VIDEOS SHOWING EVENTS THAT THE RAPTURE IS IMMINENT!
No announcement was made, no plans or timetable published, simply a vote on authorization of force which passed unanimously by member and included non-member states unanimously.”
Two issues were on the agenda:
1. How climate change in Greenland will effect geopolitics, immigration and military affairs for the EU
2. Syria and the potential for Russian and Chinese intervention.
3. Iran was not an official agenda item but it is an unspoken conclusion that, if China and/or Russia stand aside for interference by NATO in Syria’s internal affairs, this will be seen as an authorization for incursions into Iran, a systematic “Balkanization” based on a prescribed formula of “manufactured and simulated internal political and social strife.”
No announcement was made, no plans or timetable published, simply a vote on authorization of force which passed unanimously by member and included non-member states unanimously.
News stories throughout North America and Europe earlier in the day were filled with reports of mass killings by the Syrian Army and the presence of Iranian troops in Syria. True or not, these stories represent a pre-staging for the NATO conference.
The critical reporting issue involves rhetoric. We moved, yesterday, from discussions of “fighting” to “systematic execution of hundreds of civilians.”
No video nor photos were included to verify neither claims nor sources given other than reports from “rebel forces.”
Recent consultation with friends in the Pentagon as to Syria’s air defense system indicated that the US has, in place, a play to destroy the command and control capability of Syria’s system.
The problems are twofold:
1. Russian technicians man the Syrian system
2. The S300P2 system Syria uses is extremely “robust”
An additional political consideration is a simple one, there is no UN authorization. Both Russia and China have vetoed even sanctions against Syria much less authorized an attack.
Thus, there is no existing authority capable of justifying an attack.
In an interview this week at the NAM (Non-Aligned Movement) conference in Tehran, attended by 120 member states, a huge defeat for NATO interests in the area, this interview yielded some substantive and surprising facts.
Press TV: Certain powers have been trying to isolate Iran, actually, by not holding such a conference at such a high ranking level. As you said, this all has failed.
Now tell us about all the sanctions against Iran which have propagated against Iran, that Iran should be isolated, but as you said it’s all been failed. What is really important is that the agenda of the 688-point draft document which talked about, as you call and urge all countries to make the world free from any nuclear weapons.
You were a senior expert in the IAEA as an inspector. Tell us about that and also with the particular focus on Israel which has not yet signed up to the NPT.
Abu Shadi: I oppose strongly any kind of accusation on any state based on intelligence information. All the accusations given to the nuclear program in Iran is based only on intelligence information. There is no single proof that Iran is deviating from its commitment from the Non-Proliferation Treaty.
I am very surprised that the Security Council took four decisions, sanctions against Iran just because of rumors that the intelligence source may think there is something.
I think this policy should be changed. The Security Council and its way of veto, and its limited number only to the big powers should be changed. I think that will also be one of the points to be addressed in this conference. I believe strongly that that situation, which is actually politically influenced by the West, should be changed.
With respect to your second part about the NPT, in fact, almost all the states in the world respects the Non-Proliferation [Treaty] except the five weaponized states, which they should reduce their weapons which didn’t happen up until today, and the three or four states which did not sign the NPT including Israel. Israel is the only state in the Middle East who did not sign the NPT.
None of the Western countries who are accusing not only Iran but before also Iraq, Libya, Syria and even Egypt, did not consider any accusation to what the Israelis are doing. I believe this bias in the international organization should be stopped.
Shadi makes some particularly interesting points and raises some concerns few had noticed. His most damning statement, of course, is that the Security Council, a carryover from a war 70 years ago, certainly a demonstration of oligarchic rule at the United Nations, has been directed at Iran.
In particular, he notes that the council’s unilateral and undemocratic decisions, followed by nations, China and Russia, who defended Syria, were aimed at Iran but backed by no presentation of facts or even qualified intelligence assessments. In fact, since Colin Powell’s humiliating WMD presentation before the UN, no “American fact” has been taken seriously nor is likely to.
CNN quotes a top Powell aid:
A former top aide to Colin Powell says his involvement in the former secretary of state’s presentation to the United Nations on Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction was “the lowest point” in his life.
“I wish I had not been involved in it,” says Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, a longtime Powell adviser who served as his chief of staff from 2002 through 2005. “I look back on it, and I still say it was the lowest point in my life.”
Actual risks and ramifications
Top intelligence analysts in private consultation fear a larger Middle East war. “Russia and China won’t stand back, not with the US planning a unilateral move on Africa and its resources. It’s like 1947 again with Truman and the Marshall plan, encirclement, but a war over, not just resources but a world war against what has now seen as the real threat, what Americans call the “middle class.”
Thus, taking Syria without taking Iran is “not in the cards.” Here I return to the words of H. G. Wells, in his War of the Worlds. His grasp in this fiction well over a century old reflects on our times in a curious and wonderfully literate manner:
“No one would have believed in the last years of the nineteenth century that this world was being watched keenly and closely by intelligences greater than man’s and yet as mortal as his own; that as men busied themselves about their various concerns they were scrutinised and studied, perhaps almost as narrowly as a man with a microscope might scrutinise the transient creatures that swarm and multiply in a drop of water.
Yet across the gulf of space, minds that are to our minds as ours are to those of the beasts that perish, intellects vast and cool and unsympathetic, regarded this earth with envious eyes, and slowly and surely drew their plans against us.
The immediate pressure of necessity has brightened their intellects, enlarged their powers, and hardened their hearts. And looking across space with instruments, and intelligences such as we have scarcely dreamed of…
And we men, the creatures who inhabit this earth, must be to them at least as alien and lowly as are the monkeys and lemurs to us. The Martians seem to have calculated their descent with amazing subtlety–their mathematical learning is evidently far in excess of ours–and to have carried out their preparations with a well-nigh perfect unanimity.”
Martians, this is how NATO and Israel look on the world, as expressed through the prose of Wells. Their gaze “cool and unsympathetic,” as drone warfare and their plans, calculated acts of false flag terror, kidnappings, assassinations, the abomination of mythical news reporting.
The end of the road, this path of “hubris” could well be world war, least of all fuel price increases that collapse the currencies and economies.
Talking of death is nothing as we are now pre-staged to look on life as nothing, all victims are “militants” if you want them dead or “collateral damage” when you err.
Iran’s position chairing NAM makes them a harder target. The general criticism by many NAM members, the dictatorial rule of the United Nations by the Security Council, has not prevented the Syrian conflict from becoming a threat to world peace.
For Iran, their choice seems, on the surface, to be in aiding Syria, negotiations, using oil leverage with India, China and others and predicting how the west is plotting.
If Iran falls, it will be only another domino.
August 23, 2012 – ECONOMY - In the minds of the general public, the economic distress that we will soon face regardless of whether or not there is ever a war with Iran and Syria will be an afterthought, at least for a time, if the threat of global combat becomes reality. The fog of war is a fantastic cover for all kind of crime, most especially the economic kind. Sizable wars naturally inhibit markets and cause erratic flux in capital flows. Anything, and I mean anything, can be blamed on a war, even the destruction of the U.S. economy and the dollar. Of course, the real culprits (international and central banks) which have been corrupting and dismantling the American fiscal structure for decades will benefit most from the distraction. Syria and Iran are, in a way, the first dominos in a long chain of terrible events. This chain, as chaotic as it seems, leads to only one end result: Third world status for almost every country on the planet, including the U.S., leaving the financial institutions, like monetary grim reapers, to swoop in and gather up the pieces that remain to be fashioned into a kind of Frankenstein economy; a fiscal golem. A global monstrosity that removes all sovereignty whether real or imagined and centralizes the decision making processes of humanity into the hands of a morally bankrupt few. For those on the side of Israel, the U.S., and NATO, and for those on the side of the Middle East, Russia China, etc., the bottom line is, there will be no winners. There is no “best case scenario.” There will be no victory parade, for anyone. There will be no great reformation or peace in the cradle of civilization. The only people celebrating at the end of the calamitous hostilities will be the hyper-moneyed power addicted .01%, who will celebrate their global coup in private, laughing as the rest of the world burns itself out, and comes begging them for help. –Hamsayeh
The shield has been riling up Russia since it was announced, and in May the Kremlin came out and said it was not ruling out a first strike against the NATO shield in Europe.
Not long after the strike was threatened a story came out saying that Obama would release classified data on the shield to the Russians in an effort to calm them down.
No word on that yet, but then again, we know Obama wants to wait until after the election to assuage Russian concerns.
The USS Ross was commissioned in 1997 and has almost 300 crew
The Ross is 505 feet long and weighs around 9,000 tons full
In 2009 the Missile Defense Agency announced that the Ross would be upgraded to hold the advanced Standard Missile-3
In addition to the missiles that the ship carries, the Carney also has a landing pad for an anti-submarine helicopter
The Ross — like the 62 other ships in the Arleigh Burk class of destroyers — cost around $1.8 billion
This is the USS Carney, the oldest of the ships being sent to Spain
Seen from the mast here, the Carney was commissioned in 1996
One USS Carney tradition is the playing of National Anthem on guitar after each underway replenishment
In the back here, the Carney launches a coordinated volley of vertically-launched missiles
The ship also has a five inch gun which poses a massive threat to nearby enemies
The USS Cook, seen here receiving fuel on-the-go, was commissioned in 1998
The ship was one of the first to come to the aid of USS Cole — another Arleigh Burk-class destroyer — after it was damaged in a suicide attack by al Qaeda operatives in 2000
Here, the Cook fires a torpedo as part of an exercise
The ship is seen here firing Tomahawk missiles into Iraq in April, 2003
The ship was part of the USS Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group
The USS Porter in the foreground — is the youngest ship of the four being sent to Spain and was commissioned in 1999
an SA330 Puma lands on the Porter’s helipad for personnel transfer
In 2007 the Porter sank two pirate boats off the coast of Somalia that were attacking an oil tanker
The ship carries 90 Tomahawk missile, which can be launched from the vertical launch system
On August 12, 2012 the Porter collided with a Japanese Oil Tanker near the Strait of Hormuz and will be in Dubai for repairs for the time being
That’s what will be protecting Europe.
The United States and its Persian Gulf allies are pursuing a regional missile defense system to protect against an Iranian attack, government officials said.
Analysts said the enterprise requires gulf nations to set aside differences, share information and coordinate their weapons arsenals to create a defense shield that covers and protects all the allies. …
The objective in the gulf is the same as the one of the better known missile defense shield being installed in Europe: deterring any Iranian attack and, if necessary, thwarting the effect of missiles launched against allied territory and U.S. forces.
BreakingRight Now on Times 24|7!
By Ben West and Kamran Bokhari
At dawn July 12, militants raided a prison guard residence in Lahore, Pakistan, leaving nine staff members dead and three more wounded. The Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan quickly claimed responsibility for the attack, saying the guards had mistreated prisoners who were members of the Pakistani militant group. The raid came just three days after militants ambushed an army camp in the district of Gujrat, killing seven soldiers and one police officer who were searching for a missing helicopter pilot. The Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan also claimed that attack.
A Pakistani paramilitary soldier observes the area as others search a car at a checkpoint in Karachi, Pakistan on Wednesday, …more »
Over the last two years, Pakistan has had something of a respite from dramatic attacks such as those that plagued the country from 2007 to 2010. During those years, a series of high-profile and highly disruptive attacks against police, army and intelligence targets challenged the government’s ability to control the country. The attacks occurred in Pakistan’s most populous province, Punjab, in cities such as Lahore and in the capital, Islamabad.
While suicide bombings and attacks in Pakistan’s troubled northwest (along the border with Afghanistan) have continued apace since 2010, major attacks in Pakistan’s Punjab-Sindh core have essentially ceased. The sole instance of dramatic violence involving government targets outside of the northwest since 2010 was an attack on a naval station near Karachi following the death of Osama bin Laden.
Despite the break from violence in Pakistan’s major cities, many of the same conditions present during the wave of attacks from 2007 to 2010 remain. Another escalation in violence is very possible, especially in Pakistan’s volatile climate and with elections coming up.
Timing of the Attacks
The two attacks (along with numerous other attacks and an attempted assassination) came the week after Pakistan formally reopened NATO supply routes through the country to Afghanistan. The supply routes had been closed for more than seven months after a deadly cross-border attack by U.S. forces in November that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers. The day the routes reopened, the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan told journalists it would attack trucks carrying NATO supplies in protest.
But rather than an impetus for attacks, the reopening of the supply line is more likely a political opportunity for the Pakistani Taliban militants to promote anti-American sentiment in Pakistan. The NATO supply line is one of the most visible products of the U.S.-Pakistani relationship. The Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan and some political opposition groups have criticized the Pakistani government for helping Washington while the U.S. military conducted strikes killing mostly Pakistanis along the border with Afghanistan. By opposing the NATO supply line, the Pakistani Taliban militants are able to generate popular support across Pakistan.
The seven-month closure of the supply line gave NATO and the United States a chance to prove that they can use the Northern Distribution Network to bypass Pakistan. During the shutdown, there was no evidence in Afghanistan of an attempt to exploit the closed route, so it is hard to argue that the Afghan Taliban (or their Pakistani peers) gained any material advantages from the shutdown. If anything, the Pakistani Taliban militants can benefit from the supply route’s opening; the trucks are easy targets for looters and can provide revenue and supplies for militants in Pakistan’s northwest, and the militants can exact extortion payments from transportation companies.
The Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan’s real motivation for resuming attacks in Punjab after a two-year hiatus is more complicated than the reopening of the NATO supply line. It involves a remote geographic region of Pakistan that has been dragged into the 10-year-old Afghanistan War, a struggling Pakistani economy, distrust of Pakistan’s current government and upcoming elections that are seen as an opportunity to address grievances against Islamabad. Most of these grievances are the same complaints that drove the violence from 2007 to 2010, when militant activities in Pakistan peaked. Since 2009, however, military forces have moved into many of the militant havens in Pakistan’s northwest, denying the Pakistani Taliban forces sanctuary. But this is not a permanent solution to Pakistan’s internal rifts.
The Broader Context
The Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan is based in the province of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas in the Pakistani northwest. During the Soviet-Afghan war in the 1980s, Pakistan and the United States used Islam as the ideological motivation to rally militias in the border region to oppose the Soviet occupation. The United States turned its attention elsewhere after the Soviets withdrew, leaving Pakistan to manage a complex network of militants. Islamabad attempted to use these militants as proxies during the 1990s to exercise influence in Afghanistan and India.
But after 2001, the United States pressured Pakistan to restrain its militant proxies in Afghanistan in order to support the U.S. war against Islamist militancy. After a few years of wavering, former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf did crack down on these groups’ leaders in Pakistan, beginning with the Red Mosque siege in 2007. It soon became apparent that the militant groups were more autonomous than believed. By 2009, radical cleric Maulana Fazlullah claimed the district of Swat as an Islamic emirate, threatening Pakistan’s territorial integrity within roughly 320 kilometers (200 miles) of the capital.
The Pakistani Taliban militants made it clear that their goal was to take over the Pakistani state, beginning in the mountains surrounding the Indus River Valley. This led the government to deploy forces to Swat in April 2010. These forces expanded their offensive to South Waziristan later that year and by the end of 2010, they had gone into every single district of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas save North Waziristan. Since the army’s operations in South Waziristan, one of the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan’s strongest sanctuaries, militant attacks in Punjab have decreased.
The United States launched operations parallel with Pakistan’s, targeting Pakistani Taliban militant leaders using unmanned aerial vehicle strikes in North and South Waziristan. These strikes disrupted the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan’s leadership structure and likely affected the group’s ability to organize, train and conduct attacks in Pakistan’s core. Such disruptions would certainly affect the Pakistani Taliban militants’ ability to construct and deploy very large bombs, such as vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices. The attacks in Gujrat and Lahore were both simple, involving gunmen on motorcycles. Such tactics do not require elaborate training or preparation and can be staged easily in Pakistan’s core.
Although its capabilities might be diminished, the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan has not disappeared. Fazlullah recently indicated that he and his forces are intent on retaking Swat from the military. Fazlullah and his followers based in neighboring Afghanistan’s Kunar province periodically have conducted cross-border raids against military outposts in Pakistan’s Dir district. Because of the continuing threat, the Pakistani military does not appear to be anywhere close to withdrawing troops from the area. Pakistan’s chief of army staff confirmed as recently as July 7 that troops are staying in the northwest.
Between the international economic turmoil and the parallel dynamics of a democratic uprising and jihadist insurgency that led to the fall of the Musharraf regime, Pakistan has been in dire economic straits since 2008. Chronic energy shortages, high military spending related to the counterinsurgency campaign and revenue shortfalls led Islamabad to sign an $11.3 billion package with the International Monetary Fund three years ago. However, in the last half of 2011, the fund withheld the final tranche of more than $3 billion largely because Islamabad had failed to take steps to reduce its budget deficit. (At the time, Pakistan, sensing slightly better economic growth and an inability to comply with the fund’s stringent budgetary demands, decided to pursue its own fiscal reform program.)
More recently, Islamabad has been forced to return to the IMF for a new loan arrangement to keep from defaulting on the existing loan. As with other countries implementing austerity measures in order to balance their budgets and qualify for outside help, the Pakistanis are finding that applying austerity measures hurts political popularity. The Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan will exploit this situation by pointing out the costs of deploying tens of thousands of Pakistani soldiers to the northwest to combat militants.
Moreover, Pakistan’s supreme court is challenging Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari on corruption charges. Zardari faces allegations that he embezzled millions of dollars from the Pakistani financial institution when his late wife, Benazir Bhutto, was prime minister.
Whether Zardari embezzled the money is somewhat irrelevant, since the case has been elevated to a political dispute between the executive and judicial branches of the Pakistani government over the limits of executive immunity and how much authority the supreme court has over the president. This is no insignificant challenge; the judicial branch politically damaged Musharraf during his presidency after he fired Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry in 2007. Zardari’s current difficulty with the supreme court indicates that the political struggles between the two branches have not been resolved. The rift opened up by the legal conflict allows other parties to gain political support at the expense of Zardari and his ruling Pakistan People’s Party.
Even though the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan favors the adaptation of an extremely austere interpretation of Sharia to Pakistan’s current legal system, it is savvy enough to see a political opening and exploit it. The Pakistani Taliban militants will use Zardari’s case to paint the country’s politicians as corrupt and untrustworthy. Elections are slated for the first half of 2013 but could be held as early as the next quarter of 2012, given the mounting political crisis in the country. With the political environment in flux, this is the time for various elements to assert themselves to get attention from the political parties. The stronger the Pakistani Taliban militants can make their case, the more pressure they can put on any future government to relax military deployments in the northwest.
The Military as a Temporary Fix
Many factors in Pakistan have not changed since the spate of attacks from 2007 to 2010. The United States is still trying to negotiate the terms for its withdrawal from Afghanistan, and those terms depend on Pakistan’s ability (and willingness) to keep security in Afghanistan on its current track. The withdrawal of NATO forces from Afghanistan will create a major security crisis for Pakistan, which is weakened and is racing to stabilize its side of the border before the 2014 deadline. The United States’ negotiations with the Taliban and with Pakistan are not making much progress right now, but the sooner Pakistan can get militants along the border under control, the stronger its negotiating position with the United States will be. The Pashtun tribes along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border — the area from which the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan came — will certainly want a say in matters. Without meaningful political power, these groups will use violence to negotiate with Islamabad.
And as long as there are Pakistanis displeased with the regime and the economic situation, there will be Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan sympathizers in Punjab who support more radical change. These individuals provide the network and motivation for continuing attacks against the Pakistani government.
Military deployments to northwest Pakistan have kept militants in check for the past couple of years (at least in Punjab state), but that is not exactly a long-term solution. The military was supposed to provide security in Pakistan’s northwest to allow the civilian administrations to regain control of the districts. However, the federal and provincial governments have made little progress in reviving civil government at the municipal and district levels in Swat and the surrounding region. Meanwhile, the military continues to battle militants in the tribal badlands for which Islamabad lacks a political strategy, relying instead on the military’s continued presence.
Domestic military deployments are rarely popular and, though sometimes necessary for short periods, eventually become self-defeating and a drain on resources. Right now, Pakistan’s military presence in the country’s northwest is backed only by a feeble government. The lead-up to Pakistan’s elections is an opportunity for the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan to make its case against internal military deployments. Should Islamabad’s political will shift and the military lose its advantage in the northwest, the militants could continue their campaign in Pakistan’s core, returning to high-profile, disruptive attacks.
A dozen Russian warships from three fleets are participating in a joint three-month exercise. The group is to visit the Syrian port city of Tartus, where a Russian base is located. The drills are not related to the Syrian conflict, the military say.
The warships and supply ships are derived from Russia’s Black Sea Fleet, Northern Fleet and Baltic fleet, the Defense Ministry said. The exercise’s main goal is to test inter-fleet coordination during the joint maneuvers.
The Northern Fleet is contributing the largest portion of the group, a destroyer, four tank landing ships and two support ships. The vessels have left their base in Severomorsk and are heading to a rendezvous point in the North Atlantic, where they will meet a fellow group from the Baltic Fleet consisting of a corvette and a refueling tanker.
Together they will set sail to the Black Sea and the Mediterranean, meeting two tank landing ships and a corvette from the Russian Black Sea Fleet on their way.
“The inter-fleet group under a single command will perform a number of scheduled combat preparedness tasks while following their route in the ocean zone,” the ministry’s statement says.
The movement of the Russian warships is of no concern for Washington, US officials said after unconfirmed reports about the exercise surfaced on Tuesday.
“We currently have no reason to believe this move is anything out of the ordinary, but we refer you to the Russian government for more details,” Erin Pelton, a spokeswoman for the National Security Council, told AFP.
The drills are not connected to the ongoing crisis in Syria, a diplomatic source assured Interfax news agency.
“We have nothing to hide… It’s a scheduled exercise, a regular trip for our ships, which has nothing to do with the Syrian events,” the source said.
Last week NATO launched its own joint exercise in the Mediterranean. The Standing NATO Maritime Group 2 comprised of Turkish, German and French warships is conducting anti-terrorist drills not far from the Syrian borders.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report July 11, 2012, 11:44 AM (GMT+02:00)
NATO, which proclaims non-involvement in the Syrian conflict, and Russia, which vows to block foreign military action against the Assad regime, are both moving large naval forces into the eastern Mediterranean opposite Syrian shores.
A flotilla of at least 11 Russian warships has been detached from Black Sea, North Sea and Baltic fleet bases and is on its way to the Syrian coast for a maneuver; NATO has consigned its rapid response Maritime Group 2 to the same stretch of sea – where also five Israeli warships are deployed. The Western alliance has also increased surveillance flights over the Mediterranean from the Geilenkirchen air base in Germany.
This rush of military movements is explained officially by the big air-and-sea exercise launched by Syria Sunday, July 8, to simulate outside aggression. It follows Iran’s practice of continuous military drills for repelling mock Western or Israel attacks.
The exercise began with a barrage of dozens of surface-to-sea missiles simulating naval and shore defense against approaching enemy craft and landing forces.
At about the same time, Iran embarked on a big air-cum-missile defense exercise in the south to fight off potential aggression from the direction of the Gulf of Oman and the Gulf of Aden, where US air force units are clustered.
DEBKAfile’s military sources report that this is the first simultaneous, coordinated Syrian-Iranian military maneuver for drilling action against an advancing enemy. It is synchronized from a joint headquarters established for the purpose in Damascus.
While these coordinated maneuvers are being presented as designed to fend off foreign intervention in the Syrian conflict, our sources report that they are in fact preparing for a potential US attack on Iran’s nuclear program, which is now expected in Gulf and European military quarters to take place in October, three months hence.
High-ranking Saudi princes associated with their national military and intelligence agencies frankly confided to Arab and Western officials on recent visits to Riyadh that the US and, possibly Israel too, are on the verge of war on Iran. “It is already decided,” they say. The only question still open is the date, which could be before or after the US presidential election on November 6.
In line with this prediction, France is reported in Paris to be massing a large naval force in the United Arab Emirates. The French nuclear aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle-R91 is expected to dock soon at the French naval base in Port Zayid on Abu Dhabi’s northeastern coast opposite the strategic Strait of Hormuz. The French are also boosting their air units at Al Dhafra Air Base, stationing them alongside a large American air force presence.
Posted by truther
The Standing NATO Maritime Group 2 (SNMG2) is determined “to give a clear message to terrorists in the region that NATO is on duty,” German Rear Admiral Thorsten Kahler told the Turkish daily Hurriyet.
“What we have to make sure is to tell the terrorists to be careful; we are here and providing security for NATO member states,” he said.
The admiral said the group will be heading from Istanbul further into the Mediterranean on July 7. The force currently consists of three frigates from Turkey, Germany and France. The ships are armed with 76-mm and 27-mm guns, Mark 46 anti-submarine torpedoes, surface-to-air and surface-to-surface missiles and carry helicopters. They are manned by 545 sailors in total.
Kahler took over command of the group from his Turkish colleague Rear Admiral Sinan Azmi Tosun on June 15.
The naval drills come as relations between Turkey and its neighbor Syria remain tense following a recent cross border incident. Syrian troops shot down a Turkish jet last month after it violated the country’s airspace.
Damascus says their military acted in self-defense, but offered an apology for the incident and the subsequent death of the two Turkish pilots onboard. Ankara said it was an act of aggression on Syria’s part, claiming that the plane crossed the border by incident and was shot down without warning after flying back into the international airspace.
Turkey called a NATO meeting to discuss the incident. The alliance condemned the incident, but refrained from taking any more serious action against Syria.
Syria and Turkey has increasingly been at odds recently over Ankara’s vocal criticism of the Syrian crackdown on its domestic opposition. Following the downing of the jet, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Erdogan pledged support to the Syrian opposition in their bid to topple the government.
By Elad Benari
Russia may have helped shoot down the Turkish aircraft near Syria last week, the British newspaper The Sunday Times reported.
The Israeli website Israel Defensequoted a report in the Britishnewspaper, according to which sources in the Middle East, including some in the Israeli Air Force, believe that the downing of the Turkish aircraftwas a Russian message to NATO to refrain from intervening in the Syrian civil war.
The Sunday Times reported that Russian experts, who trained Syrians on how to use the air-defense systems Russia provided to Syria in the past few years, are still stationed at the various bases. The Russian experts are also stationed at the centers controlling the missile batteries, and took part in intercepting and shooting down the Turkish aircraft through the use of Syrian antiaircraft missiles.
A senior source in the IAF told the newspaper, “We shouldn’t be surprised by these Russian experts – who, even if they were not the ones to press the button, were at the very least by the side of the Syrian officers who did.”
NATO’s Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen condemned the incident, saying, “We consider this act to be unacceptable and condemn it in the strongest terms…It is another example of the Syrian authorities’ disregard for international norms, peace and security, and human life.”
Turkey has also filed a complaint with the UN against Syria over the downing of the jet.
A Syrian minister later said his country’s forces may have mistaken the Turkish plane they shot down for an Israeli one.
Syrian Information Minister Omran al-Zoebi told the Turkish news channel A Haberthat Turkish and Israeli fighter jets were mostly U.S.-made, which may have led the Syrian forces to mistake it for an Israeli jet.
However, military observers note that Israel retired its last F-4 Phantom jet – the type of jet shot down by Syria –- in 2004.
Tension between Turkey and Syria continued Saturday, with Turkey announcing that it scrambled six F-16 fighter jets to the skies on the border with Syria.
The Turkish military spokesman said that the jets were scrambled after Syrian helicopters flew close to the border on three occasions.
On Friday, Turkey began deploying surface-to-surface and surface-to-air missiles along the border with Syria. It has also deployed jets and troops near the border following the downing of the F-4.