20 February 2005
Will NATO survive Bush?
First the alliance was employed to intervene with Security Council approval in the Bosnian conflict, leading people to suggest that NATO could become the Security Council's enforcement agency. However, this was a one time incident, and NATO's descent into lawlessness by its illegal (military aggression without the sanction of the Security Council) aggression against Yugoslavia in the Kosovo crisis has undermined any possibility that NATO could be universally accepted as a benevolent enforcement service for the Security Council.
Further, NATO has been used as both a "carrot" and a "stick" for various American and West European interests. For example, the "carrot" of NATO membership has been successfully used as a means of wooing East European countries away from the Russian sphere of influence and into the US/EU one. The threat of moving NATO headquarters from Belgium was successfully used as a "stick" by the United States to coerce the Belgian judiciary into overturning its war crimes law after Israeli Prime Minister General Sharon was indicted for the Sabra & Shatilla massacres in Lebanon.
Thus NATO does still have its uses though none of them are consistent with the alliance's ostensible purpose. In that all NATO operations require the approval of all NATO members, and Bush's foreign policy has successfully alienated a good portion of NATO through his military adventurism, NATO may well join the thousands of Iraqi and Afghans thus far killed as casualties of Bush's imperialist vision of global domination.
One good illustration of this trend is Turkey. Turkey is a full NATO member and has played a fundamental and vital role in a number of operations, including the first Iraq war, the NATO intervention in Bosnia, and the illegal NATO aggression against Yugoslav Kosovo as well as the US invasion of Afghanistan. However, in the face of Bush's illegal aggression against Iraq, the Turks balked, denying the use of Turkish airspace and bases to further Bush's quest for lootable oil and geopolitical domination.
As the US occupation of Iraq has continued, the only significant element of the Iraqi population to actively support our occupation and various installed puppet regimes have been the Kurds. Most of the Iraqi collaborators, i.e. the "Iraqi defense forces" & "Iraqi police", have been Kurds. Thus, in order to maintain this small degree of support, theUS has had to continue to defend Kurdish autonomy, and this in turn has led to a stronger Kurdish push for independence. During the recent "Iraqi" election farce, the Kurdish parties organized an independence referendum at all the polling places in the Kurdish areas, the result of which was a vast majority of Kurds demanding their own state.
The United States - the controlling power in occupied Iraq - is opposed to the creation of an independent Kurdish state because then their most avid collaborators in Iraq would leave and focus on their own state as opposed to administrating Iraq for us and whatever puppet regime we opt to install. However, at the same time, we have to keep the Kurds happy, as we do not want to lose their active support and collaboration. After all, if the Kurds were to join the rest of Iraq in resisting the US occupation, not only would our most loyal collaborationist force be lost, but many more U.S. troops would be needed to occupy the north.
As a result, it seems likely that the U.S. will stall on the issue of a free Kurdistan for as long as it can, and once this option is gone will propose a very slow "transitional" process for Kurdish independence.
For the Turks however, none of this acceptable. Most of Kurdistan falls within Turkey and even the existing "Kurdish autonomous area" imposed by the United States has been viewed as a dire threat to Turkey's territorial integrity as this area has become a safe haven for Kurdish separatists to propagate their cause in Turkish Kurdistan. Turkey has even said clearly that any moves in the direction of a sovereign Kurdish state - which would automatically have a strong territorial claim on much of eastern Turkey - would be opposed by the Turkish government and could result in Turkish intervention in Kurdish Iraq.
Despite the silly nonsense about "sovereign Iraq", the fact remains that the United States remains the occupying power in Iraq and that the state lacks any pretense to actual sovereignty. Nevertheless, due to this farce that the US has created, a Turkish invasion of northern Iraq to suppress the Kurds would ostensibly purely an Iraqi-Turkish affair. That being said, of course there can be no doubt that such an act would in fact be a U.S.-Turkish affair, but due to Bush's feeble attempts deny our occupation this would not - officially - be the case meaning that a Turkish invasion of northern Iraq would not technically be a matter of U.S. concern.
In result, we have the following article that seemingly points out a military build-up between two fellow NATO members - Turkey and the United States.
'US Discreetly Reinforcing N. Iraq Military Bases'
US military bases have been discreetly reinforced in the Kerkuk (Kirkuk) region against the possibility that Turkey might intervene militarily if Kurds take control of the city.
The article also touched upon Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's statements that Turkey will not stay quiet about the developments in Kirkuk and noted that some nationalists in Turkey still regard Kirkuk as Turkish territory. Tisdall quoted a Turkish diplomat who said: "Kirkuk is the number one security issue and public concern right now. Kirkuk is a potential powder keg. For us it has special status. It is like Jerusalem. It belongs to all the people. We do not want to intervene in Iraq, but we have red lines: Kirkuk and attacks on ethnic minorities."
"Poll success fuels Turkish fears over Kurdish independence" http://www.guardian.co.uk/worldbriefing/story/0,15205,1414959,00.html
With domestic pressure increasing on Turkey's prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, ministers have hinted at renewed military intervention. This is causing additional strains in Ankara's relations with the US.
Could NATO survive an armed conflict between its members, even if both sides used proxies - the US controlled "Iraqi military" and the Turkish controlled "Turkoman Front"? Could the U.S. continued occupation of Iraq result in the end of NATO?
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