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April 26, 2015 / 7 Iyar, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘NATO’

J.E. Dyer: Russia, Iran Standing Off from Obama Showcase Events

Monday, May 28th, 2012

Vladimir Putin decided not to attend the recent NATO summit in Chicago – although probably not out of petty pique at our president.  Regardless of his sentiments about Obama, he would have attended if he had thought it was in his interest to do so.   Now Iran has abruptly ended the scheduled talks on her nuclear program in Baghdad, affirming no interest in continuing this round without some lightening of sanctions up front.  The next round of talks is to be held in Moscow.

If they occur, as promised, in June – before the US election – the most likely outcome is more stalling and no progress.  But that is not because there has been no prior interest on the Western side in making big concessions in order to get an agreement.  What Iran is doing actually amounts to avoiding being presented with a favorable agreement.  The abruptness of the talks’ end indicates mostly that Iran doesn’t see it as advantageous to stick around and talk anymore, in spite of – or perhaps because of – the P5+1’s anxiety to negotiate a good deal for Iran.

As for Putin, his proximate reason for not attending the summit is obvious.  Missile defense was – as always, over the last decade – to be one of the two main topics in Chicago, the other being Afghanistan.  The collective NATO missile defense system for Europe was to be declared operational at the summit.  It was.  Russia’s main bone of contention with NATO is missile defense.  Although Russia has been invited to be a missile defense partner with NATO, and has participated in extensive talks on the matter, there remain fundamental disagreements between the parties over how to operate and orient a collective missile defense.

Putin had no intention of being present for photo ops under a “NATO missile defense” banner – in spite of President Obama’s assurance to Dmitry Medvedev that the US would be more “flexible” about the whole thing after our November election.  Putin’s reluctance is partly because Obama’s NATO allies have a different view.  They aren’t interested at all in more “flexibility”:  the Europeans, in their own special way, have actually been quite stringent on the need for missile defense, determined to go ahead with it for political purposes if not for the capabilities of the inaugural system.  The initial capability relies entirely on US Aegis warships being stationed in the Black Sea or Eastern Mediterranean, along with an early warning radar in Turkey whose data the Turks – against NATO policy – don’t want shared with Israel.  The vulnerabilities of this initial set-up are obvious, but for the Europeans, the point is the show of commitment.

Writing at NRO earlier this month, Daniel Vajdic assessed Putin as increasingly detached from reality.  I’m not so sure it’s Putin who’s in that condition.

If Greece leaves the Eurozone rather than staying in and swallowing some very nasty-tasting medicine, who will come to Greece’s aid?  The door will be open to Russia, in a way it wasn’t in 2010 when reports abounded that Russia offered Greece a 25-billion-Euro loan, but was rejected by the Greek leadership due to opposition from the EU and US.  Russia is already keeping Cyprus afloat, and has for centuries had a national interest in maintaining the principal geopolitical influence over Southeastern Europe.  Russia and Greece have begun a significant naval rapprochement – but that’s not the only rapprochement going on between the two Orthodox Christian nations.  Russian businessmen promised in September 2011 that Russian investment in Greece would be increasing dramatically, a credible promise given the level of investment Russia (and China) already had in Greek infrastructure.  As the Eurozone crisis rages – literally, at this exact moment – the second Greece-Russia Investment Conference is unfolding on the island of Evia.

The leaders of Europe have a problem.  If they effectively force Greece out – a move that would be understandable from a fiscal and monetary perspective – they will have to outbid Russia if they want to turn around and buy Greece back.  The implications for NATO are as uncertain as anything else.  A NATO missile defense, opposed by Russia and relying on the nations and waterways around Greece?  America has to be acting like the alpha dog to make that one work.

Israel Excluded from NATO Summit at Turkey’s Request; Pakistan Invited

Wednesday, May 16th, 2012

While Pakistan has been invited to the NATO summit in Chicago next week, Israel has been left out, at the request of Turkey, according to Reuters.

Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari has not yet responded to the invitation.

Israel, NATO’s most dependable Middle East ally in the war against terrorism, did not even an invitation to the summit, because, as a NATO officials stated, Israel does not partake in primary NATO missions.

Other reports suggest that Israel was not invited because NATO member Turkey’s objection.

A GOP foreign policy analyst condemned NATO officials for mistreating Israel while inviting Pakistan, which has been a haven for terrorists in recent years.

“It’s a sad day when the same military alliance formed out of the ashes of the Holocaust, which pledged to the world ‘Never Again,’ shuns the democratic State of Israel while welcoming a nation that supports terrorist groups responsible for murdering NATO soldiers,” said the source. “With a single phone call, President Obama could make sure Israel gets an invitation to attend the NATO summit in Chicago as a NATO partner observer. His unwillingness to stand up for Israel inside the NATO council is very telling.”

Turkey Blocks Israel from NATO Summit Over Mavi Marmara

Tuesday, April 24th, 2012

Turkey will block Israel from participating in a NATO summit next month because the Jewish state has not responded for the killing of Turks who attacked Israeli naval officers boarding the illegal flotilla Mavi Marmara in May 2010.

Nine Turks were killed by naval commandos, when they attacked and began beating the soldiers as they attempted to board the ship to prevent it from illegally entering Israel’s waters as part of a protest effort to reach Gaza. Seven Israeli soldiers were injured by the attacking demonstrators.

Mavi Marmara Activists Prepare Weapons for IDF Embarkation

Since then, relations between Turkey and Israel have rapidly declined, with Turkey expelling the Israeli envoy and discontinuing military cooperation.

Turkey has demanded an official apology for the incident, as well as financial compensation.

A Turkish official told Reuters that while Israel is a member of the NATO alliance, “we deem it not appropriate for Israel to be around,” until it concedes to Turkish demands.

Turkey Blocking Israel’s Participation in NATO Chicago Summit

Monday, April 23rd, 2012

Turkey blocked the participation of Israel in next month’s NATO Summit in Chicago, a Turkish newspaper reported.

Turkey’s Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu vetoed Israel’s participation during a NATO foreign ministers meeting last week in Brussels, the Hurriyet Daily News reported Monday.

“There will be no Israeli presence at the NATO meeting unless they issue a formal apology and pay compensation for the Turkish citizens their commandos killed in international waters,” a senior Turkish official told Hurriyet, referring to the deaths of nine Turkish citizens during an Israeli naval commando raid on the Turkish ship the Mavi Marmara as it attempted to break Israeli’s naval blockade of the Gaza Strip in May 2010.

“Those countries who wish to see normalization in ties between Turkey and Israel should advise Israel to apologize and to compensate the killing of Turks in international waters,” the official told the news service.

Israel, as well as other countries including Egypt, Mauritania, Algeria and Morocco, is a member of the Mediterranean Dialogue, a NATO outreach program.

Turkey has previously vetoed Israeli attempts to participate more fully in NATO. It vetoed an Israeli request to open an office at NATO headquarters and its participation in some Mediterranean Dialogue group activities, according to Hurriyet.

“You are talking about being partners and partnership values. But partners, first of everything, should act like partners, so that we’ll treat them accordingly,” Davutoglu said during last week’s NATO meeting, according to Hurriyet.

Afghanistan Burns

Wednesday, February 29th, 2012

The more than weeklong series of violent demonstrations and attacks in Afghanistan, which came in response to the burning by U.S. military personnel of some copies of the Koran, is eerily reminiscent of the 1968 Tet Offensive that foreshadowed the collapse of the U.S. military position in Vietnam. The violence in Afghanistan has included the shooting deaths of two U.S. officers inside the Interior Ministry in Kabul and the wounding of several others in a grenade attack on an American military base.

No one with the exception of the rioters seems to think the burnings were intended as an act of disrespect. Rather, they were an effort by American military authorities to destroy documents containing secret codes penciled in by incarcerated terrorists as a means of communicating among themselves. And while many have criticized President Obama for apologizing to the people of Afghanistan, it can hardly be argued that it would somehow be in U.S. interests for the American military to even appear to have disrespected the religious culture of the host country.

Yet all things considered, the reaction in Afghanistan has, by any measure, not only been over the top but also extremely revealing.

We are now more than ten years into America’s invasion of Afghanistan, which was designed to rout the Taliban who had harbored Al Qaeda. The fighting has resulted in thousands of American and NATO deaths and casualties as well as billions of dollars spent. It would appear, however, that little has been accomplished in terms of American goals, with the Taliban still a formidable military and popular force in the country.

Nevertheless, declaring impending victory, the Obama administration many months ago announced plans for a military withdrawal and for turning over responsibility for securing Afghanistan against Taliban insurgencies. But not only does it now appear the Taliban can attack American and NATO forces at will, the widespread popular ferment over the Koran burnings demonstrates we have not come very far in gaining the respect of the people of Afghanistan or in moving Afghanistan out of the 10th century and into democratic nation-building mode.

Nor is the problem reflected purely in terms of rank-and-file Afghans. In response to the widespread attacks, the U.S. and its allies removed hundreds of military and civilian advisers in Kabul and across Afghanistan, which can only be seen as a signal that the international community is fast losing faith in President Karzai. Not only were the attacks an eye-opener with respect to his capacity to control his country, he did not endear himself to his ostensible allies in his news conference last Sunday.

Remarkably, he did not mention the U.S. deaths and casualties in his opening statement, focusing almost exclusively on the burning of the Korans. It was only when he was asked about the deaths by a reporter that he expressed his condolences, but even then pointedly refrained from apologizing. Coming after President Obama’s apology for what was at worst a misunderstanding, this will not go down well with the United States as it contemplates its future relations with Afghanistan.

In the larger sense, the Afghan experience only reinforces the lesson of Vietnam that military power alone, even of the overwhelming sort possessed by the United States, can no longer determine the course of another country’s history in the face of nationalism, ingrained sectarianism, and a lack of democratic tradition.

The idea that a lone superpower like the United States can use its power internationally in the long term, beyond putting out brushfires, no longer has currency. As the concept of the “Arab Spring” spreads, the further loss of dictators whom the U.S. could at least work with will contribute to increased international instability.

While the U.S. will still be able to maintain a key military presence around the world to maintain its strategic interests, it will no longer be seen as able to insinuate itself into ongoing local conflicts, particularly when those conflicts feature locals pursuing their own agendas and acting as surrogates for others.

Turkey Condemns Rick Perry’s “Islamic terrorist” Comment

Wednesday, January 18th, 2012

Turkey condemned comments made by Republican presidential hopeful Rick Perry on Monday in which he said that the country is being ruled by “Islamic terrorists.”

“We strongly condemn the unfounded and inappropriate allegations expressed yesterday evening about our country during a debate held in South Carolina by Texas Governor Rick Perry …,” a Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman said on Tuesday.

Perry is quoted as saying: “Obviously when you have a country that is being ruled by what many would perceive to be Islamic terrorists, when you start seeing that sort of activity against their own citizens, then yes – not only is it time for us to have a conversation about whether or not they belong in NATO, but it’s time for the United States, when we look at their foreign aid, to go to zero with it.”

Russia Expresses Solidarity With Iran

Sunday, January 15th, 2012

In a veiled threat to Western powers, a Russian diplomat implied that an attack on Iran would be considered an attack on Russia.

“Iran is our neighbor,” Russian ambassador to NATO Dmitry Rogozin said in Brussels on Friday. “And if Iran is involved in any military action, it’s a direct threat to our security.”

 

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/russia-expresses-solidarity-with-iran/2012/01/15/

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