12 December 2011 — Stop NATO
- Pakistani Forces Take Control Of Air Base As U.S. Troops Evicted
- NATO Commander: No Guarantee New Pakistan Attacks Won’t Occur
- Pakistan To Shoot Down U.S. Drones: Government Official
- Two NATO Soldiers Killed In Eastern Afghanistan
- Afghan War: U.S. Commander Defends Night Raids
- Iran Summons Afghan Envoy Over NATO Drone Violation
- Libya Marked For NATO Mediterranean Dialogue Membership
- Libya: Deadly Internecine Fighting Intensifies
- South Africa: NATO Attack On Libya Scar That Will Take Many Years To Heal For Africa
- Arab League’s Capitulation
- New Caucasus War: Azerbaijan Arms Spending Ratio Highest In CIS
Pakistani Forces Take Control Of Air Base As U.S. Troops Evicted
Russian Information Agency Novosti
December 11, 2011
Pakistan forces take control of Shamasi base as U.S. troops pull out
MOSCOW: Pakistan’s border guards took control of the Shamasi Airbase, previously used by U.S. troops for drone airstrikes in border regions of Afghanistan and Pakistan, the News Tribe newspaper said.
‘51 U.S. troops have vacated the airbase and their luggage has been shifted to Afghanistan and FC [Frontier Corps] took the control of base,’ the paper said.
Islamabad gave the U.S. 15 days to leave the base on November 26 in response to a deadly NATO air strike on a checkpoint in the Mohmand tribal area in northwest Pakistan. The attack left at least 24 soldiers dead and 14 injured.
Shortly after the attack, Pakistan’s authorities also closed one of NATO’s key supply routes to Afghanistan, the so-called northern supply route through the Khyber Pass and Torham border post.
NATO Commander: No Guarantee New Pakistan Attacks Won’t Occur
December 12, 2011
Repeat of Mohmand-type mishap: Nothing can’t be guaranteed in war against terror: ISAF
DUBAI: ISAF Commander in Afghanistan General John R Allen has said that a repeat of Mohmand-type mishap can’t be guaranteed.
Talking to Khaleej Times, he said: ‘You simply can’t guarantee anything in war. The conditions are difficult at the border, let the investigation play out…’ The paper had asked if there were any guarantees of such a mishap not happening again.
The NATO attack has led to widespread rage in Pakistan. The government and military have responded with several measures, including recalling their liaison officers, implementing air defence systems on the border and disallowing US drone flights from the Shamsi airbase.
More importantly, NATO supply routes have been closed for the past two weeks…
Pakistan To Shoot Down U.S. Drones: Government Official
Independent News Pakistan
December 12, 2011
Pakistan decides to shoot down US drones?
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan will shoot down any US drone that intrudes its airspace as per new directives, a senior Pakistani official said. According to the new Pakistani defence policy, ‘Any object entering into our airspace, including US drones, will be treated as hostile and be shot down,’ a senior Pakistani military official told NBC News.
The policy change comes just weeks after a deadly NATO attack on Pakistani military checkpoints killed 24 Pakistani soldiers, prompting Pakistani officials to order all US personnel out of a remote airfield in Pakistan.
The government had told the United States to vacate the Shamsi airbase by December 11. The Frontier Corps took control of the Shamsi airbase on Saturday evening after most US military personnel left, sources said.
Chief of the Army Staff Gen Ashfaq Pervaiz Kayani had issued multiple directives since the November 26 NATO attack, which included orders to shoot down US drones, senior military officials confirmed to NBC News.
It was unclear whether orders to fire upon incoming US drones were part of the initial orders. The Pakistani airbase had been used by US forces, including the CIA, to stage elements of a clandestine US counter-terrorism operation to attack militants linked to al Qaeda, the Taliban and Haqqani network, using unmanned drone aircraft armed with missiles. Since 2004, US drones have carried out more than 300 attacks inside Pakistan.
Two NATO Soldiers Killed In Eastern Afghanistan
December 11, 2011
Two foreign soldiers killed in eastern Afghanistan
Two soldiers with the NATO-led international forces were killed Sunday in an improvised explosive device attack in eastern Afghanistan, the military coalition said, dpa reported.
The alliance did not specify the nationality of the deceased nor the exact location of the incident.
Mostly American soldiers are deployed in eastern part of the country that borders Pakistan and is now the focus of military efforts.
544 soldiers with NATO-led troops have been killed so far this year, according to an independent tally website iCasualties.org. The number is the second highest since the war started in 2001. Last year, 711 foreign soldiers were killed in Afghanistan.
Afghan War: U.S. Commander Defends Night Raids
Stars and Stripes
December 11, 2011
U.S. commander defends night raids in Afghanistan
In an interview with The Associated Press late Saturday the leader of U.S. Special Operations Command, Adm. William McRaven, defended the unpopular night raids on homes in Afghanistan.
The Associated Press reports that the fallout over the raids has angered the country’s president and held up a security agreement with the United States.
‘At the end of the end of the day I think you would find that night raids are very valuable when you are trying to get someone who is trying to hide,’ McRaven told The Associated Press.
Iran Summons Afghan Envoy Over NATO Drone Violation
Pajhwok Afghan News
December 11, 2011
Iran summons Afghan envoy over airspace violation
By Javed Hamim Kakar
KABUL: Iran summoned the Afghan ambassador and protest to him against pilotless US drone flights over its territory, officials said on Sunday.
Iran’s national TV channel announced last week that its air force had shot down a US RQ-170-type drone that entered its airspace from Afghanistan.
Subsequently, the Iranian foreign ministry summoned Afghan Ambassador Obaidullah Abid to protest the recent violation of its airspace by the US spy aircraft.
The state-controlled IRNA news agency reported an explanation was sought from the envoy on the issue. Iran also asked Afghanistan to prevent a recurrence of such incidents.
After the drone was shot down, the International Security Assistance Force said one of its aircraft had been missing during a mission in the western part of Afghanistan.
The unmanned aircraft lost contact with US troops, a statement from the NATO-led force said, adding the incident was being investigated.
Libya Marked For NATO Mediterranean Dialogue Membership
December 11, 2011
NATO Praises Success in Libya, Says It would Provide Assistance when Tripoli Asks for It
NATO foreign ministers meeting in Brussels
By Khadija Ali
At the NATO foreign ministerial meeting in Brussels held December 7-8, the alliance’s Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen expressed NATO’s success in Libya…
NATO countries and their allies also congratulated one another on the success of the Operation Unified Protector (OUP) mission in Libya…
NATO also expressed its interest in widening dialogue in the region as several NATO officials and spokespersons expressed interest in Libya joining the Mediterranean Dialogue.
NATO officials including Rasmussen himself emphasized that Libya must take the first step if the country would like assistance in its transition to democracy. Rasmussen offered help to Libya in areas such as defence and security.
Libya: Deadly Internecine Fighting Intensifies
Trend News Agency
December 11, 2011
Libyan army commander comes under second attack
Sergeant Abdel-Razik El-Shibahy said Sunday that revolutionary fighters from the western mountain town of Zintan opened fire Saturday evening on General Khalifa Hifter’s convoy in Tripoli, after failing to assassinate him hours before, Al Ahram reported.
El-Shibahy said one guard was killed and four injured in the second attack. No one was killed in the first assassination attempt.
The Libyan military says that the conflict began when a unit from the national army tried on Saturday to take control of the capital’s airport from the Zintan fighters. Libya’s nascent army is struggling to impose its authority over the militias that overthrew Muammar Gaddafi.
Trend News Agency/Deutsche Presse-Agentur
December 11, 2011
Calm in Tripoli after fighting kills three people
Calm returned to Tripoli on Sunday after clashes between the interim government’s military and armed fighters near the airport left three people dead, media reported.
Fighters from the Zintan area were scheduled to hand over the airport and several government buildings to the ruling National Transitional Council, dpa reported.
However, fighting began when the government’s army demanded an immediate handover and rejected the fighters’ suggestion that they should document the process for media purposes, the local Quryna news website reported.
Regional broadcaster Al Arabiya reported on its website that three people were killed in the clashes, which took place while the country’s first national reconciliation conference was being held in the capital.
Disarming militant ex-fighters is one of the greatest challenges facing the interim government as it builds new security forces and tries to promote national reconciliation after months of bloody conflict.
South Africa: NATO Attack On Libya Scar That Will Take Many Years To Heal For Africa
The Times (South Africa)/South African Press Association
December 11, 2011
Zuma visits Benin after criticising NATO actions in Libya
South African President Jacob Zuma visited the West African nation of Benin on Sunday, a day after criticising Western countries’ bombing campaign in Libya.
Zuma met Benin President Thomas Boni Yayi and the two countries signed off on a cooperation deal aimed at boosting flights between them, according to Benin Foreign Minister Nassirou Arifari Bako.
In Nigeria on Saturday, Zuma harshly criticised the NATO bombing campaign that helped lead to Moamer Kadhafi’s downfall in Libya.
‘The manner in which Libya was treated by some countries in the developed world remains a scar that will take many years to heal for Africa,’ Zuma said during a lecture.
‘Developed countries with their own national agendas hijacked a genuine democratic protest by the people of Libya to further their regime change agendas.’
Arab League’s Capitulation
Daily Star (Bangladesh)
December 12, 2011
Arab League’s capitulation!
Dr. M. Mahboob Hossain, Associate Professor, Microbiology Programme, BRAC University, Dhaka
Activities of the Arab League for the last few years hardly reflect the interests of the Arab people and the oppressed people of the whole world. It did not take any effective measure when millions of Iraqi civilians were killed by the US and its allies. It has not said a word against those who committed genocide in Iraq. Anyone can understand that the US and its allies attacked Libya and Iraq not to establish democracy and humans rights but to loot the oil resources of those countries.
The Arab League’s decision to suspend Syria’s membership, impose economic sanctions, and discuss transition-period arrangements with the opposition could pave the way to a military offensive by the Western powers in Syria, similar to what happened in Libya. If the US and its allies can give power to their puppet government in Syria with the help of Arab League, it will be easier for them to attack Iran.
If anybody carefully analyses the situation in Syria, he or she will understand that it is not Assad, rather the US and its allies are responsible for violence and death of civilians in Syria. Gaddafi hoped that if he did not kill the so-called rebels, NATO would help to settle the crisis through discussion, but ruthless NATO leaders did not give him any chance.
The sooner the Arabs understand that the Arab League leaders are not really helping them, the better.
New Caucasus War: Azerbaijan Arms Spending Ratio Highest In CIS
December 5, 2011
Buildup to No Good: Azerbaijan military spending ratio highest in CIS
By Aris Ghazinyan
-In the coming year Azerbaijan will allot 14.8 percent of its budget to military expenses, which exceeds Armenia’s ‘record-breaking’ index of 2011 by two percent. This means that next year Azerbaijan’s military budget will be ten times that of Armenia’s.
-‘[I]n 2008 the syndrome of self-confidence overwhelmed the Georgian president, too, who thought it was the time to declare war. It only took five days to restrain Saakashvili. And no matter how bitter the humiliation seemed to Georgia, it was also a good lesson first of all to Aliyev.’
Azerbaijan has spent $3.1 billion on its military needs in the outgoing year, and by this absolute index falls behind only Russia ($50.5 billion) among the former Soviet states.
But, while in Russia the percentage growth of military expenditures in 2011 made 3.02 percent of GDP, Azerbaijan has the highest indicator – 6.2 percent – in all the Commonwealth of Independent States.
In the Russia-lead list of top five post-Soviet countries, by the absolute index of military expenditures, the Ukraine ($1.1 billion) holds the third position, followed by Uzbekistan ($1.5 billion) and Kazakhstan ($1.2 billion).
Azerbaijan’s military budget for 2011 has exceeded Armenia’s total State Budget by $400 million. In doing so Azeri President Ilham Aliyev has kept the vow he made several years ago to not only equal Azerbaijan’s military expenses with the total budget of Armenia but to surpass it.
(In 2011 Armenia’s military budget made $387 million, which is eight times less than that of Azerbaijan.)
On November 1 the Armenian Parliament approved the increase of the republic’s defense budget up to almost $400 million, which is the highest index of annual expenses on the country’s military needs in all of its history.
Nonetheless, Armenia’s military budget will fall behind Azerbaijan even more in 2012, since Baku is planning to keep increasing its military expenses.
In the coming year Azerbaijan will allot 14.8 percent of its budget to military expenses, which exceeds Armenia’s ‘record-breaking’ index of 2011 by two percent. This means that next year Azerbaijan’s military budget will be ten times that of Armenia’s.
Baku explains this need to increase its military expenses by the fact that the Karabakh issue is yet unresolved and tensions mount in the conflict zone.
Russian analyst Vladimir Mukhin writes in this connection: ‘Taking into account all these factors it becomes obvious that there exists a feasible possibility of a new war in the South Caucasus. The outcome is unknown, what is clear is that in the event of active hostilities much will depend on Russia.’
Civilitas Foundation analyst Tatul Hakobyan says: ‘Should Armenians be concerned over the yearly growth and impressive figures of Azerbaijan’s military expenses? Absolutely. They should be concerned. The main concern stems from Aliyev’s and Azeris’ increasing conviction, most probably illusory, that they can declare a new war and win it.’
The analyst believes that Aliyev and the Azeri military elite are convincing themselves that the time has come to declare war. ‘However, in 2008 the syndrome of self-confidence overwhelmed the Georgian president, too, who thought it was the time to declare war. It only took five days to restrain Saakashvili. And no matter how bitter the humiliation seemed to Georgia, it was also a good lesson first of all to Aliyev.’
‘A new war would also be the moment when Artsakh’s recognition becomes a must for Armenia,’ says Hakobyan.