Stop NATO news: December 22, 2011

21 December 2011 — Stop NATO

  • NATO Missile System Can Cause ‘Ice Age’ In U.S.-Russia Relations
  • U.S.-NATO Missile Plans Can Kill START II
  • U.S. Rearming Of Georgia To Spark New Aggression: South Ossetia
  • After NATO Chief, Council Visit: More Georgian Troops To Afghanistan
  • Georgia Becomes Biggest Non-NATO Contributor To Afghan War
  • White House: Assad Government ‘Does Not Deserve To Rule Syria’
  • U.S. Amphibious Assault Ship, Marines Arrive In Singapore
  • Philippines Seeks Second-Hand F-16s From U.S.
  • Kenyan Air Strike Kills At Least 10 Somali Civilians
  • Finland: Opposition To NATO Membership Rises To 68 Percent

NATO Missile System Can Cause ‘Ice Age’ In U.S.-Russia Relations

Xinhua News Agency
December 22, 2011

Russia warns anti-missile issue may cause ‘ice-age’ in relations with U.S.

MOSCOW: The U.S.-led anti-missile defense shield in Europe may seriously damage relations between Russia and the United States if the two sides can not reach agreements on the issue, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said Wednesday.

‘We hope problems in the anti-missile defense shield will not escalate and cause our relations move backward to the ice age. We hope to avoid this,’ Ryabkov told the Voice of Russia radio in an interview.

Ryabkov said that Moscow did not rule out the possibility of withdrawing from the new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) it signed with the U.S. in 2010, if no solution would be reached on the issue.

According to Ryabkov, these problems could be solved on the ground proposed by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev in November, when the president asked again legally-binding guarantees from the U.S. and NATO that the missile defense shield is not targeting Russia.

Medvedev also warned in November that Russia might station missile defense systems, including the Iskander, in western and southern sections of the country if there were any additional U.S. missile deployments in Europe.

Moscow has long opposed the deployment of U.S.-led NATO missile defense facilities near its borders and intends to seek legally-binding guarantees from the U.S. and NATO.


U.S.-NATO Missile Plans Can Kill START II

Voice of Russia
December 21, 2011

ABM differences may kill START deal – Russian diplomat

Russia’s response to America’s unilateralism in developing European-based missile defence systems has already included a new radar in Kaliningrad and may also include the deployment of Iskander medium-range ballistic missiles and even the renunciation of the latest Strategic Arms Reductions Treaty with the United States.

At the same time, Russia hopes that the ABM disagreements will not result in another Cold War spell or trigger yet another spiral of the costly arms race. 

Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov spoke about this for the Voice of Russia on Wednesday.


U.S. Rearming Of Georgia To Spark New Aggression: South Ossetia

December 21, 2011

American re-arming of Georgia will spark new aggression – S. Ossetia

The South Ossetian Foreign Ministry has stated that a US Senate draft resolution on the resumption of arms supplies to Georgia can be seen as pushing Tbilisi to aggression against its former republics of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

The ministry voiced its regret over the fact that American senators drew no conclusions from ‘the tragic events of August 2008 and have once again settled down to a course of encouraging [Georgian President] Saakashvili to a new aggression to please their political ambitions,’cites Interfax.

Human Rights Watch described the South Ossetia conflict as a disaster for civilians and said the Georgian military had used ‘disproportionate force.’

For three years, the US has refrained from supplying weapons to Georgia.

That, according to Tskhinval, is indirect evidence that it was Georgia who started the war against South Ossetia and that it used Western weaponry during the invasion.

The Foreign Ministry also noted that with obvious backing from Washington, Tbilisi has refrained from signing a legally-binding document on the non-use of force with South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

‘At the same time, imposing an international embargo on supplies of arms – primarily offensive weapons and military hardware – would significantly reduce the threat of a recurrence of Georgian aggression,’ the Foreign Ministry’s comment reads.

Earlier this month, the US Senate approved a US $662 billion defense bill for 2012, which contains a separate section entitled ‘Defense cooperation with the Republic of Georgia.’ The document envisages the resumption of arms supplies to the Caucasian state for the protection of its government and sovereign territories.


After NATO Chief, Council Visit: More Georgian Troops To Afghanistan

Rustavi 2
December 21, 2011

Georgia to send one more infantry battalion to Afghanistan

Georgia will send one more infantry battalion to Afghanistan under a decision taken by the parliament at a special session on Tuesday.

Georgian soldiers will join the International Security Assistance Force-ISAF mission, which is under the control of the United States` contingent in the country. The decision was taken by 103 votes of the lawmakers.

`The past few months have proved that this mission is very successful from all points of view, including [the] political. We saw this during the visit of the Euro-Atlantic Council session in Georgia and the visit of the NATO Secretary General in Tbilisi, as well as in various statements of the leaders of our friend countries. They all emphasize that Georgia`s commitment to this mission should be appreciated properly,` says Givi Targamadze, chairperson of the defense and security committee of the parliament.


Georgia Becomes Biggest Non-NATO Contributor To Afghan War

The Messenger
December 21, 2011

Georgia to Become Biggest Non-NATO Contributor to ISAF
By Ernest Petrosyan

The Georgian parliament is about to approve President Mikheil Saakashvili’s request on Tuesday to increase Georgian military involvement in the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) mission in Afghanistan by an additional battalion on top of the 936 Georgian soldiers who already serve as part of the NATO-led ISAF.

After sending an additional battalion [749 soldiers] Georgia will become the largest non-NATO contributor state to the ISAF mission with a total of 1,685 troops. Australia is currently the largest non-NATO contributor with 1,550 soldiers on the ground.

The Georgian contingent in Afghanistan has lost a total of ten soldiers as yet – all in Helmand province.

Georgia’s first contribution to this operation came in 2004 when 50 soldiers were briefly deployed in the country under German command as part of ensuring security during the presidential elections.

In November, 2009 Georgia increased its contingent by 173 soldiers in Kabul under French command and in the following year Georgia increased its presence in Afghanistan by sending an infantry battalion to Helmand province serving alongside US marines.

Georgia also sent 11 military instructors to Kandahar under French command earlier this year.

Praising Georgia for its essential contribution to the ISAF mission, NATO Secretary General, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, said while visiting Tbilisi in November that the participation in the Afghan operation and NATO membership are not directly linked [sic].

‘The Georgian contribution to our operation in Afghanistan also helps to improve interoperability between Georgian armed forces and NATO armed forces…,’ Rasmussen said on November 9.


White House: Assad Government ‘Does Not Deserve To Rule Syria’

Deutsche Presse-Agentur
December 22, 2011

White House warns of more steps on Syria, calls Assad regime to resign

The White House Wednesday called again for Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad and his regime to step down, citing Damascus’ defiance of the Arab League peace initiative, dpa reported.

In a statement, the press secretary also warned that the international community would take ‘additional steps’ to put pressure on the Assad regime if the Arab League peace initiative is not fully implemented.

‘The words of the Assad regime have no credibility when they continue to be followed by outrageous and deplorable actions,’ the White House press secretary said in a statement.

‘They have already flagrantly violated their commitment to end violence and withdraw security forces from residential areas,’ the White House said…

The White House conceded that Syrian security forces have also taken casualties, but said most of the violence has come from the Assad regime.

‘Time and again, the Assad regime has demonstrated that it does not deserve to rule Syria,’ the White House said.

Russia and China continue to block a strong sanctions resolution in the United Nations Security Council…


U.S. Amphibious Assault Ship, Marines Arrive In Singapore

U.S. Navy
December 21, 2011

USS Makin Island Arrives in Singapore for Port Visit
From USS Makin Island (LHD 8) Public Affairs

SINGAPORE: The amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island (LHD 8), along with the embarked 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), arrived in Singapore Dec. 21 for a port visit.

This is the second time Makin Island has visited Singapore during the current deployment. The ship stopped briefly at Changi Naval Base Dec. 13 to offload Marines from the 11th MEU to take part in theater security cooperation exercises.

Makin Island and the 11th MEU departed San Diego Nov. 14 and are currently deployed to the U.S. 7th Fleet area of responsibility (AOR), supporting the nation’s maritime strategy.

The 7th Fleet AOR includes more than 52 million square miles of the Pacific and Indian oceans, stretching from the international date line to the east coast of Africa, and from the Kuril Islands in the north to the Antarctic in the south.

More than half of the world’s population lives within the 7th Fleet AOR. In addition, more than 80 percent of that population lives within 500 miles of the oceans, which means this is an inherently maritime region.


Philippines Seeks Second-Hand F-16s From U.S.

December 21, 2011

Philippines seeks second-hand F-16s from United States

MANILA: The Philippines has asked the United States, its closest security partner, to give it at least a squadron of second-hand F-16 fighters to help upgrade its territorial defences, the foreign secretary said on Wednesday.

The Philippines has no air power to speak of, with its 40-year-old F-5A/Bs fighter jets retired from service several years ago. It has no bombers or surveillance aircraft and still flies Vietnam War-era UH-1H helicopters. ‘We are just trying to restore our capability as it was before,’ Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario told reporters.

He said he hoped the fighters would be acquired through excess defence articles, a US military aid programme. ‘I think we are actually behind the curve we have been far more advanced many years ago in terms of military capability,’ he said. Del Rosario said acquisition of the F-16 fighters would be among issues to be discussed in strategic talks in Washington in the first quarter of 2012, when Del Rosario and Defence Secretary Voltaire Gazmin meet their US counterparts.


Kenyan Air Strike Kills At Least 10 Somali Civilians

Azeri Press Agency
December 22, 2011

Kenyan jets ’kill 10’ in south Somalia air raid

Baku: Kenyan fighter jets pounded rebel-held southern Somalia in a strike that Nairobi said on Wednesday had killed Al Qaeda linked fighters but witnesses claimed caused several civilian deaths, APA reports quoting AFP.

Military jets targeted several locations late Tuesday in Hosingow in the Lower Juba region, close to the Kenyan border, local elders said.

‘There were at least three military planes that dropped bombs on Hosingow, and one hit a house killing civilians’, said Abdi Isak, a witness.

‘There were 11 people, most of them civilians, killed in the raid.’

‘One of the bombs struck near a street where people were running their businesses – they dropped bombs and went away without knowing who they have killed,’ Ahmed Yusuf, another witness told AFP.

‘More than ten have died and 13 others are injured, some of them seriously,’ he added.

The Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) Wednesday claimed responsibility for the raid, saying it believed it had killed a senior Shebab commander it did not name.

Kenyan military officials vowed last week to carry out further air strikes deeper into rebel-held territory, claiming to have already killed several Shebab fighters in earlier raids.


Finland: Opposition To NATO Membership Rises To 68 Percent

Finnish News Agency
December 21, 2011

Finnish anti-Nato membership sentiment on the rise – HS/TNS poll       

Finnish opposition to full membership in Nato has risen to about 68 per cent, a high not seen since the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, national daily Helsingin Sanomat quoted a poll as indicating on Wednesday.

The paper added that some 16 per cent of respondents wanted Finland to join the military alliance as a full-fledged member.

Commissioned by the paper, market research company Taylor Nelson Sofres interviewed about 1,000 people this month. The margin of error was stated as three percentage points.

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