Archive for the ‘Cuba’ Category

Pressuring Obama: International Actors Take Risks Amid Uncertainty

March 14, 2009

An international series of moves on the strategic map or chessborad is ongoing in an apparent effort to get the first move from America’s new president, Barack Obama.

Russia has orchestrated the closing of a key U.S. air base at Manas in Kyrgyzstan, China has seen fit to harass a U.S. naval vessel in the South China Sea and now Russia has failed to deny the possibility that Russian bombers could be based in Venezuela and or Cuba.

The problem with these moves is that it puts the president into a reactive rather than a proactive position and the incidents themselves lend themselves to escalation unintended and accidental.

When China wanted to send the “back-off” message to President George W. Bush early in his administration by harassing a U.S. Navy surveillance  aircrft using a Chinese PLA (Air Force) fighter, the aircaft collided, killing the Chinese pilot and leading to “detention” of the American aircrew.

One has to hope that the Obama Administration has made it perfectly clear to China and Russia that this kind of conduct is not helpful at the least and potentially very dangerous.

But no public mention of that effort has been made publically, which could mean other like Hugi Chavez in Venezuela get the wrong idea and take additional unnecassary risks and miscalcualtions we don’t need….
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“Mark my words,” Democratic vice presidential nominee Joe Biden warned last October. “It will not be six months before the world tests Barack Obama like they did John Kennedy. The world is looking.”

“Remember I said it standing here if you don’t remember anything else I said. Watch, we’re gonna have an international crisis, a generated crisis, to test the mettle of this guy.”

http://edition.cnn.com/2009/WORLD
/europe/03/14/russia.cuba.bombers/
index.html

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By DAVID NOWAK, Asssociated Press
.
MOSCOW – A Russian Air Force chief said Saturday that Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has offered an island as a temporary base for strategic Russian bombers, the Interfax news agency reported.

The chief of staff of Russia‘s long range aviation, Maj. Gen. Anatoly Zhikharev, also said Cuba could be used to base the aircraft, Interfax reported.

The Kremlin, however, said the situation was hypothetical.

“The military is speaking about technical possibilities, that’s all,” Alexei Pavlov, a Kremlin official, told The Associated Press. “If there will be a development of the situation, then we can comment,” he said.

Zhikharev said Chavez had offered “a whole island with an airdrome, which we can use as a temporary base for strategic bombers,” the agency reported. “If there is a corresponding political decision, then the use of the island … by the Russian Air Force is possible.”

Interfax reported he said earlier that Cuba has air bases with four or five runways long enough for the huge bombers and could be used to host the long-range planes.

Two Russian bombers landed in Venezuela last year in what experts said was the first Western Hemisphere touchdown of Russian military craft since the end of the Cold War.

Cuba has never permanently hosted Russian or Soviet strategic aircraft. But Soviet short-range bombers often made stopovers there during the Cold War.

Russia resumed long-range bomber patrols in 2007 after a 15-year hiatus.

Independent military analyst Alexander Golts said from a strategic point of view there was nothing for Russia to gain from basing long-range craft within relatively short range of U.S. shores.

“It has no military sense. The bombers don’t need any base. This is just a retaliatory gesture,” Golts said, saying Russia wanted to hit back after U.S. ships patrolled Black Sea waters.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090314/ap_on_r
e_eu/eu_russia_bombers_cuba;_ylt=AtFwh2Caa
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Related:
Obama Has Failed To Spell Out His Vision

Analysts: Russia outmaneuvered U.S. over air base

 Obama Could Lose Afghanistan, Pakistan

 Obama bans term “enemy combatant,” joins “terrorist” in unusable list

Obama Policy On Gitmo, Taliban, Afghanistan, Intel: As Stupid as It Gets

http://urdunews.wordpress.com/200
9/03/14/zardari-remains-firm-prot
ests-continue/

 Obama Backs Off, Japan Ready To Shoot Down North Korean Missile

Obama: Troop move to Mexican border under consideration

China:
 Obama Backs-Off On Human Rights Issues: Economy is That Important

In this photo released by the U.S. Navy, one of two Russian ... 
In this photo released by the U.S. Navy, one of two Russian Tupolev 95 Bear long rang bomber aircraft is seen near the U.S. Navy aircraft carrier USS Nimitz on Feb. 9, 2008, south of Japan. The Interfax news agency reported Saturday March 14, 2009 that a Russian Air Force chief says Russian strategic bombers may be based in Cuba. Russia resumed long-range bomber patrols in 2007 after a 15-year hiatus. (AP Photo/U.S. Navy)
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Some global adversaries ready to give Obama chance

January 25, 2009

In his inaugural address, President Barack Obama signaled conciliation to America’s foes by using the metaphor of an outstretched hand to an unclenched fist.

By Paul Haven, Associated Press Writer

Already, there are signs that some of those foes were listening, sensing an opening for improved relations after eight combative years under President George W. Bush. Fidel Castro is said to like the new American leader, and North Korea and Iran both sounded open to new ideas to defuse nuclear-tinged tensions.

Unclear is what they will demand in return from the untested American statesman, and whether they will agree to the compromises the U.S. is likely to insist on in exchange for warmer relations.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/200901
25/ap_on_re_us/obama_unclenched_fists

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad speaks at the Natanz uranium ... 
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad speaks at the Natanz uranium enrichment facility.(AFP/File/Atta Kenare)

Obama calls for halt to Gitmo prosecutions

January 21, 2009

In one of his first acts in office, President Obama has ordered the U.S. government to suspend prosecutions of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay for 120 days, military officials said Tuesday.

From CNN

Read the rest:
http://edition.cnn.com/2009/POLITIC
S/01/21/guantanamo.hearings/index.html

The US flag flies over a razorwire fence in Guantanamo Bay. ... 
The US flag flies over a razorwire fence in Guantanamo Bay at the military prison.(AFP/Pool/File/Mandel Ngan)

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From The Washington Post

In one of its first actions, the Obama administration instructed military prosecutors late Tuesday to seek a 120-day suspension of legal proceedings involving detainees at the naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba — a clear break with the approach of the outgoing Bush administration.

The instruction came in a motion filed with a military court in the case of five defendants accused of organizing the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States. The motion called for “a continuance of the proceedings” until May 20 so that “the newly inaugurated president and his administration [can] review the military commissions process, generally, and the cases currently pending before military commissions, specifically.”

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/cont
ent/article/2009/01/20/AR2009012004743
.html?hpid=topnews

Obama to wait on Gitmo closure

January 12, 2009

“It is more difficult than I think a lot of people realize,” the President-elect explained.

President-elect Barack Obama said Sunday that some of his campaign promises will have to wait – domestic-policy changes may be on hold because of the dire economic situation, and legal and national security concerns have postponed his promised closure of Guantanamo Bay.  

In an interview with ABC’s “This Week” that aired Sunday, Mr. Obama said he has come to realize that his pledge to close the federal detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, within his first 100 days in office won’t happen that soon.

By Christina Bellantoni   
The Washington Times

When he was campaigning for the presidency, Mr. Obama regularly said the prison “sends a negative message to the world” and taints even trade-deal negotiations.

“To the extent that we are not being true to our values and our ideals, that sends a negative message to the world, and it gives us less leverage then when we want to deal with countries that are abusing human rights,” he said during a primary-season debate in Iowa in December 2007.

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/200
9/jan/12/obama-to-wait-on-gitmo-closure/

From This Week on ABC:
http://abcnews.go.com/ThisWeek/Econom
y/story?id=6619291&page=1

U.S. Largely Unconcerned About Russian Warships

December 17, 2008

Russian warships have been plying the waters off Venezuela and Panama in recent weeks and are now heading for Cuba, but U.S. officials are not so much wringing their hands as yawning.

Asked about a Russian warship transiting the Panama Canal earlier this month, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice — who saw the ship while crossing the canal last week — told The Associated Press: “I guess they’re on R&R. It’s fine.”

Associated Press

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice takes questions on current ... 
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice takes questions on current foreign relations issues and reflects on her years as America’s top diplomat, during an exclusive interview with The Associated Press, Monday, Dec. 15, 2008, at the State Department in Washington.(AP Photo/stf)

The Pentagon, while puzzled by the Russians’ actions, also is taking a ho-hum attitude. The U.S. military commander for the region, Adm. James Stavridis, head of the U.S. Southern Command, said that from his vantage point, there is no reason to be concerned about the Russian naval activity.

“They pose no military threat to the U.S.,” Stavridis said in an e-mail to the AP on Tuesday.

It was the first such passage by a Russian or Soviet warship since World War II.

There is no suggestion of a military confrontation, but the Russian moves are notable in part because they appear to reflect an effort by Moscow to flex some muscle in America’s backyard in response to Washington’s support for the former Soviet republic of Georgia and elsewhere on the Russian periphery. That includes U.S. missile defense bases to be erected in Poland and the Czech Republic.

The Russians were unhappy with a U.S. decision to send a state-of-the-art warship into the Black Sea as part of an American humanitarian aid mission for Georgia in the aftermath of last August’s war with Russia. The Russians also are angry about the Bush administration’s push to add Georgia and the former Soviet republic of Ukraine as members of the NATO military alliance.

Under the gaze of the U.S. Southern Command, Russian ships this fall held joint exercises with the navy of Venezuela, whose president, Hugo Chavez, is a fierce U.S. critic.

Navy Rear Adm. Tom Meek, the deputy director for security and intelligence at Southern Command, said in a telephone interview Tuesday that he sees little chance of Russia teaming up with Venezuela in a militarily meaningful way.

In this photo released by Venezuelan Information Ministry on ...
Above: Russia’s “Peter the Great”

 

This is a July 2004 file photo of the Admiral Chabanenko, Russian ... 
This is a July 2004 file photo of the Admiral Chabanenko, Russian anti-submarine destroyer, seen in the Barents Sea, Russia. The Admiral Chabanenko sailed through the Panama Canal – the first Russian ship to do so since World War II.  The Russian Navy is on a symbolic projection of Moscow’s power in a traditional U.S. zone of influence.
(AP Photo/File)

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081217/ap_o
n_go_ca_st_pe/us_russian_warships

Russian warships to visit Cuba

December 15, 2008

he Russian navy says its warships will visit Cuba for the first time since the Soviet era.

The navy says a squadron that has been on a lengthy visit to Latin America will put in at Havana on Friday for a five-day stay.

Navy spokesman Capt. Igor Dygalo says it will be the first visit by Russian warships to the Communist-led island just 90 miles (145 kilometers) from the United States since the 1991 Soviet collapse.

The nuclear-powered cruiser Peter the Great and the destroyer Admiral Chabanenko arrived in the Caribbean last month in a deployment also unprecedented since Soviet times. The voyage is widely seen as a response to the United States’ use of warships to deliver aid to Russia’s neighbor Georgia after their war in August.

Associated Press

In this photo released by Venezuelan Information Ministry on ...
Above: Russia’s “Peter the Great”

This is a July 2004 file photo of the Admiral Chabanenko, Russian ... 
This is a July 2004 file photo of the Admiral Chabanenko, Russian anti-submarine destroyer, seen in the Barents Sea, Russia. The Admiral Chabanenko sailed through the Panama Canal — the first Russian ship to do so since World War II.  The Russian Navy is on a symbolic projection of Moscow’s power in a traditional U.S. zone of influence.
(AP Photo/File)

Bipartisan Report: Bush, Rumsfeld Responsible for Detainee Abuse

December 11, 2008

A bipartisan Senate report released today says that former Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and other top Bush administration officials are directly responsible for abuses of detainees at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and charges that decisions by those officials led to serious offenses against prisoners in Iraq and elsewhere. 

By Joby Warrick
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, December 11, 2008; 12:39 PM

The Senate Armed Services Committee report accuses Rumsfeld and his deputies of being the principal architects of the plan to use harsh interrogation techniques on captured fighters and terrorism suspects, rejecting the Bush administration’s contention that the policies originated lower down the command chain.

Carl Levin
Senator Carl Levin (D-MI) and Sen. John McCain (R-AZ)
spearheaded the report….

“The abuse of detainees in U.S. custody cannot simply be attributed to the actions of ‘a few bad apples’ acting on their own,” the panel concludes. “The fact is that senior officials in the United States government solicited information on how to use aggressive techniques, redefined the law to create the appearance of their legality, and authorized their use against detainees.”

Donald Rumsfeld
Above: Mr. Rumsfeld.  Senators McCain and Levin
were never leaders in his fan club….

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/20
08/12/11/AR2008121101969.html?hpid=topnews