Stop NATO news: November 15, 2011

15 November 2011 — Stop NATO

  • Australia: Obama To Announce Expanded U.S. Military Presence
  • U.S. May Use Force Against Iran
  • Attack On Iran Would Unleash Blood War: Fidel Castro
  • Malta: U.S.-NATO Gateway From Europe To Africa
  • New NATO: U.S. Sixth Fleet Command Flagship Modernized In Croatia
  • U.S. Drone Strike Kills Three In Pakistan
  • Pakistan: Opposition Blocks Road To Protest Drone Attacks
  • State Department Taunts Russia Over South Ossetian Elections
  • U.S. Approves Super Cobra Attack Helicopter Sale To Turkey
  • Pentagon Shifts Predator Drones From Iraq To Turkey

Australia: Obama To Announce Expanded U.S. Military Presence

Washington Post
November 14, 2011

Obama visits Australia to announce expanded U.S. military presence
By David Nakamura

HONOLULU: President Obama will touch down on Australian soil for the first time Wednesday morning for a whirlwind two-day visit that the administration will use to unveil an expanded military presence that is part of its shifting focus on security in the Asian Pacific region.

During a stop at a military facility in Darwin, in Australia’s remote Northern Territory, Obama and Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard are expected to announce a plan to allow U.S. Marines to use local bases for training and amphibious exercises.

Before his Australia trip, President Obama outlined a vision for a broader U.S. role overseas the APEC 2011 summit.

White House aides declined Monday to provide details of the visit, but analysts cast the move as a modest first step as the United States reconsiders its ‘force posture’ in a fast-changing region…

…Australia is located close to Southeast Asia, an area of economic growth and emerging economies that the United States would like to influence…

Furthermore, analysts said, having access to military bases in Australia would allow the United States another staging area outside the range of China’s increasingly sophisticated ballistic missiles.

During his stay, Obama is scheduled to deliver an address to Australia’s parliament in Canberra in what the White House is billing as his ‘anchor speech’ to lay out his vision for American presence in the region. Obama also will tour a military facility in Darwin, where he and Gillard are expected to announce the new partnership.

China is watching the U.S. movement in the region and the two countries engaged in some diplomatic jousting over economic policy at the weekend Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Hawaii.


U.S. May Use Force Against Iran

November 14, 2011

US may use force against Iran

US president Barack Obama is considering a new military operation against Iran, the Wall Street Journal writes.

‘We are not taking any options off the table’, Obama said adding that the current economic sanctions against the country have had ‘enormous bite’.

Earlier at the APEC summit Obama had said that he is looking for new ways to put pressure on Iran and is ready to discuss this with Russia and China.


Attack On Iran Would Unleash Blood War: Fidel Castro

Xinhua News Agency
November 15, 2011

Attack on Iran would unleash ‘bloody war’: Fidel Castro

HAVANA: Former Cuban leader Fidel Castro warned Monday that ‘a U.S.-Israeli attack on Iran would inevitably unleash a bloody war.’

‘Because of its ability to fight, the number of inhabitants and the size of the country, an attack on Iran is not like the previous Israeli military adventures in Iraq and Syria,’ Castro wrote in an article.

‘A bloody war would inevitably start. There should be no doubt about it,’ the 85-year-old former leader added, speculating that Israel intends to attack Iran as it did when targeting the nuclear facilities in Syria in 2007 and in Iraq in 1981.

Castro also cited U.S. Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice as saying that an attack on Iran is a real growing option and that the U.S. government is considering putting an end to the current Iranian leadership to prevent it from creating a nuclear arsenal.

Western countries are ratcheting up pressure on Iran after a report by the international nuclear watchdog IAEA said the country’s nuclear program had an agenda to develop weapons.

Tehran has completely rejected the report, calling it ‘unbalanced, unprofessional and politically-motivated.’


Malta: U.S.-NATO Gateway From Europe To Africa

U.S. European Command
November 10, 2011

NAVEUR-NAVAF Commander Visits Malta

LUQA, Malta: Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa, and Allied Joint Force Command Naples, Adm. Samuel J. Locklear III, visited Luqa, Malta, Nov. 9-10, for a two-day visit with U.S., Maltese, and Armed Forces of Malta officials.

Maltese Brig. Gen. Martin Xuereb, commander of the Armed Forces of Malta, greeted Locklear with full military honors, including a review of troops at the Armed Forces of Malta headquarters in Valletta. He also met with Vanessa Frazier, director of Defense Matters, and U.S. Embassy Chargé de Affaires Rick Mills.

During the meetings, Locklear thanked Maltese security officials for their contributions toward increasing maritime security throughout the region.  With more than 33% of the world merchant traffic passing between Malta and Sicily, and more than 80% of Europe’s energy resources traveling near the island nation, Malta’s role in maintaining maritime domain awareness is critical.

Locklear also thanked Xuereb and Mrs. Frazier for their role in facilitating cooperation between the U.S., European, and African countries. Malta’s assistance in bringing nations from both continents together to work on common goals contributes greatly to international maritime security.


New NATO: U.S. Sixth Fleet Command Flagship Modernized In Croatia

U.S. European Command
November 9, 2011

US Ambassador and 6th Fleet Commander Commemorate US-Croatia Partnership

RIJEKA, Croatia – U.S. Ambassador to Croatia, the Honorable James Foley and Vice Adm. Frank C. Pandolfe, commander, U.S. 6th Fleet, visited Rijeka, Croatia, Nov. 9, to commemorate the near completion of the 60-day maintenance availability for USS Mount Whitney (LCC 20) in the Viktor Lenac Shipyard. The visit also served to strengthen the bonds between the U.S. and Croatia.

‘Two months ago, more than 300 skilled professionals from this shipyard came aboard Mount Whitney and joined with American Sailors and Civilian Mariners to modernize our command ship,’ Pandolfe said to a group of U.S. and Croatian dignitaries gathered to commemorate the event…

…The extensive dry-dock work package included upgrading the ship’s Close-In Weapons System, replacing 26 tons of steel, inspecting and cleaning 82 tanks and voids, and a complete inspection and preservation of the ship’s hull.

Viktor Lenac was selected from among several regional shipyards in a competitive bidding process and selection [the contract] represents a substantial increase in the extent of services performed by a Croatian company for a U.S. military client.

‘The most important aspect of this event is not its scale, but the precedent it sets and the promise it holds for potential future visits,’ Foley explained. ‘We hope that future operations and Mediterranean-basing of U.S. ships will provide regular opportunities for Croatian shipyards to bid for similar contracts.’

Pandolfe looks forward to working closely with his Croatian counterparts in the future.

‘This joint effort represents a mutual success for Croatia and the United States,’ Pandolfe said.  ‘It illustrates our growing efforts together at sea and ashore; teamwork that we will expand in the future.’

USS Mount Whitney is jointly operated by the U.S. Navy and Military Sealift Command as a command ship that provides command and control for fleet commanders and serves as the flagship for U.S. 6th Fleet. The ship provides the capacity for a joint staff to plan a full range of U.S. military options.


U.S. Drone Strike Kills Three In Pakistan

Agence France-Presse
November 15, 2011

US drone strike kills three militants in Pakistan: Officials

MIRANSHAH: A US drone strike targeting a militant compound killed three rebels in Pakistan’s tribal region of North Waziristan near the Afghan border on Tuesday, security officials said.

The strike took place in Miranshah Bazaar, part of the town of Miranshah, in the troubled North Waziristan region…

‘A US drone fired two missiles on a militant compound in the bazaar killing three militants,’ a security official told AFP on condition of anonymity.

He said that thick smoke was seen coming out of the compound after the strike, adding the identities of those killed could not be immediately verified.

Another security official also confirmed the strike and casualties, saying that four to five drones were still flying in the area.


Pakistan: Opposition Blocks Road To Protest Drone Attacks

News International
November 15, 2011

NWA PTI blocks road against drone attacks

MIRAMSHAH: Activists of Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI) Monday staged a protest against US drone strikes in North Waziristan on the Bannu-Mir Ali Road and blocked the road for several hours, tribal sources said.

The protesters, led by Dr Shabbir Ahmad, the Federally Administrated Tribal Areas (Fata) chapter chief organizer for PTI, carried placards and chanted slogans against the drone strikes and asked the government to put an end to these attacks.

Addressing the protesters, Dr Shabbir Ahmad said common tribespeople including children and women were being killed in the drone strikes. He said the drone attacks were not only a violation of Pakistan’s sovereignty but also the Geneva Convention.

He lamented the government high-ups’ silence over these strikes. The PTI leader said the protest was staged on the call of their party chief Imran Khan and would continue till the end of drone strikes in the tribal region.

He also flayed government policies with regard to the so-called ‘war on terror’ and ways of dealing with internal and external issues. The PT leader asked the government to provide compensation to the victims of the military offensives against the militants in FATA to end their miseries.


State Department Taunts Russia Over South Ossetian Elections

Russian Information Agency Novosti
November 14, 2011

U.S. says presidential elections in South Ossetia illegitimate

WASHINGTON: U.S. Department of State Deputy Spokesman Mark Toner said Sunday’s presidential elections in Georgia’s former republic of South Ossetia were illegitimate.

Russia recognized the independence of South Ossetia and another former Georgian region – Abkhazia – in 2008, following a five-day war with Georgia, which began when Georgia attacked South Ossetia, where most residents are Russian passport holders.

Referring to South Ossetia as a ‘Georgian region,’ Toner said that his country continues to support Georgia’s territorial integrity within the internationally accepted borders and would not recognize the results or legitimacy of the polls.

‘The United States does not recognize the legitimacy or the outcome of these so-called presidential elections and referendum that were held in Georgia’s South Ossetia region on November 13th,’ Toner said.

‘And we again urge Russia to fulfill all of its obligations under the 2008 cease-fire agreement, including withdrawal of its forces to pre- conflict positions and free access to humanitarian assistance to the Georgian regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia,’ the deputy spokesman added.

The polls to choose a successor for Eduard Kokoity were held on Sunday. Russian observers monitoring the elections and referendum described voting as free and open.

No candidate received the necessary plus 50 percent of the vote in the first round. The second round of presidential polls in South Ossetia will be contested by Emergency Minister Anatoly Bibilov and former Education Minister Alla Dzhioyeva.

Biblov took 25.44 percent and Dzhioyeva 25.37 percent. Turnout was 67.5 percent.


U.S. Approves Super Cobra Attack Helicopter Sale To Turkey

Trend News Agency
November 15, 2011

Super Cobra helicopter sale to Turkey cleared in US Congress

Congressional approval process for the sale of three AH-1W Super Cobra attack helicopters to Turkey has completed by Monday, Today’s Zaman reported.

The Obama administration formally notified the US Congress on Oct. 28 of an unusual proposal to take three AH-1W ‘Super Cobra’ attack helicopters from the US Marine Corps inventory and sell them to Turkey.

According to US laws, the administration needs to notify the Congress over the sale of arms to other countries and seek its authorization. If an arms sale is to a NATO member country, the Congress has 15 days to reject or the sale will be automatically authorized.

Turkey has a long-standing request for Super Cobras helicopters. It has a shortage of these helicopters, required in its ongoing fight against the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK)…

The Congressional approval process of the sale of the $111-million helicopters to Turkey completed as no motion that would block the sale was brought up to the agenda of the Congress.

The attack helicopters are believed to be delivered in couple months after technical screening.


Pentagon Shifts Predator Drones From Iraq To Turkey

Trend News Agency
November 15, 2011

United States brings predators to Turkey from Iraq

The U.S. Department of Defense said on Monday that U.S. unmanned aerial vehicles, Predators, had been shifted to Turkey from Iraq, Anadolu agency reported.

Department spokesperson John Kirby said four predators, used in intelligence sharing in fight against [the] PKK, had been deployed at the Incirlik Base in the southern province of Adana.

Kirby told reporters that four predators were shifted to Turkey from Iraq upon Turkey’s demand, and this would contribute to intelligence sharing in Turkish army’s fight against the specific threat the…PKK had posed in its southern border.

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