Newsletter: In The Name of Mars, the God of War

Training in Utqiagvik, Alaska
U.S. Soldiers assigned to 1st Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 11th Airborne Division, conduct training move in Utqiagvik, Alaska, as part of Joint Pacific Multinational Readiness Training Center 24-02. Utqiagvik (formerly known as Barrow) is the northermost city in the US. (Photo: U.S. Army Photo by Pfc. Brandon Vasquez).

Dear reader. Mars [the Norwegian name for March] is also the Roman god of war. In the High North, the month of March consists of continuous military exercises, while Putin threatens nuclear weapons. Is the Arctic preparing for war?

One thing is certain: The military activity outside Northerner's doors is more than evident as NATO Allies have deployed to participate in the Steadfast Defender exercise, which involves 90,000 personnel from 32 Allies. 

Dry asphalt, mild breezes, and heavy military vessels characterize the spring month of March. Not to mention descending paratroopers, highly visible warship convoys, and submarines that don't even try to hide. 

As Editor and Commentator Arne O. Holm puts it in this week's commentary; 

«It is not just the view of the Vestfjord, in which iron ore ships have been replaced by military vessels, that has changed. Our entire northern entitlement has been given a new rationale.” 

As we now know, Hungary said yes, and Sweden can finally become a full-fledged NATO member. 

Days before, two US Air Force B-1B Lancers landed in Northern Sweden and are now operating out of Luleå-Kallax Air Base for the first time. 

Soon, some 150 troops will conduct an over-the-pole movement from Alaska to Norway for the exercise Arctic Shock. 

It is all about regaining Arctic expertise for the US Arctic troops. That is, surviving the cold and also winning a possible war.

Greenland is also thinking about defense. 

Last week, the Government of Greenland presented its Foreign, Security, and Defense Strategy 2024 - 2033. 

At the same time as the West's allies are practicing defense and attack, the Arctic Council is opening up for more efficient cooperation, including with Russia. 

We continue to follow the development on the Iron Ore Line between Norway and Sweden closely. Only days after the opening of the Iron Ore Line, another iron ore train derailed. Swedish police do not rule out sabotage. 

In the middle of all this, Russian gas continues on its profitable path from the Russian Arctic to Europe – despite the West's sanctions. 

Read about this and more at High North News. Thank you for following us, and feel free to share the newsletter with other interested parties. 

Wishing you all a wonderful spring weekend on behalf of the editorial staff,

Trine Jonassen, Editor-in-Chief