John Kerry and Catherine Ashton

U.S. Secretary of State Kerry talks to EU foreign policy chief Ashton during a NATO foreign ministers meeting in BrusselsU.S. Secretary of State John Kerry talks to European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton during a NATO foreign ministers meeting at the Alliance headquarters in Brussels

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Lessons from Boston Marathon Bombing

THE American nation is still in shock and grief after the killings of innocent people in Boston marathon explosions. The blasts hit several innocent people who were watching the climax of marathon from sidelines.
Several world leaders and the UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon have condemned the attack. Killing of innocent people is heinous act and can’t provide justification to any cause. Delay in justice is denying justice.
Those involved in killing innocent people must be brought to justice immediately. The fact is that the US people rarely experienced such tragic incidents, while killings of innocent people are a daily routine in countries where US forces are operating. After the withdrawal of US forces, situation is still unstable in Iraq and killing of 40 to 50 people have become routine there.
Most of the people who lost their lives are innocent civilians, but the world community is silent. A record number of civilians most of them women and children have lost their lives in Afghanistan due to Nato bombardment and roadside bombings.
Earlier this month, a roadside bomb killed 17 civilians, mostly women and children, on their way to a wedding party in western Afghanistan.
Eleven innocent children lost their lives when NATO war planes mistakenly hit their homes. The civilian population is also paying a high price for US drone attacks in Pakistan. An attack on a religious seminary in South Waziristan killed 80 innocent children only a few years ago. The killing of Damadola seminary children in South Waziristan is still considered the worst in Pakistan’s tribal history.
In his recent statement, former US president Jimmy Carter has accepted that drones are targeting civilians. The blood of these innocent people is not any different from that of those killed in the Connecticut school tragedy.
The world community must raise its concern for these people who are paying a high price for US adventure in different countries.
 
KHAWAJA UMER FAROOQ
Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
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The Warsaw Packt

The Warsaw Treaty Organization of Friendship, Cooperation, and Mutual Assistance (1955–1991), more commonly referred to as the Warsaw Pact, was a mutual defense treaty between eight communist states of Central and Eastern Europe in existence during the Cold War. The founding treaty was established under the initiative of the Soviet Union and signed on 14 May 1955, in Warsaw. The Warsaw Pact was the military complement to the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance (CoMEcon), the regional economic organization for the communist states of Central and Eastern Europe. The Warsaw Pact was a Soviet military reaction to the integration of West Germany[1] into NATO in 1955, per the Paris Pacts of 1954.[2][3][4]
 
Structure
The Warsaw Treaty’s organization was two-fold: the Political Consultative Committee handled political matters, and the Combined Command of Pact Armed Forces controlled the assigned multi-national forces, with headquarters in Warsaw, Poland. Furthermore, the Supreme Commander of the Unified Armed Forces of the Warsaw Treaty Organization was also a First Deputy Minister of Defense of the USSR, and the head of the Warsaw Treaty Combined Staff also was a First Deputy Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the USSR. Therefore, although ostensibly an international collective security alliance, the USSR dominated the Warsaw Treaty armed forces.[5]

  Strategy

The strategy of the Warsaw Pact was dominated by the desire of the Soviet Union to prevent, at all costs, the recurrence of another large scale invasion of its territory by perceived hostile Western Bloc powers, akin to those carried out by the Swedish Empire in 1708, Napoleonic France in 1812, the Central Powers during the First World War and most recently by Nazi Germany in 1941. While each of these conflicts resulted in extreme devastation and large human losses the invasion launched by Hitler had been exceptionally brutal. The USSR emerged from the Second World War in 1945 with the greatest total casualties of any participant in the war, suffering an estimated 27 million killed along with the destruction of much of the nation’s industrial capacity. Eager to avoid a similar calamity in the future, the Soviet Union created the Warsaw Pact as means of establishing a series of buffer states, closely aligned with Moscow and serving to act as a political and military barrier between Russia’s vulnerable borders in Central and Eastern Europe and its potential enemies in the Western Bloc.

  History

 
On 14 May 1955, the USSR established the Warsaw Pact in response to the integration of the Federal Republic of Germany into NATO in October 1954 – only nine years after the defeat of Nazi Germany (1933–45) that ended with the Soviet and Allied invasion of Germany in 1944/45 during World War II in Europe. The reality was that a “Warsaw”-type pact had been in existence since 1939[citation needed], when Soviet forces (in alliance with Nazi Germany) initially occupied Central and Eastern Europe, and maintained there after the war. The Warsaw Pact merely formalized the arrangement.
The eight member countries of the Warsaw Pact pledged the mutual defense of any member who would be attacked; relations among the treaty signatories were based upon mutual non-intervention in the internal affairs of the member countries, respect for national sovereignty, and political independence. However, almost all governments of those members states were directly controlled by the Soviet Union.
For 36 years, NATO and the Warsaw Treaty never directly waged war against each other in Europe; the United States and the Soviet Union and their respective allies implemented strategic policies aimed at the containment of each other in Europe, while working and fighting for influence within the wider Cold War on the international stage.
 
In 1956, following the declaration of the Imre Nagy government of withdrawal of Hungary from the Warsaw Pact, Soviet troops entered the country and removed the government.
The multi-national Communist armed forces’ sole joint action was the Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia in August 1968. All member countries, with the exception of the Socialist Republic of Romania and the People’s Republic of Albania participated in the invasion.
Beginning at the Cold War’s conclusion, in late 1989, popular civil and political public discontent forced the Communist governments of the Warsaw Treaty countries from power – independent national politics made feasible with the perestroika– and glasnost-induced institutional collapse of Communist government in the USSR.[6] In the event the populaces of Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Albania, East Germany, Poland, Romania, and Bulgaria deposed their Communist governments in the period from 1989–91.
 
On 25 February 1991, the Warsaw Pact was declared disbanded at a meeting of defense and foreign ministers from Pact countries meeting in Hungary.[7] On 1 July 1991, in Prague, the Czechoslovak President Václav Havel formally ended the 1955 Warsaw Treaty Organization of Friendship, Cooperation, and Mutual Assistance and so disestablished the Warsaw Treaty after 36 years of military alliance with the USSR. The treaty was de facto disbanded in December 1989 during the violent revolution in Romania that toppled the communist government there. Two years later, the USSR disestablished itself in December 1991. 
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Green on blue attacks in Afghanistan

British PMC with G36K and ANA soldier
According to the news, Afghan security forces killed six service members from the American-led military coalition in a series of attacks in southern Afghanistan.

These attacks were the latest in the long series of so called green on blue incidents (attacks on NATO forces by members of the Afghan security forces), or insider attacks.

Two British soldiers also lost their lives in a similar incident in Helmand province.

Insiders have become a big threat to the security and future of Afghanistan.

Only this year, 60 coalition force members have lost their lives in such attacks.

Increasing numbers of these attacks have also destroyed the US plan to hand over the security of major cities to Afghan forces after the departure of NATO from Afghanistan.

The US has also suspended the training of Afghan security forces, wanting more scrutiny.

According to media reports, social and cultural differences are the main cause of the recent divides between Afghan and coalition forces.

Due to a poor scrutiny process and a lack of information, insurgents can easily penetrate Afghan forces. Even high security locations are not safe from insurgent attacks.

Recent events prove that the security situation has gone bad to worse. An attack last month on Bagram air base with insurgent rocket damaged the plane of a top US general and more recently six US fighter jets were destroyed in an attack on the base where Prince Harry is stationed.

Three coalition refueling stations were also destroyed and six aircraft hangars were damaged, costing millions of dollars.

Khawaja Umer Farooq
Jeddah

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NATO’s withdrawal from Afghanistan



Honor guard of the Afghan National Army during...
Honor guard of the Afghan National Army during the 2011 commemoration of Afghan Independence Day. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

According to media news, NATO closed more than 200 bases in Afghanistan and transferred nearly 300 others to local forces. Now, NATO is ready to hand over security responsibility to 
 

fghan forces. 


Due to the worst financial crises in the eurozone and the US, several countries can’t afford US war adventures in foreign countries and no country want to spend its taxpayers’ money on useless wars. New Zealand just pulled out its forces after the killing of four of its soldiers including one female soldier. Spain and Australia also pulled their forces out of Afghanistan. 

Now, before NATO exits, Pakistan is facing worsening sectarian violence these days, with one horrible incident in Northwest Frontier Province, where unknown assailants killed 53 people. 

 

Trying to spread more hate, the attackers make a video of the incident. In the same week, 20 more people were killed in separate incidents of sectarian violence in different parts of the social and political hub of Karachi. Targeted killings have also been on the rise in the volatile province of Baluchistan. 

 

Several militants also attacked an air force base in Punjab province. Now, the situation in Pakistan is becoming very similar to Iraq after withdrawal of US forces when the country divided into different sectarian and ethnic armed groups. Now Iraq is seeing the worst period of bloodshed and the killing of innocent civilians.


Before the withdrawal of NATO forces from Afghanistan, some actors are playing the same game in Pakistan. 

 

The deterioration of the security situation and the rise in sectarian and ethnic violence is enough to open the eyes of concerned authorities in Pakistan to the fact that only independent policies in line with the country’s own interests can bring positive changes to the region after the withdrawal of NATO forces from Afghanistan.  

 

 

Khawaja Umer Farooq

Jeddah

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Terror attacks in Pakistan

NATO Summit in Riga, November 2006
NATO Summit in Riga, November 2006 (Photo credit: www.guigo.eu)

According to media news, US authorities have declared the Haqqani network to be a terrorist organization and have ordered the freezing of all its assets in the US and neighboring countries. The US has again accused Pakistan of links with the Haqqani militant network which is operating in Afghanistan and Pakistan. 

The US has also blamed Haqqani militants for the deaths of several people who have died in deadly attacks on NATO bases in Afghanistan. Now in a recent meeting with Pakistan’s foreign minister, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urged Pakistan to do more to fight militant groups operating in Pakistan. These allegations by US authorities regarding Pakistan’s links with Haqqani militants are astonishing and groundless. If Pakistan enjoys good relations with militant  groups like the Haqqani network, why is the country facing a wave of terrorist and suicide attacks? 

The same day that US authorities made their claims, several Pakistani security personnel lost their lives in an attack on a security checkpoint in the Northwest frontier province which borders Afghanistan. The next day, militants targeted a high level security paramilitary base and Rangers headquarters in the heart of Karachi  and killed several people. Several people also lost their lives in a busy shopping center in Peshawar  when militants targeted a senior  police officer. Government supported tribes and peace committee members have become the main targets of militant groups and even mosques, shops, and schools are subject to attack. 
Militant attacks from Afghanistan have become a daily routine in Pakistani border cities. Afghan border cities have become safe havens for militants but NATO is doing nothing to stop this aggression. Since the start of the US-led war on terror, more than 7,000 Pakistani security personnel have lost their lives, which is more than the number of US and NATO soldiers who have been killed in Afghanistan. Due to the increasing number of militant attacks, the Pakistani economy has suffered badly and the total financial loss for the country is now more than $68 billion.

Khawaja Umer Farooq, Jeddah

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The Libya Revolution

Protest In Dublin: "Gaddafi Is A Murderer...
 
Muammar Gaddafi was the head of the Free Officer’s, a group of Arab nationalists that deposed King Idris I in 1969 in a ‘bloodless coup.[51] He abolished the Libyan Constitution of 1951, considering it a neo colonial document. From 1969 until 1975 standards of living, life expectancy and literacy grew rapidly, and in fact continued up until the NATO intervention in March 2011.[52] In 1975 he published his manifesto The Green Book. He officially stepped down from power in 1977, and subsequently claimed to be merely a “symbolic figurehead” until 2011, with the Libyan government up until then also denying that he held any power.[53][54]
 
Under Gaddafi, Libya was theoretically a decentralized, direct democracy[55] state run according to the philosophy of Gaddafi’s The Green Book, with Gaddafi retaining a ceremonial position. Libya was officially run by a system of people’s committees which served as local governments for the country’s subdivisions, an indirectly elected General People’s Congress as the legislature, and the General People’s Committee, led by a Secretary-General, as the executive branch. According to Freedom House, however, these structures were often manipulated to ensure the dominance of Gaddafi, who reportedly continued to dominate all aspects of government.[56]
 
WikiLeaksdisclosure of confidential US diplomatic cables revealed US diplomats there speaking of Gaddafi’s “mastery of tactical manoeuvring”.[57] While placing relatives and loyal members of his tribe in central military and government positions, he skillfully marginalized supporters and rivals, thus maintaining a delicate balance of powers, stability and economic developments. This extended even to his own sons, as he repeatedly changed affections to avoid the rise of a clear successor and rival.[57]
 
Both Gaddafi and the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, however, officially denied that he held any power, but claimed he was merely a symbolic figurehead.[53][54] While he was popularly seen as a demagogue in the West, Gaddafi always portrayed himself as a statesmanphilosopher.[58]
According to several Western media sources, Gaddafi feared a military coup against his government and deliberately kept Libya’s military relatively weak. The Libyan Army consisted of about 50,000 personnel. Its most powerful units were four crack brigades of highly equipped and trained soldiers, composed of members of Gaddafi’s tribe or members of other tribes loyal to him. One, the Khamis Brigade, was led by his son Khamis. Local militias and Revolutionary Committees across the country were also kept well-armed. By contrast, regular military units were poorly armed and trained, and were armed with largely outdated military equipment.[59][60][61] According to Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, however, the reason for the country’s de-militarization was a reaction to the Iraq War, so that Libya wouldn’t be accused of possessing weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) and face the same fate. He also accused NATO of betraying their trust and taking advantage of this weakness to launch an air attack, recommending that other nations build up their military defences in order to avoid facing the same fate as Libya.[62]

 Development and corruption

Much of the state’s income came from its oil production, which soared in the 1970s. In the 1980s, a large portion of it was spent on arms purchases, and on sponsoring militant groups and independence movements around the world.[63][64]
 
Petroleum revenues contributed up to 58% of Libya’s GDP.[65] Governments with resource curse revenue have a lower need for taxes from other industries and consequently feel less pressure to develop their middle class. To calm opposition, they can use the income from natural resources to offer services to the population, or to specific government supporters.[66] Libya’s oil wealth being spread over a relatively small population gave it a higher GDP per capita than in neighbouring states.[67][68][69] Libya’s GDP per capita (PPP), human development index, and literacy rate were better than in Egypt and Tunisia, whose Arab Spring revolutions preceded the outbreak of protests in Libya.[70] Libya’s corruption perception index in 2010 was 2.2, ranking 146th out of 178 countries, worse than that of Egypt (ranked 98th) and Tunisia (ranked 59th).[71] One paper speculated that such a situation created a broader contrast between good education, high demand for democracy, and the government’s practices (perceived corruption, political system, supply of democracy).[70]
 
An estimated 13% of Libyan citizens were unemployed.[72] More than 16% of families had none of its members earning a stable income, while 43.3% had just one. Despite one of the highest unemployment rates in the region, there was a consistent labor shortage with over a million migrant workers present on the market.[73] These migrant workers formed the bulk of the refugees leaving Libya after the beginning of hostilities. Despite this, Libya’s Human Development Index in 2010 was the highest in Africa and greater than that of Saudi Arabia. Libya had welfare systems allowing access to free education, free healthcare, and financial assistance for housing, while the Great Manmade River was built to allow free access to fresh water across large parts of the country.[74]
Some of the worst economic conditions were in the eastern parts of the state, once a breadbasket of the ancient world, where Gaddafi extracted oil.[75][76] Despite improvements in housing and the Great Manmade River allowing access to free fresh water,[74] not much infrastructure beyond this was developed in the region for many years, with the only sewage facility in Benghazi being over 40 years old, and untreated sewage has resulted in environmental problems.[77]
 
Several foreign governments and analysts have claimed that a large share of the business enterprise was controlled by Gaddafi, his family, and the government.[78] A leaked US diplomatic cable claimed that the Libyan economy was “a kleptocracy in which the government – either the Gaddafi family itself or its close political allies – has a direct stake in anything worth buying, selling or owning”.[79] According to US officials, Gaddafi amassed a vast personal fortune during his 42-year leadership.[80] The New York Times pointed to Gaddafi’s relatives adopting lavish lifestyles, including luxurious homes, Hollywood film investments, and private parties with American pop stars.[79][81]
 
Gaddafi claimed he was planning to combat corruption in the state by proposing reforms where oil profits are handed out directly to the country’s five million people[82] rather than to government bodies, stating that “as long as money is administered by a government body, there would be theft and corruption.”[83] Gaddafi urged a sweeping reform of the government bureaucracy, suggesting that most of the cabinet system should be dismantled to “free Libyans from red tape” and “protect the state’s budget from corruption.” According to Western diplomats, this move appeared to be aimed at putting pressure on the government to speed up reforms.[82] In March 2008, Gaddafi proposed plans to dissolve the country’s existing administrative structure and disburse oil revenue directly to the people. The plan included abolishing all ministries except those of defence, internal security, and foreign affairs, and departments implementing strategic projects.[84] He claimed that the ministries were failing to manage the country’s oil revenues,[85] and that his “dream during all these years was to give power and wealth directly to the people.”[86]
 
A national vote on Gaddafi’s plan to disband the government and give oil money directly to the people was held in 2009, where Libya’s people’s congresses, collectively the country’s highest authority, voted to delay implementation. The General People’s Congress announced that, out of 468 Basic People’s Congresses, 64 chose immediate implementation while 251 endorsed implementation “but asked for (it) to be delayed until appropriate measures were put in place.” This plan led to dissent from top government officials, who claimed it would “wreak havoc” in the economy by “fanning inflation and spurring capital flight.” Gaddafi acknowledged that the scheme, which promised up to 30,000 Libyan dinars ($23,000) annually to about a million of Libya’s poorest, may “cause chaos before it brought about prosperity,” but claimed “do not be afraid to experiment with a new form of government” and that “this plan is to offer a better future for Libya’s children.”[86][87]

 Human rights in Libya

In 2009 and 2011, the Freedom of the Press Index rated Libya the most-censored state in the Middle East and North Africa.[88][89] In contrast, a January 2011 report of the United Nations Human Rights Council, on which the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya sat prior to the uprising, released a month before protests began, praised certain aspects of the country’s human rights record, including its treatment of women and improvements in other areas.[90]
 
The Libyan Arab Jamahiriya’s delegation to the United Nations issued a report about human rights in Libya. The report claimed that the country was founded on direct people’s democracy that guaranteed direct exercise of authority by all citizens through the people’s congresses. Citizens were claimed to be able to express opinions to the congresses on political, economic, social, and cultural issues. In addition, the report claimed that there were information platforms such as newspapers and TV channels for people to express their opinions through. Libyan authorities also argued that no one in the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya suffered from extreme poverty and hunger, and that the government guaranteed a minimum of food and essential needs to people with low incomes. In 2006, an initiative was adopted for providing people with low incomes investment portfolios amounting to $30,000 to be deposited with banks and companies.[91]
 
The Revolutionary Committees occasionally kept tight control over internal dissent; reportedly, ten to twenty percent of Libyans worked as informants for these committees, with surveillance taking place in the government, in factories, and in the education sector.[92] The government sometimes executed dissidents through public hangings and mutilations and re-broadcast them on public television channels.[92][93] Up to the mid-1980s, Libya’s intelligence service conducted assassinations of Libyan dissidents around the world.[92][94]
 
In December 2009, Gaddafi reportedly told government officials that Libya would soon experience a “new political period” and would have elections for important positions such as minister-level roles and the National Security Advisor position (a Prime Minister equivalent). He also promised that international monitors would be included to ensure fair elections. His speech was said to have caused quite a stir. These elections were planned to coincide with the Jamahiriya’s usual periodic elections for the Popular Committees, Basic People’s Committees, Basic People’s Congresses, and General People’s Congresses, in 2010.[95]
 
Dissent was illegal under Law 75 of 1973, and in 1974, Gaddafi asserted that anyone guilty of founding a political party would be executed.[92] With the establishment of the Jamahiriya (“state of the masses”) system in 1977, he established the Revolutionary Committees as conduits for raising political consciousness, with the aim of direct political participation by all Libyans rather than a traditional party-based representative system.[96] In 1979, some of the Revolutionary Committees had eventually evolved into self-appointed, sometimes zealous, enforcers of revolutionary orthodoxy.[96] During the early 1980s, the Revolutionary Committees had considerable power and became a growing source of tension within the Jamihiriya,[97] to the extent that Gaddafi sometimes criticized their effectiveness and excessive repression,[96][97] until the power of the Revolutionary Committees were eventually restricted in the late 1980s.[97]
 
The Green Book, which Gaddafi authored in the 1970s, was for years the principal text of political education. BBC cited a Libyan who claimed that teachers who called it “rubbish” could face execution.[98] According to the Libyan Government, “the death penalty may not be imposed except in tretribution (qisas) or on persons whose lives endanger or corrupt society.”[91]
In 1988, Gaddafi criticized the “excesses” he blamed on the Revolutionary Councils, stating that “they deviated, harmed, tortured” and that “the true revolutionary does not practise repression.”[96] That same year, the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya issued the Great Green Document on Human Rights, in which Article 5 established laws that allowed greater freedom of expression. Article 8 of The Code on the Promotion of Freedom stated that “each citizen has the right to express his opinions and ideas openly in People’s Congresses and in all mass media.”[90] A number of restrictions were also allegedly placed on the power of the Revolutionary Committees by the Gaddafi government, leading to a resurgence in the Libyan state’s popularity by the early 1990s.[97] In 2004, however, Libya posted a $1 million bounty for journalist and governmental critic Ashur Shamis, under the allegation that he was linked to Al-Qaeda and terror suspect Abu Qatada.[99]
 
State response
In the days leading up to the conflict, Gaddafi called for a rally against the government that was to be held on 17 February. The International Crisis Group believes this to have been a political manoeuvre to divert attention away from himself and the Jamahiriya political system towards government officials currently in power.[126]
 
Later in February, Gaddafi claimed that the rebels were influenced by Al-Qaeda, Osama Bin Laden, and hallucinogenic drugs put in drinks and pills. He specifically referred to substances in milk, coffee, and Nescafé, and claimed that Bin Laden and Al-Qaeda were distributing these hallucinogenic drugs. He also blamed alcohol.[152][153][154] Gaddafi later also claimed that the revolt against his rule was the result of a colonialist plot by foreign states, particularly blaming France, the US and the UK, to control oil and enslave the Libyan people. He referred to the rebels as “cockroaches” and “rats”, and vowed not to step down and to cleanse Libya house by house until the insurrection was crushed.[155][156][157] He said that if the rebels laid down their arms, they would not be harmed. He also said that he had been receiving “thousands” of phone calls from Benghazi, from residents who were being held hostage and who wanted to be rescued. Gaddafi said in a speech addressed to Benghazi on 17 March 2011 that the rebels “can run away, they can go to Egypt…Those who would surrender their weapons and would join our side, we are the people of Libya. Those who surrender their weapons and would come without their arms, we would forgive them, and would have amnesty for those who put down their weapons. Anyone who throws his arms away and stays at home would be protected.[158]
 
Libya’s ambassador in Malta explained that “many people instigating unrest were arrested. Libya will show that these belonged to Al Qaeda. Some young protestors were also misled. The government is ready to dialogue with them.” He cited reports from the Libyan Foreign Ministry that up to 2,500 al-Qaeda foreign operatives have been working in eastern Libya and were mostly responsible for “stirring up trouble.” He concluded, “What we saw in Tahrir Square, and in Tunisia, was a clear situation. But in Libya, there is something different.”[159]
He called himself a “warrior”, and vowed to fight on and die a “martyr”, and urged his supporters to leave their homes and attack rebels “in their lairs”. Gaddafi claimed that he had not yet ordered the use of force, and threatened that “everything will burn” when he did. Responding to demands that he step down, he claimed that he could not step down, as he held a purely symbolic position like Queen Elizabeth, and that the people were in power.[160]
The Swedish peace research institute SIPRI reported flights between Tripoli and a dedicated military base in Belarus which only handles stockpiled weaponry and military equipment.[161]

  Violence

Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, in an interview with ABC on 17 March, stated that the rebels in Benghazi engaged in terror against the population. He stated, “You know, the armoured militia yesterday, they killed four young boys in Benghazi. Why? Because they were against them. Everybody is terrified because of the armed militia. They live in terror. Nightmare. Armed people are everywhere. They have their own courts. They execute the people who are against them. No school. No hospital. No money. No banks.”[162]
The Libyan government were reported to have employed snipers, artillery, helicopter gunships, warplanes, anti-aircraft weaponry, and warships against demonstrations and funeral processions.[163] It was also reported that security forces and foreign mercenaries repeatedly used firearms, including assault rifles and machine guns, as well as knives against protesters. Amnesty International initially reported that writers, intellectuals and other prominent opposition sympathizers disappeared during the early days of the conflict in Gaddafi-controlled cities, and that they may have been subjected to torture or execution.[164]
In a 17 March 2011 interview, shortly before the military intervention, Muammar Gaddafi‘s son and heir apparent Saif al-Islam Gaddafi claimed “armed militia” fighters in Benghazi were killing children and terrorizing the population.[162]
 
Amnesty International also reported that security forces targeted paramedics helping injured protesters.[165] In multiple incidents, Gaddafi’s forces were documented using ambulances in their attacks.[166][167] Injured demonstrators were sometimes denied access to hospitals and ambulance transport. The government also banned giving blood transfusions to people who had taken part in the demonstrations.[168] Security forces, including members of Gaddafi’s Revolutionary Committees, stormed hospitals and removed the dead. Injured protesters were either summarily executed or had their oxygen masks, IV drips, and wires connected to the monitors removed. The dead and injured were piled into vehicles and taken away, possibly for cremation.[169][170] Doctors were prevented from documenting the numbers of dead and wounded, but an orderly in a Tripoli hospital morgue estimated to the BBC that 600–700 protesters were killed in Green Square in Tripoli on 20 February. The orderly claimed that ambulances brought in three or four corpses at a time, and that after the ice lockers were filled to capacity, bodies were placed on stretchers or the floor, and that “it was in the same at the other hospitals”.[169]
 
In the eastern city of Bayda, anti-government forces hanged two policemen who were involved in trying to disperse demonstrations. In downtown Benghazi, anti-government forces killed the managing director of al-Galaa hospital. The victim’s body showed signs of torture.[171]
On 19 February, several days after the conflict began, Saif al-Islam Gaddafi announced the creation of a commission of inquiry into the violence, chaired by a Libyan judge, as reported on state television. He stated that the commission was intended to be “for members of Libyan and foreign organizations of human rights” and that it will “investigate the circumstances and events that have caused many victims.”[127] Later in the month, he went on state television to deny allegations that the government had launched airstrikes against Libyan cities and stated that the number of protesters killed had been exaggerated.[152]
 
Towards the end of February, it was reported that the Gaddafi government had suppressed protests in Tripoli by distributing automobiles, money and weapons for hired followers to drive around Tripoli and attack people showing signs of dissent.[172] In Tripoli, “death squads” of mercenaries and Revolutionary Committees members reportedly patrolled the streets and shot people who tried to take the dead off the streets or gather in groups.[173] The International Federation for Human Rights concluded on 24 February that Gaddafi was implementing a scorched earth strategy. The organization stated that “It is reasonable to fear that he has, in fact, decided to largely eliminate, wherever he still can, Libyan citizens who stood up against his regime and furthermore, to systematically and indiscriminately repress civilians. These acts can be characterized as crimes against humanity, as defined in Article 7 of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.”[174]
 
In May 2011, International Criminal Court (ICC) chief prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo estimated that 500–700 people were killed by security forces in February 2011, before the rebels took up arms. According to Moreno-Ocampo, “shooting at protesters was systematic”.[175]
During the siege of Misrata in May 2011, Amnesty International reported “horrifying” tactics such as “indiscriminate attacks that have led to massive civilian casualties, including use of heavy artillery, rockets and cluster bombs in civilian areas and sniper fire against residents.”[176] Gaddafi’s military commanders also reportedly executed soldiers who refused to fire on protesters.[177] The International Federation for Human Rights reported a case where 130 soldiers were executed.[178] Some of the soldiers executed by their commanders were reportedly burned alive.[179]
In June 2011, a more detailed investigation carried out by Amnesty International found that many of the allegations against Gaddafi and the Libyan state turned out to either be false or lack any credible evidence, noting that rebels at times appeared to have knowingly made false claims or manufactured evidence.[37]
 
In July 2011, Saif al-Islam Gaddafi had an interview with Russia Today in which he denied the ICC’s allegations that he or his father Muammar Gaddafi ordered the killing of civilian protesters. He claimed that he was not a member of the government or the military and therefore had no authority to give such orders. He also claimed his father made recorded calls to General Abdul Fatah Younis, who later defected to the rebel forces, in order to request not to use force against protesters, to which he said Fatah Younis responded that protesters were attacking a military site and soldiers were acting in self-defense.[62][180]

  Prison sites and torture

Gaddafi reportedly imprisoned thousands or tens of thousands residents in Tripoli, with Red Cross denied access to these hidden prisons. One of the most notorious is a prison which was set up in a tobacco factory in Tripoli where inmates are reported to have been fed just half a loaf of bread and a bottle of water a day.[181]
 
In late April, United States Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice alleged that soldiers loyal to Gaddafi were given Viagra and encouraged to commit rapes in rebel-held or disputed areas. The allegations surfaced in an Al Jazeera report the previous month from Libya-based doctors, who claimed to have found Viagra in the pockets of government soldiers.[182] Human rights groups and aid workers had previously documented rapes by loyalist fighters during the war. The British aid agency “Save the children” said it got reports that children were raped by unknown perpetrators, although the charity warns that these reports could not be confirmed.[183][184]
 
In Misrata, a rebel spokesman claimed that government soldiers had committed a string of sexual assaults in Benghazi Street before being pushed out by rebels. A doctor claimed that two young sisters were raped by five Black African mercenaries after their brothers joined the rebels. According to aid workers, four young girls were abducted and held for four days, and were possibly sexually assaulted.[185] In a questionnaire 259 refugee women reported that they had been raped by Gaddafi’s soldiers, however the accounts of these women could not be independently verified as the psychologist who conducted the questionnaire claimed that “she had lost contact with them”.[37]
The validity of the rape allegations is questioned by Amnesty International, which has not found evidence to back up the claims and notes that there are indications that on several occasions the rebels in Benghazi appeared to have knowingly made false claims or manufactured evidence.[37]

  Mercenaries

The Libyan government alleged that the armed rebellion was composed of “criminal gangs and mercenaries.”[186] A Libyan official reported to Libyan television that security forces arrested Tunisians and Egyptians that were “trained to sow chaos.”[187] According to the Libyan Government authorities, mercenaries from Turkey, Egypt, and Tunisia allegedly entered Libya to fight on the side of the rebels. Dozens of them were arrested. Libya’s Jamahiriya News Agency reported that the detained men were part of a “foreign network (and were) trained to damage Libya’s stability, the safety of its citizens and national unity.”[188] Military advisors from Qatar participated on the side of the rebels,[189] and were sometimes labelled as “mercenaries” by the media.[190]
 
After clashes between Government and anti-government forces, allegations arose of the Libyan Gaddafi using foreign mercenaries. The Libyan Government’s ambassador to India Ali al-Essawi claimed that the defections of military units had indeed led to such a decision.[191] Video footage purporting to show this started to leak out of the country.[191] Gaddafi’s former Chief of Protocol Nouri Al Misrahi claimed in an interview with the Al Jazeera that Nigerien, Malian, Chadian and Kenyan mercenaries are among foreign soldiers helping fight the uprising on behalf of Gaddafi.[192] Chadian sources repudiated allegations that mercenaries from Chad were involved in the fighting in Libya. The Chadian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in a statement said that “Chadians are not sent or recruited in Chad to serve as mercenaries in Libya,” and that allegations about Chadian mercenaries were “likely to cause serious physical and material harm to Chadians residing in Libya.”[193]
 
According to African Union chairman Jean Ping, the “NTC seems to confuse black people with mercenaries,”. Ping said that for the rebels, “All blacks are mercenaries. If you do that, it means (that the) one-third of the population of Libya, which is black, is also mercenaries. They are killing people, normal workers, mistreating them.”[194]
 
In Mali, members of the Tuareg tribe confirmed that a large number of men, about 5,000, from the tribe went to Libya in late February.[15][195][196][197] Locals in Mali said they were promised €7,500 ($10,000) upfront payment and compensation up to €750 ($1,000) per day.[195][196] Gaddafi has used Malian Tuaregs in his political projects before, sending them to fight in places like Chad, Sudan and Lebanon and recently they have fought against Niger government, a war which Gaddafi has reportedly sponsored. Malian government officials told BBC that it’s hard to stop the flow of fighters from Mali to Libya.[195] A recruitment center for Malian soldiers leaving to Libya was found in a Bamako hotel.[197]
 
Reports from Ghana state that the men who went to Libya were offered as much as €1950 ($2,500) per day.[191] Advertisements seeking mercenaries were seen in Nigeria[191] with at least one female Nigerian pro-Gaddafi sniper being caught in late August outside of Tripoli.[198] One group of mercenaries from Niger, who had been allegedly recruited from the streets with promises of money, included a soldier of just 13 years of age.[13] The Daily Telegraph studied the case of a sixteen-year-old captured Chadian child soldier in Bayda. The boy, who had previously been a shepherd in Chad, told that a Libyan man had offered him a job and a free flight to Tripoli, but in the end he had been airlifted to shoot opposition members in Eastern Libya.[14]
 
Reports by EU experts stated that Gaddafi’s government hired between 300 and 500 European soldiers, including some from EU countries, at high wages. According to Michel Koutouzis, who does research on security issues for the EU institutions, the UN and the French government, “In Libyan society, there is a taboo against killing people from your own tribal group. This is one reason why Gaddafi needs foreign fighters,”[199] The Serbian newspaper Alo! stated that Serbs were hired to help Gaddafi in the early days of the conflict.[200] Rumors of Serbian pilots participating on the side of Gaddafi appeared early in the conflict.[201][202][203] Time magazine interviewed mercenaries from ex-Yugoslavia who fled Gaddafi’s forces in August.[204]
 
A witness claimed that mercenaries were more willing to kill demonstrators than Libyan forces were, and earned a reputation as among the most brutal forces employed by the government. A doctor in Benghazi said of the mercenaries that “they know one thing: to kill whose in front of them. Nothing else. They’re killing people in cold blood”.[205]
On 7 April, Reuters reported that soldiers loyal to Gaddafi were sent into refugee camps to intimidate and bribe black African migrant workers into fighting for the Libyan state during the war. Some of these “mercenaries” were compelled to fight against their wishes, according to a source inside one of the refugee camps.[206]
 
In June 2011, Amnesty International said it found no evidence of foreign mercenaries being used, saying the black Africans claimed to be “mercenaries” were in fact “sub-Saharan migrants working in Libya,” and described the use of mercenaries as a “myth” that “inflamed public opinion” and led to lynchings and executions of black Africans by rebel forces.[37]
In October 2011 it was reported that the South African government was investigating the possibility that South African mercenaries were hired by Gaddafi to help him in his failed attempt to escape the besieged city of Sirte.[207] It is thought that two South African mercenaries died in that operation from a NATO air strike on Gaddafi’s convoy. One of the alleged mercenaries speaking from a hospital in North Africa stated that around 19 South Africans had been contracted by different companies for the operation.[208]
 
 
By mid-October 2011, much of the city of Sirte had been taken by NTC forces, although fierce fighting continued around the city center, where many pro-Gaddafi fighters were encamped.[288] The NTC captured the whole of Sirte on 20 October 2011, and reported that Gaddafi himself had been killed in the city.[289][290] Some civilian Gaddafi supporters remaining in the city reported that women and children had been killed in crossfire or fired upon by rebel forces. There were also reports of harassment and theft by rebels, however the rebel army indicated it would leave unarmed civilians “to their own devices”, and had allowed families in the city access to supplies and medical assistance.[291]

  Aftermath

Despite the defeat of Gaddafi’s loyalists, capture of last loyalist cities and Gaddafi’s death, Saif al-Islam, Gaddafi’s son and successor, remained hiding in the southern region of Libya until his capture in mid-November. In addition, some loyalist forces crossed into Niger, though the escape attempts exploded into violence, when detected by Nigerien troops.
Sporadic clashes between NTC and former loyalists also continued across Libya with low intensity. On 23 November, seven people were killed in clashes at Bani Walid, five of them among the revolutionary forces and one Gaddafi loyalist.[292]
Fighting broke out on 3 January 2012, at a building used as intelligence headquarters by the Gaddafi government.[293] Abdul Jalil, the chairman of NTC, warned Libyans that the country could descend into another civil war if they resort to force to settle their differences.[293] It was reported that five people were killed and at least five injured in the events.[294]
Also on 3 January, Libya’s government named a retired general from Misrata, Yousel al-Manquosh, as head of the country’s armed forces.[295]
 
Bani Walid was captured by local tribal fighters on 23 January, due to the NTC’s perceived inability to cooperate with them.[1][49] The local forces were said to have used heavy weapons and numbered 100-150 men.[49] Eight NTC fighters were killed and at least 25 wounded, with the rest fleeing the city.[1] Clashes were also reported in Benghazi and Tripoli.[49]
The NTC has functioned as an interim legislature during the transitional period. In early May 2012, it passed its most sweeping measures to date, granting immunity to former rebel fighters for acts committed during the civil war and ordering that all detainees accused of fighting for Gaddafi should be tried or released by 12 July 2012. It also adopted Law 37, prohibiting the publication of “propaganda” criticising the revolution, questioning the authority of Libya’s governing organs, or praising Muammar Gaddafi, his family, his government, or the ideas of the Green Book.[296]
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The North Atlantic Treaty Organization NATO

English: Richard Nixon meets Leonid Brezhnev J...
 
The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO; pron.: /ˈnt/ NAY-toh; French: Organisation du traité de l’Atlantique Nord (OTAN)), also called the (North) Atlantic Alliance, is an intergovernmental military alliance based on the North Atlantic Treaty which was signed on 4 April 1949. The organization constitutes a system of collective defence whereby its member states agree to mutual defense in response to an attack by any external party. NATO’s headquarters are in Brussels, Belgium, one of the 28 member states across North America and Europe, the newest of which, Albania and Croatia, joined in April 2009. An additional 22 countries participate in NATO’s “Partnership for Peace“, with 15 other countries involved in institutionalized dialogue programs. The combined military spending of all NATO members constitutes over 70% of the world’s defence spending.[3]
 
For its first few years, NATO was not much more than a political association. However, the Korean War galvanized the member states, and an integrated military structure was built up under the direction of two US supreme commanders. The course of the Cold War led to a rivalry with nations of the Warsaw Pact, which formed in 1955. The first NATO Secretary General, Lord Ismay, stated in 1949 that the organization’s goal was “to keep the Russians out, the Americans in, and the Germans down.”[4] Doubts over the strength of the relationship between the European states and the United States ebbed and flowed, along with doubts over the credibility of the NATO defence against a prospective Soviet invasion—doubts that led to the development of the independent French nuclear deterrent and the withdrawal of the French from NATO’s military structure in 1966.
 
After the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, the organization became drawn into the breakup of Yugoslavia, and conducted their first military interventions in Bosnia from 1992 to 1995 and later Yugoslavia in 1999. Politically, the organization sought better relations with former Cold War rivals, which culminated with several former Warsaw Pact states joining the alliance in 1999 and 2004. The September 2001 attacks signalled the only occasion in NATO’s history that Article 5 of the North Atlantic treaty has been invoked as an attack on all NATO members.[5] After the attack, troops were deployed to Afghanistan under the NATO-led ISAF, and the organization continues to operate in a range of roles, including sending trainers to Iraq, assisting in counter-piracy operations[6] and most recently in 2011 enforcing a no-fly zone over Libya in accordance with UN Security Council Resolution 1973. The less potent Article 4, which merely invokes consultation among NATO members has been invoked three times, and only by Turkey: once in 2003 over the Second Iraq War, and twice in 2012 over the Syrian civil war after the downing of an unarmed Turkish F-4 reconnaissance jet and after a mortar was fired at Turkey from Syria
 
The Treaty of Brussels, signed on 17 March 1948 by Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, France, and the United Kingdom, is considered the precursor to the NATO agreement. The treaty and the Soviet Berlin Blockade led to the creation of the Western European Union‘s Defence Organization in September 1948.[8] However, participation of the United States was thought necessary both to counter the military power of the USSR and to prevent the revival of nationalist militarism, so talks for a new military alliance began almost immediately resulting in the North Atlantic Treaty, which was signed in Washington, D.C. on 4 April 1949. It included the five Treaty of Brussels states plus the United States, Canada, Portugal, Italy, Norway, Denmark and Iceland.[9] Popular support for the Treaty was not unanimous, and some Icelanders participated in a pro-neutrality, anti-membership riot in March 1949.
 
The members agreed that an armed attack against any one of them in Europe or North America would be considered an attack against them all. Consequently they agreed that, if an armed attack occurred, each of them, in exercise of the right of individual or collective self-defence, would assist the member being attacked, taking such action as it deemed necessary, including the use of armed force, to restore and maintain the security of the North Atlantic area. The treaty does not require members to respond with military action against an aggressor. Although obliged to respond, they maintain the freedom to choose the method by which they do so. This differs from Article IV of the Treaty of Brussels, which clearly states that the response will be military in nature. It is nonetheless assumed that NATO members will aid the attacked member militarily. The treaty was later clarified to include both the member’s territory and their “vessels, forces or aircraft” above the Tropic of Cancer, including some Overseas departments of France.[10]
 
History
The creation of NATO brought about some standardization of allied military terminology, procedures, and technology, which in many cases meant European countries adopting U.S. practices. The roughly 1300 Standardization Agreements codified many of the common practices that NATO has achieved. Hence, the 7.62×51 NATO rifle cartridge was introduced in the 1950s as a standard firearm cartridge among many NATO countries. Fabrique Nationale de Herstal‘s FAL became the most popular 7.62 NATO rifle in Europe and served into the early 1990s.[citation needed] Also, aircraft marshalling signals were standardized, so that any NATO aircraft could land at any NATO base. Other standards such as the NATO phonetic alphabet have made their way beyond NATO into civilian use..[7]
 
Participating countries
NATO has added new members seven times since first forming in 1949, and now comprises 28 nations. New membership in the alliance has been largely from Eastern Europe and the Balkans, including former members of the Warsaw Pact. At the 2008 summit in Bucharest, three countries were promised future invitations: the Republic of Macedonia,[87] Georgia and Ukraine.[88] Though Macedonia completed its requirements for membership at the same time as Croatia and Albania, NATO’s most recent members, its accession was blocked by Greece pending a resolution of the Macedonia naming dispute.[89] Cyprus also has not progressed toward further relations, in part because of opposition from Turkey.[90] Other candidate countries include Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina, which joined the Adriatic Charter of potential members in 2008.[91] Their accession to the alliance is governed with individual Membership Action Plans, and will require approval by each current member.
 
Russia continues to oppose further expansion, seeing it as inconsistent with understandings between Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and US President George H. W. Bush that allowed for a peaceful German reunification.[32] NATO’s expansion efforts are often seen by Moscow leaders as a continuation of a Cold War attempt to surround and isolate Russia.[92] After the 2010 election in Ukraine, pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych declared his administration would not be pursuing NATO membership.[93] Ukraine is one of eight countries in Eastern Europe with an Individual Partnership Action Plan. IPAPs began in 2002, and are open to countries that have the political will and ability to deepen their relationship with NATO.[94]
 
 
The main headquarters of NATO is located on Boulevard Léopold III, B-1110 Brussels, which is in Haren, part of the City of Brussels municipality.[105] A new headquarters building is, as of 2010, under construction nearby, due for completion by 2015.[106] The design is an adaptation of the original award-winning scheme designed by Michel Mossessian and his team when he was a Design Partner with SOM.[107]
The staff at the Headquarters is composed of national delegations of member countries and includes civilian and military liaison offices and officers or diplomatic missions and diplomats of partner countries, as well as the International Staff and International Military Staff filled from serving members of the armed forces of member states.[108] Non-governmental citizens’ groups have also grown up in support of NATO, broadly under the banner of the Atlantic Council/Atlantic Treaty Association movement.

NATO Council

Like any alliance, NATO is ultimately governed by its 28 member states. However, the North Atlantic Treaty, and other agreements, outline how decisions are to be made within NATO. Each of the 28 members sends a delegation or mission to NATO’s headquarters in Brussels, Belgium.[109] The senior permanent member of each delegation is known as the Permanent Representative and is generally a senior civil servant or an experienced ambassador (and holding that diplomatic rank). Several countries have diplomatic missions to NATO through embassies in Belgium.
 
Together, the Permanent Members form the North Atlantic Council (NAC), a body which meets together at least once a week and has effective governance authority and powers of decision in NATO. From time to time the Council also meets at higher level meetings involving foreign ministers, defence ministers or heads of state or government (HOSG) and it is at these meetings that major decisions regarding NATO’s policies are generally taken. However, it is worth noting that the Council has the same authority and powers of decision-making, and its decisions have the same status and validity, at whatever level it meets. NATO summits also form a further venue for decisions on complex issues, such as enlargement.
 
The meetings of the North Atlantic Council are chaired by the Secretary General of NATO and, when decisions have to be made, action is agreed upon on the basis of unanimity and common accord. There is no voting or decision by majority. Each nation represented at the Council table or on any of its subordinate committees retains complete sovereignty and responsibility for its own decisions
 
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