BURAK BEKDİL > When burglar alarm annoys your neighbor

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The mini-missile defense architecture owned by NATO and deployed in southern Turkey, presumably to protect the Crescent and Star from the potential threat of Syrian chemical-biological attack, is now fully up and running. There is a slight problem, though. Six Patriot anti-missile batteries simply cannot protect a vast land and its 3.5 million inhabitants from ballistic missiles with quite unpleasant warheads.
In fact, the Patriot umbrella will not be protecting 3.5 million Turks, but a U.S.-owned, NATO-assigned radar deployed last year in Kürecik near Malatya province – and not from Syria, but primarily from Iranian ballistic missiles.
NATO’s New Year’s gift to Turkey is an early warning missile detection and tracking radar system that is now sitting at Kürecik and whose mission is to provide U.S. naval assets in the Mediterranean with early warning and tracking information in case of an Iranian missile launch targeting an ally or a friendly country, including Israel. This should explain the quiet U.S. encouragement for the deployment of the Patriots in areas near the NATO radar in Turkey. Anti-missile protection over Kurecik is essential for the alliance.
Never mind if Turkish and NATO officials claim that the location of the Patriot batteries (Adana, Gaziantep and Kahramanmaraş) and the radar at Kürecik makes any connection between the two impossible. A connection between the two is possible simply because the Patriot is a road mobile system: It takes minutes to dismantle a battery, say in Kahramanmaras, and re-deploy it closer to Kürecik in a matter of hours. This can be done quite discreetly (the distance between Kahramanmaras and Kurecik is about 200 kilometres).
Iran, and to a certain extent Russia, has not been deeply annoyed by the deployment of the Patriots because the Mullahs in Tehran –or the Kremlin– want 3.5 million Turks to die under Syrian chemical-biological warheads. Tehran and Moscow are deeply annoyed because they view both the radar at Kürecik and the Patriots that guard it as a threat to their own (offensive) missile capabilities, which the NATO assets now stationed in Turkey can theoretically – and probably practically too – neutralize (the only theoretical vulnerability is if Iran launched its Sejil missiles from a distance of 1,600 - 1,700 kilometers, but then the words “Iranian missile” and “precision” can hardly come together).
It was not a coincidence that Iran’s army chief of staff, Gen. Hassan Firouzabadi, warned NATO in December that stationing the Patriot batteries in Turkey “was setting the stage for world war.” But calm down general, you are speaking of “a world war” like you are speaking of a “world news bulletin.” Patriots can be very un-patriotic for your holy Shia ambitions, but as you know very well they are not missiles to attack but assets to defend against missile attacks – potentially your missile attacks.
In other words, dear general, the Patriots will never be launched for defense unless you launch your missiles to attack. Or is your anger over early warning systems and defensive assets being deployed in neighboring Turkey betraying your intentions to attack? Think for a moment why do other countries in the region, including those with which Turkey has previously had hostile relations like Cyprus, Israel and Armenia not exhibit any sign of concern?
Iran’s unease over the deployment of the NATO radar and the mini missile defense architecture that will protect it from enemy fire looks like your neighbor protesting and threatening to fight just because you have installed burglar alarms at your home. Why should your neighbor go crazy because you now have a burglar alarm? Is he intending to rob your house? If not, why is he speaking of an all-out fight in the neighborhood just because you now have a burglar alarm at home?
Too hard to guess?


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mara mcglothin

2/26/2013 8:15:37 PM

BLUE So in the ME Israel is a threat, but you said the majority of people in the World. While many may believe that the conflict between Israel and her neighbors is a serious threat to World peace, that does not in any way imply that Israel is fully to blame for this. And now I fully understand. Iran is just a benevolent misunderstood, warm and fuzzy nation that the big bullies of the World continue to pick on. Have I got it right now?

Blue Dotterel

2/25/2013 5:55:44 PM

Yet another @ Mara, "the most recent (2011) and most comprehensive public opinion survey to date, which covered 12 Arab/Muslim counties and 16,731 face-to-face interviews, and which was conducted by the Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies (ACRPS), found that “by a 15-1 ratio, Israel and the US are seen as more threatening than Iran.”" You asked, "BLUE, the majority?" Ah, yes, Mara, the majority. But the US is a close second.

Blue Dotterel

2/25/2013 5:35:18 PM

@ Mara, In fact, "Europeans regard Israel as the greatest threat to world peace. In the Arab world, Iran is disliked but seen as a threat only by a very small minority. Rather, Israel and the U.S. are regarded as the pre-eminent threat. A majority think that the region would be more secure if Iran had nuclear weapons: In Egypt on the eve of the Arab Spring, 90 percent held this opinion, according to Brookings Institution/Zogby International polls." Noam Chomsky

Blue Dotterel

2/25/2013 5:33:30 PM

@Mara, "The survey, conducted in October, of 500 people from each of the EU's member nations included a list of 15 countries with the question, 'tell me if in your opinion it presents or not a threat to peace in the world'. Israel was reportedly picked by 59 per cent of those interviewed." (The Guardian). Of course, people in the Muslim world would probably concur.

mara mcglothin

2/25/2013 4:58:23 PM

BLUE The majority? I think not! While I don't like Jewish fanatics anymore than I like fanatics from anywhere, BUT I am not by any means for the erasure of Israel.

Blue Dotterel

2/22/2013 7:02:43 PM

Baris, Turk, Mara, So where is the threat. Iran has not ever threatened to attack Israel except in retaliation for a US/Israeli attack on Iran. That Israel has been called a cancer, particularly in the ME, is not a threat to attack, but an opinion which the majority of the people on the planet agree with. It is hardly, "all options are on the table", spoken by the greatest aggressive warmongers in recent ME history. Evidence, please.

Turk down under

2/22/2013 8:48:20 AM

BLUE- Ahmadinejad absolutely did say that Israel needs to be eradicated! The last people who said words to that effect were the Nazi's- and try they did. I think if any lesson is to be learned by Israel it is that if someone says they want to annihilate you, they should be believed. Burak Bey- really good article as usual.

Peter Lambson

2/22/2013 5:23:32 AM

Mr> Bekdil writes: "the Patriots will never be launched for defense unless you launch your missiles to attack.Or is your anger over early warning systems and defensive assets being deployed in neighboring Turkey betraying your intentions to attack?" By that logic, was Turkey's anger over Cyprus' purchase and planned deployment of defensive S300 missiles back in 1996 betraying Turkey's intentions to attack, too?


2/21/2013 9:18:41 PM

Blue Dotterel, after a quick search on the web, I've seen arguments similar to yours on what Ahmadinejad said, but I am not convinced by them. Ahmadinejad more than once made statements like Israel is a tumour and needs to be eradicated. Plus by zionist regime he means Israel. Google "President Ahmadinejad 'On Wipe Israel Off The Map Quote' Interview" and see how he avoids the direct questions on wiping Israel off the map and Israel's right to exist, which makes me think he said those things.

mara mcglothin

2/21/2013 6:12:15 PM

Yo BLUE He called Israel a "cancer" in his speech at Columbia University. I was there and heard it with my own ears. I had an Iranian college student next to me, so don't think the translation was incorrect.
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