July - December 2011

NATO May Face War Crimes Inquiry
14 November 2011 – Associated Press – Slobodan Lekic and Mike Corder
Officials from the International Criminal Court have said that it would examine “impartially and independently” allegations that NATO’s actions in Libya included war crimes. NATO officials will be conducting an immediate internal legal review of all incidents of NATO bombing that could have caused civilian casualties in an attempt to preempt the war crimes investigation. The question of who was making the allegations against NATO remains unanswered, but NATO has stated that it is confident that its actions were taken in accordance with international law and has vowed to be cooperative throughout the process. (Read More)

Kosovo Serbs Seek Russian Citizenship
14 November 2011 – RT.com
Around 21,000 Serbs from Kosovo have appealed to the Russian government for help in attaining Russian citizenship. Their motive, according to Russian officials, was security and protection; Kosovo Serbs have claimed that over one thousand Serbs have been killed since the arrival of NATO’s KFOR peacekeepers. Though this is not the first time that Kosovo Serbs have appealed to Russia for protection, many within Serbia do not feel that it is the proper course of action. The Serbian Secretary of State for Kosovo and Metohija, Oliver Ivanovic, has said that Kosovo Serbs should “cast a ballot for those who would protect their interests better.” (Read More)

Syrian Opposition Seeks Help from Russia
15 November 2011 – RT.com
A delegation of members of the Syrian political opposition arrived in Moscow today to meet with the Russian Foreign Ministry and the Federation Council in hopes of laying the groundwork for a peaceful end to the violence in Syria. The opposition hopes to avoid a military intervention, and have asked for Russia and the international community to “release an important signal and to demand Bashar al-Assad’s resignation.” International pressure has been mounting on Syria, where the UN estimates that 3,500 people have been killed since March. Jordan’s King Abdullah has called for al-Assad to step down, making him the first Arab leader to call for al-Assad’s resignation. (Read More)

NATO, EU Oppose South Ossetia Elections
14 November 2011 – News.am
NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen has said that the alliance would not recognize the results of the recent South Ossetian election, as it considers the region, as well as the breakaway region Abkhazia, as a part of Georgia. His statement said that the elections in South Ossetia were “not conducive to a peaceful and lasting settlement of the situation in Georgia.” The European Union followed suit, where officials said that the EU supported the “territorial integrity and sovereignty of Georgia in accordance with international law.” (Read More)

Bad Weather Highlights Cybersecurity Vulnerabilities
14 November 2011 – Hartford Business Journal – Brad Kane
Storms in New England during August and October have highlighted the vulnerability of the region’s electrical infrastructure, and the lessons that it provides could be applicable to cyber-infrastructure worldwide. Recent storms in the region highlighted how a failure in any part of the system – due to interconnectedness and lack of security protocols – could mean that the entire infrastructure could come down in a cascade of failures. Programs like the Stuxnet worm that disrupted Iran’s nuclear enrichment program could be created to target these vulnerabilities – and these problems should be rectified sooner rather than later. (Read More)

EU Funds Ordnance Removal in Libya
11 November 2011 – UPI
The European Commission has announced that it is increasing funding to help clear Libyan battlegrounds of unexploded ordnance. According to the European Commissioner for Crisis Response and Humanitarian Aid Kristalina Georgieva, “despite the cessation of the fighting, unexploded ammunition and mines are still claiming victims, especially children.” The European Commission is providing more than $680,000, on top of the $2.7 million already committed for relief efforts. (Read More)

Arab League Suspension of Syria Means UN Sanctions Push
14 November 2011 – Bloomberg
The Syrian suspension from the Arab League for its violent crackdown on dissidents means that Western leaders could have an easier time getting the UN Security Council to agree on increased sanctions against the al-Assad regime. The UK and France are leading a diplomatic push towards a new resolution, and hope to avoid another veto by Russia or China – both of which have economic ties to the al-Assad regime that are being stressed due to Syria’s increasing isolation from the rest of the Arab world. Military intervention has thus far remained off the table. (Read More)

Will the Economic Crisis Affect Turkey’s EU Accession Desires?
12 November 2011 – BBC News – Kevin Connolly
Turkey, which has courted the idea EU membership for as long as the Union has existed, has made little progress towards its goal. Many Turks argue “that the rules of the European Union amount to a kind of instruction manual for running an economy and a modern democratic state,” and despite recent economic hard times in the EU, the Turkish economy is still booming. Though some in the country have suggested that it should pursue an Ottoman-like focus on the Middle East, it seems that Turkey as a whole still sees itself as a European power. (Read More)

US, EU Call for New Sanctions Against Iran
9 November 2011 – Bloomberg – Indira A.R. Lakshmanan and Jonathan Tirone
After the IAEA report that said that “Iran has sought, and most likely still seeks, to equip itself with atomic weapons, under cover of a program that it pretends is civil and peaceful,” the United States and European nations have called for “unprecedented sanctions” against Iran. The US Treasury Department is drafting sanctions aimed at commercial banks and front companies, and the EU is considering its own financial sanctions. US officials have said that it is unlikely that Iran will face an additional level of UN sanctions due to opposition from Russia. (Read More)

Russia Rules out Sanctions Against Iran
9 November 2011 – BBC News
The Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov has said that his country has ruled out additional sanctions against Iran because they could be “interpreted as a means of regime change” in the country. He called that approach “unacceptable,” and said that Russia “does not intend to consider” sanctions. China is also unlikely to back any further sanctions against Iran. (Read More)

How Likely is Georgia’s Admittance to NATO?
9 November 2011 – BBC News – Damien McGuinness
Though NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen is visiting Georgia, and the country seeks closer ties with NATO and the West, how likely is Georgia’s admittance into the alliance? Russian troops still occupy 20% of the country after its 2008 war, and the two are in a “political stalemate” and have no formal diplomatic relations. There are other sticking points in the process; namely, Russian support for the breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, as well as concerns of political suppression and human rights issues. (Read More)

Moldova to Resume Talks with Transnistria
8 November 2011 – UPI
International mediators from the OSCE have said that talks on the “frozen conflict” between Moldova and the breakaway region of Transnistria will be resumed this month. The talks, which will be held in Lithuania, will include the OSCE, Russia, the Ukraine, the US, and the EU. Transnistria has sought international recognition as a nation since its brief civil war with Moldova following the Soviet Union’s collapse. Transnistrian President Igor Smirnov has said that his country isn’t “prepared to accept anything less than independence.” (Read More)

UN Says 3,500 Deaths in Syria
8 November 2011 – BBC News
According to a recent UN statement, more than 3,500 people have died since the anti-government protests began in Syria. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Ravina Shamsdasani said that the death toll was caused by “the brutal crackdown on dissent,” where the Syrian military used “tanks and heavy weaponry to attack residential areas in the city of Homs.” Though many have fled the city, the army continues to go house-to-house to arrest dissenters, and “thousands continue to remain in detention” from the mass arrests. (Read More)

NATO Radio Brings News to Afghanistan
7 November 2011 – WBUR News – Glenn Zorpette
One radio station, broadcast out of Kandahar Airfield, is offering a different perspective to its many listeners – that of NATO’s psych-ops arm. The station, which is broadcast in Pashto, is “intended to be a news, information, and cultural station,” is part of the information war against the Taliban and insurgent forces in the country. To ensure access to the station, NATO has distributed thousands of radios that can be powered by the sun or by hand-crank.  (Read More)

Russia-EU Pipeline Begins to Deliver
8 November 2011 – Financial Times – Gerrit Wiesmann
German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev formally opened the Nord Stream pipeline on Tuesday, delivering natural gas for the first time from Russia to the EU via the Baltic Sea. The project has remained controversial since its inception in 2005, mainly due to fears that it will increase European reliance on Russian gas and reduce Russia’s dependence on countries like the Ukraine. When the pipeline is fully operational in 2013, it will pump approximately a third of the volume that currently passes through pipelines in the Ukraine. (Read More)

EU and US Conduct First Cyberattack Readiness Tests
8 November 2011 – DefenseTalk
The first test of trans-Atlantic cyberdefense systems took place in Brussels today, where US and EU authorities simulated cooperation in response to an attack. The tests were based on two scenarios: one where a hacker group launches a sophisticated cyberattack against various EU cybersecurity agencies, and another where power and water infrastructure fail on a large scale. The program grew out of the EU-US Working Group on Cyber-Security and Cyber-Crime, which began in November 2010. Initial findings of the simulation will be presented to the EU-US summit later this year. (Read More)

Does Libya Spell the End of R2P?
7 November 2011 – New York Times – David Rieff
The NATO intervention in Libya has been called “the most successful foreign humanitarian intervention” ever conducted, but David Rieff argues that the fact that it was legitimized using the UN’s Responsibility to Protect doctrine could spell problems for that doctrine’s future. Although the doctrine allows for the protection of civilians, many non-Western states see the Libyan intervention and its R2P justification as merely a guise for NATO-backed regime change. Given that, Rieff argues, NATO members should not be too quick to congratulate themselves on a job well done, and should focus on protecting the legitimacy of NATO and R2P worldwide. (Read More)

Georgia Says It Wouldn’t Drag NATO Into War
6 November 2011 – Washington Times – Ben Birnbaum
Speaker of the Georgia Parliament David Bakradze says that his country “will not drag NATO into a war with Russia if accepted into the Western alliance,” and that the chance of recurring conflict with Moscow is much lower than it was before 2008. Bakradze said that his country hopes that it will make progress in its membership bid during NATO’s spring summit in Chicago, and remains committed to the continuing mission in Afghanistan. Georgia and Russia have not had formal diplomatic relations since the end of their 2008 war. (Read More)

Arab League Calls for Action in Syria
8 November 2011 – Sydney Morning Herald – Julian Borger
The Arab League has called for an emergency meeting to discuss the continued killings of Syrian protesters since the acceptance of last week’s peace plan. Human rights groups say that “many of the victims were killed by tank fire,” and that the army has escalated its crackdown on protesters. It is not clear what actions the Arab League will take, but its Secretary General Nabil al-Arabi warned that failure to implement its peace plan would lead to “catastrophic consequences for the situation in Syria and the region.” (Read More)

Russia Warns Israel Not to Attack Iran
7 November 2011 – BBC News
Israeli President Shimon Peres said that an attack on Iran was becoming more likely, as a forthcoming IAEA report is expected to say that Iran is secretly developing a nuclear arms capability. The IAEA has said that the report “will produce compelling evidence that Iran will find hard to dispute.” However, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has said that military action on Israel’s behalf would be a “very serious mistake fraught with unpredictable consequences,” and that diplomacy would be the solution to the Iranian nuclear problem. (Read More)

NATO Says Afghan Forces Will Be Ready for Transfer in 2014

1 November 2011 – UPI
US and NATO officials have said that Afghan security forces will be ready for the transfer of power that is set to be completed in 2014. They said that “better pay, two more years of training before the pullout, and proper equipment” mean that Afghan forces will be able to sustain themselves in the future. A report to Congress by the Department of Defense said that the country would meet the requirement of “195,000 soldiers and 157,000 national police” by next October, but that poor leadership and dependence on Western forces for logistics and air support are continuing challenges. (Read More)

OSCE Says Turkey Should Act in Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict
1 November 2011 – Today’s Zaman – Alyson Neel
OSCE Secretary General Lamberto Zannier said on Tuesday that Turkey could play an important role in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. He said that Turkey could act in an “unofficial role,” and “create conditions to promote dialogue on both sides.” He said that, though the OSCE is working diligently, more outside pressure on the parties to strike a deal in the conflict and to “keep making efforts from different angles” would be greatly beneficial to the peace process. (Read More)

UK Military Prepares Contingency Plan for Iran
2 November 2011 – The Guardian – Nick Hopkins
The British Ministry of Defense has said that it believes that the US “may decide to fast-forward plans for targeted missile strikes” at Iranian nuclear enrichment facilities, and that it would be prepared to deploy Royal Navy ships and submarines to back up the operation. The IAEA has said that Iran seems to have recovered from the Stuxnet cyberattack, and “may even be increasing” its nuclear enrichment capabilities. In the meantime, according to the New York Times, “the US [is] looking to build up its military presence in the region, with one eye on Iran,” and to expand military ties with nations in the Gulf region. (Read More)

Kandahar MPs Ask NATO to Stay
1 November 2011 – Associated Press
Members of the Afghani parliament have urged Afghani President Hamid Karzai to keep their province off of the second list of regions that will transition away from NATO control to Afghani security forces. The transition is planned to have five stages and end in 2014; in each stage several provinces will be placed under direct Afghani control. Areas with more violent conflict may likely be transferred earlier, as officials have decided that it would be “unwise to transfer the most volatile provinces in 2014, when the international force’s footprint will be shrinking.” (Read More)

How Should the International Community Remain Engaged in Libya
1 November 2011 – The New York Times – Marco Vicenzino
Despite the end of NATO’s mandate in Libya, Marco Vicenzino calls for “a new phase” of engagement with the country. He calls for NATO members to create a “training and equipping mission” for the Libyan security forces, following the interim leader’s call for NATO military advisors. He asks that Qatar retain a “leading role among contributing states,” and calls for a trial for Ghaddafi’s son Seif al-Islam. He also says that recovery of Ghaddafi’s hidden assets – over $200 billion – should be used to “alleviate Libya’s plight.” (Read More)

US Envisions “NATO of the Gulf”
31 October 2011 – RT.com
As the US pulls its last combat forces from Iraq, officials have said that the country seeks to “foster a new ‘security architecture’ for the Persian Gulf that would integrate air and naval patrols and missile defense.” These plans, which include a ground combat presence in Kuwait and naval patrols of the region, “could result in a security apparatus that would resemble NATO.” The target of the alliance would be Iran, but likely participants would include Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, both of which participated in NATO’s operations in Libya. (Read More)

Change in Syria is Inevitable
31 October 2011 – The Guardian
As protests in Syria intensify, President Bashir al-Assad has begun to look more and more like other dictators who sense imminent collapse – he has gone into denial. Even though NATO has pledged that it will not consider a no-fly zone, what would it mean if protesters were successful and the regime was to fall? Hamas and Hezbollah have already begun to flee, but the real loser would be Iran – as the only majority Shia state, it may likely face another series of internal revolts. The only real alternative to civil war for Syria is al-Assad’s hasty agreement to a transitional government and free elections. (Read More)

Should the US be “Leading from Behind” in NATO?
31 October 2011 – New York Times – Roger Cohen
Roger Cohen argues in today’s New York Times that the current American policy of “leading from behind” – providing discreet military assistance to NATO and letting other member nations do the political heavy lifting – has been a solid policy. With the nation “short on cash” and much of the populace still reeling from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Cohen argues that the policy makes sense and that the Libyan example shows its “capacity for good.” We should continue to “use the burden-sharing of our military alliances to the full,” he says, and “act in concert with like-minded nations where possible.” (Read More)

Russia-NATO Missile Shield Talks Stalled
31 October 2011 – RIA Novosti
The Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko said that no agreement between Russia and NATO should be expected before the 2012 summit in Chicago. Grushko said that “chances for an agreement…are dwindling every day,” but that Russia was determined to search for practical solutions to the issue. He said that cooperation was being delayed because Washington continued to pursue its policy of cooperating with other NATO members despite Russian objections. (Read More)

NATO’s Success in Libya Shouldn’t Penalize It
30 October 2011 – The Examiner – Dale McFeatters
Dale McFeatters warns that the eagerness of many NATO members to get out of Libya as quickly as possible should serve as a warning that the alliance’s members may be becoming complacent in its capabilities. The “proof that NATO is both effective and necessary,” as Libya showed, “may lead to it being substantially weakened or even allowed to atrophy.” Falling defense budgets in light of member nations’ economic woes means that NATO may not be allowed to train and re-equip itself as is necessary, but McFeatters argues that members should “never allow [themselves] to think that the alliance won’t be needed again and in a hurry.” (Read More)

NATO’s Post-Libya Assessment
31 October 2011 – The National Interest – Dominik P. Jankowski
Dominik Jankowski notes that three shifts in US defense policy – a shrinking defense budget, acceptance of a “backseat role” in European wars, and an increasing Asian focus – will have a serious effect on its interaction with NATO. These issues, coupled with European issues – the domestic financial crisis and the fact that only a third of NATO members participated in Libya – mean that NATO needs a “new vigor,” and that member nations need to make security and defense a priority. “Transatlantic security,” Jankowski concludes, “depends on the ability of European and American statesmen to see the larger stakes beyond the narrow interests.” (Read More)

NATO Confirms End to Libya Mission
28 October 2011 – Reuters
NATO officials have confirmed that the alliance will end its mission in Libya on October 31. NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said on Twitter that “our military job is now done.” Rasmussen said that he did not expect NATO to play a large role in post-war Libya, though it could help with security sector reform. NATO officials said that members of the alliance were free to give further security aid to Libya individually. (Read More)

Deaths in Syrian Protests Bring Call for NATO Action
28 October 2011 – ynewsnet.com – Roee Nahmias
Syrian security forces killed at least 30 people today as they pursued a crackdown on pro-democracy protestors. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the fatalities were in the cities of Hama and Homs, and that security forces encircled mosques and made arrests before and after weekly Muslim prayers. The UN estimates that more than 3,000 people have been killed since the protests began in mid-March. Protestors have called on the international community to impose a no-fly zone over the country. (Read More)

Serbs Partially Dismantle Barricades on Kosovo Border
28 October 2011 – AKI News
Ethnic Serbs in North Kosovo have removed some of the barricades along the country’s northern border, allowing NATO’s KFOR peacekeepers to pass. Serbian representatives opened one of the sixteen barricades, but said that they would not allow EULEX or Kosovo officials to pass. The Serbian President Boris Tadic urged the removal of all barricades, as that will smooth its candidacy process in the European Union. (Read More)

NATO Expected to Confirm End to Libya Mission
27 October 2011 – Reuters – David Brunnstrom
NATO officials have said that the alliance is expected to confirm a decision to end its Libya mission next week, but that member states would be free to decide whether or not they wished to continue to provide security assistance to the country. It remains unclear at the moment if NATO warships will continue to enforce a UN arms embargo. According to one official, some Western powers may wish to set up an international organization to support Libya after NATO’s mission ends. (Read More)

UN Ends Mandate in Libya
27 October 2011 – Reuters – Louis Charbonneau
Despite requests from Libya’s National Transitional Council that the decision be delayed, the UN has terminated the mandate that created a no-fly zone over Libya and permitted nations to use military force to protect Libyan civilians. The NTC has been concerned about border security and establishing full control over the country, but Western diplomats have said that those issues fall outside of the UN mandate. Concern also remains about potential weapons proliferation in Libya, as many armaments caches have not been secured. (Read More)

Is Putin’s Re-accession a Threat to European Federalism?
27 October 2011 – The New Federalist – Morgan Griffith-David
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s recent announcement of his hope for a “Eurasian Union” of post-Soviet states has “put the world on edge,” according to the New Federalist. Though federalism is positive, it is likely that Putin’s Union is more of a power play that will put it at odds with the European Union. No state in the proposed Union could counterbalance Russia’s military, political, or economic might, and that would only mean that Russia would, as before, “end up completely and utterly dominating the smaller ex-Soviet republics.” (Read More)

Turkey Government to Accept Foreign Aid after Earthquake
26 October 2011 – BBC News
The death toll in the Turkish earthquake has risen to at least 461, but aid agencies have warned that there are “hundreds, possibly thousands” of people trapped under rubble. According to AFP news agency, Israel, which has had strained ties with Turkey since a naval confrontation in May 2010, will be among the first to send aid. Trucks carrying aid into the country have had problems – according to the Turkish Red Cross, 17 aid trucks have been looted, and others have been blocked by survivors living in temporary camps. (Read More)

Libya Asks NATO to Stay Until Year’s End
26 October 2011 – the Christian Science Monitor – Ariel Zirulnick
Libya’s interim leader Mustapha Abdul Jalil has urged NATO to stay through the end of the year to help ensure that remaining Ghaddafi supporters do not cause trouble in Libya or neighboring countries. The request was aimed at “ensuring that no arms are infiltrated into [neighboring] countries and to ensure the security of Libyans from some remnants of Ghaddafi forces.” NATO is due to make a decision on its continuing role in Libya in two days. (Read More)

Transition from NATO to Afghani Security Begins
26 October 2011 – Associated Press
Afghani President Hamid Karzai hopes to have his country fully in control by Afghani police and security forces by the end of 2014, and will officially announce the new sites in the country that are to transition from NATO control at a conference on November 2. 17 of the country’s 34 provinces, including Kabul, are expected to be among those included in the transition. The areas are mostly in northern and western Afghanistan, where the least amount of fighting has been taking place. The transitioning areas will contain between 40 and 50 percent of the Afghani population. (Read More)

NATO Hopeful about Russia Missile Defense Deal
25 October 2011 – Associated Press
Deputy Assistant NATO Secretary General James Appathurai says that NATO is “optimistic” that it can reach an agreement with Russia over its missile defense plans during the NATO summit in Chicago next May. Russia says the plan will undermine its own deterrence potential, but NATO says that it is prepared to offer an “unprecedented level of transparency and cooperation” by sharing data and coordinating a joint response. Russia has thus far not been receptive to the idea, and continues to call for legal guarantees that the program won’t threaten Russian security. (Read More)

NATO May Continue Mission in Libya
25 October 2011 – CNN – Larry Shaughnessy
According to US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, the death of former Libyan ruler Muammar Ghaddafi does not necessarily mean that NATO’s mission in Libya is over. Although NATO’s military commander Admiral James Stavridis said last week that NATO would be ending its mission by October 31, Panetta has said that some members of Libya’s National Transitional Council have asked that “NATO continue its mission during this interim as they are trying to establish some of their governance.” He says that the decision will ultimately be up to the NATO leadership, but that the immediate concern is to “help with the medical crisis” that remains in the country. (Read More)

Ghaddafi’s Downfall not Viewed Positively in Russia
25 October 2011 – Radio Free Europe – Tom Balmforth
The Russian media has not portrayed Muammar Ghaddafi’s toppling with the same enthusiasm as Western news outlets – where British tabloids read “That’s For Lockerbie!,” a Moscow headline said “The Colonel Went Down Like a Man.”  Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has echoed that sentiment, saying that NATO grossly overstepped the bounds set by UN Resolution 1973. Analysts say that Ghaddafi’s overthrow means that Russia must ensure strong ties with the Libyan NTC, as Russia could lose as much as $10 billion in arms contracts and other business ties. (Read More)

OSCE Hails Free and Fair Elections in Tunisia
24 October 2011 – Xinhua
The leader of the OSCE’s observer delegation in Tunisia, Riccardo Migliori, has said that the country’s “elections were free and observers did not witness any widespread or systemic irregularities.” He said that “all competitors were treated on the basis of strict equality,” and called for all Tunisan parties to accept the results. The election will usher in the creation of a National Constituent Assembly in Tunisia, which will be tasked with drafting a new constitution and create mechanisms for legislative and presidential elections within the next year. (Read More)

Tensions Remain High on Kosovo-Serbia Border
24 October 2011 – Reuters – Aleksandar Vasovic
Hardline Kosovo Serbs have rebuffed Serbian President Boris Tadic’s request that they end a stand-off with NATO’s KFOR peacekeepers on the Kosovo-Serbia border. Serbia has been under pressure from the EU to reach a resolution with Kosovo, and the two governments have been in extensive talks recently to reach a compromise. Kosovo Serbs have resolved to maintain their roadblocks and not allow anyone to cross “until things are resolved in line with [their] demands.” Serbian President Tadic accused nationalist political parties in Belgrade of “stoking the crisis” before a parliamentary election in early 2012. (Read More)

EU Urges Syrian Opposition Parties to Unite
23 October 2011 – Associated Press
The European Union continues to urge Syrian President Bashar Assad to step down, and has praised the country’s opposition parties for beginning to establish a “united front.” Last month, the Syrian National Council was established in an attempt to unify the opposition. Anti-government protests have continued since March, and the UN estimates that the Assad regime has killed more than 3,000 protestors. The EU has urged UN Security Council members “to assume their responsibilities with relation to the situation in Syria.” (Read More)

NATO and UN to End Military Mission in Libya
23 October 2011 – TheNational.ae – Ferry Biedermann
NATO and UN representatives have decided on Friday to end the seven-month military mission in Libya by October 31. The operation saw 26,000 air sorties, several naval patrols, and last Thursday brought about the death of former Libyan ruler Muammar Ghaddafi. NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said that the end of the operation will be a “clear-cut termination,” although questions remain about possible follow-up missions to help the new Libyan government stabilize the country. (Read More)

US and NATO Offer Assistance After Turkish Earthquake
23 October 2011 – RTTNews
A 7.2-magnitude earthquake struck yesterday near Tabanli, a small village 20 kilometers north of Van. Around 1,000 people are feared to have been killed in the earthquake, with 138 already reported dead. The quake collapsed buildings and severed electrical and communications lines. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that the US government stood ready to assist in the rescue of survivors, and NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said that “NATO stands ready to assist [its] ally Turkey, if needed.” The earthquake is believed to be the strongest in Turkey since a quake in 2009 that killed over 20,000 people. (Read More)

Russia Backs UN-Controlled Space Missile Shield
19 October 2011 – The Moscow Times
Russia’s envoy to NATO Dmitry Rogozin, speaking on behalf of Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, proposed a new “Strategic Earth Defense” program that would defend the planet from interstellar objects. The program “envisages a global air, missile, and space defense system capable of intercepting an array of objects, from military rockets to comets and asteroids on a collision course with Earth.” The system would be controlled by the United Nations, not national governments, giving Russia, as a UN Security Council member, leverage over the system. (Read More)

NATO Extends Deadline in Kosovo
19 October 2011 – RT.com
NATO forces have extended by 24 hours the deadline they gave to ethnic Serbs manning roadblocks in North Kosovo. If no compromise is reached in that time, the alliance says, they will be forced to act. Neither side appears ready to yield in the confrontation – Kosovo’s Prime Minister Hashim Thaci has called for KFOR peacekeepers to “apply rule of law” in the region, but Oliver Ivanovic, a state secretary at Serbia’s Ministry for Kosovo, has said that Serbs in the region “have more than enough [people] to prevent KFOR [from destroying] the barricades.” NATO says that talks are ongoing, and hopes remain that a compromise will be reached soon. (Read More)

Russia Brings Attention to Smuggled Weapons in Libya
18 October 2011 – Bloomberg – Flavia Krause-Jackson
As a reaction to the country’s frustration with NATO’s implementation of United Nations Resolution 1973, Russia has drafted a UN resolution that draws attention to the potential for weapons smuggled out of Libya to be sold to terrorists. The resolution is supposed to call attention to the “unintended consequences” of NATO’s intervention, which has created opportunities for weapon traffickers to sell portions of military stockpiles that include Russian-made anti-aircraft missiles. Russian and Chinese resistance to Western actions has also led to UNSC inaction on Yemen and Syria. (Read More)

US, NATO Pledge Full Support to Turkey in Wake of Terrorist Attacks
19 October 2011 – Today’s Zaman
NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen and US Ambassador to Turkey Francis J. Riccardone have “strongly condemned” recent terrorist attacks in Turkey that killed 24 security members in the country’s Hakkari province. The attacks were conducted by the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), a separatist Kurdish group.  The PKK is recognized as a terrorist organization by the United States, and Ambassador Riccardone noted that “no political cause or belief can legitimize terrorism.” (Read More)

NATO Close to Ending Libya Campaign
18 October 2011 – Associated Press
NATO Spokeswoman Carmen Romero has said that the alliance is very close to ending its 7-month bombing campaign in Libya. The continuing threat against civilians of the remaining pro-Ghaddafi fighters means that an exact date has not yet been set. NATO says that the decision will come after a comprehensive military and political analysis. To date, over 9500 sorties by NATO aircraft. (Read More)

NATO and Ethnic Serbs at Standoff in North Kosovo
18 October 2011 – AFP News
A group of the NATO-led KFOR peacekeepers in North Kosovo confronted ethnic Serbs on Tuesday, agreeing to wait 24 hours to reach a compromise. KFOR insisted over the weekend that Serbs remove roadblocks between the Kosovo-Serbian border, but have since proposed a compromise that would allow ethnic Serbs to man the roadblocks, providing that KFOR be allowed to supply its troops in the area. The conflict sparked in July, when the Kosovo government attempted to replace ethnic Serbian border guards with an Albanian police force. (Read More)

OSCE and Council of Europe to Monitor Bulgarian Elections
17 October 2011 – novinite.com
Members of the Council of Europe and the OSCE will meet with government representatives in the Bulgarian capital Sofia on October 21-22, preceding the country’s local and presidential elections on the 23rd. Six delegations of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities at the Council of Europe will observe the elections, and will present a preliminary report on the elections on October 24. (Read More)

France Supports Resolution of Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict through OSCE
17 October 2011 – News.am
The French Ambassador to Armenia Henri Reynaud said yesterday that his country and the European Union continue to support the peace process in Nagorno-Karabakh through the OSCE’s Minsk Group. He used the European Union as an example of post-conflict rebuilding, saying that “the future of the region is open borders, dialogue and partnership.” The conflict between ethnic Armenians and Azeri has been a continual sticking point since the collapse of the Soviet Union. (Read More)

NATO Says Violence in Afganistan Dropping

17 October 2011 – McClatchy Newspapers – Shashank Bengali
NATO officials said on Saturday that insurgent attacks in Afghanistan during the July-September period of this year fell by 26 percent when compared to the same period last year. This drop, NATO claimed, was the largest since 2008, although overall attacks remained much higher than before the US “troop surge” in 2009. NATO’s reports stand in contrast to those released by the UN, which claim that the average number of “security incidents” per month has risen by 39 percent when compared to last year. (Read More)

Kosovo Serb Officials Refuse to Remove Blockades
17 October 2011 – Associated Press – Zvezdan Djukanovic
Kosovo Serb officials said today that they would refuse to remove roadblocks along the North Kosovo borders, defying the deadline ordered by the NATO-led KFOR peacekeeping force. Over the weekend, NATO called for the removal of 16 rock and mud barricades along the border, and then extended the deadline to Monday and then early Tuesday. Serb officials say that they won’t allow KFOR to remove the blockades, because they want to defend “their country and the future of [their] children.” (Read More)

Talks in Northern Spain Could Spell the End of Basque Separatist Group
17 October 2011 – BBC News
Former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan and other statesmen are attending talks in San Sebastian that could bring about a formal dissolution of the ETA, a nationalist Basque separatist group in Northern Spain and parts of Southwestern France. Individuals involved in the peacemaking process in Northern Ireland will share their experiences in ending that conflict, and local politicians have called for the ETA to “take advantage of this opportunity” to put an end to the violence. The Spanish government has refused to negotiate with the ETA directly, calling for it to disarm and dissolve. (Read More)

NATO Expands Border Checkpoints in Kosovo

13 October 2011 – Associated Press
NATO has constructed another checkpoint on the Kosovo-Serbia border, blocking off an access point that was being used by ethnic Serbs to bypass official customs and avoid EU and Kosovo officials. NATO Commander Frank Martin said that the new checkpoint would support EU officials in checking cars that crossed into Kosovo from Serbia. Clashes between NATO peacekeepers and ethnic Serbs have caused tension between Kosovo and Serbia in recent weeks. (Read More)

UNSC Extends NATO Mission in Afghanistan for Another Year
12 October 2011 – Associated Press
The UN Security Council voted unanimously yesterday to extend the NATO mission in Afghanistan for another year, over concerns about terrorist and criminal activity and rising civilian casualties. The resolution said that Afghanistan “still constitutes a threat to international peace and security,” condemning recent attacks on civilians and aid workers in the country. The mandate will expire on October 13, 2012. (Read More)

Report Says that NATO’s Success in Afghanistan May be Exaggerated
13 October 2011 – ABC Online – Jess Hill
A report published in the Guardian newspaper, which studied NATO news releases over a period of 22 months, has concluded that NATO’s “aggregate claims for the number of Taliban leaders killed were sometimes much greater than the numbers recorded in news releases.” According to the report, NATO has inflated the numbers of Taliban and al-Qaeda leaders it has killed or captured, and that its press releases used language that suggested the alliance has seen more success than is actually the case. (Read More)

European Commission Recommends Serbia for EU Candidate Status

12 October 2011 – BBC News
The European Commission has recommended Serbia for candidate status in the EU, assuming that it mends its damaged relationship with Kosovo. Recent clashes in North Kosovo have seen the two countries break off negotiations, and despite Kosovo’s declaration of independence in 2008, Serbia still considers Kosovo to be part of its territory. (Read More)

NATO Says Libya Resistance “Surprising”
11 October 2011 – Associated Press – Christopher Gillette and Slobodan Lekic
NATO said that Ghaddafi loyalists in Sirte were surprisingly determined, and that it had not expected fighting to continue for months after Tripoli had fallen. According to Col. Richard Lavoie, there is “no evidence of significant pro-Ghaddafi presence or activity in the rest of the country,” and the Ghaddafi family has begun to flee Sirte. NATO has experienced several setbacks in Libya recently, the most prominent of which was reports of at least 10,000 missing surface-to-air missiles. (Read More)

How Should NATO React to Torture in Afghanistan?
10 October 2011 – Christian Science Monitor – Anna Mulrine
According to a new UN report, nearly half of all detainees held by the Afghani intelligence services – which NATO members are tasked with supervising – have been tortured. Interviews of 379 detainees across 47 detention centers showed extensive abuse, and one third of those held by Afghani police “experienced treatment that amounted to torture or other cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment.” According to an anonymous NATO official, “we know this is going on,” but only two reports of torture have been filed in the past two years. (Read More)

NATO Members Draft UNSC Resolution on Yemen
11 October 2011 – PressTV
An upcoming resolution, drafted by members of NATO, will be put before the UN Security Council, recommending that the UN back a crisis-resolution proposal from the Saudi-led “Persian Gulf Cooperation Council.” Yemeni President Ali Abdulah Saleh has promised several times in the past year that he will “step down soon,” but has yet to make good on that reassurance. Protests remain common in Yemen’s major cities, and it remains unclear if NATO military action remains on the table. (Read More)

NATO Response Force Exercise to Take Place in Lithuania
8 October 2011 – DefenseGreece.com
NATO plans to conduct a large-scale exercise in Lithuania between November 1 and 12 this year, at the Pabradė Central Training Area of the Lithuanian Armed Forces. The exercise, called “Steadfast Juncture 2011,” aims to ensure that the NATO military command can effectively command and control a multinational deployed force for the NATO Response Force 2012 standby period. The exercise scenario will be a fictitious UN-backed and NATO-led crisis response operation to a humanitarian crisis. (Read More)

Russia Says that Serbia Must Recognize Kosovo to Join NATO
10 October 2011 – Politika
The Russian Permanent Representative to NATO Dmitry Rogozin has said that Serbia will not join NATO until it unilaterally recognizes the independence of Kosovo. According to Rogozin, Russia is “worried that Serbia could change its position on Kosovo in order to join NATO,” forcing Russia into an “awkward and unpleasant situation.” Rogozin said that Russia does not welcome any NATO enlargement in Eastern or Southeastern Europe, but that Serbia must “determine [its own] destiny.” (Read More)

Russian Criticism of US Missile Defense Deals Grows
06 October 2011 – Reutes – Steve Gutterman
Russia said today that the US-led initiative to set up a missile defense program in its NATO allies could undermine the alliance’s security. This came after a deal that will include the deployment of US anti-missile warships off the Spanish coast. The Russian Foreign Ministry, which has nominally called for cooperation with NATO in regards to missile defense, said that soon “the

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