Sunday, December 05, 2010

Q&A: The NATO Lisbon Summit

On 19 and 20th November 2010 a summit was held in the Portuguese capital, Lisbon that included the major powers and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). It was announced that these countries agreed on a new strategy for NATO, which covered important topics including the subject of Afghanistan, the issue of the missile shield, the relationship with Russia, as well as the ratification of the expansion of NATO powers beyond its original region to include any area in the world posing a threat to NATO.

Is America serious about withdrawal from Afghanistan?
What is America's aim with the missile shield?
Why does America want to expand the powers of NATO?
What is the Russian position towards all of this?
Is America able to dictate upon the other powers whatever she wants?
Has America been able to consolidate her international position?

1 - What emerged from the summit's final statement, and statements about NATO's strategy in Afghanistan stipulates their presence in it permanently, and they consider Afghanistan a crucial issue for NATO.

The General Secretary of NATO, Rasmussen said: "First of all, let me stress that the long-term partnership agreement we have signed today is not only a clear signal to the Afghan people that we will stay committed beyond the date when our combat mission ends." He said: "If the enemies of Afghanistan have the idea that they can wait it out until we leave, they have the wrong idea. We will stay as long as it takes to finish our job." (BBC 20/11/2010)

It has been mentioned in the final declaration, "our ISAF mission in Afghanistan remains the Alliance's key priority." Obama has called upon the leaders of NATO countries meeting in Lisbon: "reaffirm their lasting engagement to facilitate a sustainable transition." (Spanish newspaper El Pais 19/11/2010) The German news agency reported on 20/11/2010 that it is expected to transfer the power in the first provinces to the Afghan side by July of next year, while keeping the security power under the control of NATO forces in the most dangerous regions until 2014, on condition they will act as support after this date.

This indicates that America wants to pretend it's withdrawing from safe areas, i.e. where there is no strong resistance by the mujahideen, so as to show that she fulfils the promises made on behalf of President Obama to start withdrawal in the month of July 2011. Where this would show the American people and people in general that she had fulfilled her promises - as if America had achieved her objectives and was about to pull out completely - but the presence of these forces will continue until 2014 in the most dangerous areas. This is considered a bypass to the decision of withdrawal from Afghanistan, and that occupation will remain to that date and beyond it. America is working in Afghanistan to implement a policy like she pursued in Iraq, which is to ensure its presence on a permanent basis under the guise of security, strategy or partnership agreements. The United States placed pressure in this summit upon Europe to continue in her support in Afghanistan. Many of the Europeans are coerced to stay on the side of America, because this war does not bring them any gain, while all gains go to America; while at the same time they suffer from financial hardship and their peoples do not see benefit from the continuation of this war.

2 - As regards the subject of the relationship between NATO and Russia, a summit has been held between the NATO countries and Russia under the name of (Council of Russia - NATO) session on the side of the main summit, which examined the relationship between the two sides that stalled as a result of the Georgia crisis in August 2008. It was announced in the summit that NATO countries have removed Russia from being an enemy to the Alliance, and that she does not pose a danger to it. This happened for the first time, and Russia is about to announce a strategic partnership with the Alliance. The Russian President, Medvedev said "We have acknowledged that the cold period of claims in Russia's relations with NATO has ended, we are now looking with optimism into the future," He said: "We look into the future with optimism and try to develop relations between Russia and NATO in all directions." (Russia Today 20.11.2010) But he pointed to some differences that remain unresolved, such as the issue of Georgia, where he commented on it saying: "This case should not become obstacle", and pointed to the other differences without naming them and said: "They should not lead to sever the ties." (ibid.) He said: "We have agreed with our NATO partners that we will pursue dialogue on the European ABM." and added that "NATO countries themselves do not perceive the consequences that might result from this shield," "Everyone realizes that missile defense as a whole is valuable only if it is universal," Medvedev said. "Not just an element helping some countries...or applying to individual theaters of operations." He also added: "The missile defense system must not shift the existing parity because for understandable reasons, if the nuclear balance is shifted in one way or other as result of missile defense, this will lead to an arms race," (ibid.) According to this source Medvedev said also that Moscow proposed to NATO the establishing a so-called "sectoral" system for missile defense, without explaining the details of this proposal.

It is understood from the statements of the Russian President that no final agreement has been reached between Russia and NATO on the issue of the missile shield and on the issue of partnership between them. And that Russia is still wary of it, where he stated that NATO countries themselves do not perceive the consequences resulting from the missile shield. It seems he refers to the European countries, which do not know the consequences of that system, in terms they might fall under full U.S. control, and this would cause global tension by bringing back their security concerns. Medvedev refers to the obsession of the arms race, meaning other countries including his country will work to develop weapons to face the new reality created by the United States, i.e. to defend themselves and to stand in the face of America, which would overpower other countries because the defenses set up by the United States are immune, and she will work to intimidate the other parties to subjugate them to her policies.

Obama acknowledged that no final agreement has been reached with Russia on this subject, and he said: "Together we've worked hard to reset the relationship between the US and Russia which has led to concrete benefits for both our nations. Now we are also resetting the NATO-Russia relationship." He added: "We have agreed to co-operate on missile defense, and we have turned a source of past tension into a source of co-operation," the American president said. "We see Russia as a partner, not an adversary." (Russia Today 20.11.2010)

Russia did not get what she wished; therefore no agreement has been finalized between her and NATO, i.e. between her and the U.S. on missile defense and on the subject of partnership. She wants accordingly to continue the negotiations until she gets something important for her. She has a desire in reaching an agreement and does not completely object to it. The most important thing she aims for is to be a partner to America in the management of world affairs as it was in the era of the Soviet Union, so as to be considered as a superpower. She does not want to be dependent on (or a satellite to) America, whether through joining NATO or through any other form of dependency. She wants to be characterized as a superpower with an independent international policy. Medvedev had stated: "Either we participate fully, have exchange of information and are given mandate to resolve these issues or those, or we do not share at all. And Russia would not accept to be just a state attached to NATO. And if we did not participate at all, then we will have to defend ourselves for understandable reasons." (Agency France Press 21.11.2010) Medvedev has also said: "He does not perceive the possibility of Russia's accession to NATO, but he did not rule out the opportunity of an imminent convergence between the two sides in case the (NATO) alliance changed and greater transparency is achieved in the relations between them." He announced that "Russia has agreed to the transfer of cargo to Afghanistan through its territory." (Russia Today 20.11.2010)

Russia has agreed to cooperate with NATO countries over the transfer of equipment through its territory to Afghanistan. This is a free service offered by Russia to America in order to obtain some of the gains from America at a time she did not still get anything from her. Though Russia believes that the situation in Afghanistan could threaten her if NATO was defeated by the mujahideen there; however the victory of America there would threaten the influence of Russia in Central Asia. So, Russia has to take that into account, and remember that her defeat at the time of the Soviet Union in Afghanistan enabled America to reach to this region. Thus, it appears that the U.S. wants to take everything from Russia without giving her anything except meaningless promises. America does not want also to involve Russia in solving world issues, but rather wants to involve her in tasks related to her own service under the name of the partnership with NATO, and not directly with her on equal terms. Russia did not fall into the trap entirely, though it is hovering around the deceptive baits through her willingness to negotiate and her desire in being a full partner.

3 - The missile defense system is set up to create a virtual monopoly for the United States over Europe, where she would place Europe under her protection and create continuous security concerns to tighten her grip on her and prevent Europe from becoming an independent global power that competes with America, and makes her neglect herself by not developing her own military, and even makes her neglect her nuclear arsenal, so that such arsenal becomes of no value when Europe freezes it and does not work on its development and updating. This is what France fears and tries to avoid. Alternatively, France concluded an agreement between her and Britain, at a summit between them held at the beginning of this month, on 02/11/2010. They agreed to modernize their nuclear arsenals and develop their nuclear technology, and to establish a combined military intervention force formed from their forces. This is in order to become independent in their decisions from America, where they can carry out actions that serve their interests away from American hegemony. However, what emerged from the Lisbon summit, and the absence of Britain's opposition to the missile shield proposed by the United States demonstrates the weakness of their positions, and that they have no hope in achieving anything in this summit, in which the American control surfaced.

The appearance of the missile shield plan is defensive, but its content is offensive that aims at combating so-called terrorism, the rogue states, the weapons of mass destruction and the threat of the nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles. This means that the United States, in the name of NATO, emphasized the policy she pursued since the beginning of this century, and particularly after the events of 11 September 2001. Initially, some countries like France and Germany opposed her, including Russia naturally. However, the Lisbon summit contained the positions of France and Germany, and softened Russia's position. This is considered a success for America, granting her authorization to continue its aggressive policy. The policy of America at the time of Bush was without the approval of others, but its current policy at the time of Obama is an extension of its policy at the time of his predecessor, but it proceeds by taking the approval of others.

4 - As regarding the new plan and the new strategy that states the expansion of the powers of NATO and the expansion of its (geographical) domain, this perpetuates the existence of NATO, which should have been abolished after the disappearance of the reason of its establishment, which is the collapse of the Soviet Union, communism and the Warsaw Pact. This also perpetuates its existence by inventing new enemies and fabricates actions that threaten NATO countries. Although the summit did not name specifically the supposed enemy to NATO, and nor who is the aim of the missile shield, yet the study of placing the missile shield in Turkey shows that the aim of the shield is the Islamic region, so as to prevent its access to means of force or the establishment of the Khilafah in it. This shows the hatred that the kafir colonialists carry towards Islam and Muslims. It also reveals the extent of the crime committed by the rulers of Turkey when Turkey becomes the place of the missile shield!

5 - In conclusion, the United States managed in this summit to impose her hegemony on NATO countries and dictate her will on them, especially on Western Europe to make them under her protection and prevent their independence from her and the formation of their own independent force. She managed also to soften Russia's opposition towards her plans. So no one of the major powers would stand in her face, annoy her or sabotage her affairs or confuse her plans. Thus, America has strengthened her international position by this summit, which has been shaken following the financial crisis and following the setbacks in Iraq and Afghanistan. In addition to this, the extension of the powers of NATO and discussion of making Turkey a place for the missile shield, all of this has revealed the danger of this summit on Islam and Muslims. Muslims should be aware of this danger and should prevent it through their hard and active work to establish the Khilafah, which would throw the harm of the kafir colonialist back to them, and make their destruction in their arrangement. Indeed Allah will help those who help Him; Indeed Allah is Strong, Mighty.

16 Dhu al-Hijjah 1431 H

The above is a draft translation from Arabic.

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