Stop NATO News: February 8, 2012: U.S. Officials Pour Into Bulgaria Amid Middle East War Rumors

8 February 2012Stop NATO

  • U.S. Officials Pour Into Bulgaria Amid Middle East War Rumors
  • 24 Ships, 3,600 International Troops In U.S. Amphibious Warfare Drill
  • After Afghanistan, Canadian Military Trains For Arctic Warfare
  • Baltic-Arctic Region: Baltic-Nordic Chiefs of Defense Meet
  • U.S. Drone Strike Kills Ten In Northwestern Pakistan
  • NATO Naval Group To Visit Tunisia
  • China Tells U.S. To Abandon Cold War Mentality

U.S. Officials Pour Into Bulgaria Amid Middle East War Rumors

Standart News
February 8, 2012

Emergency US Delegation to Sofia
An unexpected US visit feeds rumours for future attacks in the Middle East
Panayot Angarev

-This extraordinary visit has additionally fed rumours about coming military operations in the Middle East and the formation of new coalitions of the kind existing against Iraq in 2003.

Sofia has suddenly become a frequented destination for high US state officials. Two days after the visit of US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to Sofia, a delegation of three higher US state servants is now in the capital.

James Townsend, Deputy Assistant US Secretary of Defence for European and NATO Policy; Marie Yovanovitch, Deputy Assistant US State Secretary in the Bureau for European and Eurasian Affairs, and Major General Mark Schissler from the US European Command have had talks in Bulgaria’s Foreign Ministry where they have met Bulgaria’s Deputy Foreign Minister Dimitar Tsanchev who is to leave for Brussels as the Bulgarian ambassador to the EU.

According to unofficial information, military cooperation between Bulgaria and the USA was discussed. The delegation had talks in the Ministry of Defence which, however, firmly denied giving information to the media.

The information the Foreign Ministry has provided runs as follows: ‘The issues discussed were from the sphere of bilateral relations in defence, cooperation between the USA and Bulgaria in Afghanistan and the Western Balkans, the NATO summit in Chicago due in May 2012 as well as the situation in the Middle East and Northern Africa. Allegedly, the situation in Syria was particularly paid attention to.

This extraordinary visit has additionally fed rumours about coming military operations in the Middle East and the formation of new coalitions of the kind existing against Iraq in 2003. So far no one has officially stated talks were led in Sofia for participation in future military operations. Diplomatic sources, however, commented that the real reasons behind Clinton’s visit to Bulgaria are still to be unveiled.


24 Ships, 3,600 International Troops In U.S. Amphibious Warfare Drill

U.S. Navy
February 7, 2012

Wasp, ESG-2 Begin Bold Alligator ‘D-Day’ Operations
By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class (SW) Drae C. Parker, USS Wasp Public Affairs

USS WASP, At Sea: Amphibious assault ship USS Wasp (LHD 1) started ‘D-Day’ operations Feb. 6 as Exercise Bold Alligator switches from its initial stages into full exercise combat operations.

‘D-Day’ marks the transition to land operations, where more than 3,600 Marines, Sailors and Coast Guardsmen representing 11 countries will begin to take back beaches in Virginia and North Carolina during a complex training scenario in which parts of the United States belong to hostile forces.

Bold Alligator is the largest amphibious exercise conducted by U.S. forces in the last decade and since it is based on real-world situations, the exercise will run in real time and will not end until the mission is complete.

Wasp is serving as the flagship of Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG) 2 for the exercise, and the ship’s crew spent the past few days loading the equipment and personnel necessary to conduct well deck and flight deck operations.

While Wasp handled command and control operations during the first day of D-Day operations, its crew will launch landing craft, air cushions and amphibious assault vehicles along with coordinating efforts with international forces and carrying out normal day-to-day evolutions.

The overall exercise involves 24 ships at sea conducting operations as well as numerous synthetic ships and personnel that aid in the overall training.

Wasp began Bold Alligator Jan. 30 and is expected to continue in the scenario until Feb 12.


After Afghanistan, Canadian Military Trains For Arctic Warfare

Edmonton Journal
February 7, 2012

Embedding with the military for ‘Arctic Ram’
Elise Stolte

It can get down to -60 C in the tents at night, Canadian Military officials warn journalists interested in embedding for the northern training mission Arctic Ram.

About 1,500 troops, mostly from 1 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group, are heading north to train in winter parachute jumping and other cold-weather winter warfare skills…

As the war in Afghanistan winds down, the military aims to improve its arctic capabilities in the interest of maintaining and asserting arctic sovereignty. There will be three days of parachuting, a live fire practice range for the LAV IIIs (light armored vehicles), and training for divers.

I’m fascinated by the idea of preparing for a war in Canada’s north, and by this policy of making arctic sovereignty a priority for the federal government. How serious/likely is the threat? What are the most likely scenarios are they training for?


Baltic-Arctic Region: Baltic-Nordic Chiefs of Defense Meet

Ministry of National Defense
February 7, 2012

Lithuanian Chief of Defence Participates in Baltic-Nordic Chiefs of Defence Meeting

Chief of Defence of Lithuania Lt Gen Arvydas Pocius departs for Stockholm (Sweden) where on February 8 he will participate in the Nordic-Baltic Chiefs of Defence meeting.

In the meetings Lithuanian, Danish, Estonian, Latvian, Norwegian, Finnish and Swedish CHODs will discuss the security situation in the Baltic Sea and Arctic region, future international military training events, multinational operations, and points of cooperation in seeking more efficient exploitation of resources.

Such meetings take place annually in the member states on a rotational basis. Last year the meeting was hosted by Estonia. The last time the meeting took place in Lithuania was in January 2007.

Lithuania has been developing defence cooperation with the Nordic countries since 1994 when the first agreement on military cooperation with Denmark, a NATO member at that time, was signed. Over four hundred Lithuanian troops have studied in long-term courses in the Scandinavian countries, the Nordic states continue supporting trilateral projects of the Baltic defence cooperation, Norway and Denmark have been deployed on the [NATO] Baltic Air Policing mission. The Scandinavian countries also rendered material support in the fields of modernizing weaponry, training military personnel and units inside the country.

Chief of Defence is planned to return to Lithuania on February 9.


U.S. Drone Strike Kills Ten In Northwestern Pakistan

Xinhua News Agency
February 8, 2012

10 killed in U.S. drone strike in NW Pakistan

ISLAMABAD: At least 10 people were killed and two others injured when a U.S. drone launched two missile strikes in North Waziristan region of Pakistan’s northwest tribal belt on Wednesday morning, local media reported.

According to the report by local TV channel ARY, the attack was launched early in the morning when a U.S. drone fired two missiles at a militants’ hideout in Spalga village of North Waziristan, a militancy-hit tribal area at Pak-Afghan borderlands.

The report said that the death toll may further rise as the injured are in critical condition.

Wednesday morning’s drone strike came just one day after Defense Minister of Pakistan Chaudhry Ahmed Mukhtar said that the issue of U.S. drone attacks is unresolved and Pakistan would continue raising the issue to the United States.

Anger against the U.S. drone strikes in the Waziristan tribal areas runs high in Pakistan because the attacks have killed hundreds of innocent people including women and kids since 2004.

This is the fifth strike of its kind in northwestern tribal area of Pakistan since the beginning of 2012. To date, 36 people have been killed and several others injured in 13 missile strikes launched by U.S. drones.


NATO Naval Group To Visit Tunisia

Tunisia Live
February 7, 2012

NATO Naval Group to Port in La Goulette, Tunisia
Asma Ghribi

NATO naval group to port at La Goulette, Tunis

A NATO naval group, SNMCMG2, will dock at the harbor of La Goulette, the northern suburb of Tunis from February 9-13, 2012.

The flagship ’Mehmetpasa’, will be accompanied by four minesweepers coming from various NATO member-nations:

• ITS Alghero – a minesweeper affiliated with the Italian Navy

• ESPS Turia – a minesweeper affiliated with the Spanish Navy

• TCG Akcakoca – a minesweeper affiliated with the Turkish Navy

• HMS Ledbury – a minesweeper affiliated with the British Navy

Captain Abdulhamit Sener from the Turkish Navy is leading the SNMCMG2, and will also chair a press conference scheduled for Friday, February 10th, on board the flagship ‘Mehmetpasa.’

This visit will provide the NATO crew with an opportunity to communicate the nature of their activities to Tunisian authorities…

The relations between Tunisia and NATO date back to 1994, when Tunisia joined the NATO Mediterranean Dialogue – a  forum of cooperation between NATO and seven non-NATO countries on the Mediterranean…


China Tells U.S. To Abandon Cold War Mentality

Xinhua News Agency
February 6, 2012

China tells US to stop groundless accusations

BEIJING: China on Monday asked the United States to abandon its ‘Cold War mentality’ and cease making groundless accusations against China, a Foreign Ministry spokesman said.

Spokesman Liu Weimin made the remark at a daily press briefing when commenting on an annual national security threat assessment report delivered by the US government.

The report stated that China has invaded American computer networks on a large scale, stolen intellectual property and conducted economic espionage. The report also named Chinese intelligence agencies as the biggest threat to the US in relevant fields for the next few years.

Liu said the accusations are ‘totally fictitious’ and were made with an ulterior motive in mind.

Cyberattacks are transnational and anonymous, Liu said, adding that it is ‘unprofessional and irresponsible’ to deduce the source of an attack without a thorough investigation.

The spokesman said China has repeatedly declared its stance on issues regarding Internet security. China is willing to continue cooperation with the international community on safeguarding Internet security, he added.

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