Updates on Libyan war/Stop NATO news: October 19, 2011

19 October 2011 — Stop NATO

  • NATO: ‘Premature To Set Timetable’ For End Of Libyan War
  • History Repeating Itself: U.S. Hawks Hover Over Iran
  • U.S. In Search Of The Absolute Weapon
  • U.S. Army Micro-Drones To Bomb ‘Human Targets’
  • Kosovo: NATO Forced To Back Down For Now
  • Battlefield Training: U.S. Leads Two-Week Exercise In Bulgaria
  • 28 NATO Members, Sweden, Finland In Article 5 Scenario Exercise
  • NATO’s North Atlantic Council To Hold Session In Georgia
  • Azerbaijan: State Department Engineers Anti-Russian Energy War
  • Conflict With West: Russia To Shift Gas Shipments Eastward
  • State Department: Initial NATO Missile Capability By Chicago Summit
  • U.S. Deaths in Afghanistan: Obama Doubles Entire Bush-Era Total
  • Pakistan: NATO Co-Responsible For Cross-Border Attacks
  • Over 200 NATO Vehicles Torched In Balochistan In Two Years

NATO: ‘Premature To Set Timetable’ For End Of Libyan War


U.S. Department of Defense
October 18, 2p11

NATO: End in Sight As Libya Mission Continues
By Donna Miles

WASHINGTON: As Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton visits Libya today to reaffirm U.S. support for the country’s transitional government, NATO officials emphasized that the mission there, while nearing completion, isn’t over.

‘It is premature to set a timetable now’ for ending Operation Unified Protector, NATO deputy spokeswoman Carmen Romero told reporters in Brussels.

‘We are very close to the end, but there are still threats to the population,’ she said. ‘And as long as these threats persist, we will continue with our operation.’

Meanwhile, NATO’s military spokesman for the operation reported on the advancing capabilities of the Libyan council’s forces. Col. Roland Lavoie of the Canadian army emphasized, however, that NATO remains committed to fulfilling its mandate in Libya and will intervene as necessary to enforce it.

‘There should be no doubt that NATO remains ready to engage, using all necessary force…in Libya,’ he said. ‘Our mission may well be near completion, but we will maintain a strong, vigilant posture until relieved of our duties.’

Clinton arrived in the Libyan capital of Tripoli today to meet with Transitional National Council President Mustafa Abdel-Jalil and pledge additional support as Libya forms its new government.

Clinton is the most senior U.S. official to visit Libya since the uprising against strongman Moammar Gadhafi began in February.


History Repeating Itself: U.S. Hawks Hover Over Iran


October 18, 2011

US hawks hover over Iran
William Echols

-Whether calls for war against Iran are meant to placate American allies in the Middle East who cannot stomach its supposed nuclear ambitions, are an attempt to reassert US dominance in the oil rich region, or are the last signs of a flagging empire lashing out in self-denial, those who are longing for it to be morning again in America might very well expedite its imperial twilight.

History seems to be repeating itself as the hawks who called for the 2003 overthrow of Saddam Hussein are now rattling their sabers for war against Iran. But why are those who once called for a new American Century hopelessly stuck in a bygone era?

In a bellicose diatribe published in the latest edition of the Weekly Standard, senior editor William Kristol accuses Iran of having the blood of American soldiers on its hands. Claiming that ‘force’ is the only language the regime understands, he proceeds to call on the US Congress to ‘consider authorizing the use of force against Iranian entities that facilitate attacks on our troops, against IRGC (Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps) and other regime elements that sponsor terror, and against the regime’s nuclear weapons program.’

In an October 17 Foreign Policy initiative (FPI) Bulletin, executive director Jamie Fly toes the same line, proclaiming:

‘Until now, the president has chosen to be the hapless victim of Iran’s machinations. It is time for President Obama to follow in the footsteps of his predecessors and stand up to tyrants who kill Americans and threaten our interests.

‘It is time to take military action against the Iranian government elements that support terrorism and its nuclear program. More diplomacy is not an adequate response.’

Speaking to Fox News on Monday, former US Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton said it was ‘unfortunate’ that Iran did not fear a possible military response in light of recent allegations of an Iranian assassination plot on US soil. Somewhat ironically, Bolton also described President Barack Obama’s recent decision to send 100 troops to stem off a humanitarian crisis in Central Africa as ‘damaging to our efforts to preserve our military budget.’

It is little wonder that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad asserts the latest accusations that Iran sought to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to the US was eerily reminiscent of the weapons of mass destruction claims which provided the casus belli for the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

‘In the past the US administration claimed there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. They said it so strongly, they offered and presented documentation and everyone said ‘yes, we believe in you, we buy it’,’ Ahmadinejad said in a live interview on Al Jazeera television.

Ahmadinejad’s cause for alarm might seem justified under the circumstances. Ever since George W. Bush’s January 29, 2002 State of the Union Address, wherein Iran (along with Iraq and North Korea) were labeled as the ‘Axis of Evil’, neo-conservative policy wonks and senior-level government officials have had the country in their sights. And much like Iraq, the case for war is as mercurial and adaptive as the public opinion it caters to.

Kristol for his part was one of the key proponents for regime change in Iraq, outlining the case in a 2003 book he co-authored entitled The War Over Iraq: Saddam’s Tyranny and America’s Mission. But his desire to effect regime change in the Middle East has earlier roots.

In a 1996 Foreign Affairs article, William Kristol, challenging what he believed was ‘a tepid consensus that accepts decline of US power in the world as inevitable,’ called for a neo-Reaganite foreign policy which would pursue ‘benevolent hegemony’ and ‘wield its authority unabashedly.’

By June 1997, William Kristol, along with several other prominent neo-conservatives who would have high-level administrative positions in the Bush administration (including Dick Cheney, Paul Wolfowitz, Donald Rumsfeld and Elliot Abrams), not to mention his brother Jeb Bush, signed off on a statement of principles intended to usher in this halcyon era of American military strength and moral clarity. This statement of principles would come to define the Project for a New American Century.

The four key principles called for increased defense spending and force modernization, the strengthening of ties with democratic allies and the willingness to confront regimes hostile to American interests, the promotion of political and economic freedom abroad, and the ‘need to accept responsibility for America’s unique role in preserving and extending an international order friendly to our security, our prosperity, and our principles.’

Subsequently, on January 26, 1998, the group sent a letter to then-President Bill Clinton urging his administration to implement ‘a strategy for removing Saddam’s regime from power.’

The history of what happened when a sympathetic Bush administration coupled with the tragic events of 9/11 provided the pretext for implementing this neo-Reaganite foreign policy is well-trodden territory. The question is, why are they doing it again?

On most counts, the allegations against Iran seem to defy logic. Writing for Time Magazine, former CIA field officer Robert Baer claimed that the plot as described by FBI Director Robert Muller was something one might find in ‘a truly awful Hollywood script.’ He went on to say that ‘none of it measures up to Iran’s unsurpassed skill in conducting assassinations.’

But while the idea of an Iranian-American used-car salesman attempting to organize a hit on the Saudi Arabian ambassador via the proxy of a Mexican drug cartel seems out of character for the fiercely professional Quds Force – a special unit of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard responsible for extraterritorial operations – the far-fetched tale seems a perfect match for the American imagination. Such a flourish for the theatrical has been on display before, most notably, when then US Secretary of State Colin Powell held up a vial he said could contain anthrax while speaking to the United Nations Security Council on February 5, 2003.

However, with US national debt at some 15 trillion dollars, a potential $1 trillion in defense spending cuts on the table, and a recent report carried out by the Eisenhower Research Project at Brown University predicting that the cost of war in Afghanistan and Iraq could reach some $4 trillion, does the American public have the stomach or the means to prosecute another war?

When taking all of those factors into account, the murky world of realpolitik and multilateralism that many neo-conservatives helped bring about by aggressively pushing America towards the brink of imperial overstretch during the Bush years does not sit well with an ideology that views the world within a good vs. evil binary. Kristol for his part saw America sinking into the abyss during an era when the United States economic and military dominance ushered the term hyperpower into the collective consciousness.

But as an entrenched economic crisis limits the United States’ ability to project its military dominance and a decade of war has evaporated its moral currency around the world, it has become clear that many of the neo-conservatives pushing for war against Iran now ultimately have their own chief ideologues to blame for America’s precipitous decline. Whether calls for war against Iran are meant to placate American allies in the Middle East who cannot stomach its supposed nuclear ambitions, are an attempt to reassert US dominance in the oil rich region, or are the last signs of a flagging empire lashing out in self-denial, those who are longing for it to be morning again in America might very well expedite its imperial twilight.


U.S. In Search Of The Absolute Weapon


Voice of Russia
October 18, 2011

The U.S. in search of an absolute weapon
Boris Volkhonsky

On Tuesday, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton arrived in Tripoli bringing with her millions of dollars of U.S. aid to the interim government and a message of peace and encouragement to the Libyan people. As reported by The Washington Post, her talks focus on ‘how we set the table for a long-term, completely different partnership between the United States and Libya that is deep and broad.’

Be it a coincidence or a pre-planned move, the day before Ms. Clinton’s trip to Libya, several American newspapers published a story disclosing that the Pentagon had planned to use cyber attacks against Muammar Gaddafi’s air defense systems. The exact manner in which the U.S. military had planned to disrupt the country’s air defense system and thus secure U.S. and NATO aircrafts, still remains classified, but the general picture looks as such: massive hacker-like penetration would have disrupted all computer networks of the Libyan military and prevented early-warning radars from gathering information and relaying it to missile batteries.

Why the U.S. decided not to use these techniques is also not entirely clear. One reason might have been that they just ran short of time since such operations need a lot of preparation. On the other hand, it is possible that they did not want to provoke and set an example for other countries possessing advanced computer technologies.

In any case, if such techniques had been used it would have set a precedent of a completely new type of warfare, presently known only from Hollywood blockbusters. The advantages of such warfare are obvious – the party being more advanced than the adversary, can feel 100 percent safe and operate deadly weapons inflicting strikes on enemy targets, even while comfortably sitting in their own bedrooms.

What is even more dangerous for the adversary is that sometimes it is not so easy to detect where exactly the attack had originated.

In recent times, cyber attacks have already happened several times, hitting vital facilities of the countries listed as foes of the U.S. For example, last year a Stuxnet computer worm affected Iran’s computers, wiping out a part of the nuclear centrifuges and delayed the country’s ability to produce nuclear fuel. Until now, it remains unclear what the source of the virus was, although there is ground to believe that the virus was of Israeli-American origin.

But what remains not so obvious is the fact that no party, even the most advanced one, can feel safe forever. Technology is advancing everywhere, and sometimes it is hard to predict who and may strike back and when.

In August of this year, the former director of the CIA’s Counterterrorist Center Cofer Black said that cyber attacks constitute the next biggest threat to the U.S. security and that the attitude of the U.S. administration to such threats is similar to the attitude towards terrorism before 9/11.

Also, this year there have been several hacker attacks on some American commercial organizations allegedly originating in China. They may not amount to cyber-terrorism or cyber-warfare, but what makes them even more dangerous is that such attacks can be launched by non-state actors and thus are virtually impossible to be detected at early stages and prevented completely.

Many years ago, a famous American science fiction writer Harry Harrison wrote a story picturing a world where no wars are possible because one community has invented an absolute weapon forcing all others to acknowledge its leading role. ‘Now that any war is impossible,’ the father says to his children, ‘we can use the weapon for peaceful means.’


U.S. Army Micro-Drones To Bomb ‘Human Targets’


Agence France-Presse
October 18, 2011

US Army to fly ‘kamikaze’ drones

A miniature ‘kamikaze’ drone designed to quietly hover in the sky before dive-bombing and slamming into a human target will soon be part of the US Army’s arsenal, officials say.

Dubbed the ‘Switchblade,’ the robotic aircraft represents the latest attempt by the United States to refine how it takes out suspected militants.

Weighing less than two kilos, the drone is small enough to fit into a soldier’s backpack and is launched from a tube, with wings quickly folding out as it soars into the air, according to manufacturer AeroVironment.

Powered by a small electric motor, the Switchblade transmits video in real time from overhead, allowing a soldier to identify an enemy, the company said in a press release last month.

‘Upon confirming the target using the live video feed, the operator then sends a command to the air vehicle to arm it and lock its trajectory onto the target,’ it said.

The drone then flies into the ‘target,’ detonating a small explosive.

The United States currently uses larger Predator and Reaper drones to hunt down suspected militants in Pakistan and elsewhere.

The robotic planes fire powerful Hellfire missiles and drop heavy bombs that can cause civilian casualties and extensive damage, which has fueled popular anger with the United States in Pakistan.

The US Army in June approved a $4.9 million contract for AeroVironment to supply the new drones as soon as possible. Officials have not said how many Switchblade drones were ordered or when the robotic weapons would make into the hands of US forces.

Human rights groups have raised concerns that the use of drones by the CIA has allowed the conduct of a secret assassination campaign abroad without public scrutiny and little oversight by lawmakers in Congress.


Kosovo: NATO Forced To Back Down For Now


Radio Netherlands/Agence France-Presse
October 18, 2011

NATO, Serbs in standoff over Kosovo barricadesPublished on 18 October

NATO confronted Serbs manning a roadblock in northern Kosovo on Tuesday but agreed to wait 24 hours for a compromise that will allow its KFOR force to supply troops in the sensitive area, Serb officials said.

A KFOR convoy turned back from one of the main roadblocks on the road to the disputed Brnjak crossing with Serbia after the agreement, the Serb mayor of nearby Zubin Potok told AFP.

The convoy approached the roadblock as a ‘test’ of KFOR’s demand that all 16 roadblocks set up by Kosovo Serbs on roads leading to the Bnjak and Jarinje crossings be removed by Tuesday, according to spokesman Uwe Nowitzki.

Tuesday morning the barricades were still all there and Serbs stepped up their numbers to guard them, reporters on the ground said.

Zubin Potok mayor Slavisa Ristic said: ‘We have agreed with KFOR representatives that they return to their bases and await the outcome of the meeting Wednesday’ of the four Serb municipalities in northern Kosovo.

That meeting is set to approve a compromise allowing KFOR to supply their troops in the area occasionally while Serbs maintain the barricades, set up to keep Kosovo Albanian customs and police officials away from the border posts.

There was no immediate comment from KFOR on the reported deal.

The local Serbs are angry over a move by the Pristina government in September to put Kosovo Albanian customs and police officials on the border, fearing that their access to Serbia proper will be severely limited.


Battlefield Training: U.S. Leads Two-Week Exercise In Bulgaria


U.S. Air Force
October 18, 2011

Thracian Fall exercise kicks off in Bulgaria
by Staff Sgt. Travis Edwards
86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

PLOVDIV, Bulgaria: Service members from the Air Force, Army, Navy and Bulgarian air force are participating in a two-week jump exercise here from Oct. 9 through 22.

Operation Thracian Fall 2011 is part of a semi-annual, off-station training that gives U.S. and coalition jumpers and pilots an opportunity to hone their battlefield skills together.

‘We are here to further the U.S., Bulgaria ties through cooperative training with Bulgarian forces,’ said Capt. Beau Tresemer, the mission commander for Thracian Fall 2011. ‘It’s a great opportunity to see how other countries train and prepare to fight.’

C-130J Super Hercules from Ramstein Air Base, Germany, along with Bulgarian C-27 Spartans will continue to drop more than 100 coalition service members near a designated drop zone the rest of this week, he said…

‘Our pilots are accomplishing day and night flying with simulated combat drops in unfamiliar mountainous terrain,’ said Tresemer. ‘At the same time. we are helping Bulgarians get their personnel airdrop qualifications.’

‘The Bulgarian airspace allows us the training we can’t get in Germany,’ he said. ‘There are less restrictions on altitudes. Here, we are allowed to fly as low as what our regulations say we can.’


28 NATO Members, Sweden, Finland In Article 5 Scenario Exercise


North Atlantic Treaty Organization
October 18, 2011

NATO conducts annual Crisis Management Exercise (CMX)

NATO will conduct its annual Crisis Management Exercise (CMX) between 19 and 26 October 2011. The exercise is designed to practice Alliance crisis management procedures at the strategic political level and will involve civilian and military staffs in allied capitals, at NATO Headquarters, and in both Strategic Commands. Unlike a live exercise, however, no forces are actually deployed for the purpose of these exercises.

Originally scheduled to take place on 23-30 March 2011, the exercise was postponed to October 2011 due to the Libya crisis and that NATO took control of all military operations regarding Libya…This postponement also ensured that full Alliance attention could be devoted to operations as well as to exercising crisis management.

…The portrayed emerging crisis will be based on a scenario focusing on NATO’s collective defence task involving consultations on the basis of Article 4 and potential invocation of Article 5 of the Washington Treaty, in line with NATO’s new Strategic Concept adopted at the Lisbon Summit in November 2010. The scenario will also contain aspects related to some of the new security threats identified in the new Strategic Concept.

Sponsored by NATO’s Secretary General, CMX 2011 is jointly run by the International Staff, the International Military Staff and the two NATO Strategic Commands, Allied Command Operations and Allied Command Transformation. This is NATO’s 17th CMX since 1992.

All 28 NATO Allies have been involved in planning CMX 2011 and EAPC Partners have been informed. In addition, because the exercise will be set in the Northern Euro-Atlantic area, Finland and Sweden have been invited to be involved in this exercise, and staffs from the United Nations (UN), the European Union (EU), the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) have been invited to observe relevant aspects of the exercise.


NATO’s North Atlantic Council To Hold Session In Georgia


Rustavi 2
October 18, 2011

NATO Council session to be held in Georgia in November

The next session of the NATO Council will be held in Georgia. The representatives of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization will arrive in Tbilisi in the first half of November and the Secretary General of the Alliance, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, will also arrive in Georgia to chair the session, the press speaker of the president of Georgia, Manana Manjgaladze, announced at the briefing held at the president`s palace today.


Azerbaijan: State Department Engineers Anti-Russian Energy War


Trend News Agency
October 18, 2011

U.S. top official: U.S. continues to support development of Azerbaijan’s energy sector

Baku: The U.S. continues to support the development of a strong, vibrant and competitive energy sector in Azerbaijan, the U.S. Deputy Secretary of State William Burns told journalists on Tuesday.

‘We continue to support diversification of export routes and diversified pipelines,’ he said.

Burns said it is in the interest of Azerbaijan, but it is also in the interest of the global economy.

‘We believe that the emergence of multiple export routes and pipelines is a good thing,’ he added.


Conflict With West: Russia To Shift Gas Shipments Eastward


October 18, 2011

Russia to diversify gas supplies in view of controversies with EU – Yanovsky

PARIS: Russia is going to diversify gas supplies and to re-orient part of them to countries in Asia and the Pacific, as there has been no reply to its proposals from the European Commission to this day and in view of the introduction of the ‘third energy package’ in Europe, Russian Deputy Energy Minister Anatoly Yanovsky said on Tuesday. He is taking part in the ongoing enlarged ministerial meeting of the board of governors of the International Energy Agency.

‘In cooperation with Europe there are emerging questions related to the rules of the third energy package, as well as the fact that our proposals for creating exclusive or special rules of implementing certain trans-border projects for gas and electricity supplies to Europe from Russia have regrettably received no support from the European Commission,’ Yanovsky said.

‘In a situation like this we, of course, shall activate our general pattern of gas industry development. The purpose of these efforts will be the diversification of gas export routes. Supplies will be diversified to the Asia-Pacific region – to Korea and to China,’ Yanovsky said.

Diversification will also envisage an increase in the amounts of liquefied natural gas, which would increase the flexibility of export.


State Department: Initial NATO Missile Capability By Chicago Summit


U.S. Department of State
October 18, 2011

Transatlantic Missile Defense: Phase II and the Lead Up to the NATO Chicago Summit

Ellen Tauscher
Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security
Atlantic Council Missile Defense Conference
Washington, DC

-It has been a great privilege for me to have worked so closely with all of our Allies over the last couple of years to reach this point, especially my colleagues in Poland, Romania, Spain, and Turkey.
We also are grateful for the other national contributions by our NATO Allies to this effort, including the recent announcement by the Netherlands that it will spend close to 250 million Euros to modify the radars on its frigates to detect and track ballistic missiles at long ranges.
Over the coming months, we will continue these efforts with our NATO Allies.
-It is NATO’s goal and our desire that enough of this work be completed by the May 2012 Summit in Chicago to declare an initial NATO missile defense capability.
-In addition to full implementation of the EPAA, we are committed to the deployment of the Ground Based Interceptors in Alaska and California…

Thank you, Fred, for that kind introduction and for inviting me to participate in this conference. I want to particularly thank you for your leadership and the important efforts of the Atlantic Council around the world. I appreciate the opportunity to be back at the Atlantic Council to share some insights on the progress that we have made on missile defense in Europe.

Let me also acknowledge my good friend General O’Reilly. I cannot say enough about his hard work and dedication to the Missile Defense Agency. We have been making frequent trips together to Europe. His support has been essential to our efforts to protect our homeland and our NATO Allies from the growing threat from ballistic missile proliferation.

When I was last here in October 2009, President Obama had just announced his decision to shift from the deployment of 10 Ground-Based Interceptors in Europe to a system using land- and sea-based SM-3 interceptors to provide protection of the United States homeland and our NATO European Allies.

During those remarks, I explained why the Obama Administration’s approach provided more protection sooner against the existing threat, using proven systems, and at a lower cost than the previous proposal.

Moreover, the Obama Administration’s approach has the added advantage of protecting our European Allies against the existing threat. That focus on the ‘now’ distinguishes our approach from the previously proposed system, which was focused on a long-range missile threat that has been slower to develop than previously anticipated.

Some press reports even declared that the Obama Administration had decided to shelve missile defense in Europe.

Now, two years later, we have made tremendous progress. We already have begun implementing Phase 1 of what is known as the European Phased Adaptive Approach (or EPAA), and we have put in place the arrangements necessary to implement the three follow-on phases.

Let me run through some of the achievements of the last two years.

First, in November 2010, NATO made the landmark decision to develop a missile defense capability to provide full coverage and protection for all NATO European populations, territories, and forces…

The Alliance also agreed to use NATO Common Funding to enhance the capabilities of the Active Layered Theater Ballistic Missile Defense system (or ALTBMD) to give it the ability to provide command and control for this expanded system. Finally, Allies at Lisbon welcomed the EPAA as the U.S. national contribution to NATO’s missile defense capability.

In March of this year, the USS Monterey became the first U.S. ballistic missile defense asset deployed to Europe for the defense of NATO…

The USS Monterey is the first ship of a continuous deployment to Europe as part of the EPAA. As part of that commitment, the USS Monterey will be replaced shortly by the USS The Sullivans.

Then in September, just a few days shy of the two-year anniversary of the EPAA announcement, we rolled out three missile defense agreements that put the final pieces in place for the EPAA.

I will discuss these developments in a phased order, rather than chronological order.

On September 14, we announced that Turkey agreed to host the AN/TPY-2 missile defense radar as part of Phase 1 of the EPAA. This is a vital contribution by Turkey to NATO missile defense.

Basing the AN/TPY-2 radar in Turkey will significantly increase the size of the area that can be defended by the deployed Aegis systems. We plan to have the radar in place by the end of this year.

On September 13, Secretary Clinton and Romanian Foreign Minister Baconschi signed a Ballistic Missile Defense Agreement for Phase 2. Once ratified by the Romanian Parliament, this agreement will allow the United States to build a land-based SM-3 interceptor site at Deveselu Air Base in Romania.

This will be the first operational deployment of a land-based SM-3 site. Once operational in the 2015 timeframe, the site will provide additional missile defense protection for Southern Europe.

On September 15, our Ballistic Missile Defense Agreement with Poland entered into force for Phase 3. It is the first such agreement that reached entry into force…

Following the September 2009 announcement of the EPAA, we were able to work quickly with our Polish allies to modify the Bush Administration’s BMD Agreement to allow for the deployment of the land-based SM-3 site instead of the GBIs. As a result of the strong NATO support for the EPAA, we were able to sign that agreement in July 2010.

We are working with our Polish colleagues on next steps in order for the deployment to proceed in the 2018 timeframe. When Phase 3 is fully implemented, the system will provide coverage to all of our European NATO Allies.

Most recently, Spain agreed in October to serve as a home port for four Aegis ships to support future deployments to Europe. This contribution by Spain supports the commitment made by NATO to missile defense.

Home-porting these ships in Europe will allow the United States to respond more rapidly to a crisis in the region by reducing transit times. Another advantage is that the overall wear and tear on these vessels that comes with crossing the Atlantic will be reduced.

Throughout this process, NATO allies have responded with a tremendous amount of cooperation and support. Together, we have worked hard to make NATO’s landmark Lisbon decision to protect all NATO European members’ territories, populations, and forces with missile defense a reality.

It has been a great privilege for me to have worked so closely with all of our Allies over the last couple of years to reach this point, especially my colleagues in Poland, Romania, Spain, and Turkey.

We also are grateful for the other national contributions by our NATO Allies to this effort, including the recent announcement by the Netherlands that it will spend close to 250 million Euros to modify the radars on its frigates to detect and track ballistic missiles at long ranges.

Over the coming months, we will continue these efforts with our NATO Allies. As we said from the start, we want our missile defense deployments to be part of a NATO missile defense effort, where our system will be the U.S. contribution. NATO is working hard on developing the necessary command and control arrangements for this system.

It is NATO’s goal and our desire that enough of this work be completed by the May 2012 Summit in Chicago to declare an initial NATO missile defense capability.

Finally, let me reiterate that the Obama Administration is fully committed to implementing all phases of the European Phased Adaptive Approach…

As President Obama stated in his December 2010 letter to the Senate,

‘My Administration plans to deploy all four phases of the EPAA. While advances of technology or future changes in the threat could modify the details or timing of the later phases of the EPAA – one reason this approach is called ‘adaptive’ – I will take every action available to me to support the deployment of all four phases.’

In addition to full implementation of the EPAA, we are committed to the deployment of the Ground Based Interceptors in Alaska and California…

We cannot provide legally binding commitments, nor can we agree to limitations on missile defenses, which must necessarily keep pace with the evolution of the threat…

Chief among our missile nonproliferation tools is the Missile Technology Control Regime, or MTCR. Working with the other 33 MTCR Partners, we have created the global standard for controlling the transfer of equipment, software, and technology that could contribute to missile developments.

As my remarks demonstrate, the work we do at the State Department with the Pentagon and the Missile Defense Agency advances our efforts in Europe and around the world to protect our Allies, our citizens, and our forces from the dangers posed by ballistic missile proliferation.


U.S. Deaths in Afghanistan: Obama Doubles Entire Bush-Era Total


October 17, 2011

US Deaths in Afghanistan: Obama Doubles Entire Bush-Era Total
Figures Show Overwhelming Increase in Military Casualties
by Jason Ditz

A grim new milestone was reached in the US occupation of Afghanistan this week, as the death toll in less than three years under President Obama has now more than doubled the number of US soldiers slain during President Bush’s seven plus years in the nation.

The figures put the US death toll at 575 during Bush’s era in Afghanistan, but with the repeated escalations of President Obama 1,153 troops have already died in just 33 months, with no end in sight.

Indeed, the 33 months haven’t seen a flat rate of deaths for US soldiers either, but have been increasing since President Obama took over, with 2009 more than double the rate of the last year for President Bush, and 2010 dramatically higher still. 2011, though still in progress, looks to be much worse than 2009, suggesting the momentum is worsening.

Despite extremely ugly metrics, the Obama Administration has continued to insist that the war is going quite well by their estimation, today saying the Taliban’s inability to destroy a hydroelectric dam in the Helmand Province proved their ‘weakness.’


Pakistan: NATO Co-Responsible For Cross-Border Attacks


Express Tribune
October 18, 2011

NATO equally responsible for cross-border attacks: Iftikhar Hussain

NOWSHERA: Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Information Minister, Mian Iftikhar Hussain, has held NATO forces along with the Afghan security forces equally responsible for cross-border attacks from Afghanistan into Pakistan.

Addressing the media in Nowshera, Iftikhar Hussain said that the US has made a case for the Pakistan security agencies to take stern action against the Haqqani Network, however, after dialogue, the situation has receded.

He said Pakistan and Afghanistan both have separate borders and no dictation will be tolerated from across the border.


Over 200 NATO Vehicles Torched In Balochistan In Two Years


The Nation
October 19, 2011

2 Nato tankers torched in Mastung

-NATO suppliers are regularly targeted in Balochistan and more than 200 containers and oil tankers have been attacked during the last two years.

QUETTA: Unidentified armed men on Tuesday, torched two NATO tankers in Dasht area of Mastung district, a local Levies official reported.

The tankers were heading towards Afghanistan from Karachi carrying fuel for NATO forces, when the attackers opened fire and set them ablaze on RCD Highway. ‘The tankers were completely gutted’, an official said, adding, that a driver sustained bullet injuries in the attack and was shifted to Quetta for treatment.

The perpetrators of the attack escaped on motorbike after committing the crime.

A case has been registered against unidentified assailants.

NATO suppliers are regularly targeted in Balochistan and more than 200 containers and oil tankers have been attacked during the last two years.

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