5 December 2011 — Stop NATO
- AFRICOM Complement: Canadian, Other NATO Nation Troops In Sahel, North Africa
- U.S. Appoints Northern Command For Arctic Role Versus Russia, China
- NATO Acknowledges ‘Losing’ Drone In Western Afghanistan
- U.S. Supports Georgia’s NATO Membership Bid
- Baltic States: NATO Outposts On Russia’s Northwest Frontier
- Bonn Conference: Pakistan Stands Firm Against NATO Barbarians
- Defense Minister: Pakistan Has Nuclear Arms, Can Defend Borders Against NATO
- Pakistan: Multiconfessional Religious Leaders Condemn NATO
- Pakistani Minister: World Community Must Condemn NATO Attacks
- Pentagon Starts Evacuating Pakistani Air Base
AFRICOM Complement: Canadian, Other NATO Nation Troops In Sahel, North Africa
December 3, 2011
Canadian special forces mentor Mali’s military
By David Pugliese
-Other western nations are providing training to militaries in other countries in the region…
-CSOR was created in 2006 to help support the Ottawa-based counter-terrorism unit, Joint Task Force Two, as well as to conduct its own missions. Its soldiers have undertaken operations in Afghanistan, but the details of those missions are secret.
CSOR trained Malian special forces earlier this year. In February and March, about 15 CSOR members took part in Exercise Flintlock in Senegal.
Canadian special forces troops from Petawawa, Ont., have been sent to Africa to provide training to Mali’s military, which is in the midst of a war against al-Qaeda insurgents.
Defence analysts say such training is needed, as Mali and other countries in the region…
‘This is exactly the place we should be in terms of trying to develop a counter-terrorism capacity in the Sahel and in North Africa,’ said Brig.-Gen. Denis Thompson, head of the Ottawa-based Canadian Special Operations Forces Command. ‘This is a natural fit for us.’
Other western nations are providing training to militaries in other countries in the region…
The Canadian Special Operations Regiment sent one small team this summer to northern Mali to provide instruction for that country’s special forces. Another team is currently in the capital city of Bamako providing counter-terrorism skills training and officer training.
The deployment of Canadian special ops to Mali is expected to be an ongoing mission, with small teams moving in and out of the country whenever it is determined that Malian forces need such training, Thompson said.
It is similar to another training regime the regiment has undertaken in Jamaica, where it instructs that country’s counter-terrorism troops, he added.
CSOR was created in 2006 to help support the Ottawa-based counter-terrorism unit, Joint Task Force Two, as well as to conduct its own missions. Its soldiers have undertaken operations in Afghanistan, but the details of those missions are secret.
CSOR trained Malian special forces earlier this year. In February and March, about 15 CSOR members took part in Exercise Flintlock in Senegal. That U.S.-led training event saw CSOR members paired with Malian troops, instructing them in small-unit tactics and other military skills.
In addition, the exercise focused on improving the sharing of information and increasing co-ordination between the various countries.
Other countries involved in Flintlock included Spain, France, The Netherlands and Germany, Burkina Faso, Chad, Mauritania, Nigeria and Senegal.
Canadian special forces will also take part in the Flintlock exercise to be held in 2012, this time in Mali, Thompson said.
U.S. Appoints Northern Command For Arctic Role Versus Russia, China
Federal Information & News Dispatch, Inc.
December 2, 2011
House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Hearing
Mr. Chairman, members of the Committee, Congressman Young, for the record, I am Mead Treadwell, the lieutenant governor of the State of Alaska. Thank you for inviting me to offer some views from Alaska about the future of Arctic shipping and maritime activities, and the need to ensure we are prepared to embrace those challenges and opportunities safely.
First, the United States must commission new heavy icebreakers to operate in the Arctic.
Second, we need legal measures in addition to icebreakers to protect our shores from the dangers of unregulated itinerant vessels carrying hazardous cargoes near our coasts.
And third, Congress and the Administration must fulfill the legal mandates that are already in place regarding icebreakers. These mandates reflect needs in commerce, science, and protection of Americans’ sovereignty, safety, and security. The State of Alaska is responding to opportunities and risks associated with the historic changes in global shipping patterns resulting from changes in the Arctic Ocean. We are eager to continue in cooperation with the nation.
Arctic resources include globally significant quantities of commercial fisheries, minerals, renewable energy sources, and world-class amounts of oil and gas. A 2008 U.S. Geological Survey estimates 13% of the world’s undiscovered oil, and 23% of undiscovered gas lies in the Arctic. Six of the Arctic nations are already pursuing oil and gas development offshore, and energy may soon be the primary cargo transiting the Bering Strait.
Most traffic occurs under arrangements for icebreaker escort by vessels working with Russia’s Northern Sea Route Administration…
Again this year, Russian ships, and ships of other nations escorted by Russia’s Northern Sea Route Administration, are coming in force. Hazardous cargoes are making the backhaul as well – at least one tanker bringing gas condensate to Asia this year is reported to have returned to Europe with aviation fuel.
Russia intends to make the Northern Sea Route as important to global shipping and commerce as the Suez Canal.
And Russia is putting its money where its mouth is, building nine new icebreakers in the next decade, and discounting tariffs on icebreaker escorts to make sure that shippers find the Northern Sea Route for distance savings of up to 40 percent. Russia’s claim to new extended continental shelf resources in the Arctic Ocean under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea could give Russia greater control of Arctic shipping. Cargo moving through the Bering Strait this year – from Russian and American sources – is worth well over $1 billion. Add to that a Bering Sea fishery owned by both nations worth billions each year and the situation is clear: in monetary terms, there’s billions to be made and billions to protect.
A Chinese researcher, Mr. Li Zhenfu of Dalian Maritime University, writes that, ‘Whoever has control of the Arctic route will control the new passage of world economics and international strategies.’ The prospect of commercial and strategic opportunities presented by receding sea ice cover and accessibility of Arctic resources has moved the Chinese government to allocate more resources for Arctic research, and they have asked to join the Arctic Council as an observer. China’s Rear Admiral Yin Zhuo has asserted that no nation has sovereignty over the Arctic, and said that China must plan to have an indispensable role in Arctic exploration as they have one-fifth of the world’s population.
This past spring, the President updated the United States military’s Unified Command Plan to give U.S. Northern Command advocacy responsibility for Arctic capabilities. Accompanying shifts of UCP geographic boundaries mark the military’s awareness of the vital and ever-growing importance of the Arctic. Then Commander of the Northern Command, U.S. Navy Admiral James Winnefeld, Jr., recognized the implications of the changing Arctic, and noted the gaps faced by the military, including infrastructure and mobility, and search and rescue capabilities. n6 General Charles Jacoby, his successor, formerly ran the U.S. Army in Alaska. He, too, knows our challenges.
NATO Acknowledges ‘Losing’ Drone In Western Afghanistan
Xinhua News Agency
December 5, 2011
Losing control of U.S. UAV, ISAF confirmed
KABUL: The NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan, in a statement on Sunday, confirmed an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) went missing.
‘The UAV to which the Iranians are referring may be a US unarmed reconnaissance aircraft that had been flying a mission over western Afghanistan late last week. The operators of the UAV lost control of the aircraft and had been working to determine its status,’ read the statement titled ‘ISAF Releases Statement on Missing Unmanned Aerial Vehicle’.
Iran’s media reported on Sunday that the Iranian military has downed a U.S. drone in the eastern part of the country.
Citing an anonymous military source, Iran’s Arabic-language al-Alam TV network said a U.S. reconnaissance drone aircraft has been shot down in eastern Iran, bordering western Afghanistan.
Meanwhile, the local Fars News Agency reported that a RQ-170 U. S. spy drone which had transgressed Iran’s eastern borders was detected and downed.
The RQ-170 UAV has been used for reconnaissance and surveillance by the United States in Afghanistan.
The drone suffered slight damage and is now in the hands of the Iranian military, the Fars report said without mentioning the time of the incident.
Iran’s reports of the U.S. drone shoot-down came amid the increasing tension between Iran and the West over its controversial nuclear program.
U.S. Supports Georgia’s NATO Membership Bid
December 4, 2011
Washington supports Georgia’s NATO bid
A member of the US Congress, David Dreier, recently declared that US strongly supports Georgia’s hopes to join NATO, Civil Georgia reported.
He alleged Russian intervention in 2008 for stalling Georgia’s NATO membership. ‘The United States strongly supports Georgia’s accession to NATO and I hope that Russian President (Dmitry) Medvedev’s objection will not come true from this point of view,’ Dreier stressed.
He went on to say, ‘The day will come, and I hope it will happen soon, when we’ll see Georgia in NATO, and if President Medvedev doesn’t wish to see Georgia as a NATO member and that is his goal, I would like his wish fail.’
Baltic States: NATO Outposts On Russia’s Northwest Frontier
December 1, 2011
Agreements on future defence cooperation projects are expected after the Baltic Defence Ministers’ meeting
On December 1 and 2 Defence Ministers of the Baltic States, Lithuanian Defence Minister Rasa Jukneviciene, Estonian Defence Minister Mart Laar and Latvian Defence Minister Artis Pabriks, will meet in Kaunas. They will discuss new projects aimed at developing and enhancing defence cooperation between the Baltic States.
On the first day of the meeting Ministers will pay a visit to Minaiciai (Radviliskis Distr.) to see a reconstructed bunker where commanders of Lithuania’s resistance fighters signed the Declaration of the Council of Lithuania’s Resistance Movement for Freedom in 1949. On December 2 Ministers will meet in Kaunas Garrison Officers’ Club and discuss new initiatives of defence cooperation, military cooperation development plans in the Baltic Region, and NATO Air Policing issues.
During the meeting Ministers also plan to sign a join communiqué on trilateral military cooperation.
It will be the first meeting of the Baltic Defence Ministers where colleagues from Poland are also invited to participate: Polish Vice Minister for Defence Policy Zbigniew Wlosowicz will also be present at the meeting. the military sector will be represented by Chief of Defence of Lithuania Lt Gen Arvydas Pocius and Chief of Defence of Latvia Maj Gen Raimonds Graube.
Baltic Defence Ministers’ meetings are held biannually. The recent meeting took place this spring in Liepaja, Latvia.
…On the basis of collaboration Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia develop the following major trilateral projects: the Baltic Air Surveillance Network BALTNET, the Baltic Naval Squadron BALTRON responsible for mine clearance in the territorial Baltic Sea, and allocate personnel and financing for the NATO Baltic Defence College BALTDEFCOL.
Joint projects in military planning are undertaken and joint international exercises are held as well. In the first half of 2010 the trilateral Baltic Battalion BALTBAT conducted standby in the NATO Response Force (NRF). In the future legal basis is foreseen to be provided for srtanding trilateral units designed for standby in NRF and the EU Battle Groups.
Bonn Conference: Pakistan Stands Firm Against NATO Barbarians
December 5, 2011
NATO attack & Bonn conference
Dr Samiullah Koreshi
-Refusal to attend the Bonn Conference is a logical and correct step to convince the armed forces, the public and the world that NATO’s arrogance, after Pakistan suffered so much in this war of terror, is unacceptable that the decision is irrevocable, and to put NATO and US on notice that we are drawing a line now beyond which we will not allow any one to go. This is it.
-Now the trigger-happy policies will lead the US and Europe to bankruptcy and possibly militarily badly mauled…To quote General Kiyani, Pakistan is no Iraq or Afghanistan. After Obama has arrogantly announced that he will not apologize to Pakistan over the NATO attack on the Mehmand agency, the US will be in the dock in world public opinion. The US stands more to lose by our absence from the Conference. They are far more vulnerable than Pakistan. We are the 8th largest and 7th nuclear power in the world, not a mini-state.
The barbarian NATO forces, emboldened after a massacre in Libya, did their Halloween dance of destruction in Mehmand Agency, killing 24 Pakistani soldiers and wounding a large number of them at two check posts in that area.
Nonsense that it was by mistake or unintentional. An attack lasting for two hours at two posts killing and wounding at least 40 Pakistani soldiers cannot be counted as an attack by mistake. The white flag flying on Pakistani posts shows that the brutish NATO soldiers had not done it unintentionally. The reaction of Pakistan’s ‘your most obedient servant’ pro-America government astounded Pakistanis in all walks of life. Whatever the reasons, it was an eye-opener that Pakistan had reached the wall and could not be pushed any further.
The government had already become highly un-popular among the masses and any further humiliation to national honour would have been the straw that broke the camel’s back. In self-preservation it had to do all that it did.
One might ask what explains why thet PPP took this brave stand. It had to because it had no alternative but to accept the national decision to stand against such a perfidious attack by NATO forces or pave the way to people’s revolution of which they have started to speak or wish so ardently these days.
In addition, maybe the incident caused so much adverse reaction in the ranks in the forces that maintaining discipline in the ranks and among younger officers would have become difficult without taking such retaliatory steps that the government did take – jointly with the Army. The universal reaction among people on this killing of our boys was ‘Are we NATO’s gun fodder?’
Discretion prevents me from going any further. This is what the overwhelming majority of the masses demanded and there was no getting away from it. The public is keeping a watchful eye on the PPP regime so that it will stick to the decision it took and it was not as a show to ward off public wrath on the killing of our young lot in the forces.
Refusal to attend the Bonn Conference is a logical and correct step to convince the armed forces, the public and the world that NATO’s arrogance, after Pakistan suffered so much in this war of terror, is unacceptable that the decision is irrevocable, and to put NATO and US on notice that we are drawing a line now beyond which we will not allow any one to go. This is it. Any soft peddling would put the country’s credibility in the mud and indicate that the government was indulging in a drama and was not serious in drawing a line beyond which it would not go.
The government decision not to attend Bonn Conference is thus a right, logical and honorable decision of drawing a line from where Pakistan’s ‘cooperation’ to such unthankful parties has to stop. The public will not tolerate it if there is any going back on it, and the world should take note of our firm resolve in this matter.
Still there are two opposite reactions, some former diplomats and others have pleaded for the government to attend the Bonn Conference, on the grounds that about a hundred countries, including some very good friends of Pakistan, would be attending it and with their support Pakistan could have placed its point to the Conference and – not said so but implied – which could have influenced the Western countries to understand Pakistan’s stand on drawing a line on its ‘cooperation’ in war on terror. First of all, Pakistan’s absence from the Bonn Conference will make it a farce, like a wedding without the bridegroom and a ridiculously one-sided affair. I recall a similar scene I witnessed in Belgrade in 1984.
The Non-Aligned Movement had appointed a Good Offices Committee for Reconciliation of (warring) Iran and Iraq. Its members were the foreign ministers of Yugoslavia, India, Pakistan, Zambia and Palestine. At that time Narasimha Rao was India’s Foreign Minister. He arrived from India and all the other FMs arrived except Pakistan’s. I represented Pakistan, but both Iran and Iraq boycotted the meeting.
We all collected in the grand hall of the building with no sign of the Iranian or Iraqi foreign ministers arriving. The session was a fiasco. Now in Bonn there might be a similar situation. In any case as there would be our good friends in the Conference they might either plead postponement of the meeting unless Pakistan joined or put forward their views sympathetic to Pakistan and condemn the NATO attack. Perhaps Russia might join in denunciation of the NATO attack.
Anyway, I hope these governments have been briefed why Pakistan is absenting itself from the Bonn conference. It will be normal for our ambassador to be present among the invitees to observe the proceedings – not as a delegate but just as any other invitees like the media, diplomats etc. He can brief delegations of friendly countries on the reasons for our absence, particularly Obama’s arrogant remark that he will not apologize for the NATO attack. So many of our friends will attend – we could get the support of our decision not to join the Conference if the point is raised.
There were some persons on the talk shows who even indulged in hyperbole. They were nervous on the punishment that would visit Pakistan if it did not attend the meeting. They said we cannot afford to be isolated from the world. They assumed that the hundred invitees will toe the American line.
They interpreted our refusal to attend the Conference as a kind of declaration of hostilities on the US and pointed out the plight of – as they claimed – Iran for standing against the US. Although they did not say so, they implied that the US would impose ‘sanctions’ on Pakistan and might even militarily punish us for disobedience.
This fear could be justified if Pakistan’s absence from the Bonn Conference was a declaration of hostilities against the US. If any such illogical step is taken by the US, Pakistan can leave the US and NATO to let them face the consequences in Afghanistan which they are finding already unbearable.
Moreover, the US and NATO have been unsuccessful in their ten years’ war on terror, Europe is in a bad situation economically and the US is equally in bad shape economically. They cannot afford to be further mauled in Afghanistan.
Now the trigger-happy policies will lead the US and Europe to bankruptcy and possibly militarily badly mauled. Without Pakistan, the Western powers – the US included – cannot hope to have an honourable withdrawal from Afghanistan.
To quote General Kiyani, Pakistan is no Iraq or Afghanistan. After Obama has arrogantly announced that he will not apologize to Pakistan over the NATO attack on the Mehmand agency, the US will be in the dock in world public opinion. The US stands more to lose by our absence from the Conference. They are far more vulnerable than Pakistan. We are the 8th largest and 7th nuclear power in the world, not a mini-state. We must assert our legitimate rights. The government has taken the right decision by refusing to attend the Bonn Conference.
Defense Minister: Pakistan Has Nuclear Arms, Can Defend Borders Against NATO
December 5, 2011
Pakistan capable of defending motherland, says Mukhtar
ISLAMABAD: Defence Minister Chaudhry Ahmed Mukhtar said here on Sunday that Pakistan has the capability to defend and protect the sovereignty of the country.
Talking to a private television channel, he said that Pakistan as a nuclear state has full capability to defend and safeguard its territorial integrity and sovereignty. Replying to a question regarding Nato attacks, he said that Pakistan is a responsible state and its sovereignty must be respected at all costs.
He said that decisions were taken in consultation with all the stakeholders. Replying to another question regarding any misadventure, Mukhtar said that Pakistan has the right to safeguard its territorial borders and sovereignty.
Pakistan: Multiconfessional Religious Leaders Condemn NATO
December 5, 2011
Religious scholars condemn NATO attack on army checkpost
LAHORE: Religious scholars belonging to the Muslim, Hindu, Christian, Sikh and Bahai communities condemned the NATO attacks on the border post in Mohmand Agency in which dozens of Pakistan Army troops were killed.
According to press releases issued by the Peace and Harmony Network Pakistan (PHNP) and the Pakistan Catholic Bishops’ Conference (PCBC) on Sunday, both the organisations held separate meetings in Faisalabad and Multan to discuss the promotion of peace and religious harmony in the country and declared the NATO attack as an assault on Pakistan’s sovereignty.
On behalf of the Christian community, the Bishops expressed shock and concern over the incident, terming the strike a direct attack on the sovereignty and integrity of Pakistan. They said that the NATO attack was against the international law and was unacceptable.
Expressing his sympathies and solidarity with the bereaved families, PCBC President Bishop Joseph Coutts stated that the army troops had sacrificed their lives in the line of duty. He paid rich tribute to the patriotism and bravery of the troops and assured that the Christians of Pakistan stood by the army at this crucial juncture.
PHNP Chairman Maulana Zubair Abid and Co-Chairman Bishop Dr Andrew Francis and other participants of the meeting also condemned the NATO attack, demanding international attention to the matter. Presiding over a meeting with representatives of the Muslim, Hindu, Christian, Sikh and Bahai communities in Multan, the religious leaders said that they would work jointly for the promotion of peace and harmony.
Javaid William, Pir Shafaat Rasool, Allama Jawed Akbar Saqi, Maulana Assadullah Farooq, Shakir Rizvi, Shakeelur Rehman Nasir, Amar Nath Randhawa, Pandit Haroon Sarab Diyal and Taranjeet Singh also participated in the meeting.
The Islamic scholars and representatives from Hindu, Christian, Sikh and Bahai communities have decided to work jointly under the banner of the PHNP to support the cause of peace and harmony in Pakistan.
Pakistani Minister: World Community Must Condemn NATO Attacks
Associated Press of Pakistan
December 5, 2011
Firdous urges international community to condemn NATO attacks in befitting manner
ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Dr. Firdous Ashiq Awan on Sunday urged the international community to condemn the recent NATO attacks on Pakistani posts in a befitting manner. Talking to PTV, the Minister said Pakistan had rendered great sacrifices in war against militancy…
She urged all political parties to shun petty differences and work for strengthening democracy and protecting sovereignty and stability of Pakistan.
Replying to a question regarding the NATO attacks, she said the international community should emphatically condemn the attacks on Pakistani posts to avoid such incidents in future.
Replying to another question regarding boycott of Bonn Conference, Dr. Firdous stated the conference was being called for seeking peace in Afghanistan and added that as Pakistan’s sovereignty was not being paid respect to then why they should go and participate in this forum or be a part of its efforts?
She said Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani has conveyed the decision to the international community that Pakistan will not attend the conference.
The decision to stay away from the conference was taken after consultation with all the stakeholders, she added.
She said Pakistan’s sovereignty must be respected at all costs.
The international community should realize Pakistan’s stance, she added.
Pentagon Starts Evacuating Pakistani Air Base
December 5, 2011
US starts vacating Shamsi airbase
-US troops set on fire various documents and other belongings as they prepared to leave the airbase.
QUETTA: United States’ officials on Sunday started vacating the Shamsi airbase in the Washuk district of Balochistan, an official confirmed: ‘Two United States’ special aircraft landed at the Shamsi airbase in connection with measures to vacate the base after the deadline given to the US by the Pakistani government in the wake of the NATO raid on the Salala checkpost, killing 24 Pakistani troops,’ an official of the Balochistan government confirmed.
The Shamsi airbase is situated about 350 kilometres southwest of the provincial capital. This base was being utilised by rulers of the United Arab Emirates for the hunting of Houbara Bustard but after the US attack on Afghanistan after 9/11 this base was handed over to the US.
This base is being used by the US Army and the CIA for military purposes in Afghanistan and some quarters had alleged that this base was also being used for US drone attacks in the tribal areas of Pakistan.
An official of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) also confirmed that senior officials from Islamabad had visited the Shamsi airbase. On the other hand, a local journalist in Kharan told this scribe that two American aircraft were seen landing at the base. He said that security in the area had also been beefed up in the wake of reports of the vacating of the Shamsi airbase. US troops set on fire various documents and other belongings as they prepared to leave the airbase.