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Norway’s position is more dangerous than during the Cold War

Norway’s security policy situation is more serious than during the Cold War, writes researcher and Lieutenant Colonel Tormod Heier in a new book.

This week Russia is conducting one of its largest military exercises in many years just off the coast of Northern Norway. Among other things, they have sent large and small warships, landings, bombers, fighter jets and an unknown number of submarines along the coast to Nordland and Troms, writes Klassekampen.

“I think we have to go far back to the Cold War before we find exercises of this magnitude. As far as we can remember, this is the biggest thing we have ever seen, at least during the last 40 years,” Defence Chief Haakon Bruun-Hanssen told NRK.

Serious situation
Scientist Tormod Heier believes the exercise is a message from Russia’s president.

“This is Putin telling Erna Solberg and NATO that Russia is not comfortable with the US becoming more militarily involved in Norway and our surrounding areas,” says Heier, who is now publishing the book “A More Dangerous Norway?”

He questions how far a small state can go in allying before the neighbour is provoked to backlash. The conclusion is that Norway has landed in a continuous upward spiral where “access to more military power through the United States does not necessarily provide more security against Russia.” Heier believes that Norway has completely relied on the US to have a credible defence in the north.

“For Norway, the security policy situation is more serious than it was during the Cold War,” says the researcher at the Norwegian Defence University College.

Getting help from the US and Canada
According to TV 2, the United States has several US P-8 Poseidon surveillance aircraft and a Canadian CP-140 patrol aircraft stationed at Andøy Air Station to keep an eye on the Russian exercise.

The channel also writes that a rebuilt American Boeing 747 aircraft landed on Andøya on Tuesday, following a flight from Frankfurt, Germany. Lieutenant Colonel Ivar Moed does not want to comment at the Armed Forces operational headquarters (FOH).

NATO help
In a new report delivered to Defence Chief Odin Johannesen on Friday, it is estimated that NATO will not rescue Norway unless there are more than 500 killed, writes Dagens Næringsliv.

“Norway can count on military support from major allies, outside the NATO framework, as long as Norway itself is actively involved in the conflict and is losing (100-500 Norwegian killed). However, NATO is less likely to enact Article Five in such a scenario,” the report said, in connection with the “Army towards 2040” project.

The analysis was compiled by researcher Asle Toje, an American professor and the American analysis company Acertas Analytics.

© NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today

Russia deploys missile system 70 km from Norway’s Vardø radar

Exercise shooting with the missiles designed to take out surface targets at a distance of up to 150 kilometres will be carried out this fall.


thebarentsobserver– It is the press service of the Russian Northern Fleet that Wednesday evening informsabout the movement of the Bal (NATO name SSC-6 or Sennight) coastal missile system from its permanent deployment location out to the Sredny Peninsula on the coast to the Barents Sea.

Sredny Peninsula is the smaller peninsula between the Pechenga Bay and Rybachny (Fisher) Peninsula, a northwestern appendix to the Kola Peninsula.

On blue-sky days, the coast of the Sredny Peninsula is visible from Vardø, the Norwegian town known for housing the Globus radar system operated by the country’s intelligence service.

The military surveillance radars in Vardø, Norway. Photo: Thomas Nilsen

The radars has long been a thorn in the side of Russia’s security relations to Norway.

In May, spokeswoman Maria Zakharova with the Foreign Ministry in Moscow said straight forward that Russia would take counter measures as a new and more modern radar currently is under construction in Vardø.

“It seems obvious to me that military preparations near Russian or any other borders cannot be ignored by our or other countries,” Zakharova said as quoted by the Barents Observer.

She continued: “We presume that we will take response measures to ensure our own security.”

Sredny Peninsula is 35 km from Grense Jakobselv, the small river forming the Norwegian-Russian land border in the north. Distance from the deployed missile system to the town of Kirkenes is 65 km.

Bal is a mobile coastal missile system put in service after 2004, although it is likely that the system now deployed is the modernized version recently presented. The missile used is the Kh-35 turbojet supersonic cruise anti-ship missile with a 145 kg warhead of which a fully loaded unit carries eight missiles for a total of 32 missiles in a salvo from the four vehicles, plus reloads for another wave.  

Although primarily aimed at targeting surface ships, the missile system can also be used against land targets.

Map: The Barents Observer / Google maps

The missile system now moved to the Sredny Peninsula in short distance from Norway and the Varanger fjord origin from the missile division of the Northern Fleet’s artillery brigade.

The Northern Fleet’s 536th Coastal Missile and Artillery Brigade, aimed at protecting the submarine forces, is based in Snezhnogorsk, west of Polyarny, and the Bal system is likely moved from there.

The press service of the Northern Fleet reports that 60 military personnel and 15 units of military hardware were involved in the move.

“On the [Sredny] peninsula the personnel of the division will work with preparation of the Bal complexes for firing at surface targets, and will conduct a missile strike against a group of conditional imitation enemy ships with imitation,” the press note reads.

The first practical shootings with the missiles will take place this fall during planned exercises of by the Northern Fleet.

Bal missile launcher vehicle. Photo: Mil.ru

The news about moving the missile system out to the coast across the fjord from the Vardø radars comes two days after the Russian navy announced a comprehensive live-shooting exercise for four dedicated areas in the Norwegian Sea outside the counties of Nordland and Troms in Northern Norway, a move strongly criticised by the Defence Ministry in Oslo.

Russia’s increased military activities in vicinity to Norwegian territory come only days after the death of the more than 30 years old landmark Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, which banned the United States and Russia from fielding land-based missiles with a range between 500 and 5,500 kilometres.

Norway’s health minister stokes controversy by saying people should be allowed to eat, smoke and drink ‘as much as they want’ as she refuses to tell the nation ‘how to live their lives’

  • Sylvi Listhaug claims she does not want to take up the role of the ‘moral police’
  • She adds smoker are made to feel like ‘pariahs’ who have to ‘hide away’ 
  • And expanding cigarette restrictions will force smokers ‘up a mountain’ 

Maily online – Norway’s newly-appointed health minister has stoked controversy after saying people should be allowed to eat, smoke and drink ‘as much as they want’.

Sylvi Listhaug, who was also elected first vice-chair of the right-wing Progress Party, claims she does not want to take up the role of the ‘moral police’ and refuses to tell people ‘how to live their lives’.

The 41-year-old, who admits to enjoying the odd cigarette, added smokers are made to ‘hide away’ when they should have ‘the right to decide for themselves’ whether or not they quit. 

Critics have hit back at Mrs Listhaug’s comments, calling her policies ‘scary’ and accusing her of setting Norway’s health back ‘many decades’.

Mrs Listhaug told the Norwegian broadcasting company NRK: ‘People should be allowed to smoke, drink and eat as much red meat they just want. People know pretty much what is healthy and what is not. 

Norway's health minister Sylvi Listhaug (pictured) has stoked controversy after saying people should be allowed to eat, smoke and drink 'as much as they want'

‘I do not plan to be a moral police and will not tell people how to live their lives, but I intend to help people get information that forms the basis for making choices.’

Mrs Listhaug went on to say smokers are made to feel like ‘pariahs’ who have to ‘hide away’.

Although she admitted smoking is ‘harmful’, the mother-of-three added the habit should be a personal choice and we should ‘respect’ those who choose not to quit.

Mrs Listhaug also rebuked a suggestion to expand Norway’s smoking ban to certain outdoor places, such as bus stops. 

Image – Norway’s health minister Sylvi Listhaug (pictured) has stoked controversy after saying people should be allowed to eat, smoke and drink ‘as much as they want’

‘Where do we end up sending these smokers?’, she said. ‘Should they have to walk in the woods, on top of a mountain or down the quay?’ 

Mrs Listhaug’s comments have been met with outrage, with some even claiming her unorthodox approach to public health could harm Norway’s progress.

Anne Lise Ryel, secretary general of Norway’s Cancer Society, told NRK: ‘It seems she has little understanding of what public health really is and what her task as minister in that area is.

‘Many will adhere to what she says. That is to say, public health is set many decades back.’ 

And personal trainer Anki Eie, who works at a gym in Drammen, called Mrs Listhaug’s comments ‘scary’, adding they will ‘break down our health’ in another interview with NRK

Mrs Listhaug is, however, planning to introduce a ‘tobacco strategy’ that targets young people who are thinking of taking up smoking. 

She went on to say she quit the habit in 2007 and only lights up ‘occasionally’ at parties. 

Mrs Listhaug then added such social gatherings are few and far between as she juggles her family and work commitments. 

The Norwegian Government has appointed Mrs Listhaug to be its Minister of Elderly and Public Health.

She will oversee the policies behind care services; public health; the promotion and prevention of both mental and physical health; social inequality in health, nutrition and food safety; alcohol, drug and tobacco prevention; and disease control. 

Mrs Listhaug served as Norway’s first Minister of Immigration and Integration from 2015-to-2018 in a specially created position during the European migrant crisis. 

She stepped down from the role in March last year after causing an uproar when she accused the opposition Labour Party of putting ‘terrorists’ rights’ before national security.

Mrs Listhaug made the comments when Labour and the Christian Democrats helped defeat a bill that would have given the state the right to strip individuals of Norwegian citizenship if they were suspected of terrorism or joining foreign militant groups. 

Johannes Bergh, head of the Norwegian national election studies program at the Institute of Social Research in Oslo, called Mrs Listhaug ‘polarising’ and ‘a more right-wing populist than other Norwegian politicians’.

Speaking of Europe’s migration crisis, Mrs Listhaug has been quoted as saying ‘the tyranny of kindness is blowing over Norwegian society like a nightmare’. 

She also announced plans in 2016 to jail migrants in Norway with ‘obviously groundless’ asylum claims for up to 72 hours to stop them escaping into the criminal underworld while their cases are being processed. 

Mrs Listhaug even claimed terror attacks in Brussels and Paris in recent years took place because France and Belgium allowed ‘ghettos’ of immigrants. She argued Norway needs a ‘tight immigration policy’ in order to avoid the same fate.

Critics have hit back at Mrs Listhaug's comments, calling her policies 'scary' and accusing her of setting Norway's health back 'many decades'

Critics have hit back at Mrs Listhaug’s comments, calling her policies ‘scary’ and accusing her of setting Norway’s health back ‘many decades’

SYLVI LISTHAUG’S MOST CONTROVERSIAL MOMENTS 

Sylvi Listhaug served as Norway’s first Minister of Immigration and Integration from 2015-to-2018 in a specially created position during the European migrant crisis. 

She stepped down from the role in March last year after causing an uproar when she accused the opposition Labour Party of putting ‘terrorists’ rights’ before national security.

Mrs Listhaug made the comments after Labour and the Christian Democrats helped defeat a bill that would have given the state the right to strip individuals of Norwegian citizenship if they were suspected of terrorism or of joining foreign militant groups. 

Johannes Bergh, head of the Norwegian national election studies program at the Institute of Social Research in Oslo, called Mrs Listhaug ‘polarising’ and ‘a more right-wing populist than other Norwegian politicians’.

Speaking of Europe’s migration crisis, Mrs Listhaug has been quoted as saying ‘the tyranny of kindness is blowing over Norwegian society like a nightmare’. 

She also announced plans in 2016 to jail migrants in Norway with ‘obviously groundless’ asylum claims for up to 72 hours to stop them escaping into the criminal underworld while their cases are being processed. 

Mrs Listhaug even claimed terror attacks in Brussels and Paris in recent years took place because France and Belgium allowed ‘ghettos’ of immigrants. She argued Norway needs a ‘tight immigration policy’ in order to avoid the same fate.

Norwegian Intelligence Service (NIS): – Russia and China increase intelligence pressure against Norway

Oslo 20190211.
Etterretningstjenesten legger frem sin Âpne vurdering, Fokus 2019, i Forsvarsdepartementets lokaler i Oslo. Sjef for Etterretningstjenesten, generalløytnant Morten Haga Lunde presenterer vurderingen.
Foto: Ole Berg-Rusten / NTB scanpix
Norwegian Intelligence Service (NIS) Morten Haga Lunde.Photo: Ole Berg-Rusten / NTB scanpix

Intelligence from Russia and China is the biggest security threat to Norway, and operations are becoming increasingly coordinated and effective, believes the NIS.

The Intelligence Threat is the most ongoing and comprehensive security challenge facing Norway and Norwegian interests. Russian and Chinese players account for the majority of the activity, and the operations are more coordinated, writes the NIS in its ungraded assessment of relevant security threats against Norway in 2019.

The goals are political and military, as well as research institutions and companies with access to high technology, they write.

They also point out that Russia and China cooperate more than before.

“The focus on the development of the military and the conflict with the West will lead to Russia turning more towards China to support infrastructure development. The military cooperation between Russia and China is also growing, they write.

In the long term, we must be prepared for a clearer Chinese presence also in our neighboring areas, the NIS continues.

Furthermore, they note that Russia is continuing its efforts to undermine political processes and increase polarization in Europe and NATO. The fact that this is sometimes revealed does not seem to affect Russian activity, according to NIS.

In addition to fake news, a growing amount of edited news sites are being established that systematically put Western societies and values in a bad light. Norway is no exception, they write.

© NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today