The Planning of War Behind Closed Doors
Brussels, London, Istanbul: A Week Of Western War Councils
by Rick Rozoff Stop NATO
The defense chiefs of all 28 NATO nations and an undisclosed number of counterparts from non-Alliance partners gathered in Istanbul, Turkey on February 4 to begin two days of meetings focused on the war in Afghanistan, the withdrawal of military forces from Kosovo in the course of transferring control of security operations to the breakaway province's embryonic army (the Kosovo Security Force) and "the transformation efforts required to best conduct the full range of NATO’s agreed missions." 
Istanbul was the site of the bloc's 2004 summit which accounted for the largest expansion in its 60-year history - seven new Eastern European nations - and its strengthening military partnerships with thirteen Middle Eastern and African nations under the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative.
The Chairman of the NATO Military Committee, Admiral Giampaolo Di Paola, NATO's Supreme Allied Commander Europe Admiral James Stavridis and the top commander of all U.S. and NATO troops in Afghanistan - soon to reach over 150,000 - General Stanley McChrystal are also in attendance, as are European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton and United Nations High Representative for Afghanistan Kai Eide as well as the defense and interior ministers of Afghanistan.
The meetings follow by a week the International Conference on Afghanistan held in London, which in turn occurred the day after two days of meetings of the NATO Military Committee with the Chiefs of Defense of the military bloc's 28 member states and 35 more from what were described as Troop Contributing Nations; presumably NATO partner nations with troops stationed in the Afghan war theater. In all, the military chiefs of 63 countries.
The U.S.'s McChrystal was present there also as were Israeli Chief of General Staff Lieutenant General Gabi Ashkenazi and Pakistani Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani. Beforehand the bloc's website reported that "The various meetings will focus on the progress made in ongoing operations and the New Strategic Concept for NATO."  That 35 top military commanders from non-NATO countries were present to hear plans for the escalation of what is already the largest war in the world is understandable, as their forces are on the ground as part of a 50-nation plus force under NATO military command.
That the same conference discussed the bloc's 21st century new global military doctrine - former U.S. secretary of state Madeleine Albright delivered an address on the topic - raises the question of how many of the 35 partner states' military chiefs may have joined their 28 NATO colleagues for that phase of discussions. That such a high percentage of the world's leading military commanders attended a two-day affair which deliberated on both the war in South Asia and the expansion of the world's only military bloc's activities even further outside the Euro-Atlantic area (when it has already conducted operations in four continents) confirms that the Afghan war serves more than one purpose for the West. It is the laboratory for strengthening military ties with nations on every inhabited continent and for building the nucleus of and foundation for a potential future world army.
The London conference on Afghanistan, presented in the West as a benign undertaking tantamount to an economic development or humanitarian aid planning event - the conference's website described it as "The international community [coming] together to fully align military and civilian resources behind an Afghan-led political strategy"  - was preceded by two days of meetings between top military commanders of almost a third of the world's nations at NATO headquarters and followed by two days of meetings by NATO and allied defense chiefs this week. Many of the same people - EU foreign policy chief Baroness Ashton and the UN's Eide (who formerly occupied comparable posts in Bosnia and Kosovo and was Norway's ambassador to NATO from 2002 to 2006) - attended both the London conference and are attending the Istanbul NATO defense ministers conclave.
(Ashton's predecessor's Javier Solana was Secretary General of NATO from 1995 to 1999 before becoming the EU's High Representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy - the title slightly adjusted after the Lisbon Treaty - from 1999 until December of 2009, effecting the transition seamlessly.)
By way of reciprocity, the London conference was addressed by NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen who said, inter alia, "with more than 85,000 troops from 44 nations deployed to Afghanistan – and with over 39,000 additional forces arriving over the coming weeks and months - the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force remains NATO’s top priority." 
If any further evidence was required that the United Nations is at the service of NATO and not vice versa, that the EU is NATO's civilian valet de chambre, and that all three are subordinated to the United States, the last week's events and the roster of attendees at them should suffice.
The chain of command begins in Washington and orders barked out there work their way down to Brussels and New York City.
The two organizations based in the Belgium capital, the "military alliance of democratic states in Europe and North America" (NATO's self-definition) and the "European military superstate" (Irish opposition parties' reference to the effects of the Nice and Lisbon treaties), are afflicted with political echolalia, parroting the U.S. position on conflicts armed and with the potential to become so around the world - Afghanistan, Iraq, Georgia-Russia, Georgia-Abkhazia, Georgia-South Ossetia, Russia-Ukraine, Kosovo, Bosnia, Somalia, Yemen, Colombia, Myanmar, Sudan, Chad, the Central African Republic, North Korea, Zimbabwe, Israel-Lebanon, Lebanon-Syria, Israel-Palestine, Macedonia, Ivory Coast, Djibouti-Eritrea, Transdniester and all those to come - with truly impressive fidelity in this otherwise inconsistent age.
Condemnations, tirades and threats issued by the U.S. secretary of state and ambassador to the United Nations may as well be presented in triplicate.
Permanent Security Council members Russia and China may occasionally - all too occasionally - block hostile Western actions against defenseless third parties in the United Nations, but Washington always walks away with a mandate and the final say in the selection of viceroys to complement U.S. and NATO military forces on the ground in subjugated nations.
As a recent example, during the second day of the NATO Military Committee meetings in Brussels and the day before the Afghan conference in London, an "international" conference on Yemen was also held in London which "Britain's Prime Minister Gordon Brown called for...in response to the failed bomb attack on an airliner over Detroit on December 25." 
That bears repeating. The apprehension in the U.S. of a Nigerian national alleged to have been trained in Yemen led the head of state of the United Kingdom to summon representatives of the Group of Eight (Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia and the U.S.), the Gulf Cooperation Council (Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates), Egypt, Jordan - but not the Arab League - Turkey and the European Union, United Nations, World Bank and International Monetary Fund "to bolster Yemen's fight against al Qaeda...."  Soon 50,000 non-American NATO troops will be bogged down in Afghanistan because the bloc invoked its Article 5 collective defense provision in 2001...to fight against al-Qaeda.
Ever-compliant UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon lent legitimacy to this American and British charade, as he did the following day's Afghan conference where he delivered a speech in the presence of 28 NATO and perhaps dozens of its International Security Assistance Force non-member states foreign ministers.
Yemen has joined the former Yugoslavia, Afghanistan and Iraq as a target for Western "assistance and stabilization." NATO will conduct more planning sessions with scores of military chiefs and defense and foreign ministers and not only for the war in Afghanistan.
Its new Strategic Concept knows no geographical bounds.
1) NATO, February 3, 2010
2) NATO, January 25, 2010
3) Afghanistan: The London Conference
5) Deutsche Presse-Agentur, January 28, 2010
6) Reuters, January 27, 2010
|When Israel joins NATO|
by Galal Nassar, Global Research
If Israel succeeds in joining NATO, its regional belligerency would be backed by the collective strength of the entire alliance. Before that happens, will the Arabs react?
Israel wants to be a member of NATO. It no longer looks down its nose at military alliances. It no longer wants to stay away from Western military arrangements. It wants in.
A majority of Israelis believe NATO membership would boost Israel's security as well as NATO's strategic power. Interestingly enough, there has been no Arab reaction to Israel's desire to join NATO, no Arab attempt to block the move, and no preparations to deal with its consequences.
Israel and NATO have grown closer over the past decade or so. In 2000, NATO expanded its Mediterranean Dialogue through talks with seven countries from the Middle East and North Africa; namely, Egypt, Israel, Algeria, Jordan, Morocco, Tunisia and Mauritania. In 2004, NATO- Mediterranean talks were held under the name "Partnership for Peace". Six new countries were included in the new dialogue: Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. Israel, in particular, was eager to use every opportunity the Partnership for Peace had to offer.
On 24 February 2005, Jaap de Hoop Scheffer became NATO's first secretary-general to visit Israel. In the following month, NATO and Israel held their first joint military drills in the Red Sea. Within weeks, a flotilla of six NATO ships called on the Israeli port of Eilat. Israel (and Jordan) also took part for the first time in joint military drills held within the Partnership for Peace programme in Macedonia in the former Yugoslavia in February 2005.
According to the UK-based Jane's military magazine, Israel's "geopolitical position" provided NATO with a foreign base to defend the West, while NATO's military and economic might enhanced the security and economic potential of the "host country".
In June 2005, Israel participated in submarine manoeuvres off the coast of Taranto, Italy. At the time, US sources said that Israel was seeking to widen the "scope of its strategic alliance" with NATO in preparation for full membership in NATO. Israeli ground forces also took part in NATO drills lasting two weeks and a half in Ukraine. In 2006, Israel told NATO that it wanted to participate in "active operational efforts" conducted by NATO in the Mediterranean as part of the campaign to "confront terrorism".
Soon after, Israel hosted and took part in three military drills with NATO and attended a conference for NATO air force commanders. The Wall Street Journal reported closer links between NATO and Israel. It cited Uzi Arad, founder of the Atlantic Forum of Israel, as saying that Israel would benefit from NATO's membership. The Washington Post, meanwhile, argued that many countries in Europe supported Israel's membership but were waiting for Washington to suggest such a move.
Washington's view on the matter became clear in March 2006 when James Jones, then chief NATO commander in Europe, said that the deployment of NATO AWACS aircraft in Israel was a "clear signal to Iran". In May 2006, eight NATO navy pieces arrived in Haifa to demonstrate "the growing cooperation" between Israel and NATO.
In late June 2006, the House of Representative's Committee on Foreign Affairs unanimously passed a decision calling for closer Israeli-NATO ties. Consequently, Israel and NATO agreed on a long-term plan to cooperate in 27 spots around the world. Israel thus became the first non- European country and the first Middle Eastern country to cooperate with NATO on that a crucial level.
Two months after the end of the 2006 war in Lebanon, a seminar on NATO-Israel relations was held in Herzliya. Attending the seminar was then Israeli foreign minister Tzipi Livni who said that Israel would have preferred NATO to "do the job that Israel did in Lebanon". She added that Israel wished to take part in NATO's regional and local initiatives. NATO Deputy Secretary-General Alessandro Risso responded by noting that the stationing of an Israeli liaison officer at the NATO headquarters in Naples was a sign of the "vital cooperation" between NATO and Israel.
By the end of 2006, Israel was granted a "partnership agreement" with NATO that had more substance than any agreement NATO had held so far with a non- European country. Still, many in Israel and the West kept calling for full Israeli membership in NATO. One Russian political analyst, Eduard Sorokin, warned that Washington was using Israel's potential membership of NATO as a way of keeping Arab countries on their toes. According to the NATO Charter, any attack on a NATO member is considered as an attack on all members. Thus any future conflict between Israel and its neighbours may trigger a broader regional conflict and potentially a world war, Sorokin concluded.
The Jerusalem Post said that Israel's closer links with NATO were crucial in the case of "future confrontation with Iran" (1 April 2008). In fact, Netanyahu wanted Israel to join NATO even before coming into office for a second time as prime minister. He has since made Israel's membership of NATO a central piece in his policy.
On 13 January 2009, the Jerusalem Post reported that Israel was launching a "diplomatic initiative" aimed to influence former US secretary of state Madeleine Albright's review of NATO's policy. In January 2009, Israeli officials met with Albright in Oslo to discuss NATO's new strategy. During the meeting, the Israelis expressed a desire for closer links with NATO and asked for a place at top-level NATO meetings.
In Washington, some have said that once Israel is accepted as a full NATO member, NATO should take over security missions in the West Bank and Gaza. This view is not so far fetched considering the fact that President Mahmoud Abbas once said that it wouldn't be a bad idea if the Americans were to negotiate with Israel on behalf of the Palestinians.
James Jones, the US national security adviser who had been NATO commander in Europe from 2003 to 2005, is said to be busy putting together a plan for controlling the occupied Palestinian territories on behalf of Israel. The plan is said to involve actual policing of Palestinian areas.
Before Operation Cast Lead was launched in Gaza, NATO was already exchanging intelligence with Israel, sharing security expertise, and organising military drills. Israel and NATO also cooperated in non-proliferation programmes. Former NATO chief Scheffer visited Israel in the midst of Israel's offensive on Gaza. And NATO officials were at the time of the opinion that cooperation with Israel was essential for their organisation.
We know everything we need to know about NATO-Israel cooperation. What we don't know is what Arab leaders intend to do about it.