By bowing to Ankara's demand to omit Iran, Syria and their ballistic missiles as a threat from the NATO agreement to establish a missile shield base in Turkey, President Barak Obama has devalued any US security guarantees offered Israel – as well as negating the facility's avowed purpose. The missile shield and its location in Europe were conceived in the first place for detecting and defusing Iranian and Syrian ballistic missile before they reached Europe or the United States.
"For the first time we've agreed to develop a missile defense capability that is strong enough to cover all Nato European territory and populations as well as the United States," Obama declared Friday, Nov. 19, at the NATO summit in Lisbon.
The US president did not say against who or what. Neither did he reveal the full scope of US and NATO's surrender to Turkey.
debkafile's military sources report that the covert clauses in the deal additionally provide for the missile base to come under the command of a Turkish general. President Abdullah Gul held out on this point in discussions with President Obama and NATO leaders, following the lead given him by Prime Minister Tayyep Erdogan of Monday, Nov. 15: "Turkey would demand that NATO assign a Turkish commander to oversee the shield. Especially if this is to be place on our soil…," said Erdogan.
Turkey's leaders are very close to the Islamic Republic's extremist rulers and see nothing amiss in their deploying large portions of Iran's missile arsenal on Syrian and Lebanese soil (in Hizballah's keeping). A Turkish general in command of the NATO missile shield cannot be expected to regard threatening missile action by Iran, Syria or Hizballah in the same light as would President Obama or NATO Secretary-General Andres Fogh Rasmussen. He would simply follow the orders of his own prime minister.
So NATO's forward missile interceptor may be physically and technically located in Turkey but, under a Turkish commander, its usefulness as an operational shield for the West against the most concrete perils facing NATO members is nil.
In these circumstances, there is not much point in Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu holding out for American security guarantees, even after the US State Department spokesman stated Friday, Nov. 19, "The United States is prepared to offer Israel written security guarantees if it would help to restart stalled Middle East peace talks."
Those guarantees were awarded Turkey at the NATO summit in Lisbon and, by extension, to Iran, Syria and their radical allies, whose missiles are poised on Israel's borders facing in only one direction .
It is important to remember that American missile defense systems are closely inter-linked with and slotted into corresponding Israeli missile interceptors, air defenses and intelligence.
The Lisbon summit confirmed in its final decision that the new missile shield will complement existing US plans – indeed the US system will also be put at NATO's disposal and eventually be "incorporated into a single coherent defense system."
So how can vital US-Israeli missile defense collaboration continue after Turkish generals take control of the NATO defense shield?