Discussing what's right till there's nothing left.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Turkey: Our Lone Islamic Ally?

The linked article implies Turkey is so offended by the US Congress' vote to call the Armenian genocide a genocide that they will now back Iran in its dispute over nuclear weapons development. So much for Obama restoring the US' reputation in the world.

Turkey has long been considered an ally in the Islamic world, a so-called secular state with modern leaning tendencies. But beneath the surface lies an uneasy truth. Turkey is closer to the terror supporting states of Islam than to the west.

Indeed there was a little covered pivot point in relations with the former Ottomans at the outset of the Iraq invasion. Many have forgotten the brilliant invasion plan devised by Donald Rumsfeld and the military chiefs. There would be a three pronged pincer attack with Baghdad in the middle. The Marines and special forces would attack from the west where they had been positioned well before the official invasion. The 3rd Infantry Division would deploy from Kuwait in the south and march northward. And the 4th Infantry Division would meet them both as they descended from Turkey in the north. There would be no escape routes for dictators or their foreign enablers from Russia and China.

Kuwait's participation was a sure thing. Their gratitude for their liberation from Saddam Hussein's 1990 invasion ensured complete cooperation. It was up to Secretary of State Colin Powell to secure Turkey's approval to offload and deploy the 4th ID. Turkey it was assumed would be more than cooperative as they would be offered a massive influx of foreign aid and support for their entry into the EU common market. They also were a NATO member and it was assumed they would want to show their loyalty to the alliance. The US would also suppress Kurdish unrest and cross border raids.

But in perhaps the greatest diplomatic defeat in history, Powell failed to convince the Turks that allowing the US to offload and deploy on their soil was in their best interest.

The result was disastrous. While Powell and Rumsfeld and Co. tried to paint a rosy face on the debacle, the lack of a Northern invasion allowed many of Saddam Hussein's government and military to escape to Syria and Iran where they would evade capture and plan the insurgency that cost countless Iraqi and coalition lives over the next several years. Turkey, seeing the weakness and distraction of the forces in the Kurdish area mounted many cross border raids into Iraq. Documents detailing foreign involvement in breaking UN sanctions and in weapons programs were spirited out of the country hopelessly damaging US prestige and credibility.

And now Turkey is upset at the US over the genocide resolution? So much so that they're willing to set aside ancient and serious animosities with the Persians?

I think its time to exert a substantial amount of pressure on the Turks to remind them of their place in the modern world. They have a choice to make. They can continue to feign secularism and participate in the benefits of the world economy or they can join Iran in isolation and fall victim to the extremists that up to now they have successfully kept in check.

Congress was right to call the genocide for what it was. And to view Turkey as little more than an historical footnote, the seat of a once vast and aggressive Islamic empire.

Ally? I don't think so.

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