NATO

Euro-Atlantic Approaches to Security – Reconciling NATO and the EU

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19 June 2014

US Secretary of State Kerry meets with EU High Representative Ashton, courtesy of U.S. Department of State/wikimedia commons
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Is there a single approach to Euro-Atlantic security? If not, is that a bad thing? Heather Conley’s answer is ‘no’ to both questions. But that doesn’t mean NATO and the EU shouldn’t be talking to each other about complementarity, regionalization and, most importantly, future defense spending.

By Heather Conley for Europe’s World

This article was originally published as ‘Is it Fair to Say there is no Euro-Atlantic Security Approach?’ by Europe’s World on 16 May 2014.

Russian government and military actions over the past several weeks have dramatically changed Europe’s security landscape and fundamentally challenged Europe’s political order for the first time since the Cold War. And to address this task, NATO is the organisation of (only) choice. The problem is that there is no single Euro-Atlantic security approach. The Atlantic has two very different security providers: NATO and the European Union (in the form of the EU’s Common Security and Defense Policy or CSDP).

The EU’s security vision as articulated by CSDP has been adrift for many reasons. Although the CSDP was initially an attempt by some European leaders to be a counter-weight to U.S. defence policy, the de minimis results of CSDP thus far suggest that there exists little policy or budget enthusiasm to create – much less sustain – a robust European defence policy. Today, European defence policy is either expressed within a NATO framework or has been directed at bilateral security interests such as France’s operations in Mali and the Central African Republic. Of the 20 CSDP operations between 2003 and 2008, most missions were geographically located in Africa. Recent CSDP missions since 2012 have been civilian and very small in nature, focused nearly exclusively on training. The CSDP, as currently designed, is not able to defend Europe. Read the rest of this entry »

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Thinking the Unthinkable in Ukraine

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As Russian forces begin exercises on Ukraine’s border and continue their hold on Crimea, I worry about military escalation—unintentional and intentional. What fuels my concern about unintentional escalation is a disconcerting interaction I had last year with a Russian general at a NATO conference in Europe. I was leading a breakout session with a dozen generals and admirals from the region. I was taken aback as many of the Western European NATO officers began lamenting their individual countries’ declining defense budgets and their inability to keep up with American military capability. As complicated as things might be inside NATO, and as difficult as it is to rally collective action at times, NATO is still the premier military alliance in the world. No one is giving up on it, I assured them.

When the Russian general spoke, he leaned into the table and said, “When I was a young soldier in the Soviet Army during the Cold War, I thought of NATO like this…” and he held his hand into a powerful fist. “But now that I am serving with NATO as a liaison, I am thinking, this…” and his hand went limp and wobbly with a whiny sounding sigh. If this small interaction reflects in any way a wider view of NATO by Russian civilian and military leaders, NATO has its work cut out for it in demonstrating to Vladimir Putin that continued military aggression in Ukraine will be challenged. Read the rest of this entry »

U.S. Says Russia Tested Missile, Despite Treaty

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English: President Reagan and General Secretar...

English: President Reagan and General Secretary Gorbachev signing the INF Treaty in the East Room of the White House. Français : Ronald Reagan et Mikhaïl Gorbatchev signant le Traité sur les forces nucléaires à portée intermédiaire dans la salle Est de la Maison Blanche. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

MICHAEL R. GORDON JAN. 29, 2014

WASHINGTON — The United States informed its NATO allies this month that Russia had tested a new ground-launched cruise missile, raising concerns about Moscow’s compliance with a landmark arms control accord.

American officials believe Russia began conducting flight tests of the missile as early as 2008. Such tests are prohibited by the treaty banning medium-range missiles that was signed in 1987 by President Ronald Reagan and Mikhail S. Gorbachev, the Soviet leader at the time, and that has long been viewed as one of the bedrock accords that brought an end to the Cold War.

Read the rest of this entry »

‘Terrorism in Asia can be only prevented by SCO members’

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An interview with Viktor Nadein-Rayevsky, Institute of World Economy & International Relations, Moscow


Thu Jun 7, 2012 4:6PM GMT

That is important that there have been several military exercises that give opportunity for joint operations here in Central Asia. Of course, this organization is the only real mechanism that can help stop terrorist activities here. It is a problem of course and this problem is on the way of solution.”

Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has lashed out at NATO‘s eastward expansion, saying it’s aimed at stopping the growth of the member states of Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO).

 

Ahmadinejad said NATO members are trying to resurrect what he called past colonialist relations, adding “the colonialists are equally opposed to the development of China, Russia, India and Iran as well as other members of the SCO.”

He further called for a new world order, saying the current one has failed because of its “inhumane and unfair nature.”

The SCO is an intergovernmental organization that was founded in 2001 in Shanghai by the leaders of China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.

Iran, India, Mongolia, Afghanistan and Pakistan are observer members of the organization.

Press TV has conducted an interview with Viktor Nadein-Rayevsky from Moscow’s Institute of World Economy & International Relations to further discuss the issue. The following is a rough transcription of the interview.

 

Press TV:Nadein-Rayevsky, tell us what you think about the declaration especially the fact that it seems very firm regarding the expansion of the Western countries, in particular the United States, as they have said with the concentration in the Asia-Pacific.

Nadein-Rayevsky:In fact, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) in the last years has become a rather prominent and important partner of many international organizations in the world.

First of all, that was very important that it begins the cooperation from real problems; problems that are dangerous for all the countries of the region. First of all, there is the problem of terrorism and, of course, the problems of separatism and drug trafficking which are very dangerous things the countries of the region have to deal with. Read the rest of this entry »

Pakistan Security Brief – March 28, 2012

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Map of Pakistan
Map of Pakistan (Photo credit: Omer Wazir)

Pakistan’s Chief of Army Staff to meet U.S. Generals to discuss November NATO incident; Pakistani opposition leaders resistant to recommendations on U.S.-Pakistan relations; Rep. Dana Rohrabacher alleges that Pakistan has “radical Islam[ist]” government; Two major U.S. oil companies interested in TAPI pipeline; German embassy employee found dead in Islamabad; Unidentified assailants blow up gas pipeline in Peshawar; German-Afghan man on trial for being part of al Qaeda claims innocence; Indian Prime Minister meets with Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani; Leaked letter describes weaknesses in Indian military; Delegation of Pakistani defense and security officials meet with French counterparts; Pakistan’s Supreme Court to hear Hussain Haqqani’s petition to record his statement via video link; Yemen urges Pakistan to release Osama bin Laden’s widow and children.

U.S.-Pakistan Relations

  • The Pakistani military announced that Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani will meet with CENTCOM Commander General James Mattis and U.S. Commander in Afghanistan General John Allen in Islamabad on Wednesday to discuss the November 26 incident in which NATO forces killed 24 Pakistani soldiers. According to a senior Pakistani military official, the meeting will also “look at border security and coordination measures and how to improve them.”[1]
  • Pakistani opposition leaders were resistant to the Parliamentary Committee on National Security’s (PCNS) recommendations on U.S.-Pakistan relations during Tuesday’s proceedings of the joint session of Parliament. Opposition Leader Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan pointed to a clause that called for bringing to justice those responsible for the November cross-border attack, and said that since the U.S. has refused to even admit that it was at fault in this instance, there would be no use in passing such recommendations. Chief of the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) Maulana Fazlur Rehman warned that if the government passed any resolution unilaterally, the JUI-F would not let it be implemented. Rehman added that making the reopening of NATO supply routes conditional on a U.S. apology was the “easy way out,” because the U.S. “would do whatever it takes to serve its purpose.” Senator Rabbani attempted to alleviate the opposition’s concerns by reminding them that the government would not have closed the NATO supply routes and had the Shamsi airbase vacated “if it wanted to satisfy the [U.S.]”[2]
  • According to a senior advisor to the Special Envoy for Eurasian Energy in the U.S., two “major [U.S.] oil companies are interested” in the Turkmenistan Afghanistan Pakistan India (TAPI) pipeline. The proposed pipeline is expected to transport natural gas from Turkmenistan’s gas fields through Afghanistan into Pakistan and then finally to India. The governments of the four countries are planning to finalize the TAPI pipeline deal by July 31, 2012.[3]
  • Three U.S. Congressmen, Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, Rep. Louie Gohmert and Rep. Steve King, sought “self-determination” for the “oppressed” people of Balochistan at a news conference held at the National Press Club on Tuesday. Rohrabacher alleged that Pakistan has a “radical Islam[ist]” government that has been “providing weapons and resources to radical Muslim elements” who use them against the U.S. He added that Pakistan is not a friend of the U.S., but is “really our enemy.”[4]

Militancy

  • The Express Tribune reported on Wednesday that police recovered the bodies of a German embassy employee and one other unidentified person from Rawal Dam in Islamabad. The employee, Fayaz Ali, had been reported missing by his family on March 22. According to investigators, the dead bodies were four to five days old, but investigators have still not determined if the two men were murdered.[5]
  • Unidentified assailants blew up a gas pipeline on the Ring Road in Peshawar on Wednesday morning. No casualties were reported from the explosion.[6]
  • A German-Afghan man on trial in a German state court for providing funds to al Qaeda claimed on Tuesday that the funds were not intended for terrorism. Ahmad Wali Siddiqui had previously told the court that he lived in an apartment in Pakistan near the Afghan border that was provided by al Qaeda, but he was not an al Qaeda member. On Tuesday, Siddiqui testified that he transferred money from Hamburg to an al Qaeda contact in Pakistan in 2010, but he said that he never saw the money again and that it was intended for his own expenses.[7]
  • A policeman was killed and another was injured when unknown gunmen opened fire on the home of a Shariat Court judge in the Mumtazabad area of Multan on Wednesday.[8]

International Relations

  • Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh briefly met with Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani during the nuclear summit in Seoul on Tuesday. According to the Indian Foreign Secretary, Singh and Gilani had a “very good meeting,” and Singh said he “plans to visit Pakistan” and “wants to make some concrete developments in the India-Pakistan relationship.” Speaking to an Indian news agency after the meeting, Pakistani Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar emphasized that both countries recognized “the need to go beyond the stage of dealing with the ‘trust deficit’ and move towards a ‘result-oriented dialogue.’” Khar said that it was fortunate that both Pakistani and Indian leaders were “committed to taking the bilateral relationship forward through dialogue,” but she added that “the people of both countries need to have the confidence that this dialogue will help Pakistan and India resolve their issues.”[9] Read the rest of this entry »

Pakistan Security Brief – January 26, 2012

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View of Islamabad and Rawalpindi from Space, p...
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Interior Minister Rehman Malik says eight suicide bombers are likely in Islamabad; Security is enhanced in Islamabad and Rawalpindi after terror threats; Kidnapped American aid worker is “alive and in good health;” Seven foreigners kidnapped in Pakistan in past six months; Haqqani Network publishes guidelines for militants; Six Frontier Corps soldiers killed by Baloch rebels; Troops kill 20 militants in Kurram Agency; Head of Landi Kotal chapter of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) shot dead; Pakistan offers harsh response to NATO report; Pakistan denies obstructing UN Conference on Disarmament; Thousands of supply trucks crowding Karachi port due to closed NATO supply routes; Pakistan’s Foreign Office says U.S. sanctions do not cover Pak-Iran gas pipeline; Pakistan ranked 151 of 179 countries in 2011 World Press Freedom Index; Lawyers observe a strike over killing of three Shia lawyers; Pakistani prime minister’s former media coordinator sentenced to three years in prison for fraud; Parliamentary Committee on National Security summons Mansoor Ijaz on February 10. 

Militancy

  • Over the last four days, four threats have “been received from the Tehrik-e-Taliban [Pakistan (TTP)]– two for Rawalpindi and Islamabad and two for the rest of the country.” On Thursday, Interior Minister Rehman Malik revealed intelligence reports that “eight suicide bombers have entered the twin cities of Islamabad and Rawalpindi.” According to The News, a “high-level meeting” was held in the Ministry of Interior to address the terrorist threats. Chaired by Malik, the meeting “reviewed law and order and security situation of the federal capital.” The leadership decided to enhance the security of all officials and sensitive federal buildings, as well as to develop a “fresh plan of deployment” for the Ranger units.[1]
  • According to McClatchy Newspapers, Warren Weinstein, the 70-year-old American aid contractor who was kidnapped in Pakistan on August 13, is “alive and in good health.” Weinstein is being held in North Waziristan by Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, a Pakistani al Qaeda affiliate. In an interview last week, a ranking Pakistani militant said that Weinstein “is being provided all available medical treatment, including regular checkups by a doctor and the medicines prescribed for him before he was plucked.” According to a security analyst in Islamabad with Pakistani militant contacts, “Weinstein’s captors had no plans to harm him,” but will “use him as a bargaining chip in negotiations with the Pakistani authorities.”[2]
  • In the past six months, seven foreigners have been kidnapped in Pakistan, “highlighting the security threat in the country and hampering aid efforts.”  According to The Associated Press, “Islamist militants, separatist rebels or regular criminals are suspected in the abductions, with motives ranging from ransom, publicity or concessions from the U.S. or Pakistani governments such as prisoner releases or a halt to army operations.” Aine Fay, chairman of the Pakistan Humanitarian Forum representing 42 international aid groups operating in Pakistan, expressed her concern for those that have been kidnapped, as well as the “ability of the NGOs to carry out the work.”[3] Read the rest of this entry »

December 27, 2011 – Full Report – Iran Daily Brief

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Map of Strait of Hormuz with maritime politica...
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International Affairs

Iranian diplomats review Islamic Awakening in Arab states – Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab-African Affairs, Hossein Amir Abdullahian, chaired the diplomats annual meeting and referred to impacts of Islamic Awakening on Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen and Bahrain as well as people’s uprisings in the region (on Iranian foreign policy). Abdullahian said that the Islamic Awakening raised the expectations of people from Iran as a harbinger of the Islamic movement over the past decades. Iran’s role in regional development cooperation, maintaining security and stability of the region and vindicating the legitimate rights of people is clear to all. He said that role of media in demonstrating recent developments is of prime importance, adding that Iran seeks to broaden cooperation with regional countries in a bid to persuade them to meet their people’s demands.

FM stresses Syrian efforts for release of Iranian abducteesAli Akbar Salehi and his Syrian counterpart stressed the Syrian government’s efforts to obtain the release of the Iranian abductees. Salehi expressed his concern over the fate of the Iranian abductees in Syria.

Iranian Red Crescent Society (RC) plans to open a third polyclinic in Kenya as part of Tehran’s medical and social aid program for improving the health care system of the African nation – According to a statement issued by the RC, Iran’s third polyclinic in Kenya will be opened in Mombasa in the near future. Iran has already set up two polyclinics in the capital city of Nairobi. The clinic will have different sections, including maternity and delivery wards, a drugstore and laboratory. Iran is an observing member of the African Union and has shown an active presence in previous AU summit meetings.

Military Affairs

Defense Minister: NATO’s plan to deploy a missile shield in Turkey demonstrates the US and European states’ military and political weaknessBrigadier General Ahmad Vahidi said, “The NATO missile shield is a show of power on the surface but, in fact, shows the enemy’s weak position and helplessness […] On the other hand, if Europeans see themselves in need of such a missile shield against Iran, why don’t they take any action in this regard, and it is just the U.S. that talks about this plan and advertises it.” Earlier IRGC Aerospace Commander, Brigadier General Amir Ali Hajizadeh, warned that Tehran will target the NATO missile shield in Turkey should it come under attack. “We have prepared ourselves, if any threat is staged against Iran, we will target NATO’s missile shield in Turkey and will then attack other targets.”

Banner headline in the ultra-conservative daily Kayhan: Maneuvers near the Strait of Hormuz Scare the West

Lieutenant Commander of the Iranian Navy: Western chopper shooed away from naval drill zone – Admiral Seyed  Mahmoud Moussavi said, “A chopper which belonged to the trans-regional countries tried to approach the region of the Velayat 90 war games, but it left the area when it received a serious warning after it ignored two other warning signals of our units.” Admiral Moussavi declined to provide any further details about the alleged incident. Read the rest of this entry »