Updates on Libyan war/Stop NATO news: October 28, 2011

28 October 2011 — Stop NATO

  • NATO Chief: Libya War ‘Great Success,’ Nation To Revert To AFRICOM Control
  • State Department: NATO Shifts To ‘Post-Conflict’ Role In Libya
  • Expanded Syrian Conflict: The West’s Unwinnable War
  • Second U.S. Drone Attacks Kills Six In Pakistan
  • Pakistan, Somalia, Yemen: U.S. Drones Kill 50 In One Day
  • U.S. Operating Armed Drones From Ethiopia
  • U.S. Congress Authorizes Covert Operations Against Iran
  • NATO Continues Training Iraqi Federal And Oil Police
  • Australia: Obama To Secure New Military Bases
  • Canada To Spend Nearly Half Billion Dollars On U.S. Military Satellites
  • Ten Years Of NATO Policing The Mediterranean Sea
  • Berlin: NATO Chief Discusses Global Operations, Chicago Summit
  • New Maginot Line: Top U.S. Cyberwarrior Stresses Integration With Allies
  • North Atlantic Council Visit: ‘Georgia Will Definitely Join NATO’
  • U.S. Troops Lead 200 Bulgarian Counterparts In Jump Exercise
  • Push For Global Democracy May Backfire On U.S.

NATO Chief: Libya War ‘Great Success,’ Nation To Revert To AFRICOM Control


Deutsche Presse-Agentur

October 28, 2011

Rasmussen calls NATO Libya operation ‘great success’

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said Thursday the seven-month NATO operation in Libya had been a ‘great success’ and that the decision to end it was final, DPA reported.

Speaking in Berlin after meeting German Chancellor Angela Merkel, he said the operation had probably been one of the most successful in NATO’s history.

Rasmussen said NATO would make an official declaration on Friday that the operation would terminate on Monday, October 31, in line with a UN Security Council resolution in New York.

NATO had fulfilled its mission fully, the former Danish prime minister said, adding that he saw no major role for the alliance in Libya from now on. The National Transitional Council had previously appealed to NATO to continue its operation to the end of the year.


State Department: NATO Shifts To ‘Post-Conflict’ Role In Libya


Agence France-Presse

October 27, 2011

NATO weighs new role in post-Kadhafi Libya

NATO was weighing a possible new role in Libya following Moamer Kadhafi’s death, as France said the UN would vote on Thursday to end the alliance’s mandate for an air war on October 31.

Tripoli’s interim rulers have pleaded for an extension to the alliance’s mandate, but French foreign ministry spokesman Bernard Valero said the request was unlikely to be granted.

‘The fall of Sirte led the Libyan authorities to declare the liberation of Libyan territory as of October 23,’ Valero told a media conference in Paris.

In Washington, US State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said discussions had started at NATO headquarters in Brussels and with Libya’s NTC about the end of the UN mandate.

She said the NTC ‘may foresee a future role for NATO,’ and that discussions have been held about that as well.

‘Some things have been discussed, like support for border security, support for demobilisation, decommissioning of weapons, these kinds of things,’ she said.

NATO ‘does have quite a bit of experience after the combat phase is over in helping countries around the world, and particularly partner countries, to train and equip their own military, restructure, particularly in the decommissioning of weapons,’ Nuland said.


Expanded Syrian Conflict: The West’s Unwinnable War


Press TV

October 27, 2011

Syria, America’s unwinnable game

By Arash Zahedi

In its latest foreign diplomacy move, the US State Department has recalled its ambassador to Damascus, Robert Ford, citing safety reasons.

Tensions were running high as the ambassador had recently been touring different Syrian cities and been involved in talks with the heads of the country’s opposition.

The ups and downs in Syria-US relations in the past few months definitely represent a gesture of anything but good will as they now host no envoys in one another’s lands.

The situation has been aggravated even more with the death of Libya’s once long-time ruler Muammar Gaddafi. America, having been more or less disengaged from the Libya game, is now building up pressure against Syria by escalating accusations against it.

The once US presidential hopeful, Republican Senator John McCain, best known for its ‘bomb, bomb’ rhetoric, is now describing Syria as the focal point of US attention. He has also talked of the use of military force against Damascus. A choice always on the US’s famous ‘table of options’, that can be considered when it unilaterally deems it necessary or when it fails to meaningfully engage in talks.

There are growing fears among political circles now that Damascus might, to some extent, play the role of the next Tripoli given recent US rhetoric that comes along with sanctions and intimidations.

Given the UK’s and France’s recently emboldened anti-Damascus views as well as the role the allegedly foreign-backed armed gangs play in today’s Syria, one has to watch the events of the next few weeks or months with caution.

The West’s Libya adventure is largely characterized by the bloc’s hunger for Libya’s riches and energy resources. Syria, however, is not of great energy or resource significance when compared with Libya. So what is at stake for the US in Syria?

Experts say it is the geographical location of Syria which makes it extremely strategic to Israel’s existence. Syria is so far the only country experiencing an upheaval that shares a border with Israel. The two sides have never enjoyed the best of ties and even have a history of war.

Given the reality that almost all the uprisings in the Middle East were, to some extent, fueled by Arab nations’ anti-US and anti-Israel sentiments, one can quickly realize why Syria has become the ‘focal point’ at this juncture and not Yemen for instance.

Yemen, a poor regional country, has seen its own wave of uprising along with other countries in the Middle East and North Africa. But, unlike Libya and now Syria, it has never been threatened militarily by the US or any of its Western allies.

But what if such, as some term it, Western sabre-rattling turns into an all-out war?

Experts warn seriously against such a move. They argue this is going to turn the whole region into a burning ball of fire which the US will by no means be able to handle. Many say it will be the West’s unwinnable war.

Another argument is that seeing the end of Gaddafi and speculations over the future conditions of Libya or studying the fate of Iraq’s Saddam Hussein and the situation in that country today after eight years of its US occupation will even unite the Syrian government and supporters with some of today’s dissidents against a foreign threat, enabling Syria to put up a genuinely strong resistance, thus making losses greater than gains for the Western countries whose public opinion resents the loss of 30,000 lives in Libya and the two million that died in Iraq and Afghanistan.

In terms of military might, Syria and Libya belong to two different leagues. Unlike Libya, Syria’s army is one of the strongest in the Arab world and observers say it will resolve to fight to the end in case of war. This means a longer war with far too many casualties for both sides.

In the meantime, let’s not forget about Israel’s geographical proximity to Syria…

As mentioned, the anti-Israeli and anti-US feelings, to a certain degree, characterized the Arab world’s recent Islamic awakening. A US attack on Syria and likely Israeli involvement will cause people in other countries to put pressure on their governments to intervene. The issue will not be overlooked in Cairo, for instance, where people had even attacked the Israeli embassy, deeming Tel Aviv as the root cause of many of their historical miseries. Also of immeasurable concern to Israel and the US will be the reaction of other regional sympathizing powerhouses.

There is no doubt the West will have to pay dearly in case of opening another front, with Damascus this time around, and the price will not be the same as with Libya.

Launching another war for the US that is seeing its Wall Street occupied by angry tax payers, if not an empty threat, may mean the nation will, for a long time to come, completely fall out with a government that needs their support in these hard economic times and their votes in future elections.


Second U.S. Drone Attacks Kills Six In Pakistan


Xinhua News Agency

October 28, 2011

Second U.S. drone strike kills 6 in NW Pakistan

ISLAMABAD: A U.S. pilotless aircraft fired four missiles on a house in Mir Ali area in Pakistan’s North Waziristan tribal region Thursday night, killing at least six people, Dawn TV reported.

It was not clear who was targeted in the second strike on Thursday.

Earlier in the morning, an American unmanned aircraft fired missiles on a vehicle at Azam Warsak in South Waziristan tribal region, an area near the Afghan border, killing six people…

Pakistan publicly opposes the drone strikes, which are run by the CIA. The U.S. has refused to halt the strikes despite Islamabad’s protest and insists that it is an effective operation to target suspected militants in Pakistan’s tribal regions.


Pakistan, Somalia, Yemen: U.S. Drones Kill 50 In One Day


Press TV

October 27, 2011

US drones kill nearly 50 in single day

Nearly fifty people have been killed in separate US assassination drone strikes in Somalia, Pakistan’s northwestern tribal region bordering Afghanistan, and Yemen in a single day.

On Thursday, 13 people were killed and several others were injured when the US military launched an attack using a remote-controlled unmanned aerial vehicle on the outskirts of Bilis Qooqaani town, which is located 448 kilometers (278 miles) southwest of the Somali capital Mogadishu.

The US also launched drone strikes on the outskirts of Afmadow city, situated in the middle of the Juba region and 620 kilometers (385 miles) south of Mogadishu, on Thursday. At least 25 people were killed in the aerial attack.

In addition, six people were killed in a non-UN-sanctioned US drone attack on Pakistan’s South Waziristan tribal region near the border with Afghanistan.

According to Pakistani officials, two unmanned aircraft fired six missiles at a vehicle traveling through Tura Gula village in the Azam Warsak area on Thursday.

Three people were also killed in attacks carried out by unmanned US aircraft in southern Yemen on Thursday.

A Yemeni government official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that the drone strikes targeted Shaqra village in Abyan Province. He added that six people were also injured in the aerial attacks.

The US says its remote-controlled unmanned drones only target militants. However, reports have shown that most of the people killed in the drone strikes are civilians.


U.S. Operating Armed Drones From Ethiopia


Xinhua News Agency

October 28, 2011

U.S. operating armed drones in Ethiopia: report

WASHINGTON: The United States is using armed drones to carry out counterterrorism missions in Ethiopia, The Washington Post reported Thursday.

The secret operations involving Reaper drones have been confirmed by Master Sergeant James Fisher, a spokesman for the 17th Air Force, which oversees operations in Africa, according to the report.

Fisher said an unspecified number of Air Force personnel are working at the Ethiopian airfield ‘to provide operation and technical support for our security assistance programs.’

The drone flights ‘will continue as long as the government of Ethiopia welcomes our cooperation on these varied security programs,’ he added.

The drone base is located at the Arba Minch airport, about 480 km south of Addis Ababa and about 960 km east of the Somali border, within the 1,840-km reach of standard models of the Reaper, according to the report.

The newspaper reported last month that the United States is building a series of secret drone bases in the Horn of Africa and the Arabian Peninsula as part of counterterrorism efforts targeting al-Qaida’s affiliates in Somalia and Yemen. But it did not disclose the location of the Ethiopian base and the fact that it became operational this year.

The report came at a time when the United States has been expanding the use of drones on counterterrorism missions, and has increasingly targeted al-Qaida’s affiliates outside South Asia, particularly in Yemen and Somalia.


U.S. Congress Authorizes Covert Operations Against Iran


Press TV

October 27, 2011

US Congress for black ops against Iran

By Ismail Salami

The US secret agenda for tightening its vice-like grip on the Islamic Republic of Iran has taken on an apparently new form after the anti-Iran alleged assassination plot against the Saudi ambassador to the United States, Adel al-Jubeir, raised many eyebrows among experts and analysts around the world.

With a strong penchant for pushing for tougher action on Iran, the Obama administration has already imposed a series of sanctions against the Islamic Republic. However, a Republican-controlled congressional committee has recently heard testimony demanding an extensive range of covert operations against the country.

The operations, which range from cyber attacks to political assassinations, are speculated to be conducted under the feeble excuse that Iran was the alleged architect of an assassination plot against the Saudi envoy to the United States. By political assassination, the US congressmen unconsciously mean the liquidation of the Iranian nuclear scientists, an act they actually started long ago.

Retired Army Gen. John Keane told a hearing of two key subcommittees of the House Committee on Homeland Security on Wednesday, ‘We’ve got to put our hand around their throat now. Why don’t we kill them? We kill other people who kill others.’

Also, Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) poured some pearls of wisdom over others and called for ‘sober, reasoned discussion.’

‘Iran’s leaders must be held accountable for their action,’ she said, ‘but we cannot take any reckless actions which may lead to opening another front in the ‘War on Terror,’ which the American people do not want and cannot afford.’

Naturally, the US government, in essence, cannot afford to wage another war, at least in view of the economic woes it has wrought upon American citizens, regardless of other influencing factors.

The stone that started rolling fell into the hands of New York Congressman Peter King, who made an extremely bizarre comment. He suggested that the US should kick out Iranian officials at the UN in New York and in Washington and accused them of being spies, ignorant of the fact that the UN is considered an independent international body and that the US has no authority to ‘kick out’ diplomats accredited there en masse.

Overwhelmed with a sense of false eagerness, he renewed the anti-Iran alleged assassination ploy and said excitedly, ‘So you have the assassination of a foreign ambassador, you have the willingness to kill hundreds of Americans – this is an act of war,’ King said, ‘I don’t think we can just do business as usual or even carry out sanctions as usual.’

The volley of vitriolic words against Iran which issued from Mr. King reeks of blind enmity long egged on by other hawks in Washington.

In point of fact, the anti-Iran moves practically started in 2007 when the US Congress agreed with George W. Bush, the then-US president, to fund a major increase in covert operations against Iran.

According to the intelligence officials who spoke to the Blotter on ABCNews.com, the CIA was then given presidential approval to commence its covert ‘black’ operations inside Iran. To that effect, over four hundred million dollars were allocated in a Presidential Finding signed by George W. Bush. The ultimate goal of the finding was to cripple Iran’s religious government and the operations involved throwing support behind minority Ahwazi Arab and Baluchis and other opposition groups as well as amassing intelligence about Iran’s nuclear sites.

Speaking on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the subject, the intelligence officials confirmed that Bush had signed a ‘nonlethal presidential finding’ giving the CIA carte blanche to engage in any sabotage activities including a coordinated campaign of propaganda, disinformation and manipulation of Iran’s currency and international financial transactions in order to destabilize and eventually achieve regime change in Iran.

‘I can’t confirm or deny whether such a program exists or whether the president signed it, but it would be consistent with an overall American approach trying to find ways to put pressure on the regime,’ said Bruce Riedel, a retired CIA senior official, an expert on Iran and the Middle East (ABCNEWS.com May 22, 2007).

In June 2007, The New Yorker magazine also ran a similar story by Seymour Hersh, confirming that the finding had been signed by Bush and intended to destabilize the Islamic government.

‘The Finding was focused on undermining Iran’s nuclear ambitions and trying to undermine the government through regime change,’ the article cited a person familiar with its contents as saying, and involved ‘working with opposition groups and passing money.’

From an intelligence point of view, the fact that the US government is resorting to covert black operations against Iran rules out the possibility of a military strike against the country.

According to reports, US ambassadors in Islamabad have repeatedly asked for opening a consulate in the province of Baluchistan, a suspicious demand from the US. In 2011, the call was renewed by US ambassador Cameron Munter to Islamabad. Persistence in this demand is to be taken seriously. Baluchistan is strategically important as it is a harbor for the anti-Iran terrorist group Jundullah in the first place and a separatist Pakistani province in the second place.

In fact, Washington greatly favors the establishment of a ‘Greater Baluchistan’ which would integrate the Baluch areas of Pakistan with those of Iran. Military expert Lieutenant Colonel Ralph Peters suggests that Pakistan should be broken up, leading to the formation of a separate country: ‘Greater Baluchistan’ or ‘Free Baluchistan’ (June 2006, The Armed Forces Journal). As a result, this would incorporate the Baluch provinces of Pakistan and Iran into a single political entity which can be tailored to suit the interests of Washington.

So it seems that the US harbors two main ulterior motives if this demand is answered. First, it can fulfill its dream of establishing a Greater Baluchistan, consolidate a firm presence in this separatist part of Pakistan and, secondly, it will be in a position to avail itself of this influence to carry out its sabotaging activities within Iran.

Earlier in 2007, the Blotter on ABCNews.com revealed the role of the US government in backing the terrorist Iranian group, which is responsible for a number of gruesome assassinations of Iranian civilians on the Iran-Pakistan-Afghanistan border. The terrorist group spares no efforts in sowing the seed of terror in the southern Iranian province of Sistan-Baluchistan and their lust for murder and cruelty knows no remission. The victims the group has so far claimed include many women and children who have become the direct targets of their killing. In July 2010, the group mounted a pair of suicide attacks on a major Shi’ite mosque in the city of Zahedan, the capital of Iran’s Sistan-Balochistan Province, killing dozens of worshippers and wounding over 100 people.

Although US officials deny any ‘direct funding’ of the terrorist group, they acknowledge that they are in contact with the leader of the group on a regular basis. A similar terroristic attack was launched by the same group on a mosque in Zahedan in May 2009, which led to the martyrdom of many worshippers.

Sadly enough, Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) implicitly supports the group and reportedly shelters some of its high-profile members in coordination with the CIA.

Isn’t it paradoxical that Jundullah, a terrorist group and an offshoot of al-Qaeda, is directly funded by the US government which keeps bandying about its so-called ‘war on terror’ in the world?

This is enough to cause the US to hang its head low in shame and humility.

– Ismail Salami is an Iranian author and political analyst. A prolific writer, he has written numerous books and articles on the Middle East. His articles have been translated into a number of languages.


NATO Continues Training Iraqi Federal And Oil Police


North Atlantic Treaty Organization

Allied Command Operations

October 27, 2011

NTM-I and UN Assistance Mission for Iraq strengthen their relationship

Baghdad, Iraq: Deputy Commander of NATO Training Mission – Iraq (NTM-I) Maj. Gen. Giovanni Armentani met with United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary General (political) Mr. Jerzy Skuratowicz, as well as police and military advisors at UNAMI Headquarters on 26 October 2011.

During the meeting, Maj. Gen. Armentani and Mr. Skuratowicz discussed the current activities and plans of their organizations, and the increasing importance of providing political advice to Iraqi Institutions…Maj. Gen. Armentani also stressed that Human Rights and Rule of Law education formed an integral component of training provided by NTM-I to the Iraqi Federal and Oil Police. Senior representatives also agreed to work on the possibility of UNAMI delegate participation in the next Joint Committee for Future Training, which will meet in January 2012.

At the end of meeting, Maj. Gen. Armentani and Mr. Skuratowicz agreed to develop closer coordination between NTM-I and UNAMI, and to continue to strengthen relations in the future.


The NATO Training Mission in Iraq (NTM-I) was established in 2004…The aim of NTM-I is to assist in the development of Iraqi security forces training structures and institutions…

NTM-I…is a distinct training mission, under the political control of NATO’s North Atlantic Council. Its operational emphasis is on training and mentoring. The activities of the mission are coordinated with Iraqi authorities and the Office for Security and Cooperation-Iraq (OSC-I) Chief, who is also dual-hatted as the Commander of NTM-I. NATO has an enduring commitment to Iraq.

NTM-I advises and supports the Defence University for Military Studies, National Defence College, War College, and the Defence Language Institute with the other institutions in Baghdad. Other cooperation projects for NATO in Iraq are out-of-country training courses for Iraqi nationals at NATO schools as well as the Iraqi Police (Iraqi Federal Police and Oil Police) training led by Italian Carabinieri.

Currently, NTM-I is a small tactical force of NATO/PfP personnel, representing 13 member nations (as of October 2011): Albania, Bulgaria, Denmark, Estonia, Italy, Lithuania, Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Turkey, Ukraine (Partner for Peace), UK, USA.


Canada To Spend Nearly Half Billion Dollars On U.S. Military Satellites

Ottawa to spend up to $477M on U.S. military satellites

National Post

October 26, 2011

Ottawa to spend up to $477M on U.S. military satellites

By Lee Berthiaume

-’After Afghanistan and Libya, our efforts in those two countries have proven that the exchange of information between headquarters and deployed elements is critical to modern military operations and their success,’ said Daniel Blouin, a spokesman for Canada’s Department of National Defence.

-The federal government is looking to create a two-satellite system over the Arctic to provide Canada with improved military communication services and aid in defence operations.

OTTAWA: The federal government is planning to spend as much as $477-million to participate in a U.S.-led military satellite program that has been subject to delays and cost overruns over the past decade, Postmedia News has learned.

The Wideband Global Satellite system has been advertised by the U.S. Defense Department as a communications system for ‘U.S. warfighters, allies and coalition partners during all levels of conflict, short of nuclear war.’

The idea is to have as many as nine military satellites hovering over different parts of the world, ready to provide high-frequency bandwidth for U.S. and allied forces wherever they may be operating.

Daniel Blouin, a spokesman for Canada’s Department of National Defence, said the Canadian Forces has identified improved communication capabilities as a necessity.

‘After Afghanistan and Libya, our efforts in those two countries have proven that the exchange of information between headquarters and deployed elements is critical to modern military operations and their success,’ Blouin said.

‘So, in order to meet that intent…we’re seeking out an agreement with international allies that will provide Canadian forces with access to an international constellation of satellites.’

If Canada does join the Wideband Global Satellite System, or WGS, it will be the latest ally to get onboard the project.

Australia agreed in 2007 to contribute more than $800 million US to pay for the sixth satellite in return for a portion of the system’s overall bandwidth. New Zealand, Luxembourg, Denmark and the Netherlands also have expressed interest.

Several weeks ago, Cabinet gave Defence Minister Peter MacKay permission to pay up to $477-million to ensure Canadian participation.

The federal government is looking to create a two-satellite system over the Arctic to provide Canada with improved military communication services and aid in defence operations.

Blouin said the Polar Communications and Weather Mission may complement the WGS, which does not cover the High Arctic, but the two systems are separate.

The U.S. military’s intention to secure allied participation in the WGS is no secret.

‘Our close ally Australia has bought into the system, and the [U.S.] Air Force is in the final phases of developing similar arrangements with several other allies,’ Gregory Schulte, U.S. deputy assistant secretary of defense for space policy, told a conference in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 4.

The second satellite, positioned over the Middle East and Afghanistan, was declared operational in June 2009 and the third, placed over the Atlantic Ocean, in March 2010.

The assessment also says the cost per satellite has increased 27.2 per cent, and the overall project is 39.5 per cent above budget projections.

The program is now expected to cost more than $3.5 billion US. The U.S. military has asked Congress for $469 million US for the WGS for the coming fiscal year alone.

Liberal defence critic John McKay said he was worried about handing too much control over Canadian capabilities to the U.S.

‘The thing that comes to mind immediately is the vulnerabilities that come with sharing your sovereignty with the Americans, which is essentially what you’re doing,’ he said.

By participating in such a program, he said, there’s a risk of making Canada more likely to become involved in future U.S. military operations.


Australia: Obama To Secure New Military Bases


Agence France-Presse/Radio Netherlands

October 27, 2011

Obama to visit Australia’s far north

US President Barack Obama will become the first sitting US president to visit Australia’s Northern Territory next month, the White House said on Thursday.

Obama will visit Darwin after making a previously announced address to the Australian parliament in Canberra during his one night stay in Australia, a trip that has been postponed twice under the pressure of US domestic politics.

The president’s visit on November 16 and 17 will mark the 60th anniversary of the military alliance between Australia and the United States and stress an increasing US diplomatic and military focus on the Pacific region.

Obama will travel to the Indonesian resort island of Bali following Australia for the East Asia summit and will begin his visit by hosting the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation forum summit (APEC) in his native Hawaii.


Ten Years Of NATO Policing The Mediterranean Sea


North Atlantic Treaty Organization

Allied Command Operations

October 27, 2011

Ten years of Operation Active Endeavour

Naples: ‘On 26 October 2001 – ten years ago today – Operation Active Endeavour (OAE) was formally activated. It was a clear and solid demonstration of NATO’s resolve and solidarity…,’ said Vice Admiral Rinaldo VERI, Commander Allied Maritime Command Naples and Commander OAE…

The activation followed the 12 September implementation of Article 5 of the Washington Treaty following the 11 September Terrorist attacks against the United States. For the first time in NATO’s history, Alliance assets were deployed in support of Article 5 operations. NATO contributed Airborne Warning and Control Systems aircraft (AWACS) to the United States and also deployed elements of its Standing Naval Forces to the Eastern Mediterranean. AWACS provided air surveillance and early warning capability by transmitting data to command and control centres on land, sea and in the air. The Standing Naval Force Mediterranean (STANAVFORMED), which was participating in Exercise Destined Glory 2001 off the southern coast of Spain, was re-assigned in order to provide an immediate NATO military presence in the Eastern Mediterranean.

There have been significant milestones in the development of OAE. These include the 29 April 2003 decision to begin boarding operations…

On 16 March 2004, NATO announced the extension of the Area of Operations to the whole Mediterranean and that EAPC/PfP Partners, Mediterranean Dialogue countries and other selected nations would be asked to support OAE.

Furthermore at the NATO Summit in Istanbul, on 28 June 2004, the Alliance decided to enhance Operation Active Endeavour, including through the contributory support of partner countries, including the Mediterranean Dialogue countries…

The first flagship of OAE was HMS Chatham and since then numerous surface and sub-surface assets have rotated through the Operation. (HMS Chatham was flagship of STANAVFORMED which then also comprised FGS Bayern, frigate, Germany; HS Formion, destroyer, Greece; ITS Aliseo, frigate, Italy; HNLMS Van Nes, frigate, The Netherlands; SPS Santa Maria, frigate, Spain; TCG Giresun, frigate, Turkey; USS Elrod, frigate, US.)

Today the SNMG2 flagship, TCG ORUCREIS along with FGS SCHLESWIG HOLSTEIN is patrolling the Mediterranean Sea in support of OAE.

Building on the experience acquired over the years, OAE has become largely network-based and has developed a considerable Maritime Situational Awareness through the use of modern tracking and analysis technologies. It also benefits enormously from cooperation with non-NATO contributing nations. However, surge operations remain an integral part of OAE…in the Mediterranean Sea.

According to Vice Admiral Veri: ‘The ship remains at the centre of NATO’s presence in the Mediterranean but it is what lies behind and supports this presence which is now so very impressive. Networking both in the sense of NATO networking with other countries and organisations, as well as in the sense of computer and digital networks, gives me a vision of the Area of Operations that just wasn’t there for the first commander of OAE. And although they are two distinct operations, the situational awareness that OAE has given me has been of enormous use during the maritime operations carried out in Operation Unified Protector.’


Berlin: NATO Chief Discusses Global Operations, Chicago Summit


North Atlantic Treaty Organization

October 27, 2011

NATO Secretary General discusses NATO operations in Berlin

-The Secetary General praised the reforms conducted by Germany in order to make its armed forces leaner, more capable and more deployable.

The NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen visited Berlin on Thursday, 27 October and met with Chancellor Angela Merkel in order to discuss Alliance operations and preparations for the summit to be held in Chicago next year.

The Secretary General thanked the Chancellor particularly for Germany’s commitment to NATO’s operations in Afghanistan and in Kosovo.

‘Your troops are doing a magnificent job’, the Secretary General said. ‘I saw that for myself recently in Kosovo. Over the past 12 years, KFOR, now led by Germany, has helped turned one of Europe’s hotspots into a largely peaceful place. And we will not allow recent tensions to turn back the clock.’

The Secretary General noted that Germany is the third largest troop contributor to NATO’s ISAF operation in Afghanistan.

The Secretary General also met with Minister of Foreign Affairs Guido Westerwelle and with Minister of Defence Thomas de Maizière.

During his meetings, the Secretary General also discussed how to make sure that the Alliance remains flexible and effective in order to counter modern challenges. The Secetary General praised the reforms conducted by Germany in order to make its armed forces leaner, more capable and more deployable.

‘The reforms show that Germany is committed to spending better on defence, even when we may not be able to spend more’, the Secretary General said. ‘This is what I call Smart Defence and it will be a key item on the agenda for our summit in Chicago next May.’

In Berlin the Secretary General also addressed the NATO Review Conference organised by the German Foundation SWP.


New Maginot Line: Top U.S. Cyberwarrior Stresses Integration With Allies


U.S. Department of Defense

October 27, 2011

Cyber Defense Requires Teamwork, Agility, Alexander Says

By Donna Miles

-‘We are the guys who helped create the Internet. We are the ones that built that. We ought to be the first ones to secure it.’

WASHINGTON: The commander of U.S. Cyber Command called for increased collaboration among the government, industry and America’s allies in developing more defensible networks to confront escalating global cyber threats.

Current network security protections aren’t nimble enough to defend against the exploding number of threats, Army Gen. Keith B. Alexander told government, academic and private-sector professionals yesterday at the Security Innovation Network’s Showcase 2011 conference here.

‘It’s like the Maginot Line,’ Alexander explained, referring to the fortifications France built along its border with Germany after World War I with hopes of preventing another cross-border attack. Germany responded during World War II by doing the unexpected: attacking instead through the Ardennes Forest.

‘That’s the same thing that happens in your network,’ Alexander said, noting in cyberspace adversaries have ‘all the advantages.’ They can scan networks, he said, and identify what software is being run, and pounce when they identify a vulnerability.

‘That’s the dynamic we have to change,’ Alexander said.

‘We are the guys who helped create the Internet. We are the ones that built that. We ought to be the first ones to secure it.’

The White House’s International Strategy for Cyberspace and Defense Department strategy represent a start in that direction, Alexander said. But he emphasized that developing more defensible systems isn’t something the Defense Department or any other entity can do alone.

It requires government agencies working as a team, he said, while also working with industry and U.S. allies and partners.

Alexander cited the explosion of network communications around the world. As of March 31, 30 percent of the world population had access to the Internet. During 2010, 107 trillion emails were sent – that’s 294 billion per day. By 2015, he said, it’s predicted that there will be twice as many Internet devices as people on the planet.

Such growth, the general said, has created vulnerabilities which leave no sector immune – from hackings at well-respected companies such as Nasdaq, RSA Security and Booz Allen Hamilton to denial-of-service attacks in ***Estonia, Georgia*** and elsewhere.

[A] pilot program in which the Defense Department shares classified threat intelligence with industry is helping to increase military cyber defenses and preventing enemy intrusions into other sensitive government networks.

Alexander called the Defense Industrial Base Cyber Pilot, launched in partnership with the Homeland Security Department, ‘a huge step’…


North Atlantic Council Visit: ‘Georgia Will Definitely Join NATO’


Civil Georgia

October 27, 2011

NATO Envoy Speaks of Ties with Georgia

-‘In principle the decision is already made by all the [NATO-member states] that Georgia will join NATO,’ Baramidze said referring to 2008 NATO Bucharest summit decision.

Tbilisi: The North Atlantic Council (NAC) will hail Georgia’s progress in reforms when this senior decision-making body of NATO visits Tbilisi in two weeks, James Appathurai, NATO Secretary General’s Special Representative for the Caucasus and Central Asia, said on October 27.

‘This visit by the North Atlantic Council, led by the General Secretary, will be first and foremost a visible sign of commitment the NATO has to our partnership with Georgia,’ he said at a joint news conference with Georgian State Minister for Euro-Atlantic Integration Issues Giorgi Baramidze.

NATO Secretary General, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, and diplomats from NATO’s senior decision-making body, North Atlantic Council, will visit Georgia on November 9-10.

‘I am quite sure that President Saakashvili and the leadership of the country will hear from the North Atlantic Council that they are very positive on the reform progress that Georgia has achieved over the past year,’ said Appathurai, who is in Tbilisi to prepare the upcoming visit.

Appathurai said he would not start speculating on what might happen during the NATO summit in Chicago in May, 2012 and whether it would be possible or not for Georgia to receive a Membership Action Plan. He, however, said that the Chicago summit would reaffirm ‘very clearly’ the decision of the 2008 Bucharest summit that Georgia would one day join the Alliance.

He said that NATO’s assessment of Georgia’s implementation of its Annual National Programme (ANP) was in overall positive. ANP, a mechanism of cooperation introduced in December 2008, outlines reform targets; it is drawn by the Georgian government and reviewed annually by NATO. The document is not publicly available. Appathurai said that progress in reforms would create ‘a positive environment’ for taking next steps in NATO-Georgia relations.

Giorgi Baramidze, the Georgian state minister for Euro-Atlantic integration issues, said that because of progress in reforms Georgia ‘deserves’ to be granted ‘a serious step forward’ on its path of NATO integration.

He, however, also said that Georgia already had all the necessary mechanisms with NATO – Annual National Programme and NATO-Georgia Commission – required for the country to carry out reforms in order to prepare for membership. 

Referring to the Membership Action Plan (MAP), which Georgia was not granted at NATO’s 2008 Bucharest summit, Baramidze said that ‘the name of the mechanism does not matter.’

‘What matters is what we are doing; what matters is that Georgia’s democratic institutions are being upgraded to NATO standards,’ Baramidze said, adding that skepticism of some countries towards Georgia’s NATO integration is related to the timeframe and not to the principle itself.

‘In principle the decision is already made by all the [NATO-member states] that Georgia will join NATO,’ Baramidze said referring to 2008 NATO Bucharest summit decision.

He said that bar set for Georgia ‘is higher’ than it was for other aspirant countries, ‘but this bar is not so high not to overcome it.’

‘There should not be inadequate expectations about NATO accession. But there should not be frustration either, because Georgia will definitely join NATO. It will take not too much time, but not too little time either. It will take several years; we have to pass upcoming elections [in next two years] and after that the process becomes easier. We are focused on reforms,’ Baramidze said.


U.S. Troops Lead 200 Bulgarian Counterparts In Jump Exercise


U.S. Air Forces in Europe

October 27, 2011

Joint jumpmasters soar in sky with Bulgarian armed forces

by Staff Sgt. Travis Edwards

86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

PLOVDIV, Bulgaria: A successful personnel drop starts with proper preparation and that can only be accomplished through practice.

With the help of one Airman from the 435th Contingency Response Group, four Soldiers and two sailors, more than 200 Bulgarian armed forces members took a dive out of a C-130J Super Hercules.

According to Staff Sgt. Myron Austin, a jumpmaster for the 435th CRG, nothing else compares to it.

‘Most people don’t want to do it; for me, it’s something different,’ said Austin. ‘Being in a unit like the CRG, provides me an airborne capability that I wouldn’t be exposed to otherwise.’

With the conclusion of Operation Thracian Fall 2011, Austin has been involved in four exercises and operations involving coalition and fellow armed services jumps…

After the two weeks of the OTF11 jumps were complete, five of the Army jumpmasters came back to the jump site to for some on-the-job training with the Bulgarian parajumpers.

The 435th CRG played an integral part of accomplishing the training, from the drop-zone team who set up the area where the jumpers land, to gathering the available jumpmasters from the Kaiserslautern Military Community, including the Navy and Army.

As the lead airborne planner, gathering those jumpmasters was Austin’s main objective before the operation started.


Push For Global Democracy May Backfire On U.S.


Global Times

October 27, 2011

Quest for global democracy may backfire on US

By Aaron Adams

-Washington must ask itself which it values more: promoting democracy around the world, or its empire. Burdened by massive deficits while paying for an already overstretched military, it would be the height of folly for the US to assume it can always have both.

It is a basic assumption among US political leaders that a democratic China would only contribute to maintaining the US-led international order. But this logic stems from the belief first, that the wishes of the Chinese people would be consistent with the security goals of the United States, and second, that democratic governments are inherently peaceful. Yet the US insistence that Western-style democracy is a panacea for world conflict will ultimately undermine international stability as well as US national interests.

In their book, Electing to Fight: Why Emerging Democracies Go To War (2005), and their earlier journal articles, such as ‘Democratization and the Danger of War,’ Edward D. Mansfield and Jack Snyder presented extensive research to prove that states transitioning from authoritarianism to democracy have been twice as likely to go to war. More importantly for China, they found that when great powers have democratized almost every one of them ‘has gone on the warpath during the initial phase of its entry into the era of mass politics.’ A key reason, the authors observed, is that leaders of democratizing nations have more incentives to exploit nationalist passions to win elections.

Belief among Americans that the triumph of democracy in China would solve our two countries’ foreign policy differences also stems from the assumption that any desire on the part of everyday Chinese citizens for a more assertive foreign policy is a fabrication by the Communist Party of China.

This misconception marred US press coverage of the reaction of the Chinese people to the 1999 bombing of their embassy in Belgrade. Sinologist Peter Hayes Gries noted that ‘a brief review of major US editorials (during the demonstrations in China) reveals a consensus view: The Chinese people are not angry with America; they were, rather, manipulated by Communist propaganda.’

A typical example appeared in the Boston Globe, attributing the outrage in the streets of China to ‘state-supervised anger that had no constituency among the majority of the Chinese people.’ The American press also failed to give any credit to the Chinese government for its role in calming public passions and bringing the riots under control.

As many Chinese know already, the cautious realists that lead their nation are a model of restraint, considering the temptations of popular nationalism in a rising power, particularly one that has grievances over unresolved historical injustices and current US policies. If the leadership in Beijing had to constantly cater to the latest poll numbers, China’s foreign policy would be far more hawkish and far less patient.

Popular nationalism and frustration with China’s current and past treatment on the world stage are not the invention of China’s leaders, but originate from the concerns of the people.

A survey of Chinese social science professors, published in the academic journal Asian Perspectives in 2006, asked what the main reasons were for the revival of nationalism in their country. The most popular answer, chosen by 53 percent of respondents, was that the rise of nationalism was a defensive reaction to both the West’s viewing China as a threat and Japan’s overall refusal to apologize for the commission of past war crimes, such as the Nanjing Massacre.

Although China’s current policy of a ‘peaceful rise’ is arguably best for China’s long-term interests, it does not poll as well among the Chinese people as an aggressive foreign policy. Huanqiu.com conducted a survey last June of over 23,000 Chinese citizens, asking how they wanted their government to resolve the South China Sea disputes. 80 percent favored resolving the issue through military action, while only 18 percent supported the current cautious foreign policy.

If, in such an environment, electoral politics were to dictate foreign policy, China’s leaders could attempt to tap into nationalist sentiment by outbidding each other with ever more strident proposals for resolving the Taiwan or South China Sea issues.

By lending money to the US at generous interest rates, China has made itself a critical part of US attempts to recover from the current financial crisis. In a democracy, the expressed will of the Chinese people might favor halting new loans to the US, and instead, spending China’s $2 trillion surplus to become a dominant military power, as the authors of Unhappy China, a runaway best-seller, advocated. If this were the outcome, would the US still cheer the arrival of Chinese democracy?

Washington must ask itself which it values more: promoting democracy around the world, or its empire. Burdened by massive deficits while paying for an already overstretched military, it would be the height of folly for the US to assume it can always have both.

The author is a researcher with the history department of the University of Washington

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.