Romney Waxes Whimsical Over Jewish Economic “Vitality” Compared To “Stark Difference” of Palestinians

[It is statements like the gaffe below, which so clearly illustrate just how “out of it” Romney really is.  His comparison of Palestinian vs Israeli incomes is obscene, despite the fact that his figures are way off the mark.  He doesn’t know or acknowledge the weight of the Israeli “Gestapo” boot on the Palestinian necks.  Beyond that, he is blind to the truth about the Jewish people and money–they are inseparable.  Wherever Jews reside, money naturally piles-up around them…go figure.  If the upcoming election has been decided in Romney’s favor then we will actually have somebody even dumber than Dubya with his finger now on the button.  Since there is nothing that can be done to take the power away from the deciders, then, how does it feel to know that we are not here to “change things for the better” after all, but to simply be witnesses when it all finally goes down the drain?] 

Sheldon Adelson

Romney comments at fundraiser outrage Palestinians

By KARIN LAUB, Associated Press

 

JERUSALEM (AP) — Mitt Romney told Jewish donors Monday that their culture is part of what has allowed them to be more economically successful than the Palestinians, outraging Palestinian leaders who suggested his comments were racist and out of touch with the realities of the Middle East. His campaign later said his remarks were mischaracterized.

“As you come here and you see the GDP per capita, for instance, in Israel which is about $21,000, and compare that with the GDP per capita just across the areas managed by the Palestinian Authority, which is more like $10,000 per capita, you notice such a dramatically stark difference in economic vitality,” the Republican presidential candidate told about 40 wealthy donors who ate breakfast at the luxurious King David Hotel.

Romney said some economic histories have theorized that “culture makes all the difference.”

“And as I come here and I look out over this city and consider the accomplishments of the people of this nation, I recognize the power of at least culture and a few other things,” Romney said, citing an innovative business climate, the Jewish history of thriving in difficult circumstances and the “hand of providence.” He said similar disparity exists between neighboring countries, like Mexico and the United States.

Palestinian reaction to Romney was swift and pointed.

“It is a racist statement and this man doesn’t realize that the Palestinian economy cannot reach its potential because there is an Israeli occupation,” said Saeb Erekat, a senior aide to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

“It seems to me this man lacks information, knowledge, vision and understanding of this region and its people,” Erekat added. “He also lacks knowledge about the Israelis themselves. I have not heard any Israeli official speak about cultural superiority.”

As criticism mounted while Romney traveled to Poland, campaign spokeswoman Andrea Saul said: “His comments were grossly mischaracterized.” The Republican’s campaign contends Romney’s comparison of countries that are close to each other and have wide income disparities — the U.S. and Mexico, Chile and Ecuador — shows his comments were broader than just the comparison between Israel and Palestine.

While speaking to U.S. audiences, Romney often highlights culture as a key to economic success and emphasizes the power of the American entrepreneurial spirit compared to the values of other countries. But his decision to highlight cultural differences in a region where such differences have helped fuel violence for generations raises new questions about the former businessman’s diplomacy skills.

As he has at home, Romney in Jerusalem cited a book titled, “Guns, Germs and Steel,” that suggests the physical characteristics of the land account for the differences in the success of the people that live there.

“And you look at Israel and you say you have a hard time suggesting that all of the natural resources on the land could account for all the accomplishment of the people here,” Romney said, before citing another book, “The Wealth and Poverty of Nations,” by former Harvard professor David Landes.

This book, Romney said in Jerusalem, concludes that “if you could learn anything from the economic history of the world it’s this: Culture makes all the difference. Culture makes all the difference.”

The economic disparity between the Israelis and the Palestinians is actually much greater than Romney stated. Israel had a per capita gross domestic product of about $31,000 in 2011, while the West Bank and Gaza had a per capita GDP of just over $1,500, according to the World Bank.

Romney, seated next to billionaire casino owner Sheldon Adelson at the head of the table, told donors that he had read books and relied on his own business experience to understand why the difference in economic disparity between countries is so great.

His comparison of the two economies did not take into account the stifling effect the Israeli occupation has had on the Palestinian economy in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem — areas Israel captured in 1967 where the Palestinians hope to establish a state.

In the West Bank, Palestinians have only limited self-rule. Israel controls all border crossings in and out of the territory, and continues to restrict Palestinian trade and movement. Israel annexed east Jerusalem in 1967, but has invested much less heavily there than in Jewish west Jerusalem.

And although Israel withdrew from the Gaza Strip in 2005, it continues to control access and has enforced a crippling border blockade since the Islamic militant Hamas seized the territory in 2007.

It’s true that Israel has logged tremendous achievements, said Abraham Diskin, a political science professor at the Inter-Disciplinary Center outside of Tel Aviv. But “you can understand this remark in several ways,” he added. “You can say it’s anti-Semitic. ‘Jews and money.'”

The World Bank and the International Monetary Fund repeatedly have said that the Palestinian economy can only grow if Israel lifts those restrictions.

“It’s Israeli occupiers and Palestinians under occupation, and that’s why Palestinians cannot realize their potential,” Erekat said.

The breakfast with top donors — including Adelson, New York Jets owner Woody Johnson and hedge fund manager Paul Singer — concluded Romney’s visit to Israel, the second leg of a three-nation overseas tour designed to bolster his foreign policy credentials.

Standing on Israeli soil for the first time as the GOP’s presumptive presidential nominee, Romney on Sunday declared Jerusalem to be the capital of Israel and said the U.S. has promised never to “look away from our passion and commitment to Israel.”

The status of Jerusalem is a critical issue in peace talks between the Israelis and the Palestinians.

In Israel, Romney did not meet with Abbas or visit the West Bank. He met briefly with Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad.

Romney’s campaign says the trip, which began in England last week, is aimed at improving the former Massachusetts governor’s foreign policy experience through a series of meetings with foreign leaders. The candidate has largely avoided direct criticism of U.S. President Barack Obama while on foreign soil.

The Jerusalem fundraiser, however, was a political event that raised more than $1 million for Romney’s campaign. It marks at least the second finance event during his tour. The first, in London, attracted about 250 people to a $2,500-per-person fundraiser.

Both presidential candidates have aggressively courted American donors living abroad, a practice that is legal and has been used for decades.

Romney’s declaration that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital was in keeping with claims made by Israeli governments for decades, even though the United States, like other nations, maintains its embassy in Tel Aviv.

His remarks on the subject during a speech drew a standing ovation from the audience, which included Adelson, the American businessman who has promised to donate more than $100 million to help defeat Obama.

Adelson was among a several donors who flew to Israel for a day of sightseeing with Romney in addition to private meetings with top Israeli officials.

Romney flew to the Middle East from Britain, where he caused a stir by questioning whether officials there were fully prepared for the Olympic Games. A stop in Poland will complete his trip.

Four years ago, Obama visited Israel as a presidential candidate, part of a five-nation trip meant to establish his own foreign policy credentials.

A goal of Romney’s overseas trip is to demonstrate his confidence on the world stage, but the stop in Israel also was designed to appeal to evangelical voters at home and cut into Obama’s support among Jewish voters and donors. A Gallup survey of Jewish voters released Friday showed Obama with a 68-25 edge over Romney.

Romney and other Republicans have said Obama is insufficiently supportive of Israel.

Associated Press writers Amy Teibel in Jerusalem and Steve Peoples in Washington contributed to this report.

Islamic Revival Party Demands Justice In Murder of Sabzali Mamadrizoyev In Khorog

[Tajikistan Blocks British, Russian News Websites for showing the following videos of Mamadrizoyev speaking at the protest rallies in Khorog.  Afterwards he was taken, tortured and murdered with an AK-47.]

IRP urges thorough investigation into the murder of Mamadrizoyev

Mehrangez Tursunzoda

DUSHANBE, July 30, 2012, Asia-Plus  — The Islamic Revival Party (IRP) of Tajikistan urges a thorough investigation into the murder of Sabzali Mamadrizoyev, the head of IRP’s organization for Gorno Badakhshan.

IRP leader Muhiddin Kabiri remarked this at a news conference in Dushanbe on July 30.  According to him, IRP strongly condemns both the murder of Abdullo Nazarov, the regional security chief, and the murder of Sabzali Mamadrizoyev, the head of IRP’s organization for Gorno Badakhshan.

“We urge the authorities to approach the issue seriously.  They had the full right to investigate the murder of Abdullo Nazarov and we said we support these actions.  We now call on them to thoroughly investigate the murder of leader of our party’s organization in Gorno Badakhshan,” said Kabiri, “Investigation into the murder of a politician or member of political party is no less important issue than investigation into the murder of general.”

Kabiri says Mamadrizoyev participated in the demonstration in Khorog on July 23.  “He made a speech at the demonstration and criticized [the authorities], but his criticisms were logical and within the frame of law.  Such criticisms have been expressed by all political parties and citizens of the country,” IRP leader noted.

Concerning the video showing the government troops throwing the body of unknown person to the garbage heap in Khorog (this video was posted on video sharing website YouTube), Kabiri noted that it was inadmissible.

“Even if that person was criminal, the government troops should not have acted so,” IRP leader stated.

He added he hoped that the law enforcement authorities would approach the problem seriously and prove that there is difference between the organized crime grouping and the government troops.

According to IRP, after the July 23 meeting, Sabzali Mamadrizoyev was detained by the law enforcement authorities and taken to the Khorog border unit, where he was severely beaten there and then shot from the assault rifle Kalashnikov.  Mamadrizoyev’s body was found three days later and he was buried on July 26.”

IRP denies rumors that Sabzali Mamadrizoyev was allegedly member of the illegal armed grouping as absolutely baseless.  According him, Sabzali Mamadrizoyev was killed for his speech at the demonstration on July 23.

Sabzali Mamadrizoyev, 32, was elected to head IRP’s organization in Gorno Badakhshan on July 17, 2011.  As of January 1, 2012, IRP’s organization in Gorno Badakhshan reportedly had 3,000 members.

Libyan fighter: “I left the battlefield in Syria because of the burning corpses and sell”

[The following, taken from the “evil” Al-Manar website gives testimony from a Libyan explosives expert, who left the so-called “jihad,” because of the rebel treatment of their martyrs, fallen in battle against the Syrian Army.  He objected to the two despicable practices of the rebels, that of burning dead foreigners who didn’t resemble Syrians and selling the bodies to the relatives of the dead, who had come from rich countries like Qatar and Kuwait.  Corpse abuse is a crime, as well as a mortal sin, in every country.]

 

Libyan fighter: I left the battlefield in Syria because of the burning corpses and sell

 

 

In an interview conducted by the agency of Libya now with news of one of the fighters returned to Libya from Syria, he said. Firm. M. Official, a specialist in explosives brigade Tripoli, for his participation in the fighting in Syria, along with the rebels in the Syrian army free.

Syrian army free

“I entered Syria two months ago for jihad against the regime of Bashar al-Assad to the brothers in the army free, through Turkey and when I arrived discernible my passport officer Turkish Log me some honest people into Syria (infiltration) and I met many of the groups that are fighting all faith in victory, and worked within the sectors bombing and training and equipping of improvised explosive devices that were planted to kill al-Assad. ”

The firm “was our headquarters city of Homs, having intensified the fighting there and I moved some groups to the city of Hama, to work alongside a battalion Ammar Ibn Yasser, and was surprised by what I saw there where the battalion was from all congeners of Arab, African, and created the largest victories, but what made me leave the battlefield is a way of thinking that began working with the rebels there, When falls a martyr in our ranks, burn or sold also its members by nationality, if the fighters Africans who burned the body of the martyr, and when asked why he told me Abu Hmzh a military commander of the city protectors of this reserve in order not to take advantage of the system and there are different nationalities and say we are fighting non-Syrian fighters. ”

Gunmen in Syria Then he “initially did not comment because I know that the martyrs buried in Paradise, but when killed us father Mohammed, a Kuwaiti nationality they did not burn his body, but they put in place an enhanced contact after his family and ask for a sum of money and say to his family that forces the Assad regime caught body of their son and demands ransom money, and that’s what made me objected very strongly to this approach and style, and when he cites one of the Mujahideen Alsorran are buried without burning, the piece left Syrian territory to Turkey and from there I received my passport from the Division of Relations of the Mujahideen of Syria, I and some brothers from Libya and nationalities of the other Arab , “.

He said a firm “I call on all the Mujahideen in Libya and the Arab states, not to enter into Syria, because what is going on is not a popular revolution, and when we went to Syria to Pena call jihad, we believe that the Syrian army rapes women and kills children, but what we have seen is quite different from the news that we received, and religion Islamic prohibits us from killing Muslims, and manages the armed revolution are, in my view just gangs have asked me several times, the bombing of a civilian hospital, and I rejected the piece after he prayed istikhaarah God Almighty and we discovered later that she was with children and patients in cancer is hospital care in the field of cancer patients children, I thank God for the blessing of returning to the territory of Libya and Syria to invite him to return in safety and security and to return the majority religion and reason to these

32 Passengers “Charred” On New Delhi-Chennai Tamil Nadu Express

32 passengers charred on Chennai bound Tamil Nadu Express near Nellore

Nellore (AP), July 30 (PTI): Thirty-two train passengers were charred and 25 others injured when a fire broke out in a coach of the New Delhi-Chennai Tamil Nadu Express near Nellore in Andhra Paradesh in the wee early Monday due to a short circuit.

Additional DG Railways V S K Kaumudi told PTI that 32 bodies have been recovered so far from the charred S-11 bogie of the train.

South Central Railway officials in Hyderabad said 25 people have been injured in the mishap and have been admitted to different hospitals.

According to Nellore district officials, the fire was noticed at around 4.15 am by a gateman, who alerted officials.

Two fire tenders were rushed to the spot immediately to put out the fire and they managed to restrict the blaze to the S-11 bogie, they said.

Nellore District Collector B Sridhar said, “There was a short circuit near the toilet and the train was moving at a speed of 110 kms per hour. It was going to Chennai from Delhi. All the passengers were asleep when the fire broke out at 4:30 AM. People were not able to come out immediately”.

”The fire spread fast and the passengers could not come out through one of the doors because of the fire. So the other edge of the coach was to be used. Some people could come out while others succumbed to death,” he said.

The bodies have been charred so it is difficult to identify them, Sridhar said.

Additional Joint Collector Laxmikant said the toll could rise up to 35 as some of the bodies are still to be recovered from the charred S-11 compartment.

Nellore district police officials said 14 passengers in the bogie were safe.

Some of the passengers travelling in the train told reporters that smoke engulfed the bogie soon after the fire broke out making it difficult for them to come out.

Railway Minister Mukul Roy has announced an ex gratia payment of Rs 5 lakh each to the next of the kin of those killed in the mishap.

The Railway Minister also announced a payment of Rs 1 lakh each for those who were grievously injured and Rs 25,000 for those who suffered simple injuries.

The Railway Ministry has also ordered an inquiry by D K Singh, Commissioner of Railway Safety of South-Central Circle.

Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy conveyed his condolences to members of the bereaved families.

A release from the CM’s Office said he would visit Nellore to meet those injured in the mishap.

The Chief Minister has asked the Chief Secretary to monitor the relief operations on a minute-to-minute basis and also coordinate with railway officials of Secunderabad and Delhi, the release said.

The S-11 coach looked like a structure of mangled steel put in a furnace.

The coach was brought to the Nellore railway station and normal traffic was restored by around 8.30 am, the South Central Railway officials said.

Islamist Fighters Camps in North Syria Include Members of non-Syrian Nationalities–Sunday Telegraph

The Syrian Arab news agency SANA is hard to reach lately, obviously under DDoS-attacks by global enemies of free speech, just like Mein Parteibuch was shot down by the global arrogance forces warring against free speech, freedom and human dignity. To make important news messages from SANA available though SANA is under DDoS Mein Parteibuch will syndicate selected internationally important English language SANA news items.

Source of this news item:

http://sana.sy/eng/22/2012/07/29/433853.htm

Start Syndication of SANA news item

Sunday Telegraph: Islamist Fighters Camps in North Syria Include Members of non-Syrian Nationalities

Jul 29, 2012

LONDON, (SANA)- The British Sunday Telegraph newspaper revealed that the camps of Islamist militants fighting against the Syrian state in the northern region included people from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Chechnya, with some of them speaking English.

The newspaper reported in an article published on Saturday that the British Foreign Office “is investigating reports that British citizens are among Islamist fighters who kidnapped a British photographer and his Dutch colleague in northern Syria.”

It quoted a source close to the incident as saying that British John Cantlie and Dutchman Jeroen Oerlemans were held by Islamist fighters for a week “after they accidentally came across their camp while crossing the border from south east Turkey” to report on the events taking place in Syria.

While they were held in captivity, the source added,the journalists “were threatened with death unless they converted to Islam,” before another group of the so-called Free Syrian Army militias turned up the camp and demanded that they be released.

The source told the Sunday Telegraph that the camp members “included people from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Chechnya, with no Syrians present, adding that “round 40 per cent” of them apparently spoke English but it was not clear what nationalities they were.

The source noted that there were “at least six men with British-sounding voices, including one with a heavy south London accent.”

H. Said

End Syndication of SANA news item

Mein Parteibuch encourages all people committed to free speech, liberty and freedom to copy and syndidate this and other SANA news items as long as SANA is under attack.

Terrorists Suffer Heavy Losses in Aleppo, Lattakia, Homs, Deir Ezzor and Hama–(ALTERNATIVE SANA SITE)

[Since Syria’s SANA NEWS is under heavy cyber attack lately, this had to be found at an alternative site.  Link below, plus another in German.]

SANA    SANA HEADLINES GERMAN

Terrorists Suffer Heavy Losses in Aleppo, Lattakia, Homs, Deir Ezzor and Hama

Jul 28, 2012

 

PROVINCES, (SANA) – Security authorities on Saturday clashed with an armed terrorist group in a car in al-Furqan neighborhood in the city of Aleppo, killing and arresting its members.

An official source in the province told SANA reporter that the clashes resulted in killing two of the terrorists and arresting three others, in addition to seizing their weapons and car.

In the neighborhood of Sleiman al-Halabi in the city, security authorities set an armed terrorist group up, after being informed of its movement, and clashed with its members who were driving a car in the neighborhood.

The terrorists were killed in the clashes and their car was destroyed, with their weapons seized by the authorities.

Meanwhile, security authorities chased an armed terrorist group in the neighborhood of al-Ansari al-Sharqi and clashed with its members, inflicting heavy losses upon them.

The weapons and car of the terrorists were seized by the authorities, in addition to two wireless communication devices and a Thuraya satellite device.

Authorities in Aleppo pursued  an armed terrorist group which tried to attack the Police station in al-Midan district in Aleppo.

SANA reporter said that clashes resulted in killing the armed terrorist group,  destroying their car and seizing their weapons and ammunitions.

Armed Forces Inflict Heavy Losses Upon Terrorists in Saladin Neighborhood in Aleppo

Also in Aleppo city, a unit from the Syrian armed forces clashed with a terrorist group in Saladin neighborhood, with an official source saying the armed forces managed to inflict heavy losses upon the terrorists.

The source added that a fire broke out in the basement level of a residential building which resulted in the explosion of a workshop used by terrorists for manufacturing explosives, leading to the death of the terrorists there.

The source affirmed that the pursuit of terrorists is ongoing until the entire neighborhood is cleared from them and security is restored to the locals.

On a relevant note, authorities in al-Iza’a neighborhood arrested four terrorists who were transporting two other terrorists injured in a conflict that took place in al-Sukkari neighborhood, confiscating their car and their weapons which included two AK-47 rifles and a handgun.

Terrorists Attempt to Attack al-Baath Party Branch in Daret Azzah, Aleppo Countryside, Suffer Heavy Losses

The authorities confronted an armed terrorist group that attempted to break into the building of al-Baath Party branch in Daret Azzah, Aleppo Countryside.

A source told SANA that the authorities inflicted heavy losses upon the terrorists and confiscated weapons and ammo.

 

Terrorists Suffer Heavy Losses in Lattakia Countryside

In the countryside of Lattakia province, security authorities chased down members of the armed terrorist groups in the town of Salma and the surrounding villages and forests.

An official source in the province told SANA reporter that the terrorists suffered heavy losses at the hands of the security authorities.

Authorities Clash with Terrorist Groups in Homs In Homs province, the authorities, in cooperation with residents, clashed with two terrorist groups near al-Baladiyeh roundabout in al-Rastan city in Homs killing and wounding dozens of them.

The authorities also caused heavy losses to the bases of the terrorist groups in the city, a source in the province said.

Authorities Confront Terrorists’ Attack from inside Lebanese Territories

In the same context, border guards and authorities confronted a terrorist attack by armed terrorist groups from inside the Lebanese territories.

A source in Homs province said that the terrorists targeted border posts of al-Armouta, Shahira and al-Reidaniyeh in Tal Khalakh countryside with mortars and RPGs as their infiltration attempt into Syria was foiled.

The clash resulted in heavy losses upon members of the armed terrorist groups.

Terrorists Killed in al-Sultaniyeh, al-Hamidiyeh Neighborhoods in Homs

On the outskirts of Homs, an armed terrorist group driving a microbus was ambushed by security authorities in al-Sultaniyeh neighborhood, suffering heavy losses with its vehicle destroyed.

In another context, a source in the province told SANA reporter that the authorities raided a den for terrorist groups in al-Hamidiyeh neighborhood in the city of Homs and clashed with the terrorists, leaving them dead or injured.

Authorities Repell Terrorist Group’s Attack on Security Personnel in al-Qseir 

In al-Qseir city, the authorities repelled an armed terrorist group that attacked law enforcement personnel, killing 8 of its members and wounding 15 others.

Terrorists Killed and Injured in Blast While Setting Explosives in al-Shawader Street in Homs City

A large explosion took place in al-Shawader street in al-Khalidiye neighborhood in Homs city before Iftar time (before 7:45 PM) on Friday.

An official source told SANA that the explosion occurred when a terrorist group was planting explosives in the street and its buildings, and that a large number of terrorists were killed or wounded in the blast.

Authorities Pursue Terrorists in Deir Ezzor, Inflict Heavy Losses on Them

Authorities in Deir Ezzor pursued on Saturday armed terrorist groups and killed and wounded scores of them.

SANA reporter in Deir Ezzor added that the authorities killed an armed terrorist group and destroyed a mortar that the terrorists were using in Deir Ezzor countryside.

Leaders and Members of Terrorist Groups Arrested in Hama Countryside

Responding to demands by locals, a Syrian armed forces unit raided the hideouts of terrorist groups in al-Ghab area in Hama countryside, arresting a number of these groups’ leaders and members, confiscating large amounts of weapon and ammo, and destroying 4WD cars used by the terrorists.

An official source told SANA that based upon information from locals of al-Asharneh, Hosh al-Asharneh, Kernaz, al-Mughir and al-Sheikh Hadid villages who informed the authorities that terrorists are running amok in these villages, an armed forces unit raided these terrorists’ hideouts and arrested a large number of them, while the rest were killed or injured.

The unit destroyed two 4WD cars equipped with DShK machineguns and confiscated weapons including a PKC machinegun, automatic rifles, pump-action shotguns, RPG launchers, and improvised explosive devices (IEDs), in addition to advanced communication devices and satellite broadcasting equipment.

The armed forces also recovered a number of state-owned cars stolen by the terrorists.

Also in Hama countryside, specifically in the village of al-Twaineh west of al-Madiq Castle, the authorities pursued a terrorist group and engaged them, inflicting heavy losses upon them.

A source at the province told SANA that among the terrorists who were killed are Mohammad Haj Mohammad Abu Knaj, Rashid Rahil Rashid, Wael Khaled Freja and Ma’amound Ulesha.

In cooperation with locals, the authorities raided a terrorist hideout in the Industrial zone in al-Salamiyeh, Hama countryside, inflicting heavy losses upon the terrorists, arresting a number of them and confiscating a large amount of weapons.

 

Authorities pursue terrorists in Daraa Countryside

In Daraa city, authorities stormed armed terrorist group’s hideouts in Busra al-Sham district.

SANA reporter in Daraa said that the authorities inflicted heavy losses on the terrorists.

Lebanese Army Arrests Lebanese and Syrian Attempting to Smuggle Weapons Into Syria

The Lebanese Army arrested two men, a Lebanese and a Syrian, who were attempting to smuggle weapons into Syria.

A source at the Lebanese Army intelligence told al-Manar TV that they arrested a Lebanese man from the border town of Tafil and a Syrian whose last name is Kahloun as they were transporting firearms, silences, sniper scopes and ammunition.

The source said that the arrested was made in Ein al-Jouzeh area in the town of Brital in al-Biqa’a.

English Bulletin

U.S. uses NATO for Black Sea military buildup

Graf Ignatievo Air Force Base, Bulgaria

by Rick Rozoff

“The Black Sea region was completely inaccessible, was terra prohibita, to the Pentagon during the Cold War era. NATO expansion, with the incorporation of new members and partners, has opened the sea to U.S. military penetration, presence and use for what are termed downrange operations – armed interventions – to the east and the south.”


 

With permanent access to eight air and other military bases and training facilities in Bulgaria and Romania acquired over the past seven years, and advanced interceptor missiles to be stationed in the second country in three years, the Pentagon is establishing a firm foothold in the Black Sea region from which to continue current and initiate new military operations in South Asia, the Middle East, Africa, the Balkans and the Caucasus.

The U.S. Marines Corps’ Black Sea Rotational Force and the U.S. Army’s Task Force-East are assigned to the region on a regular basis and American warships are frequent visitors to the Black Sea, notwithstanding the 1936 Montreux Convention which limits the passage of non-littoral nations’ military vessels through the Dardanelles and Bosporus straits to the Black Sea.

Last year the flagship of the U.S.-NATO interceptor missile system, the guided missile cruiser USS Monterey, participated in the U.S.-led Sea Breeze naval exercise in the Black Sea – a NATO Partnership for Peace initiative – coordinated from Odessa, Ukraine, only 187 miles from Russia’s Black Sea Fleet headquarters in Sevastopol.

This year’s Sea Breeze, held from July 9-21, was the largest naval exercise held in the Black Sea this year and featured personnel from 17 nations, NATO members and partners (not always publicly acknowledged): The U.S., Ukraine, Belgium, Canada, Germany, Norway, Portugal, Turkey, Algeria, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Georgia, Israel, Moldova, Qatar, Sweden and the United Arab Emirates. Algeria, Bangladesh, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates participated for the first time. The last two states, members of the Gulf Cooperation Council and of NATO’s Istanbul Cooperation Initiative military partnership, provided NATO with warplanes for the six-month air war against Libya last year. The United Arab Emirates also has troops serving under NATO in Afghanistan.

Overlapping with the above maneuvers, another NATO Partnership for Peace exercise run by U.S. European Command, Rapid Trident 2012, was launched in Western Ukraine on July 16 and will run to July 28.

An estimated 1,400 service members from 16 countries – the U.S., Ukraine, Austria, Azerbaijan, Denmark, Bulgaria, Canada, Germany, Georgia, Macedonia, Moldova, Norway, Poland, Romania, Serbia and Sweden – are participating.

The Dacian Thunder 2012 exercise is being conducted by the U.S., Britain and Romania from July 10-31 in the third nation. Led by the U.S. 81st Fighter Squadron and Marines, the three NATO allies are training for, in the words of the U.S. Air Force website, “air-to-air, air-to-ground, combat search and rescue, air defense, air security, air intelligence, tactical command, and cross service logistical support and operations” in preparation for “future contingency operations.”

Earlier this month U.S. Army Europe commander Lieutenant General Mark Phillip Hertling visited Georgia, on the other end of the Black Sea, to meet with the country’s new defense minister, Dimitri Shashkin, and top military commanders.

This week Rear Admiral Mark Montgomery, Deputy Director of Plans, Policy and Strategy for U.S. European Command, met with Defense Minister Shashkin to begin the implementation of this year’s agreement between U.S. President Barack Obama and Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili to upgrade Georgia’s military capabilities.

This week Saakashvili’s spouse, Netherlands-born Sandra Roelofs, visited the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C. to meet with six Georgian soldiers being treated there for injuries sustained in NATO’s Afghan war.

Last week Saakashvili met with Turkish Defense Minister İsmet Yılmaz in the Georgian capital of Tbilisi and stated:

“You know that 2014 has been declared as the year of NATO expansion, and Georgia already has a real chance for full membership in NATO, which represents an important long-term security guarantee for us.”

The Georgian head of state added:

“Turkey is one of the major supporters in our drive to join NATO and for that we are very grateful, because it represents a historic chance for Georgia, for the region and for our good neighborly relations to [have] Georgia protected within this international organization.

“Recently it (Georgia’s NATO membership) became more realistic than it has ever been in history.”

In 2005, the year after Romania became a member of NATO, the Pentagon acquired several military installations in the nation including the Mihail Kogalniceanu Air Base, previously employed for the invasion of Iraq in 2003. The following year it gained bases in neighboring Bulgaria, including the Graf Ignatievo and Bezmer air bases. The above are the first American military bases on the territory of former members of the Warsaw Pact.

The Marine Corps’ Black Sea Rotational Force, which as of this year is spending six months in the greater Black Sea region, frequently operates from the Mihail Kogalniceanu Air Base, as has the Task Force-East.

The Black Sea Rotational Force’s area of operations is formally the Black Sea region, the Balkans and the Caucasus, though in fact it extends into Moldova and Greece as well. That is, it has defined a geostrategically vital area of the world, the junction of Europe, Asia and the Middle East, as its purview, one which includes all the so-called frozen conflicts in former Soviet space: Abkhazia, Nagorno-Karabakh, South Ossetia and Transdniester.

The Black Sea region was completely inaccessible, was terra prohibita, to the Pentagon during the Cold War era. NATO expansion, with the incorporation of new members and partners, has opened the sea to U.S. military penetration, presence and use for what are termed downrange operations – armed interventions – to the east and the south.

Source:

by courtesy & © 2012 Rick Rozoff