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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 4/22/10

Relentless Global Drive: NATO On Six Continents In Seven Days

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The major war games include "Sixty aircraft ranging from fighters, attack aircraft, helicopters, tanker and airborne early warning aircraft...operating from air bases located in Germany, the Czech Republic, France, Poland, and UK," which will also test theater missile defense and ground-based air defense components.

Occurring during the same eleven days, April 12-22, the NATO Response Force is also drilling its maritime forces in the North Sea and the Baltic Sea with 31 warships, four submarines and 28 aircraft.

The Brilliant Mariner maneuvers also include 6,500 troops from the United States, Britain, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland and Spain. "A large fleet of warships, submarines and auxiliary vessels from NATO's Response Force (NRF) sailed from ports across Europe on 12 April to take part....The ships and submarines will take part in integration training that will enable them to respond to operations or crisis situations anywhere in the world if required." [13]

Also on April 12 NATO began the Joint Warrior 10-1 "multiwarfare exercise designed to improve interoperability between allied navies and prepare participating crews to conduct combined operations during deployment." [14]

Held off the coast of Scotland and elsewhere in the United Kingdom, the biennial Joint Warrior is "Europe's largest military exercise," [15] and this month twenty-one warships, five submarines and fifty warplanes are involved. On the British side, "The exercise will involve 16 Air Assault Brigade and the Royal Navy's Carrier Strike Group headed by HMS Ark Royal." [16] The other participating nations are the U.S., with seven ships, and Belgium, Brazil, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and NATO Contact County and Afghan war partner New Zealand.

The fourth military exercise begun on April 12 is Frisian Flag 2010 in the Netherlands with warplanes from the U.S., Britain and several other NATO allies, including U.S. F-15C Eagle, Dutch F-16 Fighting Falcon, Swedish JAS-39 Gripen, Finnish F-18 Hornet, Norwegian F-16 Fighting Falcon, German F-4 and Polish F-16 Fighting Falcon multirole jet fighters. [17]

"The multi-nation exercise will last until April 22 and is meant to train pilots on offensive and defensive roles through realistic scenarios...." [18]

The four exercises all began on April 12 and will end on either April 22 or 23. None of them are tailored for the sort of asymmetric warfare NATO is conducting in either Afghanistan or the Somali basin currently. Russian ambassador to NATO Dmitry Rogozin has mentioned that the aerial exercises being held in Germany are based on a scenario that resembles a new war in the South Caucasus between Georgia and Russian forces based in South Ossetia.

The war games could also be in preparation for future attacks against Iran.

Last week the chairman of NATO's Military Committee, Italian Admiral Giampaolo Di Paola, and commander of NATO's Allied Joint Force Command Naples U.S. Admiral Mark Fitzgerald announced plans to visit Kosovo to "watch a training of the Kosovo Security Forces," [19] an embryonic army founded, armed and trained by NATO in the first pseudo-state formed by the Western military bloc, an aberration not recognized by almost two-thirds of world governments.

The Lithuanian Ministry of Defense announced the latest deployment of its nation's soldiers to serve under NATO command in Afghanistan on April 15. In the words of Chief of Defense Major General Arvydas Pocius, "Troops of the Lithuanian Armed Forces are going to enforce NATO's principles. The 'one for all' principle must be observed. That is why the Lithuanian sky is daily protected by NATO's fighter-jets, NATO's warships come to our seaport, and our partners are ready to arrive in case our nation is in need of help." [20]

Nature may have accomplished what no government or major political party in Europe will dare venture: Challenging NATO. The air force facet of Joint Warrior has been suspended, the NATO delegation visit to Kosovo postponed and participation in the impending 56-nation NATO foreign ministers meeting in Estonia is problematic because of drifting ash from a volcano in Iceland.

The foreign ministers meeting in Estonia scheduled for April 22-23 is to focus on the war in Afghanistan, the bloc's new Strategic Concept, NATO's nuclear weapons policy in light of the new U.S. Nuclear Posture Review, "missile defence as a building block for the Lisbon Summit" [21] in November, and further expansion into Eastern Europe.

Asia

The Western war in Afghanistan that will be nine-years-old on October 7 is to be intensified to its deadliest level yet when "NATO forces...launch a major offensive in the Afghanistan city of Kandahar in June...." [22]

In the past weeks an estimated 120 Afghan civilians have been killed and over 100 injured as a result of the conflict, NATO's first war in Asia and first ground war.

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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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