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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 4/21/12

Norway: NATO Rehearses For War In The Arctic

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The same source quoted a national security and Arctic expert at the Washington, D.C.-based Center for a New American Security with the improbable name of Will Rogers:

"The importance of why we need forces capable of operating in the Arctic is very basic power projection -- to make a show to other players in the international community that we are an Arctic nation, and we are going to protect our interests in the Arctic Circle."

Britain deployed HMS Illustrious, its last-remaining aircraft carrier, which had to return home early for repairs after being rammed by a tugboat, thereby eliciting a few paragraphs in the Daily Mail.

A Norwegian C-130 Super Hercules military transport plane crashed in Sweden, killing five soldiers. A memorial service was presided over by King Harald V, the titular commander-in-chief of the Norwegian armed forces.

The assault ship HMS Bulwark accompanied HMS Illustrious, which carried eight helicopters, and the first landed British commandos as well as American and Dutch troops, equipment and vehicles on the northern Norwegian coast.

In the words of the commanding officer of the Bulwark:

"It is not simply park the ship and offload it. In war -- and therefore in training -- we have to take account of the environment, enemy forces in the air, sea, and on land, coordinate people into boats and naval helicopters, all to arrive on target, in the right order, at the right time, to achieve the battle-winning effect. Few navies deliver this successfully and most aspirants look to the Royal Navy, Royal Marines, and Fleet Air Arm, with our war-proven capability, for guidance -- on the sea in the air and on the land."

Regarding "war-proven capability(ies)," Defense Media Network quoted U.S. Marine Corps Brigadier General James M. Lariviere, commanding general of 4th Marine Division, present for the occasion:

"It was an opportunity to interact with our allies. Many of them are veterans of Iraq, Afghanistan, and anti-piracy task forces off the coast of Somalia. They all have a lot of experience working with the U.S. and our allies in various capacities..."

The U.S. uses the Bjugn Cave Facility in Norway's Fosen peninsula for Marine Corps Prepositioning Program Norway, the Marine Corps' only land-based prepositioning program. According to a U.S. European Command article of last year:

"Well guarded within 671,000 sq. feet of six climate-controlled caves, $420 million worth of Marine Corps equipment and supplies lie ready for real world use. The caves, located in Norway, serve as a key strategic storage site for the Marine Corps....The Norwegian caves are strategically located to provide support to the United States Marine Corps' operations around the globe...[T]he equipment from the climate controlled caves of Norway has seen action in places as diverse as the deserts of Iraq and mountains of Afghanistan in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom."

The Helsingin Sanomat, which reported 215 Finnish soldiers participating in the exercise, characterized Cold Response 2012 as "a major military training exercise being held in the far north of Norway [in which] armed forces from 14 nations are protecting civilians in the same way as last year in Libya, and are fighting against the local opposition just as in Afghanistan."

The newspaper also quoted a Finnish military media and communications officer stating, "It would be silly to rehearse a situation if it were not realistic."

A Swedish website, which identified Denmark, Spain, Estonia, Latvia and Switzerland as having also supplied units for Cold Response, published a synopsis of the scenario for the Swedish part of the exercise provided by the Swedish Armed Forces, which included:

A "strange group of people" have settled in northern Sweden and established a state called "Gardaland" from which they have invaded "an area in Norway," after which NATO intervenes under a United Nations mandate.

The Ministry of Defence of the Netherlands reported a potpourri of unrelated and even conflicting scenarios that leaves the door open for any pretext for military intervention:

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Rick Rozoff has been involved in anti-war and anti-interventionist work in various capacities for forty years. He lives in Chicago, Illinois. Is the manager of the Stop NATO international email list at: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/stopnato/
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