Stop NATO news: November 12, 2011

12 November 2011 — Stop NATO

  • Russia Condemns IAEA’s Allegations Against Iran, Says War Threats Are Dangerous
  • NATO ‘Optimistic’ On U.S.-European Missile, Military Cooperation
  • Obama Visit: U.S. To Build Up Military In Australia
  • Clinton: 21st Century Will Be U.S.’s Pacific Century
  • Afghan War: NATO’s Death Toll At 515 For 2001
  • 158 Killed: Canada’s Defence Chief Marks Remembrance Day In Afghan War Zone
  • Black Sea: New Home For American Guided Missile Warships
  • NATO’s Afghan War Trains Baltic Special Forces For Global Role
  • Baltic Defence Chiefs Plan Next Five Years Of NATO Exercises
  • Western Militarization Of The Arctic

Russia Condemns IAEA’s Allegations Against Iran, Says War Threats Are Dangerous

http://english.ruvr.ru/2011/11/10/60192185.html

Itar-Tass
November 11, 2011

Russia condemns IAEA’s allegations against Iran

Accusations of nuclear weapons development made against Iran by the US, France and Israel after the publication of an annex to the recently published report of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) may be part of a strategy to force a change of power in Tehran or provoke revolts within the country, the Chairman of Russia’s State Duma Committee on Foreign Affairs Konstantin Kosachev said Thursday.

Such a scenario would be feasible after the revolutions in Egypt and Tunisia, Kosachev said.

He added that he was surprised by the fact that the IAEA’s accusations against Tehran are not supported by any new evidence of alleged attempts to develop nuclear weapons.

He also described recent statements made by some leaders on possible military operations in Iran as ‘dangerous’.

====

NATO ‘Optimistic’ On U.S.-European Missile, Military Cooperation

http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/11/11/us-nato-rasmussen-crisis-idUSTRE7AA49520111111

Reuters
November 11, 2011

NATO optimistic on U.S.-Europe defense ties
By David Brunnstrom

BRUSSELS: The head of NATO says he remains optimistic about U.S.-European defense cooperation, particularly in missile defense, in spite of the risk of massive new U.S. budget cuts and fears of recession in Europe next year.

In an interview with Reuters, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, who often describes himself as a natural optimist, also brushed aside any concern over what impact a possible unravelling of the euro zone currency union could have on cohesion of the NATO alliance of 28 nations – 26 of which are European.

Speaking on his way back from a visit to Georgia on Thursday, Rasmussen said the economic crisis should boost his ‘smart defense’ initiative to encourage greater cooperation in defense projects.

Rasmussen said he was confident after meeting U.S. President Barack Obama and Congressional leaders in Washington this week that NATO’s flagship cooperation project – missile defense – would survive even if Washington were to make radically higher defense cuts on top of $450 billion faced over the next decade.

‘I am sure it is ring-fenced and protected against cuts,’ he said. ‘I got the impression… that there is bipartisan support for continuing that project.’

He said he was also ‘sure the Americans are aware’ of the importance of the U.S. military presence in Europe when it came to improving the ability of allied forces to operate together.

Rasmussen declined to speculate on how further U.S. cuts could affect the U.S. military presence in Europe, which he called ‘an essential element’ of the transatlantic relationship.

Rasmussen said he had been encouraged by recent U.S. decisions showing ‘a strong commitment to collective defense and also an American presence in Europe.’

‘The fact that the United States will provide an input to the NATO missile defense system demonstrates a continued American commitment to Euro-Atlantic security and the continued presence in Europe,’ he said.

‘Recently you have seen announcements that NATO allies will host such missile defense facilities. Turkey, Romania, Poland; recently also Spain. So actually you see that American presence in Europe now adapted to new security challenges and I find that quite encouraging.’

‘The fact is that more than 30 countries in the world have missile technologies or are aspiring to get missile technologies, some of them with a range that they can hit NATO territory already.’

(Reporting by David Brunnstrom; Editing by Rex Merrifield and Myra MacDonald)

====

Obama Visit: U.S. To Build Up Military In Australia

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203537304577028490161890480.html

Wall Street Journal
November 11, 2011

U.S. to Build Up Military in Australia
Move Aimed at Countering China in Asia, Clarifying Free Access to South China Sea
By Laura Meckler

WASHINGTON: President Barack Obama will announce an accord for a new and permanent U.S. military presence in Australia when he visits next week, a step aimed at countering China’s influence and reasserting U.S. interest in the region, said people familiar with his plans.

The agreement will lead to an increase in U.S. naval operations off the coast of Australia and give American troops and ships ‘permanent and constant’ access to Australian facilities, the people said. While no new American bases will be built under the plan, the arrangement will allow U.S. forces to place equipment in Australia and set up more joint exercises, they said.

The move could help the U.S. military, now concentrated in Japan and South Korea in Northeast Asia, to spread its influence west and south across the region, including the strategically and economically important South China Sea, which China considers as its sovereign territory.

[T]he expanded military presence is designed as a demonstration of U.S. commitment to the region, part of an effort to refocus on Asia as the U.S. withdraws from Iraq and draws its forces down in Afghanistan, officials in both countries said.

‘It will demonstrate U.S. resolve, not just for Australia, but in the region,’ Maj. Gen. Tim McOwan, the Australian defense attaché in Washington, said in an interview this week.

One base slated for the stepped-up American presence is in Darwin, on the country’s north coast. Other locations are possible, including one near Perth, on the west coast, one person said.

‘Strategically, we want to be able to reassure the rest of Asia that the American presence is still strong in the 21st century as China develops its force,’ said Ernie Bower, director of the Southeast Asia Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington think tank.

…Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, while traveling throughout the region last month…

On his trip, Mr. Obama will mark the 60th anniversary of the U.S.-Australian alliance with a speech to Parliament and a visit to a military base in Darwin, where he and Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard will jointly address Australian troops.

Mr. Panetta, after a meeting with the Australians in September, said that enhanced military cooperation would counter ‘threats and challenges’ to come. ‘Security and prosperity of our two great nations depends on the security and prosperity of the Asia-Pacific region,’ he said.

The full range of U.S. naval ships is expected to rotate through the joint facilities, stopping for exercises as well as repairs and other shore work. Naval aircraft also will have access to a base in Darwin.

The increased U.S. presence will be a rotating force, one person said. In September, Australian Defence Minister Stephen Smith said the enhance cooperation would be ‘more ships in, ships out; more planes in, planes out; more troops in, troops out.’

Gen. McOwan, the defense attaché, said the increase in U.S. naval operations will send a message to the Chinese…

—Julian E. Barnes, Brian Spegele and Adam Entous contributed to this article.

====

Clinton: 21st Century Will Be U.S.’s Pacific Century

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english2010/world/2011-11/11/c_122263934.htm

Xinhua News Agency
November 11, 2011

Clinton says 21st century will be U.S.’ Pacific century

-Clinton indicated the administration is to demonstrate it’s ‘here to stay.’
‘Yes we can, and yes we will,’ she said.

HONOLULU; U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Thursday said here the 21st century will be the United States’ Pacific Century.

Cliton said as the war in Iraq winds down and efforts in Afghanistan to transition [power] begins, the administration is to pivot its diplomatic efforts elsewhere, namely the Asia-Pacific region.

Clinton said Asia stands out as where future opportunities will be, as it hosts several of the largest and fastest growing economies, and consequential challenges such as military build-ups and natural disasters.

Clinton made the remarks before leaders from 21 economies of the Asia-Pacific rim are to meet in Honolulu for their annual Asia- Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit, which the United States hosts.

Clinton indicated the administration is to demonstrate it’s ‘here to stay.’

‘Yes we can, and yes we will,’ she said.

After the APEC meeting, which will be hosted by President Barack Obama, the president will travel to Australia while Clinton will head to Manila, the Philippines and Bangkok, Thailand. She will meet up with Obama at Bali, Indonesia for the East Asia Summit.

At the APEC meeting, Clinton said the United States will drive an agenda including promoting green growth, regional integration and next generation regional trade agreements represented by the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

====

Afghan War: NATO’s Death Toll At 515 For 2011

http://www.pajhwok.com/en/2011/11/10/isaf-soldier-dies-ied-strike-south

Pajhwok News Agency
November 10, 2011

ISAF soldier dies in IED strike in south

KABUL: An International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) soldier was killed in a roadside bombing in southern Afghanistan, the alliance said on Thursday.

Mostly American and British soldiers are based in the south.

With the latest fatality, the number of NATO-led troops so for killed in Afghanistan this year increased to 515.

The UK Ministry of Defence said a British soldier was killed yesterday by an explosion in southern Helmand province. The soldier, who was from 4th Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment, was on patrol when he was killed by an improvised explosive device…

====

158 Killed: Canada’s Defence Chief Marks Remembrance Day In Afghan War Zone

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/mackay-marks-remembrance-day-with-troops-in-kandahar/article2233196/

Canadian Press
November 11, 2011

MacKay marks Remembrance Day with troops in Kandahar
Steve Rennie

Kandahar, Afghanistan: Fighter jets roared through the cloudless Afghan sky and Chinook helicopters hovered overhead as Canadians marked a final Remembrance Day in Kandahar.

Every takeoff and landing was a reminder that even as the Canadian military closes a chapter on the decade-long conflict in Afghanistan, a fierce battle still rages beyond the confines of Kandahar Airfield.

Defence Minister Peter MacKay made the long trip to southern Afghanistan to mark the occasion with the 1,000 or so troops…

He read aloud the names of the Canadians who have died as part of the decade-long mission in Afghanistan as poppies were placed on each black marble plaque on the cenotaph.

Then Mr. MacKay read the names of American soldiers killed while serving with the Canadians.

One female soldier mouthed the words to the poem In Flanders Fields before Canadian musician George Canyon sang Danny Boy as two more Chinooks rose into the sky behind him.

Flags were lowered to half-mast and wreaths were laid in honour of the 158 Canadian military personnel killed as part of the Afghan mission.

One diplomat, one journalist and two aid workers have also been killed.

Starting Saturday, military engineers will start dismantling the cenotaph so it can be shipped back to Canada. The military is considering several spots in Ottawa to put the memorial, with one of the preferred locations being Beechwood Cemetary in the city’s east end, home to the national military cemetery.

Canada’s combat mission officially ended this summer, but 950 military trainers will remain in and around the capital city of Kabul through 2014 as part of NATO’s training mission.

Smaller contingents of Canadian trainers have also been deployed to the cities of Mazar-i-Sharif in the north and Herat in the west near the border with Iran.

====

Black Sea: New Home For American Guided Missile Warships

http://www.dvidshub.net/news/79858/philippine-sea-completes-black-sea-deployment#.Tr3ctUNclEo

U.S. Naval Forces Europe, 6th Fleet Public Affairs 
November 11, 2011

Philippine Sea completes Black Sea deployment

-In June, the guided-missile cruisers USS Monterey and USS Anzio along with other U.S. Navy and Marine Corps personnel and 11 other countries visited the Black Sea region for exercise Sea Breeze.
-Philippine Sea conducted bilateral training with foreign militaries throughout its deployment…
-‘U.S. Navy guided missile cruisers are multimission platforms which are capable of performing myriad tasks, including…bi-lateral and multi-lateral training exercises, and NATO operations and deployments, including missile defense.’

BLACK SEA: The guided-missile cruiser USS Philippine Sea departed the Sixth Fleet area of operations, Nov. 11, after its scheduled Black Sea deployment, concluding three weeks ***serving as goodwill ambassadors of the U.S.***

During the deployment, Philippine Sea made scheduled port visits to Bulgaria, Georgia, Turkey, and Ukraine. Throughout these visits, the crew…trained with local military and hosted receptions aboard the ship for local military and civilian leadership…

‘These port visits were great strides in the direction of our maritime partnership in the Black Sea,’ said Capt. Steve Shinego, Philippine Sea’s commanding officer…

Shinego emphasized the value the U.S. places on its military partnerships in the Black Sea region. In June, the guided-missile cruisers USS Monterey and USS Anzio along with other U.S. Navy and Marine Corps personnel and 11 other countries visited the Black Sea region for exercise Sea Breeze.

A notable part of Philippine Sea’s deployment was embarking four Bulgarian sailors aboard the ship for two weeks of at-sea training. The training was designed to give the Bulgarian sailors a better understanding of how the U.S. Navy conducts operations underway.

The Bulgarian’s visit to the ship was part of the U.S. 6th Fleet Maritime Partnership Program, which is designed to develop and sustain relationships with maritime forces of the U.S. European Command area of responsibility theater security cooperation strategy.

Philippine Sea conducted bilateral training with foreign militaries throughout its deployment, focusing on ship boarding operations, shipboard damage control, and basic small-boat operation and repair.

Aside from training and community service projects, the ship also held an at-sea change of command where Capt. Herbert Hadley was relieved by Capt. Steve Shinego.

Leadership from 6th Fleet headquarters in Naples, Italy, stressed the value of the actions and responsibilities of Philippine Sea during deployment.

‘U.S. Navy guided missile cruisers are multimission platforms which are capable of performing myriad tasks, including maritime security operations, humanitarian missions, bi-lateral and multi-lateral training exercises, and NATO operations and deployments, including missile defense,’ said Capt. Dan Shaffer, commodore, Destroyer Squadron 60…

====

NATO’s Afghan War Trains Baltic Special Forces For Global Role

http://www.baltic-course.com/eng/baltic_news/?doc=8206

Baltic Course
November 11, 2011

Latvian special forces to join Lithuanians in Afghanistan

-’We have been cooperating with our neighbour Latvia in the field of defence since 1991 by participating in joint exercises and military projects. The outcomes of our interoperability and years-long friendship will be now put to the test in combat circumstances.’
-’The Memorandum of Understanding is an example of concrete and essential cooperation between the Baltic States as well as a significant contribution to strengthening and developing of common defence capabilities of the Baltic States and NATO.’
-This example of cooperation [ensures] the visibility of joint activity and benefit of joint projects in solving security challenges and issues at the global and regional level.

Vilnius: Later this year, the Lithuanian Special Operations Task Group Aitvaras will be joined by a Latvian Special Operations Forces contingent in the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) mission in the south of Afghanistan upon completion of premission training, the National Defence Ministry said BC.

This will be the first time that the Lithuanian Special Operations Task Group Aitvaras incorporates a contingent of another country.

The core of the joint unit is formed by the Lithuanian SOF personnel and will be given under the command of a Lithuanian Special Operations Force officer.

‘Lithuanian troops have been part of the NATO-led ISAF mission in the south of Afghanistan for four years now…From now on the Latvian Special Forces contingent will join us. We have been cooperating with our neighbour Latvia in the field of defence since 1991 by participating in joint exercises and military projects. The outcomes of our interoperability and years-long friendship will be now put to the test in combat circumstances,’ says Lithuanian Armed Forces Commander Lt Gen Pocius.

‘Special Operations Forces is one of the most complex military capabilities. I am pleased that we develop this capability together with our Lithuanian neighbours which confirms our professionalism, ability and willingness to cooperate by even more in integrating the Armed Forces from the Baltic States,’ emphasizes Latvian National Armed Forces Commander, Maj Gen Graube.

The decision to deploy a joint Lithuanian-Latvian Special Operations Forces unit as part of the Lithuanian Aitvaras to Afghanistan was made this August under a bilateral Memorandum of Understanding between Lithuanian Chief of Defence Lt Gen Arvydas Pocius and Latvian National Armed Forces Commander Maj Gen Raimonds Graube.

‘The Memorandum of Understanding is an example of concrete and essential cooperation between the Baltic States as well as a significant contribution to strengthening and developing of common defence capabilities of the Baltic States and NATO,’ points out Lithuanian Chief of Defence Gen Pocius. According to him, the ongoing bilateral cooperation is the most evident proof of confidence between the military of the both countries.

The Memorandum of Understanding which was signed in August earlier this year between the Lithuanian and Latvian Defence Ministries sets out the arrangements, general responsibilities, principles and procedures of the participation of the Latvian SOF contingent in ISAF as part of the Lithuanian SOF Task group Aitvaras.

This example of cooperation between the Lithuanian and Latvian SOFs also serves to endorse agreements adopted by Baltic defence ministers’ meetings on seeking closer cooperation in the defence sector and acting together thus ensuring the visibility of joint activity and benefit of joint projects in solving security challenges and issues at the global and regional level.

Personnel of the Lithuanian Special Operations Task Group Aitvaras have been a part of NATO ISAF operation in the south of Afghanistan since 2007…

====

Baltic Defence Chiefs Plan Next Five Years Of NATO Exercises

http://www.baltic-course.com/eng/baltic_news/?doc=8192

Baltic Course
November 9, 2011

Baltic defense forces chiefs discuss planned cooperation

Tallinn: Estonian, Latvian, and Lithuanian Defense Forces chiefs Ants Laaneots, Raimonds Graube and Arvydas Pocius discussed on Tuesday in Otepaa, South East Estonia, military cooperation for the next year, LETA/Postimees Online reports.

‘We discussed next year’s cooperation plans,’ said General Laaneots. ‘We discussed how we will coordinate defense planning and how we can participate in each others’ exercises, for example our southern neighbors in our Spring Storm, and how we could use practice grounds together, for example, Latvia’s Adazi.’

General Laaneots said that the focus of navy cooperation on the NATO minesweeping squadron, instead of the three states, the joint navy squadron BALTRON was thoroughly discussed, which is Estonia’s clear preference in developing the navy and guaranteeing the safety of ship traffic at the Baltic Sea.

The three states defense cooperation plans for the next year were signed in Otepää. Among future plans, the trilateral joint exercises and exercises with other NATO states for the next five years were discussed.

Lithuanian Defense Forces chief, Lieutenant General Arvydas Pocius gave General Laaneots the Lithuanian defense forces services badge.

General Laaneots handed management of the Baltic military committee over to Latvian defense forces chief, Major General Raimonds Graube.

====

Western Militarization Of The Arctic

http://english.ruvr.ru/2011/11/11/60208973.html

Voice of Russia
November 11, 2011

Western militarization of the Arctic. Part II

Nobody regards the Arctic as a dead zone anymore. Its vast ice caps hide 7% of the world’s oil and 33% of its gas reserves, together with gold, diamonds and other minerals. Global warming and the melting of the Arctic permafrost will soon unlock the Arctic Ocean treasures.

This prospective change has caused the Arctic to now be wrangled over by the Arctic Five – Russia, Canada, the US, Denmark and Norway, of which only Russia, it must be noted, is not a NATO member. The alliance clearly specified its interest in the Arctic at the November 2010 Lisbon summit. The situation gets more complicated due to internal bickering over territorial claims amongst the Five. The US and Canada can not reach agreement on the Beaufort Sea (a marginal sea of the Arctic Ocean) while Canada is also battling over the Hans Island with Denmark.

Even China that lies far away from the Arctic wants a stake in the region. Its Snow Dragon icebreaker has entered the Arctic waters twice. S. Korea is also getting icebreakers ready.

The head of the Russian Center for Analysis of the World Arms Trade, Igor Korotchenko, says that a report for the US Navy says that America urgently needs to build up its military potential in the Arctic. It proposes that the Navy begin intensive Arctic training, acquire new Arctic-class vessels and icebreakers and set up ground and undersea surveillance and monitoring stations. US multipurpose nuclear subs are constantly patrolling the Arctic Ocean and their goals are far from being scientific he stated in an interview for the Voice of Russia:

The Pentagon has permanent rapid response missile groups at high latitudes including 3-4 cruisers and 4-6 destroyers. It has 11 Air Force fighters deployed in Alaska while the US Air Force and subs patrol the Arctic Ocean area and are equipped with high-precision weapons. The US Defense Department is also training ground forces for operations in the Arctic and plans to construct two naval bases in Alaska.

Canada allocated money to build a deep water port and a navy base in the abandoned town of Nanisivik and launched the renovation and the expansion of a military training base in Resolute Bay and ordered the construction of new Arctic patrol ships. The country’s Arctic military contingent has also been increased tenfold. Even though Canada has no constant military presence in the Arctic it has been carrying out annual drills called Operation Nanook to train for emergencies and disasters and since 2007 it has been conducting sovereignty patrols in the Arctic.

In 2010 the Canadian war games, for the first time, featured troops from the US and Denmark which gave Canada official status as a NATO observer in the Arctic. In summer 2011 the exercises were joined by the US and NATO air forces and included jet fighters, spy planes and cargo aircraft.

Norway, for its part, opened a new hi-tech Arctic Circle Centre north of Mo i Rana near the Arctic Circle. The country also moved its main military base to the location and used it as the venue for the Cold Response drills in the summer of 2011 which featured 10,000 NATO and Norwegian troops.

Russia, one-fifth of which is located in the Arctic, has to respond to the region’s militarization. It intends to create a separate Arctic division to provide for the safety of its Arctic territories in a changing military and political environment. Russia also has an Arctic strategy worked out by the country’s Security Council that envisages moving the region under the Federal Security Service’s jurisdiction and making it Russia’s leading resource base by 2016.

In the spring of 2011 Russia’s Minister of Defense stated that an Arctic motorized infantry unit had been created on the Kola Peninsula. The troops will be specially equipped for operating in the region. A Russian expert on the subject, Igor Korotchenko, told the VOR that Russia’s military equipment complies with the specific standards required and is resistant to high and low temperatures. Ground troops will be supported by ice-breaking warships that are capable of not only escorting vessels but also of carrying out military missions, he said.

Unfortunately the Arctic has become a militarized zone and the only way out is for the Arctic countries is to peacefully divide the area into zones of responsibility and to launch peaceful exploration of the region as soon as possible. They must thus not allow non-Arctic states the chance to make claims using military force.

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