rick rozoff

Yet another NATO military exercise in the Black Sea
Rick Rozoff, AntiBellum, Jul 21 2021

Air-Maritime Cooperation Enhances Shared Situational Awareness in the Black Sea
NATO Allied Air Command, Jul 21 2021

In the Black Sea, ships from Standing NATO Maritime Group 2 (SNMG2) were joined by maritime patrol aircraft from the Turkish Air Force and the US Navy. The sensors of all these units combined to produce an enhanced picture of maritime movements, both surface and sub-surface within the Black Sea. Simultaneously, airborne early warning aircraft including a NATO E-3A and a Hellenic Air Force EMB-145H working with control and reporting centres on the ground produced a recognised air picture. SNMG 2 currently operating in the Black Sea includes the Italian Navy flagship Fasan, the Romanian Navy Regina Maria and the Turkish Navy Barbaros. Allied aircraft working alongside NATO Maritime Groups regularly participate in exercises in the Black Sea to improve interoperability and practice tactics, techniques and procedures.

Other current and recent US and NATO military exercises in the Black Sea region:

  • The Agile Spirit 2021 military exercise in Georgia;
  • The Thracian Star 21 air combat exercise in Bulgaria;
  • The 32-nation, two-week Sea Breeze war games in the Black Sea;
  • The Swift Response airborne exercise in Bulgaria and Romania (as well as Estonia) in May with over 7k troops from 11 nations as part of the large-scale Defender Europe 21 exercises;
  • The Trojan Footprint special operations forces exercise in Black Sea nations Bulgaria, Georgia and Romania as well as in Montenegro and North Macedonia;
  • The Falcon Defender 21 exercise in Bulgaria.

US military budget could reach record $740b
Rick Rozoff, AntiBellum, Jul 21 2021

Plan to boost Biden’s defense budget could see bipartisan support
Military Times, Jul 21 2021

Senate lawmakers will consider increasing White House military spending plans for next year by $25b as part of their debate over the annual defense spending bill this week. Air Force officials want to spend $1.4b on 12 additional F-15EXs and $825m for weapon system sustainment efforts. Marine Corps leaders asked for more than $150m additional Naval Strike Missiles and Tactical Tomahawk missiles. Boosting the budget plan above $740b next year may bring Senate Republican support for the defense bill when it comes to a full chamber vote.

Erdogan’s new Ottoman empire advances in the Caucasus and Central Asia
Rick Rozoff, AntiBellum, Jul 21 2021

Russia has only obtained a fragile armistice in Nagorno Karabakh, and was forced to cede the role of main protagonist of the Caucasian games on the border between Europe and Asia. The influence of Turkey, which explicitly supported the Azeris in word and deed, has instead expanded: at the very least, now in the Caucasus it is equal to that of the Russians. On Oct 27 2020, in the wake of the euphoria after the Azerbaijani victory in Nagorno Karabakh, the Turkiye newspaper released a special issue with the appeal to the “Decision of the Turanian Army”: it imagines a pan-Turkish army formed from Turkey, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.

See the full article by Vladimir Rozanskij. The Tajiks, however, are of Iranian origin.

Foreign Ministry: Russian-American relations have approached a dangerous confrontational threshold
Rick Rozoff, AntiBellum, Jul 21 2021

Excerpts from TASS:

MOSCOW – Russian-American relations have approached a dangerous confrontational threshold, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement, adding that Washington’s pressure will be met with unwavering opposition from Moscow. The statement was adopted Wednesday after a meeting of the ministry’s board, led by Russia’s top diplomat Sergey Lavrov. The ministry said: “It was noted during the discussion that bilateral relations had approached a dangerous confrontational threshold through the fault of Washington, who have provoked an unprecedented escalation between our states over the recent years. Russia is subjected to unprecedented pressure that the US pulls its allies into, introducing a strong ideological component to the standoff with Moscow. This line by Washington, which blatantly violates international law, will continue to come up against unwavering opposition as far as protecting Russia’s legitimate interests goes.”

US airborne troops, armored vehicles arrive for multinational NATO exercise in Georgia
Rick Rozoff, AntiBellum, Jul 21 2021

Georgia will host the tenth Agile Spirit military exercise from Jul 26 to Aug 6. This year’s iteration is unprecedented in the number of nations participating and in the range of military maneuvers included. The exercise, run by the US and the host nation, will include troops and equipment from 15 nations: 12 NATO member states (Britain, Canada, US; Germany, Italy, Spain; Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia; Poland, Romania, Turkey) and 3 partners (Azerbaijan, Georgia and Ukraine). All but the first 6 are frontline states on NATO’s Eastern Flank. Equipment has already arrived ahead of the exercise, including High Mobility Multi-purpose Wheeled Vehicles belonging to the 173rd Airborne Infantry Brigade shipped from the Romanian port city of Constanta to Poti. Since the US signed a bilateral military cooperation agreement with Romania in 2005, the year after it joined NATO, Romania has been a major military hub for the Pentagon: for infantry, air force and naval deployments and operations. The war games will be held at five locations, including the Vaziani Military Base, which will host the NATO-Georgia Joint Training and Evaluation Centre, and the Senaki Military Base, which was built to NATO specifications and achieved full NATO standards in 2005. The Georgia Defense Ministry announced the purpose of the exercise is to “increase interoperability between Alliance member and partner countries, to refine and strengthen operational capabilities in the planning and execution of operations in a multinational environment.” The slogan for the maneuvers is “Power is in partnership.” For the first time two domestically-produced armored vehicles, the Didgori Warrior and Didgori Medevak, will be used in the exercise. Also for the first time joint air-to-air drills will be conducted with aircraft from Britain, Poland, Romania, Georgia and the US. Another first is a special operations forces component with the participation of troops from the same five nations. In a press release on the impending event the Georgian Defense Ministry also said of the exercise:

Its scenario envisages command-staff and field exercises with combat shooting and air-landing operations, as well as the interaction of maneuvering and combat support elements in joint operations.

The US-led Immediate Response 2008 war games, also hosted by Georgia and also occurring at the Vaziani Military Base, thirteen years ago from Jul 15-31, prepared the Georgian armed forces for their assault on South Ossetia on Aug 8, while US Marines and their equipment remained in Georgia. That attack precipitated a war with Russia, and while it was underway the US airlifted the 2,300 Georgian troops in Iraq back to their homeland to join in the war with Russia.

Atlantic values: Taliban says “Turkey is our brother”
Rick Rozoff, AntiBellum, Jul 21 2021

Taliban ‘wants to develop good ties with Turkey’
Hurriyet, Jul 21 2021

The Taliban is seeking support from Muslim countries to find a political solution to the conflict in Afghanistan and wants to develop good ties with Turkey. The group’s spokesman Zabin’ullah Muhajid said in an interview with TRT Arabi: “Turkey is our brother, and we have so much in common based on faith.” Commenting on the planned peace conference in Istanbul, he said that the Taliban were exploring every opportunity, which could bring peace to Afghanistan, adding that the responsibility of running the Kabul airport lies with the Afghani officials. “We wish that Turkey would leave the past in the past and look toward today and the future,” he said, adding, “Then we would ask for dialogue.” Talking about the peace negotiations between the Afghan groups in Doha, the capital of Qatar, he stressed, “We hope that good results will come out of Doha as soon as the negotiations start again.”

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