by Stephen Lendman
A separate article called it grand betrayal. Aggrieved families were denied justice. What's ahead matters most. Be concerned. Be very concerned.
Israel's the region's most powerful military force. It's nuclear armed and dangerous. Turkey has NATO's second largest standing army. Allied they're formidable and menacing. They give America more options. Doing so bodes ill regionally.
NATO commander Admiral James Stavridis said a more aggressive alliance posture could help break Syria's stalemate. It would help oust Assad.
He said so during Senate Armed Services Committee testimony. A range of options are being considered. NATO's ready to intervene if called on.
Saying so suggests escalation. It could come any time. Libya 2.0 may follow. Perhaps Turkey's reconciliation with Israel hastens it. Events going forward bear close watching.
On March 15, the Los Angeles Times said secret CIA Syrian plans include intelligence gathering, drone strikes, and seizing or destroying Assad's chemical weapons.
On March 22, the Wall Street Journal said CIA operatives are providing intelligence to US-backed insurgents.
"The expanded CIA role bolsters an effort by Western intelligence agencies to support the Syrian opposition with training in areas including weapons use, urban combat and countering spying by the regime."
Some observers believe Turkish/Israeli reconciliation hastens Assad's fall.
Erdogan claims it advances the peace process. It's more hypocrisy than real.
Erdogan knows but won't say. In April, he plans visiting Gaza and the West Bank.
Exchanging ambassadors depends on compensating families of Mavi Marmara victims, he said. He demanded Israel end Gaza's siege. It continues.
He and Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu claim Israel met all Turkish terms. They lied saying so.
On March 23, Erdogan addressed a Konya-Eskisehir high-speed train ceremony. He cited three conditions for normalizing Israeli relations:
• formally apologizing for cold-blooded murder;
• compensating victims' families; and
• ending Gaza's siege.
Netanyahu apologized his way. It was woefully inadequate. It came too late to matter. It betrayed aggrieved family members.
Compensation hasn't been paid. Doing so won't ease pain. Gaza's blockade continues. Israel's new Defense Minister, Moshe Yaalon, tightened it. He did so while Obama was in Israel. It went unnoticed. A humanitarian crisis persists.
Erdogan caved. He did so disgracefully. He said Israeli officials "expressed regret several times, refusing to offer a formal apology. But we insisted on an apology."
"All our demands have now been met with that apology which was offered the way we wanted."
"Israel also promised to improve the humanitarian situation in Palestine territories areas, including Gaza."
Israeli promises aren't worth the paper they're written on. Erdogan knows but didn't say. He "accepted the apology in the name of the Turkish people." He did so disingenuously.
Turkish and Israeli diplomats will meet shortly. They'll discuss compensating victims' families. Normalization will proceed gradually. Ambassadorial relations will be restored in due time.
Mossad-connected DEBKAfile (DF) said Turkey badly needed normalized relations.
Its military depends on Israeli technology. Its drones are especially valued. Delivering Boeing AWACS (Airborne Warning and Control System) planes was delayed.
Boeing balked without Israel's consent. It designs a key component. Ankara needs delivery. They're for air defense. Without them, Turkey's advanced FBX radar system remains partly inoperable.
Because of Syria's conflict, most Turkish exports go through Haifa and Ashdod. Earlier they went through Syria, Jordan and Saudi Arabia.
In 2011, Foreign Minister Davutoglu visited Damascus often. He expected to resolve conflict quickly. He hoped to settle Lebanese/Israeli disputes. One pertains to eastern Mediterranean oil and gas exploration. Turkey hopes to cash in. It wants to exploit a lucrative opportunity.
Turkey, Israel and Jordan border Syria. They're vulnerable to war fallout. Obama discussed this with King Hussein. He did so Friday in Amman.
He explored options with Netanyahu. He presented a plan. It involves consolidating a US-led Turkish/Israeli/Jordanian headquarters. Six months ago, separate commands were established.
United they're able to deploy coordinated armed units. They can do so on land, sea and air. They can strike Syria if ordered. They can do so quickly.
Turkish/Israeli friction prevented implementation. Resolving differences settles things. Intervening in Syria may follow. Events going forward bear close watching.
On March 22, Haaretz headlined "Israel's defense, political establishments understand Obama's not bluffing on Iran."
He'll deliver as promised. He's not "queasy" on "tough measures." He relentlessly targets America's enemies. Washington and Israel have common ones.
Israel spurns rule of law principles. It prefers likeminded allies.
It wants Washington's support "on operations and strike missions." It "welcome(s Obama's participation in) Defense Ministry" forums.
US "military preparations are now underway for a possible strike against Iran." Israel's been briefed. Plans and implementation are world's apart.
Washington's has longstanding plans to attack Iran. They've got them against other countries. They're updated as needed. Implementation may or may not follow.
Obama believes "a nuclear Iran will….overturn" a regional balance of power. Doing so threatens vital US interests. Military preparations are ready just in case.
An unnamed Israeli official said "Obama's administration prepared a pinpoint military option in the event the United States decides to attack" Iran. It's able to do so "without necessarily sparking a comprehensive regional war."
Attacking Iran assures a robust response. Regional war may follow. It risks going global. Claiming otherwise denies reality.
Doug Dowd told Progressive Radio News Hour listeners that the next war may be the last. Humanity may not survive the onslaught. The risk is that great. He fears what lies ahead. So should everyone.
Washington and Israel are rogue partners. They threaten humanity. They don't agree on everything. Differences mostly affect tactics and timing.
"The window of opportunity in which Israel can do significant damage to Iran is closing - if it isn't shut already," said Haaretz.
"The Americans have vastly superior means and can operate for longer periods. Obama, therefore, is in no hurry and wants to fully exploit diplomatic channels first."
Netanyahu wants quicker action. He fears Obama won't deliver as promised. It "was evident in Obama's public appearances in Israel." Handshakes and smiles mean nothing.
Whether warmth about "my friend Bibi" was expressed behind closed doors, who knows. Both men dislike each other. It's no secret. Realpolitik matters most.
America's committed to Israel's security. It's dismissive about occupation harshness. It pays lip service settlement construction opposition. It lets Israel get away with murder. Palestinian rights don't matter. They never did. They don't now.
Turkish/Israeli reconciliation bodes ill for peace. It suggests more regional conflict. It remains to be seen what follows.
A Final Comment
MK Hanin Zoabi participated in the May 2010 Freedom Flotilla. She was aboard the Mavi Mamara. She knows firsthand what happened. She was lucky. She escaped unharmed. Netanyahu's apology isn't enough, she said.
"We're talking about human life and about the killing of nine political activists." She called for establishing an independent international commission inquiry.
"If Netanyahu wants to start a new phase with the world around him, and not simply be satisfied with the many hugs that Obama gave all around, he should know that he should direct his energies towards the Palestinian problem: the expulsion and the occupation, as his American friend said."
She called the Mavi Marmara massacre a "little crime."
"The biggest crime was and still is the siege and occupation of the Palestinian people," she said.
"You want to apologize? Apologize to those you've kept under siege, that those nine activists were killed on their behalf, and begin to understand that there is no possibility of a normal Israeli life when it is accompanied by the settlements, the occupation, the siege and the persecution."
Disingenuous apologies are meaningless. Turkish/Israeli reconciliation bodes ill. Palestinians gained nothing. Syria's conflict may escalate. Regional war may follow. Perhaps Washington and Israel plan it.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.
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