Stop NATO News: December 27, 2011

27 December 2011 — Stop NATO

  • U.S. Buildup In Central Asia To Counter Russia, China
  • Royal Canadian Air Force Mulls Major Arctic Base Expansion
  • Georgia Defense Delegation Returns From Consultations In U.S.
  • Raytheon Wins MDA Contract For Standard Missile Interceptors
  • Azerbaijan-Turkey Pipeline Supplants Russia In Southeast Europe

U.S. Buildup In Central Asia To Counter Russia, China

Voice of Russia
December 26, 2011

Central Asia to be hugged to death?
Natalya Kovalenko

Russia’s Central Asian neighbors Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan have become strategically important for the US as Washington seeks to diversify cargo routes to Afghanistan following a split with Islamabad.

The US Senate’s Foreign Relations Committee has published a report on the transit of cargoes via Central Asia to Afghanistan. Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan [which] are described as being of exceptional political and strategic importance for the international operation in Afghanistan.

According to statistical data, 40% of cargo entered Afghanistan via Uzbekistan this year. The remaining 60% was delivered via Pakistan. However, Islamabad has blocked cargo traffic twice over the past few months. It did so last after a NATO air strike against Pakistani border guards in November. Even though the report says that the US-Pakistan relations might still normalize, the Senate has chosen not to depend on Islamabad and look for other options.

As long as this cooperation serves humanitarian needs, Moscow has no objections. Daniil Kislov, chief editor of the Fergana International Agency, comments:

‘Russia was the first to grant its overland routes and airspace for the US and NATO to transport cargoes to Afghanistan and back when the withdrawal of troops begins. There are no grounds for conflict, not until the US or NATO announces the opening of new military facilities in Uzbekistan, Tajikistan or Kyrgyzstan.’

A step of this kind is fairly possible. In September this year US Congress resolved to abolish the 2005 restrictions on granting military aid to Uzbekistan and offered to supply Tashkent with weapons no longer needed in the Afghan campaign. A military base would logically come next, and then the region will be declared a US interest zone. What will follow becomes clear too if we recall the developments in the Middle East and North Africa, says Andrei Grozin of the Institute of CIS Countries.

‘As a rule, this is followed by a variety of problems in this so-called ‘interest zone’ as the US has its own vision of what course the ‘interest zone’ countries should follow and won’t heed local opinions. The secular regimes of the five Central Asian countries are weak compared to countries of the Middle East. An outside intervention threatens to shake the unsteady situation in these countries and may lead to numerous conflicts, both internal and external.’

The Senate’s report recommends rendering economic assistance to the Central Asian countries as a measure to counteract the influence of Russia and China, two major players in the region. Russia, China and other countries of Asia and Pacific which have direct economic and political interests in Central Asia are unlikely to put up with this. Andrei Grozin has this to say:

‘None of the states with interests in Central Asia will welcome a US presence in the region. All countries concerned will resist such a step. And they will resort to various methods in doing this.’

Given that Russia shares its past with Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, it can’t turn a blind eye to what’s happening in close proximity to its borders.


Royal Canadian Air Force Mulls Major Arctic Base Expansion

Royal Canadian Air Force mulling major Nunavut base expansion, documents show

Postmedia News/Ottawa Citizen
December 26, 2011

Royal Canadian Air Force mulling major Nunavut base expansion, documents show
By David Pugliese

The Royal Canadian Air Force has looked at a major expansion at Resolute Bay, Nunavut, as it considers transforming it into a key base for Arctic operations, according to documents obtained by the Ottawa Citizen.

The construction of a 3,000-metre paved runway, hangars, fuel installations and other infrastructure has been proposed for the future as part of an effort to support government and military operations in the North.

Resolute Bay in Nunavut would be able to provide a logistics site for search-and-rescue operations as well as a base for strategic refuelling aircraft, according to the briefing from the Arctic Management Office at 1 Canadian Air Division, the air force’s Winnipeg-based command and control division. The briefing was presented in June 2010 and recently released by the Defence Department under the Access to Information law.

The long paved runway would allow fighter aircraft to operate from the site, with the suggestion in the presentation that could include Norad (North American Aerospace Defence Command) jets.

Resolute Bay currently has a 1,981-metre gravel runway, according to information provided for pilots by the federal government.

Resolute Bay should be considered for expansion to become a main operating base because it is ‘the geostrategic center to the Arctic and [Northwest] Passage’ and is an ‘existing regional supply hub with a permanent population/sea access,’ according to the briefing.

It would be seen as a ‘key Arctic regional development and sovereignty centerpiece,’ the records add.

The presentation followed a February 2010 Arctic planning directive issued by the Chief of the Air Staff Lt.-Gen. Andre Deschamps, who called on the air force to become ‘a more relevant, responsive, and effective Arctic capable aerospace power.’

Prime Minister Stephen Harper has emphasized that Canada will increase its military presence in the region, announcing a series of initiatives, ranging from the construction of Arctic and offshore patrol ships for the navy, an Arctic training centre for troops, and the expansion of the Canadian Rangers.

The Conservatives have also highlighted their decision to spend more than $14-billion on the F-35 stealth fighter as an initiative to protect the country’s Arctic airspace.

The RCAF briefing also examined establishing a forward operating base on central Ellesmere Island by expanding the current facilities at Eureka, Nunavut. That initiative proposed adding new facilities and turning the location into a regional asset for government departments. Also included in the ‘FOB Eureka’ concept is the proposal that the existing airfield be expanded.

Creating a Forward Operating Base Eureka could allow the military to downsize or rebuild the existing Canadian Forces Station Alert, according to the presentation.

CFS Alert is on the northeastern tip of Ellesmere Island and is used for the interception of communications.


Georgia Defense Delegation Returns From Consultations In U.S.

Rustavi 2
December 26, 2011

Defence Ministry delegation returns from USA

A Georgian Defence delegation has arrived from Washington, US. In Washington defence officials from Georgia and the United States held Bilateral Defence Consultations (BDC).

The delegation from the United States was headed by Under Secretary of Defence for Policy Michele Flournoy. Mr Flournoy commended Georgia for its continuing contributions to the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan (ISAF) and affirmed the United States` commitment to assisting Georgia in its defence transformation efforts.

The Georgian delegation was headed by the First Deputy Defence Minister Nodar Kharshiladze. The delegation members included Deputy Defence Minister Andro Barnovi, Deputies Chief of Joint Staff of GAF Col. Iveri Subeliani and LTC Lasha Beridze. The discussion focused on the deep and broadening defence relationship between the two countries, which includes building Georgia`s defence institutions, modernizing its professional military education and enhancing its expeditionary capabilities. The sides also referred to ongoing cooperation on doctrinal development and identified areas for more in-depth collaboration.

Bilateral defence consultations between Georgia and US are traditionally held every year and identify key strategic aspects of cooperation.


Raytheon Wins MDA Contract For Standard Missile Interceptors

Raytheon Company
December 26, 2011

Raytheon Awarded $122 Million for Standard Missile-3
Contract will fund continued development and testing

TUCSON, Ariz. – Raytheon Company received a $122.5 million contract from the U.S. Missile Defense Agency for continued development of Standard Missile-3 Block IA and IB programs. Under this modification, Raytheon will provide SM-3 design and engineering, in service engineering support, production engineering, surveillance and flight test support, and transition to production.

The contract was announced Dec. 22 by the Department of Defense.

About SM-3

Raytheon’s SM-3s are designed to defend against short- to intermediate-range ballistic missile threats in the ascent and midcourse phases of flight.

SM-3 Block IA is Raytheon’s first variant in the SM-3 family; it is deployed today in support of the first phase of the administration’s Phased Adaptive Approach (PAA) for ballistic missile defense.

Raytheon has delivered more than 130 SM-3 Block IAs ahead of schedule and under cost.

The SM-3 Block IB is Raytheon’s second variant in the SM-3 family.

The SM-3 Block IB has an enhanced kinetic warhead seeker, throttleable divert and attitude control system, and advanced signal processing.

Raytheon’s SM-3 Block IB is the cornerstone of phase two of the administration’s PAA and is on track for a 2015 deployment at sea and ashore.


Azerbaijan-Turkey Pipeline Supplants Russia In Southeast Europe

Trend News Agency
December 26, 2011

Turkey, Azerbaijan sign Memorandum of Understanding to construct gas pipeline to Europe
A. Badalova, A. Tagihyeva

Baku: Turkey and Azerbaijan signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Monday to establish a consortium which will construct a gas pipeline to transport gas from the Azerbaijani Shah Deniz field to Europe through Turkish territory.

During the signing ceremony Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yildiz said the pipeline cost will be set by SOCAR. He also stressed that it may be close to the figure of $5 billion, which was announced earlier.

The construction of the Trans Anadolu gas pipeline (TANAP) is required for the export of the most part of 50 billion cubic meters of gas that Azerbaijan intends to produce in 2025. Baku and Ankara intend to construct a new pipeline on Turkish territory.

The parties involved in the project intend to resolve all issues on the gas pipeline in 2012. They also plan to start construction immediately in order to complete it by late 2017. The second stage of development of the Azerbaijani Shah Deniz gas condensate field will be launched during that period.

Azerbaijan and Turkey are working to examine the possibility of constructing a new gas pipeline which will stretch from the eastern border of Turkey to the country’s western border, SOCAR President Rovnag Abdullaev said earlier.

State Oil Company of Azerbaijan (SOCAR), Turkey’s state-owned pipeline operator Botas Boru Hatlari Ile Petrol Tasima AS and the oil company Turkiye Petrolleri A.O. will be founders of the consortium, with more international oil and gas companies to be further involved.

TANAP will become a basis for the Southern gas Corridor.

The consortium of the Azerbaijani Shah Deniz gas condensate field development considers different possible routes for gas export to Europe, which also include Southern gas Corridor projects.

The Southern gas Corridor is an EU priority energy project diversifying energy supply routes and sources and increasing EU energy security. It includes the Nabucco gas pipeline, Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) and ITGI (Turkey-Greece-Italy pipeline) projects.


Trend News Agency
December 26, 2011

Energy Ministry: New Azerbaijani-Turkish gas pipeline to supply gas to Bulgaria
A. Taghiyeva

Baku: After signing a memorandum on the construction of new pipeline Trans Anadolu (TANAP) negotiations regarding the project cost and terms of completion of the construction will be launched between the parties, the Turkish Energy Ministry told Trend on Monday.

The gas pipeline will be constructed based on an agreement signed in October 2011 between Turkey and Azerbaijan to supply Azerbaijani gas from ‘Shah Deniz 2? to Europe, the ministry said.

This pipeline will supply gas from Azerbaijan to Bulgaria through Turkey.

Turkey and Azerbaijan signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Monday to establish a consortium which will construct a gas pipeline.

The State Oil Company of Azerbaijan (SOCAR), Turkey’s state-owned pipeline operator Botas Boru Hatlari Ile Petrol Tasima AS and oil company Turkiye Petrolleri A.O. will be founders of the consortium, with more international oil and gas companies to be further involved, the report says.

The Memorandum was signed by the two countries’ energy ministers, Natig Aliyev and Taner Yildiz.

The Azerbaijani-Turkish Trans Anadolu (TANAP) gas pipeline will pass from Turkey’s eastern border to the western border.

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