Turkey Masses 150,000 On Northern Iraq Border...And Much, Much More!
It's great to see Turkey finally doing its part to help out with the region's stability. At the preceding link, the Bush Administration claims that there is no build-up, which means they're taking this time-honored imperial diplomatic approach: "Oh, crap! Now what?? What did we promise the Turkeys, again?" Of course, Turkey has been making noise since at least April, noise of the shooting kind, and has been going over the border into Kurdistan to chase the ethnic secessionist Kurdistan Worker's Party (PKK) militias. That was with only 30,000 troops. If my math is correct, this is something bigger. For some reason, Turkey feels like they're owed some Kurdish oil in exchange for helping out with Gulf Wars I and II, and they think the US welched on the deal. Whether the build-up is gamesmanship or for real remains to be seen, but a Turkish invasion of Kurdistan is much closer to a "for real" than it was a year ago, now backed by 15 combat divisions.
Next, Israel has mobilized its divisions to either get ready to attack Syria or to re-invade Lebanon. How do I know this? Oh, you know...I listen to Hebrew hip-hop, eat at a kosher deli, that kinda stuff. Syria today just warned all Syrians to leave Lebanon ahead of a military "eruption" they think will take place next week. Plus, Israel is outraged that Hezbollah has been preparing defensive positions in southern Lebanon, somewhat like when France built the Maginot Line defenses, it outraged Hitler.
I and others believe Israel plans to attack over the Golan Heights, stomp on the conventional Syrian army, make Assad flee, then wheel around and attack Hezbollah in Lebanon from the rear pay-back style. The Syrians and Hezbollah Lebanese will get to try out all their new Russian weapons, including the world's most advanced anti-aircraft missile systems and more of the same portable anti-tank weapons that took out Merkava tanks. Amazingly, the Israelis, who still fight blitzkrieg-style using WWII armored-column tactics, didn't learn their lesson in Lebanon last summer. They might make it through Syria. But they'll get out-boxed in Lebanon, and worse this time than the last. Their troopers are thoroughly demoralized, and even if their equipment issues are solved, they are ill-led. Highly motivated foot soldiers equipped with heavy-punch weapons can tie down armored columns if they can make the air assets stand off. Especially coming off a popular victory. Last summer, Hezbollah learned it took very few missiles to make Israeli pilots skittish. So they went out and stocked up on them like they were Roman candles.
Finally, rumors of Iraq withdrawal discussions in the White House abound. Yes, there will be an Iraq withdrawal just like there was always going to be: to 3-6 permanent bases manned by 3-4 divisions and @50,000 mercenaries. This is not a "bring the troops home" pull-back. It's a "let's free them up to use somewhere else" strategy. And that won't work either. In other news today, the Mahdi Army clashed today with US forces north of Baghdad last night. The Sadrists are the most numerous, main-stream, and powerful group in the country, and they've been holding back based upon their leader Moqtada's say-so. This blows no good.
As you know, I'm a bit skeptical about the Occupants of the White House ever leaving it. But I neglected to mention another increasingly likely scenario: outright military defeat and devolution into Mid-East regional chaos. This has already been taken as a given by the countries in Iraq's sphere for over a year. Even loyal Saudi Arabia is planning for war. Turkey's build-up is like a vulture edging up to a tourist dying of thirst. The proxies of the surrounding countries which correspond to the dominant domestic interest groups will move in to stabilize the remnants of Iraq whether the US wants them to or not. When, not if. Proximity and intelligence are vast advantages in war's logistics.
It might be the Republican Party which, suffering from Cheney Fatigue, will stop the war. The cabal is the war, so stopping it is congruent to throwing them out of power. In a possibly delicious historical irony, it was George Bush Senior, who, while chair of the Republican National Committee, penned the letter to Nixon asking him to resign for the good of the country. Too hopeful? Maybe. But the military situation on the ground is rapidly coming to a head, it's not developing in our Empire's favor, and a growing number of insiders finally are coming to acknowledge the White House can't control that reality.
(Update: Picture above is of Turkish tank column rolling through a small Kurdish village 40 km from the Iraq border on June 1, 2007. The Guardian article is a good brief, available here.)