Richard Silverstein at Canada’s Global Research was one of the first to offer an analysis of the story. As he says,
…this story keeps getting curiouser and curiouser,…
He feels, however, the story is true and Israel did launch its attacks from Turkey. He then offers several tentative answers as to why Turkey would allow such an attack to occur against a Muslim country, by Israel with which Turkey doees not have great relations.
His suggestions range around Turkey not really liking Assad and perhaps also wanting to serve notice to Hezbollah that it cannot escallate its involvement in Syria without others having a say. Mr Silverstein is far more expert particularly about Israel than I am, but I do not find his suggestions very convincing.
I do not doubt an attack was launched on Syria from Turkey and that the planes could have been Israeli. Is it too far fetched to wonder if the Turkish government, or some of it at least, was not aware and was not asked? Perhaps this will seem conspiratorial. But I think after the Snowden revelations we have to admit that quite a great deal does go on in national territories which the home governments claim not to have been aware of, even while elements of their own militaries and itelligence services were.
So with that in mind here are some thoughts.
I have argued for some years now that the country which poses the greatest threat to israel is in fact Turkey. The greatest threat to Israel’s position in the world is not military anihilation but diplomatic irrelevance. Turkey, I have argued, threatens to usurp israel’s place as the important regional power by offering what I called the Pax Turkana as an alternative to what I characterized as the Bellus Israeli.
In the Pax Turkana article I argued that Israel’s position has always relied on there being a state of instability and war in its region which it was seen as the key to containing or solving. So long as there was war and so long as Israel was its focus, Israel was the important regional power. But if ever a country could offer an alterative based on diplomacy and dialogue then Israel would be threatened. You do not have to like those who currently run Turkey to see that they have created a powerful and new position of regional intermediary and ‘honest’ broker that spans from Iran to Europe and the U.S..
If the idea of Turkey being seen as a regional alternative to Israel, has any truth to it, then Israel would sooner or later need to do something about it. What could put a dent in Turkey’s position as honest broker and diplomat?
Which brings us back to the story of the raid. Let us accept that a raid did happen. First question is did the Turkish government sanction it? According to the Hurriyet Daily news, some at the very top of the Turkish government say absolutely not.
Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu has denied claims that Israel used a Turkish military base to launch an attack against Syria, saying the claims were complete lies and had no basis in reality.
“Turkey will neither be a part nor a partner of such ‘attacks.’ The ones who claim this want to damage Turkey’s power and reputation,”
So either the raid did not happen or he is lying, or he was not told nor asked. Could a raid happen without the Foreign Minister being told? Once again we need to think about the recent revelations about what large sections of the German or British governments, for example, were not aware of.
Like many countries Turkey hosts foreign military bases, the main one being, Incirlik Air Base. This is a joint Turkish/U.S. base which also has a British presence. Is it imposible to imagine a scenario where the U.S. military either launches a raid itself or allows Israel to launch one from such a base?
We have no detail about radar tracking of the planes before the raid and may never have. The planes could have come from anywhere including a carrier in the Med. The planes could have been Israeli or they could have been American with Israeli pilots. The permutations are not limited.
Next question – why would the incident be highlighted by the Turks? My answer would be either because of someone who was genuinely outraged and wanted answers, or because of someone whose loyalities had been procured. Neither would be unheard of.
What would the governing elite of Israel get out of it? Everything, would be my answer. Anything that makes peace more remote and lessens the standing of those who seek diplomacy over war, helps the ruling elite of Israel.
Why would the U.S. possibly facilitate such a plan? My answer would be to caution against thinking of the U.S. as one unitary thing. No country is a single unitfied interest. There are elements in the U.S. military, its defence industries, intelligence world and State who side with the present rulers of Israel.
Whatever power struggles go on between Israel and the U.S. the fact remains that the U.S. sees Israel as its ally, whereas Turkey is not quite so dependant upon it. Turkey has alliances with the U.S. but has equal if not closer ties to the EU.
That makes a regionally powerful Turkey an augmentation of EU power into a region the U.S. may tire of, but which it cannot yet afford to forget. So I think it likely that various powers within the U.S. would approve of a plan which hurt Turkey and any Pax Turkana, while helping Israel and the continuation of the instabilities and hostilities of the Bellus Israeli.
Speculation? Of course. But we live in times when to simply assume that all is as our masters assure us it is, is beyond foolhardy.
There are powerful forces which want peace and diplomacy like a virus wants a cure.