The Zeitgeist Politics

Global Politics with a focus on The Middle East

Turkey & NATO are not to be trifled with

with 4 comments

NATO

Turkey has called an emergency meeting of NATO to discuss the attack on the aid flotilla, JPost reports (does anyone else find it funny that this was posted under Arts & Entertainment on JPost?):

NATO called Tuesday for a “prompt, impartial, credible and transparent investigation” into Monday’s Israeli raid on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla that ended with the deaths of nine activists.

Representatives of the alliance’s 28 nations met on Tuesday to discuss the incident. Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen demanded the immediate release of the detained civilians and ships held by Israel.

Turkey called the emergency meeting, but its representative did not demand that the alliance take collective action against Israel, said a diplomat who attended the talks.

This is important because Turkey could have tried to invoke Article 5 of the NATO Treaty, this is because as mentioned in this interpretation of maritime law, “to attack a foreign flagged vessel in international waters is illegal. It is not piracy, as the Israeli vessels carried a military commission. It is rather an act of illegal warfare.”

NATO’s calls for an impartial investigation follow the UN Security Council’s calls for one earlier in the day.

It should be noted that Turkey also threatened yesterday to send more boats but under the escort of the Turkish Navy. If Turkey were to actually make good on this particular threat then we the stakes would be raised dramatically. Israel would either have to face an embarrassing backdown on their blockade or attack Turkish ships, which would precipitate a full-scale war and an invocation of NATO Article 5. If such a thing were to actually eventuate, NATO, of course, would not participate in an Israeli-Turkish war but its refusal to do so would also deal the organisation a death blow.

There’s a great little analysis of a potential war between Israel and Turkey over on Newshoggers, but, as the writer Dave Anderson himself concludes, such a war makes no sense for anyone right now. Moreover, I’m sure that Obama will talk Turkey out of doing anything even remotely provocative, given how desperately his administration is still trying to grasp at the straws of indirect peace talks.

There are some very interesting thoughts on Turkish-Israeli relations here:

But this attack really puts the Turkish generals in a box. They had been the faction largely driving the Entente. And now the AKP can continue to implement its soft-shoe version of Islamism in Turkey–as the secularists don’t have an ultimate trump card in the military. This has long been a project of the AKP, to chip away at the strength of the generals.

Turkey will probably draw closer to Syria–after all it doesn’t need Israel to pressure Syria to kick out the Kurds as it did back in the late 90s. This benefits Syria, Hamas and Hezbollah. I’d also say much of this is largely a consequence of our invasion of Iraq, too.

So, in this action Israel has done the following: put America and NATO in a very difficult place. It’s emboldened the Islamists in Turkey and weakened the generals in Ankara. It has also forced Turkey closer to Syria.

Quite the strategic win for the Israeli strategic genius, ain’t it?

The author makes a very good point. Turkish-Israeli relations have been pretty messed up since Cast Lead and this is pretty much going to destroy them altogether for a long time. Apart from personal ideology, Erdogan will be under far too much domestic pressure to even consider any positive moves towards Israel. As I’ve mentioned in a previous post, Israel should beware. Turkey is not to be trifled with.

Bonus: MV Rachel Corrie, an Irish ship, is heading towards Gaza. The Irish Foreign Minister has requested that Israel allow it through the blockade. Israel has said that it will also intercept it. Will it also be raided? Presumably the occupants of the ship, five Irish and five Malaysian nationals are prepared for such an eventuality. Let’s hope there is no violence but watch closely what Israel does. Will it again pre-empt the ships arrival by raiding it in international waters? Will it send commandos again? And will an attack on an Irish vessel precipitate a broadening of the already extensive diplomatic crisis?

Written by alexlobov

June 2, 2010 at 4:04 am

4 Responses

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  1. Why the enthusiasm for more confrontations? Why are these so-called humanitarian missions refusing to be inspected for weapons? How would lifting the embargo – and the immediate importation of military weapons into Gaza and the Hamas jihadists – improve the prospects for peace? What’s progressive about the Islamic imperialist agenda?

    Eric

    June 2, 2010 at 6:17 pm

    • Thanks for your thoughts, Eric. I’d like to clarify first, I’m not at all enthusiastic about military confrontations and I’m sorry if I gave that impression, it was not intended. Regarding your other questions, I’m not interested in engaging in a long argument in blog comments about the embargo and Gaza when we clearly come from two radically different perspectives.

      alexlobov

      June 2, 2010 at 6:45 pm

  2. I don’t read it as an enthusiasm for confrontation, rather as an expose of Israel’s continuos illegal actions, contempt for world’s opinions and charters and finally uncurbed arrogance.

    It is time Israel realised that it cannot bomb the Palestinians into submission.

    Time for Israel to act as a respectful member of the world community. Because if it doesn’t, the world will have to teach it.

    Phillipe

    June 2, 2010 at 8:49 pm

    • Hey Phillipe, thanks for stopping by! I agree that the way Israel is currently going about its business is disgraceful and isn’t helping anyone, especially itself. I also agree that the world needs to take action against Israel, however I really hope it isn’t of a violent nature.

      alexlobov

      June 3, 2010 at 1:59 am


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