Thursday, December 9, 2010

Holbrooke - why was John Bass Appointed as Ambassador to Georgia?

Why was Bass appointed as Ambassador to Georgia?

Memo to Holbrooke, and what else is new?


"Our challenge is to convince President Saakashvili that he risks losing the enormous goodwill generated by Georgia's extraordinary contributions in Afghanistan if he fails to combine them with a new push to deepen Georgia's democratic development. Your visit gives us a chance to thank Georgia publicly for its contribution, providing reassurance of our support, and thereby creating space for Saakashvili to feel secure enough to do the right thing", John Bass writes.


There is much history here, including and the nexus to Iraq, and it is surprising that more of this is not being openly discussed, especially in the Georgian free and open media.  Let's first take a look back and connect a few of the dots, and it will start to come together.
On June 19, 2009, President Barack Obama announced his intent to nominate John R. Bass to be Ambassador to Georgia. One only needs to look closely at the official bio released by the White House as below:

  • John Bass has led the Provincial Reconstruction Team-Baghdad, a joint team of civilians and military personnel supporting the government and citizens of Baghdad province, since July 2008.
  • Prior to serving in Iraq, Mr. Bass served as Director of the State Department Operations Center for three years, coordinating the State Department's response to crises threatening American embassies, personnel and citizens.
  • A career member of the Senior Foreign Service, Mr. Bass also has served in Italy, Belgium and Chad. In Washington, his assignments include a detail to the Office of the Vice President as Special Advisor for Europe and Eurasia, Chief of Staff to Deputy Secretary Strobe Talbott and special assistant to the Deputy Secretary for Europe and Eurasia. Other assignments at the State Department include work on Turkey, Cyprus, NATO-Russia relations and conventional arms reductions in Europe.
  • On February 22, U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan Richard Holbrooke arrived in Georgia after visiting the former Soviet states of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan to expand American and NATO military equipment transport, troop transit, over flights and other logistics for the deepening war in Afghanistan. Speaking of Kyrgyzstan, Holbrooke said, "the United States would soon renew an agreement to use the Manas airbase, where he said 35,000 US troops were transiting each month on their way in and out of Afghanistan."
  •  That is 420,000 American soldiers a year at that rate. (Agence France-Presse, March 4, 2010
Georgia as transit country for Afghanistan

 "The Marine Corps and Norway have developed a unique relationship for the storage and care of prepositioned equipment and supplies. The method of storage to support the pre-positioned assets for a MAGTF is a series of six caves in the Trondheim region of central Norway."

More dots to connect, "Norway relies on the Marine's prepositioning program as a major cornerstone of that nation's internal defence plan. With deep-water ports in close proximity to the storage caves, equipment can quickly be loaded aboard available shipping for operations in threatened parts of Europe, Africa or the Middle East. This capability was demonstrated by the supplying of equipment and ammunition in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom."

U.S. Marines will be occupied "working in the Black Sea, Balkan and Caucasus regions" to "build enduring partnerships and build the capacity of partner nation's military forces" until the end of July, by which time NATO's largest military offensive of the nearly nine-year-old Afghan war – the assault on Kandahar province – will be underway.The U.S. Sixth Fleet, headquartered in Italy, has deployed warships to the Black Sea with an increased frequency over the past few years, visiting and conducting joint drills with the navies of Bulgaria, Romania and Georgia.

  • Last autumn it was revealed that the Pentagon planned to spend $110 million dollars to upgrade and modernize a base in Bulgaria and another in Romania, two of seven such newly-acquired installations in the two nations.
  • The air, naval and infantry bases in Bulgaria and Romania have been employed for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and, although not publicly acknowledged, doubtlessly for arming Georgia before, during and since its five-day war with Russia in August of 2008.

On the eastern shore of the Black Sea, senior Georgian military officials met with the permanent representatives of all 28 NATO member states at a sitting of the NATO-Georgia Commission (created the month after Georgia's war with Russia in 2008) on May 5. A week later NATO's South Caucasus liaison officer Zbigniew Ribatski announced that the military bloc will open a representative's office in Georgia this summer. (someone that might be interested to speak with).

On May 14 the Georgian press reported the launching of a U.S.-funded military training simulation facility in the country: "The Simulation Training Centre has been formed through the framework of US-Georgia cooperation. The United States, under the ongoing collaboration, donated the Center with the cutting-edge technical equipment and developed special training programs for it." The inauguration was attended by new U.S. ambassador John Bass and NATO nations' military attaches.

There is no coincidence that John Bass was appointed based on his close connections with KBR, Halliburton and Black Water, not to mention on a local level such companies as CUBIC a) and ARCHANGEL b), two American Defence Contractors working in Georgia and the region. b)


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