Archive | September, 2011

The United States wage a ‘shadow war’ against Chinese occupation of Africa. Perhaps…

23 Sep

Recent Danger Room post about new american drone bases by David Axe has drawn my attention to the topic of neo-colonial expansion of Africa by the USA and China.

The establishment of UAV-bases in Ethiopia, Yemen and Seychelles is supposed to support American war against Islamic terrorism in Somalia and Yemen – a decent task, though the US never implement anything just for one purpose. Drones are a crucial set for reconnaissance, alongside with offensive activities – and the way this branch is developing in the USA demonstrates that very soon the range of UAV’s mission objects will extend.

In fact, Mr. Axe’s post reminded me about American drones in Libya. As far as I’ve understood, this drones were operated from U.S. Navy warships, and it’s clear that in case of any other military conflicts with the US involvement in this region it would be better to have a permanent drone base. However, their MISO guys conceal well whether the largest American military installation in Africa – Camp Lemmonier possesses it’s own UAV wing or not.

Since the beginning of the conflict I’ve decided to hold the position that there was merely a political background for this war. But being interested in the warfare and defence technologies as I am I did not consider the economical reasons, and specifically the amount of commercial interest of non-NATO states. According to the data, provided by the Chinese Trade Ministry, more than 75 Chinese companies had been working in Libya before the war began. After the conflict had escalated about 30,000 of Chinese personnel were evacuated from the war zone. Obviously, the US wouldn’t have managed to perform such an effective ‘economic air- strike’ if there had been no Gaddafi-threat.

By the way, China has began its economical invasion into Africa a long time ago. It had given concessional loans to certain African dictators and military juntas and sponged some of those debts afterwards. The main areas of Chinese influence on the continent are Algeria, Angola, Sudan – countries that occupy the highest positions in the list of African oil exporters.  Right now, such companies as Sinopec and CNPC actively pump money into Nigeria, which is one of the main African oil sources. The USA cannot afford the growth of Chinese partnership with these countries, otherwise they will lose their dominant position of a leading oil importer.

After the South Sudan had gained independence, many territories rich in oil were lost for its northern neighbor and as a consequence – for China. There still are disputable border territories between these two countries, for example – South Kurdufan and Abyei and in case of conflict, it is very likely that China will support its ally.

And the Chinese bonds with Sudan and other abovementioned states bring us back to the US drone bases that will help fighting terrorism in Yemen and Somali. Why?

Firstly, oil from Sudan is transported to China via the sea routes which are frequently disturbed by pirates. The US and Great Britain struggle with pirates primarily on their own and try to block up the intentions of other countries to participate in this process on the UN-level. Is it not advantageous for them to lose control over Somalian buccaneers when they attack a Chinese ship?

Secondly, the Chinese government negotiates terms of building a military base with the government of the Republic of the Sudan. The idea is to establish a military installation in Darfur. If the US take such an intent into account then the drone base in Ethiopia becomes a ‘must have’.

Finally, the US are interested in Nigerian oil. China has strong ties with Nigerian government. Chinese oil giants actively engage in crude oil production on the territory of this country. Nigerian separatists regularly assault personnel of this companies. Maybe there is a connection between the assaults and the US interests?

Though my speculations on this topic are hypothetical and a bit biased by media, the fact that the USA and China are in process of enforcing their positions in Africa is evident. China has a dominant role in Southeast Asia and obtaining the same role in Africa would make it a super power in the very sense of this expression. The USA is a super power in the very sense of this expression. Stabilizing the control over Africa and obtaining the dominant role in Southeast Asia would make it even more powerful.


Members of the CSTO struggle with terrorism using C-400

16 Sep


During the military exercise “Comradeship-in-arms – 2011″ the most modern Russian antiaircraft missile system C-400 proved it’s effectiveness. For the first time, the use of this complex was demonstrated in the short-range  ground-to-air combat simulation environment. Military observers from India, Syria, Malaysia and Algeria watched Armenian, Tajik, Kirghyz, Belarusian and Russian forces performing maneuvers which are supposed to represent the tactics of countering terroristic threat along the Caucasian region border area.

Exercise planners used the experience of recent conflicts in Libya and Middle East.

Further testing of the new C-400 complex will go on in the framework of the Joint Russian-Belarusian military exercise ”Union Shield-2011”. These maneuvers have already begun and will last till September, 22.

Russia plans to hold a joint naval exercise with North Korea

15 Sep

It is going to be the first time that these countries perform naval maneuvers. In fact, it is unusual for North Korea to stage joint military exercises with other nations at all. Though the USA an S.Korea have a tradition  of practising the usage of their forces in this region.  The decision to stage the unprecedented exercise was reached during a late August meeting of N.Korean and Russian leaders. At this very moment no information about the scale and exact date of the exercise is disclosed.

The officials only mentioned that the forthcoming exercise is to take place next year. It is planned to be a simulation of different ‘search and rescue’ scenarios. No doubt that such an event worries S. Korean and American politicians, but I see a clear reason for them to be troubled. The balance of powers in the region is rather vague. Panetta pointed out recently that he is planning to strengthen military ties with Australia. If it is his intention then the Russians need to fortify their positions in East Asia.

Baltic States’ Navy appears to be outdated

14 Sep

International military exercise “Open Spirit – 2011” was conducted in the Irben Strait of the Baltic Sea from 19 August till 3 September this year. Organizers have positively characterized the results of this exercise, denoting it as “successful”. Navy personnel from participating countries – Great Britain, Russia, Germany, Norway, France, Finland and Baltic States have managed to find and destroy 45 sea mines and two torpedoes, which were “floating” in the sea since the WWI and the WWII. Alas, not everything is as good as it seems.
International military observers and specialists who oversaw the exercise were concerned by poor equipment and backward warships used by Lithuanian, Latvian and Estonian Navy. In the past few decades, Baltic States’ fleet had become archaic, which didn’t let the participants accomplish the full range of tasks assigned by the exercise planners.
Currently, approximately 30 warships operated by Latvian, Lithuanian and Estonian Naval Forces are so clapped-out that they pose a threat to their own crews, and Navy personnel put their own lives in jeopardy by taking the sea. The unofficial ‘leadership’ in keeping obsolete warships is preserved by Lithuania. This country holds the most abundant and best trained Armed Forces as compared to the other two states within the “Baltic triunity”. Thus, Vidar-type minelayer “Yotvingis”, which was purchased from Norway in 2006 and transformed into Lithuanian fleet’s command and control ship, was floated out as far back as in 1977. What is more shocking – Lindau-type mine-hunters (purchased from Germany) were launched in … 1958! Other Lithuanian warships have also expended themselves and, frankly speaking, should be written-off. Lithuanian analysts concur that the Fleet which cannot safeguard the security of the state is damaging the political image of the country and totally undermines the position of Lithuania as a military leader of the Baltic Sea region. Therefore, they propose a gradual minimization of Lithuania’s participation in military operations and NATO-led exercises. This proposal considers slow socio-economical dynamics of the country and, to a large extent, low level of military force development. Giving up the “military leader of the region” posture could help Lithuanian leaders concentrate their attention on inner economical and social problem-solving.