Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Israel, soon without friends?

The conflict between Turkey and Israel regarding the Isreali atack on the Gaza convoy last year goes on. The UN has in a report stated that it was OK to stop the convoy, but that they used too much force in their attack.

Last year’s Israeli raid on a Gaza-bound flotilla was “excessive and unreasonable” according to a U.N. panel that also blamed Turkey and flotilla organizers for contributing to the deaths of nine activists.

And it is not only the Gaza incident that is discussed between Turkey and Israel. They used to have a lot of cooperation when it comes to aircraft modifications. But this cooperation seem also to at an end.

"Israel has shown disloyalty in our bilateral agreements in the defense industry area," Erdogan told reporters, referring to a military agreement on the purchase of Israeli drones by Turkey.

"For example, unmanned aerial vehicles were purchased and they were sent back for further maintenance. They (the Israelis) are still delaying the delivery. Is this moral ?", Erdogan asked.

The result of all this is that Israel has almost lost all of their hard to find allies in he region. In Egypt the attack on the Israeli embassy was condemned by the UN, but anyway it also indicate a more harsh climate between Israel and Egypt in he future. The new government is by the people and will probably listen more closely on what the people say in order to not meet the same fate as the previous government.

But the troubles in a second diplomatic mission in a week following a fallout in relations with Turkey underscores Israel's precarious position as ties with its two key regional allies are recast.

Against the backdrop of tense relations with the White House, the shift heightens the stakes for Israel as it braces for a diplomatic onslaught at the United Nations next week. That is when Palestinians plan to mount a statehood bid, raising the possibility of an outbreak of mass protests on Israel's borders.

Some Israeli experts suggested that Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan, who is set to visit Cairo on Monday, and Egypt's military rulers could overcome their historic rivalry and cooperate to on further isolating Israel.
"This should be very disturbing to us…there is a question about our place in the Middle East,'' said Ami Ayalon, a former head of Israel's Shin Bet Intelligence Service, in an interview with Israel Radio. "The Egypt that was the bedrock on which we founded our strategy has disappeared.'

Two lost allies in one year! And the relationship with USA can also be questioned. US military is looking more and more into using Turkey as their strong haven in the Middle East. Turkey has a lot of interests in northern Iraq and when US forces leave Iraq, someone need to take more responsibility in the area. This someone might very well be Turkey. Also the situation in Syria might result in the next Libya-alike operation for USA and NATO. If so then Turkey would be the ideal base of operations.

This might explain the ongoing discussions to base US Predator UAV:s in Turkey. They will of course be used to monitor the situation in neighboring Iraq and Syria.

The US military has flown unarmed Predators from Iraqi bases since 2007, sharing their surveillance video with Turkey as part of a secretive crackdown against fighters from the Kurdistan Workers? Party (PKK), the report said.

But the counterterrorism partnership could end by December 31, when all US forces are scheduled to withdraw from Iraq.
Previously undisclosed diplomatic cables show Turkey has become highly dependent on the Predators, U-2 spy aircraft and other US intelligence sources in its military campaign against the PKK, The Post said.

Turkey need US support in the fight against PKK and to monitor the situation in Iraq and Syria. US need Turkish bases to continue with their presence in the Middle East and to make it possible to leave Iraq as Obama has promised his voters (remember the US presidential election next year). Israel might have a very strong lobbying organisation in the US Senate, but right now USA does not need Israel as much as they used to do during the Cold War when the neighboring countries were supported by the Soviet Union. If I were the Israeli leaders I would do a lot to make the relation with Turkey work again.

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