Dialogue of the deaf between Vilnius and Warsaw

Outsiders find the polish-lithuanian spat the most incomprehensible in europe. How come two countries with so much common history and so many common interests get on so badly? Is it just the appalling personal chemistry between some senior officials? Or is it, absurdly, about spelling? Poles in Lithuania want to spell their names using letters like ł and ę in official documents. (We can't use them, or most other diacritics, in the print edition of the Economist because our typeface doesn't have those characters). READ MORE

Permanent Status Sought for NATO’s Baltic Air-Policing Mission

By Vladimir Socor

Discussions are ongoing in NATO about prolonging the air-policing mission over Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. The mission’s prolongation will necessitate a decision at NATO’s summit in May in Chicago. Resource constraints and political considerations seem to complicate that decision unnecessarily. READ MORE

Syria, Turkey and military intervention

By Nİhat Alİ Özcan

The changing nature of the clashes indicates Syria is drifting into a civil war. Long-lasting fights mean more pain for Syrian people. However, without foreign intervention, regime change and a solution seem difficult. READ MORE

Center for Energy Security to Be Recognized this Year

Lithuania supports the principle of discreet defense of NATO and speeds up partners to grant accreditation to the Alliance Center of Energy Security in Vilnius. The Heads of NATO promise that the Center shall be recognized already this year, LTV reports. READ MORE

NATO-sponsored project to help secure dangerous munitions in Tajikistan

Fifteen years after the end of a civil war, Tajikistan is left with thousands of tonnes of munitions insecurely stored in makeshift storage sites across the country. Aside from the many known munitions caches, several more lie undiscovered, posing a major security threat to the Tajik people. A Partnership Trust Fund project, officially launched on 31 January, will soon help Tajikistan to counter this threat. READ MORE

Pentagon denies report on base plans in Turkey

As the US declared its 2013 defense budget, the Wall Street Journal reports that the Obama administration was preparing to create special-operations bases in Turkey. The claim was denied by the Pentagon and not confirmed by Ankara READ MORE

The Secretary General’s Annual Report 2011


On 26 January, Anders Fogh Rasmussen launched the first ever ‘Annual Report’, which gives a brief overview of NATO’s principal achievements and challenges in 2011. This assessment of Alliance activities focuses on four areas: NATO operations, emerging security challenges, the modernization of NATO – its structures and capabilities - as well as NATO’s growing partnerships. These areas are examined against the backdrop of the financial crisis and are preceded by a foreword from the Secretary General. READ MORE

Iran crisis worries Armenia

By Aschot Gasasjan, Markian Ostaptschuk

For Armenia, Iran is de facto the sole connection to the outside world. The transport routes through other neighboring countries are blocked. Yerevan fears isolation in case of a military conflict in the Gulf. READ MORE

Working towards transition in Afghanistan


Ambassador Simon Gass is NATO’s Senior Civilian Representative to Afghanistan. In an interview he talks about the priorities for 2012 and highlighted a number of different issues. READ MORE