NATO Expansion, Missile Deployments And Russia’s New Military Doctrine

Developments related to military and security matters in Europe and Asia have been numerous this month and condensed into less than a week of meetings, statements and initiatives on issues ranging from missile shield deployments to the unparalleled escalation of the world’s largest war and from a new security system for Europe to a new Russian military doctrine.

A full generation after the end of the Cold War and almost that long since the breakup of the Soviet Union, the past week’s events are evocative of another decade and another century. Twenty or more years ago war in Afghanistan and controversial missile placements in Europe were current news in a bipolar world.

Twenty years afterward, with no Soviet Union, no Warsaw Pact and a greatly diminished and truncated Russia, the United States and NATO have militarized Europe to an unprecedented degree – in fact subordinating almost the entire continent under a Washington-dominated military bloc – and have launched the most extensive combat offensive in South Asia in what is already the longest war in the world.

Of 44 nations in Europe and the Caucasus (excluding microstates and the NATO pseudo-state of Kosovo), only six – Belarus, Cyprus, Malta, Moldova, Russia and Serbia – have escaped having their citizens conscripted by NATO for deployment to the Afghan war front. That number will soon shrink yet further.

Of those 44 countries, only two – Cyprus and Russia – are not members of NATO or its Partnership for Peace transitional program and Cyprus is under intense pressure to join the second.

On February 4 and 5 all 28 NATO defense chiefs met for two days of deliberations in Istanbul, Turkey which concentrated on the war in Afghanistan, the bloc’s military deployment in Kosovo and accelerated plans for expanding a world-wide interceptor missile system to Eastern Europe and the Middle East. That gathering followed by eight days a two-day meeting of the NATO Military Committee in Brussels which included 63 military chiefs from NATO nations and 35 Troop Contributing Nations, as the bloc designates them, including the top military commanders of Israel and Pakistan. That conference focused on the Afghan war and NATO’s new Strategic Concept to be officially formalized at an Alliance summit later this year.

The commander of all 150,000 U.S. and NATO troops in Afghanistan, General Stanley McChrystal, attended both two-day meetings. Pentagon chief Robert Gates presided over the second and “Afghanistan and missile defense are examples of the new priorities that Gates wants NATO to focus on.” [1]

As indicated by the number of Chiefs of Defense Staff in attendance at the Brussels meetings – 63 – NATO’s reach has been extended far beyond Europe and North America over the past decade. Troops serving under the bloc’s command in Afghanistan come from every inhabited continent, the Middle East and Oceania: Australia has the largest non-member contingent with over 1,500 soldiers, and other non-European nations like Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Colombia, Egypt, Georgia, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea and the United Arab Emirates have troops in Afghanistan or on the way there.

On the day the Istanbul NATO defense ministers meeting began Romanian President Traian Basescu announced that he had granted the Obama administration’s request to base U.S. interceptor missiles in his nation, following by five weeks the news that U.S. Patriot anti-ballistic missiles would be stationed in a part of Poland a half hour drive from Russia’s westernmost border.

The next day, February 5, which marked two months since the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) between the U.S. and Russia regulating the reduction of nuclear weapons and delivery systems expired, [2] the Russian Interfax news agency announced that “President Dmitry Medvedev has endorsed Russia’s military doctrine and basic principles of its nuclear deterrence policy in the period up to 2020….” [3]

The same source cited Security Council Deputy Secretary and former Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces Yury Baluyevsky commenting on the new doctrine: “It is planned to develop the ground, sea, and aerial components of the nuclear triad….Russia needs to guarantee its consistent democratic development using such a stability guarantor as nuclear weapons, as a form of strategic deterrence….Russia reserves the right to use nuclear weapons only if its very existence as a state is endangered.” [4]

Commentary in the Indian daily The Hindu specified that “The doctrine details 11 external military threats to Russia, seven of which are traced to the West. NATO´s eastward expansion and its push for a global role are identified as the number one threat to Russia.”

The feature added: “The U.S. is the source of other top threats listed in the doctrine even though the country is never mentioned in the document. These include attempts to destabilise countries and regions and undermine strategic stability; military build-ups in neighbouring states and seas; the creation and deployment of strategic missile defences, as well as the militarisation of outer space and deployment of high-precision non-nuclear strategic systems.”

Regarding the timing of the authorization of Russia’s new military strategy, the report connected it with recent U.S. missile shield decisions and the START talks between Washington and Moscow still dragging on.

“The new defence doctrine was signed into law and published a day after Romania announced plans to deploy U.S. interceptor missiles as part of a global missile shield fiercely opposed by Russia. Earlier reports said the Kremlin had been holding back the doctrine, prepared last year, because it did not want to jeopardise talks with the U.S. on a new nuclear arms pact that are still going on.” [5]

A similar observation was made in a report from China’s Xinhua News Agency:

“Analysts say the Romanian decision came at a crucial moment when Washington and Moscow are about to sign a successor document to the expired Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START-1). Therefore, the move may upset the thawing Russia-U.S. relations and put their bilateral ties to test.” [6]

The new Russian Military Doctrine (in Russian at http://news.kremlin.ru/ref_notes/461) listed under the heading of “Main external threats of war” the following concerns, with the most pressing first: Read more of this post

Afghanistan and NATO: Figleaf Summit

Eric Walberg | The plan voiced at the London Afghanistan conference to pay off the Taliban is belied by the plan at the Brussels NATO conference two days earlier to bomb them into submission.

London has been the venue of a three-ring Middle East circus over the past month. There is the ongoing Chilcot inquiry into the (il)legality of British participation in the invasion of Iraq. Two of the five committee members are Zionists — Sir Martin Gilbert a militant Zionist, and Sir Lawrence Freedman the drafter of Blair’s invasion policy. Despite the deck being stacked, witness after witness has testified the invasion was illegal, and former British prime minister Tony Blair was booed after telling the inquiry he has no regrets.

Then there was an impromptu conference on “saving” Yemen, which the five major Yemeni opposition parties denounced as “intended to save the political regime in Yemen.” Yemen is described by a British official as “Afghanistan with a sea”.

Just as farcical was last week’s summit on Afghanistan, called to “move the international effort forward in key areas of security, governance, development, and regional support.” In reality, it was a cosmetic follow-up to the war council held two days earlier at NATO headquarters in Brussels, where the NATO Military Committee met, bringing together the chiefs of defence of all 28 member states along with 35 “partners”, wannabes and observers — an astounding 63 nations.

The news from Afghanistan is uniformly chilling. US military deaths this January were more than double last year’s record figure. Insurgents are carrying out one daring attack after another across the country, prompting NATO to launch Israeli drones in the attempt to terrify Afghans into submission. A fierce eight-hour attack on UN headquarters in Helmand last week came, ironically, as Karzai and UN Special Representative Kai Eide served up olive branches to the Taliban, removing some from their terror list and offering them a half billion dollars. Eide claims negotiations have begun, though Taliban spokesmen dismiss the offers and talk of talks.

The conferees in London piously asked that the Taliban give up their links with Al-Qaeda and stop threatening the world. But the Taliban have never tried to export their beliefs. And the supposed link with Al-Qaeda is a false flag, since the Taliban and Al-Qaeda (to what extent it even exists) have never been operating together — until recently, when the NATO surge and Pakistani offensive against its own Taliban picked up steam, presumably boosting Al-Qaeda enlistment and encouraging the very cooperation that the West is supposedly against.

US Special Envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan Richard Holbrooke understands this, as revealed by his statement to reporters on the sidelines of the London summit that more than “two-thirds of the Taliban are not extremists.” Ergo, if Obama wants to rid the world of the Al-Qaeda threat, the logical thing would be to stop invading Muslim countries and inciting the people to take up arms and work with any forces against the invaders.

The Karzai regime is by now entirely threadbare. Only London summiteers give Karzai a soapbox anymore. And the only sign of democracy in Afghanistan these days are the occasional demos by Afghans hopelessly protesting the torture and murder of their loved ones by ISAF (International Security Assistance Force) troops. What is clearer each day is that the US invasion has now hardened into a civil war, with some poverty-stricken Afghans reluctantly pretending to be an army paid in dollars to face their Muslim brothers who are fighting for their country and their faith, a horrifying reality that can only mean continuing slaughter until the invaders flee.

The poor UN is flailing about helplessly in the quagmire, supporting the US in its occupation, but at the same time, warning that “widespread and systematic” secret detention of terror suspects could pave the way for charges of crimes against humanity. Western troops, notably the US and Canadian, have been arresting “suspects” and sending them to secret detention areas on military bases, often on the slightest suspicion and without the knowledge of their families. These night raids have become even more feared and hated in Afghanistan than coalition airstrikes. The scandal hit the Canadian government last month and forced the Conservatives there to shut down parliament to stave off an investigation which would most likely lead to their own demise.

At the real Afghanistan conference — the war council in Brussels, Russian Ambassador to NATO Dmitry Rogozin, with tongue bitterly in cheek, offered to rebuild the infrastructure and factories the Soviet Union built during its own ill-fated attempt to bring Afghanistan into the 20th c, undermined by US arms supplied to US-backed mujaheddin in the 1980-90s. He understandably wants this to be funded by the West, since it was responsible for the destruction in the first place.

Rogozin told Der Speigel that Russia is far more concerned about the flow of heroin that became a flood after the US invasion, rather than any possible military threat from the Taliban. “Each year, 30,000 human lives are lost in Russia because of Afghan heroin.” He did not spell this out in detail, but is no doubt aware that US forces are actually abetting the smuggling, as documented by many sources, including former British ambassador to Uzbekistan Craig Murray, who himself witnessed the pretend-border controls on the Afghanistan-Uzbekistan border in 2004. Scanners and sniffing dogs were simply bypassed by the chief smuggler — current Chief of Staff to the Commander in Chief of the Afghan Army Abdel Rashid Dostum, a native Uzbek who has close working relations with Uzbekistan President Islam Karimov. Rogozin accused NATO forces of ignoring the problem: “They think it’s not their problem, because Afghan heroin mostly goes to Central Asia and Russia.”

The proposal by British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and NATO General Secretary Fogh Rasmussen to double the Afghan Security Forces, soldiers and police to a level of 300,000 and speed up the withdrawal of foreign troops prompted a nervous Karzai to predict that foreign troops would be needed for 10-15 years.

Perhaps a few Taliban really have sat down with UN reps, possibly to draw them in with false promises. Not surprisingly, many starving young Afghans are willing to sell out their brothers to feed themselves and their families. But the many instances of Afghan police, soldiers — even translators — defecting to the Taliban, or suddenly turning on their masters and collaborators and killing them before themselves dying as martyrs or escaping to freedom should be a warning to the occupiers.

This is intuitively understood by most Westerners, whether or not they admire the fighters. Despite uniformly pro-war media in the West, a majority of Canadians and Europeans (even occasionally Americans) realise the war is pointless, and want their troops to come home immediately. Germans are 80 per cent against sending further forces. Only because German Chancellor Angel Merkel’s Christian Democrats faced a divided opposition and apathetic electorate was she able to stay on as leader and offer up her soldiers to the US in some kind of gruesome, misguided sacrificial offering for Germany’s many past sins.

The occupation of Afghanistan was not an unpremeditated blunder, just as with the occupation of Iraq or the possible occupation of Yemen. The wars are part of the extension of US power to all corners of the globe, a process that has quietly been accelerating in the past two decades, confirmed last week by US proconsul Hillary Clinton’s presence at both the Yemen and Afghanistan conferences in London, as well as their outcomes.

The current composition of ISAF reflects this consolidation, with troops from South America, Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union, all the way to Korea, New Zealand and possibly soon India. Even Jordan, Egypt and the UAE have support personnel helping out. Consider for a moment: troops from all these countries and continents are, under US command, fighting a war in Central Asia, with the UN scurrying in behind them to give the whole operation a patina of respectability.

The fact that the mightiest war machine in history is being tripped up by a handful of ragged-trousered, determined young men is astounding. Obama’s vow to start evacuating (excuse me, withdrawing) troops by next year, despite Gates’ blustering denial and Karzai’s hopes, now hovers over this criminal adventure as a sword of Damocles.

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Pentagon Confronts Russia In The Baltic Sea

Rick Rozoff | Twelve months ago a new U.S. administration entered the White House as the world entered a new year.

Two and a half weeks later the nation’s new vice president, Joseph Biden, spoke at the annual Munich Security Conference and said “it’s time to press the reset button and to revisit the many areas where we can and should be working together with Russia.”

Incongruously to any who expected a change in tact if not substance regarding strained U.S.-Russian relations, in the same speech Biden emphasized that, using the “New World Order” shibboleth of the past generation at the end, “Two months from now, the members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization will gather to celebrate the 60th year of this Alliance. This Alliance has been the cornerstone of our common security since the end of World War II. It has anchored the United States in Europe and helped forge a Europe whole and free.” [1]

Six months before, while Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, he rushed to the nation of Georgia five days after the end of the country’s five-day war with Russia as an emissary for the George W. Bush administration, and pledged $1 billion in assistance to the beleaguered regime of former U.S. resident Mikheil Saakashvili.

To demonstrate how serious Biden and the government he represented were about rhetorical gimmicks like reset buttons, four months after his Munich address Biden visited Ukraine and Georgia to shore up their “color revolution”-bred heads of state (outgoing Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko is married to a Chicagoan and former Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush official) in their anti-Russian and pro-NATO stances.

While back in Georgia he insisted “We understand that Georgia aspires to join NATO. We fully support that aspiration.”

In Ukraine he said “As we reset the relationship with Russia, we reaffirm our commitment to an independent Ukraine, and we recognize no sphere of influence or no ability of any other nation to veto the choices an independent nation makes,” [2] also in reference to joining the U.S.-dominated military bloc. Biden’s grammar may have been murky, but his message was unmistakeably clear.

Upon his return home Biden gave an interview to the Wall Street Journal, the contents of which were indicated by the title the newspaper gave its account of them – “Biden Says Weakened Russia Will Bend to U.S.” – and which were characterized by the Center for Strategic and International Studies as “the most critical statements from a senior administration official to date vis-a-vis Russia.” [3]

It took the Barack Obama government eight months to make its first friendly gesture to Russia. In September of last year the American president and Defense Secretary Robert Gates announced that they were abandoning the Bush administration’s plan to station ten ground-based midcourse interceptor missiles in Poland in favor of a “stronger, smarter, and swifter” alternative.

The new system would rely on the deployment of Aegis class warships equipped with SM-3 (Standard Missile-3) missiles – with a range of at least 500 kilometers (310 miles) – which “provide the flexibility to move interceptors from one region to another if needed,” [4] in Gates’ words.

The first location for their deployment will be the Baltic Sea according to all indications.

The proximity of Russia’s two largest cities, St. Petersburg and Moscow, especially the first, to the Baltic coast makes the basing of American warships with interceptor missiles in that sea the equivalent of Russia stationing comparable vessels with the same capability in the Atlantic Ocean near Delaware Bay, within easy striking distance of New York City and Washington, D.C.

Although Washington canceled the earlier interceptor missile plans for Poland, on January 20 the defense ministry of that country announced that not only would the Pentagon go ahead with the deployment of a Patriot Advanced Capability-3 anti-ballistic missile battery in the country, but that it would be based on the Baltic Sea coast 35 miles from Russia’s Kaliningrad district. [5]

The previous month Viktor Zavarzin, the head of the Defense Committee of the Russian State Duma (the lower house of parliament), said “Russia is concerned with how rapidly new NATO members are upgrading their military infrastructure” and “that Russia was especially concerned with the reconstruction of air bases in the Baltic countries for NATO’s purposes which include signal and air intelligence radio of Russian territory.” [6]

As it should be.

Since the Baltic Sea nations of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania were ushered into NATO as full members in 2004, warplanes from Alliance member states have shared four-month rotations in patrolling the region, with two U.S. deployments to date.

Shortly before the patrols began almost six years ago the Russian media reported that “Relations between Russia and Estonia have been tense ever since NATO built a radar station on the Russian-Estonian border last year. On March 23, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Yakovenko warned Russia would retaliate ‘if NATO planes fly over Russian borders after the Baltic nations join the alliance.'” [7] Read more of this post

Cricket terrorism

Sultan M Hali | India has used every excuse possible to turn it into an instrument of terror. It has used coercive diplomacy, taking full advantage of the reconstruction opportunity in Afghanistan to launch terror attacks in Pakistan. 9/11 was used as a ploy to ditch its erstwhile ally Russia and join the US camp to take up cudgels against Pakistan. The Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipeline was employed as a tool of intimidation and blackmail. The Confidence Building Measures by Pakistan were misused by India as a ploy for oppression and viewed as a sign of Pakistan’s weakness. Other nations including Pakistan make use of sports, culture and fine arts to enhance relations especially when tensions are rising. Pakistan’s president Zia-ul-Haq used cricket diplomacy to diffuse the chances of conflict between Pakistan and India when there was fear of war between the two during the Operation Brass-tacks era.

Unfortunately, India is exploiting the event of sports, especially cricket for terrorizing Pakistan. Earlier too Hindu extremists have threatened to attack and maim Pakistani cricketers in pursuance of their nefarious chauvinistic designs. They have dug up cricket pitches, created furor by inciting crowd vandalism to disrupt matches which appeared to be going against India. In the early days of Pakistan-India cricket fixtures, readers may recall an incident when Pakistan team was visiting India for a cricket series, Pakistan’s star batsman Hanif Muhammad was approached by an Indian fanatic posing to be a “fan”, who wanted to shake hands with the “Little Master” on the eve of the match. Innocently Hanif Muhammad extended his hand, but a blade concealed between the fingers of the “fan” cut his hand badly. That is another story that with a bandaged hand and three stitches, the master player went on to score 202 runs. Pakistani players playing for the Indian Premier League (IPL) who were stuck in Mumbai following the attacks on 26/11/2007 were threatened to be assassinated by Hindu militants as retaliation for the assault. Pakistani teams have time and again been threatened to desist from visiting India.

The forthcoming cricket “World Cup”, which is to be hosted by South Asia in 2011, with the venues to be divided between Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and India was sabotaged for Pakistan. Initially India raised the specter of terror threats to visiting teams in Pakistan, which caused Australia, New Zealand and England to abstain from playing in Pakistan. Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, in a show of solidarity with us, decided to send their cricket teams to Pakistan. Reportedly, Indian intelligence agency RAW organized a deadly attack on the visiting cricket team at Lahore, sealing the fate of Pakistan as venue for the World Cup. This is not only going to deprive Pakistan of revenues and Pakistani fans the chance of witnessing exciting cricket matches, but also divest the national team of vital match practice, contributing to its dismal match performance in the recent past. The latest machination by the protagonists of Hindutva and Indian extremists, in humiliating Pakistani cricketers in the IPL is not only distasteful, but requires condemnation at the international level. Pakistani cricketers are not only the world champions in the 20/20 form of cricket, but have also rendered match winning performances in their various teams during the previous IPL tournaments. They should have been in demand by each and every team contesting in the IPL. Initially, problems were created in the issuance of visas for the Pakistani players, and then they were told to face the ignominy of facing auctioneering by different team sponsors/proprietors. Once the Pakistani players were placed for bidding, to their utter humiliation, not a single Pakistani cricketer was bid for. It has now emerged that the farcical auction was engineered by RAW and militant Hindus. Rajasthan Royals’ co-owner Shilpa Shetty, co-owner of Kings XI Punjab Preity Zinta and Shahrukh Khan of Kolkata Knight riders have confirmed that the Hindu Extremist organization Shiv Sena and goons of RAW’s underworld mafia threatened the bidders to refrain from hiring Pakistani Cricket stars at the auction of the players for the 3rd session of IPL.

Without clearly naming Shiv Sena and RAW goons, the Bollywood sensations have expressed that they were threatened that if they would opt for hiring Pak cricketers, they (Pak Cricketers) would be badly harmed by them ( the Shiv Sena and RAW goons). Apart from the showbiz beauties who were amongst the bidder at the IPL auction some business tycoons at the auction, including Ness Wadia and Mukesh Ambani have also expressed the same while talking to media or commenting over the situation at private functions in Mumbai. The bidders have confirmed that the Pakistani cricketers were in great demand while some impartial and saner elements of the Indian media have disclosed opinion polls reflecting the choice of Indian fans who voted in the excess of 72% to see the star performers from Pakistani cricket playing on their soil.

On the other side, Indian belligerent leaders continue to threaten Pakistan with dire consequences if 26/11 type attacks are repeated. Indian threatening attitude has taken the extreme situation, where they see PAF’s preparations for war games at Sargodha as threatening for India. Sargodha is situated in the heart of the Punjab and is a Main Operating airbase, yet it is being described as a border city and the trenches and tunnels dug for war-games, have been construed as threatening postures. Indian Air Defence has gone so berserk that it mistook its own aircraft on the radar and declared them as hostile intruders and was preparing to take punitive action. Under these circumstances, Pakistan should boycott the IPL matches. No Pakistani cable operator should broadcast the IPL matches in Pakistan. During the Cricket World Cup, Pakistan should refuse to play any match on Indian soil. In one of the previous World Cup cricket tournaments, Australia had refused to play in Sri Lanka; we can adopt a similar policy for India. Such drastic steps will expose Indian belligerence and cricket terrorism and bear pressure on it from using sports fixtures for its nefarious ends.


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Bases, Missiles, Wars: U.S. Consolidates Global Military Network

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Rick Rozoff | Afghanistan is occupying center stage at the moment, but in the wings are complementary maneuvers to expand a string of new military bases and missile shield facilities throughout Eurasia and the Middle East.

The advanced Patriot theater anti-ballistic missile batteries in place or soon to be in Egypt, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Israel, Japan, Kuwait, the Netherlands, Poland, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Taiwan, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates describe an arc stretching from the Baltic Sea through Southeast Europe to the Eastern Mediterranean Sea and the Caucasus and beyond to East Asia. A semicircle that begins on Russia’s northwest and ends on China’s northeast.

Over the past decade the United States has steadily (though to much of the world imperceptibly) extended its military reach to most all parts of the world. From subordinating almost all of Europe to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization through the latter’s expansion into Eastern Europe, including the former Soviet Union, to arbitrarily setting up a regional command that takes in the African continent (and all but one of its 53 nations). From invading and establishing military bases in the Middle East and Central and South Asia to operating a satellite surveillance base in Australia and taking charge of seven military installations in South America. In the vacuum left in much of the world by the demise of the Cold War and the former bipolar world, the U.S. rushed in to insert its military in various parts of the world that had been off limits to it before.

And this while Washington cannot even credibly pretend that it is threatened by any other nation on earth.

It has employed a series of tactics to accomplish its objective of unchallenged international armed superiority, using an expanding NATO to build military partnerships not only throughout Europe but in the Caucasus, the Middle East, North and West Africa, Asia and Oceania as well as employing numerous bilateral and regional arrangements.

The pattern that has emerged is that of the U.S. shifting larger concentrations of troops from post-World War II bases in Europe and Japan to smaller, more dispersed forward basing locations south and east of Europe and progressively closer to Russia, Iran and China.

The ever-growing number of nations throughout the world being pulled into Washington’s military network serve three main purposes.

First, they provide air, troop and weapons transit and bases for wars like those against Yugoslavia, Afghanistan and Iraq, for naval operations that are in fact blockades by other names, and for regional surveillance.

Second, they supply troops and military equipment for deployments to war and post-conflict zones whenever and wherever required.

Last, allies and client states are incorporated into U.S. plans for an international missile shield that will put NATO nations and select allies under an impenetrable canopy of interceptors while other nations are susceptible to attack and deprived of the deterrent effect of being able to retaliate.

The degree to which these three components are being integrated is advancing rapidly. The war in Afghanistan is the major mechanism for forging a global U.S. military nexus and one which in turn provides the Pentagon the opportunity to obtain and operate bases from Southeast Europe to Central Asia.

One example that illustrates this global trend is Colombia. In early August the nation’s vice president announced that the first contingent of Colombian troops were to be deployed to serve under NATO command in Afghanistan. Armed forces from South America will be assigned to the North Atlantic bloc to fight a war in Asia. The announcement of the Colombian deployment came shortly after another: That the Pentagon would acquire seven new military bases in Colombia.

When the U.S. deploys Patriot missile batteries to that nation – on its borders with Venezuela and Ecuador – the triad will be complete.

Afghanistan is occupying center stage at the moment, but in the wings are complementary maneuvers to expand a string of new military bases and missile shield facilities throughout Eurasia and the Middle East.

On January 28 the British government will host a conference in London on Afghanistan that, in the words of what is identified as the UK Government’s Afghanistan website, will be co-hosted by Prime Minister Gordon Brown, Afghanistan’s President Karzai and United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and co-chaired by British Foreign Minister David Miliband, his outgoing Afghan counterpart Rangin Spanta, and UN Special Representative to Afghanistan, Kai Eide.

The site announces that “The international community are [sic] coming together to fully align military and civilian resources behind an Afghan-led political strategy.” [1]

The conference will also be attended by “foreign ministers from International Security Assistance Force partners, Afghanistan’s immediate neighbours and key regional player [sic].”

Public relations requirements dictate that concerns about the well-being of the Afghan people, “a stable and secure Afghanistan” and “regional cooperation” be mentioned, but the meeting will in effect be a war council, one that will be attended by the foreign ministers of scores of NATO and NATO partner states.

In the two days preceding the conference NATO’s Military Committee will meet at the Alliance’s headquarters in Brussels, Belgium. “Together with the Chiefs of Defence of all 28 NATO member states, 35 Chiefs of Defence of Partner countries and Troop Contributing Nations will also be present.” [2]

That is, top military commanders from 63 nations – almost a third of the world’s 192 countries – will gather at NATO Headquarters to discuss the next phase of the expanding war in South Asia and the bloc’s new Strategic Concept. Among those who will attend the two-day Military Committee meeting are General Stanley McChrystal, in charge of all U.S. and NATO troops in Afghanistan; Admiral James Stavridis, chief U.S. military commander in Europe and NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander; Pakistani Chief of the Army Staff General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani and Israeli Chief of General Staff Gabi Ashkenazi.

Former American secretary of state Madeleine Albright has been invited to speak about the Strategic Concept on behalf of the twelve-member Group of Experts she heads, whose task it is to promote NATO’s 21st century global doctrine.

The Brussels meeting and London conference highlight the centrality that the war in Afghanistan has for the West and for its international military enforcement mechanism, NATO.

During the past few months Washington has been assiduously recruiting troops from assorted NATO partnership program nations for the war in Afghanistan, including from Armenia, Bahrain, Bosnia, Colombia, Jordan, Moldova, Mongolia, Montenegro, Ukraine and other nations that had not previously provided contingents to serve under NATO in the South Asian war theater. Added to forces from all 28 NATO member states and from Partnership for Peace, Mediterranean Dialogue, Istanbul Cooperation Initiative, Adriatic Charter and Contact Country programs, the Pentagon and NATO are assembling a coalition of over fifty nations for combat operations in Afghanistan.

Almost as many NATO partner nations as full member states have committed troops for the Afghanistan-Pakistan war: Afghanistan itself, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Australia, Austria, Bahrain, Colombia, Egypt, Finland, Georgia, Ireland, Jordan, Macedonia, Mongolia, Montenegro, New Zealand, Pakistan, Singapore, South Korea, Sweden, Ukraine and the United Arab Emirates.

The Afghan war zone is a colossal training ground for troops from around the world to gain wartime experience, to integrate armed forces from six continents under a unified command, and to test new weapons and weapons systems in real-life combat conditions.

Not only candidates for NATO membership but all nations in the world the U.S. has diplomatic and economic leverage over are being pressured to support the war in Afghanistan.

The American Forces Press Service featured a story last month about the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force’s Regional Command East which revealed: “In addition to…French forces, Polish forces are in charge of battle space, and the Czech Republic, Turkey and New Zealand manage provincial reconstruction teams. In addition, servicemembers and civilians from Egypt, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates work with the command, and South Korea runs a hospital in the region.”

With the acknowledgment that Egyptian forces are assigned to NATO’s Afghan war, it is now known that troops from all six populated continents are subordinated to NATO in one war theater. [3] Read more of this post

Pak books seat for U-19 WC final

Hammad Azam's unbeaten 92 against West Indies steered Pakistan to the final of the Under-19 World Cup in Lincoln © AFP

AUCKLAND : Pakistan U-19 cricket team has thrashed West Indies U-19 team by 4 wickets in the semifinal counter of ICC Under-19 cricket World Cup and booked seat for the final to be played on January 30 with the winners of remaining semifinal of Sri Lanka and Australia U-19 cricket teams on 27, Aaj News reported.

Chasing the difficult target of 213 runs set by West Indies U-19 team, keeping in view the conditions for batting, the promising Hammad Azam played remarkable innings of 92 runs unbeaten and contributed with Rameez Aziz (39), a decisive 90-run stand for the fifth wicket and 64-run partnership for the 6th wicket with Mohammed Waqas.

Pak beat India in U-19 World Cup, qualifies for Semis

Pakistan celebrate a thrilling win over India

AUCKLAND : Following the IPL row between two rivals also cricket playing nations Pakistan and India, the young Pakistan Under-19 cricket team has trounced their arch rivals by 2 wickets in the rain-delayed quarter-final counter, thus qualifying for the semifinal of the ICC Under-19 World Cup here on Saturday.

The match had been restricted to 23 over in an innings due to torrential overnight rain.

This is the befitting reply to Indian discrimination rendered with Pakistan players in India over the non-selection of Pakistani players in Indian Premier League (IPL), some experts claimed.

India U-19 having been put into bat first could only manage to score 114 runs for the loss of 9 wickets in allotted 23 overs.

India shone brilliantly by pressurizing Pakistan in the beginning of their innings, taking three quick wickets on 16 runs in 5 overs.

But later on, the middle order shone character and succeeded to beat defending champions in the final over of the match

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