Fighting Over The Arctic - February, 2009

Fighting Over The Arctic

Russia to create Arctic armed forces:

February, 2009

In the end of January Security Council’s new strategy of development of Arctic regions will be made public in Russia. Its main objective is participation in partition of natural recourses of the Arctic Ocean. However the USA are also not going to refuse their claims for Arctic regions. The President George Bush has published the instruction which contains the order to the Senate to ratify the international Law of the Sea Convention according to which the USA will participate in partition of Arctic regions with other countries in the nearest future, Kommersant business daily reports. Arctic region is a strategic value for Russia, according to Dmitry Medvedev’s statement made in September of last year, and in the 21st century it should become the resource base of the country.

Scientists consider that the continental shelf of the Arctic can contain about 20 per cent of world's reserves of hydrocarbons which are the main components of oil. Besides, on shelves of Barents and Kara seas unique gas deposits were found. Moreover the local fishing industry provides 15 per cent of total amounts of fish production in Russia. Extreme importance of development of this region in the context of national safety strategy does not exclude use of military force in solving of the arising problems in the conditions of competitive struggle for resources in Arctic. The USA are also ready to fight for Arctic to the victorious end. As the document signed by Bush says, “the USA have wide and fundamental national interests in the Arctic region”. These interests mention such strategically important spheres, as antimissile defence, strategic restraint, and marine operations on safety maintenance.

In the document it’s underlined that “the USA also have basic interests of internal security. Prevention of terrorist attacks and criminal or hostile actions which could increase vulnerability of the USA for terrorism in the Arctic region are among the state’s objectives”. However in the American document it is marked that the US plan to achieve their goals peacefully. Until now the USA remains the last Arctic country which has not yet ratified Law of the Sea Convention. That interrupts international partition of the Arctic region.

In May of last year five coastal countries of the Arctic Ocean – Russia, the USA, Canada, Norway and Denmark – have agreed to begin negotiations about partition of Arctic regions on the basis of existing conventions and have decided not to accept any new documents so far. The Senate has been objecting joining the Convention for a long time as it might deprive the USA an independent choice of the strategy of development of Arctic regions. Non-alignment to the international Convention theoretically could allow the American Congress to accept the law proclaiming the North Pole their territory, Kommersant business daily reports. Now it is supposed that the instruction published by George Bush will be now ratified by the new President Barak Obama.


Nordic Military Alliance to Challenge Russia in Arctic

Four Scandinavian countries together with Iceland could form a Nordic military alliance to protect their interests in Arctic, says a report presented by Norway at a special meeting of the countries’ foreign ministers. The report presented by a veteran Norwegian politician Thorvald Stoltenberg proposes co-operation not limited to a joint military force, but also includes potential joint efforts in international security, air surveillance, air patrols, maritime monitoring and medical services. The report also calls for an independent polar orbit satellite system by 2020. The interesting fact about the Scandinavian Defence Union, which could unite Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden and Iceland, is that it was supposed to be born immediately after WWII. The Scandinavian four were positive the union was absolutely essential to guard against possible future common threats from the Soviet Union, for example. But the birth of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation superseded these plans.

Today, Denmark and Norway (which were occupied by Nazi Germany during WWll, thus having learnt a bitter lesson) together with Iceland are already members of the NATO alliance, while Finland, which bravely fought both Soviet Union and Nazi Germany in sequence during the WWII and Sweden, which miraculously managed to escape the horrors of war, have so far preferred to stay militarily unengaged. Now Stoltenberg has proposed pooling efforts and resources in all possible military areas, as well as civil co-operation to ensure the effective maritime monitoring of the North Atlantic, and contiguous areas of the Arctic Ocean and Barents Sea (the so-called “Barents Watch”). The report also mentions the necessity of a “Baltic Watch”.

A mutual declaration of solidarity in key areas of joint foreign policy and a common disaster response unit are planned to deal with any disastrous events. For Russia formation of the Nordic Alliance could possibly mean that it will be able to speak directly to the Arctic countries, thus by-passing NATO, for 60 years now wholly controlled by the US, which in turn could mean that purely economic interests would prevail. However, this is only if the US does not enter the new organisation, because, strangely enough, it has Arctic territories too.


Russia to Deploy Special Arctic Force by 2020 - Security Council

Russia will create by 2020 a group of forces to protect its political and economic interests in the Arctic, but does not plan to militarize the region, a spokesman for the Russian Security Council said on Friday. He said the council had recently posted on its website a document, "The fundamentals of Russian state policy in the Arctic up to 2020 and beyond," which outlines the country's strategy in the region, including the deployment of military, border and coastal guard units "to guarantee Russia's military security in diverse military and political circumstances. "However, it does not mean that we are planning to militarize the Arctic. We are focusing on the creation of an effective system of coastal security, the development of arctic border infrastructure, and the presence of military units of an adequate strength," the official said.

According to some sources, the Arctic Group of Forces will be part of the Russian Federal Security Service, whose former chief and current secretary of the Security Council, Nikolai Patrushev, is a strong proponent of an "aggressive" state policy in the Arctic. Another goal of the new strategy is to "optimize the system of the comprehensive monitoring of the situation in the Arctic," including border control at checkpoints in Russia's arctic regions, coastal waters and airspace, the spokesman said. The strategy envisions increased cooperation with neighboring countries in the fight against terrorism, drug-trafficking, illegal immigration and environmental protection. The document also prioritizes the delineation of the Arctic shelf "with respect to Russia's national interests." High Arctic territories, seen as key to huge untapped natural resources, have increasingly been at the center of mounting disputes between the United States, Russia, Canada, Norway, and Denmark in recent years as rising temperatures lead to a reduction in sea ice.

President Dmitry Medvedev said in September at a Russian Security Council session that the extent of the Russian continental shelf in the Arctic should be defined as soon as possible. Medvedev also said the Arctic shelf is a guarantee of Russia's energy security and that the Arctic should become the resource base for Russia this century, adding that "about 20% of Russia's GDP and 22% of Russian exports are produced" in the area. Russia has undertaken two Arctic expeditions - to the Mendeleyev underwater chain in 2005 and to the Lomonosov ridge in the summer of 2007 - to support its territorial claims in the region. Moscow pledged to submit documentary evidence to the UN on the external boundaries of Russia's territorial shelf by 2010. A Russian proposal on creating security structures in the Arctic region will be discussed at a ministerial meeting of the Arctic Council in April. The Arctic Council was established in 1996 to protect the unique nature of the Arctic region. The intergovernmental forum comprises Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Canada, Norway, Russia, Sweden and the United States.


Russian Subs 'to Back Arctic Claims'

Russia considers deploying submarines armed with nuclear-capable cruise missiles in a bid to protect resources in the disputed Arctic region. Submarines from Russia's Northern Fleet could be involved in efforts to stake Russia's claim to the polar region, Vice Admiral Oleg Burtsev, deputy head of the Navy General Staff, told RIA Novosti Monday. Northern countries like Russia, the US, and Canada are trying to assert jurisdiction over the Arctic, which is believed to contain huge oil and natural gas reserves. Two Russian civilian mini-submarines descended to the Arctic seabed in 2007 to collect geologic and water samples and drop a titanium canister containing the Russian flag. Burtsev also noted that authorities had not decided yet whether to use robotic underwater vehicles or submarines to stake claims on the Arctic shelf. "In any case, Northern Fleet submarines will be used to either explore or protect Arctic territories adjacent to Russia," he said. The 2007 Russian mission exacerbated the controversy over an area that is believed to contain as much as 25% of the world's undiscovered oil and gas reserves. The dispute has intensified amid growing evidence that global warming is shrinking polar ice, opening up new shipping lanes and resource development possibilities.


In other news:

Russia Can Launch ICBMs at Minute's Notice - Missile Forces Chief

Intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM) in service with the Russian Strategic Missile Forces (SMF) could be launched within a minute if Russia's security is threatened, the SMF commander has said. "Over 6,000 servicemen are on 24/7 combat duty, and at least 96% of all missile systems are ready for deployment within several dozen seconds. It is the highest readiness level among the components of the Russian nuclear triad," Col. Gen. Nikolai Solovtsov said in an interview published on Wednesday by the Krasnaya Zvezda newspaper. At present, six types of silo-based and mobile ICBM systems of the fourth and the fifth generation, including the heavy Voyevoda (SS-18 Satan), capable of carrying 10 warheads, and the Topol-M (Stalin) systems, are on combat duty with the SMF.

According to open sources, the total arsenal of Russia's SMF comprises 538 ICBMs, including 306 SS-25 Topol (Sickle) missiles and 56 SS-27 Topol-M missiles. "The fifth regiment at the Tatishchevo Missile Division, which is armed with silo-based Topol-M complexes, was fully staffed in 2008, and there are now 50 silo-based Topol-M systems on combat duty," the general said. The first two Topol-M mobile missile battalions, equipped with six road-mobile systems, have already been put on combat duty with the 54th Strategic Missile Division near the town of Teikovo, about 150 miles (240 km) northeast of Moscow. The deployment will continue in 2009 and the division will be up to full strength by 2010, Solovtsov said.

The Topol-M missile, with a range of about 7,000 miles (11,000 km), is said to be immune to any current and future U.S. missile defenses. It is capable of making evasive maneuvers to avoid a kill using terminal phase interceptors, and carries targeting countermeasures and decoys. It is also shielded against radiation, electromagnetic pulses and nuclear blasts, and is designed to survive a hit from any known form of laser technology. Solovtsov also said that in 2009 the SMF would start bringing into service systems equipped with new-generation (RS-24) intercontinental ballistic missiles, bearing multiple independently targetable reentry vehicle (MIRV) warheads."Making this missile system operational will help bolster the SMF's combat capabilities to overpower missile defense systems, thus strengthening the nuclear deterrence potential of the Russian nuclear triad," Solovtsov said.


U.S. to Develop Missile Shield in Europe, Consult Russia - Biden

The United States will continue to work on a planned missile defense system in Central Europe, but it will consult Russia, Vice President Joe Biden said on Saturday. "We will continue to develop missile defenses to counter a growing Iranian capability, provided the technology is proven to work and cost effective," Biden said at the 45th Munich Security Conference, adding: "We will do so in consultation with our NATO allies and Russia."Russia has consistently opposed the missile shield as a threat to its national security and officials have repeatedly expressed the hope that President Barack Obama would not follow through with his predecessor's missile defense plans. Washington has agreed with Warsaw and Prague plans to deploy 10 interceptor missiles in Poland and a radar in the Czech Republic by 2013. The United States says the defenses are needed to deter possible strikes from "rogue states" such as Iran.

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov said at the conference on Friday that the shield is aimed at Russia's nuclear deterrent, but added that Moscow would not follow through with its threat to deploy Iskander missile systems in the Kaliningrad Region if the United States gave up its missile shield plans. Biden's message to Russia was mixed, suggesting more effort at engagement but giving little sign of movement on the core issues, such as the missile shield and NATO expansion. "It is time to press the reset button and to revisit the many areas where we can and should work together," he said, identifying Afghanistan as an area for greater cooperation between NATO and Russia. The vice president said the United States was willing to receive "ideas and consultations" from foreign partners during the conference about how to stabilize the situation in Afghanistan.

Biden was unequivocal on the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia - two separatist Georgian republics recognized by Russia following a five-day war with Georgia sparked by Tbilisi's invasion of South Ossetia. The United States will not recognize Abkhazia and South Ossetia as independent states," he said. "We will not recognize a sphere of influence. It will remain our view that sovereign states have the right to make their own decisions and choose their own alliances." Under President George Bush, Washington was a staunch supporter of Georgia and Ukraine in their bids to join NATO, which was vehemently opposed by Moscow.


No comments:

Post a Comment

Dear reader,

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.

To limit clutter in the comments section, I kindly ask all participants of this blog to please keep comments coherent and strictly relevant to the featured topic of discussion. Moreover, please realize that when there are several anonymous visitors posting comments simultaneously, it becomes very confusing (not to mention extremely annoying) trying to figure out who is who and who said what.Therefore, if you are here to engage in conversation, make an observation, express an idea or simply attack me, I ask you to at least use a moniker to identify yourself. Moreover, please appreciate the fact that I have put an enormous amount of information into this blog. In my opinion, most of my blog commentaries and articles, some going back ten-plus years, are in varying degrees relevant to this day and will remain so for a long time to come. Articles in this blog can therefore be revisited by longtime readers and new comers alike. I therefore ask the reader to treat this blog as a depository of important information relating to Eurasian geopolitics, Russian-Armenian relations and humanity's historic fight against the evils of Globalism and Westernization.

Thank you as always for reading.