14 March 2012 — Stop NATO
- UN: Russia Calls For Probe Into NATO’s “Massive Bombings” In Libya
- Western Demands For Syrian Regime Change Fuel Conflict: Russia
- Caucasus, Central Asia: “Arab Spring” Brings Destabilization To Russia’s Borders
- U.S. Drone Strikes Kill At Least 16 In Pakistan
- No Missile Shield Deal Likely By NATO Summit: Russia
- CIA Chief, Turkish Prime Minister Conspire On Syria, Kurdistan Workers Party
- 580,000 U.S. Troops Transit Yearly: Pentagon Chief In Kyrgyzstan
- Six Facilities In Europe, Africa, Middle East: U.S. Navy Holds Exercise
- Thailand Hosts Joint Air Drills With U.S., Singapore
- U.S. Marines Train Ugandan Troops For Wars Abroad, At Home
- Uganda: U.S. Army Builds Combat Interoperability With African Militaries
UN: Russia Calls For Probe Into NATO’s “Massive Bombings” In Libya
Xinhua News Agency March 12, 2012
Russia calls for probe into NATO’s “massive bombings” in Libya
UNITED NATIONS: Russia on Monday called for an investigation into the “massive bombings” by NATO during last year’s Libya conflict.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov made the call at a high- level UN Security Council meeting on the current situation in the Middle East.
“The organizations or countries that volunteered to implement Security Council resolutions must give a full account of their actions to the Council. That applies to NATO also, which, as we all know, offered to secure a no-fly zone in Libya, but in reality engaged in massive bombings,” Lavrov said.
“It is sad that it is yet to begin any investigation following information about the civilian casualties caused by the massive bombings,” he said, adding “We believe that the UN secretary- general should bring clarity to the matter by invoking the 2008 Joint Declaration on UN/NATO Secretariat Cooperation.”
UN chief Ban Ki-moon was present at the council meeting, chaired by UK Foreign Secretary William Hague.
On March 9, a report by the International Commission of Inquiry on Libya, presented to the 19th Human Rights Council in Geneva, called upon NATO to investigate civilian casualties during its Libya operation.
The commission, established last March to investigate “all alleged violations of international human rights law” Libya, documented five of the 20 NATO air strikes it investigated.
A total of 60 civilians were killed and 55 injured in the five air missions, it said.
The single largest case of civilian casualties took place in the town of Majer on Aug. 8 last year, when 34 civilians died and 38 were injured, according to the report.
Commission head Philippe Kirsch has said that the commission was unable to conclude whether NATO took all necessary precautions to avoid civilian casualties due to a lack of sufficient information.
“We know that NATO has conducted an inquiry, and we asked to be informed with the results of the inquiry, but we are not; we asked to meet with NATO officials, we could not,” he said.
Western Demands For Syrian Regime Change Fuel Conflict: Russia
Russian Information Agency Novosti March 12, 2012
Calls for Syria Regime Change Fuel Conflict – Moscow
New York: Russia on Monday lashed out at the demands for regime change in Syria, support for the opposition, and calls for outside intervention, which only intensify the conflict, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said at the UN on Monday.
“The ill-considered demands for regime change, unilateral sanctions designed to cause economic difficulties and social tension in the country, pushing the opposition toward confrontation with the government… and even calls for military intervention – all of these are risky recipes that can only lead to the escalation of the conflict,” he said.
He also warned against any attempts to manipulate the UN Security Council in the context of the “Arab Spring.”
“No goals – whatever they are – may be achieved by misleading the world community, manipulating the decisions of the UN Security Council,” he said.
That applies to NATO, he continued, which undertook to ensure a no-fly regime over Libya “but in fact resorted to massive airstrikes.”
Russia is ready to endorse a UN resolution on Syria only on the basis of the five principles agreed with the Arab League, he said.
These principles include an end to the violence, setting up monitoring mechanisms, unhindered humanitarian aid supplies to all Syrians, support for UN special envoy Kofi Annan’s mission in the country, and non-interference in Syria’s internal affairs.
Caucasus, Central Asia: “Arab Spring” Brings Destabilization To Russia’s Borders
Itar-Tass March 12, 2012
Arab spring influences situation in Caucasus, Central Asia – Margelov
MOSCOW: So-called “Arab Spring” events have a direct impact on the situation in the Caucasus and Central Asia, presidential special envoy for Africa Mikhail Margelov said.
Margelov, who is also chairman of the Federation Council Foreign Affairs Committee, took part in the committee’s visiting session in Valdai on Monday. Discussions are devoted to Arab Spring events, their causes, lessons and the scenario. The session involves Russian legislators, scientists and experts, the public and businessmen. Among them are director of the Institute for Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences Vitaly Naumkin, director of the Centre for European Security Tatyana Parkhalina and president of the Institute for Middle East Studies Yevgeny Satanovsky.
During the discussions, experts tried to sum up preliminary results of the unprecedented changes in the Arab world. “Although the processes in the Middle East are developing dynamically, it is possible to sum up certain results of Russia’s policy in this region,” Margelov said. “Moreover, the consequences of the revolutions have a direct impact on the situation in the countries and regions that have borders with Russia,” the legislator added.
Other participants said, “The hopes for liberalisation in the Middle East failed. Islamists came to power after the revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt.
“However, they took power by democratic means – through elections,” political scientists said.
In their view, this is also related to Libya and Syria. “If the regime changes in Damascus, the Salafiyyah movement can be a decisive force by taking into account serious disagreements among the opposition,” experts say. The experts said they “are convinced that the sharpening of disagreements between Sunnites and Shiites are the key force of the changes in the region”.
Commenting on Russia’s role in this context, political scientists agreed that the priority of Russian diplomats “is to continue to stay above the fray”.
U.S. Drone Strikes Kill At Least 16 In Pakistan
South Asian News Agency March 13, 2012
US drone strikes martyr 16 in SWA
WANA: At least 16 persons were martyred and four others seriously wounded in the result of the two US drone strikes in South Waziristan Agency here on Tuesday.
At least nine persons were martyred in first US drone strike in the Drey Nishtar area of Birmal in South Waziristan. The drone fired four missiles on a vehicle.
The vehicle caught fire, causing the bodies to be burned and making identification difficult.
Meanwhile in a second drone strike at least seven persons were martyred and four others seriously wounded as a result of US drone strike on a vehicle in the Shawal area of the South Waziristan Agency.
Two US drones continued flights in the area after the drone strike, which created panic among the residents of the area. According to a private TV channel the people martyred in the drone attacks are local Taliban.
No Missile Shield Deal Likely By NATO Summit: Russia
Xinhua News Agency March 13, 2012
No missile defence deal likely at Russia-NATO summit: Russian official
-Russia has cooperated with some 100 countries in the military technology sphere, but so far not much headway has been made with NATO as the bloc is unwilling to share its military technologies with Russia, the ministry said.
MOSCOW: Russia does not expect to reach any agreements with the United States on missile defense issues during the Chicago Russia-NATO summit scheduled for May, the defense ministry said Tuesday.
Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov said there is insufficient time left to draft a document that would yield concrete results.
Russia has cooperated with some 100 countries in the military technology sphere, but so far not much headway has been made with NATO as the bloc is unwilling to share its military technologies with Russia, the ministry said.
“The talks with the U.S. over defense technologies have been underway for several years already. People in the White House and in Russia have come and gone, still there is no progress,” Antonov said.
Moscow has long opposed the planned deployment of U.S.-led NATO missile defense facilities near its borders and wants legally binding guarantees that the missile shield will not target Russia.
The Russian foreign ministry said earlier this month that President Dmitry Medvedev was unlikely to attend the Chicago summit if missile defense was not included on the agenda.
CIA Chief, Turkish Prime Minister Conspire On Syria, Kurdistan Workers Party
Xinhua News Agency March 14, 2012
CIA chief holds talks with Turkish PM on Syrian crisis
ANKARA: The United States’ Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) chief on Tuesday met with the Turkish prime minister on discussions over the Syrian crisis.
CIA chief David Petraeus, who paid a two-day surprise visit to Ankara, also held talks with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on their cooperation in fighting the outlawed Kurdish Workers’ Party (PKK).
Turkey is scheduled to host the second so-called “Friends of Syria” meeting on April 2, which claims to work towards a political solution to the year-long violence in Syria and a humanitarian aid corridor to help the Syrian civilians.
Erdogan and Petraeus also discussed the activities of the PKK in northern Iraq, where Turkish fighter jets have frequently conducted airstrikes since last summer.
The United States and Turkey have been closely cooperating in intelligence sharing on PKK activities and its camps in northern Iraq.
580,000 U.S. Troops Transit Yearly: Pentagon Chief In Kyrgyzstan
U.S. Department of Defense March 13, 2012
Panetta Visits Kyrgyzstan Defense Officials By Karen Parrish
BISHKEK, Kyrgyzstan: Secretary of Defense Leon E. Panetta met here today with Kyrgyzstan’s defense leaders as part of a Central Asia tour to meet with government officials and service members.
Panetta thanked Minister of Defense Taalaybek Omuraliev and Secretary of Defense Council Busurmankul Tabaldiev for Kyrgyzstan’s contribution to regional stability through its hosting of the Transit Center at Manas International Airport.
U.S. troops traveling into and out of Afghanistan pass through the transit center, which last year included about 580,000 such passengers, defense officials said.
Panetta also affirmed his commitment to stand by the current transit center agreement through its expiration in July 2014, according to staff members traveling with the secretary. The United States pays $60 million annually to the Kyrgyz government for use of the center.
Panetta emphasized during meetings here, they said, that the center serves only one purpose: to support coalition efforts in Afghanistan.
The leaders also discussed the significant bilateral achievements of the 20 years of diplomatic relations between the United States and Kyrgyzstan, staff members said.
A senior defense official, speaking on background, said the Kyrgyz minister and secretary indicated they are open to discussing options for future cooperation on a range of issues, including the Transit Center at Manas.
Six Facilities In Europe, Africa, Middle East: U.S. Navy Holds Exercise
U.S. Navy March 13, 2012
Navy EURAFSWA Installations to Participate in Reliant Defense 2012 By Lt. Timothy Hawkins, Navy Region Europe, Africa, Southwest Asia Public Affairs
-Participants will include Navy Region EURAFSWA; Naval Support Activity (NSA) Naples, Italy; Naval Air Station Sigonella, Italy; NSA Bahrain; NSA Souda Bay, Greece; Naval Station Rota, Spain; and Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti.
NAPLES, Italy: Installations in Navy Region Europe, Africa, Southwest Asia (EURAFSWA) will participate in Exercise Reliant Defense 2012 (RD-12) March 19-21.
RD-12 is one of several annual Navy security training exercises taking place worldwide. The exercise stresses areas of the Navy’s anti-terrorism program to train Navy security forces and refine force protection responses to potential threats to installations and units.
All six Navy installations throughout Europe, Africa and Southwest Asia will execute the exercise in collaboration with region headquarters in Naples, Italy.
Participants will include Navy Region EURAFSWA; Naval Support Activity (NSA) Naples, Italy; Naval Air Station Sigonella, Italy; NSA Bahrain; NSA Souda Bay, Greece; Naval Station Rota, Spain; and Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti.
Navy Region EURAFSWA delivers efficient and effective shore service support to U.S. and allied forces operating in the Europe, Africa, Southwest Asia area of responsibility.
Thailand Hosts Joint Air Drills With U.S., Singapore
U.S. Air Force March 13, 2012
Cope Tiger trilateral exercise in full swing By Capt. David Herndon Cope Tiger Public Affairs
KORAT ROYAL THAI AIR FORCE BASE, Thailand: Readiness and continued development of multilateral interoperability remains a key priority for allies and partners participating in Cope Tiger 12, a field training and large force air employment exercise that began here Mar. 12.
During the two-week exercise, more than 1,600 combined service members and civilians from the U.S., Thailand and Republic of Singapore aim to enhance cooperative relationships and improve procedures in airpower.
The colonel explained that the exercise will enable the U.S., Thailand and Singapore to better respond to a full spectrum of crises, from humanitarian and disaster response, to potential regional security threats.
The exercise includes a total of 92 aircraft and 34 air defense units. U.S. aircraft include the C-130 Hercules, A-10 Thunderbolt II, C-17 Globemaster III, and F-15 Eagle with units from Joint Base Elemendorf-Richardson Alaska; Osan Air Base, Korea; Yokota Air Base, Japan; Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii; and the Florida Air National Guard.
Five major types of training will be conducted during the exercise: dissimilar basic fighting maneuver training, dissimilar air combat tactics training, close air support training, tactical airdrop training, and large force employment training. Forces will also exercise electronic warfare, tactical airlift, search and rescue procedures, mission planning, and in-flight interoperability.
Exercise Cope Tiger aims to reinforce the U.S. commitment to the Asia-Pacific region, and demonstrates U.S. capabilities to project combined and joint forces strategically in a multilateral environment. The exercise concludes Mar. 23.
U.S. Marines Train Ugandan Troops For Wars Abroad, At Home
Marine Forces Reserve March 13, 2012
‘Small footprint, high payoff’: US Marine team trains Ugandan forces to face al-Shabaab, LRA Story by Cpl. Jad Sleiman
-U.S. military officials say mission’s like SPMAGTF-12’s could become more commonplace as troop levels in Afghanistan drop…SPMAGTF-12 has so far sent small teams into five African nations…The small task force team working with the UPDF represents one of the first significant security cooperation missions undertaken by the DoD in Uganda…The task force is built around 4th Force Reconnaissance Company, based in Alameda, Calif. The special operations capable unit is suited for what’s called “deep recon,” whereby teams operate well behind enemy lines with little to no support…SPMAGTF-12’s missions on the continent could represent an early example of a long heralded Marine Corps return to globetrotting, quick reaction operations.
KAMPALA, Uganda: A thousand miles from the nearest major American base, about 30 U.S. Marines have been training a company of Ugandan soldiers for the fight against terrorism in East Africa since arriving in country, Feb. 3.
Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force 12, the Marines’ Sicily-based parent command, is tasked with sending small training groups into Africa to partner with local militaries…across the continent.
The Uganda team of force reconnaissance, infantry, and combat engineering Marines first covered the use of a variety of weapons systems, marksmanship and field medicine, common soldiering skills Ugandan leaders say their men can use against the brutal Lord’s Resistance Army. More specialized follow on training began March 5 and is designed to help the Ugandan field engineers counter al-Shabaab insurgency tactics in Somalia, where urban obstacles and IEDs reminiscent of the war in Iraq are common.
The task force has dispatched teams across a wide swath of Africa over the course of their six month deployment in support of Marine Forces Africa, sending anywhere from five to 50 Marines into partner nations for days to months at a time. The unit is among the first of its kind and the mission in Uganda is one of its last.
From al-Shabaab to the LRA
“The soldiers on training will use the acquired knowledge in war-torn Somalia and in the hunt down of fugitive LRA commander Joseph Kony wherever he is,” said Ugandan People’s Defense Force Lt. Col. Richard C. Wakayinja, a senior officer in the field engineering unit training with the Marines.
The UPDF is simultaneously providing the bulk of the more than 9,000 African Union peacekeepers engaging al-Shabab in Somalia while also staying on the hunt for Kony and his militia as they skirt the dense wilderness of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Central African Republic and South Sudan.
Mogadishu-specific segments of training are scheduled to go over common combat engineering skills used to harden occupied urban spaces against complex attacks involving dangers like sniper and rocket fire as well as how to blast through enemy obstacles and difficult terrain…
Shifting to a smaller footprint
U.S. military officials say mission’s like SPMAGTF-12’s could become more commonplace as troop levels in Afghanistan drop in line with an approaching 2014 combat mission end date. The 180-strong unit was formed over the summer of 2011 from Marine Forces Reserve units based across the country and equipped with two KC-130 Hercules aircraft to ferry teams to and from African countries.
“Because of the past ten years, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, there haven’t been a lot of forces available for Africa,” said Army Maj. Jason B. Nicholson, Chief of the Office of Security Cooperation at the U.S. Embassy in Kampala and former Tanzania foreign area officer.
SPMAGTF-12 has so far sent small teams into five African nations…The small task force team working with the UPDF represents one of the first significant security cooperation missions undertaken by the DoD in Uganda, a nation more accustomed to State Department interaction.
Undersecretary of the Navy Robert O. Work singled out the task force as a prime example of the type of “low footprint, high payoff operations” the White House is seeking as a means of maintaining global defense postures…
A smaller U.S. force has the flexibility to move quickly, such as when a Djiboutian motor pool requested the task force’s help while preparing to deploy their first units to Mogadishu only weeks before their departure date last December. Using a small group like the one in Uganda, said Nicolson, can also simplify the complex politics associated with deploying and hosting troops in a foreign nation. Army Gen. Carter Ham noted African nations’ reluctance to host large numbers of U.S. troops as one reason for U.S. Africa Command’s headquarters to remain in Europe despite growing threats in Africa during testimony to Congress, Feb. 29.
The speed and maneuverability of slender teams, however, comes at a cost. As they partner with the UPDF, the Marines’ closest major source of U.S. support is Camp Lemonnier near Djibouti City, Djibouti. They and other task force teams operate, as unit leadership say, “alone and unafraid,” leveraging their needs against local resources and the limited supplies they can bring with them.
“We’ve grown used to operating near a base that can supply us with what we need,” said Gunnery Sgt. Brian Rivero, staff non-commissioned officer in charge of the mission. “Down here we’ve had to rely on the Ugandan economy for everything from food and water to medical care.”
The task force is built around 4th Force Reconnaissance Company, based in Alameda, Calif. The special operations capable unit is suited for what’s called “deep recon,” whereby teams operate well behind enemy lines with little to no support…
Marine leadership have grown to fear the specter of the Corps becoming a “second land Army” with dwindling relevance after more than a decade of static fighting in the Middle East. SPMAGTF-12’s missions on the continent could represent an early example of a long heralded Marine Corps return to globetrotting, quick reaction operations.
Already, a separate Marine Air Ground Task Force is planned for the Asia-Pacific region with troops basing in Darwin, Australia. The Black Sea Rotational Force first stood up in 2010 and is tasked with similar regional security partnership missions with southern and central European countries.
“The Marines are very expeditionary,” said Nicholson, explaining why SPMAGTF-12 was especially suited for the Uganda mission…
The task force teams will return to Sicily in late March before the second rotation, SPMAGTF 12.2, takes over and continues to send security and logistics cooperation teams into Uganda and other African nations…
During a week of marksmanship shoots in late February, Marine coaches followed their Ugandan counterparts closely, scrutinizing everything from foot placement to eye relief. They teach shooting and surviving by the numbers: “acquire your target, focus on your front sight post, slow steady squeeze.”
Uganda: U.S. Army Builds Combat Interoperability With African Militaries
U.S. Army Africa March 13, 2012
Army Africa, Tennessee National Guard Personnel Journey to Uganda U.S. Army Africa Public Affairs
-Fostering these positive relationships between the U.S. and African military forces increases deployment interoperability with U.S. forces in joint/combined operations, training and exercises…USARAF continues to partner with countries like Uganda, Rwanda, Burkina Faso, Botswana, Ghana, Burundi, and Togo, and is seeking to expand the program to other countries in the future.
STUTTGART, Germany: Africa Deployment Assistance Partnership Teams (ADAPT) personnel from U.S. Army Africa and Tennessee National Guard traveled to Uganda February 20-24, 2012 to conduct Phase I training for 27 members (17 Army and 10 Air Force) of the Uganda People’s Defence Force (UPDF).
ADAPT utilizes joint military traveling contact teams, such as the Tennessee National Guard, to conduct classroom instruction and hands-on training to introduce the host military to a range of deployment tasks, such as unit movement planning, hazardous material handling and compatibility, movement control basics, and air load planning to build host nation deployment capacity via a phased, long term approach.
ADAPT Phase I teaches how to prepare unit personnel, equipment and vehicles for air lift as well as plan the load plan for the transporting aircraft…
ADAPT bridges the gap between African nations limited deployment capacity and its willingness to participate in Peace Keeping Operations/Humanitarian Relief Operations. Fostering these positive relationships between the U.S. and African military forces increases deployment interoperability with U.S. forces in joint/combined operations, training and exercises.
According to Webb, USARAF training includes activities to establish an enduring deployment operations training capacity in each partner nation. Overseeing the maintenance of trainer skills and refresher training as required are part of the long-term ADAPT program. USARAF continues to partner with countries like Uganda, Rwanda, Burkina Faso, Botswana, Ghana, Burundi, and Togo, and is seeking to expand the program to other countries in the future.