesday condemned what it called a ‘violent attack by a Serb mob’ against NATO peacekeepers at a checkpoint in northern Kosovo, calling for calm from Pristina and Belgrade, AFP reported.

The State Department said that nine members of the alliance’s KFOR peacekeeping force were injured in Tuesday’s incident on the disputed border. An earlier toll said four peacekeepers were hurt.

‘The United States condemns the violent attack by a Serb mob against the NATO-led Kosovo Force (KFOR) on September 27th,’ it said in a statement.

‘We encourage the governments of Kosovo and Serbia to remain committed to the EU-facilitated dialogue process, to encourage calm, and to find agreements that improve the lives of the ordinary citizens in both countries,’ it said.

Those talks – the latest round in a six-month bid by the European Union to help settle friction between the two neighbors – were shelved on Wednesday.

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UN Security Council To Meet On Kosovo Violence

http://english.ruvr.ru/2011/09/28/56888906.html

Voice of Russia
September 28, 2011

Russia calls for discussion on Kosovo

       
Russia hopes the NATO contingent in Kosovo will prevent separatist violence against the Kosovo Serbs.

The Russian NATO Ambassador was speaking about this Wednesday after the Alliance refused to discuss regional instability from the Kosovo crisis on its joint council with Russia.

Two weeks ago, there were clashes and casualties after the separatist authorities seized two crossing points from Serb-populated northern Kosovo to southern Serbia.

KFOR attacks Kosovo Serbs

Representatives of the Serbian community in Macedonia are indignant at the groundless attack of the KFOR international security force in Kosovo against Kosovo Serbs, Ivan Stoilkovic,  leader of the Democratic Party of Serbs in Macedonia, declared to the ITAR-TASS news agency on Wednesday.

‘According to its status, KFOR is to remain neutral and protect citizens rather than get into conflicts with them,’ he pointed out. ‘There can be no excuse for the outrageous behaviour of KFOR servicemen who tried to cold-bloodedly kill people only for being Serbian.’

The clash occurred at the security check-point on the administrative border between Serbia and the self-proclaimed republic. The Serbs were protesting against the Kosovo administration establishing control over the security check-point.

The UN Security Council will meet to discuss the Kosovo issue over clashes between KFOR troops and Serbian forces.

The UN press-service says the session will be held behind closed doors.

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Kosovo Protected War Crimes Witness Found Dead In Germany

http://www.b92.net/eng/news/crimes-article.php?yyyy=2011&mm=09&dd=28&nav_id=76608

Tanjug News Agency
September 28, 2011

Protected witness in ex-KLA trial found dead

PRIŠTINA: A protected witness in the village of Klecka war crimes case was found dead, EULEX Spokeswoman Irina Gudeljevi? told Tanjug.

According to her, the protected witness was found dead in a park in Germany.

The German authorities are investigating the case. The protected witness was Kosovo Albanian Agim Zogaj. He was supposed to testify in the trial of ex-Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) member Fatmir Limaj and nine more persons for war crimes in Kle?ka. The trial is expected to begin by the end of October.

Limaj, who has been under house arrest since last week, will be tried on an indictment charging him with war crimes against civilians and prisoners of war.

The Priština District Court, headed by a EULEX judge, prolonged custody to the group of nine accused for another two months.

Limaj and other defendants are charged with murders, torture and health endangerment of Albanian and Serb civilians from Kosovo and prisoners of war.
—————————————————————————-

http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/09/28/us-kosovo-war-crimes-idUSTRE78R5O320110928

Reuters
September 28, 2011

Kosovo war crimes witness found dead in Germany

PRISTINA: A witness in a war crimes case against a member of Kosovo’s parliament has been found dead in Germany, an EU police and justice mission (EULEX) spokesman said on Wednesday.

Ruling party parliamentarian Fatmir Limaj, who was put under house arrest last week, and nine other people arrested in March are accused of committing murder, torture and violations of the human rights of ethnic Albanians, Serbs and prisoners during Kosovo’s 1998-99 war with Serbia.

Agim Zogaj, known as witness X in the war crimes case, was found dead in a German park, said EULEX spokesman Blerim Krasniqi, adding: ‘The German authorities are conducting the necessary investigation to determine the circumstances of his death.’

A German police spokesman said investigators suspected that Zogaj killed himself but the investigation was still in progress and the police were waiting for the coroner’s report.

‘There are no indications it was anything else,’ the police spokesman said. He added an autopsy would be carried out on Thursday.

Zogaj, who was a soldier under Limaj’s command during Kosovo’s war for independence, was sent to Germany as a protected witness. Police would not confirm media reports in Kosovo that he had killed himself.

Those charged are former members of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), which fought Serb forces for independence.

Limaj, an ally of Prime Minister Hashim Thaci, was a leading figure in the KLA.

…Limaj was acquitted by The Hague war crimes tribunal in 2005, two years after he was indicted on similar charges.

Limaj also faces corruption charges relating to his time as transport minister in a previous government.

(Additional reporting by Joseph Nasr in Berlin; Editing by Myra MacDonald)

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Women, Children Among 19 Killed In NATO-Led Afghan Operation

http://www.pajhwok.com/en/2011/09/28/19-civilians-killed-nuristan-operation-mps

Pajhwok Afghan News
September 28, 2011

19 civilians killed in Nuristan operation: MPs
By Abasin Zaheer

KABUL: Afghan and foreign forces killed 19 civilians, including women and children, during an operation on Sept. 20 in eastern Nuristan province, a parliamentarian said on Wednesday.

Militants had fled the Want Waigal district before the operation was launched, a Wolesi Jirga member from the province, Maulvi Ahadullah Mowahid, told a press conference in Kabul.

‘For two days, foreign forces did not allow locals to collect the dead bodies that were eaten by animals,’ the legislator alleged, claiming provincial authorities were not taken into confidence over the operations.

Mowahid said a hospital and several shops in the remote district also came under attack during the offensive, he said.

Another member of the assembly from Nuristan, Hazrat Shah Nuristani, said tribal elder Juma Gul was stabbed to death and several locals were arrested by NATO-led troops. ‘Such actions only widen the gap between the government and the people.’

Provincial council chief, Qazi Inayatullah Mazhabyar, said the district had been under the Taliban’s control for the past six months but the fighters left it as a result of the operation.

‘The combined force came to the district, killed innocent people and once again left Want Waigal to militants,’ he remarked.

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Five NATO Soldiers Killed In Afghanistan

http://www.monstersandcritics.com/news/southasia/news/article_1665686.php/Five-foreign-soldiers-killed-in-Afghanistan

Deutsche Presse-Agentur
September 28, 2011

Five foreign soldiers killed in Afghanistan

Kabul: Five soldiers with the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) were killed Wednesday in separate incidents in Afghanistan, the military coalition said.

Three ISAF service members died following an improvised explosive device attack in eastern Afghanistan on Wednesday, ISAF said in a statement.

In a separate incident, one soldier died as a result of a non-battle related injury in southern Afghanistan.

ISAF did not release details about the deceased or exactly where the incidents took place.

Earlier in the day, ISAF said one soldier had died following an insurgent attack in Wardak province, bordering Kabul.

Even though military officials have projected a fragile gain, violence has erupted recently in much of Afghanistan, including the capital.

The United Nations said Wednesday Afghanistan was witnessing ‘considerable political volatility and disconcerting levels of insecurity’ with average monthly ‘security incidents’ up by 39 per cent through August, compared to the same period in 2010.

Last month was the deadliest for US and NATO allies in Afghanistan, according to an independent tally website, iCasualties.org.

At least 81 international soldiers died in Afghanistan, the highest this year, of which 70 were Americans, the highest casualties in a month for the US forces since the war started in 2001.

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More U.S. Military Actions In Pakistan Possible: Senator Graham

http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/09/29/us-pakistan-usa-graham-idUSTRE78S0CZ20110929

Reuters
September 28, 2011

More U.S. military action in Pakistan possible: Graham
By Missy Ryan and Susan Cornwell

WASHINGTON: Support is growing in the U.S. Congress for expanding American military action in Pakistan beyond drone strikes already used to target militants in Pakistani territory, a senior Republican U.S. senator says.

The comments by Senator Lindsey Graham, an influential Republican voice on foreign policy and military affairs, follow remarks by the top U.S. military officer, Admiral Mike Mullen, accusing Pakistan last week of supporting the militant Haqqani network’s September 13 attack on the U.S. Embassy in Kabul.

With growing calls for a tougher stance on militants accused of such high-profile attacks, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Wednesday that Washington was closer to deciding whether to label the Haqqanis a terrorist group.

Graham said in an interview on Tuesday that U.S. lawmakers might support military options beyond drone strikes that have been going on for years inside Pakistani territory.

Those options may include using U.S. bomber planes within Pakistan. The South Carolina Republican said he did not advocate sending U.S. ground troops into Pakistan.

‘I would say when it comes to defending American troops, you don’t want to limit yourself,’ Graham said. ‘This is not a boots-on-the-ground engagement — I’m not talking about that, but we have a lot of assets beyond drones.

‘A perfect world … would be Afghan, Pakistan and (U.S. and NATO) coalition forces working jointly on both sides of border to deny safe havens, inside of Afghanistan and on the other side,’ in Pakistan’s western tribal regions from which the Haqqani network and other militants are believed to operate, Graham said.

Graham said U.S. lawmakers will think about stepping up the military pressure. ‘If people believe it’s gotten to the point that that is the only way really to protect our interests, I think there would be a lot of support,’ he said.

Increased U.S. military action on Pakistani soil, including the idea of U.S. soldiers crossing the porous border from Afghanistan, would be deeply unpopular in Pakistan. Pakistan viewed the U.S. military raid in May that killed al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden as a grievous breach of its sovereignty.

The tense ties between Pakistan and the United States worsened last week after Mullen, the chairman of the U.S. military’s Joint Chiefs of Staff, described the Haqqani network as a ‘veritable arm’ of Pakistan’s ISI spy agency.

Graham, known as a hawk, said on Sunday that the United States must consider all options ‘including defending our troops’ in confronting Pakistani support for militant networks active in Afghanistan.

Such remarks from the U.S. Congress, where patience has worn thin with Pakistan, have intensified speculation that the United States might resort to another cross-border raid such as the one that killed bin Laden, intensify drone attacks in Pakistan’s lawless tribal regions or send in bomber planes to attack militant hide-outs.

Lawmakers are proposing to restrict U.S. aid with stricter conditions under which Pakistan, which possesses nuclear arms but is desperately poor, can access U.S. military and economic assistance.

The unusually public criticism from Washington has provoked anger among Pakistani leaders who warn that the United States may lose a key ally in an unstable region.

(Additional reporting by Andrew Quinn; editing by Will Dunham and Anthony Boadle)

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U.S.-Pakistan Crisis: Watershed Or Waterloo?

http://www.thenews.com.pk/TodaysPrintDetail.aspx?ID=69976&Cat=9#;

News International
September 29, 2011

Watershed or Waterloo?
Raoof Hasan

-Since the initiation of wars by the US has been part of a jaundiced but unchanging strategy of cultivating strife to keep its arms industry going and to physically occupy all sources of energy, there has been no let-up in its scope or intensity, and there will not be any. Region after region has been mercilessly subjected to US brutality.
-The manner in which governance has been abdicated; state institutions brutalised; rule of law subverted; apex court’s injunctions rubbished; parliament marginalised with its unanimous resolutions consigned to the bin; alleged acts of subversion overlooked; and crooks, criminals and those given reprieve through presidential pardons appointed at key government positions, are just some of the manifestations of a captive political leadership doing America’s job in Pakistan.

The inherent artificiality of US-Pakistan relations was bound to assert itself as it has now. After a spate of bellicose statements from the US military hierarchy directly targeting the military and the ISI, it was the COAS who showed the grit to defend Pakistan’s legitimate strategic interests. The responsibility for doing so rested on the shoulders of the political leadership, but they constitute an important component of the problem that Pakistan is faced with today.

The US is losing the war in Afghanistan just like all previous invaders have. It has lost wars in the past that it started with intention of stamping its illegitimate hegemony on various regions. In the process, it destabilised the world, causing untold mayhem and impoverished millions of people who are still struggling to cope. Since the initiation of wars by the US has been part of a jaundiced but unchanging strategy of cultivating strife to keep its arms industry going and to physically occupy all sources of energy, there has been no let-up in its scope or intensity, and there will not be any. Region after region has been mercilessly subjected to US brutality.

Today, at the receiving end of the US pounding stands Pakistan – a country that has repeatedly compromised its sovereignty considerations to serve an alien cause. I call it alien because there are numerous inherent factors that separate US interests from those of Pakistan.

The US preoccupation with establishing effective control over political and economic developments in Central Asia, to the exclusion of China, is not congruent with Pakistan’s interests while the latter’s strong relations with China and their potential to expedite Pakistan’s development are not convergent with US strategic interests.

The frenetic US endeavour to establish Indian hegemony in this region, as its proxy flag bearer, runs counter to Pakistan’s priorities. Pakistan’s desire to promote reconciliatory initiatives aimed at bringing peace to Afghanistan do not tally with the US aim of securing long-term presence in that country. Pakistan’s nuclear capability is viewed by the US as a threat to its interests and that of its principal ally in the region, India, while Pakistan and its allies view this as an essential requisite for stability in the region.

If Pakistan’s leadership thought that the US would stand down in the face of its military’s increasing assertiveness once its immediate interests had been secured, it was a fatal fallacy. US interests run permanently counter to those of Pakistan and are not likely to change with the passage of time. To force total and unconditional capitulation, the US has wantonly used its vast network of non-state militant collaborators and paid agents to destabilise Pakistan as has been evident from scores of incidents in the recent past.

It is here that one begins to understand the need for crafting the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) and the induction of a tainted and servile political leadership to replace a pliant dictator. The manner in which governance has been abdicated; state institutions brutalised; rule of law subverted; apex court’s injunctions rubbished; parliament marginalised with its unanimous resolutions consigned to the bin; alleged acts of subversion overlooked; and crooks, criminals and those given reprieve through presidential pardons appointed at key government positions, are just some of the manifestations of a captive political leadership doing America’s job in Pakistan. In this, it has been extended support by those who are complicit in endeavours to denude this country of its wealth, employing fraudulent means and push it into permanent enslavement and those who, because of an unmitigated hatred for the armed forces, would tolerate even the most corrupt and complicit government to the exclusion of the army. While it may serve their bloated egos, it is doing no service to Pakistan and its strategic interests.

It may sound trite to state that Pakistan faces its most gruesome existential challenge, but it really does. There is widespread internal strife due to the government’s inability and unwillingness to control the vitiating factors. Pakistan also confronts external threats from many directions. Across the eastern border is an unfriendly India and across its western border is a belligerent Afghanistan ruled by a US stooge who will do as commanded. Then there is this adversary garbed as an ally who is pounding Pakistan with incessant drone strikes in connivance with its political leadership and is now threatening to go for over 300 targets inside Pakistan’s territory. Meanwhile, Pakistan’s economy is on a life-support system while it is being systematically stripped of its wealth by a vast network of corrupt and complicit political mafias.

Pakistan’s ailment is discernable and there may even be doctors to write a prescription, but there is no one who would like to perform the bitter procedure. The army looks patently disinterested and the judiciary hides behind a heavy pile of cases that lie in pendency. There is no easy cure. It is a complicated operation involving numerous vital organs that need serious attention, even replacement. The system is corrupt beyond repair and those who have done the trick still have the reins in their hands.

Pakistan is precariously perched at the edge: on one side is a government that is complicit and on the other are a string of vultures with their mouths open. One false step and there is no rescue. Watershed or Waterloo? Pakistan’s plunge can only be stopped through a display of raw courage. It is time for people to stand up for their country that may not have given them anything, but that remains their only source of hope and inspiration.

The writer is a political analyst and an adviser to the PTI.

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Pakistan: U.S. Seeks Scapegoat For Failed Afghan Policy

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2011929story_29-9-2011_pg11_8

Daily Times
September 29, 2011

‘US looking for scapegoat for their failed Afghan policy’

ISLAMABAD: Pak-China Institute Chairman Mushahid Hussain Sayed, on Wednesday, said the Americans were looking for a scapegoat for their flawed and failed policy on Afghanistan.

‘We should be grateful to the US administration as their blame-game and baseless accusations have united all Pakistanis. This unity and resolve by Pakistanis is reflected in today’s All-Parties Conference (APC),’ said Mushahid while addressing the participants of the book-launching ceremony of Yan Lijin, a distinguished Chinese scholar among modern Chinese entrepreneurs and philosophers.

The launching ceremony of the book titled ‘Harmony’, held under the aegis of Pak-China Institute, was also addressed by Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir, former foreign secretary Akram Zaki, former ISI chief and chairman joint chiefs of staff committee General (retd) Ihsanul Haq and Yan Lijin.

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Netherlands To Join NATO Interceptor Missile System

http://en.rian.ru/mlitary_news/20110928/167228879.html

Russian Information Agency Novosti
September 28, 2011

Netherlands to join NATO missile defense program

The Netherlands will contribute to the NATO missile shield to protect Europe against missile attacks from countries such as Iran, the NRC Handelsblad newspaper said.

The Defense Ministry has approved a 250 million euro program to modernize the air-defense radar system and frigates for the sea-based defense system, the paper said.

The system will allow missiles to be spotted and tracked, NATO officials say.

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NATO Implements Second Layer Of Continental Missile Shield

http://www.presseurop.eu/en/content/news-brief-cover/1000091-second-anti-missile-shield-europe

NRC Handelsblad
September 27, 2011

Second anti-missile shield in Europe

‘The Netherlands is contributing towards a missile shield,’ announces NRC Handelsblad. On September 26, the country’s minister of defence announced the installation of the Smart-L radar system on the Netherlands’ four frigates and in its air defence command. These systems are part of NATO’s ALTBMD (Active Layered Theatre Ballistic Missile Defence), intended to protect the territory of Europe from incoming hostile missiles.

The range of the ultra-modern systems is very high: two frigates, one in the Baltic Sea and one in the Mediterranean, would be enough to cover all of Europe’s airspace. But the project has a price: for the Netherlands, 250 million euros, which be set off against ‘savings for the ministry of one billion euros’ writes the daily.

The Netherlands is ‘the first European country in NATO to contribute significantly’ to NATO’s missile shield over the continent, which is independent of the shield that the United States has installed in Romania, Poland and Turkey.

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U.S.-Led Team Wins European Theater Interceptor Missile Contract

http://www.aviationweek.com/aw/generic/story_channel.jsp?channel=defense&id=news/asd/2011/09/28/04.xml&headline=U.S.-Led%20Team%20Wins%20NATO%20Missile%20Shield%20Work

Aviation Week
September 28, 2011

U.S.-Led Team Wins NATO Missile Shield Work
By Amy Svitak

PARIS: NATO has awarded a contract worth €2.5 million ($3.36 million) to a U.S.-led industry team to define the first steps of a plan that would expand NATO’s theater missile defense system to form a broader shield over the alliance’s territory and population in Europe, as well as for deployed forces.

The industry team, led by McLean, Va.-based Science Applications International Corp., comprises EADS Astrium of France, IABG of Germany, Selex SI of Italy, TNO of the Netherlands, U.K.-based Qinetiq and the British arm of Raytheon. Work under the yearlong effort is to be performed at the NATO Consultation, Command and Control Agency in The Hague.

‘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 defense testing between the United States and NATO elements last month,’ the international organization said in a Sept. 20 statement.

The NATO contract follows a November 2010 decision at the Lisbon Summit to provide the alliance with an additional layer of capability to protect Europe.

Astrium Space Transportation, the prime contractor for France’s missile defense program, has already proposed a plan to validate the underlying technology for a €1 billion missile defense system dubbed Exoguard. The unsolicited proposal aims to achieve the flight test of an in-space interceptor around mid-decade at a cost of €225 million.

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Netherlands Extends Libya War Mission

http://www.rnw.nl/africa/bulletin/dutch-mps-extend-nato-libya-mission

Radio Netherlands
September 28, 2011

Dutch MPs to extend NATO Libya mission

A large majority of Dutch MPs has voted in favour of extending the NATO mission in Libya by another three months. Six F-16 fighter planes, a mine sweeper and more than 200 Dutch troops have participated in the mission since it began at the end of March. Dutch military personnel have also flown in AWACS radar planes.

The minority VVD and Christian Democrat (CDA) coalition decision was supported by the Labour Party (PvdA) Green Left, Christian Union and SGP in parliament. The government’s support party the Freedom Party and opposition party the Socialist Party (SP) opposed extending the military operation.

The Christian Democrats said this extension had to be the last one. But Foreign Minister Uri Rosenthal said it would be a bad sign to indicate at this stage that the mission could not be extended a third time.

The SP said the objective of the mission had been continually stretched. MP Harry van Bommel said NATO has turned into an air force for Libya’s new leaders…

There was criticism in parliament that MPs had only been informed by letter about the decision to extend the mission one day ahead of the previous mandate expiring…

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40 Aircraft: Attack Helicopter In Scotland Ahead Of Major NATO Exercise

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-highlands-islands-15091998

BBC News
September 28, 2011

Chinook low flying ahead of Exercise Joint Warrior

Military helicopter crews have been training in low flying over the Highlands ahead of a major UK-led Nato exercise.

A Chinook has been flying low over Loch Ness, Inverness and Ullapool as part of what the Ministry of Defence (MoD) called a medium scale exercise.

The training has been held ahead of Exercise Joint Warrior, which will take place from 3-17 October.

Joint Warrior is held twice a year, with the first staged in spring.

According to an MoD website, the sea, air and land training will mostly take place in the Highlands, Western Isles, the Borders and north east England.

The public have been told to expect large formations of fast jets.

Up to 40 Nato aircraft may take part in training simultaneously, the MoD said.

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NATO Formalizes Complete Absorption Of Bulgaria

http://www.defpro.com/news/details/28271/?SID=be757f60109e5d96226db9e96694b3fe

Defence Professionals
September 28, 2011

Bulgaria and NATO Sign a Declaration for Concluding Integration Program into NATO

On September 27th, General Simeon Simeonov, Chief of Defence of the Republic of Bulgaria, and Admiral Samuel J. Locklear III, USN, Commander, Allied Joint Force Command Naples, signed a Declaration for concluding the Program for Integration of BU Armed Forces into NATO.

‘The Declaration we signed today is a confirmation that Bulgaria has accomplished the Integration Plan objectives. The Armed Forces of the Republic of Bulgaria have gone through a period of comprehensive transformation. We have brought our regulations and procedures in line with those of NATO,’ Defence Chief General Simeon Simeonov said in his address. He emphasized that the experience gathered by the Bulgarian Army will be of great importance to future joint activities and cooperation.

‘The Bulgarian declared units have gone through intensive training in order to achieve interoperability with NATO forces. The certification and affirmation process has proved their readiness to participate in NATO operations. During the last several years the Bulgarian Armed Forces managed to create a pool of sufficient number of evaluators capable of conducting both national certification and NATO affirmation. Their experience is of great importance to our efforts to enhance the training of the Bulgarian declared units and make it more efficient and effective. With these units, as part of a single set of forces, Bulgaria has been successfully participating in NATO, UN and EU operations,’ General Simeonov added.

In turn, Admiral Samuel J. Locklear III, USN, Commander, Allied Joint Force Command Naples, said, ‘You have demonstrated the requisite operational capabilities necessary for inclusion in the NATO Force Structure and Integrated Air Defense System. We are honored to sign the ‘Declaration on the Bulgarian Armed Forces’ Integration into NATO’,’ emphasized Admiral Locklear. ‘We are confident that the affirmation of Bulgarian units and their addition to the NATO Pool of Forces will increase the Alliance’s operational capability and significantly contribute to regional and global security,’ Admiral Locklear pointed out.

Earlier today, Defence Minister Anu Anguelov met with Admiral Samuel J. Locklear III, USN, Commander, Allied Joint Force Command Naples. Minister Anguelov underlined that the accomplishment of the objectives of integration and interoperability of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Bulgaria into NATO is a result of the good interaction we have had for many years now. He introduced his guest to the documents, recently adopted by the National Assembly: the new National Defence Strategy, the White Paper on Defence, as well as with the Plan for the Development of the Armed Forces, elaborated on the basis of the Defence Strategy and the White Paper. Admiral Samuel J. Locklear III thanked our country for the participation of the Bulgarian military in ISAF, the deployment of the Drazki frigate to support the embargo of Libya, and the conduct of the annual Exercise BREEZE, which has improved interoperability among NATO units in the Black Sea.

Admiral Samuel J. Locklear III, USN, Commander, Allied Joint Force Command Naples was received earlier today with full military honors at the Monument of the Unknown Soldier.

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U.S. Marks 19th Anniversary Of Restructuring Bulgarian Military For NATO

http://www.sofiaecho.com/2011/09/28/1164601_us-security-assistance-programme-marks-19th-anniversary

Sofia Echo
September 28, 2011

US security assistance programme marks 19th anniversary

The Office of Defence Cooperation at the US embassy in Sofia marked the 19th anniversary of its security assistance programmes with Bulgaria with a ceremony and reception hosted by ambassador James Warlick at the US embassy on September 27 2011.

The security assistance programmes consist of the Foreign Military Financing (FMF) programme and the Combined Education and Training (CETP) programme, which incorporates the International Military Education and Training (IMET) Program, the Counter terrorism Fellowship Program (CTFP), specialised training via FMF, all of which involve English-language training, as well as academics and training at the George C. Marshall Center in Garmisch, Germany. All of these programmes are made possible through U.S. Security Assistance grant funding as mandated by the US congress.

Since 1992, the Office of Defence Cooperation has spent more than 22 million dollars to train more than 1400 Bulgarian military officers, Ministry of Defence civilians and Non-Commissioned Officers (NCO) who have benefited from educational programmes and training offered under the security assistance programme.

Over the same period, Bulgaria has been allocated approximately 143 million dollars under the Foreign Military Financing (FMF) programme to assist with the modernisation of its armed forces, as well as to enhance interoperability within Nato and with US forces.

In recognition of the programme’s success, ambassador Warlick welcomed many of the Bulgarian graduates of the education and training programmes, as well as other defence officials, including SSG Deyan Madin of the 61st Mechanized Brigade in Karlovo, an honour graduate of the Warrior Leaders Course held at the US 7th Army NCO Academy in Grafenwoehr, Germany.

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Florida: Pentagon Trains Balkans, Caucasus, Eastern European Navies

http://jacksonville.com/military/jax-air-news/2011-09-28/story/ukrainian-officers-learn-about-nas-jax-operations

Florida Times-Union
September 28, 2011

Ukrainian officers learn about NAS Jax operations
By Kaylee LaRocque
NAS Jax Deputy PAO

-Th[e] program provides cooperative relationships with maritime nations and is key to regional stability and security. MPP Det 513 works directly with Commander, 6th Fleet Headquarters in Naples, Italy coordinating, engaging and executing military to military events with Eastern European countries. These countries include: Albania, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Croatia, Georgia, Romania, Turkey, Poland and the Ukraine.

Four Ukrainian naval officers and their civilian interpreter visited NAS Jacksonville Sept. 18-23 to gain insight into aviation survival and safety, search and rescue (SAR) capabilities, and squadron operations.

The group began day one with a visit to the NAS Jax Air Traffic Control Tower where they witnessed air traffic controllers directing pilots using the airfield and learned about daily operations in the tower and radar room.

The afternoon was spent visiting Hangar 1000 to learn about fleet logistics squadron missions and responsibilities at VR-62 and VR-58.

The group also visited VP-30 to learn how patrol squadron pilots are trained for the fleet…and HSM-74 and HSL-42 to talk with pilots about the capabilities and mission of the SH-60B Seahawk and the new MH-60R Romeo helicopters.

On the final day of the visit, the Ukrainian officers spent several hours ‘flying’ the Romeo helicopter flight simulator.

The visit was sponsored through the Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe, Commander 6th Fleet, Maritime Partnership Program (CNE-C6F MPP) and coordinated by Naval Reserve officers from CNE-C6F MPP Detachment 513 based at Navy Operations Support Center (NOSC) Great Lakes, Ill.

This program provides cooperative relationships with maritime nations and is key to regional stability and security. MPP Det 513 works directly with Commander, 6th Fleet Headquarters in Naples, Italy coordinating, engaging and executing military to military events with Eastern European countries. These countries include: Albania, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Croatia, Georgia, Romania, Turkey, Poland and the Ukraine.

‘The Ukrainian and U.S. Navies jointly participate in exercises and operations so this trip will help enhance our capabilities during these international evolutions. By learning about search and rescue procedures, it will allow our military to better assist during emergency situations for our aviators and those participating in joint operations,’ said [Capt. Yurii Zabolotskyi, deputy navigator, Ukraine Aviation Squadron, Naval Aviation Brigade].

CNE-C6F MPP Det 513 is comprised of approximately 60 reservists with a variety of skill sets. Some of the unit’s personnel live and work in Europe and speak foreign languages which benefits the CNEP allowing U.S. and foreign military members better interaction and success in their missions.

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