Archive for the ‘NATO’ Category

Naval Shps from Around The Globe Watch For Pirates. Where is China?

December 4, 2008

Among the naval forces of the world on guard against Somali pirates, China is conspicuously absent.  Today, a Chinese general asks “If China wants to be a world power, how come we are poweless so often?”

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A Chinese general has called for the country’s navy to join the fight against Somali pirates, saying the mission would boost China’s international stature and give its sailors valuable experience in fighting open ocean combat operations far from their home ports.

Chinese ships have been among those seized in a wave of pirate attacks this year, including the fishing vessel Tianyu No. 8, seized in mid-November.

International warships from NATO and countries including Russia patrol the Gulf of Aden and have created a security corridor in the area under a U.S.-led initiative, but attacks have not abated.

Russia says it will send more ships to patrol the area off the coast of Somalia.
Russian Navy warship passes through the Suez canal and goes toward pirate patrol….

“Piracy doesn’t just interfere in our country’s navigational safety, it also impedes our development and interests,” Major General Jin Yinan told state radio.

“I think our navy should send ships to the Gulf of Aden to carry out anti-piracy duties,” Jin said, according to a transcript of the interview posted Thursday on the Web site of the official China News Service. The date of the interview was not given.

In this Nov. 11, 2008 file photo made available by Indian Navy, ... 
In this Nov. 11, 2008 file photo made available by Indian Navy, Indian warship INS Tabar, right, escorts the MV Jag Arnav ship to safety after rescuing it from a hijack attempt by Somali pirates. The Indian navy says the INS Tabar dedicated to fighting pirates has successfully fought off an attempted pirate attack in the Gulf of Aden, sparking explosions and a fire on the suspected pirate ship late Tuesday, Nov. 18.(AP Photo/Indian Navy, HO, File)

China’s People’s Liberation Army Navy has little experience operating at long-range, its primary mission being coastal patrol. However, the service is believed to have major ambitions, possibly including the eventual deployment of an aircraft carrier.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081204/ap_on_re_as/as_china_piracy_1

The French warship Nivose escorts commercial ships in the Gulf ... 
The French warship Nivose escorts commercial ships in the Gulf of Aden.(AFP/Eric Cabanis)

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Russia’s Medvedev says he’s Upbeat About America With President Obama

December 4, 2008

President Dmitry Medvedev said he hopes Russia’s relations with the United States improve after President-elect Barack Obama takes office, according to an interview released Thursday.

Moscow’s relations with Washington have been strained by disputes over U.S. missile defense plans and Russia’s war with Georgia in August.

But Medvedev dismissed suggestions that the chill could lead to a new Cold War, and said he expects the new U.S. administration “to take constructive, reasonable stance, to show willingness to compromise on the most difficult issues.”

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev,left, and Prime Minister Vladimir ...
When journalists see photographs like this from Russia they often ask, “Who is the school master?”  Russian President Dmitry Medvedev,left, and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin seen at their meeting in the Gorki residence outside Moscow, Wednesday, Dec. 3, 2008.(AP Photo/RIA-Novosti, Vladimir Rodionov, Presidential Press Service)

“What we have recently heard from Washington makes me feel moderately optimistic,” he said, without elaborating, in an interview with Indian Broadcasting Corporation Doordarshan that was posted on the Kremlin Web site Thursday.

Medvedev and Obama spoke by telephone last month, but the details of the conversation were not released.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081204/ap_on_re_eu/eu_
russia_us;_ylt=Ag2VravpuxE68McMAS2GMOms0NUE

NATO agrees to gradual reengagement with Russia

December 2, 2008

NATO foreign ministers agreed on Tuesday on a gradual resumption of contacts with Russia, suspended after Moscow’s intervention in Georgia, NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer said.

“Allies agreed on what I would qualify as a conditional and graduated reengagement with Russia,” De Hoop Scheffer told a news conference after a meeting of NATO foreign ministers in Brussels.

NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer is pictured prior ...
NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer is pictured prior the Foreign Affairs Minister meeting at the NATO Headquarters in Brussels. NATO agreed Tuesday to gradually resume high-level talks with Russia, which were frozen over the August conflict in the Caucasus, and to deepen ties with former Soviet states Georgia and Ukraine.(AFP/John Thys)

–Reuters

NATO Tells Pakistan “We Need Your Army In Tribal Areas”

December 2, 2008

Pakistan must continue military operations against militants in its tribal regions despite rising tensions with India following the terrorist attacks in Mumbai, Nato officials said on Monday.

“We hope Pakistan’s efforts (against the insurgents) are not diminished as a result of what happened” in Mumbai, Nato spokesman James Appathurai told reporters.

He made the comments as reports indicated that both Pakistan and India might send troops to their common border.

Nato which is fighting a Taliban insurgency in Afghanistan is concerned that a redeployment of Pakistani troops in the east of the country could mean reduced Pakistani military action against militants in the frontier region with Afghanistan.

Speaking ahead of a meeting of the alliance’s 26 foreign ministers in Brussels, Mr Appathurai said the new Pakistani government had shown it was determined to fight insurgents in the northern part of the country.

“This government is embracing responsibility for fighting extremism,” the spokesman said, adding: “It is Nato’s assessment that these operations are robust.”

“Nato believes that the success of Pakistan in increasing pressure on the militants over the last few months has been very valuable,” he said.

Mr Appathurai repeated that Nato soldiers were not deployed within Pakistan. “The Nato mandate ends at the border. We are not participating in any ground or air operations in Pakistan,” he said.

The alliance has deployed over 50,000 troops in Afghanistan and has said that stabilising the country is Nato’s key priority.

The war is, however, increasingly unpopular with European public opinion and in Canada.

Mr Appathurai said Nato was convinced that there was no military solution in Afghanistan and that issues of governance, development and reconstruction were part of the alliance’s “comprehensive approach” towards the country.

Nato Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer is expected to visit Pakistan later this monthin a bid to reinforce political contacts with the new government. Military contacts between Nato and Pakistan are improving.

The Nato spokesman said that Mr Scheffer had been heartened by his recent meeting with President Hamid Karzai in which the Afghan leader said that his relations with Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari were “good and trusting”.

Fighting extremism was a “shared challenge” for Afghanistan and Pakistan and both countries were part of the solution, the spokesman said.

By Shadaba Islam
Dawn Newspaper

Don’t rush Georgia and Ukraine into NATO

December 2, 2008

Several scholars have recently come forward to say it may be too early to bring Ukraine and georgia into NATO — and thus anger Russia….

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By Michael O’Hanlon
The washington Times
According to press reports, the Bush administration is pursuing a final bold foreign policy move in its last weeks. Bypassing normal procedures, it wants European allies and Canada to agree to offer Georgia and Ukraine rapid membership into NATO.

This is a singularly bad idea, much more likely to worsen U.S.-Russia relations and increase the risk of war than to do any real good for the new democracies of Central Europe.

The idea might seem a natural response to Russia’s brutal invasion of Georgia in August, by any measure a disproportionate and unwarranted action in response to tensions over the breakaway provinces of South Ossetia and Abkhazia. But as most now realize, Russia’s aggression, while unjustified, was not unprovoked. Among other things, Georgia had fired artillery rounds carelessly into disputed regions at the outset of the crisis. President Mikhail Saakashvili’s desire to reintegrate South Ossetia and Abkhazia back into Georgia proper, while understandable at one level, has been pursued with wanton disregard for the role of the international community and for the need to pursue this goal carefully and peacefully. Future policymaking must seek to deter not only Russia, but other regional actors, from the kind of irresponsible behavior that pushed the Caucasus toward all-out war just three months ago.

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/200
8/dec/02/dont-rush-georgia-and-ukraine-into-nato/

 

By Charles King
The Washington Post
Sunday, November 30, 2008; Page B02

The tiny village of Ushguli lies in an emerald-green valley in the far north of the republic of Georgia. Hemmed in by the snow-capped peaks of the Caucasus mountains, it’s a jumble of slate buildings flanking a glacier-fed stream. When I last visited, local elders showed me around the medieval stone towers that dot the countryside. A millennium ago, defense was a self-help game, and families erected private fortresses to guard against vengeful neighbors and foreign raiders.

Political leaders in the United States and Europe are careering down a path that could make faraway Ushguli the eastern border of NATO. Foreign ministers from the transatlantic alliance’s 26 member states will meet this week in Brussels to decide whether Georgia and Ukraine should take an important step toward membership. But Western leaders would be wise to act slowly, or the world’s most successful military alliance could become as irrelevant as the ancient watchtowers of the upland Caucasus.

Last April, NATO put off both countries’ applications but promised to revisit the issue in December. The August 2008 war between Georgia and Russia has sharpened the debate. To some Western observers, Russia’s intervention in Georgia demonstrated the need to expand the alliance and block Moscow’s imperial ambitions. Without the security guarantees provided by NATO membership, the logic goes, both Georgia and Ukraine will find themselves increasingly threatened by the bear lumbering forth from the Kremlin.

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/w
p-dyn/content/article/2008/11/2
8/AR2008112802251.html

Pakistan: Taliban Ground Attacks Continue on NATO, U.S. Supplies

December 1, 2008

Militants in northwestern Pakistan attacked trucks ferrying supplies to NATO and U.S. forces in Afghanistan on Monday, killing two people and destroying a dozen vehicles, witnesses and police said.

Meanwhile, a suicide bomber killed eight people and wounded 40 others at a military checkpoint in the region’s Swat Valley, police said.

By RIAZ KHAN, Associated Press Writer

A Pakistani examines burnt trucks caused by insurgents' attack ... 
A Pakistani examines burnt trucks caused by insurgents’ attack at the Fasial terminal in Peshawar, Pakistan, on Monday, Dec. 1, 2008. Insurgents attacked the terminal used by trucks ferrying supplies to NATO and U.S. forces in Afghanistan on Monday, destroying three and wounding one person, police and a witness said.(AP Photo/Muhammad Sajjad)

The spasm of violence comes amid a spike in tensions between Pakistan and rival India over last week’s terror attacks in Mumbai, which New Delhi has blamed on Pakistani militants.

Pakistan has condemned the attacks and vowed to crack down on the perpetrators if New Delhi provides evidence. But there are fears that tensions could nevertheless boil over between the nuclear-armed rivals.

The attack on the U.S.-led coalition trucks took place at a terminal in Peshawar, which sits along the supply route from Pakistan to Afghanistan. The city has seen an upsurge in violence in recent weeks, including the slaying of an American working on a U.S.-funded aid project.

Several gunmen fired rockets and automatic weapons at the Faisal terminal, killing a driver and a clerk and destroying 12 trucks, said police officer Ahsanullah Khan.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081201/ap_on_re_as/as_
pakistan;_ylt=AhPtU2i3Cs8RFrbrYw48Z2qs0NUE

Russia Wants NATO, Europe To Ease Moscow’s Suspicions

November 30, 2008

Russia has reason to feel betrayed by the process of NATO expansion, begun in 1997. Seven years earlier, the Russians believe, American and German officials working on German reunification pledged not to take advantage of Moscow‘s weakness by extending NATO into Russia’s traditional backyard. By reneging on that promise, Western leaders have made Russians doubt their trustworthiness.

By Michael Mandelbaum | NEWSWEEK

To the Kremlin, the expansion process has also seemed to be based on dishonest premises. U.S. officials advertised it as a way of promoting democracy, of forcing ex-Soviet states to reform. But the democratic commitment of NATO’s first ex-communist entrants—Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic—was never in doubt. And if the Americans truly believed that NATO membership was the best way to guarantee free elections and constitutional rights, why didn’t they immediately offer it to the largest ex-communist country of them all, Russia itself? Instead, Moscow was told it would never be able to join.

NATO expansion taught Russia another lesson. The process went ahead because Moscow was too weak to stop it. This told the Russians that to have a say in European affairs, they needed to be able to assert themselves militarily. Last summer’s war in Georgia was one result.

Given this history, what should the West do now about Russia? We have no good options. In the wake of the war, some in the United States renewed the call to welcome Georgia into NATO. But NATO is a mutual-defense pact. Making Georgia a member would mean that we’d have to come to the country’s aid should fighting with Russia break out once more. This would require putting Western troops, tanks, aircraft and perhaps even nuclear weapons on Russia’s border—to which the Russians would respond with comparable forces. The U.S. military is already seriously overstretched by the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Yet doing nothing would look like a retreat in the face of Russian aggression.

In the short term, the incoming U.S. president needs to think like a doctor: “First, do no harm.” This means deferring any offer of NATO membership to Georgia (and Ukraine, for that matter). Some may object that this will reward Russia for its belligerence. Perhaps, but the consequences of deferral are preferable to the costs of expansion—including a serious deterioration in relations with Moscow.

At the same time, the West should renew its security cooperation with Russia. NATO must eventually either include Russia or give….

Read the rest:
http://www.newsweek.com/id/171258

Russia applauds U.S. moves on NATO membership

November 28, 2008

Russia welcomes a decision by the U.S. government to back away from granting fast-track NATO membership to ex-Soviet republics Georgia and Ukraine at the alliance’s summit later this month, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said on Thursday.

“I am satisfied common sense prevailed,” he told reporters during a visit to Havana. “Whatever the reasons, European pressure or whatever else, the main thing is that they (Washington) no longer push ahead with their previous ferociousness and senselessness.”

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on Wednesday pulled back from offering Georgia and Ukraine a formal roadmap to join NATO and said Britain had proposed finding other ways to bring them into the alliance.

Russia strongly opposes giving NATO membership to the two states although Washington led a push for the alliance to allow them in through a so-called Membership Action Plan, or MAP. Moscow’s opposition stiffened following its brief war with Georgia earlier this year.

(Reporting by Oleg Shchedrov in Havana; writing by Patrick Markey; editing by Bill Trott at Reuters)

Poland Won’t Lobby Obama on Missile Defense

November 20, 2008

Poland’s foreign minister said yesterday that his country will wait for the Obama administration to make up its mind on basing missile defense interceptors in his country and will not lobby to have the project proceed.

Saying that the Warsaw government had agreed “out of friendship” to the Bush administration proposal to establish a U.S. base for 10 interceptor missiles in Poland, Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski added: “We will tread carefully and wait until the new administration makes its decision.”

By Walter Pincus
The Washington Post
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The controversial European basing plan, which also involves placing a U.S. radar unit in the Czech Republic, is to be part of a broader missile defense system that the Bush administration has said is designed to intercept Iranian missiles aimed either at U.S. or European targets. Russia has voiced strong objections to the plan.

Sikorski’s remarks, made during an appearance at the Atlantic Council of the United States, a bipartisan foreign policy organization, reflect the modification of a statement posted Nov. 8 on the Web site of Polish President Lech Kaczynski. The statement said that during Kaczynski’s conversation congratulating Barack Obama, the president-elect said that “the missile defense project would continue.”
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Read the rest:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/w
p-dyn/content/article/2008/11/1
9/AR2008111903737.html

Estonian Spy Sent U.S. Missile Defense and Other NATO Secrets to Russia

November 19, 2008

A high-ranking Estonian defence official has been charged with treason, accused of passing sensitive NATO information to the Russian government for the past several years.

Estonian sources told Peace and Freedom that Herbert Simm of Estonia has sold US Eastern Euro defense plan, computer codes, missle defense secrets to Russia.

Spy
Above: Herbert Simm
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Current.com

According to the British newspaper “The Times”, Herman Simm, a former Estonian Defence Ministry official, could have passed top NATO secrets to Russia. Simm, who was arrested in September under charges of espionage and treason, was responsible for handling all of the country’s classified information incoming from NATO and other allied countries.

“The Times” calls it the most serious case of espionage against NATO since the end of the Cold War. Because of his high profile, it is suspected he might have also assisted in letting through other Russian agents.

Estonia is a former Soviet republic, but has one of the more succesful economies amongst former Eastern block countries. Thanks to government efforts, the computer literacy and public IT infrastucture are at a very high level. However, the country has had problems dealing with Russia – this included mass riots after a decision to move a Soviet war memorial, and a massive cyber-attack on the country’s infrastructure that ensued right afterwards. The attack was traced back to Russia, with many suspecting the Russian government of organising it.

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Times (UK)

A spy at the heart of Nato may have passed secrets on the US missile shield and cyber-defence to Russian Intelligence, it has emerged.

Herman Simm, 61, an Estonian defence ministry official who was arrested in September, was responsible for handling all of his country’s classified information at Nato, giving him access to every top-secret graded document from other alliance countries.

He was recruited by the Russians in the late 1980s and has been charged in Estonia with supplying information to a foreign power.

Several investigation teams from both the EU and Nato, under the supervision of a US officer, have flown to the Estonian capital Tallinn to assess the scope of what is being seen as the most serious case of espionage against Nato since the end of the Cold War.

Read the rest:
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/europe/article5166227.ece

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