In addition to the NATO anti-missile systems being trucked overland to Turkey, the U.S. is deploying two Patriot air defense batteries and 400 American military personnel to Turkey. The missiles are expected to become operational at the end of January. NATO also will send special aircraft that can detect missile launches from Syria.
The Syrian government has gone rogue, with no accountability to its own people, to the outside world, or it seems to any other principle other than physical survival of the core individuals. It has just escalated to firing Scud-type missiles on its own population. Putin reportedly once warned that it was extremely dangerous to corner a rat because then the animal will become completely unpredictable; it will do anything at all to survive. Turkey is well-advised to request NATO to station Patriot missiles in key locations along its border where they could destroy any warheads the Syrians might lob over the border, accidentally or on purpose.
Speaking of rogues, the anti-missile batteries are making the Iranian government nervous. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad canceled a planned visit to Turkey. Iranian army chief of staff General Hassan Firouzabadi warned Turkey that stationing NATO anti-missile systems on its territory risks inflaming conflict with Syria. And, well, the Iranian government doesn’t like it much either. Last year, the US shared secret intelligence information about Iran with Turkey and shortly thereafter Turkey allowed high-powered U.S. radar to be installed on its territory, part of a missile defense system to protect NATO allies from the threat of long-range Iranian rockets.
A few months ago I went to the theater to see the classic movie, “Dr. Strangelove”. A movie worth watching again, especially today when bombs and missiles are in the air. What we need is the right soundtrack.