Ron Jacobs : Turkey Plays Chicken for NATO

Turkish soldiers stand guard in Akcakale by the Turkish-Syria border. Photo by Bulent Kilic / AFP.

A page from Washington’s book:
Turkey plays chicken for NATO

They manipulated an incident into an act of war much like the U.S. used questionable incidents to attack Northern Korea in 1950 and Northern Vietnam in 1964.

By Ron Jacobs | The Rag Blog | October 9, 2012

Turkey took a page from Washington’s play book on October 4, 2012. After an errant shell landed in Turkish territory and killed a family there, the Turkish legislature authorized the Turkish military to enter foreign lands.

In other words, they manipulated an incident into an act of war much like the U.S. used questionable incidents to attack Northern Korea in 1950 and  Northern Vietnam in 1964. By passing legislation giving the Turkish military permission to enter foreign territory, Ankara declared an undeclared war on Syria. Claiming that their intention is not war, the Turkish military stepped up its alert status and prepared for war.

Of course, Turkey’s status as a NATO member brought forth a barely concealed hope from Brussels that this might finally be the entry it has been looking for since the protests against the Assad regime started looking as if they might result in that regime’s fall.

I have a sister who has been a nurse working psychiatric wards for most of the past 45 years. Although she has misgivings about the use of psychotropic drugs in many instances, she has explained that they serve a useful purpose in that they create a predictable response for staff to deal with. In other words, once the drugs take effect, the medical staff can be pretty certain how the patient will behave.

When nations go to war they operate under a similar thought process. In other words, once a nation is attacked, it will fight back or surrender. The root causes of the conflict will not be resolved, but the behavior of the attacked nation becomes more predictable.

Of course, once the dogs of war are unleashed, anything can happen. However, like the fool who makes the same mistake over and over again, war-making nations act as if the next war they enter will end as predicted.

The case of Syria is a tough one. The Assad regime is quite authoritarian and, at this point, the word “murderous” also applies. However, the opposition as it currently exists does not seem to be much better. Indeed, the increasing role of radical Islamists with an apparently reactionary agenda in the rebel forces creates a scenario where both sides in this civil war are difficult, if not impossible, to support.

The element of the resistance that seemed to express popular hopes for a democratic secular government in Syria seems to have disappeared in the car bombs and aerial bombardments that tend to increasingly characterize this conflict. From where I sit, it appears the U.S. and its alliance are arming forces (by proxy) very similar to those it armed in Afghanistan, while the nation of Syria is looking more and more like Iraq circa 2007, when sectarian conflict split that nation into many small and dangerous combat zones. Neither aspect of this scenario is a positive.

As for NATO and Israel, it is important to remember that Syria has been one of several nations in the Middle East that Tel Aviv and DC have wanted to control for decades. Always a proponent of pan-Arabism and Arab nationalism, the Damascus government has been a constant threat to Israel’s dream of a Greater Israel and, simultaneously, to Washington’s plans to dominate the region.

A co-founder of the United Arab Republic and now Tehran’s greatest ally in the Middle East, Damascus has long been on Washington’s short list of nations needing a reformat into a friendlier state. Tel Aviv, of course, would rather just take over the whole place and make it their own as part of their dream of lebensraum for the Jewish people.

Since the protests turned bloody in Syria last winter, the western public has been shown numerous videos and images of mutilated bodies and destroyed dwellings. The historical context and the nature of the forces involved have been minimized while the human toll has been magnified.

Much of this destruction was caused by the Syrian military and associated paramilitaries. As the conflict turned into civil war, much of it has also been caused by the rebel forces. The images of the former were usually provided by freelance sources that often have an agenda to push — that agenda involves the entry of foreign forces to support their side.

This is where the west comes in. It is also where the recent threat of military intervention from Ankara comes in. If Turkey does enter the fray, NATO will not be far behind. As part of the alliance, Ankara knows this and counts on it. Its opposition to the Assad regime has been present since the beginning of the resistance and the resistance’s turn to military conflict has been supported and propped up every inch of the way by Ankara.

There is no easy answer to the conflict in Syria. However, turning it into a regional war is definitely not the right one.

[Rag Blog contributor Ron Jacobs is the author of The Way The Wind Blew: A History of the Weather Underground. He recently released a collection of essays and musings titled Tripping Through the American Night. His latest novel, The Co-Conspirator’s Tale, is published by Fomite. His first novel, Short Order Frame Up, is published by Mainstay Press. Ron Jacobs can be reached at Find more articles by Ron Jacobs on The Rag Blog.]

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3 Responses to Ron Jacobs : Turkey Plays Chicken for NATO

  1. Anonymous says:

    I take a page from the Ron Paul book on foreign intervention. Dont. We never seem to learn the folly of “arming” the opposition or intervening for “humanitarian” reasons.

    – Extremist2TheDHS.

  2. Steve in Oakland says:

    The “news” we get spins every act of violence as being by the Syrian army, when we should know that that is a tried and true imperialist propaganda ploy. The “Free Syrian Army” is not free, unless you consider murder and mayhem to be the new normal of freedom; it’s not Syrian, with most of the vigilantes being from other countries; and it’s not really an army, but is a band of mercenaries who are often fighting with each other over the spoils of war. To pretend the two sides are equally bad is to play into the hands of the NATO imperialists.

  3. Anonymous says:

    “like the U.S. used questionable incidents to attack Northern Korea in 1950” WTF? There were real S. Korean provocations, but the US attacked N Korea only after the N Koreans had overrun nearly all of S Korea. The N Koreans may have even been justified as Bruce Cummings makes clear in his history, but describing the almost total conquest of S Korea as a “questionable incident” is absurd.

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