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‘Shameless Racism’: 13 Countries Change Long-Standing Position on Palestine at UN

Palestine Chronicle – December 5, 2019

For the first time, 13 countries changed their longstanding positions and voted against a pro-Palestine measure at the United Nations on Tuesday.

Germany, the Czech Republic, Austria, Bulgaria, Denmark, Estonia, Greece, Lithuania, Netherlands, Romania, Slovakia, Brazil, and Colombia voted against the annual resolution regarding the “Division for Palestinian Rights of the Secretariat”, according to the Times of Israel.

They had previously abstained on the vote.

The resolution, which includes a call to halt to illegal Israeli settlements being constructed in the occupied West Bank, still passed with a large majority voting in favor.

The Palestinian representative told the council: “If you protect Israel, it will destroy you all.” He also said Israel’s character as a Jewish state is “shameless racism”.

The New York-based Division for Palestinian Rights oversees the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People.

The resolution was co-sponsored by Comoros, Cuba, Indonesia, Jordan, Kuwait, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, the United Arab Emirates, and Yemen.

The UK, France, and Spain abstained, as they do every year, allowing the resolution to pass with a vote of 87-54, with 21 other abstentions.

The General Assembly adopted five resolutions on the question of Palestine and the Middle East, including one calling on the Member States not to recognize any changes to the pre-1967 borders, including with regards to Jerusalem, other than those agreed by the parties through negotiations.

December 5, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

US Senate Provokes Turkey by Backing The New Hellenic-Israeli Alliance in The Eastern Mediterranean

By Adam Garrie | EurasiaFuture | 2019-04-10

If anyone doubted that the thriving partnership between Athens, Nicosia and Tel Aviv is not as much about gas as it is about military cooperation, an official statement from the US Senate has put such theories permanently to rest. Not only is Israel siding with countries that continue to have unsettled disputes with Turkey, but by partnering with Nicosia in order to build a gas pipeline to Europe, Israel is upping the stakes against Turkey at a time when relations between Ankara and Tel Aviv continue to decline. In doing so, Israel is actively taking Nicosia’s side in a maritime gas dispute with Ankara. As such, the nuclear armed power is dramatically increasing tensions in in the region.

Legislation introduced by US Senators Bob Menendez and Marco Rubio seeks not only to offer US support to gas extraction and pipeline projects between Tel Aviv, Nicosia and Athens, but as part of this legislative package, the US would lift the long standing arms embargo against Nicosia. This cannot be viewed as anything other than a provocation against Turkey. The fact that this has been proposed days after the US ruled to cut Turkey off from the F-35 project that Ankara had been involved in from its early stages makes it all the more clear that the US, Israel, and the two Hellenic states of southern Europe are united against Turkey. When one adds Egypt and several other southern European nations to this mix, it becomes clear that multiple states are cooperating in order to attempt and harm Turkish interests. This not only poses a danger to the stability of the wider Eastern Mediterranean region, but it puts the efficacy of NATO at risk.

According to a Senatorial press release from Washington:

“The Eastern Mediterranean Security and Energy Partnership Act of 2019 would allow the US to fully support the trilateral partnership of Israel, Greece, and Cyprus through energy and defence cooperation initiatives – including by lifting the embargo on arms transfers to the Republic of Cyprus”.

At a time when Turkey is trying to improve declining ties with the US and reach a settlement to disputes with both Athens and Nicosia, other countries in this equation are taking active steps to provoke and alienate Turkey.

Within this broad context, it is important to remember that while the US claims its F-35 dispute with Turkey is a product of Turkey’s S-400 deal with Russia and whilst Israeli Primer Benjamin Netanyahu claims that Iran is his number one enemy, these rhetorical devices mask a deeper reality in which Turkey is now considered a foremost worry to both Israel and also to many in Washington (in spite of Turkey’s history as a loyal NATO member). All the while, Athens and Nicocia are being used as pawns in the dangerous game whose rules have been set by vastly more powerful nations.

Below is the full background of the multiple ways in which Israel has united with traditionally Turkophobic powers in southern Europe and the eastern Mediterranean.

Israel, America and The F-35

Throughout 2018, the US threatened to halt delivery of the F-35s to Turkey due to Ankara’s insistence that it will purchase the Russian made S-400 missile defence system. But while on the surface, the row between Turkey and the US appears to be one stemming from a reality in which Turkey has warm relations with Moscow whilst the US does not, there is an Israeli factor at hand that may be the overriding factor at play. The fact that Israel’s ally India has more or less received a green light from the US to purchase S-400s makes this reality all the more clear.

In May of last year, Russian media outlet Sputnik reporting the following:

“According to a top Israeli defence official, the Jewish state seeks to remain the only country in the region with F-35 jets to maintain its military’s qualitative edge. The discussions between Israel and the United States have also reportedly touched upon the jet’s performance-enhancing software; unnamed sources confirmed to Haaretz that the matter is ‘part of the negotiations,’ while Israel has denied having talks over the F-35 deal, under which Turkey is expected to obtain 100 stealth fighter jets”.

Whilst anti-Turkish forces do exist in the US owing to Turkey’s increasingly warm relations to countries as diverse as Russia, Iran and China, the fact that recent years and months have seen a dramatic decline in Turkey-Israel relations has clearly played a part in America’s move to effectively remove Turkey from the F-35 project that it had been a part of from the earliest stages of the jet’s development.

Although the Pentagon had previously expressed its willingness to follow through with its pledged delivery of US made F-35 fighter jets to Turkey, Congressional opposition fuelled by a unique alliance of the US based Armenian, Hellenic and Jewish lobbies continues to oppose the US delivery of the jets to NATO member Turkey. This month, these anti-Turkish forces have achieved their desired result as the US has frozen the delivery of F-35s to Turkey.

What one is witnessing in the United States is a perfect storm of geopolitical brinkmanship which has allied with domestic ethno-religious agitation groups in a malaise of open Turkophobia. From the perspective of many in Congress from both major US parties, delivering the F-35s to Turkey would violate the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) which allows for US sanctions on otherwise neutral or even allied countries who purchase weapons from nations being directly sanctioned by Washington. The directly sanctioned nations in question are Russia, Iran and the DPRK (North Korea).

Because of Turkey’s unflinching agreement to purchase Russia’s S-400 missile defence systems, Ankara is now being targeted by members of the US Congress keen to exert what amounts to a blackmail clause in CAATSA which would threaten any nation with sanctions for the “offence” of purchasing Russian weapons.

The reality of the US sanctioning a once valued NATO partner is now becoming an increasingly likely reality.

From healthy relations to the ultimate strain 

Turkey was the first Muslim majority nation to recognise Israel and prior to recent decades, Ankara and Tel Aviv have had a generally healthy relationship. This dramatically changed in 2010 when Israeli commandos illegally boarded the MV Mavi Marmara in international waters. The MV Mavi Marmara was a privately chartered Turkish flagged ship carrying mostly Turkish activists on their way to Gaza in order to deliver much needed humanitarian supplies to besieged Palestinians. The gruesome raid killed ten Turks and resulted in the lowest ebb in Ankara-Tel Aviv relations until now.

A new anti-Turkish alliance in the eastern Mediterranean and among US based pressure groups 

For much of the 20th and 21st centuries, the large American based Hellenic and Armenian lobbies have agitated for a less friendly US approach to Turkey. For the Armenian lobby, the main goal is to convince the US Federal government to recognise the tragic events of 1915 as “The Armenian Genocide” while the Hellenic lobby has sought to persuade Washington to pressure Ankara into acknowledging the early 20th century conflict in western Anatolia as the “Pontic Genocide”. Additionally, the US Hellenic lobby has for years attempted to persuade NATO to take a tougher line on the status of Northern Cyprus. Thus far, none of these lobbying attempts have met with the desired success of the respective lobbies at a Federal level.

While the US based Jewish lobby is traditionally more powerful than either the Hellenic or Armenian lobbies, the US Jewish lobby has generally had little negative to say about Turkey in-line with the fact that of all of the Muslim majority governments in the region Tel Aviv had its best relations with Ankara, as well as the overriding reality that Turkey never passed any antisemitic legislation as most of the powers of Europe did prior to the mid-20th century.

But with Turkish President Erdoğan openly calling for a wider pan-Islamic movement for Palestine, all the while calling Israel a terrorist state, the US Jewish lobby like Israeli politicians, have joined traditional foes of Turkey in openly agitating for a more anti-Turkish position form the US government.

This has expressed itself both domestically in the US and geopolitically in terms of Israel’s new regional partnerships. Against this background, it is perhaps not surprising that Gilad Erdan, a member of Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud faction has called for Tel Aviv to recognise the events of 1915 as an “Armenian Genocide”. If Israel were to officially do this, it would represent a clear break between Tel Aviv and Ankara and quite possibly a point of no return. The more Turkey stands up for Palestine, the more voices like those of Erdan will become amplified in arguing for a move that is less about Armenia (a traditionally anti-Zionist nation) than about sending a clear message to Turkey that the partnership has run its course.

Israel and The Craiova Group

Formed in 2015, the fledgling Craiova Group is a partnership between Greece, Serbia, Bulgaria and Romania aimed at fostering deeper cooperation between the four south-eastern European nations. While the group has generally been far less notable in terms of its aims and accomplishments vis-a-vis the Three Seas Initiative linking Baltic eastern and central Europe with the European nations of south-east, this month the Craiova Group came into its own as the official organisation which will carry out Israel’s attempt to isolate Turkey in the wider eastern Mediterranean region.

On the 2nd of November, 2018, Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu took part in a Craiova Group summit in Varna, Bulgaria. There, Netanyahu said,

“I am here at the summit of four countries – Bulgaria, Greece, Serbia and Romania. This is the first time that they have invited a leader outside these four countries to participate in their summit. This is a great honor for Israel and reflects Israel’s rising status in the world.

Each one of the leaders has individually told me that they will try to improve their consideration of Israel in relevant votes both at the EU and the UN. They all want to promote the gas pipeline from Leviathan to Europe and the Balkans. They are also very interested in Israeli gas and Israeli technology, and they would very much like Israel’s friendship. This is a good sign”.

Netanyahu also discussed making the Craiova Group integral to Tel Aviv’s plans to construct the East Med Pipeline, a joint Israeli-Hellenic project that will see a gas pipeline travelling from disputed Israeli waters through to disputed Cypriot waters and finally into mainland Europe via The Hellenic Republic. But while Netanyahu’s speech talked about unity against the supposed threat of Islam which clearly played to the sentiments of many in Greece, Bulgaria, Serbia and Romania where the racist anti-Turkish/anti-Muslim hashtag “#nokebab” has become a cultural phenomenon, the pipeline alliance that Israel is trying to secure is clearly aimed at boxing Turkey into a corner in its own territorial waters.

At present, Ankara and Nicosia are in the midst of a heated row regarding rights to offshore gas fields in the waters off the island of Cyprus. At present, while there is no realistic plan for Nicosia to militarily enter the Turkish North of the divided island, Nicosia is opposed to Turkish plans to begin extracting gas in the waters off of the disputed territory of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (aka Northern Cyprus). To put it another way, in spite of rhetoric to the contrary, the government in Nicosia clearly cares about controlling the waters off of Cyprus more than it cares about controlling the island’s total landmass.

But far from being just a new chapter in the age old Hellenic-Turkish disputes of the region, this particular conflict is also being driven by Israel whose government is keen to see Tel Aviv, Nicosia and Athens work jointly on an East Med pipeline that excludes Turkey while at the same time impinging on offshore territory that Turkey claims it has an inalienable right to exploit. Now, Israel looks to bolster these plans which have already seen Egypt pivoting ever closer to Tel Aviv and Nicosia by also drawing Bulgaria, Serbia and Romania into the project.

When one remembers that during the ultimately brief Turkish-Israeli rapprochement of 2016, there were talks of a joint gas project between Tel Aviv and Ankara, the underpinnings of the present conflict become all the more clear.

To further understand the background of the severe downgrade in Turko-Israeli relations that has now become a rivalry for energy supremacy in the eastern Mediterranean, it is important to understand the following that was originally published in Eurasia Future in May of last year:

“The Turkish government has just announced the effective expulsion of Eitan Na’eh, Israel’s Ambassador to Ankara. According to the Daily Sabah,

‘Na’eh was asked to leave Turkey indefinitely by the Turkish ministry of foreign affairs following the Israeli bloodshed and his tweets’.

Pipeline politics no more

Against this background, erstwhile plans for a Turkey to Israel East Mediterranean pipeline have stalled. As a result, Tel Aviv has pivoted closer to Turkey’s regional rival Egypt (which has said next to nothing about Palestine in recent days), while most importantly there is now talk of an EU sponsored East Mediterranean pipeline between Israel, Cyprus, Greece and Italy.

According to a report from New Europe,

“The EastMed gas pipeline would circumvent Turkey, which has increased tensions with Cyprus, Greece and Israel recently, providing a way to transport newly discovered gas supplies from the East Mediterranean to Europe. The talks in Nicosia in May[2018] follow a memorandum of understanding regarding the EastMed pipeline, which was signed in December.

According to the Public Gas Corporation of Greece (DEPA), the EastMed will connect the recently discovered gas fields in the Levantine Basin, in the southeast Mediterranean, with mainland Greece and is projected to carry 8-14 billion cubic meters per year of natural gas to Greece and Europe.

According to DEPA, the approximately 1900 kilometer long pipeline (700 kilometers on-shore, 1200 off-shore) consists of the three following main sections, as well as compressor stations located in Cyprus and Crete: a pipeline from the fields to Cyprus, a pipeline connecting Cyprus to Crete, and a pipeline from Crete crossing mainland Greece up to the Ionian coast.

From there the EastMed can link up with the offshore Poseidon pipeline enabling the delivery of additional diversified sources from the Levantine to Italy and beyond. The EastMed pipeline is preliminarily designed to have exit points in Cyprus, Crete, and mainland Greece as well as the connection point with the Poseidon pipeline”.

The deal to create such a pipeline was sealed in December of 2017 while glowing reports from pro-EU media touted the deal as a means of allowing Europe to decrease its dependence on Russian gas while also offering Israel a chance to swap Turkey for EU partners. As Turkey’s long paralytic bid to join the EU is now de-facto over, both Europe and Israel’s cooperation over a new East Mediterranean gas pipeline has the effect of drawing Russia and Turkey into an even closer partnership than the one they are currently in.

At the moment the Turkstream pipeline designed to bring Russian gas into Europe via Turkey is a major joint project between Moscow and Ankara. Now, both the EU and Israel are looking to challenge this route with a pipeline of their own in a similar region. In reality, there is enough demand for gas in Europe and Israel to mean that both pipelines can coexist, but the geopolitical optics are clear enough. Tel Aviv has joined forces with the most anti-Ankara states in the EU in order to cut Turkey out of Israel’s future.

The importance of Turkey’s Soft Power in the Sunni Muslim world

President Erdoğan has already proved himself to be the ‘Sultan of Soft Power’ in the wider Sunni Muslim world. Without clear leadership from Egypt, Saudi Arabia or Qatar and with Saddam’s always controversial Iraqi government long out of power, Erdoğan has positioned himself as a champion for Palestine not only in Turkey and the Sunni Arab world but beyond. Because of this, one should never underestimate how far Turkey will take its support of Palestine vis-a-vis Tel Aviv, not least because the more Erdoğan voices his opinions in support of Palestine, the more he is respected and supported both in Turkey and far beyond.

Israel supporting Turkey’s main rivals 

Because Israel has taken clear moves away from Turkey and towards its hated Hellenic rivals, officials in Ankara who in the past may have been hesitant to sever ties with Tel Aviv because of economic considerations may now be much closer to doing so. Israel’s intensifying military cooperation with both Greece and Cyprus are a further sign that when it comes to Turkey, Tel Aviv is doing everything in its power to replace its once healthy Turkish partnership with that of countries with notoriously poor and always heated relations with Ankara.

Then there is the issue of Kurdish ethno-nationalism in both Syria and Iraq. Uniquely in the world, the United States and Israel are supporters of Kurdish separatism both in northern Syria and northern Iraq.  President Erdoğan has already made it clear that this is one of several red lines that Israel can cross in respect of maintaining even semi-normal relations. During the attempted illegal Kurdish succession from Iraq in the autumn of 2017, Erdoğan posed the following rhetorical statements to Kurdish secessionists in Iraq,

“Who will recognize your independence? Israel. The world is not about Israel?…

…“You should know that the waving of Israeli flags there will not save you!”

Conclusion 

In order to connect these dots, one must ask some vital questions:

1. Why is the US treating its longstanding NATO partner Turkey much worse than it is treating its new Indian partner over the purchase of the same Russian made S-400 defensive weapons?

2. With Turkey and Israel competing for regional soft power influence, regional influence in respect of gas pipelines and competing in respect of building new diplomatic alliances in the Eastern Mediterranean, could Israel be preparing options to lead military assaults on Turkish assets (perhaps in Cyprus) and as such fears Turkey’s ownership of F-35 as well as S-400s?

3. As Russia is both an Israel and Turkish ally, is Tel Aviv attempting to use the US to pressure Turkey to choose between its Russian and American partners knowing that Moscow will not do so?

4. As Israel owns F-35s but not S-400s, is Tel Aviv worried that if Turkey had both, it would be able to seriously counter possible Israeli aerial bombardments against Turkish assets in the wider region?

When one looks at the overall state of Turkey-Israel relations and what Israeli officials have themselves said about Turkey and the F-35s, it begins to become ever more apparent that the F-35/S-400 issue is as much if not more about Tel Aviv than it is about the neo-Cold War between Washington [and Russia].

Now that the US Senate is openly endorsing the Tel Aviv-Nicosia-Athens gas and security partnership, there can be little doubt that a new anti-Turkish alliance is being built in the eastern Mediterranean that is centred on Israel and supported by the United States.

April 10, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Romania breaks with EU to relocate its Israeli embassy to Jerusalem

RT | March 24, 2019

Romania will move its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, Prime Minister Viorica Dancila announced at the AIPAC summit in Washington on Sunday, in a controversial move that goes against the rest of the European Union.

Speaking at the Israel lobby group American Israel Public Affairs Committee’s (AIPAC) conference, Dancila said Romania intends to relocate its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, which she referred to as Israel’s capital, in a move that follows the US’ controversial decision to do so last year.

Most nations with diplomatic relations with Israel have their embassies in Tel Aviv, as, although Israel claims Jerusalem as its capital, it is not recognized as such by the international community. Palestinians want East Jerusalem as their future capital, and Israel has occupied East Jerusalem since the 1967 war, when it annexed the area from the rest of the West Bank.

Dancila is currently president of the Council of the European Union and the move is a marked departure from the position held by the rest of the EU. Romania, along with Hungary and the Czech Republic, reportedly blocked an EU resolution objecting to the US embassy move, which said Jerusalem should be capital of both Israel and Palestine.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu asked Dancila to move Romania’s embassy when she visited Israel in January. “I hope you will act to stop the bad resolutions against Israel in the European Union,” he said. “And also, of course, to move your embassy and other embassies to Jerusalem.”

Romanian President Klaus Iohannis called for Dancila to resign last April after she pushed a secret memorandum to move the embassy without consulting him, and after she went on a state visit to Israel without consulting him. As president, Iohannis is in charge of foreign policy and has the final decision on such moves.

Speaking before another meeting between Romania and Israel in November, Netanyahu explained some of the reasons they enjoy good relations: “We cooperate in matters of security, anti-terror. Romania stands often with Israel in difficult diplomatic arenas and we appreciate this. We recognize our friends and we consider Romania a great friend.” Netanyahu also referred to their shared concerns about “radical Islam.”

The president of Honduras also told AIPAC it would open diplomatic representation in Jerusalem, and hinted that if AIPAC would lobby on behalf of his country, he would consider opening an embassy too, Haaretz reports. Brazil has also said it will consider moving its embassy. Guatemala is the only country apart from the US to have moved its embassy to Jerusalem so far.

March 24, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation | , , , , | Leave a comment

‘Our build-up is defensive, Russia’s aggressive,’ says NATO after Putin’s remark – but is that fair?

RT | August 22, 2018

NATO claims its military buildup in Eastern Europe is justified as it deters Russia’s superior might. Yet, any Russian activity is overshadowed by the US-led bloc’s huge border drills, supposedly held to ‘counter’ Moscow’s moves.

“NATO’s actions are defensive, proportionate and fully in line with our international commitments,” the alliance’s spokeswoman Oana Lungescu told Reuters, commenting on NATO military activities. She further added that the troops deployed by the Alliance to Eastern Europe “cannot compare to the divisions deployed by Russia” on its western borders.

The rant was provoked by the words of Russian President Vladimir Putin, who rebuked NATO for building up its military infrastructure right on Russia’s doorstep. “We do not deploy our military contingents away from our borders and close to the NATO states, it is the NATO infrastructure that advances to our own borders,” Putin told journalists in Sochi.

It was the way this statement was put that apparently made NATO officials so angry that they even de facto claimed that their forces are no match to those of Russia. The comparison is not exactly true, as facts show that NATO’s buildup and military activities near Russian territory actually overshadow the Russian activity.

Less than a week ago, German media reported that Berlin sent as many as 8,000 soldiers and some 100 tanks to Norway in preparation for yet another NATO drill, this time dubbed Trident Juncture 2018 and scheduled for October-November. According to the Alliance, the exercise, which will focus on repelling an aggression of some unfriendly state as part of a collective defense scenario under Article 5 of the NATO treaty, will involve as many as 40,000 participants from more than 30 countries – more than any Russian military exercise conducted in recent years.

The “scariest” Russian war games, dubbed Zapad-2017, which even sparked media-fueled fears that it was a cover for an “invasion” of neighboring countries, involved only 12,700 troops, 70 military aircraft, 10 ships and some 680 ground vehicles. Almost immediately after those drills Poland hosted what it called “national” Dragon 17 exercises, involving contingents from the US, the UK, Germany, Lithuania, Latvia, Slovakia, Italy, Bulgaria, Romania, Georgia and Ukraine. Notably, the number of troops involved in Dragon 17 exceeded those of the Zapad-2017 contingent, with some 17,000 personnel and 3,500 hardware pieces involved.

The US-led bloc continues to intensify its military exercises in Eastern Europe. In less than three months, NATO conducted two major drills in the vicinity of Russian borders. In June, more than 18,000 soldiers from 19 countries took part in the two-week ‘Saber Strike’ exercise, held in Poland and the Baltic States. The drills were said to practice the deployment of military convoys to defend NATO’s eastern flank.

On August 20, Latvia hosted the biggest war games ever staged on its territory since the Baltic State gained independence. Some 10,000 troops from more than a dozen NATO countries are participating in the drills that will end on September 2. However, the military bloc continues to repeat its mantra that all those drills right on Russia’s doorstep are in no way aimed at “provoking” Russia.

As if that was not enough, NATO also beefed up its military contingent in Eastern Europe. In her statement to Reuters, Lungescu only mentioned “4,000 troops to the eastern part of the Alliance to deter any possible aggression” as if those troops were the only ones NATO recently sent to the region. She forgot to note that the US will soon double the number of its Marines stationed in Norway. Also left out were the missile defense installations in Poland and Romania that are equipped with Lockheed Martin Aegis Ashore systems, which are technically capable of carrying both interceptor missiles and Tomahawk missiles.

In October 2017, the US also sent a new mechanized brigade to Poland, effectively increasing the overall strength of its military group in the Eastern European state to the level of a mechanized division. The Russian Defense Ministry spokesman, Major General Igor Konashenkov, said at that time that the equipment of another US brigade, which had previously been stationed there “remained in place.”

He added that such a situation gives the US an opportunity to easily redeploy its trained military personnel from its German Rammstein base to Poland within just two hours. According to the Russian Defense Ministry, NATO has tripled its military presence on Russia’s western borders over the past five years, forcing Moscow to respond.

Meanwhile, Russia has not deployed any significant military forces to its western borders in recent years, except for the stationing of Iskander-M tactical missile systems in its western exclave of Kaliningrad in early 2018. However, it is Russia that NATO and the West so desperately seek to portray as a source of instability in the region. Moscow has repeatedly warned that increased NATO presence on its doorstep effectively contributes nothing to regional security and, to the contrary, undermines stability in Europe.

August 22, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Militarism | , , , , | 2 Comments

Romanian President Demands Prime Minister’s Resignation Over Betrayal of Palestine

By Adam Garrie | Eurasia Future | 2018-04-27

When Romania’s Prime Minister Viorica Dancila announced that her country would move its “Israeli” Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem/Al-Quds in line with the United States, she did not consult her President as Romanian law demands. The move which is considered a grave insult to millions of Arabs, Muslims and Christians throughout the world was apparently taken in a unilateral move that Romania’s President has said violates both national and possibly international law.

President Klaus Iohannis has stated that the Premier’s decision “does not cope with her position of the prime minister of Romania and thus it turns the government into a vulnerability for Romania…. That is why I call publicly for her resignation.”

The rift comes after Prime Minister Dancila recently took a trip to “Israel” which the President said was not cleared with the head of state and therefore cannot be described as an official state visit even though Dancila acted as though it was.

The political turmoil within Romania is a clear sign that even among the few European nations that have been inching towards a US position of moving their embassies in “Israel” to Jerusalem/Al-Quds, such moves are highly domestically divisive.

Today in Palestine, demonstrators continue their Great March of Return protests which are set to continue through Nakba Day on the 15th of May. Thus far, “Israeli” aggression against peaceful demonstrators has resulted in over 40 deaths and the wounding over over 5,500 Palestinians.

April 27, 2018 Posted by | Corruption, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation | , , , , | Leave a comment

Russia-US Security Dialogue Looming: Time to Address a Broader Security Agenda

By Alex GORKA | Strategic Culture Foundation | 25.03.2018

A lot of people close to the US president wanted to prevent it at any cost but Donald Trump congratulated President Putin anyway and had a phone conversation with him. The US president said that the two would meet “in the not too distant future.” Preventing an arms race is one issue on the agenda. Donald Trump knew the move would bring forth a tempest but he did it anyway. The president considered the relationship with Moscow to be important enough to defy his numerous opponents. Serbia has already offered to host a summit.

Right after the two presidents’ conversation, the Russian and American chiefs of staff discussed Syria. What’s even more important is that they have agreed to more military-to-military contacts in the future. Why has it suddenly become so important for Washington to launch a dialog on defense issues? The answer was provided by General John E. Hyten, the Commander of US Strategic Command, who admitted in the Senate that the US is defenseless in the face of the threat from hypersonic weapons. This realization came right after Russian President Vladimir Putin revealed his recent information about the new systems capable of hypervelocity flight that are currently being tested and are soon to be operational.

The US is a great military power but it’s not strong enough to force everyone to dance to its tune. Its defense programs suffer from serious shortcomings. The current arms-control system is in crisis. New challenges keep cropping up. They should be incorporated into the international security agenda but that’s not happening.

The looming hypersonic race is a burning issue that still needs to be addressed. It’s a domain in which the US is lagging behind Russia. When the Russian president announced those breakthroughs in military technology, his revelations were met with some skepticism in the West. But the ensuing events proved him right. Vladimir Putin pulled it off, making hotheads come to their senses and realize the need for talks to address the security challenges. Washington needs this dialog more than Moscow does.

So, the Americans’ coveted leadership in military technology has turned out to be a pipe dream. But their furtive steps to bring NATO right to Russia’s doorstep are not. The most interesting things often fall off the radar.

Moldova is planning to phase out its draft in order to have a professional military. This month, Moldova, Georgia, and Ukraine formed an anti-Russia alliance. Moving to an all-volunteer force is in keeping with the political goals of this group and is seen as an important step on the path to NATO membership. That reform is scheduled to begin this fall. This is a very costly endeavor, especially when one is talking about the poorest country in Europe. Chisinau cannot afford it. It will be fully dependent on assistance from Romania and other NATO states.

Moldova’s process of embracing the bloc has accelerated recently. A joint Romanian-Moldovan task force equipped and trained in accordance with NATO standards is on its way. That step was agreed on in February. According to the military cooperation agreement signed by Chisinau and Bucharest in 2012 and ratified by the Moldovan parliament in 2013, Romanian troops and police forces enjoy freedom of movement on Moldovan territory. In other words, a NATO member has a free hand in Moldova, although the region of Transnistria, where Russian peacekeepers are stationed, is part of that country. This is a real hornet’s nest and the problem remains unaddressed.

The fact that Poland has shifted its best military forces, including its most modern tanks, eastward has not gone unnoticed in Russia. The country will receive 70 AGM-158B JASSM-ER long-range air-to-surface missiles from the US by 2020 or a bit earlier. With an operational range of roughly 1,000 km, this stealth weapon boasting a penetrating warhead can hit infrastructure deep inside Russia. One does not have to be a military expert to realize that the JASSM-ER’s prime mission is to knock out Russian Iskander short-range missiles deployed in the Kaliningrad region in a first strike.

The small Polish town of Powidz is to become a NATO hub for the Baltics and Northern Europe. Construction is underway to build a storage facility for a brigade’s worth of military hardware and personnel. The US Aegis Ashore BMD system will be operational in Poland this year. This is a highly destabilizing weapon that will become a target for a first strike by the Russian military.

Nor has Russia forgotten about the 300 US Marines stationed in Norway, or the construction of a sophisticated new radar system known as Globus 3 in the Norwegian Arctic archipelago of Svalbard. This is a violation of international law, as Svalbard was supposed to be demilitarized under a 1925 treaty. The facility there is an element of NATO’s ballistic missile defense (BMD) system. The joint US-Norwegian radar station is viewed by Moscow as a clear provocation. Norway is to be provided with over 50 US F-35 stealth fighters in 2019, enabling it to strike Russian territory. The F-35 is a nuclear-capable plane.

All these moves are being closely watched by the Russian military. Even if new weapons are incorporated into the bilateral arms-control agenda, the efforts to create the potential for a first strike near Russia’s borders are certainly not something Moscow can turn a blind eye toward. This does not create the right environment for a security dialog between Moscow and Washington. Everything is connected.

What Russia and the US really need is not just talks about curbing super weapons, but also negotiations addressing a much broader security agenda.

March 25, 2018 Posted by | Militarism | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Statement of Four: West Wages Multi-Front, Multi-Domain Campaign Against Russia

By Peter KORZUN | Strategic Culture Foundation | 19.03.2018

Contain Russia in all spheres, squeeze it out everywhere you can, and ramp up pressure to make it kneel. It’s not a big thing to find a pretext to justify the orchestrated campaign launched by the West to put the relations with Moscow on confrontational footing. It stubbornly keeps on reviving the Cold War. This is a holistic policy with some actions hitting media headlines to focus world public attention on, while some moves are camouflaged and kept out of spotlight.

With so many doubts expressed about Moscow’s complicity in the Salisbury spy poisoning, the leaders of the UK, the US, Germany and France – the big four – made an unprecedented joint statement putting the blame on Russia. They did not find it necessary to wait for investigation results to say Moscow had violated international law and threatened their security. The statement says Russia did not cooperate with Britain. It does not mention the fact that Moscow was ready to meet London halfway but received no requests in line with the provisions of the Chemical Weapons Convention. The only thing Russia can be blamed for is its policy of refusing to communicate in the language of ultimatums.

Everything has suddenly become clear. Russia’s guilt is evident despite the fact that nothing new has been revealed since French President Macron’s spokesman warned the UK on March 14 against “fantasy politics”. The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapon had not investigated the case but the verdict was handed down. UK PM Theresa May was quite happy about the statement as it showed that the allies “are standing alongside us”.

On March 15, the US introduced new sanctions against Russia to punish it for alleged election meddling and cyberattacks. The announcement came together with the statement of the Big Four. As usual, the move is the result of allegations and claims not based on solid proof and established facts. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer believes it’s still “not enough”. He demands that President Trump introduce more sanctions and publicly denounce Russian President Putin. It’s just the first step, chimed in Senator Mark Warner of the Senate Intelligence Committee. He wondered why it had taken so long.

That’s what is in the spotlight. Now, about the creeping offensive kept out of spotlight to be waged almost clandestinely. Few media have reported about the decision of the Polish government just announced by Defence Minister Mariusz Błaszczak to move “some of the army units” stationed in the west of the country to its eastern borders. The country’s military command system would be reformed because Russia is “unpredictable.”

Meanwhile, Romania is preparing to stage a “maidan” in Moldova to gobble it up. If the plan goes through, this post-Soviet country will become part of NATO and the EU, unleashing a chain reaction in the region considered a sphere of Russia’s influence. A coup is slated for March 24. Extremist groups are expected to capture the parliament building. Moldovan President Igor Dodon had predicted that the attempts to forcibly unify Moldova and Romania would lead to a civil war. The scenario events will most certainly spur separatist sentiments in Transnistria. No doubt, Russia will be blamed for “nefarious activities”, especially if it raises its voice in support of Moldovans’ right to decide their own fate without outside interference.

On March 14, the US announced a diplomatic offensive to squeeze Russia out from the Balkans. Wess Mitchell, Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, urged the nations of the region to resolve their disputes with the help of the West. He mentioned the possible expansion of the EU. Mr. Mitchell did not say so openly but there is little doubt it was an attempt to lure Belgrade away from Russia. Serbia is a country of special concern for the US military brass.

NATO has recently accused Moscow of interfering in the internal affairs of the Balkan countries, including information warfare. EU leaders wasted no time to express their concern over Russia’s policy in the region as Theresa May was ringing alarm bells over the Salisbury poisoning case. They are ready to engage Moscow in “information war”.

Making Russia responsible for the situation in Syria’s Eastern Ghouta is another direction of attack. Provocations are being planned to blame the Russia-backed Syria’s government for the use of CW.

The Salisbury poisoning, false flag chemical attacks in Ghouta, “battle for the Balkans”, provocations being prepared in Moldova, Estonia, Estonia, Latvia and Poland abruptly stepping up their fight against the Nord Stream-2 gas project in the Baltic Sea, as well as a lot of other things, are parts of a broader picture. The West is attacking Russia on all fronts and in all domains. There are no clear rules of the road. The pressure will be gradually being ratcheted up till Moscow bows and kneels.

As history teaches, this outcome is unlikely. But the policy may backfire to undermine the Western unity, which is extremely fragile. The West faces multiple threats and challenges; its very foundation is in jeopardy. These are the days when it needs partners more than artificially created enemies adding to the plethora of grave problems it is trying hard to tackle. Today it is wasting resources and effort on waging the well-orchestrated campaign against Moscow instead of coming up with constructive policy of ensuring its security and cohesion.

March 19, 2018 Posted by | False Flag Terrorism | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The West Attacks Russia on the Eve of the Munich Security Conference: Blind to the Truth

By Alex GORKA | Strategic Culture Foundation | 15.02.2018

So, Russia is the biggest “threat” to European security? And this is what the West, which has done nothing to provoke Moscow, is concerned about? Moscow is to blame for the erosion of arms control, the military deployments in Europe, the close calls during military exercises, and much else that is undermining European security? This view is supported by the recent annual Munich Security Report, titled “To The Brink – And Back?” released on Feb. 8. That paper warns that the security situation will further deteriorate, possibly leading to a military clash.

The annual Munich Security Conference (MSC) will take place on February 16-18. No doubt the participants will paint Russia as a bully who is responsible for each and every thing that is going wrong, while the “innocent” West is calling for restraint and is ready to go to any length to preserve peace on earth.

The West is innocent? Russia is a bully and a threat? This is the right time to look at recent events to see what’s really happening. The US 2019 draft budget released on Feb. 12 asks Congress to approve over $6.3 billion for the US-led NATO European Reassurance Initiative (ERI). In other words, this money is to be spent on a military build-up near Russia’s borders. The ERI was launched in 2014 as a symbolic gesture to assuage East European fears. It has turned into a large-scale deployment that just keeps growing. The cost totaled $3.4 billion in FY 2017, and $4.8 billion in 2018. President Trump’s 2019 budget proposal also envisages $250 million in military aid to Ukraine, which Russia views as an openly provocative move.

The US budget allocates a total of $716 billion for national defense, including $24 billion to modernize its existing arsenal and create new offensive nuclear weapons. For comparison, the Russian 2017 defense budget was roughly $70 billion – about 1/10th of the size of the American appropriations. And the American budget isn’t just paying for weapons. It also includes $661.4 million for broadcasting purposes (the Broadcasting Board of Governors) or, to call a spade a spade, the information war against Russia.

On Feb. 12, a group of Democratic senators introduced a resolution pushing President Donald Trump to authorize new sanctions against Russia, in accordance with the Сountering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act, CAATSA). They are infuriated by what they call the “lack of seriousness shown by the administration in the face of a clear national security threat.”

NATO is quietly beefing up its logistics infrastructure, preparing for a war with Russia. Norway is hosting US Marines, who are deployed near the Norwegian-Russian border. Oslo is to join the NATO missile defense system. The US military presence in Europe has been growing for two years. NATO has recently deployed four battle groups in Poland and the Baltic states and is stepping up its presence in the Black Sea.

There are events that are kept out of the spotlight, but that illustrate how NATO keeps on expanding, in order to undermine Russia’s security and interests. On Feb. 5, Romania, a NATO member, reached an agreement with Moldova to form a joint battalion to familiarize Moldovan military personnel with NATO’s standards. Officially, the unit is to be deployed only under “extraordinary circumstances.” This is the first time that the two countries’ militaries have ever created a joint unit. More than 800 Moldovan officers have undergone military training in Romania. The two countries plan to hold more joint military exercises.

Romania has expressed its strong support of the idea of having Russian peacekeepers withdrawn from Transnistria, with an OSCE mission to take their place. No doubt Bucharest plans to take part in such a mission. Romania has always supported the concept of unification with Moldova. That unification would include Transnistria, where Russian peacekeeping forces are deployed. Once the joint battalion has been created, NATO forces will be facing Russian troops eyeball to eyeball.

The Moldovan government has banned Russian broadcasting. It is striving to integrate with the EU and is sending its military to take part in NATO drills, including in Ukraine. Transnistria favors Russia and wants to join the Moscow-led Eurasian project. Its people reject the idea of integration with Romania. With the Russian peacekeepers gone, the probability of armed conflict will be high.

2018 is the year the NATO Aegis Ashore ballistic missile defense system is to be deployed in Poland. The system can fire Tomahawk surface-to-surface intermediate-range cruise missiles. It constitutes a flagrant violation of the INF Treaty. In the summer of 2018, Poland will host Anaconda 2018 – the largest NATO military exercise since the end of the Cold War. Roughly 100,000 troops, including 20,000 Polish soldiers, 5,000 armored vehicles, 150 fixed-wing and rotary-wing aircraft, and 45 ships will take part in the drills.

One of the issues being discussed at the NATO defense ministers’ meeting (Feb.14-15) is the establishment of two new headquarters – the first upgrade of the command structure since the breakup of the Soviet Union. A command responsible for maritime security will be hosted by the US. A command responsible for ground forces operations in Europe will be set up in Germany. The formal decision is to be made in July at the NATO summit.

The majority of the speakers at the upcoming Munich conference will blame Russia for everything that has gone awry. The “Russia is at it again” approach will prevail. The deployment of Iskander missiles in the Kaliningrad region will be cited as an example of Russian “aggressiveness.” Few speakers will remember who provoked Moscow into taking action to ensure its own security, or the violations of the 1997 NATO-Russia Founding Act banning the deployment of substantial combat forces, or the breach of the INF Treaty that occurred with the positioning of the Aegis Ashore Mk-41 launchers capable of firing intermediate-range missiles. Few will make any attempt to empathize or to brainstorm ideas for finding common ground with Moscow. But hope dies last. In theory, the Munich conference is the right forum for sharing fresh ideas and making new proposals. It would be much more fruitful for NATO and Russia to steer the conversation toward something constructive instead of merely hurling mutual recriminations.

February 16, 2018 Posted by | Militarism | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ukraine Hosts US Military to Be Permanently Stationed on Its Soil

By Alex GORKA | Strategic Culture Foundation | 14.08.2017

United States Naval Construction Battalions, better known as the Seabees (C.B. – construction battalion), of the Naval Construction Force held a groundbreaking ceremony for a maritime operations center on Ochakov Naval Base, Ukraine, July 25. According to the Navy.mil, the official website of the US Navy, the maritime operations center is one of three projects that are currently planned to be executed by the Seabees in Ochakov and will serve as a major planning and operational hub during future military exercises hosted by Ukraine. The Seabees arrived in Ochakov in April to establish contracts, obtain construction permits and perform other logistical tasks for the maritime operations center project.

Maritime operations centers are the operational-level warfare command and control organizations designed to deliver flexible maritime capabilities throughout the full range of military operations. The future Seabee projects in Ochakov include a boat maintenance facility and entry control points with perimeter fencing.

«Our ability to maximize European reassurance initiatives in Ukraine holds strategic importance, and will ultimately improve host nation defense capacity and infrastructure, strengthen relations, and increase bilateral training capabilities», said Lt. j.g. Jason McGee, officer in charge of Det. Ukraine.

In July, several US missile warships, including the USS Hue City Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser and the USS Carney Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer, a P-8A Poseidon patrol aircraft and a Navy SEALs team took part in the 12-day Sea Breeze 2017 NATO naval exercise held in the northwestern part of the Black Sea, near the port city of Odessa. 17 nations took part in the training event.

The drills were conducted in the ‘free game’ format in the Odessa and Nikolayev regions and the northwestern areas of the Black Sea. The practice scenarios cover amphibious warfare. The only country the forces could be training to assault is Russia.

During the exercise, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson made his first visit to Ukraine (July 9) to demonstrate the political support of Kiev’s policy aimed at integration with the United States and NATO. He was accompanied by Kurt Volker, the newly appointed US Special Representative to the Minsk peace process, who is known as a hawk against Moscow.

The US political support is not gratuitous. In late June, the Ukrainian government took a decision to buy American coal from Pennsylvania, which is said to be almost twice as expensive as locally sourced in the Donbass – Ukraine’s traditional supplier of energy needs.

In July, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko signed the Law of Ukraine «On Amendments to Certain Laws of Ukraine Regarding the Foreign Policy of Ukraine», which determines membership of the Alliance as one of the country’s foreign policy priorities. Poroshenko said that a referendum on NATO membership would be held by 2020.

Ukraine takes part in a host of NATO exercises: Operation Fearless Guardian, Exercise Sea Breeze, Saber Guardian/Rapid Trident, Safe Skies and Combined Resolve. It became the first non-member country to contribute its troops to the NATO Response Force.

On June 8, Ukraine’s parliament adopted a bill called «On Amending Certain Legislative Acts of Ukraine (on Foreign Policy Course of Ukraine), setting NATO membership as Ukraine’s foreign policy goal, replacing the country’s non-aligned status.

The United States will deliver lethal weapons to Ukraine. The Joint Staff is working with US European Command to determine what the lethal defensive aid to Ukraine would look like. The House version of the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) cuts military aid to Ukraine from the initial $300 million to $150 million, but it provides permission for lethal arms supplies. The idea is strongly supported in the Senate. If the legislation goes through, the weapons could be legally sent to Ukraine starting October 1. The money could be used to deliver over 900 FGM-148 Javelin anti-tank missiles designed to strike armored vehicles, fortified ground installations and low flying aerial targets at a distance of 50-2,500 meters.

Former President Barack Obama was unconvinced that granting Ukraine lethal defensive weapons would be the right decision in view of corruption widespread in Ukraine. Skepticism about sending weapons to Ukraine is common in Europe. German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier opposed the idea. NATO Military Committee Chairman Petr Pavel has spoken against lethal arms deliveries to Kiev.

A recently published RAND study says that the country faces deeply embedded problems which cannot easily be solved by foreign-provided assistance.

A US military facility near Russia’s borders is a very serious threat to regional security. The Black Sea region is turning into a hot spot. US destroyers and cruisers visit the Black Sea regularly to provide NATO with long-range first strike capability. The Romania-based Aegis Ashore BMD system uses the Mk-41 launcher capable of firing Tomahawk long-range precision-guided missiles against land assets.

Romania has worked energetically to increase US and NATO force presence in the region. The US has recently taken the decision to send an additional 500 forces to the Romanian Mihail Kogalniceanu (MK) forward operating base. A brigade-size multinational NATO force is based in Craiova, Romania. Nations which have pledged to contribute include Canada, Germany, the Netherlands, Poland, Turkey and the United States. The unit is intended to facilitate the deployment of reinforcements. Georgia and Ukraine will be fully involved in the plans.

Romania calls for a regular trilateral format of joint naval exercises in the Black Sea, along with Turkey and Bulgaria, with the eventual participation of non-littoral NATO members.

The United Kingdom has decided to deploy four Typhoon aircraft to Mihail Kogalniceanu in 2017. Deveselu, Romania, is home for Aegis Ashore ballistic missile defense site and a target for the Russian military.

Bulgaria has offered to participate in the Multinational Framework Brigade stationed in Romania with 400 troops. In September, about 150 US Marines, part of the Black Sea Rotational Force, are due at Novo Selo, Bulgaria. This will be the first of three six-month rotations of about 150 US Marines, part of the Black Sea Rotational Force. Under the 2006 defense cooperation agreement, the United States has access to three Bulgarian military bases.

The US plans to deploy up to 2,500 troops at Novo Selo; the base can hold as many as 5,000 during joint-nation exercises with NATO allies. The facility’s upgrade is finished to add a helicopter landing zone and an air operations building. The base is expected to host US heavy tanks. A NATO maintenance support area is to be built in Sliven or Plovdiv. This is a serious military build-up turning Bulgaria into springboard to attack Russia or a target for the Russia’s armed forces.

It’s hardly a wise decision to militarize the country against Russia when 80 percent of Bulgarian exports and imports transit the Black Sea and tourism contributes heavily to the country’s economy, increased maritime militarization could have a widespread negative economic impact in case of heightened tensions, accidents or clashes.

Since September, 2016 US and Bulgarian aircraft conduct patrol flights in the Black Sea. The patrolling mission greatly increases the risk of an accident, especially with the Russian S-400 long range systems stationed in Crimea. Russian aircraft deployed in the Northern Caucasus and Rostov region are capable of controlling the whole Black Sea. President Putin has warned NATO about the consequences such a policy would lead to.

Non-Black Sea NATO members cannot stay in the Black Sea for more than 21 days, according to the Montreux Convention. NATO has three members with Black Sea ports in Romania, Bulgaria and Turkey, as well as two more aspiring members in Ukraine and Georgia. Bulgarian, Romanian, Ukrainian and Georgian navies have limited capabilities. Handing over to them some of other NATO members’ warships is an option under consideration. The ships could be reflagged to beef up permanent naval capabilities in the theater. US warships frequent the Black Sea to provide NATO with long-range first strike capability.

The Romania-based missile defense system as well as NATO air bases and headquarters will be targeted by Russian Kalibr sea- and air-based medium-range cruise missiles successfully tested in Syria some time ago. The active phase array antenna-based radar, located in Romania, can be countered by Russian ground and air-based electronic warfare systems.

In response to NATO growing presence, Russia has deployed S-400 long-range air-defense systems and Bastion-P (K-300P) anti-ship coastal defense missile systems equipped with Onyx missiles. These Mach 2.6 supersonic missiles are highly maneuverable, difficult to detect and have a range of nearly 300 kilometers. With the help of the Monolith-B radar station, the system is capable of obtaining over-the-horizon target designation many miles beyond the horizon. The long-range cruise missile capable Su-24 supersonic attack aircraft are already deployed in Crimea.

Russia has to react in view of massive militarization of the region against the background of high tensions. An accident may spark a big fire. The US military presence in Ukraine is a highly provocative step, which will very negatively affect the situation. Nothing justifies the whipping up of tensions in the Black Sea region, but the United States keeps on doing it with great vigor.

August 14, 2017 Posted by | Militarism | , , , , , | Leave a comment

US, Romania stage joint NATO exercise

Press TV – April 21, 2017

American and Romanian military forces have taken part in a joint military exercise within the framework of the NATO.

The live-fire exercise, which involved US M1 Abrams tanks, was held at a combat training center in Smardan, Romania, about 260 kilometers from the capital, Bucharest, on Thursday.

The drill was part of the Justice Eagle 17 joint defense training exercises, being held until May 5.

The southeastern European country with 20 million people has been a NATO member since 2004 and has contributed troops to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

It is currently Washington’s regional ally and hosts a US ballistic missile system.

The US missile system, called “Aegis Ashore,” was set up in 2015 in a declared mission against missile threats.

Romania now plans to buy Patriot missiles from the US.

“Romania has announced their intent to enhance their defensive capability by procuring Patriot,” media sources quoted a senior Romanian Defense Ministry official as saying on Thursday.

The Patriot missile system would be part of an integrated air defense system that involves six F-16 fighter jets Romania recently purchased.

The procurements could put Romania in compliance with the NATO defense spending standard of two percent of gross domestic product. Romania did not reach that standard in 2016.

Russia, however, has said that it viewed Romania as a NATO outpost and a threat due to its hosting of the US missile system.

NATO has expanded its military presence across Europe to unprecedented levels in decades since the Crimean Peninsula’s separation from Ukraine and adhesion to Russia in March 2014.

April 21, 2017 Posted by | Militarism | , , | Leave a comment

Encircling Russia? RAF Typhoon fighters will deploy to Romania in May

RT | March 28, 2017

Royal Air Force (RAF) fighter aircraft will deploy to Romania in May as part of NATO’s continued militarization of Eastern Europe.

The initiative will see four Typhoons from RAF Coningsby, Lincolnshire, deploy to Mihail Kogalniceanu Airbase in Romania until September.

They will carry out patrols of the Black Sea area as part of the Southern Air Policing mission conducted under NATO command. The UK is the first ally to provide aircraft for the task.

“The UK is stepping up its support for NATO’s collective defense from the north to the south of the alliance,” said Defense Secretary Michael Fallon.

“With this deployment, RAF planes will be ready to secure NATO airspace and provide reassurance to our allies in the Black Sea region,” he added.

The announcement follows the deployment of hundreds of British troops to Estonia to function as a ‘tripwire’ against what UK commanders have called Russian aggression.

The NATO battle group in Estonia will be stationed at Tapa.

The UK will contribute the bulk of multinational force in Estonia, sending in a total of 800 soldiers.

France will post 300 soldiers to Estonia – to be replaced by the Danes in 2018.

All troops will act in conjunction with Estonia’s 1st Infantry Brigade.The deployment is designed to counter an “increasingly assertive Russia,” Fallon said on the first 130 troops’ departure.

“NATO is stepping up its commitment to collective defense,” Fallon said, according to Sky News.

“British troops will play a leading role in Estonia and support our US allies in Poland, as part of wider efforts to defend NATO.”

March 28, 2017 Posted by | Militarism | , , , | Leave a comment

Europe’s United Market is a ‘Project for the Business Establishment’

Sputnik – February 11, 2017

The euro currency is a major factor accelerating the process of economic and political disintegration within the European Union, according to Belgian left politician Peter Mertens.

The European Union is now “disintegrating,” Paul Magnette, Minister-President of the Belgian French-speaking region of Wallonia, said in a recent interview with L’Echo.

“We are nearing a process of political disintegration, with some countries becoming ungovernable,” the politician said.

Magnette also criticized the euro currency as poorly thought-out, which accelerated “social and financial deregulation.”

Magnette has been known as a vocal critic of the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), a free trade deal between the EU and Canada. In the interview, he also spoke out for withdrawal from the bloc of such countries as Romania, Bulgaria, Poland and Hungary, following the Brexit example.

Magnette’s remarks are especially surprising, taking into account the fact that such criticism came from a left-wing and pro-European politician.

Peter Mertens, the leader of the Workers’ Party of Belgium, underscored that in Belgium criticism of the current state of European integration comes from left-wing political forces, not from the right, like in France or in the Netherlands.

“From the very beginning, the euro has been a problem. The currency was designed to serve the interests of Germany, Europe’s strongest economy. It was clear that the European united market was not people’s will. It was a project for the business establishment,” Mertens said in an interview with Sputnik French.

The politician shared Magnette’s suggestion that the eastward expansion of the European Union was not conducted properly.

“In 2007-2008, several Eastern European countries joined the EU. The main reason was that German companies were looking for a cheap labor force. At the same time, it was clear that such countries as Bulgaria and Romania were not as economically developed as Central Europe. As a result, now there are two polarities in the EU, between the north and the south and between the west and the east,” Mertens pointed out.

He also agreed with Magnette that the introduction of the euro only deepened the social and economic divisions within the EU.

“In my opinion, the euro currency system was built under Germany’s surveillance. And I think that to a certain extent the current EU is autocratic and authoritarian,” he said.

Nevertheless, Mertens warned that a withdrawal of Eastern European countries from the EU would not resolve the crisis.

“We should not forget that we need to protect those countries. Now, some political forces call for cooperation only with economically developed countries. But we should continue our cooperation with Poland and other Eastern European countries,” he said.

Mertens also said that criticism of the European Union should not be monopolized by right-wing political movements.

“These concerns [about the crisis in the EU] can be expressed in many ways. For example, criticism can be expressed by the nationalists or the far-rights, like in France and the Netherlands. But it can also come from the left, like in Spain or Wallonia. The common idea is that the current political elites do not represent their people anymore,” Mertens concluded.

February 11, 2017 Posted by | Economics | , , , , | 3 Comments