Maneuvers to Outflank US - 2007

Maneuvers to Outflank US

Peace Mission 2007 gets underway to become the SCO's largest military drill. Ge Zhenfeng (second left), deputy chief of general staff of the Chinese People's Liberation Army and Vladimir Moltenskoi (right), deputy commander-in-chief of Russian land forces, talk about the on-going Sino-Russia joint military exercise at a meeting in Qingdao in eastern China's Shandong province August 20, 2005. The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) launches military exercises in Russia’s Chelyabinsk Region and China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region on Thursday. The maneuvers are designed to counter an uprising reminiscent of bloodshed in Uzbekistan in 2005 and aimed to show that Eurasia’s east has a powerful military and political alliance whose members are ready to close ranks in any situation. SCO leaders including Russian President Vladimir Putin are to visit a training range in Chebarkul for the final stage of the drills. The Peace Mission 2007 exercises get underway on Thursday to become the organization’s largest military drill. All member countries, Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, are sending its troops for the drills. The previous maneuvers took place in August 2005 in the Shandong Peninsula in China but involved only Russian and Chinese soldiers. Beijing organized the Shangdong exercises clearly with an eye back to the Tulip Revolution in Kyrgyzstan.

Russia and China were to fight with imaginary extremists who were attempting to cease power in a neighboring country. The drills took place on the coast and looked like a landing onto a large island such as Taiwan. Kommersant sources say that this time the exercises’ concept came from Russia. Deputy Prime Minister and then Defense Minister Sergey Ivanov was the first to voice the initiative last April in Beijing at a meeting of the SCO’s defense policy chiefs. Russian military drafted a plan for the maneuvers based on developments in Uzbekistan’s Andizhan in 2005 when authorities violently suppressed an opposition uprising. Officials say that the exercises would see a group of terrorists capturing a town with SCO forces, warplanes and artillery eliminating the insurgents and freeing the town. After that, Russia’s plenipotentiary officers will be arresting surviving terrorists. The exercises’ press center confirmed that drafters of the drills’ scenario largely relied on Andizhan developments. The maneuvers are to begin with staff exercises in China’s Urumqi, the capital of Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region which has long been a battlefield between Chinese authorities and Uyghur separatists. China’s experience in Xinjiang underlay the organization’s declaration of a need to fight the so-called “three evils” – separatism, terrorism and extremism. The parties are going to discuss an action plan for the operation with Russian Colonel-General Vladimir Moltensky and his Chinese counterpart at the helm. The maneuvers will then move to the Chebarkul training range in Chelyabinsk Region where first SCO soldiers gathered on July 27.

Peace Mission 2007 will involve 4,700 soldiers of Russian 34th infantry division and 76th Air Force division, Mi-8, Mi-24 and Mi-28N helicopters and Su-25 fighters. 2,000 Russian soldiers are to take part in the drills with other backing the operation. China is sending 1,700 soldiers, G-9 and Mi-17 helicopters as well as G-7A fighters. Kazakhstan and Tajikistan are supplying air assault companies while Kyrgyzstan is sending an air assault platoon. Uzbekistan has not sent its soldiers but Uzbek officers will be taking part in staff exercises and organizing the maneuvers. The drills will involve more than 6,500 soldiers and 2,000 military hardware with Russia and China supplying the bulk of it. The drills’ organizers make no secret of the fact that Moscow and Beijing are dominating Peace Mission. The training camp is decorated with posters showing a firm handshake of Russian and Chinese flags. All signs in the camp are only in Russian and Chinese.

Russia took on almost all expenses on the maneuvers’ organization. The Russian Defense Ministry says they cost it more than 2 billion rubles. The money renovated Chebarkul, creating new and restoring old infrastructure. Chelyabinsk Region Governor Pyotr Sumin earmarked an additional 64 million rubles to these ends. The organizers were evidently anxious to please Chinese soldiers. Beijing’s military were greeted with a traditional bread and salt welcome ceremony and put up in four-bed rooms. All Chinese quarters have TV sets with Chinese channels and DVD players in them. The Russian Defense Minister built the biggest-ever press center in the Russian army to cover the exercises. The generosity is no surprising. Peace Mission 2007 is essentially part of a plan to turn the SCO into a Central Asian military and political bloc to protect Russia’s interests and counter a growing influence of the United States in the region. The same task is to be voiced at the August 14 summit in Kyrgyzstan’s Bishkek which will bring together all SCO leaders. June meetings of SCO foreign and defense policy chiefs have shown that Moscow would seek support of its allies to counter Washington in issues ranging from the proposed U.S. missile shield in Eastern Europe to expelling the U.S. military base from the Manas airport in Kyrgyzstan. Vladimir Putin and his counterparts are to fly right from Bishkek to Chebarkul for the final stage of Peace Mission 2007 to demonstrate that the SCO has the resources and power to “fight against aggressive plans”.


Growing Ties between China and Russia

Members of the six-nation Shanghai Cooperation Organization, or SCO, begin military exercises August 9. The nine-day drill, dubbed Peace Mission 2007, involves the military forces of China, four central Asian countries [Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan], and Russia, the host nation. The dominant SCO forces are those of Russia and China, which are also expanding their cultural and economic links. VOA Moscow Correspondent Peter Fedynsky reports annual trade has already reached $40 billion. 2007 is the year of China in Russia. The yearlong focus on Russia's large Asian neighbor includes a Chinese art exhibit this month at the State Museum of Eastern Art in Moscow. 2006 was the year of Russia in China. But Sino-Russian relations date back nearly four centuries to a time when the emperors of China, according to the exhibit brochure, considered trade demeaning and viewed foreigners as barbarians. Therefore, they allowed commerce only on the border. Today, however, trade is a top priority. Chinese President Hu Jintao has made this clear. "We should speed up and multiply cooperation in energy resources. We should take positive steps in the joint exploitation of petroleum, gas and forestry resources,” he said. “We should try to move the cooperation style from a pure resources trade to one with more joint production." President Hu spoke last year in Beijing during a visit by his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin.

China has been importing mostly raw material from Russia, such as oil and lumber, and exporting consumer goods. Annual trade has grown over the past ten years from about $7 billion to nearly $40 billion. Volume is expected to increase with the completion of new oil pipelines from Russia to China. One of Russia's leading China experts, Vladimir Myasnikov, says both countries are developing other trade opportunities. "Energy-related machine building. We're building a nuclear power plant. We provide turbines. We're cooperating in the field of space exploration. High tech should lead the way to a substantial increase in bilateral trade." In recent years Russia and China have held joint military exercises. The Chinese are also the biggest foreign buyers of Russian weaponry. Some analysts say Russia is seeking to strengthen military ties with China, because of worsening ties with the United States and NATO. But First Deputy Premier Sergei Ivanov rejected the charge two years ago in his former capacity as Defense Minister. "We are not creating any military blocs. As was already said, those exercises are not aimed against any other state." The chief of China's general military staff, Liang Guanglie agrees. "This exercise follows the UN charter's goals and regulations, it does not target any third party, does not refer to the interests of any third party, neither does it intimidate any country." Both countries will conduct military exercises again this week along with other members of the six-nation Shanghai Cooperation Organization. The SCO is scheduled to a summit meeting in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan on August 16th.


Experts: SCO joint drill to improve anti-terror capability

A joint anti-terrorism military exercise, sponsored by the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) and slated for Aug. 9-17, will enhance the exchange among SCO member countries and improve their counter-terror capabilities, experts said. The first joint exercise was carried out on Monday at the Chebarkul drill site near the Ural Mountains city of Chelyabinsk. "We may hope that all tasks in the interests of the SCO member states will be successfully fulfilled," Russian commander Vladimir Moltensky said after the two-hour exercise. "The Shanghai Cooperation Organization is not aimed against third countries and operates only in the interests of member states," he added. The "Peace Mission 2007" drill, involving about 6,500 military personnel from China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, will be carried out in Chelyabinsk and Urumqi, capital of China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. Commanders from the six countries will hold consultations and make decisions in Urumqi upon receiving alert of an assumed terrorist attack on a Russian town and the field practice will then continue in Russian military ranges near Chelyabinsk. "In terms of both scale and content, the joint drill will reflect the trends of counter-terror exercises and bears an historic significance as a milestone in military cooperation among the six SCO member countries," said Zhen Shouhua, a researcher with the Chinese Academy of Military Science. "The joint drill will not indulge in empty talk but practice coordination and command in anti-terror combat. It will also serve to maintain regional peace and stability," Zhen said, noting that it is difficult for one country or its military forces to crack down on all terrorist organizations and activities that continue to grow worldwide. Heads of states and defense ministers of the SCO member countries will attend the live fire exercise on Aug. 17, which will involve airborne troops, special task forces, armored vehicles, military helicopters and fighters, said Qian Lihua, deputy general director of the Chinese troops. Such drill has been expanded with increasing member countries, combined troops and a much more complicated situation since the first of its kind was held in 2002, Qian said. "We can only cope with security challenges, and secure peace and development by enhancing cooperation when terrorism, separatism and extremism are active in the region," Qian said.


Russia to boost military base in Kyrgyzstan

Russia will continue to boost its military base in Kyrgyzstan, Russia’s defence minister said late Wednesday, stressing that the base in this Central Asian country, already home to a US military installation, was strategically important. “We must hold strong here - strategically it is a very important place, and the presence of the Russian army here is important too,” Anatoly Serdyukov said as quoted by the RIA Novosti news agency. Serdyukov, who toured the Kant base during a short visit, praised the improved infrastructure, which includes a new school and a gym, but stressed the need to upgrade the base’s air field, as “a large and heavy airplane will not be able to even land here.” In Kyrgyzstan tensions have risen around the US-run airbase, which shares the premises of the country’s largest airport, Manas, outside the capital Bishkek, and since 2001 has provided logistical support to coalition forces stationed in nearby Afghanistan. Moscow, Kyrgyzstan’s Soviet-era master, has called for the early closure of the US base as it set up the Kant airbase in 2003. afp


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Arevordi will be taking a sabbatical to tend to personal matters. New blog commentaries will henceforth be posted on an irregular basis. The comments board however will continue to be moderated on a regular basis.

The last 20 years or so has also helped me see Russia as the last front against scourges of Westernization, Globalism, American expansionism, Zionism, Islamic extremism and pan-Turkism. I have also come to see Russia as the last hope humanity has for the preservation of classical western civilization, Apostolic Christianity and the traditional nation-state. This realization compelled me to create this blog in 2010. Immediately, this blog became one of the very few voices in the vastness of cyberia that dared to preach about the dangers of Globalism and the Anglo-American-Jewish alliance, and the only voice preaching the strategic importance of Armenia remaining within Russia's orbit. From about 2010 to 2015 I did monthly, at times weekly, commentaries about Russian-Armenian relations and Eurasian geopolitics in general. It was very difficult as I had no assistance in this endeavor. The time I put into this blog therefore came at the expense of work and family. But a powerful feeling inside me urged me to keep going; and I did.

When Armenia finally joined the EEU and integrated its armed forces into Russia's military structures a couple of years ago, I finally felt a deep sense of satisfaction and relaxation, as if a very heavy burden was lifted off my shoulders. I finally felt that my personal mission was accomplished. I therefore felt I could take a step back, as I really needed the rest. Simply put: I have lived to see the institutionalization of Russian-Armenian alliance. Also, I feel more confident now that Armenians are collectively recognizing the strategic importance of Armenia's ties with Russia. Moreover, I feel satisfied knowing that, at least on a subatomic level, I had a hand in the outcome. As a result, I feel a strong sense of mission accomplished. I therefore no longer have the urge to continue as in the past. In other words, the motivational force that had propelled me in previous years has been gradually dissipating because I feel that this blog has lived to see the realization of its stated goal. Going forward, I do not want to write merely for the sake of writing. Also, I do not want to say something if I have nothing important to say. I feel like I have said everything I needed to say. Henceforth, I will post seasonal commentaries about topics I find important. I will however continue moderating the blog's comments section on a regular basis; ultimately because I'm interested in what my readers have to say and also because it's through readers here that I am at times made aware of interesting developments.

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