America

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

The Black Sea Maritime Security Initiative

You remember the Black Sea, right? Up there above Turkey?


Things are happening there in Maritime Security as reported here. Our old ally Turkey is taking a lead role:
The Black Sea Naval Cooperation Task Group (BLACKSEAFOR), a regional maritime security initiative started by Turkey in 2001, was activated August 14-27. With world attention devoted to Iraq and the Middle East, important developments in the nearby Black Sea region involving energy politics, frozen conflicts, and new regional security initiatives have gone mostly unnoticed. The Black Sea is a stable but complex basin with vast economic resources and strategic importance as a medium for energy transportation...BLACKSEAFOR, which has been activated for the fifth time, this year under Romanian leadership, has successfully provided a security system in the Black Sea. Since 2004, BLACKSEAFOR members have held meetings aimed at transforming the organization to better cope with asymmetric risks and other illegal activities at sea. The ultimate aim is to turn BLACKSEAFOR into a viable standing multinational maritime task force, with permanent headquarters, capable of covering maritime risks.

BLACKSEAFOR is the first operation in which Russia and NATO countries work together toward the same objective, giving, Russian and other non-NATO members a priceless experience in interoperability. This experience has made it possible for the Russian and Ukrainian navies to consider participation in other NATO operations.

Turkey also conducts a national maritime operation, Black Sea Harmony, securing sea lanes in the Black Sea in line with UN Security Council resolutions to provide support in the global war on terror. This operation is affiliated with the NATO-led Operation Active Endeavour in the Mediterranean. Russia has expressed its desire to participate in Operation Black Sea Harmony, and Turkey hopes to see other littorals join the initiative, turning it into a multinational effort. Once BLACKSEAFOR becomes operational full-time, it could take over Operation Black Sea Harmony...The Black Sea is a new energy lifeline for the West. As the bitter aftermath of the invasion of Iraq has shown, security cannot be imported; it must be provided by locals. Black Sea security should be based on the consent of the littorals, keeping lines of coordination and cooperation open with NATO and the transatlantic security structure. To this end, Operation Black Sea Harmony, under Turkey's leadership with other littoral states encouraged to join, can have an ever-increasing, complementary role alongside NATO's Operation Active Endeavour in the global war on terror.
Good for Turkey and good for the area.

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