Category Archives: Defense

NATO moves to space as ‘operational domain’

Although the participants claimed that historic NATO 70 Summit in London was a success, the general public has witness the other version of the events while leaders were trading barbs, ending in refusal of a concluding press-conference.

The assembly was marked  by unusual assertiveness, and even remorse of President Trump who declared at his arrival to London the French President Macron remarks on NATO “brain death” as “nasty” and, while leaving, calling Canada’s prime minister “two-faced” for mocking him on a hot mic.

Nevertheless NATO’s Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg told a news conference that the allies  have been able to “overcome our disagreements and continue to deliver on our core tasks to protect and defend each other.”

The leaders declared that space is now an “operational domain,” after land, sea, air and cyber space.

In a joint declaration, the leaders said: “Russia’s aggressive actions constitute a threat to Euro-Atlantic security; terrorism in all its forms and manifestations remains a persistent threat to us all.”

There were some changes in initial positions, and Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan did not further insist on his idea of blocking plans to enforce NATO infrastructure in northern and eastern Europe unless allies declared Kurdish fighters in Syria terrorists.

Marking the 70th anniversary of NATO, which was founded in 1949 to confront the security threat posed by the then Soviet Union, the leaders said the trans-Atlantic alliance is the cornerstone of their collective defense.

They also underlined their commitment to Article 5 of NATO’s Washington Treaty, saying “that an attack against one Ally shall be considered an attack against us all.”

The leaders then pledged to boost their military budgets in line with previous promises to move toward spending 2% of their annual GDP on defense by 2024.

They noted that European allies and Canada have increased spending for the last five years in a row and have invested an extra $130 billion since 2016. “We are making good progress. We must and will do more,” they said.

The leaders noted that NATO faces a multitude of threats, including from Russia and terrorism. “Russia’s aggressive actions constitute a threat to Euro-Atlantic security; terrorism in all its forms and manifestations remains a persistent threat to us all,” they said.

They also noted that “instability beyond our borders is also contributing to irregular migration.”

Arms control was also a theme, given the demise of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty between Washington and Moscow.

We are fully committed to the preservation and strengthening of effective arms control, disarmament, and non-proliferation,” the leaders said.

They added: “We remain open for dialogue, and to a constructive relationship with Russia when Russia’s actions make that possible.”

The leaders reaffirmed their commitment to Afghanistan, where NATO has its longest and most ambitious security operation. They also underlined that they are increasing cooperation with the United Nations and the European Union.

North Macedonia‘s imminent membership was welcomed as a sign that NATO’s door remains open to European countries who want to join.

Turning to modern challenges, the leaders vowed to protect critical infrastructure, including 5th generation telecommunication networks, to ensure energy security and work together to counter cyber-attacks and hybrid warfare.

They said they must also address the “opportunities and challenges” posed by the rise of China.

To counter concerns about poor political decision making, the leaders accepted to set up a “reflection group” led by Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg “to further strengthen NATO’s political dimension including consultation.”

After three consecutive years of summits, the leaders agreed to meet again in 2021.

 

PESCO: new 13 projcts in view

The Council adopted an updated list of 13 projects to be undertaken under PESCO. Today’s decision brings to 47 the number of projects that are currently in place.

Five of the new projects focus on training, covering areas such as cyber, diving, tactical, medical as well as chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear defence (CBRND) training. Other projects focus on enhancing EU collaborative actions as well as on capability development on sea, air and space.

The Council formally adopted the first set of 17 projects on 6 March 2018 and the second set of 17 projects on 20 November 2018.

On 11 December 2017, the Council adopted a decision establishing Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO). PESCO enables EU member states to work more closely together in the area of security and defence. This permanent framework for defence cooperation allows willing and able member states to develop jointly defence capabilities, invest in shared projects, and enhance the operational readiness and contribution of their armed forces.

The 25 member states participating in PESCO are: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Croatia, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Slovakia, Spain and Sweden.

Macron diagnoses NATO clinically dead

French Emmanuel Macron’s pessimistic diagnosis of NATO “brain dead” has caused the shock waves among Europeans, but apparently that’s a risk the French president is prepared to take, launching alam over non-compliance of some of the Alliance members with democratic standards, namely Turkey belligerent actions. (Image: archive).

https://twitter.com/afp/status/1192431507068964868?s=21

In an interview with The Economist magazine, Macron also warned Europeans could no longer rely on the United States to defend its allies and they needed to take security into their own hands. 

Although French President has long urged Europe to think of itself as an autonomous “sovereign power”, his verdict on the archaic 70-year old Alliance, conceived father the WWII in a totally different political context, Germany’s Angela Merkel assessed as too “drastic”. 

Emmanuel Macron is convinced that the assessment is needed to wake up Europeans to engage in polemics ahead of NATO’s December 4 summit in London. 

The franc criticism of NATO came shortly after the grand national funeral to Jaque Chirac who stood against NATO invasion of Iraq. The admiration of French nation to late Chirac for his independent foreign policy, distancing V Republic from American military adventures, known as “wars for oil’ has certainly inspired President Macron to undertake Gaullist stance against the U.S. military might.

https://twitter.com/rt_com/status/1193055619344982017?s=21

The Kremlin was among the enthusiastic observer’s of Macron’s assessment of NATO state of affairs. Russian Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Maria Zakharova described Macron’s verdict as “golden (precious) words” constituting the “precise definition of the current state of NATO.”

NATO Stoltenberg praises Merkel leadership

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg thanked Germany for its vital contributions to the Alliance in talks with Chancellor Angela Merkel on November 7, 2019.

Speaking at a press conference at the Chancellery, Mr. Stoltenberg praised Germany’s leadership of multinational NATO forces in Lithuania, its hosting of the Alliance’s new mobility command in Ulm and its important contributions to NATO operations from Afghanistan to Kosovo and the Aegean Sea.

The two leaders also discussed preparations for the meeting of NATO leaders in December in London, including the need for higher readiness of NATO forces and fairer burden-sharing within the Alliance.

Russia doubts Al-Baghdadi death

Defense ministry of Russian Federation has no tangible proof that Islamic State (IS) leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has been killed in the U.S. operartion and doubts that such an operation has ever taken place, the ministry’s spokesma Igor Konashenkov said.

Russia’s Defense Ministry has no reliable information about an operation by U.S. forces in the Turkey-controlled part of the Idlib de-escalation zone aimed at another extermination of Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi,” spokesperson said.

General Konashenkov  added that the fact that the number of those who annouced their participation in al-Baghdadi’s extermination shared contradictory details of the operation, casting doubt that such an operation ever took place.

We know nothing about any assistance to the flight of US aircraft to the Idlib de-escalation zone’s airspace in the course of this operation,” Konashenkov continued. Yet another report about the extermination of al-Baghdadi can hardly influence the situation in Syria, Konashenkov explained.

“After Islamic State was ultimately defeated by the Syrian government army with support of the Russia aerospace forces in early 2018, yet another ‘death’ of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi will have no impact either on the situation in Syria or on the actions of terrorists staying in Idlib,” he said.

No airstrikes by the U.S. air force or by the US-led coalition have been reported from Syria’s Idlib de-escalation zone in the recent days, Konashenkov clarified.

“No airstrikes by either US air forces of the so-called international coalition have been registered in the Idlib de-escalation zone on Saturday and over the recent days,Konashenkov said.

Furthermore Russian Defense Ministry said it doubted that al-Baghdadi could be hiding on a territory controlled by Jabhat al-Nusra in Idlib.

Russia launches Oniks missile

Oniks missile was launched the Chukotka Peninsula, Russian TASS news agency reported. It’s 350 km trajectory included 200 km over land, which is an achievement for this type of missiles, military experts said.

In the statement Russian Defense Ministry announced that “for the first time in history, the crew of a Bastion coastal defense system of the Pacific Fleet launched an Oniks cruise missile from the territory of the Chukotka Autonomous Region.”

According to the ministry’s data, the missile struck a target vessel at a distance of over 200 km in the Sea.

The Oniks missile was fired in accordance with the combat training plan. About 10 warships and support vessels of the Pacific Fleet and naval aviation provided for the safe missile launch.

The P-800 Oniks supersonic missile has a maximum range of about 500 km. Therefore, Bastion coastal defense systems deployed on the Chukotka Peninsula are capable of striking targets along the entire eastern part of the Northern Sea Route, from the De Long to the Bering Straits.

Richard Johnson – NATO military artist

 

“While training in Norway during NATO Exercise Trident Juncture 2018, soldiers in the Alliance  may have glimpsed an unusual sight: , standing beside their formations with a sketch pad and pencil.”e

An illustrative journalist by trade, Johnson has sketched conflicts in  Afghanistan, Iraq, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Zimbabwe. He has sketched troops in combat, at rest and on the move, capturing the moment: he notes, “I usually start with the eyes. You really just enter the whole person from there.”

In Norway, Johnson mentored US Marine Corps Captain CJ Baumann, who says he’s benefited from  Johnson’s tutelage. Together, they sketched US Marines as they moved tanks and troops through the Norwegian countryside.

Footage includes Combat Artist Richard Johnson and Captain CJ Baumann sketching Norwegian and US troops during NATO Exercise Trident Juncture 2018.”

Art depicting military themes has existed throughout history of humankind. The first arifacts discovered in Egypt date circa 3500 to 3000 BC, depicting prisoners of war led away, and wild animals feasting on dead.

Image below: fragment of Battlefield Palette (Egypt), British Museum.

Batterfiled Palette

 

 

 

 

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