21 November 2011 — Stop NATO
- Canada Transfers Warship From NATO’s Libya War To NATO’s Active Endeavor
- Canada Orders Warships To Stay In Mediterranean
- Canada Eyes Role In NATO Action Against Syria
- U.S. Works Through NATO, Gulf Cooperation Council In Euro-Mediterranean Region
- George H.W. Bush Carrier Strike Group Arrives In Mediterranean
- Africa Command Chief: Troops To Stay In Central Africa
- Troops In Uganda: Is U.S. After Joseph Kony – Or Oil?
- United Arab Emirates, Gulf Cooperation Council To Aid Kenyan-Ethiopian Fighting In Somalia
- Balochistan: At Least Three NATO Tankers Burned
- Bali: U.S. Expeditionary Strike Group Arrives In Indonesia
Canada Transfers Warship From NATO’s Libya War To NATO’s Active Endeavor
November 20, 2011
Canada to maintain Mediterranean naval presence through 2012: MacKay
By Lee Berthiaume
-HMCS Vancouver, which was recently involved in NATO’s air-and-sea campaign against Muammar Gaddafi’s forces in Libya, will be reassigned to NATO’s Operation Active Endeavour until early 2012, the minister said. It will then be relived by the HMCS Charlottetown, which will remain in the region until the end of the year.
HALIFAX: The Conservative government will post a naval frigate in the Mediterranean through the end of next year to ensure a Canadian presence in the region, Defence Minister Peter MacKay said Sunday.
‘Having a frigate in the Mediterranean, in my view, is a signal to our allies that Canada continues its leadership role on the world stage,’ MacKay told reporters at the end of a major three-day defence conference.
HMCS Vancouver, which was recently involved in NATO’s air-and-sea campaign against Muammar Gaddafi’s forces in Libya, will be reassigned to NATO’s Operation Active Endeavour until early 2012, the minister said. It will then be relived by the HMCS Charlottetown, which will remain in the region until the end of the year.
Operation Active Endeavour is a decade-long…mission in the Mediterranean that was established after 9/11.
While MacKay said the frigates’ primary responsibility will be to locate and board vessels suspected of being linked to terrorism, he said they will be available in the event the situation in Syria spirals further out of control.
‘There’s no question having a ship in the region in the event that Canadians need direct assistance or evacuation (from Syria) gives us that utility, gives us that capability to respond should certain things transpire,’ he said.
Syria was a major issue of discussion among the 300 high-level delegates from 39 countries who gathered in Halifax over the weekend to talk about world defence and security issues.
Key officials here over the weekend appeared unclear on the best way to proceed. Most agreed that the Arab League’s decision to suspend Syria and press for the deployment of monitors to ensure Assad’s forces stopped their crackdown was a positive development.
They also criticized China and Russia for blocking the adoption of strong measures at the UN Security Council.
U.S. Senator John McCain noted Saturday that opponents of Assad’s regime now include breakaway elements of the Syrian military, and he predicted the violence will only increase as a result.
When asked what the international community can do, McCain said it should recognize the opposition Syrian National Council, but then pointed to ongoing meetings and dialogue between the Obama administration and officials in Turkey and other countries in the region.
Canada Orders Warships To Stay In Mediterranean
November 20, 2011
Canada orders warships to stay in Mediterranean
HALIFAX, Canada: Canada will maintain warships in the Mediterranean Sea until the end of 2012, Defense Minister Peter MacKay announced Sunday.
The HMCS Vancouver frigate was originally deployed as part of NATO’s mission in Libya. It will remain in the Mediterranean Sea until early 2012, when it will be relieved by the HMCS Charlottetown, MacKay said.
…MacKay also said ‘there’s no question having a ship in the region… gives us the capability to respond should certain things transpire’ in Syria or other hotspots.
…MacKay speculated that ‘further action will be required,’ noting Canada was in talks with its allies over the crisis.
The 134-meter (440-feet) HMCS Vancouver has a complement of 225 sailors and a Sea King helicopter on deck.
From August to the end of the NATO mission in Libya last month, it patrolled the waters off the embattled Libyan ports of Misrata, Tripoli, Tobruk and Sirte with other allied warships.
Canada Eyes Role In NATO Action Against Syria
Globe and Mail
November 20, 2011
Canada eyes military role in Syria if diplomacy, sanctions fail
By Steven Chase and Les Perreaux
-Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak suggested Mr. Assad’s downfall is well underway and may be complete without much Western help…‘There is an acceleration toward the end of the regime. The signals are there. It’s good, not just for Israel but the entire Middle East.’
OTTAWA AND HALIFAX: Canada is prepared to join international military intervention in Syria if sanctions and diplomacy fail but says such a decision by the United Nations is neither imminent nor inevitable.
The Harper government, however, announced Sunday it would keep a patrol frigate in the Mediterranean region until 2013 – a ship that gives Canada an asset to contribute to a naval blockade of Syria should the need ever arise.
The Conservative government said HMCS Vancouver, which helped patrol the waters off Libya, will remain in the region as part of a NATO counter-terrorism effort [sic], Operation Endeavour, until relieved by HMCS Charlottetown in early 2012.
Defence Minister Peter MacKay, who warned this past weekend of the dangers of creating a ‘world police’ force that is tasked with righting wrongs around the world, told journalists Sunday that Ottawa would nevertheless be ready for whatever is asked of it.
He told CTV’s Question Period that Canada’s armed forces are ‘prepared for all inevitabilities’ but said in the case of Syria, there are a ‘cascading number of [international] sanctions that would have to happen before there would be any type of intervention.’
Asked if he would take military intervention against Syria off the table, Canada’s defence minister told Global TV’s The West Block that he would not.
The generals and defence ministers who met at the Halifax forum on the weekend shared many congratulatory slaps on the back for their role in [pverthrowing and murdering] Mr. Gadhafi.
Senator John McCain said he favours recognizing Syria’s transitional council, a move favoured by Mr. Ziadeh and a number of other experts. Sen. McCain also called on Russia and China to join in sanctions.
Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak suggested Mr. Assad’s downfall is well underway and may be complete without much Western help.
‘I think that (Assad) went beyond the point of no return, there’s no way he will resume his authority or legitimacy over his people,’ Mr. Barak said during an on-stage interview at the forum.
The Saudi king has directly criticized Mr. Assad and Turkey, one of Syria’s biggest trading partners, have steadily increased pressure.
‘There is an acceleration toward the end of the regime. The signals are there. It’s good, not just for Israel but the entire Middle East.’
U.S. Works Through NATO, Gulf Cooperation Council In Euro-Mediterranean Region
November 21, 2011
End to unilateralism
Americans will not abandon their interests in the Euro-Med region but will seek to protect them by indirect involvement
By Ayman Mustafa
-Working more through Nato to protect American interests in Euro Med region is consistent with the new trend of internal-focussing rather than foreign outreach at a time of American economic hardship. That would definitely give way to some peripheral powers such as France or Turkey or even small regional ones like Qatar to play a role — even within the American framework.
US President Barack Obama went home from ailing Europe — after attending the G20 summit at the start of November — to start an Asian-Pacific campaign by hosting Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) summit.
After Apec, he embarked on a week-long tour of Australia and Asia. In Australia, he boosted American military presence, a few hundred miles from Asia. Though the expected permanent military presence in Australia is small compared to American bases in Japan and South Korea, it’s symbolic of US intent to counterbalance China and its influence in the Pacific Rim.
The Americans are keen to group the Pacific Rim into a trade bloc that might, along with Africa, relieve the pain of US economy resulting from a faltering Europe. The military boost in Australia is intended to diffuse the impact of military withdrawal from Iraq and soon from Afghanistan.
[D]isengagement does not mean the Americans are abandoning their interests in the region [the Middle East]. They are just seeking to protect it by means other than direct involvement — especially military involvement.
Though American warships are still in the Gulf, troops and armour scattered in other parts of the Arabian Peninsula, direct action is no longer an option.
The war on Libya to topple Muammar Gaddafi’s regime was left to Nato and some Arabs, and the American involvement was part of Nato’s. Now in Syria, it’s totally left to Arabs to do the job. Even if Iran is to be attacked, it’ll be Israel in the lead.
Economically, Europe is becoming a source of anxiety for the Americans. The US has got a sovereign debt problem not much less than that of the Eurozone. American financial institutions, especially money-market funds, are heavily exposed to the sovereign debt crisis in Europe. Disengagement is not simple, but US has to hedge itself against any contagion from Europe.
Seeking alternative trade partners in Asia and Africa can’t replace the role of Europe in American foreign trade and economic cooperation. Yet, it might be a good hedge, if Europe managed to overcome its problems and prevent a global double-dip recession.
Working more through Nato to protect American interests in Euro Med region is consistent with the new trend of internal-focussing rather than foreign outreach at a time of American economic hardship. That would definitely give way to some peripheral powers such as France or Turkey or even small regional ones like Qatar to play a role — even within the American framework.
Dr Ayman Mustafa is a London-based Arab writer.
George H.W. Bush Carrier Strike Group Arrives In Mediterranean
November 20, 2011
USS George H.W. Bush Arrives in 6th Fleet
By Mass Communication Specialist Third Class (SW/AW) Greg Wilhelmi, USS George H.W. Bush Public Affairs
MEDITERRANEAN SEA: Aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77), along with embarked squadrons and staffs of Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 8 and Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 22, arrived in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of responsibility (AOR), Nov. 20.
George H.W. Bush completed five months of combat operations in the U.S. 5th Fleet AOR and was relieved by USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74).
While in the Mediterranean Sea, George H.W. Bush will conduct a full range of maritime operations and theater security cooperation efforts in concert with coalition, joint, interagency and other partners to improve operational proficiency, and maintain maritime safety and security.
The ship will continue through the Mediterranean Sea and make its seventh scheduled port visit on its return to homeport in Norfolk.
George H.W. Bush departed from Norfolk May 11, for a regularly scheduled deployment as part of the ongoing rotation of forward-deployed forces to support maritime security operations and operate in international waters across the globe, along with other coalition maritime forces.
George H. W. Bush is the flag ship of George H.W. Bush Carrier Strike Group (GHWB CSG). Additional ships deployed with the strike group are guided-missile cruisers USS Gettysburg (CG 64) and USS Anzio (CG 68), and the guided-missile destroyers of Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 22 – USS Truxtun (DDG 103) and USS Mitscher (DDG 57).
Africa Command Chief: Troops To Stay In Central Africa
November 20, 2011
General: U.S. troops’ Uganda mission likely to last until rebel leader is caught
By Craig Whitlock and Greg Jaffe
-It is the largest deployment of U.S. forces to an African conflict zone since Marines landed in Liberia in 2003.
About 100 U.S. troops President Obama ordered to Uganda last month to help crush the…Lord’s Resistance Army will probably remain deployed until the group’s leader is captured or dead, according to the top U.S. commander for Africa.
Army Gen. Carter F. Ham, the head of the U.S. military’s Africa Command, said most of the American forces have landed in Uganda and are beginning to coordinate the efforts of four central African countries as they comb a huge expanse of jungle for Joseph Kony, the…founder of the Lord’s Resistance Army….
Obama administration officials have been vague about how long U.S. forces will remain in central Africa…
Ham said the plan is to keep troops in the region until Kony is killed or brought to justice.
‘That’s the mission,’ Ham said in an interview during a visit to Washington last week.
…Kony and his ***core group of about 250 fighters*** have dodged their pursuers by retreating to jungle hideouts across central Africa.
A smaller group of U.S. military advisers assisted a previous Ugandan-led offensive against the Lord’s Resistance Army in late 2008 and early 2009…
It is the largest deployment of U.S. forces to an African conflict zone since Marines landed in Liberia in 2003.
Ham said that most of the U.S. forces are based in Uganda but that a ‘small number’ are working at a joint operations center in the Democratic Republic of the Congo…Ham said U.S. trainers will…formaliz[e] communications links among the regional forces.
Ham and other U.S. officials have said they believe Kony and his senior deputies are in the Central African Republic.
Troops In Uganda: Is U.S. After Joseph Kony – Or Oil?
November 19, 2011
Ugandans wonder: Is US after Kony, or oil?
By Jackee Budesta Batanda
-The Obama administration’s use of military action ignores, undermines, and unravels the work of local players seeking to end the conflict through the resumption of peace talks. Previous military interventions have always resulted in retaliatory attacks on the communities where the rebels have operated.
Ugandans greeted President Obama’s decision last month to deploy 100 US military advisers to central Africa to assist in the manhunt for rebel leader Joseph Kony with mixed feelings. Immediately, social media outlets were abuzz with the fear that the United States was only interested in Uganda’s nascent oil sector.
In addition, Obama’s announcement could not have come at a worse time in Uganda’s political history. The country has been rocked by corruption scandals in the oil sector, with parliament calling for the country’s ministers to resign while it investigated charges that they took bribes from a British oil company. The scandal also exposed the deepening rift within the ruling National Resistance Movement government, which has been in power for over 26 years, as well as the public’s dissatisfaction at the corruption-marred ‘liberation government.’’
Many people questioned why America was giving support now, when it could have intervened much earlier in the fight against Kony’s guerrilla group, the Lord’s Resistance Army, or LRA, which is accused of widespread atrocities…
Peace activists on the ground are skeptical of a move that seems to champion military approaches over finding peaceful resolutions to the conflicts. Stephen Oola, a Kampala-based human rights lawyer and interim coordinator of the Advisory Consortium on Conflict Sensitivity, said, ‘it is unfortunate that President Obama’s first tangible action under the LRA Disarmament Act is to send military advisers instead of a credible peace delegation. It is a typical Washington solution.’’
Since 2008, the US government has invested more than $40 million to help hunt down Kony, who remains on the run and continues to commit atrocities in the Central African Republic and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Oola credits the current peace in Northern Uganda as a direct result of the peace talks held in 2006, and sees peace processes as a more viable option to military efforts.
Ugandans remember other unsuccessful military campaigns – backed with US money – that the Ugandan army has embarked upon in trying to take out Kony. They question how effective this new strategy will be.
In terms of the impact of the US deployment of troops, Oola asks, ‘What message is the American government sending to Ugandans disgruntled by the regime’s performance? I have no doubt in my mind that for many Ugandans, if there is a need for America’s help, it would be to get rid of corrupt government officials siphoning billions of shillings in oil contracts to their foreign bank accounts, [not] for advisers to hunt Joseph Kony and his abductees.’’
The Obama administration’s use of military action ignores, undermines, and unravels the work of local players seeking to end the conflict through the resumption of peace talks. Previous military interventions have always resulted in retaliatory attacks on the communities where the rebels have operated. What will this intervention do differently to ensure that there are limited civilian casualties?
Jackee Budesta Batanda is the 2011-2012 IWMF Elizabeth Neuffer fellow at the Center for International Studies at MIT. Follow her on Twitter @jackeebatanda.
United Arab Emirates, Gulf Cooperation Council To Aid Kenyan-Ethiopian Fighting In Somalia
The Standard (Kenya)
November 21, 2011
Somalia: Kibaki seeks support from Arab world
President Kibaki is wooing Arab support for Operation Linda Nchi against Al Shabaab…
Kibaki will be adding his voice to that of Foreign Affairs Minister Moses Wetangula who has been on a diplomatic offensive in the Middle East.
The President flew out on Sunday for a four-day official visit to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), which is seen as crucial in the Arab world.
Even though a statement from State House said Kibaki would hold bilateral talks with the President of UAE who is also the ruler of Abu Dhabi, His Highness Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed, insiders said he is also there to seek their support for the ongoing offensive.
The President will later hold talks with the Prime Minister of UAE, His Highness Sheikh Mohamed Bin Rashid Al Makhtoum and later meet the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, His Highness General Sheikh Mohamed.
He will open Kenya’s Consulate General in Dubai and conclude his tour with an address to the Kenyan Diaspora in UAE.
On Saturday, Mr Lindsay Kiptiness, the Deputy Director, Horn of Africa Division at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said Kenya had rallied the international community behind the military operation and that a crucial statement will come from the Arab world this week.
‘Expect something to come from the Arab world before the end of the week,’ said Kiptiness.
Well-placed security sources said there were initially concerns that the engagement of the Israeli government to strengthen the response ability of the Kenya Police Force could have sent wrong signals to the Arab world.
But on Sunday, a senior Government official dispelled the fears and said the Government was working with all countries it considers friends of Kenya. The assurance came despite media reports that sharp divisions had emerged in Government over the security deal Prime Minister Raila Odinga sealed with the Israeli government.
The KDF is working with Somali militias in what appears to be an effort to push Al Shabaab away from the border and possibly out of the lucrative port of Kismayu.
The question of whether or not Ethiopia has inserted troops into Somalia looms large as the operation to flush out Al Shabaab continues.
Although the Addis Ababa-based government of President Meles Zenawi has vehemently dismissed the reports as ‘absolutely not true’, independent witnesses claim to have spotted Ethiopian troops.
Regardless, the presence of Ethiopia would sandwitch Al Shabaab between its troops and those of Kenya and Somalia, including militia friendly to the Addis Ababa regime.
The operation against the insurgents by the KDF and troops of Somalia’s Transitional Federal Government (TFG) enters a crucial phase this week with credible reports that an attack on the strategic Kismayu port is imminent.
Local elders told French news agency AFP that several hundred Ethiopian troops crossed into southern and central Somalia on Saturday.
Since its withdrawal from Somalia in 2009, Ethiopia has kept a wary eye over its border with Somalia due to an ongoing insurgency in its Ogaden region, where its troops are battling rebels of the Ogaden National Liberation Front.
‘There are several hundred Ethiopian troops here in lorries and some armoured vehicles too,’ said elder Abdi Ibrahim Warsame, speaking by telephone from Gurel town, in Somalia’s central Galgudud region.
Ethiopian forces were also reported in the Hiran region at the town of Beledweyne, some 30km (18 miles) into Somalia, an area where militia supporting the TFG are battling Al Shabaab…
‘They are here, the Ethiopian soldiers in trucks have reached Beledweyne with many forces,’ said elder Ahmed Liban.
Ethiopia pulled out three years later, but left a scarred and lawless country over which the TFG…has struggled to extend its authority, until the recent entry of Kenyan troops.
AU officials and members of the regional peacekeeping body, Igad, held talks last week on bolstering the 9,700-strong African Union Mission in Somalia (Amisom).
Kenya has also offered troops for the force. Sources told The Standard yesterday there is a build up of military personnel in the southern sector of Jubaland, which is near the Kismayu port.
‘We are now entering the second phase of the operation and that is the most crucial point of the exercise for the military,’ said the source based in the military. Al Shabaab militants have a huge military arsenal positioned at strategic positions in the southern Somali town with reports indicating they had mounted anti-aircraft launchers on tall buildings.
Other residents told the Reuters news agency that the Ethiopians had set up a base in Guriel and moved troops to other towns nearby.
Residents and officials in northeast Kenya said that Ethiopian troops had also crossed through their towns and taken up positions near bases from where the Kenyan military is launching its offensive.
Some analysts say Ethiopia may want to take advantage of Al Shabaab’s withdrawal from the capital Mogadishu in August to wipe out a group it sees as a threat to its stability.
…Other people in the area, including some Ethiopian businessmen, told Reuters that Ethiopian army officers had been meeting elders in central Somalia for weeks.
Balochistan: At Least Three NATO Tankers Burned
Pajhwok Afghan News
November 20, 2011
NATO supply vehicles set alight in Balochistan
By Hijratullah Kharoti
QUETTA: Three NATO supply vehicles were burnt in an attack by unidentified gunmen in Pakistan’s southwestern province of Baluchistan near the Afghan border on Sunday afternoon, an official said.
Four assailants on motorbikes set fire to the NATO containers in the Dasht area of Mastung district, police officer Mohabbat Khan told Pajhwok Afghan News.
The containers were destroyed but there were no causalities, he said.
The NATO supply containers were on their way from the port city of Karachi to Afghanistan, he added. After gunfire, the attackers sprinkled petrol on the vehicle and set them alight. No group has so far claimed responsibility for the attack.
Russian Information Agency Novosti
November 20, 2011
Militants burn at least three tankers of fuel for NATO in Pakistan
NEW DELHI: Unidentified gunmen attacked a convoy of NATO oil tankers in Pakistan headed to Afghanistan and burned at least three of them, the Nation newspaper reported on Sunday.
The accidents occurred in the Dasht area, south western Balochistan Province. The extremists drove there on motorcycles and opened fire on trucks with automatic weapons, causing a fire. No one was injured during the attack.
The military immediately cordoned off the area and drove the place for the attackers.
Attacks on fuel trucks have become common in Pakistan as militants try to cut off supplies to NATO forces in Afghanistan.
Bali: U.S. Expeditionary Strike Group Arrives In Indonesia
November 20, 2011
USS Essex, Stethem Arrive in Bali
By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Eva-Marie Ramsaran
BALI, Indonesia: Amphibious assault ship USS Essex (LHD 2) and guided missile destroyer USS Stethem (DDG 63) arrived in Bali, Indonesia, Nov. 20, for a port visit during their deployment to the Western Pacific and Indian Ocean.
During the visit, Fluker and the commander of Amphibious Squadron 11, Capt. Bradley Lee, will host an evening reception on the flight deck for Balinese dignitaries.
Essex departed its forward deployed port of Sasebo, Japan, Sept. 21, for a patrol of the Western Pacific and Indian Ocean. Since leaving Japan, Essex and the embarked 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) has completed a Marine certification exercise and participated in Amphibious Landing Exercise (PHIBLEX) with the Armed Forces of the Philippines. Essex also embarked four officers from the Indonesian navy, marine corps and air force to serve as liaison officers to build relationships and exchange ideas about how the two militaries could work together in the future.
The Essex Expeditionary Strike Group consists of Essex and Stethem which report to Commander, Amphibious Force 7th Fleet Rear Adm. J. Scott Jones, who is headquartered in Okinawa, Japan.