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Monday, April 27, 2009

NATO member holding military exercise with Syria

Israel Radio reported this morning that NATO member and Obama favorite Turkey is holding three days of military exercises with Bashar al-Assad's regime in Syria. As of now, none of Israel's mainstream media websites believe this story is newsworthy (they are silent about it), but DEBKA is reporting it.
The joint Turkish-Syrian tank and armored infantry exercise backed by air power begins across the Turkish-Syrian border Monday, April 27, and lasts three days.

DEBKAfile's military sources stress that it is the first joint military maneuver any NATO member, including Turkey, has ever carried out with Syria. It appears to have received a nod from the Obama administration and another first: Never before has an important NATO power staged a joint exercise with any Arab army.

Ankara's decision to launch the drill on the day Israeli commemorates its war dead - in league with Iran's leading ally - is a measure of how far Turkey's longstanding strategic pact with the Jewish state has fallen by the wayside of recent changes.

Washington's approval underscores its new policy of boosting the strength of the Syrian army as partner in a strong a three-way military coalition with Turkey and Lebanon.

Ankara made its announcement while US secretary of state Hillary Clinton was on a short visit to Beirut.
It goes without saying that no one asked Israel's opinion about this 'exercise.' But for those of you who envisioned NATO troops eventually acting as a 'peace-keeping' force in Judea and Samaria (most of whom probably find this blog too right-wing for their tastes, but many Israelis do support that idea), do you really want Turkish troops sitting within Kassam range of our 'borders'?
According to the statement from Ankara, the joint exercise "aims to boost friendship, cooperation and trust between Turkish and Syrian land forces and to increase the capability of border troops to train and work together."

In recent weeks, too many developments are closing in too fast and too dangerously for Binyamin Netanyahu to put the whole can of worms on hold until he has a chance to figure out his policies and talk to Barack Obama in the coming month. The dynamic on the ground will be in full flight by then. Too late, the Israeli prime minister will find the security situation running out of his control. Turning back the clock will be hopeless and he will find himself fed some unpalatable accomplished facts.
Netanyahu is scheduled to meet with Obama around May 18 or 19.

What could go wrong?


Defense Minister Ehud Barak has commented about this story at a memorial service for fallen soldiers (Israel's national memorial day is tomorrow).
"Today a Syrian-Turkish military maneuver is taking place, definitely a disturbing development. But I believe that the strategic relationship between Israel and Turkey will overcome Turkey's necessity to participate in this drill as well," the minister stressed.
And his basis for believing that? Sounds like wishful thinking to me. Israel's alliance with Turkey is toast - at least for the foreseeable future. You heard it here first.

P. S. I wonder if Turkey is showing the Syrians all their American-supplied weapons.


At 11:41 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

What was that again about the poll that said Israelis should trust NATO to protect them in the event of a West Bank withdrawal?

What could go wrong, indeed.

At 1:00 PM, Blogger Hutzpan said...

"Never before has an important NATO power staged a joint exercise with any Arab army."

What about USA joint exercises with Egyptian army or with Gulf countries? Same about UK...

At 5:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think the quote should have read like this; "Never before has an important NATO power staged a joint exercise with a Soviet Arab Satalite Army."


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