8 October 2011 — Stop NATO
- Video And Text: NATO Attack Helicopters Help Level Sirte
- Russian Envoy: U.S.-NATO Build Proxy Armies In Afghanistan And Libya, Establish Permanent Presence
- Ten Years In Afghanistan. How Many More To Come?
- After Ten Years Of War, Peace Eludes Afghanistan
- NATO Has Trained Over 7,000 Czech Troops In Afghan War Theater
- Gravest Threat To Russia: U.S.-NATO Interceptor Missiles In Arctic
- Lithuania: NATO Holds Exercise To Prepare Global Response Force
- Sarkozy Baits Russia In Tbilisi
- Sarkozy Demands European Monitors In Abkhazia, South Ossetia
- Eyes On NATO, EU: Saakashvili Praises Sarkozy’s Speech
Video And Text: NATO Attack Helicopters Help Level Sirte
October 7, 2011
Nato helicopters engaged in attack on Sirte
Night-time footage shows heavy fighting involving NATO helicopters in Colonel Gaddafi’s hometown of Sirte
Nato helicopters struck earlier this week with a series of overnight missile attacks on the birthplace of the deposed leader.
The heavy airstrikes took place on Monday and hit several targets in the town.
Commanders with the National Transitional Council have surrounded Sirte and reduced the defensive perimeter of the remaining Gaddafi loyalists to just a few square kilometres.
Taking Sirte is of huge symbolic importance to Libya’s new rulers as it is one of the few areas of the country they do not yet control.
Russian Envoy: U.S.-NATO Build Proxy Armies In Afghanistan And Libya, Establish Permanent Presence
Xinhua News Agency
October 7, 2011
Russia rejects U.S. presence in Afghanistan after U.N. mandate expires
MOSCOW: Russia will not agree to U.S. military presence in Afghanistan after the expiration of a U.N. Security Council mandate, Russian envoy to NATO Dmitry Rogozin said Friday.
Rogozin told Russian reporters said the United States is pursuing the same tactic in both Afghanistan and Libya by offering training for armed forces of those countries in NATO standards.
‘This is only a pretext for preserving their military presence in those counties,’ Rogozin said.
‘This is something we have never agreed with. Afghanistan should be free from foreign interference in its internal affairs, and therefore the coalition forces should only perform the duties mandated by the U.N. Security Council in 2001,’ he added.
Also on Friday, Deputy Foreign Minister Alexei Borodavkin said Moscow will insist on scaling down the U.S. military presence in Central Asia after its counter-terrorism operation in Afghanistan is completed.
‘The point is that when the counter-terrorism operation in Afghanistan is over, when American armed forces leave this country, and the need to send supplies to them becomes irrelevant, we will insist that the American military presence in Afghanistan and Central Asia must be scaled down,’ Borodavkin told a meeting of the Russian State Duma, or the lower house of the parliament.
Ten Years In Afghanistan. How Many More To Come?
October 7, 2011
Ten years in Afghanistan and many more to come?
Ten years after it started, former commander of American troops in Afghanistan, Stanley McChrystal, says the United States’ goals in the War on Terror are far from being accomplished.
While speaking at the Council on Foreign Relations yesterday, retired Army General McChrystal remarked to an audience that not only is the mission in Afghanistan only ‘a little better than’ half-way done, but he admits that the military community is massively misinformed about the operation even a decade after it began.
‘We didn’t know enough and we still don’t know enough,’ McChrystal said Thursday from Washington DC. ‘Most of us – me included – had a very superficial understanding of the situation and history, and we had a frighteningly simplistic view of recent history, the last 50 years.’
As troops still try to come to terms with why they are overseas and what to do there, the toll continues to tower. Over 2,700 American soldiers have been called in Afghanistan so far, with August of 2011 serving as the bloodiest month in the ten years since the occupation began. 66 troops were killed in August, over what it looks like former top-brass are saying they aren’t even sure of.
President Barack Obama has vowed to vacate American troops from Afghanistan by 2014, but as deaths continue to be reported and billions are spent on the war, the toll remains terrible on both Afghans and Americans. In addition to the roughly 300 causalities of Americans that occurred in Afghanistan this year, over 1,000 soldiers have committed suicide between 2005 and 2009.
Highly controversial drone strikes by unmanned American aircraft over the Middle East and Asia have also received harsh criticism as the raids have been blamed for the casualties of many civilians.
And while McChrystal says that the war is far from being finished, others that served in Afghanistan say the last ten years wasn’t worth the troubles at all. A poll released this week from the Pew Research Center revealed that one-third of the military veterans surveyed said that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan weren’t worth the toll they have taken. Additionally, almost half of those quizzed responded that they have had trouble readjusting to life after wartime.
As American men and women continue to cross Afghanistan with guns drawn and tanks leaving trails behind, 2014 seems all too distant — and according to McChrystal’s estimation — impossible.
McChrystal added yesterday that he believes the US didn’t make ‘an effective effort’ to learn the language of the people where countless troops have combated for a decade now.
After Ten Years Of War, Peace Eludes Afghanistan
Pajhwok Afghan News
October 7, 2011
After 10 years of war, peace eludes Afghanistan
By Painda Hikmat
KABUL: As Afghanistan marked 10 years since the US invasion on Friday, political analysts said more than 140,000 foreign troops under International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) command had failed to bring peace and security to the country.
State institutions had ceased to exist in Afghanistan a decade back, with people having forgotten the rule of law, political commentator Wahid Muzhda told Pajhwok Afghan News.
A semi-democratic political dispensation, freedom of expression and approval of the Constitution are some of the incumbent government’s achievements, he said.
‘We are witness to the fact that foreigners can’t restore peace in Afghanistan, where the Soviet Union had to suffer a humiliating defeat. During the past decade, soldiers from 48 nations have been unable to maintain security in the country,’ he added.
Ex-jihadi commander Eng. Ahmad Shah Ahmadzai accused the NATO-led troops of failing to respect Afghans’ culture and religion. ‘Foreigners had come here with a commitment to fighting terrorists. Unfortunately, they have been worse than terrorists,’ he deplored.
A day earlier, hundreds of Kabul residents took to the streets, calling for the the withdrawal of international troops. The protestors chanted ‘Death to America and its Afghan puppets’ and set alight the American flag at the end of their peaceful march through the city centre.
The 2001 Bonn Conference, in which the real representatives of Afghans did not participate, was at the root of Afghanistan’s woes, he believed. He did acknowledge the execution of some reconstruction projects.
Afghans were optimistic that the presence of international forces would help end their plight, but their hope turned out to be elusive, said a former diplomat, Ahmad Saeedi.
He underlined the need for an effective strategy to resolve the problems of ordinary Afghans, including better and responsible governance, as well as an end to foreign interference.
On the other hand, the Taliban said the US troops had proved over the past 10 years that they were an occupation force. American slogans of democracy, cooperation and peacekeeping were hollow, the rebel movement claimed.
In a statement, the militants denounced Americans as a ruthless people. ‘Looking at the past 10 years, international troops faced defeat in Afghanistan and would have to leave soon.’
NATO Has Trained Over 7,000 Czech Troops In Afghan War Theater
Czech News Agency
October 5, 2011
Over 7000 Czech soldiers have experience with Afghan war
Prague: Some 7000 Czech soldiers have gradually taken part in the Afghan war since it was launched in 2001 and four of whom died there, Jiri Stabl, from the Defence Ministry press department, has told CTK.
The Czech Republic has spent 8.3 billion crowns on participation in the armed conflict, Stabl said.
Czechs have deployed special forces, military doctors, pilots, chemists and pyrotechnicians in the war.
The Czech Republic contributed to the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) for the first time in 2002 when it sent the 6th field hospital to Kabul.
They were deployed at the international airport in Kabul.
In the years 2006-07, the Czech Republic became the leading country of the base, being responsible for the control and security of all activities of the airport.
Czechs have operated in Kabul to date. They have there a logistics centre, a chemists unit and a team training Afghans to pilot Mi-17 and Mi-24 helicopters that the Czech Republic has donated to the Afghan national military.
A field surgical team cooperating with colleagues from other countries operates near the airport.
Czech soldiers were also deployed in Fayzabad province in 2005-07, protecting a German provincial reconstruction team.
In 2008 Czech soldiers protected a Dutch base in Uruzgan.
The Czech Republic also sent a group of special forces to the U.S. anti-terrorism Enduring Freedom operation in 2004 for the first. The soldiers returned to Afghanistan several times later.
At present they are deployed in Nangarhar province, but under ISAF command.
A Czech Provincial reconstruction team operates in Logar province. Civilian experts work on the reconstruction of the war-destroyed infrastructure. Several hundred soldiers see to their safety.
Since 2009 a unit of upgraded Soviet-made Mi-171S helicopters, equipped with onboard machine guns for the first time, has been deployed in Paktika province.
The helicopters transport soldiers as well as supplies. Their deployment will end in December when they will return to the Czech Republic for service and maintenance.
Czechs are also training Afghan security forces in Wardak province.
The first Czech soldier died in Afghanistan in 2007 under an avalanche of stones and mud.
In 2008 a member of a special unit of the military police died in a suicide attack in the south of Afghanistan.
Another soldier died in Logar when his off-roader struck an explosive.
In May 2011, a soldier died when his vehicle hit an improvised explosive device in Wardak.
An Afghan interpreter also died in the explosion and another two soldiers received wounds.
Some 720 Czech soldiers are currently deployed in Afghanistan. Next year, their number is to be about 100 lower.
Gravest Threat To Russia: U.S.-NATO Interceptor Missiles In Arctic
Russian Information Agency Novosti
October 8, 2011
European missile defenses and Russia’s last warning
-’It is unacceptable for the United States that any one else (especially Russia, which is still suspected as a former and possibly a future rival) should dictate U.S. criteria for deploying future anti-missile defense systems.’
-America is slowly deploying the European component of its worldwide anti-missile shield, actually building a global anti-missile defense system, in which mobile fire weapons (anti-missiles) can be employed within one target area (with data coming from all available radar and opto-electronic reconnaissance facilities).
-’For the moment, these systems do not worry us; they are in effect air defense systems. But in the future, they could acquire capabilities to engage our missile warheads. Especially if missile-carrying ships are stationed in the Arctic Ocean.’
Moscow is threatening to stop cooperation with NATO on anti-defense in Europe. Thursday’s statement by the Russian Foreign Ministry, experts say, is a sort of last warning to Washington, which continues to ignore Russia’s opinion.
Playing the Spanish game
Russia’s Foreign Ministry on Thursday issued a very sharply worded statement addressed to NATO leadership.
‘…decisions that can affect security and stability in the Euro-Atlantic zone are made without collective discussion and without taking into account the opinion of all the countries concerned. If events continue to develop in this fashion, the opportunity…to turn the missile defense system from an area of confrontation into a point of cooperation will be lost,’ the Ministry commented.
As the Ministry officially said, this statement follows Spain’s decision to join the U.S. anti-missile defense system being created in Europe. Four U.S. Aegis ships carrying Standard SM-3 missiles will be deployed off the Spanish naval base at Rota.
This was announced on Wednesday by NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Zapatero and Pentagon chief Leon Panetta. Rasmussen added that the European missile defense shield would be fully operational by 2018. The Russian position, which takes a negative view of any of NATO’s unilateral steps on missile defense in Europe, has been ignored once again.
Persistent American pressure on the European missile defense issue, while ignoring Moscow’s opinion, has a political explanation. ‘It is unacceptable for the United States that any one else (especially Russia, which is still suspected as a former and possibly a future rival) should dictate U.S. criteria for deploying future anti-missile defense systems,’ Viktor Mizin, deputy director, Institute of International Studies, Moscow State Institute of International Relations, said in a RIA Novosti interview.
According to the expert, no one is giving any guarantees that components of an American missile defense shield will not be deployed close to Russian borders. ‘What we need are concrete, feasible criteria to calm Russia down.’ Mizin said commenting on the Russian requirements and explained why ‘such a sharp tone was chosen for the Foreign Ministry’s statement: it is a sort of last attempt to bring the U.S. to reason.’
Global threat techniques
America is slowly deploying the European component of its worldwide anti-missile shield, actually building a global anti-missile defense system, in which mobile fire weapons (anti-missiles) can be employed within one target area (with data coming from all available radar and opto-electronic reconnaissance facilities).
This gradual but steady buildup of a global anti-missile shield system, which has come to be called a ‘flexible, phased approach,’ is irritating Moscow a great deal. And for good reason.
‘For the moment, these systems do not worry us; they are in effect air defense systems. But in the future, they could acquire capabilities to engage our missile warheads. Especially if missile-carrying ships are stationed in the Arctic Ocean,’ Mizin warns.
It is this fact that is the main concern for Russia: the mobility of the basic strike components of the future missile defense system – and the gradual and seemingly imperceptible buildup of their combat capabilities.
‘The General Staff estimates that starting in 2015 the European anti-missile shield will be in a position to have a certain negative impact on Russian nuclear deterrence capabilities. That is to say, from 2015 on, it will be able to intercept some of our ballistic missiles,’ Igor Korotchenko, editor-in-chief of the Natsionalnaya Oborona (National Defense) magazine, explained to RIA Novosti.
Commenting on the Russian stand at NATO talks, Korotchenko noted that Moscow is demanding that ground-based anti-missile defense weapons be moved away from the perimeter of Russia by a distance equal to their kill radius. In this scenario the system’s configuration would allow NATO to intercept targets in its airspace but not over Russian territory.
Sectoral approach a dead-end street
Captains of the Russian nuclear and missile industry are also critical. At the beginning of this year, Yury Solomonov, general designer at the Moscow Institute of Heat Engineering who developed Russia’s Topol, Yars and Bulava strategic missiles, openly criticized ‘the dead-end and absolutely non-realizable idea of a sectoral missile defense, which is a non-starter from the outset, at least psychologically.’ In his opinion, the level of confidence between Russia and the West is not high enough to implement such a project.
‘A sectoral missile defense system would have been realized had NATO agreed to discuss it in practical terms,’ Korotchenko believes. ‘But the West buried the idea of equal security without a second thought.’
Experts…do not all agree on the U.S. initiative for a data exchange center. ‘It is the same kind of an empty deal as the Russia-NATO Council, which is binding on no one in particular,’ Korotchenko says. ‘This has been done to avoid provoking Russia and to fob it off with a compromise so that we abandon plans to parry the threat by military countermeasures.’
Lithuania: NATO Holds Exercise To Prepare Global Response Force
Allied Joint Force Command (JFC) Brunssum
October 7, 2011
NATO exercise to take place in Lithuania in November
-The NATO Response Force (NRF) is a high-readiness technologically advanced force including land, air, naval and special operations components and able to move quickly whenever needed to operations in any part of the world.
On November 1-12 Lithuania will host NATO Exercise Steadfast Juncture 2011 organised by the Allied Joint Force Command (JFC) based in Brunssum (the Netherlands) at the Lithuanian Armed Forces’ Pabrades Training Area.
According to the Exercise scenario a fictitious NATO-led crisis response operation will be conducted and humanitarian assistance delivered under a United Nations’ mandate.
Steadfast Juncture 2011 is a NATO command post exercise aimed at certifying NATO Allied Joint Force Command Brunssum (JFC) Headquarters and Allied Force Command (FC) Headquarters Heidelberg Deployable Joint Staff Element (DJSE 2) to command and control a multinational deployed force for NATO Response Force (NRF) 2012 standby period.
The Exercise will involve participants from the NATO Deployable Corps (Greece, Thessaloniki), Naval Striking and Support Forces NATO (Naples, Italy), Joint Force Component Air Headquarters (Kalkar, Germany), Spanish Army Special Operations Command (Alicante, Spain), NATO Joint Warfare Centre in (Stavanger, Norway), Chemical Biological Radiological Nuclear Battalion (the Czech Republic) and the Lithuanian Armed Forces.
Exercise Steadfast Juncture 2011 will be held simultaneously in Lithuania and several neighboring countries while control and command will be provided via NATO communications and information channels. In Lithuania the exercise will take place at the Pabrades Training Area and the Warfare Training Centre in Nemencine. Other NATO members are foreseen to deploy several hundreds of military personnel in Lithuania for the exercise period.
The NATO Response Force (NRF) is a high-readiness technologically advanced force including land, air, naval and special operations components and able to move quickly whenever needed to operations in any part of the world.
NATO organizes military exercises on a regular basis to maintain readiness of NRF and ensure its capacity of rapid deployment into the operation theatre. NATO exercise programme is permanently revised and renewed.
Exercises held across the Alliance countries on a steady basis demonstrate NATO’s readiness and capacity.
Sarkozy Baits Russia In Tbilisi
October 7, 2011
Sarkozy confirms Europe`s strong support to Georgia
The president of France delivered a very emotional speech in Freedom Square in Tbilisi soon after he arrived in Georgia`s capital from Baku on Friday. In his speech, Nicolas Sarkozy strongly condemned the policy of Moscow, which continues to militarize the regions of Georgia.
Sarkozy urged Russia to fulfill the 6-point cease-fire agreement and expressed full support to Georgia on its way to European integration.
‘When I arrived here at night of 12th August in 2008, thousands, maybe tens of thousands, of you were here outside the parliament to shout loudly against the humiliation directed at your country and express your strong will to save its independence.
‘Three years have passed and here in Freedom Square I am sincerely happy that I can address the independent nation and the independent people.
‘You were deprived of part of your territory that is as acute a pain as an amputated limb, the existence of which you always feel and can`t get used to its absence. Against all this strategic logic and with negligence of commitments, significant military forces have not only not left but been reinforced at your doors.
‘Dear Georgian friends, these past three years, have done nothing with[out?] France`s involvement and its standing beside you. I want here to confirm the support of France and Europe to Georgia`s sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity.
‘I once again urge European monitors` access to Abkhazia and South Ossetia, in order to be sure that the rights of the local population are protected there.
‘Georgia is free to express its aspiration to join the alliance, because this aspiration is a unique chance for Georgia.
‘In the beginning of the past century, as well as in August 2008, Georgia and France met each other in the times of misfortune and danger.
‘During these historic meetings, deep friendship was established between our peoples. This evening, I have come here to the Freedom Square to take part in this festivity of friendship. I have come here to assure you that France, like yesterday, will always be with you, stand beside you, and be your loyal friend in order that you approach even closer to Europe. France is not a friend of you only since yesterday. I have come here to assure you that it is a loyal perpetual friend, which Georgia can always hope in.’
Sarkozy Demands European Monitors In Abkhazia, South Ossetia
Xinhua News Agency
October 7, 2011
French president demands entry of European monitors into Abkhazia, S.Ossetia
TBILISI: French President Nicolas Sarkozy on Friday demanded entry of European monitors to Abkhazia and South Ossetia which declared independence after the August 2008 conflict between Georgia and Russia.
Georgia claims sovereignty and territorial integrity over these regions.
The European Union now has a monitoring mission in the South Caucasus country of Georgia in the name of EU Monitoring Mission in Georgia (EUMM) which monitors the fulfillment of the August 2008 ceasefire agreement and the September 2008 ceasefire supplement accord as signed by Georgia and Russia with the mediation of France then serving as the rotating presidency of the European Union.
‘France was the first to put its gendarmes along the administrative border,’ said the French president during his public address delivered in the Freedom Square in downtown Tbilisi on Friday…
‘The European monitors should be able to enter Abkhazia and South Ossetia, in order to make sure that the rights of the people there are protected,’ Sarkozy added during his 20-minute speech.
Eyes On NATO, EU: Saakashvili Praises Sarkozy’s Speech
October 7, 2011
Saakashvili: Sarkozy’s Speech Historic for Georgia
-‘France to some extent adopted Georgia in terms of NATO and EU integration and I know it from the past experience with the example of Romania, Bulgaria and other Central European states, that if France takes charge of something and if France decides something France brings it to a successful end.’
He said EU and NATO-membership ‘means that no one will ever be able to swallow us.’
-The Georgian president’s administration reported that the French president awarded Saakashvili with Legion d’Honneur and the latter awarded his French counterpart with the Saint George’s Victory Order for ‘protecting Georgia’s sovereignty and for firm support to Georgia’s national interests’.
Tbilisi: President Saakashvili said late on Friday night that what French President Nicolas Sarkozy spoke in Tbilisi was ‘undoubtedly historic for our country.’
In an interview with the Rustavi 2 TV station, he said that in its drive to integrate with Euro-Atlantic structures, Georgia had always enjoyed the strong support of the Central and Eastern European countries, but that was not the case with France and Germany.
‘In Europe major issues are decided by leading European states – these are Germany and France – and if you want to join NATO and EU you need the support of one of those two countries,’ Saakashvili said.
‘I want to remind everyone that at the 2008 Bucharest NATO summit France was against granting Georgia a MAP [Membership Action Plan]. France was till now against mentioning Georgia’s EU integration and EU membership. Nicolas Sarkozy has turned around this [stance],’ Saakashvili said.
‘France to some extent adopted Georgia in terms of NATO and EU integration and I know it from the past experience with the example of Romania, Bulgaria and other Central European states, that if France takes charge of something and if France decides something France brings it to a successful end.’
He said EU and NATO-membership ‘means that no one will ever be able to swallow us.’
Saakashvili also stressed the importance of Sarkozy’s remarks in which he said that Georgia’s path of reforms should convince the population of Abkhazia and South Ossetia ‘of the fact that their future is beside the Georgian compatriots in an open country and not in isolated and enslaved pseudo states.’
Saakashvili said under the control of Russia, which, he said, ‘is on the verge of collapse’, the two breakaway regions had no future.
Earlier on Friday in his speech to tens of thousands of people gathered on the Freedom Square to listen to the French President’s outdoor speech, Saakashvili said that no foreign power or ‘fifth column’ would derail Georgia from its path of Euro-Atlantic integration.
‘Because of your relentless efforts, sacrifice and actions Georgia is so firmly engaged on the path of the European and Trans-Atlantic integration, that no foreign leader – as strong as he seem… no puppet of a foreign power, no army of a foreign country – as frightening as it seem, no fifth column will be able to throw us off this path,’ he said.
Saakashvili, who made his speech before the French President’s address and after a singer performed the Georgian and French anthems, said that unlike in 1921, when the Bolshevik Red Army invaded Georgia and when Georgia had no allies to protect it, three years ago during the August war Georgia had friends who ‘stood by our side and the first one among them was’ the French President.
‘At the time [referring to 1921] Europe abandoned us and today Europe’s ancient nation stands beside us to protect our freedom,’ he said.
He said that ‘radical reforms’ launched after the Rose Revolution had ‘one purpose – the European transformation of Georgia, turning our ancient European nation into a modern, democratic and European state.’
After their outdoor speeches Saakashvili and Sarkozy met in the presidential palace.
The Georgian president’s administration reported that the French president awarded Saakashvili with Legion d’Honneur and the latter awarded his French counterpart with the Saint George’s Victory Order for ‘protecting Georgia’s sovereignty and for firm support to Georgia’s national interests’.