International Affairs Politics

Is Russia interested in splitting NATO

After Georgian venture men at Kremlin have started having second thoughts. They are now not following dollar-dominated world economy rather pursuing Euro-oriented territories with a multi-pronged policy. Many do not believe but some do. The Russians have not forgotten their 10 years in Afghanistan and how their armies were bleeding in the mountains of Afghanistan and how their economy collapsed. Coupled with its own dismemberment with Moscow no more holding its grip over world’s largest oil and gas reservoirs.

So if the Soviets bled in Afghanistan for 10 years from 1979 to 1989 it feels relaxed to hear that Americans are bleeding in rugged mountains of Urzgan, Kandhar, Khost, Zabul and other regions of Afghanistan. The landlocked geo-political situation of Afghanistan does attract interventions by state and non-state characters. From South it is seeking Iranian interference in Hirat, from West Talibans and those multinational international intelligence operatives wearing jackets of Talibans are bleeding USA’s Armed forces by many cuts.

Reports from Pakistan’s forward intelligence outfits clearly suggest easy availability of huge quantities of light grade weaponry and currencies ranging from dollar to Iranian Tuman, Indian rupee and paper currencies being practiced in Central Asian republics.

Perhaps Commander CENTCOM Admiral Mike Mullen gathers reports of multinational intelligence operatives active in Afghanistan in the guise of Taliban or Al-Qaeda. There are multidimensional economies at work in a land redded by thousands of people ever since Soviet Strong man Brezhnev was trapped by CIA to invade Afghanistan on December 31, 1979.

During the second Afghan war it was the United States alone which invaded Afghanistan. It had United Nations sanctions and support of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. So in the beginning the world community listened carefully what the policy managers at State Department and pentagon were saying. Later years exposed many new stories of wheels within the wheels. Exposed economies being developed through the sales of weapons and drugs. The Drug mafias in Afghanistan, having support of local warlords, are playing double at times.

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization was not put off by the belligerent rhetoric used by officials of the former Soviet republic of Georgia who openly threatened to solve the country’s territorial disputes by force. NATO countries and their allies in recent months have spared no effort or money to equip, support and train the Georgian army. We all know what happened next.

In violation of all international agreements, on Aug. 7 the Georgian army invaded the responsibility zone of peacekeeping forces stationed to buffer between Georgia and its Russian-supported secessionist region of South Ossetia. Upon the orders of President Mikheil Saakashvili, the Georgian army committed an atrocious act of aggression and genocide against a civilian population, killing about 2,000 Russian citizens and destroying the region’s economic assets, social infrastructure and housing.

Russia then exercised its legitimate right to protect its peacekeepers and citizens, which NATO condemned as excessive use of force at the alliance’s foreign ministers’ meeting that followed at U.S. insistence.

Incidentally, shortly before that Washington vetoed Russia’s request to hold an extraordinary meeting of the NATO-Russia Council at which Russia’s envoy to the bloc, Dmitry Rogozin, was to tell his partners the truth about what really happened in South Ossetia. He would have given facts undistorted by Western propaganda, which, unfortunately, was what Western media did.

A logical question arises: Why do we need the NATO-Russia Council at all — a body ostensibly established to give Moscow and its NATO partners a chance to freely exchange opinions on important international issues without external pressure? It was expected to be different from the NATO-Russia Permanent Joint Council, where 26 countries had opposed Russia alone.

Apparently, certain NATO leaders aren’t happy with an honest, unbiased dialogue and partnership with Moscow. They prefer a policy of confrontation and ultimatums. Well, Russia has a response to that. As Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov put it, Russia needs NATO as much as NATO needs Russia. No more, no less.

The programs jointly implemented by Moscow and NATO have been drafted to incorporate the interests of all partners. They involve such issues as military reform, anti-terrorist efforts, exchange of military delegations, training Afghan and Central Asian agencies in tactics to combat drug trafficking, theater missile defense (not to be confused with the planned U.S. missile defense in Eastern Europe) and crisis management.

The latter includes liquidating the aftermath of natural disasters, fighting weapons of mass destruction and missile technology proliferation, plus illegal migration, shipwreck rescue and much more.

Russia and NATO also have working groups and cooperation committees on airspace control, scientific research, the environment and a mechanism of permanent consultations on global political issues. Many of these programs could be mothballed now. Most importantly, the NATO-Russia anti-terrorist cooperation is at risk. Russian guided-missile frigate Ladny never went to the Mediterranean where it was to participate in NATO anti-terror operation Active Endeavor.

As for anti-terrorist efforts in Afghanistan, Moscow has not yet banned NATO aircraft carrying cargo to their contingents fighting the Taliban and al-Qaida from flying across its territory on their way to Central Asia. Neither is there any hint that transportation of such cargo by Russian railways was interrupted — at least not yet.

The Kremlin could be waiting for NATO to react to the suspension of military cooperation and the cancellation of joint maneuvers and planned exchange of military delegations. It probably will make further decisions proceeding from Brussels’ moves. The choice is larger than either party would be comfortable with. It is NATO’s turn to make a move. Its political and military competence is being tested now, both in Afghanistan and in Europe.
Courtesy:Arab News

About the author

Azhar Masood

Azhar Masood is Controller of News in PTV, and Chief Instructor of PTV Academy, working for Arab News. He has Covered Iraq War from Baghdad for CNN, BBC, FOX News, and Al-Jazeera and other regional channels. He covered conflict in Bosnia Herzegovina. He interviewed Yasir Arafat of Palestine, Paul Wolfoweit, Prime Minister Jean Ghteyan of Canada, Dr. Amar Musa of Egypt, Mr. Haris Slajic, Prime Minister of Bosnia Dr. Akbar Ali Vallayati, former Foreign Minister of Iran, President Kumaratunge of Sri Lanka, Mr. Kumar Su Bramanyem, Director of National Defence Institute of India, Mr. Hamid Karzai President of Afghanistan, Dr. Ahmad Chalabi of Iraq National Congress, Mr. Hoshyar Zubari, Vice President Kurdish Democratic Party of Iraq


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