Military Escalation, Dangerous Crossroads: Russia-US Confrontation in Syria?
by Prof. Michel Chossudovsky
December 15, 2012
On December 14, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta signed a Pentagon order to deploy 400 US missile troops to Turkey. According to Washington, the security of Turkey, NATO’s heavyweight, is threatened. US military personnel will to be deployed to Turkey in the coming weeks to operate two US Patriot missile batteries.
According to the Pentagon’s spokesman, George Little:
“The United States has been supporting Turkey in its efforts to defend itself,… [against Syria]
“I’m not going to go into precise locations at this time, he added, “but I wanted to let you…know that we signed that order and that we are prepared in the context of NATO to support the defense of Turkey for an unspecified period of time.”
“The purpose of this deployment is to signal very strongly that the United States, working closely with our NATO allies, is going to support the defense of Turkey, especially with potential threats emanating from Syria,” US Air Force News, December 14, 2012)
The Patriot surface-to-air interceptors are deployed to deal “with threats that come out of Syria” According to U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta. these threats “include Syrian strikes inside Turkey and fighting between the government and rebels that extends into Turkey” (CNN, December 14, 2012):
“We can’t spend a lot of time worrying about whether that pisses off Syria,” said Panetta [sic] after signing the order Friday. (Ibid, emphasis added)
In addition to the US missile deployment, Germany and the Netherlands have confirmed that they will also deploy Patriot missiles in Turkey directed against Syria.
Not mentioned in the official Pentagon statement, this buildup of patriot missile batteries is not only directed against Syria, it is intended to confront Russia’s military presence in Syria as well as its support to the development of Syria’s air defense system.
The US-NATO Led Insurgency
The Pentagon’s initiative in Turkey is part of the US-NATO-Israeli led insurgency against Syria. In recent months, this insurgency has evolved towards an unofficial (yet de facto) allied invasion characterized by the presence inside Syria of French, British, Turkish and Qatari Special Forces.
These Special Forces are “embedded” within rebel ranks. They are not only participating in the training of rebel forces, they are also involved in de facto paramilitary command and coordination, in liaison with NATO.
In other words, member states of the Atlantic Alliance through their Special Forces and intelligence operatives on the ground largely determines the nature and thrust of rebel activities. Of significance, the main fighting force directly recruited and trained by US-NATO, Saudi Arabia and Qatar is the Al Nusra Front, (see image right) an Al Qaeda affiliated militia involved in countless terrorist acts against civilians.
The Broader Middle East War
The US Patriot missile deployment in Turkey is part of a regional process of militarization which includes the establishment of US command posts and the stationing of American troops in Jordan and Israel. This regional military deployment also threatens Iran.
Moreover, US-NATO-Israeli war preparations with regard to Syria are coordinated with those pertaining to Iran. The command posts in Israel, which oversee some 1000 US troops, in coordination with Israel’s IDF, are under the jurisdiction of US European Command (EUCOM).
In a recent statement Iran’s chief of staff warned that the stationing of Patriot anti-missile batteries on Turkey’s border with Syria “was setting the stage for world war”
It is worth noting that in addition to the Patriot missiles in Turkey, Patriot batteries targeted at Iran have also been deployed to Kuwait, Qatar, the UAE and Bahrain (2010).