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    Middle East
     Jun 21, 2011

NATO, the ultimate transformer
By Pepe Escobar

To follow Pepe's articles on the Great Arab Revolt, please click here.

Forget about the Hollywood Transformer franchise; as facts on the ground go, the ultimate transformer in real life is the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

NATO has just admitted it was "probably" responsible for the humanitarian liberation of nine Libyan civilians, plus 18 injured, via an early morning strike against an apartment building in a densely populated Tripoli neighborhood.

Liberating Northern Africans in their sleep under tons of debris

now adds to NATO's - and the Pentagon's - routine liberation of Pashtun wedding parties.

Forget about the Ministry of Truth-style non-denial denials enveloped in newspeak of the "weapons system failure" or "great care in conducting strikes" variety. Or don't - as the war on Libya, under the newspeak moniker Operation Unified Protector, slouches towards its fourth month and over 4,300 "humanitarian" strikes.

After all, NATO's wars - now already spanning the Pentagon-coined "arc of instability" from Northern Africa though the Middle East towards Central Asia - are as much against "unsavory" regimes (as in "not our bastards") as against civilians.

One model army
In the dizzying labyrinth of NATO's Ministry of Truth - which includes schemes such as Partnership for Peace, Istanbul Cooperation Initiative, Mediterranean Dialogue, to name but a few - one now finds virtually every certified or aspiring member of the Gulf Counter-Revolution Club (also known as GCC, the Gulf Cooperation Council), as well as monarchic minions Jordan and Morocco. These paragons of democracy are all involved in liberating the wretched of the world for "humanitarian" reasons.

Unctuous Danish opportunist and NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen is on overdrive across Europe. He has just boasted that, "NATO is more needed and wanted than ever, from Afghanistan to Kosovo, from the coast of Somalia to Libya. We are busier than ever before."

This enthusiastic, across-the-board embrace of Atlanticist weaponry though is still not enough for US Defense Secretary Robert Gates - for whom NATO is not lethal, or overreaching, enough. Considering that NATO is no more than the weaponized European arm of the Pentagon, that was a classic case of once again Martian Americans deriding wimpy Venusian Europeans.

Yet the most sinister Rasmussen utterance was that, "we can help the Arab Spring well and truly blossom". That is code for never-ending bombing of Libya, fierce lobbying for a "humanitarian" intervention in Syria, and, why not, weaponized "humanitarian liberation" slouching towards Algeria and even Lebanon.

As for Egypt and Tunisia, Rasmussen has already stated NATO wants to re-train their military establishments - an operation modeled on the ongoing retraining in Iraq. The Transformer's tentacles are ubiquitous.

The war on Libya started as the Pentagon's Africom first African war - remember Odyssey Dawn? - and then merged into NATO's first Mediterranean and also first African war. NATO's overt agenda is to rule the Mediterranean - Ancient Rome's mare nostrum - as a NATO lake.

That explains the current Pentagon/NATO Sea Breeze 2011 naval exercise in the Black Sea, off the coast of Ukraine and quite close to the Sebastopol-based Russian Black Sea fleet.

The Pentagon is being joined by the United Kingdom, Azerbaijan, Algeria, Belgium, Denmark, Georgia, Germany, Macedonia, Moldova, Sweden, Turkey and Ukraine. All of these - except Algeria and Moldova - fall into another NATO scheme; they are Troop Contributing Nations for NATO's war in Afghanistan.

Sea breeze is not a pop song; it is an overt intimidation directly related to Syria. Russia's Black Sea fleet has a base in Syria - that is, in the Mediterranean. The Pentagon/NATO want it gone. Thus the categorical imperative of regime change in Syria.

So Libya is just the beginning. Russian ambassador to NATO Dmitri Rogozin has been quick to point out, "the war in Libya means ... the beginning of [NATO's] expansion south."

Transformer NATO - the global Robocop - is on a roll, from Southeastern Europe to the Eastern Mediterranean; from the Persian Gulf to South and Central Asia. All hail the One Model Army. As for civilians in the wrong place at the wrong time, duck for cover.

Pepe Escobar is the author of Globalistan: How the Globalized World is Dissolving into Liquid War (Nimble Books, 2007) and Red Zone Blues: a snapshot of Baghdad during the surge. His new book, just out, is Obama does Globalistan (Nimble Books, 2009).

He may be reached at pepeasia@yahoo.com.

(Copyright 2011 Asia Times Online (Holdings) Ltd. All rights reserved. Please contact us about sales, syndication and republishing.)


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