Monday, May 24, 2010

First American Soldiers Set Foot On Polish Soil

Dozens of American soldiers have set foot on Polish soil along with a battery of Patriot missiles, in what is the most significant deployment of U.S. troops in that former Warsaw Pact nation.  The Americans deployed in just 60 kilometers from the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad.  The deployment was scheduled, but still seems counter-intuitive for all the talk of the so-called 'reset' between Washington and Moscow.  The Russians are wary about having more U.S. soldiers and hardware near their borders.  The deployment comes despite President Barack Obama rubbing out Bush Jr's anti-missile defense shield.  But as readers of the Informant know, the shield is far from dead, maybe lighter, more mobile, but more widespread further south in the Balkans.  Plus, the Czechs and Poles say they are still in the missile plans. 

On May 24, the U.S. troops started moving in the equipment, unloading 37 railroad cars, according to the U.S. embassy in Warsaw.

The missiles were railed in from a U.S. base near Kaiserslautern, Germany.

The missiles and U.S. soldiers, from 150 to 200, which rotate in and out of Poland for the next two years.

Officially, this is a tutorial, with the U.S. servicemen 'teaching' their Polish counterparts who to handle a high-tech guided missile.

Andrew Paul, a spokesman for the embassy, said the Patriot garrison involves a longer time commitment than anything before, and marks "the first continuing presence," of American soldiers and equipment in Poland.

There was no immediate reaction from Russia.

Here's how Russia Today has reported the issue.

Back in January when the town of Morag was picked as the site, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said he couldn't comprehend the need "to create the impression as if Poland is bracing itself against Russia."

A month later in February, Poland ratified the so-called SOFA deal allowing for the stationing of the U.S. troops on Polish soil.

The Poles said Morag was picked solely because of its existing infrastructure, conducive for the Patriot battery.

Washington and its sidekicks in Brussels contend the planned missile shield is aimed at shooting down rockets fired from "rogue" Iran. 

Moscow is depicted as paranoid for not believing this, and claiming the missile shield is meant to further hem them in.

What Western media fail to mention is the battery in Poland, and possible control center in the Czech Republic are not single events, but rather part of an overall move by the U.S. to spread its military footprint even further in Eastern Europe, and Balkans and Black Sea region, with Romania and Bulgaria coming in for extra military largesse.

As the Informant has reported, the Pentagon has earmarked $110 to upgrade a military base a piece in both Romania and Bulgaria.

Elites in both Bulgaria and Romania are eager to turn over their country to the U.S. military, drawing concern from Russia.

Romania has especially become key for U.S. military strategists.

The Pentagon’s Joint Task Force-East has all but officially been assigned to the Mihail Kogalniceanu Airfield in Romania and also makes regular use of the Romanian Army’s Babadag Training Area and the Novo Selo Training Range in Bulgaria, the latter near the strategic Bezmer Air Base and the Black Sea port city of Burgas (Bourgas).

Rozoff also notes NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen has paid visits recently to both countries to discuss missile shield plans. 

Again Rozoff writes:

On May 17 the U.S.’s Black Sea Rotational Force 2010 three-month series of military exercises was launched at Romania’s Mihail Kogalniceanu Airfield.

Several days before “more than 100 Marines from across the United States put boots on the ground in Romania and stepped into history as the first Security Cooperation Marine Air-Ground Task Force in the Black Sea region.

More U.S. military poured into Romania earlier from Ramstein Air Base in Germany for Operation Carpathian Summer 2010, an air force medical evacuation exercise.

“Held at Otopeni Airfield, near Bucharest, Operation Carpathian Summer 2010 was designed to strengthen the partnership between the U.S. and Romanian air forces, while elevating their capability to work together.

But Bulgaria hasn't been shut out of the military exercise sweepstakes.

Again, the invaluable Rozoff was able to sniff out this gem:

On May 18 200 U.S. airmen and ten F-15 multi-role strike fighters spearheaded the launching of Operation Sentry Gold at the Graf Ignatievo Air Base in Bulgaria. “The exercise is designed to provide the U.S. Air Force and Bulgarian air force the opportunity to learn from each other and increase their respective NATO interoperability.”

The American commander involved in the maneuvers emphasized that the Bulgarian air force still uses Russian MiG-21s and MiG-29s, saying: “We simulate fighting MiGs all the time. Being here allows us to really see them in action.”

A Bulgarian officer said of the drills, “Sentry Gold increases the realism of our combat training. We get to see how a unit with a tested and proven combat history does things,” and added, “Training together with [U.S. Air Forces in Europe] and the U.S. pilots moves us closer to NATO standards.”

If you understand the background, you understand the Russian "paranoia."

Unfortunately, most if not all the Western press is not painting the bigger picture.
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