Arrivée d’Ashton Carter au sommet des ministres de la Défense de l’Otan (Bruxelles, 11 février 2016).

The Nato Ministers of Defense have decided to “strengthen their advanced presence in the Eastern part of our Alliance”. This serves “to defend us from increased threats coming from Russia” declared the US Secretary of Defense, Ash Carter. To this end, the US is quadrupling its funding of the “Reassurance Initiative of Europe” which, with a rotation of forces (around 6000 soldiers) will permit more Nato military exercises (for the other 300 carried out in 2015 do not suffice), airports to be developed, the pre-positioning of heavy weapons, the permanent line up at the East of protected units. “This” emphasized Carter, “will allow the US to assemble a highly skilled armed force in Europe to be rapidly deployed in the regional theatre.”

By accusing Russia of “destabilizing the order of European Security”, the US and Nato have reopened old wounds with the Eastern front, dragging Europe into a new Cold War. The intention here, notably Washington’s, is to shatter EU/Russia relationships which are dangerous for US interests.

At the same time the US and Nato prepare other operations on the Southern front. At Brussels, the head of the Pentagon has “hosted” (to his mind Europe is his house) the Defense Ministers of the US led “Global Coalition against Isis”. These include, in addition to Italy, Saudi Arabia and others that sponsor this “Islamic brand” of terrorism. The meeting has launched a no better-defined “plan of the military campaign” in Syria and Iraq. Here things are going badly for the coalition, not because Isis is winning but because it is losing: supported by Russia, the Syrian government are liberating growing parts of the territory occupied by Isis and other groups, that also are retreating in Iraq. After feigning for years to be fighting Isis, while replenishing it with arms delivered under the counter through Turkey, the US and its allies are now asking for a ceasefire on “humanitarian grounds”. Essentially, they are asking for the Syrian government to stop freeing up its territory from Isis’s grip, since – as the US Secretary of State John Kerry declared, turning the facts on their heads— “the more territory Assad conquers, the more terrorists he succeeds in creating”. At the same time, Nato strengthens “reassurance measures” of Turkey, which aims at occupying a strip of Syrian territory in the border area.

In North Africa, the US led coalition prepares to occupy the coastal zones of Libya, economically and strategically the most important. The aim is to free it from Isis. The intensification of flights from the air hub at Pisa, adjacent to the US base of Camp Darby, indicates that the “Italian led” operation has already begun with weapons being transported into the bases from where it will be launched.

It is in this same strategic context that the decision of the Ministers of Defence is taken: “on the joint request of Germany. Greece and Turkey” to deploy in the Aegean Nato’s Second permanent naval group, today under German command, which has barely concluded “extensive operations with the Turkish marine”.

An official mission of the war fleet “is not to halt or reject the refugees ships, but to provide information against human trafficking”. Collaborating with the EU agency Frontex for this same “humanitarian” end, radar airplanes Awacs, and centres of flying command, are also being sent, on US request, to manage the battlefield.

“The Atlantic mobilization is a good sign: comments “Il Fatto Quotidiano” (12 February), recalling that “it is not the first time that the “Alliance is undertaking humanitarian action”. This is exactly what it did in Yugoslavia, Afghanistan and Libya.

Anoosha Boralessa
Il Manifesto (Italy)