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Our maxim: “understanding before action”
Our purpose is to encourage the knowledge and the debate of issues connected with art and military science. Selection of articles attempts to reflect different opinions. Beyond any ideological ascription. In order to impulse critical thought amongst our readers.

viernes, 29 de junio de 2012

¿Un guerra entre Siria y Turquía?

Too Important to Be Left to the Generals

Itinerario seguido por el Phantom turco derrivado por
Siria.
ISTANBUL - Having been introduced to international diplomacy by the Marx Brothers in "Duck Soup," I cannot but view Turkey's current crisis with Syria with unease. In that 1933 film, Groucho (aka Rufus T. Firefly) swaps finely tuned insults with the ambassador of Sylvania until he famously cries: "This means war!" When the ambassador pleads that he will do anything to avoid conflict, Firefly replies: "I've already paid a month's rent on the battlefield."
He might have paid a year's worth if Sylvania had done like Syria last week and shot down without warning an RF-4E military jet that had skidded in and out of its airspace and then taken pot shots at other aircraft searching for wreckage. Damascus says the incident was a regrettable reflex. Ankara says the electronic chatter proves it was a deliberate affront.


Does this mean war? Not yet. Yes, Syria's implosion could degenerate into a regional conflict involving Turkey, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, and maybe even Russia. And yes, Turkey has summoned other NATO members to discuss the threat to its national security under Article 4 of the alliance's treaty. But the odds that these tensions with Syria will trigger Article 5 and require NATO to respond in collective self-defense are basically nonexistent: The last and only time that article was invoked was in response to 9/11. Neither Turkey nor the rest of NATO is looking for a fight.
There is still no news of the two Turkish pilots who went down some 13 nautical miles from the Syrian shore. But the damage to Turkey's pride is already evident. Ankara had been pursuing what might be described as a more dynamic and independent foreign policy, particularly in the Middle East. In 2004, and to the surprise of its Western allies, it tried to woo Bashar al-Assad to get Syria off the axis of evil. Now it is openly calling for an end to Assad's regime and is providing refuge to its army deserters and civilian refugees. The Turkish government clearly believes it is doing the right thing and is on the side of history. The last thing it expected was to get a bloody nose for probing Syrian airspace.
Which might explain why Ankara was slow to react to the incident on Friday. Its first comment was not a formal declaration by a member of the government but a tweet by the governing AK Party's vice chairman in charge of foreign affairs.
The next step, announcing that on Monday that Turkey would appeal to NATO, was largely designed to show the Turkish people that Ankara is not sitting on its hands. Then on Tuesday, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan came out of his corner swinging: he said Turkey wouldn't flinch and was prepared to retaliate. The next day, the prime minister had a photo session seated in the cockpit of a new Turkish-made jet.
But this still does not mean war. Like Groucho Marx, with whom he shares a distinctive mustache, Erdogan may have been shocked by his own bravery. Apart from unconfirmed reports of Syria's chemical arsenal, another factor might dampen Turkey's ardor for an armed reprisal. Erdogan's government has been relatively successful in the campaign it has waged at home against its own military. About 12 percent of the senior officer corps is standing trial, accused of trying to organize a military coup.
That may not quite mean that the Turkish armed forces are operating at reduced capacity. But for Turkey to embark on a full-scale military adventure these days would not only ruin this year's tourism season; it would also tip the balance of power back toward the generals.
So much for "Duck Soup." To invert the words of another famous Marx, this is probably not a case of a farce repeating itself as a tragedy. Still, the danger is there.