Published on Global Research.ca, by Rick Rozoff, February 22, 2009.
The Black Sea region connects Europe with Asia and the Eurasian land mass to the Middle East through Turkey on its southern rim, which borders Syria, Iraq and Iran.
The northern Balkans lie on its western shores and the Caucasus on its eastern end, the latter a land bridge to the Caspian Sea and Central Asia.
Ukraine, Russia and the strategic Sea of Azov are on its northern perimeter …
… By September of last year Russian concerns over the escalating US military buildup in the Black Sea had not abated and in citing the Pentagon’s new bases in Bulgaria and Romania as well as its missile shield plans and ongoing NATO expansion to its borders, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said, “Parity as the basis of the strategic balance in the world has been violated.”(Itar-Tass, September 29, 2008).
Nothing loath, within days of Lavrov’s dire warning it was reported that “U.S. warships will call at the Bulgarian ports of Varna and Burgas, and drills involving the U.S. and Bulgarian air forces are also scheduled for next month” … (Sofia News Agency, October 15, 2008).
While that dispatch was being filed US and Bulgarian troops were engaged in a joint military drill at the Novo Selo Training Area and “Bulgarian President Georgi Parvanov and Commander of the U.S. Army in Europe Gen. Carter Ham…watched the drill….”.
The news story added, “More than 62 million dollars will be spent on the training area’s permanent facilities and equipment in the next two years, and construction is expected to be completed by then conflict zones in the Middle East and beyond.” (Ibid).
Bulgaria and Romania, now full NATO members for almost five years, have deployed military contingents to the Balkans, Afghanistan and Iraq and have lost troops in the last two nations.
While neither hosted Soviet forces or Warsaw Pact bases during the Cold War, both are on the front line of future wars in the Black Sea region like that of last August between Georgia and Russia, one which might easily have drawn in Ukraine and in alleged defense of Ukraine NATO and the US directly.
As Romanian President Traian Basescu was quoted in a feature of last August titled “Romania is responsible for EU, NATO borders protection,” “The Romanian navy is responsible in the name of the EU and allied countries.” (Focus News Agency, August 15, 2008).
Romania and Bulgaria will both be held to that pledge. That is one of the crucial reasons they were absorbed into the Alliance.
Both will be ordered to intervene in former Yugoslavia – Kosovo and Bosnia – if their masters in Washington and Brussels will it.
They are both involved in the transit of troops and materiel for the war in Afghanistan and the occupation of Iraq.
For two years now it has been repeatedly mentioned that Bulgarian, now joint Bulgarian-US, air bases may be used for attacks against Iran, most recently by Russian envoy Dmitry Rogozin last September.
The US and allied NATO military expansion into the Black Sea is aimed at all four compass points.
A proponent of this dangerous strategy, Vakhtang Maisaia, Chairman of the Foreign Policy Association of Georgia, offered this terse yet comprehensive summary of what is involved in the Georgian Times of April 2, 2008:
- “The Black Sea is a vital geo-strategic area for the Alliance in conjunction with the Alliance’s ISAF mission in Afghanistan, logistic operations in Darfur, the NATO training mission in Iraq, and peacekeeping operations in Kosovo. “Currently, some clear signs of the new interest of NATO in the Black Sea region comprised of the South Caucasus and the South-East Europe sub-regions and Black Sea area itself, can be seen by looking at the geo-economics (including the Caspian energy reserves)….
- “With the inclusion of Romania and Bulgaria into the Alliance, the Black Sea has been incorporated into NATO’s Article 5 (collective defense) operational zone where activation of the Combined Joint Task Force (a deployable, multinational, multi-service force with a land component and comparable air and naval components) is possible.
- “‘In the event of crises which jeopardize Euro-Atlantic stability and could affect the security of Alliance members, the Alliance’s military forces may be called upon to conduct crises response operations.’ (1999 NATO Washington Summit).”