Speech of Georgos Loucaides, member of the Political Bureau of the C.C. of AKEL and Member of Parliament
Meeting organized by the “#NoGuerra #NoNATO” Committee
Monday, 26th October, 2015, Rome, Italy
On behalf of AKEL, we welcome today’s discussion and warmly congratulate the “#NoGuerraNoNATO” Committee for taking this initiative. We hope that this initiative will contribute to the further development of the anti-war and peace movement of Europe.
The unprecedented scale and dimensions of the notorious “Trident Juncture” military exercise that is being held by NATO illustrates that it is a rehearsal of war, aiming to spread fear to the rest of the world. More than 35,000 troops from 30 countries will take part in an exercise that will extend from Western Europe and the Atlanta Ocean to northern Europe and the Mediterranean Sea.
NATO a threat to world peace
This is of course not an accidental development, but represents an escalation in the ongoing intensification of NATO’s aggression, marked by the elaboration in 2010 of the “New Strategic Concept for the Defense and Security of NATO” until 2020. Then, NATO warned the world that it would be “more efficient, more involved all over the world and more efficient than ever.” Indeed as the NATO leadership had characteristically pointed out, interventions outside the region of NATO, as was the case of Afghanistan, will no longer be the exception, but the rule.
Towards this end, NATO is continually enhancing its war machine. It is demanding from its members that they increase their military spending at the expense of course of social expenditure and people’s living standards. NATO is channeling, together with the European Union, large sums of money for investment in the arms industry and technology. It is developing the anti-missile shield and strengthening the network of military bases around the world. Moreover, NATO has in recent years paid special attention to the globalization of its actions, both through its continuous enlargement towards the east and by establishing various regional partnerships and satellite programs. The participation of more and more states in NATO raids and military missions is becoming operationally necessary, but at the same time this makes the political legitimacy of NATO interventions and the attempted undermining of International Law and the principles on which the UN was founded easier. NATO has long ceased to be only a Euro-Atlantic alliance, but has established itself as a world gendarme. Besides, only as a world gendarme can it guard and promote the geopolitical and economic interests of the West towards the competitive capitalist centres of the planet. From Ukraine to Syria, from Africa to the South China Sea, NATO forces are playing the role of the armed wing of Western imperialism.
NATO is targeting the Middle East
The neighbourhood of my own country, Cyprus, the Eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East, is at the heart of these conflicts and colossal energy battles of our era. This is the reason why it is constantly targeted by NATO. As you know, our region has key parts of the NATO command, Headquarters, air and naval base, missile firing range, a naval training centre, but also parts of the anti-missile shield. Furthermore, the first and only NATO operation on the basis of Article 5 of the Alliance Statues is taking place in the Mediterranean. This is the Active Endeavour Operation, which patrols and controls shipping in the Mediterranean. Two military and civilian programs, two NATO satellites, namely the “Mediterranean Dialogue” and “Istanbul Cooperation Initiative”, are concentrated in our region. Finally, the Maritime Dimension of the EU’s Common Security and Defense Policy is also promoting the militarization of the seas, focusing particularly on the Eastern Mediterranean. The militarization of the Eastern Mediterranean is part of the imposition through force of the redrawing of borders in the Middle East, which is being promoted for two decades through the American plan for the “New Middle East” and secondly, by the EU’s European Security Strategy. The flow of refugees and the blood of the peoples that is flooding the Middle East and the Mediterranean Sea is the result precisely of these plans for the control of energy sources and pipelines in the region.
Neither Cyprus in NATO, nor NATO in Cyprus
My own country, Cyprus is in the throes of developments in the region. Cyprus after all is one of the most tragic victims of NATO, which had as its long-standing goal to transform our island into an “unsinkable aircraft carrier” that would operate, because of its excellent geostrategic position as an espionage base, against the socialist community and as a military launching pad against the peoples of the Middle East. The tragedy suffered by our people in the summer of 1974, with the fascist coup d’état that gave the pretext for the Turkish invasion and the continuing occupation and division of the island, was planned in the headquarters of NATO. The ultimate goal was to divide the island and to unite it with the two NATO so-called “motherlands”, that is to say Turkey and Greece. The struggle of our people against the Turkish occupation, the foreign British bases existing since 1960 and our struggle for the complete demilitarization of our island is in essence a struggle against imperialism. At the same time, the decisive and militant stand of AKEL, which is supported by the majority of the Cypriot people, against any thought of Cyprus’ accession to either NATO or to the so-called “Partnership for Peace” program, has prevented such a development. Our firm position was and remains “Neither Cyprus in NATO, nor NATO in Cyprus”.
Our goal is to continue this struggle together, Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, within the framework of a free, reunited homeland, liberated from the Turkish occupation, so that together we can achieve the abolition of the colonial remnants of the British bases in Cyprus.
Axis of action
Permit me to complete my intervention by highlighting two focal points upon which, in our opinion, we must develop in our activity initiatives.
First, as the peace movements and progressive forces of EU countries, we need to strengthen our joint actions and coordination in order to combat the ever deepening EU-NATO coupling. We demand the demilitarization of the EU and its foreign policy, drastic cuts in military spending, the curbing of the EU arms trade with countries in the Middle East the dismantling of the anti-missile shield and of the foreign military bases, the removal of all nuclear weapons from European soil and the termination of all military interventionist EU missions beyond its borders. This struggle is inextricably linked with the struggle against NATO.
Second, we have a duty, in the face of the dramatic developments that humanity is going through, to give a decisive impetus to the struggles of the peace and the anti-war movement in Europe and the world, first and foremost within the ranks of the World Peace Council which has a leading role in international anti-imperialist action. This is why this current initiative must represent the starting point for a more intense and close cooperation, the elaboration of analysis, positions and demands, for mass activity to enlighten our societies and for the militant mobilization of our peoples. AKEL, within its possibilities, will support actions and work in this direction, which must have as a fundamental demand the ultimate goal for the final dissolution of NATO.
NATO has no reason to exist. For as long as it exists, humanity will continue to suffer from unjust imperialist wars and the peoples will continue to pay a heavy price for freedom with their blood. Together, through our struggles, we must and can stop them.
Intervention of Georgos Koukoumas, member of the C.C. of AKEL and the International Relations Department, at the Hearing “Palestine: What’s Next?” organized by GUE/NGL2015-07-1
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