NATO Seeks to Disintegrate Libya and Plunder its Rich Oil Resources, Russia and China Concerned By Western Interference in Middle East and North Africa, Condemn the Idea of Ground Military Operation, Russian Special Forces Kill Top Militant in Breakaway Chechnya, Moscow Will Hold Large-Scale Naval Drills With Norway, China Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan Hold Counterterrorism Drill in the Breakaway Region of Xinjiang, the Scenario Called on the Three Countries to Coordinate a Manhunt for anti-China Separatists, Beijing Sees a Role amid Pakistan-U.S. Rift, Urges World to Back Pakistan in Terror Fight, Indian Prime Minister Plans Trip to Afghanistan
NATO Seeks to Disintegrate Libya
A senior Libyan politician warned of the NATO’s suspicious moves in his country, saying that the West is seeking to prolong the war in Libya in a bid to disintegrate the North African country to plunder its rich oil resources.
“We know that the NATO coalition seeks its own interests by prolonging the war and wants to divide the country into several parts, but the Libyan nation is opposed to this option,” Secretary-General of Libya’s National Movement Meftah Lamloum told FNA on Sunday.
Lamloum expressed his deep suspicion about NATO’s goals in Libya, and cautioned that the western countries are seeking to plunder the country’s rich oil resources.
He further opposed foreign military intervention in his country, and underlined that the crisis in Libya can only be settled by the Libyan people.
Since the revolution against Libyan ruler Muammar Qaddafi’s regime began in mid-February, hundreds have been killed and injured in clashes between Libyan revolutionaries and pro-Gaddafi forces.
Many civilians have reportedly been killed since the Western coalition unleashed a major air campaign against the Libyan regime forces on March 19 under a UN no-fly zone mandate.
The Western military alliance has refused to apologize for the deadly bombardments.
Meantime, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad also cautioned that the West is using the conflict in Libya as an excuse to sell its arms productions.
“They (the West) have frozen (Libya’s) funds under the pretext of the war and right now they are selling their stockpiled armaments and they withdraw the money for these arms sales from the account of those killed (in the war),” President Ahmadinejad said in Tehran on Thursday.
Fars News Agency | May 8, 2011
Russia, China concerned by western interference in Middle East
Russia and China are concerned about the situation in the Middle East and North Africa and will tighten cooperation in the region. The two countries’ foreign ministers made the decision during talks in Moscow.
Continue Reading >> Press TV | May 6, 2011
Russia kills top al-Qaeda militant in Chechnya
Hot on the heels of the United States special forces operation that ended in the death of terrorist leader Osama bin Laden, Russia says its own forces have killed a top al-Qaeda militant in Chechnya.
Continue Reading >> Mail & Guardian Online | May 4, 2011
Russia, Norway to hold joint naval drills next week
Russia and Norway will hold large-scale naval exercise Pomor 2011 on May 11-16, a spokesman for Russia’s Northern Fleet said on Friday.
The drills in the Barents and Norwegian seas will involve Russian Udaloy class destroyer Vice Admiral Kulakov from the Northern Fleet, Norwegian Fridtjof Nansen class frigate Helge Ingstad, coastal guard vessels and naval aircraft.
“The drills will include artillery firing at air and surface targets, anti-submarine warfare, an anti-piracy mission, and the freeing of an oil platform or a commercial ship from armed extremists,” Capt. 1st Rank Vadim Serga said.
Continue Reading >> RIA Novosti | May 6, 2011
China, Central Asian states hold anti-terror drill
Security forces from China and two Central Asian neighbors practiced hunting down violent separatists in a counterterrorism drill along a border area where ethnic Muslim rebels have staged attacks against Beijing’s rule, the government said Saturday.
Friday’s one-day exercise involved forces from Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan as well as China and took place along their borders in the western Chinese region of Xinjiang, the government and media reports said.
The scenario called on the three countries to coordinate a manhunt for anti-China separatists who had set up a training camp on the Chinese side of the border, the China News Service said. Flushed out, the rebels hijacked a tourist bus that television footage showed black-suited tactical units storming, shattering the windows to get inside.
Continue Reading >> The Associated Press | May 7, 2011
China sees a role amid Pakistan-U.S. rift
Renewed strains in relations between Pakistan and the United States following last week’s killing of Osama bin Laden have been seen in China as opening the door for closer engagement with Islamabad.
According to officials and analysts here, China is keen to further tighten its already close relationship with its long-term strategic ally, driven by the view that the country is going to play a crucial, even defining, role in Afghanistan, amid declining U.S. influence there.
Continue Reading >> The Hindu | May 8, 2011
China urges world to back Pakistan in terror fight
China reaffirmed its support on Thursday for efforts by its ally Pakistan to combat terrorism after the killing of Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden by US forces, and urged the world to help Islamabad.
Foreign ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu stopped short of directly criticising the daring raid by US special forces on Pakistani soil that ended with bin Laden’s death but said national sovereignty “should be respected” at all times.
Continue Reading >> AFP | May 5, 2011
Eye on Afghan endgame, PM plans trip to Kabul
[...] Though Singh has been planning the visit to Afghanistan for sometime now, the recent developments there as well as the killing of Bin Laden have “brought a sense of immediacy to the whole thing”, sources explained.
Continue Reading >> Hindustan Times | May 7, 2011
Washington Provoking China and Russia in Mediterranean Sea, the Main Objective Behind Engineering the Libyan War and Syrian Unrest is to Remove the Two Major Powers from the Region, Pakistan and China Holding Joint Military Exercises, Osama Bin Laden Supposedly Found Hiding Near top Pakistani Army Base, U.S. and Saudi Arabia Trying to Wean China off Iranian Oil, China Focuses on Stability Says Pakistan Made “Important Contributions” to International Fight against Terrorism, Vladimir Putin “Dumbfounded” Over NATO Operation in Libya, Moscow Concerned Over U.S. anti-Missile Base in Romania, Will Deliver 3 Combat Helicopters to Peru
U.S. Provoking China and Russia in Mediterranean
The United States is at the risk of a war with China and Russia as its main objective behind engineering the Libyan war and Syrian unrest is to remove the two major powers from the Mediterranean, a senior former U.S. official has warned.
“Washington is all for invading Libya and is putting more and more pressure to intervene in Syria because we want to… clear China and Russia out of the Mediterranean,” Dr. Paul Craig Roberts, who served as an Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan Administration, said during an interview with Press TV on Tuesday.
Continue Reading >> The Journal of Turkish Weekly | April 28, 2011
Pakistan, China to hold joint military exercises
Pakistan and China will hold two joint military exercises in 2011, a Pakistani senior military leader said Tuesday.
The two exercises, one army drill and one air force one, will be held to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between Pakistan and China, said General Khalid Shameem Wynne, chairman of Pakistan’s Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee.
Continue Reading >> China Daily | February 23, 2011
Frenemies: U.S. ally in hot seat after bin Laden found in Pakistani army town
U.S. officials have left little doubt that they did not sufficiently trust their counterparts in Pakistan to keep quiet on the plan to send a team of U.S. special forces and CIA operatives into the country on Sunday to kill Osama bin Laden. And now that the whole world knows U.S. forces found and killed bin Laden in a large, conspicuously fortified compound in an affluent Pakistani military town less than forty miles from the Pakistani capital of Islamabad, American officials are likewise making it clear that they don’t fully buy the Pakistani government’s see-no-evil line on bin Laden’s whereabouts. It’s hard for Pakistani military leaders in particular to make a credible case that they were shocked–shocked!–to learn bin Laden was right there under their noses; the Pakistani army, after all, has a college in Abbottabad about 800 yards away from the compound where bin Laden was found and killed.
Continue Reading >> Yahoo News | May 2, 2011
How U.S. trying to wean China off Iranian oil
The United States collaborated with Saudi Arabia to increase crude oil supplies to China at the expense of Iran, U.S. diplomatic cables show. The move was designed to hurt Iran and win Beijing’s support for sanctions against Tehran over its nuclear programme.
China has long worried that oil supplies from Iran could be choked off if Beijing sides too closely with the West over Tehran’s disputed nuclear activity, which opponents say is intended to give it the means to assemble nuclear weapons. Iran insists its nuclear programme is peaceful.
But as Saudi deliveries of crude increased to China over the past years, so has Beijing’s support for U.N. sanctions against Tehran — although Chinese state oil conglomerates have been moving into the vacuum created by the withdrawal of most major players from the Iranian oil patch.
Continue Reading >> Reuters | May 2, 2011
China focuses on stability in Pakistan
China has indicated it will deepen cooperation with Pakistan on counterterrorism issues and back its long-term strategic ally’s efforts to maintain stability, in the wake of renewed international concern over the country’s efforts to clamp down on terrorist groups on its soil following Osama bin Laden’s killing.
Continue Reading >> The Hindu | May 3, 2011
China says Pakistan made “important contributions” to international fight against terrorism
China on Tuesday said Pakistan has made “important contributions” to the fight against terror worldwide following the U.S. announcement of Osama bin Laden’s death.
“We noticed that the Pakistani Foreign Ministry has pledged not to allow its territory to be used for terrorist attacks against any country and it will continue to support the world’s anti-terror efforts,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Jiang Yu told a regular media briefing.
Jiang said the south Asian country is at the anti-terror front-line, and its anti-terror resolve is unwavering and its action powerful.
Continue Reading >> Xinhuanet | May 3, 2011
Putin says ‘dumbfounded’ over NATO operation in Libya
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin continued on Wednesday to criticize NATO military operations in Libya, saying that he was “dumb-founded” over how easy decisions are made to use force against countries.
When asked by a Swedish journalist, Putin, who is currently on a visit in Stockholm, said “this happens despite human rights and humanity concerns which the civilized world is believed to advocate,” apparently referring to reports about NATO planes bombing civilian objects in Libya.
“Don’t you think that there is a serious controversy between words and practice of international relations?” he said, adding that this “misbalance” should be eliminated.
Continue Reading >> RIA Novosti | April 27, 2011
US antimissile base to be deployed in Romania
The US and Romania have agreed on the deployment of US missile defence elements on Romanian soil.
Continue Reading >> Voice of Russia | May 3, 2011
Russia to deliver 3 combat helicopters to Peru
The Peruvian Air Force will receive next week three Russian combat helicopters intended for military operations in remote areas of the country.
Continue Reading >> Andina | May 4, 2011
Russia Hopes Turkey Will Eventually Give the Green Light to the South Stream Gas Pipeline Project, “Turkey to OK South Stream When Conditions Met”, “Project is Not in the Best Interest of Ukraine and the Country is Working against it”, Iran Plans to Invest $90 Billion in South Pars Gas Field, U.K. Royal Dutch Shell Drilling 17 Gas Wells in China, Beijing Urges Quick End to American-Led Airstrikes in Libya, Considers the Security Situation in the Asia-Pacific as “Volatile”, Points to the U.S. Reinforcement of Military Alliances and Rising Suspicions in the Region, Seeks to Reinforce Trust With Neighbours, Will Stick to a Defensive Military Doctrine, The World’s Largest Arms Importer is Now India Not China, South Korea U.S. Conduct Large Military Exercise in Yellow Sea, Singapore Thailand U.S. Conclude Military Drill, Naval Exercises Between the Philippines and Malaysia, Venezuela’s $15 Billion Weapons Purchase Concerns Latin America, Joint Ghana U.S. Jungle Warfare Exercise Ends
Russia hopes Turkey will approve South Stream
Russia hopes Turkey will eventually give the green light to the section of the South Stream gas pipeline project that crosses its territory, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday.
Turkey has not given its consent to the laying of part of the 15.5-billion-euro marine pipeline across its Black Sea territory. South Stream is designed to diversify Russian gas export routes, and will stretch to Bulgaria’s Black Sea coast and then on to Italy and Austria.
[...] The land section of the pipeline will go across Bulgaria, Serbia, Hungary, Greece, Slovenia, Croatia and Austria, with whom Russia has already signed intergovernmental agreements.
Continue Reading >> RIA Novosti | March 22, 2011
“Turkey to OK South Stream When Conditions Met”
Energy Minister Taner Yıldız said Turkey would still abide by the terms of a 2009 agreement with Russia over a proposed underwater pipeline that will carry natural gas to Europe bypassing Ukraine.
South Stream, controlled by Russian Gazprom and Italian Eni, is planned to carry Russian natural gas under the Black Sea to Bulgaria and on to Europe via Italy and Austria. In an exclusive interview with Today’s Zaman, Yıldız reaffirmed the Turkish position on the $21.5 billion pipeline project called South Stream, saying nothing had changed on the Turkish side. “We are still waiting for the environmental impact studies, as well as feasibility studies, on South Stream to see if the required criteria demanded by Turkey are met. If met, there is no question we would give our approval to the project,” he said.
Continue Reading >> Today’s Zaman | March 26, 2011
Minister: Ukraine Works Against South Stream
The South Stream natural gas pipeline project is not in the best interest of Ukraine and the country is working against it, according to Ukrainian Minister of Energy Yuriy Boyko.
Boyko said his country is undergoing “tense discussions” with Russia, the main country supporting the project, set to deliver gas to southern and central Europe, bypassing Ukraine.
“South Stream is a political project of our Russian partners, who want to create an excess of transit capacities for gas, like what they did back in the day for oil,” said the Ukrainian minister, quoted by MIGnews.
Boyko said that in collaboration with Ukraine’s “EU partners,” the country will be putting efforts so that in the end the pipeline be not built.
Sofia News Agency | April 2, 2011
Iran Plans to Invest $90B in South Pars
Iran’s Oil Ministry plans to invest about $90 billion in South Pars gas field in the current Iranian calendar year (started March 21), Oil Minister Masoud Mirkazemi said.
According to Mirkazemi, about $60 billion of the mentioned amount will be allocated to the upstream projects and about $30 billion to the downstream sector, SHANA News Network reported.
The official also noted that an extra $20 billion will be invested in the petrochemical projects of the giant field.
Mirkazemi further said that the Oil Ministry plans to complete the developing projects of all the remaining phases of the field within 35 months.
The Iranian oil minister also stressed the need for foreign investment in the site to speed up the projects, saying that once all the phases of the South Pars come on stream, the field can produce 25 million cubic meters of natural gas and about 40,000 barrels of liquefied natural gas per day, making the country’s annual revenue from the field hit $110 billion, Press TV reported.
The South Pars gas field is located in the Persian Gulf in the border zone between Iran and Qatar. The field’s reserves are estimated at 14 trillion cubic meters of gas and 18 billion barrels of liquefied natural gas.
Payvand Iran News | April 1, 2011
Shell Drilling 17 China Gas Wells
U.K. oil major Royal Dutch Shell PLC (RDSA.LN) is drilling 17 wells in China, including for tight gas and shale gas, Reuters reported Sunday, citing Chief Executive Peter Voser.
If drilling is successful, Shell plans to spend $1 billion a year during the next five year years on shale gas in China, Voser was quoted as saying.
MarketWatch | March 20, 2011
China Urges Quick End to Airstrikes in Libya
China escalated its opposition to American-led airstrikes on Libya on Tuesday, joining Russia and India in calls for an immediate cease-fire and suggesting that coalition forces were imperiling civilians by exceeding the United Nations-mandated no-fly zone.
[...] China’s response to the campaign has been the most forceful, warning that the assault could bring about a “humanitarian disaster.” In a news briefing Tuesday, Jiang Yu, a Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, called for an end to hostilities. “We’ve seen reports that the use of armed force is causing civilian casualties, and we oppose the wanton use of armed force leading to more civilian casualties,” she said.
China was one of five countries to abstain from the United Nations resolution that authorized the allied airstrikes against the forces of Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi, which have been seeking to crush a rebellion against his four-decade rule. Russia, Brazil, India and Germany also abstained, while South Africa joined nine other Security Council members in supporting the resolution approved last week.
In its decision to abstain rather than block the resolution through its veto power, China said it was heeding the wishes of the Arab League and the African Union.
Continue Reading >> The New York Times | March 22, 2011
China to Reinforce Trust With Neighbours
The Chinese government on Thursday said it viewed the security situation in the Asia-Pacific as “volatile”, pointing to the United States “reinforcing” regional military alliances and rising suspicions among China’s neighbours.
In a national defence white paper issued on Thursday, China said it would seek to expand confidence-building measures with its neighbours, as well as stick to a defence policy that was defensive in nature.
The white paper, the seventh that China has issued since 1998, portrayed a strained regional security environment, describing the Asia-Pacific region, in particular, as “volatile.”
“Relevant major powers are increasing their strategic investment,” said the paper. “The United States is reinforcing its regional military alliances, and increasing its involvement in regional security affairs.”
Continue Reading >> The Hindu | March 31, 2011
The World’s Largest Arms Importer is Now India, Not China
India has spent US$80 billion to modernize its military to keep up with China and now, India has become the world’s number one arms importer according to Swedish think-tank keeping tabs on global arms transactions. India makes up 9 percent of global arms purchases while China has 6 percent of market share in comparison.
“India has ambitions to become first a continental and [then] a regional power,” Rahul Bedi, an analyst with London-based Jane’s Defence Weekly, told AP.
“Just from what they have already ordered, we know that in the coming few years India will be the top importer,” said Siemon Wezeman, a senior fellow at SIPRI told the International Business Times.
SIPRI’s report stated India’s defense budget for the coming fiscal year is in the region of $32.5 billion, 40 percent more than in 2009. In addition, India will spend over $50 billion in the next five years to modernize its military – including purchasing new fighter jets and aircraft carriers.
“The kind of purchases that India is buying, no country in the world buys,” added Bedi of Jane’s Defence Weekly. India has also been importing 82 percent of its weapons from Russia and plans to purchase 250 to 300 advanced fifth-generation stealth fighter jets worth $30 billion in the next decade.
SIPRI also included in its report:
Average volume of global arms transfers in 2006-2010 increased 24 percent from 2001-2005.
Asia and Oceania accounts for 43 percent of arms imports, Europe for 12 percent, 17 percent in the Middle East, 12 percent in the Americas and 7 percent in Africa.
The largest arms importers are locate in Asia with India accounting for 9 percent of all imports, 6 percent in China, 6 percent in South Korea and 5 percent in Pakistan.
USA remains the world’s largest exporter of military equipment and totals 30 percent of global arms exports in 2006-2010; of which 44 percent were exported to Asia and Oceania, 28 percent in the Middle East and 19 percent to Europe.
EconomyWatch | March 30, 2011
S. Korea, US Conduct Large Military Exercise in Yellow Sea
A large-scale South Korea-U.S. military exercise in the Yellow Sea seeks to prepare for North Korea`s use of nuclear weapons, ballistic missiles, submarines and special forces to destroy or blockade major infrastructure in the South.
Continue Reading >> Donga.com | March 24, 2011
Singapore, Thailand, US Conclude Military Exercise
Singapore, Thailand and the United States concluded the trilateral “Exercise Cope Tiger 2011″ at Korat Air Base in Thailand on Friday.
[...] About 100 aircraft and 34 ground-based air defence systems were deployed.
[...] More than 2,300 personnel took part.
Continue Reading >> Channelnewsasia | March 26, 2011
Military Exercises Strengthens RP-Malaysian Relations
The ten-day military exercises between the Philippine Navy and the Royal Malaysian Navy, which concluded March 25, has been beneficial to both parties and was a success in its purpose, the Naval Forces West (NFW) claimed. The activity opened on March 16.
Continue Reading >> Zamboanga Today | April 1, 2011
Hugo Chavez’s $15 Billion Weapons Purchase Concerns Latin America
With the acquisition of hundreds of tanks, helicopters and bulletproof vehicles as well as submarines and missile networks, Venezuela is arming itself at a speed unprecedented in the history of the South American country.
Continue Reading >> McClatchy | March 21, 2011
Joint Ghana, US Military Exercise Ends
The Africa Partnership Station (APS) 2011 jungle exercise, conducted by personnel of the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) and the United States Marines, has ended at Achiase Jungle Warfare in the Eastern Region.
[...] The two-week training exercise comprised 100 troops from GAF and 42 US Marines.
Continue Reading >> Vibeghana | March 22, 2011
Uruguay Joins South American Nations in Recognizing Palestinian Statehood, French Foreign Minister : European Union Should Consider Recognizing Palestinian State, Mossad Ex-Chief : Israelis and Palestinians Won’t Agree Anytime Soon on Clear Borders for a New State, Israel Seizes Boat “Carrying Weapons from Turkey to Gaza”, “Arms Came from Iran Via Turkey, Syria, and Egypt”, Iran on Arms Seizure : “Zionist Regime is Full of Lies”, “Turkey Stops Iranian Cargo Plane en Route to Syria”, Turkish Government Denies, Egypt Uncovers Israeli Spy Network Reporting on “Developments in the Country” and Collecting Detailed Information About the Size of Armed Forces Stationed on the Streets Government Officials and Natural Gas Lines in Sinai Peninsula, Egyptian Military Delegation in Damascus to Restore Relations, Saudi Troops Deployed in Bahrain, Iran Warns Against Foreign Military Intervention Recalls Ambassador from Bahrain Cancels Jordanian Monarch’s Trip, Saudi Envoy Delivering Message from King Abdullah to Syria’s President Situation in Bahrain Discussed, Syrian Foreign Minister on a One Day Visit to Tehran “to Confer on the Latest Developments in the Region”, China Paying $6 Billion to Develop Iran Oil Fields, Warship Deal With Russia Losing Support in France “Because of Concerns Among Russia’s Neighbors”, Turkish Prime Minister in Moscow, Russia to Build Turkey’s First Nuclear Power Station, Final Step in Visa-Free Regime
Uruguay Joins South American Nations in Recognizing Palestinian Statehood
Uruguay has joined a string of South American nations in recognizing an independent Palestinian state.
A Foreign Ministry statement says Uruguay has communicated its decision to the Palestinian Authority.
However the statement does not explicitly say whether the country recognizes
Palestine’s borders predating the Six-Day War of 1967, when Israel captured the West Bank and Gaza.
Foreign Ministry officials declined Tuesday to clarify the matter.
More than a half-dozen countries in South America have recognized Palestine recently, though in different ways.
Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Ecuador and Paraguay recognized the pre-1967 borders.
Chile and Peru said the issue must be worked out between Israelis and Palestinians.
Haaretz | March 16, 2011
French FM : EU Should Consider Recognizing Palestinian State
French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said Tuesday that the European Union should consider the option of recognizing a Palestinian state if no peace agreement with Israel is reached.
“Recognizing the Palestinian state alone is useless,” he said, explaining that the measure should be taken in collaboration with other countries within the EU. Juppe made the statement during a hearing at the Committee on Foreign Affairs of National Assembly in the lower house of the French Parliament. “We’re not there yet, but personally I think it is an option that one must have in mind,” he added.
YnetNews | March 15, 2011
Mossad Ex-Chief Halevy Says Mideast Talks Won’t Settle Borders
Israelis and Palestinians probably won’t agree anytime soon on clear borders for a new state, leaving them to maintain current political arrangements for another generation, former Mossad Director Efraim Halevy said.
Even if Palestinians declare a state later this year and garner significant support at the United Nations, the move will have little practical significance and will probably perpetuate Israeli’s occupation of the West Bank.
Continue Reading >> Bloomberg | March 10, 2011
IDF Seizes Boat Carrying Weapons from Turkey to Gaza
The Israeli navy seized a ship on Tuesday that was apparently smuggling weapons destined for Hamas in the Gaza Strip.
The Israel Defense Forces Spokesman Unit said that the ship “Victoria” originated from the Lattakia port in Syria and sailed to Mersin, Turkey. It was seized while on its way from Turkey destined for the El-Arish port in Egypt.
Continue Reading >> Haaretz | March 15, 2011
Netanyahu : Arms on Seized Ship Came from Iran Via Syria
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Tuesday that weapons seized by the Israel Navy from a ship bound for Egypt earlier in the day had come from Iran, via Syria, and were intended for militants in Gaza.
“We are currently collecting information and the one thing that is certain is that the weapons are from Iran with a relay station in Syria”.
Continue Reading >> Haaretz | March 15, 2011
Iran on Arms Seizure : “Zionist Regime is Full of Lies”
Iranian Army Commander-General denies sending weapons to Gaza on “Victoria” ship; Hamas also claims weapons weren’t for them.
Continue Reading >> The Jerusalem Post | March 16, 2011
“Turkey Stops Iranian Cargo Plane en Route to Syria”
Turkish government denies earlier reports that plane was stopped because it carried weapons meant for Syria, says it is “standard procedure” for planes to be checked.
The Turkish government on Wednesday denied reports that Turkish military jets forced an Iranian cargo plane to land at Biyarbakir airport Tuesday night in order to check it for Iranian arms meant for Syria, reported AP.
The government confirmed that the Iranian plane landed in Turkey, but that it is standard procedure for cargo planes to request permission to fly over Turkey and that sometimes they are required to make unscheduled landings to be searched.
Continue Reading >> The Jerusalem Post | March 16, 2011
Egypt Uncovers Israeli Spy Network
Egyptian authorities have uncovered a spy network that has been working for Israel, said an official report on Wednesday. The discovery is the first of its kind since the ouster of former president Hosni Mubarak last month.
Official reports circulated by state newspapers said state security prosecutors were interrogating one of the suspects involved in the cell, and he will remain in custody pending investigations. Initial reports said the suspect is Egyptian and that the network includes another foreigner and two Israelis who fled the country before the uncovering of the network.
State-owned al-Ahram newspaper reported on Wednesday that the foreigner admitted he came to Egypt after the 25 January revolution to report on developments in the country. It is believed he is a Syrian national who entered Egypt under the guise of being a businessman.
The suspect said he was working for Mossad, Israeli intelligence, according to al-Ahram.
Bikya Masr | March 17, 2011
Israeli spy Ring Aimed at Conducting Espionage against Egyptian Army
Mossad agents were arrested in Egypt 5 days ago, and the mission was sent to collect detailed information about the size of the Egyptian armed forces stationed on the streets; its places, prominent Egyptian government officials and natural gas lines in Sinai”, Israeli online edition said.
“The cell received its first assignment after the January 25 revolution on the purpose of gathering key strategic and political information about the situation in Egypt,” The Hebrew-language news site Inyan Merkazi said.
The Higher State Security Prosecution ordered the imprisonment of the first suspect in custody for 15 days while investigations take place. The suspect is a 34-year-old Jordanian who arrived in Cairo during the demonstrations and allegedly sent information concerning recordings of phone calls made by Egyptian officials and important locations in Cairo to Israel. He was charged with spying for Israel and harming Egypt’s national interests by the Public Prosecutor.
IkhwanWeb | March 18, 2011
Egypt’s New Rulers Friendly with Assad
Egypt’s temporary military rulers sent a delegation to Syria on Thursday to meet with President Bashar al-Assad. Egyptian General Murad Mohammed Muafi and Assad agreed to boost cooperation between the two countries, according to Syria’s SANA news agency.
The meeting follows long-term tension between Egypt and Syria. Former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak refrained from developing warm ties with Assad due to disagreement over Syria’s role in Lebanon.
Continue Reading >> Israel National News | March 18, 2011
Saudi Troops Have Entered Bahrain : Saudi Official
More than 1,000 Saudi troops, part of the Gulf countries’ Peninsula Shield Force, have entered Bahrain where anti-regime protests have raged for a month, a Saudi official said Monday.
The troops entered the strategic Gulf kingdom on Sunday, the official told AFP, requesting anonymity.
The intervention came “after repeated calls by the (Bahraini) government for dialogue, which went unanswered” by the opposition, the official said.
According to the regulations of the Gulf Cooperation Council, “any Gulf force entering a member state becomes under the command of the government,” the official added.
The Bahraini government has not confirmed the presence of Saudi troops in the archipelago, which is home to the US Fifth Fleet.
Continue Reading >> AFP | March 14, 2011
Iran Warns Against Military Intervention in Bahrain, Recalls Ambassador
Iran warned against the consequences of military interventions of foreigners in Bahrain and recalled its ambassador from Manama due to the relevant disputes, local media reported on Thursday.
In telephone conversations with Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem, Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari and Kuwaiti Deputy Prime Minister Muhammad al-Sabah on Wednesday over the recent developments in Bahrain, Iranian Foreign Minister Ali-Akbar Salehi talked about the military meddling in Bahrain.
Iranian foreign minister called for the continued consultations between regional countries to prevent a humanitarian crisis in the Gulf kingdom.
Iranian Parliament (Majlis) Speaker Ali Larijani also warned against foreign military intervention in Bahrain, saying the ” tragic occurrence, would exacerbate the situation in the country.”
“The entering of foreign forces into Bahrain will complicate the situation in the region and make it difficult to find a solution to the ongoing crisis in the country,” Larijani was quoted as saying by satellite Press TV.
Larijani described the move as “detrimental” to the region and added “Foreign troops are committing a bigger crime as they are involved in the crackdown against Bahraini people.”
Continue Reading >> Xinhua News Agency | March 17, 2011
Jordanian Monarch’s Trip to Iran Cancelled
Iranian MP, Hamid Resai has announced that the King of Jordan’s visit to Iran has been cancelled. “In view of the current critical situation,” he said, “the Jordanian Abdullah’s trip to Tehran did not meet the approval of senior Islamic Republic officials.”
Continue Reading >> Payvand Iran News | March 15, 2011
Message from Saudi King to President al-Assad on Bilateral Relations, Developments in Arab Arena
President Bashar al-Assad on Wednesday received a message from Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz of Saudi Arabia highlighting the special relations between their brotherly countries.
The message was delivered during President al-Assad’s meeting with Advisor to the Saudi King, Prince Abdulaziz bin Abdullah.
The latest developments in the Arab arena, including the situation in the brotherly Kingdom of Bahrain, were discussed in the message.
Continue Reading >> SANA | March 17, 2011
Syrian FM Due in Tehran Today
Syrian Foreign Minister Valid Muallem is due to visit Tehran on Thursday to confer with the Iranian officials on the bilateral relations between the two countries and the latest developments in the region.
Muallem is also scheduled to meet a number of high ranking Iranian officials in addition to his counterpart Ali Akbar Salehi during his one day visit.
Muallem and Salehi’s latest meeting was on January 29 in Damascus.
Iran and Syria have forged an alliance ever since the victory of the Islamic Revolution in Iran and the two countries’ officials exchange visits on a regular basis.
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad was last in Tehran at the head of a high-ranking politico-economic delegation in October 2010.
The two countries enjoy strategic relations in a wide variety of fields.
Fars News Agency | March 17, 2011
China Paying $6 Billion to Develop Iran Oil Fields
An Iranian official said Beijing has contracted Iran’s Azadegan oil fields for projects estimated at more than $6 billion. The contractor was identified as the state-owned China National Petroleum Corp. assigned to cooperate with the National Iranian Oil Co, Middle East Newsline reported.
Continue Reading >> World Tribune | March 14, 2011
Warship Deal With Russia Losing Support in France – Paper
The agreement to sell advanced warships to Russia is losing support in France because of Moscow’s wish to get hold of sensitive military technology and concerns among Russia’s neighbors, Le Figaro daily said on Wednesday.
[...] A number of Russia’s neighbors have expressed concern over the upcoming deal, in particular Georgia, Lithuania, and Japan, especially after a Russian Defense Ministry source said in early February the ships would be inducted with the Pacific Fleet to protect the South Kuril Islands claimed by Japan.
Continue Reading >> RIA Novosti | March 16, 2011
Russia, Turkey to Take final Step in Visa-Free Regime
The final official step in the process of introducing a visa-free regime between Black Sea neighbors Russia and Turkey will be taken during Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s three-day visit to Russia.
Continue Reading >> Today’s Zaman | March 15, 2011
Gilbert Achcar: Military rule in Egypt began with Nasser’s overthrow of King Farouk and increasing independence from the U.S.
The Real News | February 13, 2011
A former Canadian diplomat to Africa said Canada’s next military deployment will likely be in war-torn Sudan.
John Schram — who was Canada’s ambassador to Ethiopia, Eritrea and the Sudan from 1998 to 2002 — said now that Sudan has completed a referendum, big issues are being raised, and the fractured country will need international support to bring some measure of calm.
Cnews | January 23, 2011
Iran is on the verge of emulating the U.S. tactic of shooting terrorists and insurgents inside Pakistan, according to the latest chatter in Iranian military and intelligence circles. Following the fatal suicide bombing in Chabahar on December 15 that killed and injured more than a hundred people during an important Shia ceremony, many military and security officials in Tehran have started talking openly about the need to cross the border and target Baluch insurgents on Pakistani soil. The suicide attacks on Iranian targets has worn Tehran’s patience thin. Iran usually blames such attacks on Israel, the United States, and other Western countries such as the United Kingdom. But after recent attacks in Zahedan and other locations in Sistan and Baluchistan, Iran has increasingly blamed Pakistan.
Tabnak | December 26, 2010
The Obama administration has laid a military plan in the Middle East with “mobilizing military and intelligence resources” to Yemen to allegedly fight terrorism.
According to a report published in the Wall Street Journal on Tuesday, Washington has stepped up pressure on Yemen for what it calls al-Qaeda’s use of Yemeni soil as a safe haven for terrorist operations against the US.
A senior Obama administration official claimed that limited US intelligence experience in Yemen has created “a window of vulnerability” that the US government is “working fast to address.”
Last week, The Washington Post cited top US officials that the US deployed unmanned Predator drones in Yemen to allegedly eradicate al-Qaeda militants.
The drones have been patrolling the Yemeni skies for several months in search of al-Qaeda leaders and operatives allegedly hiding in the country, according to the report.
This is while Yemeni Prime Minister Ali Mujawar has repeatedly criticized the West for linking al-Qaeda to his country.
“Al-Qaeda is mainly a Western-made group,” Mujawar said. The militant group “was not created in Yemen at all as it is being alleged by those who propagate this perception internationally about Yemen.”
His comments hinted at America’s funding of fighters in Afghanistan who were resisting the Soviet occupation back in the 1980s.
Following the September 11, 2001 attacks in New York, the US invaded Afghanistan in order to eradicate al-Qaeda and Taliban militants — whom Washington accused of being behind the attacks.
However, as the war entered its tenth year, the US has failed to present sufficient evidence proving that the al-Qaeda was behind the incident.
Another exampled of Washington military adventurism is the invasion of Iraq.
When the Afghan war was in its second year, the administration of George W. Bush invaded Iraq under the pretext that former Iraqi dictator was hiding weapons of mass destruction, but such weapons were never found.
Moreover, recently released documents by the UK’s Iraq war inquiry suggest that the American and British leaders knew that Iraq was not in possession of such weapons prior to the invasion.
The US now claims that it is planning to begin a new front in Yemen in order to deploy troops to search for al-Qaeda leaders.
Press TV | November 16, 2010
Insists Military Doesn’t Want Another Front, However
Just four days after taking over the position, Britain’s new military Chief of Staff General Sir David Richards today told Parliament that he could not rule out the need to launch another massive Afghanistan-style invasion/occupation in Yemen.
“I don’t think we want to open up another front there and nor do the Yemenis want us to do that,” insisted Sir David, adding that in the end it might be necessary to do so anyhow. He insisted, however, that right now the British Army’s top priority was “making sure Afghanistan doesn’t revert to becoming a second Yemen.”
Britain’s military participated in the US-led 2001 invasion of Afghanistan and has continued to participate in its occupation, now in its 10th year. There is no end in sight for the Afghan War, but increasingly interest is on starting a new war in Yemen.
Sir David’s comments come in the wake of Prime Minister David Cameron’s promise to do whatever it takes to “cut out the terrorist cancer” from Yemen. US President Barack Obama has also pledged to see Yemen’s al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula “destroyed,“.
Antiwar | November 2, 2010
In a world desperate for new oil supplies, Venezuela beckons. But will its fumbling management of oil production lead to foreign intervention, covert or otherwise, in a effort to raise Venezuelan output?
In the days of ample oil supplies a poorly managed nationalized oil industry or a hostile political regime just meant that exploration companies had reason to search for oil elsewhere. Now with 88 percent of the world’s oil reserves under the control of national oil companies and few good prospects for large finds available beyond areas controlled by such companies, oil importing countries will be forced to rethink how they will supply themselves with adequate quantities of oil.
Robert Rapier recently explained the reasons behind the drop in Venezuela’s oil production: failure to reinvest in new production and fear of expropriation among those companies that deal with Venezuela and its national oil company, Petróleos de Venezuela S. A. (PDVSA). Whatever one thinks of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez’s programs designed to assist the nation’s poor, they have been largely paid for with oil revenues. And, he has now undermined the ability of the oil industry to fund his programs.
But that also means he is undermining Venezuela’s ability to provide oil exports to importing nations. In a world awash in oil, this would merely be Venezuela’s problem. But with oil supplies tight and a near-term peak in the world’s rate of oil production a major risk, it’s possible that oil importing countries–particularly the United States which is one of Venezuela’s largest oil customers–may decide that it is necessary to solve Venezuela’s problem of declining oil production for it.
I am not necessarily predicting armed conflict. But a country advertised to have 513 billion barrels of technically recoverable heavy oil alone is a tempting target for international mischief. (I’m inclined to believe that a significant portion of this heavy oil will never become economically recoverable. But in geopolitics, perception, not a careful assessment of the facts, often drives the action.)
Iraq’s oil reserves proved too tempting a target early in the previous decade. The country had mismanaged its nationalized oil industry, and its unelected leader, Saddam Hussein, was reviled even in the Middle East. But Iraq proved to be a problematic conquest, and attempts to realize its untapped oil wealth continue to be frustrated by ongoing civil strife. It seems unlikely that, given the experience in Iraq, direct military intervention would appear wise in Venezuela, especially if the problem is framed as raising the country’s oil production.
There are other complications as well. Unlike Saddam Hussein, Chavez was elected. There can be no claim that he somehow seized power illegitimately. And, he has friendly relations with many South and Central American regimes. An attempt to oust him in a 2002 coup engineered by the country’s opposition with tacit support from the United States failed. By that time–already three years into his presidency–many elements of Venezuelan society including many in the military had grown loyal to his regime. But I would not put a second attempt out of the realm of possibility.
It is worthwhile to contrast the Chinese and Russian approach to Venezuela with that of the United States. Both China and Russia recently signed joint-venture agreements to develop heavy oil in the country. Of course, each government has its own government-run oil company. The Chinese especially seem less concerned about private property rights and making a profit and more concerned about developing Venezuela’s oil to meet China’s growing oil import needs. The Chinese may not make much money on their joint venture. But they will at least have speeded the development of additional oil supplies which they badly need.
U. S. policymakers, however, are hampered in this regard since oil companies under U. S. jurisdiction are not owned by the government and naturally focus on their shareholders’ desire to make a profit, not on the United States’ need for additional sources of imported oil. The Chavez record on expropriation makes non-government-owned oil companies leery of investing in Venezuela though some still do.
In another part of the world there is the curious and largely unnoticed case of the world’s largest oil exporter, Saudi Arabia, announcing in 2008 that it will limit daily production to no more than 12.5 million barrels per day. Back then the U. S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) was still counting on the Saudis for 16.4 million barrels per day by 2030. Only four years earlier the EIA had projected 23.8 million barrels per day for the country by 2025. It’s not clear that this is a case of voluntary restraint from Saudi Arabia. It may be that oil production there has run into a wall and cannot rise. Is the hands-off attitude toward Saudi Arabia a tacit recognition that the country cannot pump any more oil than it currently does? No one can be sure.
Still, the need for additional oil supplies seems likely to lead to pressure on Venezuela to raise its production. Actually, President Hugo Chavez says that this is what he wants to do. The problem isn’t intent, then, but execution. Perhaps powers such as the United States will decide that someone else at the head of the Venezuelan government will be better able to bring that increase to fruition–if only Chavez can be removed from the presidential palace through the electoral process or otherwise.
Scitizen | October 4, 2010
The North Atlantic Treaty Organization has recently sent a large task force into Yugoslavia, ostensibly to enforce a settlement of the Bosnian war arrived at in Dayton, Ohio at the end of 1995. This task force is said to consist of some 60,000 men, equipped with tanks, armor and artillery. It is backed by formidable air and naval forces. In fact, if one takes account of all the support forces involved, including forces deployed in nearby countries, it is clear that at least two hundred thousand troops are involved. This figure has been confirmed by U. S. defense sources. [ 1 ]
By any standards, the sending of a large Western military force into Central and lSastern Europe is a remarkable enterprise, even in the fluid situation created by the supposed end of the Cold War. The Ball:an task force represents not only the first major NATO military operation, but a major operation staged “out of area”, that is, outside the boundaries originally established for NATO military action.
However, the sending of NATO troops into the Balkans is the result of enormous pressure for the general extension of NATO eastwards.
If the Yugoslav enterprise is the first concrete step in the expansion of NATO, others are planned for the near future. Some Western powers want to bring the Visegrad countries into NATO as full members by the end of the century. There was resistance to the pressures for such extension among certain Western countries for some time. However, the recalcitrants have now been bludgeoned into accepting the alleged necessity of extending NATO.
The question is: why are the Western powers pressing for the expansion of NATO? Why is NATO being renewed and extended when the “Soviet threat” has disappeared? There is clearly much more to it than we have so far been told. The enforcement of a precarious peace in Bosnia is only the immediate reason for sending NATO forces into the Balkans.
There are deeper reasons for the dispatch of NATO forces to the Balkans, and especially for the extension of NATO to Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary in the relatively near future. These have to do with an emerging strategy for securing the resources of the Caspian Sea region and for “stabilizing” the countries of Eastern Europe — ultimately for “stabilizing” Russia and the countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States. This is, to put it mildly, an extremely ambitious and potentially selfcontradictory policy. And it is important to pose some basic questions about the reasons being given for pursuing it.
For the idea of “stabilizing” the countries which formerly constituted the Socialist bloc in Europe does not simply mean ensuring political stability there, ensuring that the regimes which replaced Socialism remain in place. It also means ensuring that economic and social conditions remain unchanged. And, since the so-called transition to democracy in the countries affected has in fact led to an incipient deindustrialization and a collapse of living standards for the majority, the question arises whether it is really desirable.
The question is all the more pertinent since “stabilization”, in the sense in which it is used in the West, means reproducing in the former Socialist bloc countries economic and social conditions which are similar to the economic and social conditions currently prevailing in the West. The economies of the Western industrial nations are, in fact, in a state of semi-collapse, although the governments of those countries would never really acknowledge the fact. Nonetheless, any reasonably objective assessment of the economic situation in the West leads to this conclusion. And that conclusion is supported by official statistics and most analyses coming from mainstream economists.
It is also clear, as well, that the attempt to “stabilize” the former Socialist bloc countries is creating considerable tension with Russia, and potentially with other countries. Not a few commentators have made the point that Western actions in extending NATO even raise the risks of nuclear conflict. 
It is enough to raise these questions briefly to see that the extension of NATO which has, de facto, begun in Yugoslavia and is being proposed for other countries is to a large extent based on confused and even irrational reasoning. One is tempted to say that it results from the fear and willfulness of certain ruling groups. To put it most bluntly, why should the world see any benefit in the enforced extension to other countries of the economic and social chaos which prevails in the West, and why should it see any benefit in that when the very process itself increases the risks of nuclear war?
The purposes of this paper are to describe what lies behind the current efforts to extend NATO and to raise some basic questions about whether this makes any sense, in both the narrow and deeper meanings of the term.
NATO in Yugoslavia
The North Atlantic Treaty Organization was founded in 1949 with the stated purpose of protecting Western Europe from possible military aggression by the Soviet Union and its allies.
With the dissolution of the Communist regimes in the former Socialist bloc in 1990 and 1991, there was no longer any possibility of such aggression, if there ever really had been. The changes in the former Communist countries made NATO redundant. Its raison d’être had vanished. Yet certain groups within the NATO countries began almost immediately to press for a “renovation” of NATO and even for its extension into Central and Eastern Europe. They began to elaborate new rationales which would permit the continuation of business as usual.
The most important of these was the idea that, with the changes brought about by the end of the Cold War, the Western countries nonetheless faced new “security challenges” outside the traditional NATO area which justified the perpetuation of the organization. The spokesmen for this point of view argued that NATO had to find new missions to justify its existence.
The implicit premise was that NATO had to be preserved in order to ensure the leadership of the United States in European and world affairs. This was certainly one of the reasons behind the large-scale Western intervention — in which the participation of US NATO partners was relatively meager — in Kuwait and Iraq in 1990 and 1991. The coalition which fought against Iraq was cobbled together with great difficulty. But it was seen by the United States government as necessary for the credibility of the US within the Western alliance as well as in world affairs.
The slogan put forward by the early supporters of NATO enlargement was “NATO: out of area or out of business”, which made the point, although not the argument, as plainly as it could be made. 
Yugoslavia has also been a test case, and obviously a much more important one. The Yugoslav crisis exploded on the edge of Europe, and the Western European nations had to do something about it. Germany and the United States, on the other hand, while seeming to support the idea of ending the civil wars in Yugoslavia, in fact did everything they could to prolong them, especially the war. in Bosnia. t41 Their actions perpetuated and steadily deepened the Yugoslav crisis.
It is important to recognize that, almost from the beginning of the Yugoslav crisis, NATO sought to involve itself. That involvement was obvious in 1993 when NATO began to support UNPROFOR operations in Yugoslavia, especially in the matter of the blockade against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and the enforcement of a no-fly zone in Bosnian airspace.
That involvement, however, had much smaller beginnings, and it must be remembered that NATO as an organization was involved in the war in Bosnia-Herzegovina at a very early stage. In 1992, NATO sent a group of about 100 personnel to Bosnia-Herzegovina, where they established a military headquarters at Kiseliak, a short distance from Sarajevo. Ostensibly, they were sent to help United Nations forces in Bosnia.
It was obvious, however, that there was another purpose. A NATO diplomat described the operation to INTELLIGENCE DIGEST in the following terms at the time:
This is a very cautious first step, and we are definitely not making much noise about it. But it could be the start of something bigger…You could argue that NATO now has a foot in the door. Whether we manage to open the door is not sure, but we have made a start. 
It seems clear that NATO commanders were already anticipating the possibility that resistance to US and German pressures would be overcome and that NATO’s role in Yugoslavia would be gradually expanded.
Thus NATO was working to create a major “out of area” mission almost from the time that the war in Bosnia-Herzegovina began. The recent dispatch of tens of thousands of troops to Bosnia, Austria, Hungary, Croatia and Serbia is thus simply the culmination of a process which began almost four years ago. It was not a question of proposals and conferences. It was a question of inventing operations which, with the backing of key countries, could eventually lead to NATO’s active engagement “out of area”, and thus to its own renovation.
The Eastward Expansion of NATO
NATO had never carried out a formal study on the enlargement of the alliance until quite recently, when the Working Group on NATO Enlargement issued its report. No doubt there were internal classified studies, but nothing is known of their content to outsiders.
Despite the lack of clear analysis, however, the engines for moving things forward were working hard from late 1991. At the end of that year, NATO created the North Atlantic Cooperation Council. NATO member nations then invited 9 Central and East European countries to join the NACC in order to begin fostering cooperation between the NATO powers and former members of the Warsaw Pact.
This was a first effort to offer something to East European countries wishing to join NATO itself. The NACC, however, did not really satisfy the demands of those countries, and in the beginning of 1994 the US launched the idea of a Partnership for Peace. The PFP offered nations wishing to join NATO the possibility of co-operating in various NATO activities, including training exercises and peacekeeping. More than 20 countries, including Russia, are now participating in the PFP.
Many of these countries wish eventually to join NATO. Russia obviously will not. join. It believes that NATO should not be moving eastwards. According to the Center for Defense Information in Washington, a respected independent research center on military affairs, Russia is participating in the PFP “to avoid being shut out of the European security structure altogether.” 
The movement toward the enlargement of NATO has therefore been steadily gathering momentum. The creation of the North Atlantic Cooperation Council was more or less an expression of sympathy and openness toward those aspiring to NATO membership. But it did not carry things very far. The creation of the Partnership for Peace was more concrete. It actually involved former Warsaw Pact members in NATO itself. It also began a “two-track” policy toward Russia, in which Russia was given a more or less empty relationship with NATO simply to allay its concerns about NATO expansion.
However, despite this continuous development, the public rationale for this expansion has for the most part rested on fairly vague premises. And this leads to the question of what has been driving the expansion of NATQ during the last four years. The question must be posed for two areas: the Balkans and the countries of Central Europe. For there is an important struggle going on in the Balkans, a struggle for mastery of the southern Balkans in particular. And NATO is now involved in that struggle. There is also, of course, a new drift back to Cold-War policies on the part of certain Western countries. And that drift is carrying NATO into Central Europe.
The Struggle for Mastery in the Balkans
We have been witnessing, since 1990, a long and agonizing crisis in Yugoslavia. It has brought the deaths of tens of thousands, driven perhaps two million people from their homes and caused turmoil in the Balkan region. And in the West it is generally believed that this crisis, including the civil wars in Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina, was the result of internal Yugoslav conflicts, and specifically of conflicts between Croats, Serbs and Bosnian Muslims. This is far from the essence of the matter.
The main problem in Yugoslavia, from the first, was foreign intervention in the country’s internal affairs. Two Western powers, the United States and Germany, deliberately contrived to destabilize and then dismantle the country. The process was in full swing in the 1 980s and accelerated as the present decade began. These powers carefully planned, prepared and assisted the secessions which broke Yugoslavia apart. And they did almost everything in their power to expand and prolong the civil wars which began in Croatia and then continued in Bosnia-Herzegovina. They were involved behind the scenes at every stage of the crisis.
Foreign intervention was designed to create precisely the conflicts which the Western powers decried. For they also conveniently served as an excuse for overt intervention once civil wars were under way.
Such ideas are, of course, anathema in Western countries. That is only because the public in the West has been systematically misinformed by war propaganda. It accepted almost from the beginning the version of events promulgated by governments and disseminated through the mass media. It is nonetheless true that Germany and the US were the principal agents in dismantling Yugoslavia and sowing chaos there.
This is an ugly fact in the new age of realpolitik and geopolitical struggles which has succeeded the Cold War order. Intelligence sources have begun recently to allude to this reality in a surprisingly open manner. In the summer of 1995, for instance, INTELLIGENCE DIGEST, a respected newsletter published in Great Britain, reported that:
The original US-German design for the former Yugoslavia [included] an independent Muslim-Croat dominated Bosnia Herzegovina in alliance with an independent Croatian and alongside a greatly weakened Serbia. 
Every senior official in most Western governments knows this description to be absolutely accurate. And this means, of course, that the standard descriptions of “Serbian aggression” as the root cause of the problem, the descriptions of Croatia as a “new democracy”, etc. are not just untrue but actually designed to deceive.
But why? Why should the media seek to deceive the Western public? It was not simply that blatant and large-scale intervention in Yugoslav affairs had to be hidden from public view. It was also that people would ask questions about why Germany and the US deliberately created havoc in the Balkans. They wanted inevitably to know the reasons for such actions. And these had to be hidden even more carefully than the destructive actions of great powers.
At root, the problem was that the United States had an extremely ambitious plan for the whole of Europe. It is now stated quite openly that the US considers itself a “European power”. In the 1980s, this assertion could not be made so easily. That would have caused too much dissension among Western allies. But the US drive to establish its domination in Europe was nonetheless a fact. And the United States was already planning what is now openly talked about.
Quite recently, Richard Holbrooke, the Assistant Secretary of State for European affairs, made the official position clear. In a recent article in the influential journal FOREIGN AFFAIRS, he not only described the United States as a “European power” but also outlined his government’s ambitious plans for the whole of Europe. Referring to the system of collective security, including NATO, which the US and its allies created after the second world war, Mr. Holbrooke said:
This time, the United States must lead in the creation of a security architecture that includes and thereby stabilizes all of Europe — the West, the former Soviet satellites of Central Europe and, most critically. Russia and the former republics of the Soviet Union. 
In short, it is now official policy to move towards the integration of all of Europe under a Western political and economic system, and to do so through the exercise of “American leadership”. This is simply a polite, and misleading, way of talking about the incorporation of the former Socialist countries into a vast new empire. 
It should not be surprising that the rest of Mr. Holbrooke’s article is about the necessity of expanding NATO, especially into Central Europe, in order to ensure the “stability” of the whole of Europe. Mr. Holbrooke states that the “expansion of NATO is an essential consequence of the raising of the Iron Curtain ” .
Thus, behind the repeated interventions in the Yugoslav crisis, there lay long-term strategic plans for the whole of Europe.
As part of this evolving scheme, Germany and the US originally determined to forge a new Balkan order, one based on the market organization of economies and parliamentary democracy. They wanted to put a definitive end to Socialism in the Balkans.  Ostensibly, they wanted to “foster democracy” by encouraging assertions of independence, as in Croatia. In reality, this was merely a ploy for breaking up the Balkans into small and vulnerable countries. Under the guise of “fostering democracy”, the way was being opened to the recolonization of the Balkans.
By 1990, most of the countries of Eastern Europe had yielded to Western pressures to establish what were misleadingly called “reforms”. Some had accepted all the Western conditions for aid and trade. Some, notably Bulgaria and Romania, had only partially accepted them.
In Yugoslavia, however, there was resistance. The 1990 elections in Serbia and Montenegro kept a socialist or social-democratic party in power. The Federal government thus remained in the hands of politicians who, although they yielded to pressures for “reforms” from time to time, were nevertheless opposed to the recolonization of the Balkans. And many of them were opposed to the fragmentation of Yugoslavia. Since the third Yugoslavia, formed in the spring of 1992, had an industrial base and a large army, that country had to be destroyed.
From the German point of view, this was nothing more than the continuation of a policy pursued by the Kaiser and then by the Nazis.
Once, Yugoslavia was dismantled and thrown into chaos, it was possible to begin reorganizing this central part of the Balkans. Slovenia, Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina were to be brought into a German sphere of interest. Germany acquired access to the sea on the Adriatic, and potentially, in the event that the Serbs could be overwhelmed, to the new :Rhine-Danube canal, a route which can now carry 3,000 ton ships from the North Sea into the Black Sea. The southern reaches of Yugoslavia were to fall into an American sphere of interest. Macedonia, which commands the only east-west and north-south passages across the Balkan Mountains, was to be the centerpiece of an American region. But the American sphere would also include Albania and, if those regions could be stripped away from Serbia, the Sanjak and Kosovo. Some American planners have even talked of the eventual emergence of a Greater Albania, under US and Turkish tutelage, which would comprise a chain of small Muslim States, possibly including Bosnia Herzegovina, with access to the Adriatic.
Not surprisingly, Germany and the US, although they worked in concert to bring about the dismantlement of Yugoslavia, are now struggling for control of various parts of that country, notably Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina. In fact, there is considerable jockeying for influence and commercial advantage throughout the Balkans.  Most of this competition is between Germany and the US, the partners who tore Yugoslavia apart. But important companies and banks from other European countries are also participating. The situation is similar to that which was created in Czechoslovakia by the Munich Agreement in 1938. Agreement was reached on a division of the spoils in order to avoid clashes which would lead immediately to war.
The New “Great Game” in the Caspian Sea
Yugoslavia is significant not just for its own position on the map, but also for the areas to which it allows access. And influential American analysts believe that it lies close to a zone of vital US interests, the Black Sea-Caspian Sea region.
This may be the real significance of the NATO task force in Yugoslavia.
The United States is now seeking to consolidate a new European-Middle Eastern bloc of nations. It is presenting itself as the leader of an informal grouping of Muslim countries stretching from the Persian Gulf into the Balkans. This grouping includes Turkey, which is of pivotal importance in the emerging new bloc. Turkey is not just a part of the southern Balkans and an Aegean power. It also borders on Iraq, Iran and Syria. It thus connects southern Europe to the Middle East, where the US considers that it has vital interests.
The US hopes to expand this informal alliance with Muslim states in the Middle East and southern Europe to include some of the new nations on the southern rim of the former Soviet Union.
The reasons are not far to seek. The US now conceives of itself as being engaged in a new race for world resources. Oil is especially important in this race. With the war against Iraq, the US established itself in the Middle East more securely than ever. The almost simultaneous disintegration of the Soviet Union opened the possibility of Western exploitation of the oil resources of the Caspian Sea region.
This region is extremely rich in oil and gas resources. Some Western analysts believe that it could become as important to the West as the Persian Gulf
Countries like Kazakhstan have enormous oil reserves, probably in excess of 9 billion barrels. Kazakhstan could probably pump 700,000 barrels a day. The problem, as in other countries of the region, at least from the perspective of Western countries, has been to get the oil and gas resources out of the region and to the West by safe routes. The movement of this oil and gas is not simply a technical problem. It is also political.
It is of crucial importance to the US and to other Western countries today to maintain friendly relations with countries like Kazakhstan. More importantly, it is important to know that that any rights acquired, to pump petroleum or to build pipelines to transport it, will be absolutely respected. For the amounts which are projected for investment in the region are very large.
What this means is that Western producers, banks, pipeline companies, etc. want to be assured of “political stability” in the region. They want to be assured that there will be no political changes which would threaten their new interests or potential ones.
An important article in THE NEW YORK TIMES recently described what has been called a new “great game” in the region, drawing an analogy to the competition between Russia and Great Britain in the northwest frontier of the Indian subcontinent in the nineteenth century. The authors of the article wrote that,
Now, in the years after the cold war, the United States is again establishing suzerainty over the empire of a former foe. The disintegration of the Soviet Union has prompted the United States to expand its zone of military hegemony into Eastern Europe (through NATO) and into formerly neutral Yugoslavia. And — most important of all — the end of the cold war has permitted America to deepen its involvement in the Middle East. 
Obviously, there have been several reasons which prompted Western leaders to seek the expansion of NATO. One of these, and an important one, has clearly been a commercial one. This becomes more evident as one looks more closely at the parallel development of commercial exploitation in the Caspian Sea region and the movement of NATO into the Balkans.
On May 22, 1992, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization issued a remarkable statement regarding the fighting then going on in Transcaucasia. This read in part as follows:
[The] Allies are profoundly disturbed by the continuing conflict and loss of life. There can be no solution to the problem of Nagorno-Karabakh or to the differences it has caused between Armenia and Azerbaijan by force. “Any action against Azerbaijan’s or any other state’s territorial integrity or to achieve political goals by force would represent a flagrant and unacceptable violation of the principles of international law. In particular we [NATO] could not accept that the recognized status of Nagorno-Karabakh or Nakhichevan can be changed unilaterally by force. 
This was a remarkable statement by any standards. For NATO was in fact issuing a veiled warning that it might have to take “steps” to prevent actions by governments in the Caspian Sea region which it construed as threatening vital Western interests.
Two days before NATO made this unusual declaration of interest in Transcaucasian affairs, an American oil Company, Chevron, had signed an agreement with the government of Kazakhstan for the development of the Tengiz and Korolev oil fields in the Western part of the country. The negotiations for this agreement had been under way for two years prior to its being signed. And reliable sources have reported that they were in danger of breaking down at the time because of Chevron’s fears of political instability in the region. 
At the time that NATO made its declaration, of course, there would have been little possibility of backing up its warning. There was, first of all, no precedent at all for any large, out-of-area operation by NATO. NATO forces, furthermore, were far removed from Transcaucasia. It does not take a long look at a map of the Balkans, the Black Sea the Caspian Sea to realize that the situation is changing.
The Next Stage: “Stabilizing” the East
The current pressure for the enlargement of NATO to Central and Eastern Europe is part of an effort to create what is mistakenly called “the new world order”. It is the politico-military complement of the economic policies initiated by the major Western powers and designed to transform Central and East European society.
The United States, Germany and some of their allies are trying to build a truly global order around the North Atlantic Basin economy. There is actually nothing very new about the kind of order which they are trying to establish. It is to be founded on capitalist institutions. What is new is that they are trying to extend “the old order” to the vast territories which were thrown into chaos by the disintegration of Communism. They are also trying to incorporate into this “order” countries which were previously not fully a part of it.
In a word, they are trying to create a functioning capitalist system in countries which have lived under Socialism for decades, or in countries, such as Angola, which were seeking to break free of the capitalist system.
As they try to establish a “new world order”, the major Western powers must also think about how to preserve it. So, in the final analysis, they must think about extending their military power toward the new areas of Europe which they are trying to attach to the North Atlantic Basin. Hence the proposed role of NATO in the new European order.
The two principal architects of what might be a new, integrated and capitalist. Europe are the United States and Germany. They are working together especially closely on East European questions. In effect, they have formed a close alliance in which the US expects Germany to help manage not only West European but also East European affairs. Germany has become, as George Bush put it in Mainz in 1989, a “partner in leadership”.
This close relationship ties the US to Germany’s vision of what German and American analysts are now calling Central Europe. It is a vision which calls for: 1 ) the expansion of the European Union to the East; 2) German leadership in Europe; and 3) a new division of labor in Europe.
It is the idea of a new division of labor which is particularly important. In the German view, Europe will in the future be organized in concentric rings around a center, which will be Germany. The center will be the most developed region in every sense. It will be the most technically developed and the wealthiest. It will have the highest levels of wages, salaries and per capita income. And it will undertake only the most profitable economic activities, those which put it in command of the system. Thus Germany will take charge of industrial planning, design, the development of technology, etc., of all the activities which will shape and co-ordinate the activities of other regions.
As one moves away from the center, each concentric ring will have lower levels of development, wealth and income. The ring immediately surrounding Germany will include a great deal of profitable manufacturing and service activity. It is meant to comprise parts of Great Britain, France, Belgium, the Netherlands and northern Italy. The general level of income would be high, but lower than in Germany. The next ring would include the poorer parts of Western Europe and parts of Eastern Europe, with some manufacturing, processing and food production. Wage and salary levels would be significantly lower than at the center.
It goes without saying that, in this scheme of things, most areas of Eastern Europe will be in an outer ring. Eastern Europe will be a tributary of the center. It will produce some manufactured goods, but not primarily for its own consumption. Much of its manufacturing, along with raw materials, and even food, will be shipped abroad. Moreover, even manufacturing will pay low wages and salaries And the general level of wages and salaries, and therefore of incomes, will be lower than they have been in the past.
In short, most of Eastern Europe will be poorer in the new, integrated system than it would have been if East European countries could make their own economic decisions about what kind of development to pursue. The only development possible in societies exposed to the penetration of powerful foreign capital and hemmed in by the rules of the International Monetary Fund is dependent development.
This will also be true of Russia and the other countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States. They will also become tributaries of the center, and there will be no question of Russia pursuing an independent path of development. There will obviously be some manufacturing in Russia, but there will be no possibility of balanced industrial development. For the priorities of development will be increasingly dictated by outsiders. Western corporations are not interested in promoting industrial development in Russia, as the foreign investment figures show.
The primary Western interest in the Commonwealth of Independent States is in the exploitation of its resources. The breakup of the Soviet Union was thus a critical step in opening the possibility of such exploitation. For the former republics of the USSR became much more vulnerable once they became independent. Furthermore, Western corporations are not interested in developing CIS resources for local use. They are interested in exporting them to the West. This is especially true of gas and petroleum resources. Much of the benefit from the export of resources would therefore accrue to foreign countries. Large parts of the former Soviet Union are likely to find themselves in a situation similar to that of Third World countries.
What Germany is seeking, then, with the support of the US, is a capitalist rationalization of the entire European economy around a powerful German core. Growth and high levels of wealth in the core are to be sustained by subordinate activities in the periphery. The periphery is to produce food and raw materials, and it is to manufacture exports for the core and for overseas markets. Compared to the (Western and Eastern) Europe of the 1980s, then, the future Europe is to be entirely restructured, with lower and lower levels of development as ones moves away from the German center.
Thus many parts of Eastern Europe, as well as much of the former Soviet Union, are meant to remain permanently underdeveloped areas, or relatively underdeveloped areas. Implementation of the new division of labor in Europe means that they must be locked into economic backwardness.
Thus, for Eastern Europe and the countries of the CIS, the creation of an “integrated” Europe within a capitalist framework will require a vast restructuring. This restructuring could be very profitable for Germany and the US. It will mean moving backwards in time for the parts of Europe being attached to the West.
The nature of the changes under way has already been prefigured in the effects of the “reforms” implemented in Russia from the early 1990s. It was said, of course, that these “reforms” would eventually bring prosperity. This was, however, a hollow claim from the beginning. For the “reforms” implemented at Western insistence were nothing more than the usual restructuring imposed by the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund on Third World countries. And they have had the same effects.
The most obvious is the precipitous fall in living standards. One third of the population of Russia is now trying to survive on income below the official poverty line. Production since 1991 has fallen by more than half. Inflation is running at an annual rate of 200 per cent. The life expectancy of a Russian male fell from 64.9 years in 1987 to 57.3 years in 1994.  These figures are similar to those for countries like Egypt and Bangladesh. And, in present circumstances, there is really no prospect of an improvement in economic and social conditions in Russia. Standards of living are actually likely to continue falling.
Clearly, there is widespread, and justified, anger in Russia, and in other countries, about the collapse of living standards which has accompanied the early stages of restructuring. This has contributed to a growing political backlash inside Russia and other countries. The most obvious recent example may be found in the results of the December parliamentary elections in Russia. It is also clear that the continuing fall in living standards in the future will create further angry reactions.
Thus the extension of the old world order into Eastern Europe and the CIS is a precarious exercise, fraught with uncertainty and risks. The major Western powers are extremely anxious that it should succeed, to some extent because they see success, which would be defined in terms of the efficient exploitation of these new regions, as a partial solution to their own grave economic problems. There is an increasingly strong tendency in Western countries to displace their own problems, to see the present international competition for the exploitation of new territories as some kind óf solution to world economic stagnation.
Western analysts rightly suppose that the future will bring political instability. So, as Senator Bradley put it recently, “The question about Russia is whether reform is reversible”. [ 16] Military analysts draw the obvious implication: the greater the military power which can potentially be brought to bear on Russia, the less the likelihood of the “reforms” being reversed. This is the meaning of the following extraordinary statement by the Working Group on NATO Enlargement:
The security task of NATO is no longer limited to maintaining a defensive military posture against an opposing force. There is no immediate military security threat to Western Europe. The political instability and insecurity in Central and Eastern Europe, however, greatly affect the security of the NATO area. NATO should help to fulfill the Central and Eastern European desires for security and integration into Western structures, thus serving the interests in stability of its members. 
This represents an entirely new position on the part of NATO. It is a position which some NATO countries thought imprudent not long ago. And it is alarming, because it does not confront the real reasons behind the present pressure for NATO’s extension. However evasive and sophistical the reasoning of the Working Group may be, it appears that the debate in many countries is now closed. It would, of course, be much better if the real issues could be debated publicly. But for the moment they cannot be, and the pressure for NATO enlargement is going to continue.
The Dangers of Extending NATO
The current proposal to expand NATO eastward creates many dangers.
It should be stated that many leaders in Western countries oppose the expansion of NATO, and they have repeatedly explained the dangers of such expansion. It is important to recognize, that despite the official position of NATO and the recent report of the Working Group, there is strong opposition to NATO’s moving eastward. Nonetheless, for the moment, those in favor of NATO expansion have won the day.
Four dangers of NATO expansion in particular require discussion here.
The first is that the expansion of NATO will bring new members under the NATO umbrella. This will mean, for instance, that the United States and other Western members are obliged to defend, say, Slovakia against an attack. Where will an attack come from? Is NATO really prepared to defend Slovakia in the event of a conflict with another East European country?
In a country like the United States, this would be very unpopular. As Senator Kassebaum put it in October of last year:
Are the American people prepared to pledge, in the words of the North Atlantic Treaty, that an armed attack against one or more of these potential new members will be considered an attack against all? 
The issue of extending the umbrella is a critical one. For the NATO powers are nuclear powers. The Working Group report stated that, in appropriate circumstances, the forces of NATO allies could be stationed on the territory of new members. And the Working Group did not rule out, as it should have, the stationing of nuclear weapons on the territory of new members. The failure to rule out such a possibility means that NATO is embarking on a dangerous path, a path which increases the risks of nuclear war.
The Working Group’s silence on this matter cannot fail to be taken as a threat by those who are not joining NATO. And, clearly, the most important of these is Russia, because it, too, possesses nuclear weapons — as do the Ukraine and Kazakhstan.
The second danger is that expansion will jeopardize relations between the United States and Russia, or even lead to a second Cold War. While NATO countries present the organization as a defensive alliance, Russia sees it quite differently. For more than forty years, the Soviet Union considered NATO as an offensive alliance aimed at all the members of the Warsaw pact. The general opinion in Russia is still that NATO is an offensive alliance. The former Foreign Minister, Mr. Kozyrev, made this quite clear to NATO members. How can Russia possibly see things differently in the future?
The expansion of NATO is inevitably perceived by Russia as encirclement. It is seen as assuming that Russia will inevitably again become an aggressive state. This, however, is much more likely to push Russia toward belligerence than to do anything else. It will certainly not calm its fears about the intentions of NATO in moving into Eastern Europe. Referring to the recent NATO decision on expansion, the Director of the Institute of USA and Canada Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences, stated recently that:
Russia is still a military superpower with a huge area and a large population. It is a country with enormous economic capabilities which has extraordinary potential for good or ill. But now it is a humiliated country in search of identity and direction. To a certain extent, the West and its position on NATO expansion will determine what direction Russia chooses. The future of European Security depends on this decision.” 
The third danger in extending NATO is that will undermine the implementation of the START I Treaty and the ratification of the START II Treaty, as well as other arms control and arms limitation treaties designed to increase European security. The Russians, for instance, have made it clear that they will go ahead with the implementation of the Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE) Treaty “if the situation in Europe is stable”. The expansion of NATO into Eastern Europe, however, significantly changes the present equilibrium in Europe. So NATO countries are risking many of the achievements of the last 25 years in the field of disarmament. Some argue convincingly that NATO expansion will undermine the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
Such consequences will hardly make Europe, or the globe, a safer place in the future.
The fourth principal danger in NATO expansion is that it will unsettle the situation in Eastern Europe. NATO claims that its expansion will help to ensure stability. But Eastern Europe, particularly after the changes of the last five years, is already an unstable place. The piecemeal expansion of NATO into Eastern Europe will increase tensions between new members and those left outside. It cannot fail to do so. Those left outside NATO are bound to feel more insecure when NATO has established itself in a neighboring country. This would place place them in a buffer zone between an expanding NATO and Russia. They are bound to react in a fearful, and even hostile manner. The piecemeal expansion of NATO could even trigger an arms race in Eastern Europe.
The Weakness of the Western Position
When closely considered, the proposal to extend NATO eastward is not just dangerous. It also seems something of a desperate act. It is obviously irrational, for it can become a self-fulfilling prophecy. It can lead to a second Cold War between the NATO powers and Russia, and possibly to nuclear war. It must be assumed that no one really wants that.
Why, then, would the NATO countries propose such a course of action? Why would they be unable to weigh the dangers of their decision objectively?
Part of the answer is that those who have made this decision have looked at it in very narrow terms, without seeing the larger context in which NATO expansion would take place. When one does look at the larger context, the proposal to expand NATO is obviously irrational.
Consider the larger context. NATO proposes to admit certain countries in Central Europe as full members of the alliance in the near future. Other East European countries are being considered for later admission. This extension has two possible purposes. The first is to prevent “the failure of Russian democracy”, that is, to ensure the continuation of the present regime, or something like it, in Russia. The second is to place NATO in a favorable position if a war should ever break out between Russia and the West.
In an age of nuclear weapons, pursuing the second purpose is perhaps even more dangerous than it was during the years of the Cold War, since there are now several countries with nuclear weapons which would potentially be ranged against NATO. The argument that NATO should be expanded eastward in order to ensure the West an advantage in the event of a nuclear war is not a very convincing one. And it would certainly not be convincing to Central European countries if it were openly spoke of. Those would be the countries most likely to suffer in the first stages of such a war. Their situation would be similar to that of Germany during the Cold War, as the German antiwar movement began to understand in the 1980s.
The main purpose of expanding NATO, as almost everyone has acknowledged, is to make sure that there is no reversal of the changes which have taken place in Russia during the last five years. That would end the dream of a three-part Europe united under the capitalist banner and close a very large new space for the operation of Western capital. A NATO presence in Central and Eastern Europe is simply a means of maintaining new pressure on those who would wish to attempt to change the present situation in Russia.
However, as has been seen, this also means locking Russia, and other countries of the CIS, into a state of underdevelopment and continuous economic and social crisis in which millions of people will suffer terribly, and in which there is no possibility of society seeking a path of economic and social development in which human needs determine economic priorities.
What is horribly ironic about this situation is the the Western countries are offering their model of economic organization as the solution to Russia’s problems. The realist analysts, of course, know perfectly well that it is no such thing. They are interested only in extending Western domination further eastward. And they offer their experience as a model for others only to beguile. But the idea that “the transition to democracy”, as the installation of market rules is often called, is important in the world battle for public opinion. It has helped to justify and sustain the policies which the West has been pursuing toward the countries of the CIS.
The Western countries themselves, however, are locked in an intractable economic crisis. Beginning in the early 1970s, profits fell, production faltered, long-term unemployment began to rise and standards of living began to fall. There were, of course, the ups and downs of the business cycle. But what was important was the trend. The trend of GDP growth in the major Western countries has been downward since the major recession of 1973-1975. In the United States, for instance, the rate of growth fell from about 4 per cent per year in the 1950s and the 1960s, to 2.9 per cent in the 1970s and then to about 2.4 per cent in the 1980s. Current projections for growth are even lower.
The situation was not very different in other Western countries. Growth was somewhat faster, but unemployment was significantly higher. The current rates of unemployment in Western Europe average about 11 per cent, and there is more unemployment hidden in the statistics as a result of various government pseudo employment plans.
Both Western Europe and North America have experienced a prolonged economic stagnation. And capitalist economies cannot sustain employment and living standards without relatively rapid growth. In the 25 years after the second world war, most Western countries experienced rapid growth, on the order of 4 and 5 per cent per year. It was that growth which made it possible to maintain high levels of employment, the rise in wages and the advance of living standards. And there is no doubt that, in the postwar period, the Western countries made great advances. Large numbers of working class people were able to achieve decent living standards. The middle and upper classes prospered, indeed, many of them reached a standard of living which can only be called luxurious.
The postwar honeymoon, however, is clearly over. The great “capitalist revolution” touted by the Rockefellers is no more. “Humanized capitalism” is no more. Declining growth has now returned us to the age of “le capitalisme sauvage”. It has triggered economic and social crisis in every Western country. It is undermining the principal achievements of the postwar period. In Europe, the Welfare state has been under attack for fifteen years by those who would shift the burden of crisis onto the shoulders of the less fortunate. In the United States, a relatively meager “social net” to protect the poor is now being shredded by the aggressive and ignorant defenders of corporate interests, who also want to be sure that those who can least afford it bear the brunt of the system’s crisis of stagnation.
The West, then, is itself locked in crisis. This is not a transient crisis or a “long cycle”, as academic apologists would have it. It is a systemic crisis. The market system can no longer produce anything like prosperity. The markets which drove the capitalist economy in the postwar period, automobiles, consumer durables, construction, etc. are all saturated, as sheaves of government statistics in every country demonstrate. The system has not found new markets which could create an equivalent wave of prosperity. Moreover, the acceleration of technical progress in recent years has begun to eliminate jobs everywhere at a staggering rate. There is no possible way of compensating for its effect, for creating new employment in sufficient quantity and at high wage levels.
Government and industry leaders in the West are fully aware of the situation in one sense. They know what the statistics are. They know what the problems are. But they are not able to see that the source of the problem is the fact that, having achieved very high levels of production, income and wealth, the present capitalist system has nowhere to go. Half-way solutions could be found, but Western leaders are unwilling to make the political concessions which they would require. In particular, the large concentrations of capital in Western countries are led by people who are constitutionally incapable of seeing that something fundamental is wrong. That would require them to agree to the curtailing of their power.
Therefore, the leaders of government and industry drive blindly on, not wishing to see, not prepared to accept policies that might set the present system on a path of transition to some more rational and more human way of organizing economic life. It is this blindness, grounded in confusion and fear, which has clouded the ability of Western leaders to think clearly about the risks of extending NATO into Eastern Europe. The Western system is experiencing a profound economic, social and political crisis. And Western leaders apparently see the exploitation of the East as the only large-scale project available which might stimulate growth, especially in Western Europe.
They are therefore prepared to risk a great deal for it. The question is: will the world accept the risks of East-West conflict and nuclear war in order to lock into one region economic arrangements which are already collapsing elsewhere?
1. DEFENSE NEWS, 25 November 1995; see also Gary Wilson, “Anti-War Activists Demand: No More US Troops to the Balkans”, Workers World News Service, December 7, 1995.
2. See for instance: “NATO Expansion: Flirting with Disaster”, THE DEFENSE MONITOR, November/December 1995, Center for Defense Information, Washington, D.C.
3. Senator Richard Lugar, “NATO: Out of Area or Out of Business”, Remarks Delivered to the Open Forum of the US State Department, August 2, 1993, Washington, D.C.
4. “Changing Nature of NATO”, INTELLIGENCE DIGEST, 16 October 1992.
5. THE DEFENSE MONITOR, loc. cit., page 2.
6. “Bonn’s Balkans-to-Tehran Policy”, INTELLIGENCE DIGEST, 11 – 25 August 1995.
7. Richard Holbrooke, “America, A European Power”, FOREIGN AFFAIRS, March/April l995, page 39.
8. The crucial point is that Eastern Europe and the countries of the former USSR are to adopt the institutions prevailing in Western Europe, i.e., capitalism and parliamentary democracy.
9. Holbrooke, loc. cit., page 43.
10. See National Security Decision Directive, “United States Policy toward Yugoslavia”, Secret Sensitive, (declassified), The White House, Washington D.C., March 14, 1984.
11. Joan Hoey,”The U.S.’Great Game’ in Bosnia”, THE NATION, January 30, 1995.
12. Jacob Heilbrunn e Michael Lind, “The Third American Empire”, THE NEW YORK TIMES, January 2, 1996.
13. “The Commercial Factor Behind NATO’s Extended Remit”, INTELLIGENCE DIGEST, May 29, 1992.
15. Senator Bill Bradley, “Eurasia Letter: A Misguided Russia Policy”, FOREIGN POLICY, Winter 1995-1996, page 89.
16. Ibid. page 93.
17. Draft Special Report of the Working Group on NATO Enlargement, May 1995.
18. Quoted in THE DEFENSE MONITOR, loc. cit., page 5.
19. Dr. Sergei Rogov, Director of the Russian Academy of Sciences’ Institute of USA and Canada Studies, quoted in DEFENSE MONITOR, loc. cit. page 4.
This paper was presented by the late Sean Gervasi at the Conference on the Enlargement of NATO in Eastern Europe and the Mediterranean, Prague, 13-14 January 1996. It was published on Global Research, as part of first articles, when the site was launched on September 9, 2001. Sean Gervasi had tremendous foresight. He understood the process of NATO enlargement several years before it actually unfolded into a formidable military force. He has also predicted the breakup of Yugoslavia as part of a US-NATO project.
Global Research | January 14, 1996
The New Blueprint for Global Domination
The United States’ intervention in Africa is driven by America’s desire to secure valuable natural resources and political influence that will ensure the longevity of America’s capitalist system, military industrial complex, and global economic superiority – achieved through the financial and physical control of raw material exports. While America’s prosperity may be waning due to a number of current factors, policy makers are bent on trying to preserve America’s global domination and will pursue policy objectives regardless of the downturn in the economy at large.
The U.S. has a long history of foreign intervention and long ago perfected the art of gaining access to other countries’ natural, human, and capital resource markets through the use of foreign trade policy initiatives, international law, diplomacy, and, when all else fails, military intervention. Typically and historically, diplomatic efforts have largely been sufficient for the U.S. to establish itself as a player in other nations’ politics and economies. While U.S. intervention in Africa is nothing new, the way the U.S. is going about the intervention features a new method that is being implemented across the globe.
The U.S. has followed a great deal of its diplomatic interventions with the establishment of extensive networks of foreign military posts – designed to influence other nations and protect what are defined as U.S. strategic national interests. This global reach is evidenced by an extensive network of over 737 military installations  all around the globe, from Ecuador to Uzbekistan, Colombia to Korea. The model for successfully accessing these nations and their critical financial and commodities markets is changing, however, particularly as it relates to renewed intervention in Africa. The new intervention is directly linked to two factors: the fast paced and heated battle with rivals China and Russia over their access to key natural resources, and the U.S.’ declining ability to manage a bloated international network of overseas military outposts.
I. Resources Rivalry
Access to natural resources – particularly oil and rare earth elements – is critical for the U.S. to remain a dominant industrial and military power, especially since the U.S. has experienced a decline in natural resource production while China’s production and foreign access to strategic materials has only increased. A sustained increase in oil imports has been underway since domestic U.S. oil production peaked in the 1970s, with oil imports surpassing domestic production in the early 1990s. Strategic metals, such as the titanium used in military aircraft, and rare earth elements used in missile guidance systems are increasingly produced by China or under the control of Chinese companies. The issue is of such importance that 2009 saw the creation of the annual Strategic Metals Conference, a forum designed to address concerns related to US access to metals with important industrial and military uses. The second annual conference, held in Cleveland, Ohio in January 2010, saw dozens of engineers and military personnel express heightened concern over China’s near monopoly over rare earth metals.  China controls around 95% of the world’s rare earth output and has decided to restrict the export of these metals, leaving international consumers short by approximately 20,000 tons in 2010. 
China’s rapidly developing economy, recently over taking Japan as the world’s second largest, continues to log nine to ten percent annual growth in Gross Domestic Product, and is fueled by a rapidly growing middle class as well as new export markets around the world. The demand for raw materials has led to new policy initiatives in which Africa has taken center stage for Chinese investment. China has gained access to Africa by, in large part, offering favorable aid packages to several nations which include loans, debt forgiveness, and job training.  In contrast to Western aid packages, Chinese aid has few if any strings attached.
China’s platform for developing trade with and providing aid to Africa was of such importance that in October 2000, the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) was launched. Fifty African nations participate in the forum which serves as the foundation for building bridges of economic trade as well as political and cultural exchange.  The forum, and indeed China’s Africa strategy as a whole, has been so successful that Africans view China as an equal partner in trade and development, validating the politically and culturally significant “South-South” economic alliance that the FOCAC maintains is at the foundation of its engagement with Africa. This plays on the historical disparities that Western powers created and exploited in their former “North-South” colonial relationships with Africa and has been a key factor in developing strong bonds and a highly favorable opinion of China among Africans. Survey data indicates that most Africans share the view of Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade when he says:
“China’s approach to our needs is simply better adapted than the slow and sometimes patronizing post-colonial approach of European investors, donor organizations and nongovernmental organizations. In fact, the Chinese model for stimulating rapid economic development has much to teach Africa. With direct aid, credit lines and reasonable contracts, China has helped African nations build infrastructure projects in record time—bridges, roads, schools, hospitals, dams, legislative buildings, stadiums and airports. In many African nations, including Senegal, improvements in infrastructure have played important roles in stimulating economic growth.”
“It is a telling sign of the post-colonial mindset that some donor organizations in the West dismiss the trade agreements between Chinese banks and African states that produce these vital improvements—as though Africa was naive enough to just offload its precious natural resources at bargain prices to obtain a commitment for another stadium or state house.” 
In fact, opinion polls clearly reveal that Africans see Chinese influence as being far more positive than U.S. influence.  China has clearly gained a substantive advantage in working with dozens of African nations as U.S. influence continues to wane.
Russia has also taken a renewed interest in Africa, reminiscent to some in the U.S. media as a revision of the Soviet Union’s Africa Strategy in which the Soviet Union created numerous “Soviet Treaties of Friendship and Cooperation” as a counterweight to Western capitalism and institutions like the United States Agency for International Development.  Russian President Medvedev, and Prime Minister Putin have been making their rounds in Africa with “legions of Russian businessmen, targeting diamonds, oil, gas, and uranium” and have been establishing commodities production agreements with several nations.  Putin’s push to restore Russia’s international stature, power, and prestige has led Russia to purchase in excess of $5 billion of African assets between 2000 and 2007.  Russia’s investments in and trade with Africa are quite small when compared with both the U.S. and China. Still, Russia has made an increase in trade and the acquisition of African raw materials a geostrategic imperative.
Chinese and Russian influence is quickly spreading and is seen in many cases as a viable and preferable alternative to the Western model which, particularly considering Africa’s colonial past, is seen to attach unfavorable conditions to aid and development that are designed to enrich the West at the expense of the people of Africa. Africans have in effect identified what sociologist Johan Galtung considers to be a “disharmony of interests” that the U.S. is trying to manage through new diplomatic efforts. The U.S. continues to lose influence in Africa to China and Russia, both of which are increasing their influence at a steady clip, and continues to be branded as imperialist in the eyes of Africans. The U.S. is well aware that it needs to improve its image in Africa in order to realize its strategic goals.
II. The Weight of Empire
While there is no reliable data on the precise cost of maintaining the United States’ network of over 700 military bases, it is estimated that the cost is $250 billion per year.  This is 38% of the entire disclosed 2010 budget for the Department of Defense of $663.7 billion. The cost includes facilities, staff, weapons, munitions, equipment, food, fuel, water, and everything else required to operate military installations.
In 2004, then Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld stated that the U.S global military presence had to change and adapt to the post-cold war world. The post-cold war world did not require large garrisons of heavy armor throughout the European theater – garrisons stocked with enough soldiers and armament to challenge the massive Soviet military and Warsaw Pact nations on the borders of Eastern and Western Europe. The new military would be lighter, faster, rely more on light infantry and special-forces, and would used to fight multiple smaller scale wars across the globe in what was branded as an eternal Global War on Terror (GWOT). In Rumsfeld’s opinion, the U.S. would save up to $6 billion of its annual operating budget by closing (or realigning) 100 to 150 foreign and domestic bases  and save $12 billion by closing 200 to 300 bases.  Clearly, the cost of maintaining America’s legions was central to the Rumsfeld’s transformation initiative and to the U.S. military’s new role.
This military transformation would reduce the number of heavy garrisons abroad and would increasingly rely on pre-positioned war materials managed by smaller staffs at foreign military installations. These military installations would be available for a massive influx of U.S. troops if needed. Bilateral treaties and Status of Forces Agreements created by the Department of Defense and host nations would ensure that these installations would be available, to the extent required, to the American military and would ensure that the American military could operate freely with few constraints on its activities, legal or otherwise.
In the case of Camp Lemonier in Djibouti, a key military outpost and strategically important piece of real-estate in the Horn of Africa, precisely where the Red Sea meets the Gulf of Aden, the United States government entered into an agreement  with the government of Djibouti that has several striking features:
· U.S. military personnel have diplomatic immunity
· The United States has sole jurisdiction over the criminal acts of its personnel
· U.S. personnel may carry arms in the Republic of Djibouti
· The U.S. may import any materials and equipment it requires into the Republic of Djibouti
· No claims may be brought against the U.S. for damage to property or loss of life
· Aircraft, vessels, and vehicles may enter, exit, and move freely throughout the Republic of Djibouti.
Such an agreement allows the U.S. to maintain a small permanent presence in Djibouti, but staff and stock up with as many military personnel and weapons as it deems fit for any particular operation inside or outside of Africa as needed. Additionally, the agreement gives the U.S. the flexibility it wants to operate freely without interference from or liability to the people and government of Djibouti.
III. The New Model – AFRICOM
With all of the concern over U.S. access to key natural resources, it is hardly a surprise that United States conceived of and finally launched United States Africa Command (AFRICOM) in 2007. The unveiling AFRICOM was done under the auspices of bringing peace, security, democracy, and economic growth to Africans. The altruistic rationale for the creation of a new military command was belied by the fact that from the start it was acknowledged that AFRICOM was a “combatant” command created in response to Africa’s growing strategic importance to the United States; namely, “the size of its population, its natural resource wealth, its potential”. 
Africans were aware of U.S. described strategic national interests in their oil and gas fields, and raw materials long before most Americans were had any idea that renewed intervention in Africa was being planned. In November 2002, the U.S. based Corporate Council on Africa held a conference on African oil and gas in Houston, Texas. The conference, sponsored by ExxonMobil and ChevronTexaco among others, was opened by United States Assistant Secretary of State for Africa, Walter Kansteiner. Mr. Kansteiner previously stated that, “African oil is of strategic national interest to us and it will increase and become more important as we go forward,” while on a visit to Nigeria.  In fact, President Fradique de Menezes of Sao Tome and Principe said at that time that he had reached agreement with the United States for establishment of a U.S. naval base there, the purpose of which was to safeguard U.S. oil interests.  The U.S. Navy has in fact proceeded with its basing plans in Sao Tome and recently reported on its activities in that nation on its website in July, 2010.  Since the establishment of AFRICOM, numerous training exercises have been carried out in Africa by U.S. military forces, and basing agreements have been worked out with several African partners across the continent – even in the face of strong dissent from the citizens of several countries. The U.S. has been able to create these relationships through the careful structuring of its operations, size and make-up of its staff, and public relations efforts.
The structuring of AFRICOM was a critical component in making AFRICOM palatable to Africans. After several nations objected to the presence of a physical headquarters in Africa, AFRICOM’s commander, General William E. Ward, went on record several times to say that a physical command presence was not needed in Africa (even though the U.S. initially did try quite hard but unconvincingly to establish a permanent headquarters there). The command is currently based in Stuttgart, Germany, and will remain there for the foreseeable future, mainly in deference to African objections.
AFRICOM’s size was also an important factor. It has no large garrisons, no sizeable staff beyond the headquarters in Germany and the small number of forces and civilian support personnel based at Camp Lemonier in Djibouti as part of Combined Joint Task Force Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA), and no large armory to sustain division or brigade sized operations. The small size and staff of U.S. basing operations like CJTF-HOA is the new model for U.S. foreign intervention. Instead of large garrisons, the U.S. has is created a series of Forward Operating Locations (FOLs). FOLs are “smaller, cheaper, and can thus be more plentiful. In short, the FOL can lie in wait with a low carrying cost until a crisis arrives, at which point it can be quickly expanded to rise to whatever the occasion demands.”  Arrangements have been made with several countries, north, south, east, and west, including Gabon, Kenya, Mali, Morocco, Tunisia, Namibia, Sao Tome, Senegal, Uganda, Ethiopia, and Zambia. 
AFRICOM’s staffing structure is a military-civilian hybrid for two reasons: to convey the message that the combatant command does not have an exclusive military purpose, and to gain influence over African nations’ domestic and foreign policies. AFRICOM has a civilian deputy commander and a large civilian staff, in part made up of U.S. State Department personnel. These civilian personnel include foreign policy advisors from the U.S. Bureau of African Affairs, humanitarian assistance advisors from the U.S. Agency for International Development, as well as advisors from the U.S. Department of Treasury and the Department of Homeland Security.  Africa’s burgeoning relationships with China are seen as undermining Western “efforts to bolster good governance, improve respect for human rights, and reduce corruption,”  hence the need for civilian subject matter expertise to help the Africans manage their civil affairs and security.
U.S. officials have long been cognizant of African hostility to any efforts that could be perceived as neo-colonialist and imperialist. A number of missteps to rectify were (and continue to be) identified as the new command took shape. Several contradictory statements were made with respect to AFRICOM’s role, whether with respect to terrorism, natural resources, China, or the militarization of the continent. Even the timing of the command’s creation was criticized, it being created during a dramatically deteriorating time of war in Iraq. The actions of the U.S. government sent “mixed signals”  and fueled anti-Americanism among the citizens that would eventually become unwilling hosts of American forces. To overcome poor public relations, the command built several activities into the structure of AFRICOM, to include the building of schools in poor villages, air and sea port construction projects, the distribution of medicine and textbooks to children, military-to-military training programs, and legal operational support. Military personnel have also taken a more deferential tone in speaking about the way AFRICOM interfaces with African nations. Vice Admiral Robert T. Moeller explained: “We do not lead or create policy . . . . Our programs are designed to respond to what our African partners have asked us to do.” 
Public relations efforts have been of such importance to the military, the U.S. Army War College published a research paper in March 2008, entitled “Combating African Questions about the Legitimacy of AFRICOM”. The paper expressed Africa’s strategic importance to the United States, yet offense that the creation of AFRICOM prompted a “hostile” response from African leaders.  It urged the U.S. to learn more about African institutions and to engage them rather than ignore them. It also advocated that U.S. personnel gain a stronger understanding of Africa’s colonial past while pushing for African nations to become more multilateral in working towards a common goal. It called for the increased use of “soft power that could be leverage by the U.S. Department of State in winning the public relations fight for Africa. 
AFRICOM has certainly run into a number of roadblocks but it appears that the new command will flourish as a result of intensive diplomatic and public relations efforts by the United States government. The structure and domestic operations of AFRICOM also makes it more palatable to African leaders who can more easily claim that they have a harmony rather than a disharmony of interests with the U.S. while the U.S. is building roads, training military forces, and passing out textbooks to children. A leaner, smaller, less intrusive, and more culturally engaged network of military outposts is America’s new blueprint for foreign intervention and global domination.
Paul C. Wright is an attorney, business consultant, and legal researcher who has practiced both military and civil law. His legal practice areas have included criminal, international, insurance, and consumer law.
 Johnson, Chalmers, “737 U.S. Military Bases = Global Empire,” Global Research , March 21, 2009. Mr. Johnson continues: “The Pentagon continues to omit from its accounts most of the $5 billion worth of military and espionage installations in Britain, which have long been conveniently disguised as Royal Air Force bases. If there were an honest count, the actual size of our military empire would probably top 1,000 different bases overseas, but no one — possibly not even the Pentagon — knows the exact number for sure.”
 Schoenberger, Robert, “Developing a U.S. supply of strategic metals is on the agenda at Cleveland Conference, The Plain Dealer , February 1, 2010,
 Zhang, Yajun, Vincent, Lee, and Jung-Ah, Lee, “China Dangles Rare-Earth Resources to Investors, The Wall Street Journal , August 16, 2010,
 In Angola, for example, China secured future oil production rights by offering $2 billion in loans “for Chinese companies to build railroads, schools, roads, hospitals, bridges, and offices; lay a fiber-optic netword; and train Angolan telecommunications workers.” Hanson, Stephanie, “China, Africa, and Oil,” Council on Foreign Relations , June 6, 2008,
 Forum on China-Africa Cooperation, http://www.focac.org/eng/
 Cooke, Jennifer G., “China’s Soft Power in Africa and its Implications for the United States,” p.31,
 Ibid, p. 41
 Cohen, Ariel, “Russia’s New Scramble for Africa – Moscow tries to rebuild its sphere of influence on the African continent,” The Wall Street Journal , July 2, 2009,
 Matthews, Owen, “Racing for New Riches – Russian and Chinese investors are battling for African resources to fuel their growing empires,” Newsweek , November 8, 2007,
 Feffer, John, “How Much Does the U.S. Empire Cost?” Huffington Post , July 14, 2009,
 Colonel Schwalbe, Stephen, “Overseas Military Base Closures,” Air & Space Power Journal , January 4, 2005,
 Vine, David, “Too Many Overseas Bases,” Foreign Policy In Focus , February 25, 2009,
 “Agreement Between The Government Of The United States Of America And The Government Of The Republic Of Djibouti On Access To And Use Of Facilities In The Republic Of Djibouti,” February 19, 2003,
 See remarks of Ms. Theresa M. Whelan, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense (DASD) for African Affairs, “Foreign Press Center Briefing on U.S. To Establish New U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM),” US Fed News Service, Including US State News , Washington D.C., Feb 9, 2007. Ms. Whelan foreshadowed the structure of national vertical integration into the AFRICOM framework by stating that “AFRICOM isn’t going to be used to protect natural resources in Africa. To the extent that AFRICOM through its interaction with other African countries and through whatever help we can provide in terms of developing their capacities to promote security in their own country and in the region, if they will be able to protect their natural resources more effectively, then that will be a good thing.”
 Akosah-Sarpong, Kofi, “Touting West African Oil In The U.S.,” Modern Ghana , November 10, 2002,
 Ibid. See also, “US naval base to protect Sao Tome oil,” BBC News , August 22, 2002, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/2210571.stm in which President Menendez revealed the new model for U.S. military outposts abroad. He stated, “It is not really a military base on our territory, but rather a support port for aircraft, warships and patrol ships so that they can come to this port and stay for some time.”
 Kennon, Yan, “NMCB 7 Detail Deploys to Sao Tome in Support of Exercise West Africa Training Cruise,” Navy.mil , July 27, 2010,
 Fillingham, Zachary, “U.S. military bases: a global footprint,” Geopolitical Monitor , December 9, 2009,
 Volman, Daniel, “Why America wants military HQ in Africa,” New African , London: January 2008, Iss. 469 (ProQuest)
 Schaefer, Brett D. and Eaglen, Mackenzie M., “U.S. Africa Command: Challenges and Opportunities,” Backgrounder , The Heritage Foundation, p.4, November 19, 2008
 Ibid, p.7
 Stevenson, Jonathon, “The U.S. Navy: Into Africa,” Naval War College Review , Washington: Winter 2009, Vol 62, Iss.1 (ProQuest)
 “AFRICOM Helps Nations Build Secure Future,” US Fed News Service, Including US State News , Washington D.C., Apr 9, 2010
 Dr. Putman, Diana B., “Combating African Questions about the Legitimacy of AFRICOM,” U.S. Army War College , March 19, 2008, pp. 1-2
 Ibid, p. 21
Global Research | August 20, 2010