Is Obama Heeding Turkey's Demands To Isolate Israel?
O fie! 'tis an unweeded garden, That grows to seed; things rank and gross in nature ... Something is rotten in the state of Denmark. Marcellus in Act I, Scene IV of Hamlet
There are some strange coincidences happening in regard to the United States/Israel counter terrorism cooperation--Israel seems to be losing its importance and it is being replaced by the newly Islamist Turkey.
The latest post from the Gatestone Institute builds a compelling case about the Obama administration heeding the demands of Turkey which is to push Israel out of cooperative security agreements.
In light of increased sensitivity to intelligence leaks, it seemed innocuous – or even admirable – when the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) asked the Senate to remove a few words from the US-Israel Enhanced Security Cooperation Act: the "sense of the Senate" part of the bill included the sentence, "Expand already close intelligence cooperation, including satellite intelligence, with the Government of Israel;" ODNI wanted the words "including satellite intelligence" to go.The real question is whether they were trying to clear up the language or are they trying to keep arm's distance from Israel, especially after the White House leak regarding the joint development of the Stuxnet and other viruses attacking Iran's nuclear weapons development.
An ODNI spokesman said it was "simply a matter of clarifying the intelligence aspects of the bill and being sensitive to the level of specificity of the language…nothing nefarious here, just more clear language."
Despite Israel's status as a Major Non-NATO ally, a NATO "partner" country, and a member of NATO's Mediterranean Dialogue, Turkey is increasingly insistent that Israel be isolated and cut out. This surrender to Turkey -- which Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has for years been aggressively making ever more fundamentalist -- coincides nicely with the Administration's increasingly open courtship of Turkey's Islamist-leaning and virulently anti-Israel Prime Minister and what appears to be the desire of the Administration to enhance security relations in the Arab-Muslim world as it dials back visible cooperation with Israel.This "distancing" will eventually be seen as an open invitation to threaten/attack attack Israel by the Muslim countries wishing to see her destroyed.
Turkey bluntly objects to sharing intelligence information with Israel – specifically the intelligence from NATO's Turkey-based, U.S.-run X-Band early warning radars. At a NATO meeting in Brussels, Turkish Defense Minister Ismet Yilmaz told reporters, "We need to trust states' words. This is a NATO facility and it shouldn't be used beyond the scope of this purpose." The "state" in question was clearly the U.S., and "beyond the scope" referred to sharing information with Israel. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta replied, "Clearly, the NATO members are the ones that will participate in the program and access information produced by the missile defense system." In a meeting in February, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen parroted the Turkish formula. "We do stress that data within this missile defense system are not shared with a third country. Data are shared within our alliance, among allies, it is a defensive system to protect the populations of NATO allies," Rasmussen said.
Agreeing publicly to keep intelligence information from Israel – a more likely target of Iran than Europe/NATO – at the behest of Turkey is a serious diminution of the U.S.-Israel security relationship as well as the Israel-NATO relationship, and elevates Turkey to the role of spoiler.
According to one source, Turkey assured Iran that the X-Band radars were not aimed at the Islamic Republic and that a Turkish military officer was in charge of receiving the intelligence information. Here the U.S. appears to have balked, telling Israel that Americans were in charge of the information, but not reassuring Israel on the subject of information sharing. Further, since the station in Turkey also acquires information from the X-Band radar based in Israel, it raises Israeli concerns that Turkey will have access to security information from Israeli skies.
NATO's snub of Israel at the meeting in Chicago in May was simply waved away: "Israel is neither a participant in ISAF nor in KFOR (Afghanistan and Kosovo missions)," said Rasmussen, even as he acknowledged that 13 other "partner" nations would attend because, "In today's world security challenges know no borders, and no country or alliance can deal with most of them on their own."One of President Obama's talking points to supporters of Israel is the military and intelligence cooperation between the two nations have never been stronger. That may very well be true as most of those cooperation programs were set up by the Bush administration. The disturbing trend in the second half of the Obama administration is the our accepting the demands of an increasingly Islamist Turkey and the isolation of the Jewish State.
It was said then that Turkey used its NATO veto. But Israel was similarly not invited to the inaugural meeting of the Global Counterterrorism Forum in Istanbul -- not a NATO meeting.