Thursday, June 28, 2012

World War III

By Carl 

You think I speak in hyperbole. I do not.

Turkey deployed anti-aircraft guns and other weapons alongside its border with Syria, state television reported on Thursday, days after the downing of a Turkish military jet by Syrian forces heightened the tensions between the two countries.

A small convoy of military trucks, towing anti-aircraft guns, entered into a military outpost in the border village of Guvecci, which faces a Syrian military outpost across the border and where Syrian forces and rebels clashed in recent months, TRT television footage showed.

Several anti-aircraft guns have also been deployed elsewhere alongside the border. Some trucks were seen carrying self-propelled multiple rocket launchers, TRT footage showed. 

As a member of NATO, Turkey has called on that group to stand with it. The NATO charter is pretty explicit: an attack on one member shall be deemed an attack on the alliance. Turkey's complaint is kind of small beer, since it's fighter strayed into Syrian airspace, except...

Except based on current foreign policy, there's strategic advantage for NATO (or at least the United States) to take an active role in Turkey. By occupying Syria, the US would have a clear path of friendly-ish nations to roll tanks through: Israel, Jordan/Syria, and Iraq.

Right to the Iranian border. Remember the first rule of chess: to control your enemy and win, you must control the middle of the board. If Syria were to fall into NATO hands, this would put Iran in an island surrounded by western forces, save for the north and nations like Kazhakstan and Uzbekistan.

Check. And if Iran does actually have nuclear weapons, there really is no telling what's next. Heck, even if they don't, Pakistan (nominally our ally) does and it's a mere hop, skip, and a smuggle to get them.

The distractions within the nation, the bombings of a Syrian television station and today's Justice Ministry bombings are indicative that the Assad regime does not have clear control. This will embolden the rebels to be sure, and that Turkey is on the border will give them a refuge in the north. In exchange, Turkey will have an antagonistic position that could come into play if they sortie across the border, then claim Syrian forces attacked them on native soil.

It doesn't matter what the facts will be, the "truth" will be that Turkey's sovereignty was assaulted.

The key development here, the one thing that could prevent now a crisis later, is a meeting in Geneva this weekend among UN special envoy Kofi Annan, the Syrian representative to the Arab League, and the heads of the Five Families, I mean, leaders from the five permanent members of the UN Security Council.

But I doubt it. I have serious reservations that this game of chess is anywhere near ended. Russia and China must see the threat to Iran, and given their previous support for that corrupt regime, will give it aid and comfort now. I'm not sure what would impel them to give Ahmadinejad a divorce, but one can pretty much see it's not Syria.

(Cross-posted to Simply Left Behind.)

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