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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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A major American newspaper reported last week that "Deaths of Afghan civilians by NATO troops have more than doubled this year, NATO statistics show...." [23]

NATO partner Finland, which had not lost troops in combat operations since World War Two until recently in Afghanistan, is currently involved in its "largest joint operation" to date in the north of Afghanistan with troops from Sweden, Germany, Belgium and Hungary. [24] Sweden has registered its first combat losses in almost 200 years.

NATO troop deployments "will peak at 150,000 in August." [25]

Australia

U.S. Admiral James Stavridis, Supreme Allied Commander of NATO forces in Europe, visited New Zealand on April 11-12 and met with the country's minister of defence, secretary of defence force and chief of defence force.

"We wanted to come to one of the most important ISAF partners we have which is contributing across the spectrum of operations in Afghanistan," NATO's top military commander said. [26]

On April 13 Stavridis "continued his official visit to the South Pacific with a trip to Australia's capital city, Canberra," where he met with the secretary of defence, the air chief and chief of defence forces. "While in Canberra, Adm Stavridis spoke before 900 officer cadets at the Australia Defence Force Academy regarding International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) and leadership." [27] Australia has 1,550 troops serving under NATO In Afghanistan and has lost its first troops in combat operations - eleven - since the war in Vietnam.

Iraq

The commander of NATO Training Mission - Iraq [NTM-I], Major General Giuseppe Spinelli, delivered a speech last week at the Ar-Rustamiyah Joint Staff and Command College in Baghdad on the occasion of sixteen officers graduating from Brigade Command and Battalion Command courses conducted by personnel from the Western military bloc. The Italian commander said, "The NATO advisor teams very much enjoy working alongside our Iraqi partners. I wish to assure you of the future support of the NATO Training Mission as you prepare for the next courses." The next round of courses begins in June. [28]

At the same time Spinelli's countryman Maurizio Melani, Italian ambassador to Iraq, presented a lecture on the NATO training mission at the Iraqi National Defence University. He spoke to students of the Iraqi National Defence College (NDC) on the topic of "The European Union as a factor of peace and stability; the role of Italy."

The speech "inaugurated a cycle of conferences that will be held by Ambassadors of NATO nations, in the framework of the NTM-I initiative to support the Iraqi NDC.

"The aim of this project is to provide a selected audience from the NDC and other prestigious Iraqi military educational institutions with a political perspective from a range of NATO countries, focusing on different approaches to Iraq and the future of the Gulf region, and a general overview about the NATO organization and its current roles.

"The NDC is the lead cross departmental Institute for the delivery of high level courses, both for military and civilian high-ranking officials, focusing on Grand Strategic and Military Strategic issues." [29]

Africa

Last week Admiral Mark Fitzgerald, commander of U.S. Naval Forces in Europe and Africa and of NATO's Allied Joint Task Force Command Naples, advocated the arming of civilian vessels in the Horn of Africa, the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean, stating, "We could put a World War II fleet of ships out there and we still wouldn't be able to cover the whole ocean." [30]

NATO's naval deployment in the area, Operation Ocean Shield, consists of the Standing NATO Maritime Group 2 (SNMG2) with its five warships. Last week an SNMG2 press release disclosed that "The five ships of NATO's Task Force conducting counter piracy operations have been at the centre of the fight against piracy in the waters off Somalia in recent days."

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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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