Friday, February 21, 2003

There is much fanfare that the crisis in NATO has been resolved, as a procedural ploy was used to ensure that France would not be attending the meeting in which a compromise was reached. I recently referred to this manoeuvre by the United States to use Turkey as a backdoor method of involving NATO in the war to steal Iraq's oil (see also here and here). As usual, the way this has been presented is misleading. Belgium's 'compromise' was that Turkey could receive military aid from NATO only if NATO makes clear the aid is defensive in nature and the aid must not be seen as making the alliance a participant in war preparations against Iraq. The Belgian Prime Minister, Guy Verhofstadt, stated that NATO would have to "make it explicitly clear that (aid for Turkey) does not imply participation of NATO in a military operation against Iraq." All Belgium did to lead to the agreement was to drop its insistance that the NATO agreement be expressly linked to developments at the United Nations Security Council. After the 'compromise', Guy Verhofstadt stated: "We, Belgium, Germany and France, will continue to defend the view that we must have a peaceful solution through the United Nations". The American Ambassador stated "By taking this step, NATO has lived up to its core responsibility under Article Four of the Washington Treaty to respond to an ally in a time of threat," thus making it clear that it was Article Four of the Treaty, and not Article Five, that was being applied. Therefore, the United States has failed in its efforts to involve NATO in its dirty war by conflating Article Four and Article Five, and this 'compromise' has just been set up to deceive people into thinking that there is no dissent in NATO (the meeting that France didn't attend was just a clever ploy to make it seem that the problem was all in the attitude of the French). Now, of course, the Turks have discovered that the Americans are so desperate for war that they will pay any amount in money and loan guarantees (like the 'loan guarantees' to the Israelis, these are just disguised gifts) to get the Turks onside (not to mention any amount of agreements to repress any possibility of a Kurdish state; the Americans have sold out the 'freedom fighting' Kurds without a hint of remorse, proving once again that this war has absolutely nothing to do with human rights). I assume the money is really to have the Turks give up their potential territorial claims to northern Iraq and its oil, as the amounts are simply too staggering to be merely reparations for any harm caused to the Turkish economy (the main harm to the Turkish economy will be having to temporarily forego illegally trading with Iraq in breach of the sanctions!). The desperation of the Bush junta can be seen in the way they presented their offer as a 'final' 'take it or leave it' offer, and when the Turks demurred the junta immediately agreed to up the ante (while claiming that the deal was merely being restructured - note that the 'restructuring' will involve the U. S. strongarming the Saudis or Kuwaitis to provide oil at cheap prices to the Turks, the face of things to come once the U. S. completely dominates the Middle East with military control of Iraq). Since the Americans don't really have the kind of money Turkey is asking for ($32 billion), they must also be intending to take it out of the Iraqi oil fields as part of the 'reparations'.