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    Middle East
     Aug 14, 2012


THE ROVING EYE
The deadly Israeli and the mad Turk
By Pepe Escobar

The inmates are running - or think they are running - the asylum.

As Asia Times Online already reported (See Bomb Iran fever, Aug 8, 2012), Tel Aviv may be inches away from turning the already declared economic war on Iran into a hot war.

Take a look at this madness: [1] The Bibi-Barak warmongering duo (Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud

 
Barak) may be about to go for broke on an Iran strike - against the advice of Israel's top defense and intelligence experts.

Barak may even have had access to secret US intel. He said, "there probably really is such an American intelligence report - I don't know if it is an NIE [National Intelligence Estimate] one - making its way around senior offices [in Washington]."

"Probably?" "Really?" "I don't know?" And this forest of hypotheticals is a justification for hot war?

Then Barak added; "As far as we know it brings the American assessment much closer to ours".

Not really. Here's the response by a White House National Security Council spokesman; the US intelligence assessment remains the same. That is; Iran is not conducting a nuclear weapons program.

And if any extra confirmation was needed, Washington seems to have a pretty clear picture of Iran's nuclear progress. [2]

According to White House spokesman Jay Carney, "We would know if and when Iran made what's called a breakout move towards acquiring a weapon."

For lethal Bibi, that's obviously not enough. It doesn't matter that - technically and logistically - Israel simply does not have what it takes to conduct a successful strike on Iran's nuclear facilities.

Take a look at this concise infographics. [3] For starters, Israel does not have the latest generation MOP GBU-57A bunker buster bombs to hit deep underground Iranian installations. It does not have the Northrop Grumman's B-2 stealth bombers to deliver them. And it does not have enough Lockheed Martin KC-130 aerial tankers (only 5; the US has 80) for refueling its attacking F-15s and F-16s.

There is no evidence the Obama administration will be authorizing the Pentagon to supply all of the above to the Bibi-Barak duo anytime soon.

And let's introduce a little bit of sanity into this madness - courtesy of good ol' Cold Warrior Yevgeny Primakov, former KGB supremo and Russian foreign minister. Primakov tells it like it is; go ahead, attack Iran; and then, inevitably, they will go for a bomb. [4]

Meanwhile, in Ankara…
Is Turkey about to enter the 9th (Kurdish) circle of hell?

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has just been to Turkey in a very Libyan "We came, we saw, he died" mood; it's as if she was replaying her Angel of Death role, presiding over the imminent demise of Syria's Bashar al-Assad.

Not so fast. The same applies to the State Department influencing Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's Shakespearean decision whether to "invade" or "not invade" Western/Syrian Kurdistan.

The fact is the AKP party in Ankara won't ask the Turkish parliament for it. They would simply invade Syrian Kurdistan - even with a bunch of Turkish generals languishing in jail, accused of plotting a coup. Three Turkish brigades, tanks and artillery are already only two kilometers away from the Syrian border.

Ankara has crossed into Iraqi Kurdistan dozens of times in hot pursuit of PKK (Kurdistan Workers' Party) guerrillas. The plot thickens, because at the same time Ankara has very close trade/diplomatic relations with the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG); in fact Ankara is now pitted against the Nuri al-Maliki government in Baghdad, as it began importing Kurdish oil directly, bypassing Iraq's central government.

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu went in person to Kirkuk and Irbil to close the deal with Massoud Barzani, the president of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG).

In Pipelinestan terms, this is huge; Western Big Oil is absolutely itching to get as much energy from Iraqi Kurdistan (as well as from Azerbaijan) as humanly possible - thus bypassing Iran and Russia.

A Turkish "invasion" of Syrian Kurdistan will not be too much of a problem in terms of Turkish relations with those paragons of democracy at the Gulf Cooperation Council; after all Qatar and the House of Saud are working side by side with Turkey towards the total destabilization of Syria.

But the Assad regime will see this as a war on Syria - not only Syrian Kurdistan; after all Turkey hosts not only the Syrian National Council (SNC) but also thousands of Not Exactly Free Syrian Army (FSA) gangs, Salafi-jihadis included. Turkey is their logistical base.

And what happens if there's a flurry of bodybags shipped back to Ankara and Istanbul?

The Mad Turk Erdogan power-play may be unraveling. The Turkish army, the commercial bourgeoisie, the secular bureaucracy, they are all getting increasingly fed up with his Napoleonic dreams; hosting the FSA, crammed with jihadis; smuggling weapons into Syria alongside Qatar and the Saudis; deploying anti-aircraft batteries and even missiles on the border; threatening to invade Syrian Kurdistan; that's a bit too much.

But then again, maybe not. Ankara's wishful thinking big picture - in a neo-Ottoman vein - would certainly include some sort of economic annexation of northern Iraq and northeast Syria; both happen to be energy-rich - and Turkey badly needs the energy. The problem is they're both inhabited mostly by Kurds.

Even Iranian Kurds are already stirring. [5] What happens when 17 million Turkish Kurds also decide to step into the action? Erdogan may be on his way to face Turkey's ultimate nightmare; the emergence of Greater Kurdistan.

Turkey shares borders with Iraq, Syria and Iran. The Kurds are beginning to sense the historical shift. Rick Rozoff at Global Research [6] correctly argues that "Turkey provides NATO - and through NATO the Pentagon - direct access to those three nations." But this may go way beyond "a new redivision of the Levant modeled after the Anglo-French Sykes-Picot Agreement of 1916".

Neo-Ottoman Turkey, NATO and the Pentagon may be on the same page at least for the moment. But a Balkanization of the Levant can only advance the emergence of Greater Kurdistan. It may advance Washington's strategic interests. But when Erdogan wakes up to the new reality - to which his own policies have contributed - it may be too late.

Notes: 1. Decision by Netanyahu, Barak to strike Iran is almost final - Israel TV, Times of Israel, Aug 13, 2012
2. We would know if Iran had made ‘a breakout’ to the bomb, White House says, Times of Israel, Aug 13, 2012
3. Likely Scenarios for Israeli Attack Against Iran, RIANOVOSTI, Aug 13, 2012
4. Iran to Make own WMD if Israel Delivers Airstrike - expert, RIANOVOSTI, Aug 08, 2012
5. Kurds’ have the right to demand federal areas: Kurdish Iranian MP, Al Arabiya News, August 12, 2012
6. Turkey: NATO’s Neo-Ottoman Spearhead in the Middle East, Global Research, August 8, 2012


Pepe Escobar is the author of Globalistan: How the Globalized World is Dissolving into Liquid War (Nimble Books, 2007) and Red Zone Blues: a snapshot of Baghdad during the surge. His most recent book is Obama does Globalistan (Nimble Books, 2009).

He may be reached at pepeasia@yahoo.com

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