Monday, September 19, 2011

Saber rattling.

There's a lot of talk going on about Turkey's Erdogan and the Muslim Brotherhood Egyptian government making kissy-face and what this may bode for the future of Israel.

Since nobody was willing to let Turkey join in the EU reindeer games, it looks like they've instead tried to pursue a job as the tallest midget at the state fair by going after a leadership role in the Muslim world. (They could probably become a leading producer of nonpolluting energy by wrapping Attaturk's corpse in copper wire and hooking his tomb into the national grid.)

There have been shooting wars in the Middle East before, and they occurred during the height of the Cold War, when the world was on a nukyular hair-trigger, and nobody wound up glowing in the dark. However, Erdogan provides an interesting wild card in this current iteration of Let's Everybody Try And Dogpile The Israelis, in that none of the previous engagements of this show have featured a NATO member as a participant.


Anonymous said...


Turkey mobilizes in a fashion that Israel cannot ignore and forces an Israeli first strike.

Turkey invokes NATO mutual aid gainst Israel.

We all know that no way would the only NATO parternet that actually has any bombs left after Libya is not going to use them against Israel.

NATO is shown to be in tatters (as if we didnlt know this already) and the treaty isn't worth the paper it is written on.

In the short term Israel will kick butt.

In the longer term what Russia and Iran do in the Caucasus region and the Baltics in the face of a paper tiger NATO is the interesting thing. Russia is already re-asserting regional influence and they will use this to their best advantage. They will likely give Iran cover as well as they slice up the regions of influence themselves.

This is going back to the great game of the 18th century in many ways.

Regardless of how this eventually plays out, I can't see this ending well for anyone.


Anonymous said...

We trained Turkish Air Force EOD teams on some of our instrumentation. They were better than some troops but not on the technical level of IDF or US airman in the same MOS.

Does anyone in Egypt have warm and fuzzy memories of the Ottoman Empire?

I would expect the Kurds suddenly find a new source of money, training and weapons if Erdogan tries something stupid.


fast richard said...

"We all know that no way would the only NATO parternet that actually has any bombs left after Libya is not going to use them against Israel."

That's too long a chain of negatives for me to be sure what you are saying. Are you saying the US would, or would not, bomb Israel?

In any case, yes, this could damage NATO beyond repair, with far reaching effects.

Anonymous said...

I'll rephrase.

The US is currently the only credible NATO partner. And we will not attack Israel.

I did stick a double negative in there.


Ed Rasimus said...

I may be one of the few folks left in the house who baby-sat a B-61 on an F-4 in Turkey. That was 36 years ago. When the Turks and Greeks went to war in '75 over Cyprus, we took the weapons down and they never went back on alert. Today the fast-movers don't have the wiring anymore. It would be extremely unlikely (although never say never!) that any weapons are in Turkish hands.

The real loss in Turkey is the reversion to an Islamic society. The legacy of Attaturk was secularism. That led to economic development and alliance with western Europe. The current trend (since the denial of 4th ID route in Desert Storm by the Turkish parliament), has been back toward the Middle East and against Europe. The failure of the EU bid simply accelerated that attitude.

Bubblehead Les. said...

I believe that Attaturk left the safety of the State in the hands of the Military, with specific instructions to NOT let the Muslim Nutjobs gain control, and to stage coups if necessary. A couple of years ago, the Muslim Nutjobs pulled a preemptive strike, and gutted the upper echelons of the Turkish Military. Now that Hussain, Khadaffi, Mubarek, and some other Despots are gone, this idiot is making his move to be the Pugsley Chavez of the Fertile Crescent. This will not end well.

Avidus said...

For those who think this is simply saber rattling we should note that Turkey is in the process of replacing all of its NATO issued Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) Systems with new Turkish manufactured versions.

It seems that the NATO issued IFF show IDF units as friendly and Turkey wanted to be able to change that should the need arise.

Should that need indeed arise I am reminded of the last time the IDF fought an air war which was over Lebanon and cost Syria 80 loses to no Israeli.

I am also very curious if there are any buried capabilities in the US supplied aircraft that may be activated should Turkey get frisky.

We should remember in the first Gulf War when all of the British built encrypted radios sold to the Iraqis transmitted quite clearly to GCHQ, the British version of the NSA. It made war planning much easier.

Les Jones said...

That pesky UN mutual aid provision keep things interesting, dunnit?

Ed Foster said...

For reference, the Turks manufacture the Stinger under license (as do the Israelis), and have offered it without IFF for several years now.

One on one against Israel, Egypt would get it's butt kicked, but give the Israelis a serious hurting.

The 'Gyppo army is British, not Arab, and still remembers the long lines of Israeli POW's being led away from the Bar Lev line in '73, after they were beaten by professional, better handled troops.

If the politicians in Cairo hadn't ordered it's army to outrun their anti-aircraft units in a foolish try for the Mitla passes, the war would have ended in a stalemate, with an Egyptian Sinai and an Israeli Sinai split about half and half. A serious propaganda victory for the Egyptians.

The Egyptians are running the M-1 Abrams now instead of old Russian T-types, and manuver for practice with the United States Marine Corps. They still aren't great, but their better units are certainly competent, and the next time, they will stay under the umbrella and let their AA assets do their job.

The Syrians are the wild card. Russian training and Arab temprament render them far inferior to the Egyptians, and the question remains, will the anti-regime forces in the north give the army a time out to kill Jews?

If so, the Syrians pose at least a minimal threat, and a distraction for Israeli reserves, along with a resumption of the intifada and low scale incursions from Lebanon.

If it goes on for more than a week, the arrival of Iranian volunteers, a la Bosnia, is a stone cold certainty, and those monsters made the worst Serb irregulars look like choirboys.

I really doubt the Turks would allow Iranians into the fight without an even greater contribution from them, probably air strikes against an Israel that no longer had any airforce.

Remember that in '73 the Egyptians destroyed half of Israel's aircraft. The Israli practice of maintaining five pilots for every plane meant that they could get the boys up and flying again as soon as the Americans dropped off some more aircraft. All Barry Obama has to do is sit tight and "profess neutrality", and the Israelis are diddled.

I worked with the Israli army for two years on the TAVOR project, and I like and admire them tremendously. Great people, surrounded by a sea of shit.

Obviously, the very bright Israelis have no intention of letting things go so far south on them.

But their enemies don't have to win, they only have to survive and maintain a war of attrition.

Like the Crusader Kingdom, the Israelis have a technological superiority on the battlefield, but are dependent on the west for trade and resupply.

I wonder just how far it has to go before the Isralis are forced to play their hole card, and the cruise missles and last, carefully hoarded F-15's take off for Tehran and Ankara, Damascuc and the Bekaa'a?

Kristophr said...

Ed: Turkey's reversion to Islam can be laid at the feat of the EU.

They insisted that Turkey drop their military's constitutional requirement to dissolve the government if it becomes non-secular.

The Euros felt it would make Turkey "more democratic".

Well ... they discovered the hard way why you don't remove constitutional limits on democracy.

Rabbit said...

Seems like Israel developed their own bomb back about ca. '65-67. If they got pressed hard, I have money on the Israelis sitting around the bonfire afterwards singing a rousing chorus of TMBG's "Constantinople".

Lanius said...

The "vision" of this politician, which he can articulate charismatically, is to combine efficient, basically free-market economic management, with a puritanized version of the religious ideals of the old Ottoman Caliphate.

So, Erdogan's basically an islamic version of an evangelical Republican?

Well ... they discovered the hard way why you don't remove constitutional limits on democracy.

Idealists. They ruin everything.

I wouldn't say they dismantled constitutional limits. I think that what they ended up is very similar to many EU constitutions.

What has happened is that the military won't be able to step in and dissolve parliament and govern if they deem the government not secular enough.

The constitution Turkey had would be viewed anywhere else as too statist and authoritarian.

I mean, I doubt you people would like the US Army being expected to step in and dissolve any government it deems 'too Christian' or 'too Commie' or whatever..

staghounds said...

Well it sort of is- all that oath to the Constitution stuff and all. I would HOPE that even our craven, careerist Generals and Admirals would turn off a Congress that too grossly violated the free exercise clause. Say by closing all the mosques.

staghounds said...

Like the U. S. Army refused to carry out orders the Supreme court had already found to be unconstitutional in 1832.

RL said...

Ummm...Wouldn't that be 'kilij rattling' now that Ataturk's legacy is being challenged?

John Stephens said...

"I wonder just how far it has to go before the Isralis are forced to play their hole card, and the cruise missles and last, carefully hoarded F-15's take off for Tehran and Ankara, Damascuc and the Bekaa'a?"

And Rome, Paris, Berlin and Moscow (the latter assuming their missile subs can get close enough). Do the Israeli Armed forces still take their enlistment oath on top of Masada?

Tam said...


"So, Erdogan's basically an islamic version of an evangelical Republican?"

Yup. Don't like them either.

Tam said...


Don't mind Lanius. If you could buy him for what he was worth and sell him for what he thought he was worth, you'd never have to work another day in your life.

Ed Foster said...

Lanius, the officer corps of the U.S. military has a constitutional duty to overthrow the government if it goes too far to the left, or right.

I was an EM, and took an oath to obey the orders of any officer legally appointed over me.

My brother was an officer. He took an oath to protect and defend the constitution against all enemies, foriegn and domestic. The constitution, their reasonable interpretation of said document, not the President or the Congress.

If a healthy majority of the military's officer corps felt that the Constitution was violated by Congress and/or POTUS, they would have a moral and legal obligation to do something about it.

Not hypothetical, as it was the justification for the release of all Confederate military and political leaders after the Civil War.

They couldn't be charged with treason, as they had acted legally in opposing a central government that usurped what they and much of the judiciary honestly thought was a legitimate interpretation of constitutional law.

John Stephens, I don't believe the very decent and honorable Israelis would take out the gutless Euros. But if they could do it while the various legislations were in session, the world would e a better place.

Alan J. said...

Well, let's hope that Erdogan is just throwing out the usual sop to the Muslim Brotherhood for his own political advantage.

I'm sure he's aware of the fact that if he seriously tried to 'wipe Israel off the map' - then perhaps he might be waking up to see an 'unscheduled sunrise' occurring over Ankara, Tehran, Cairo, Damascus and a few other places.

Lewis said...


Your enlistment didn't include the "all enemies foreign and domestic"? Mine sure did, and I swore in as a straight up slick sleeve E1. Dang, man. (I always figured that being out meant that there were no more officers appointed over me, but that the rest still applied.)

Bram said...

Egypt and Turkey have massive economic problems. Threatening Israel is a nice distraction that makes everyone feel good. Actually attacking Israel is dangerous and has the opposite effect.

The Egyptians will be too worried about acquiring enough calories to stay alive to attack Israel.

Ed Foster said...

Lewis, We had to first obey the President and officers appointed, the Constitution and enemies came second.

The O's only swear fealty to the constitution.

Anonymous said...

I'd be curious at what point the "I'm a Turk," "I'm an Arab," and "I'm a Persian" will start messing up the Islamists various plans. Erdogon may have fond dreams of a Turkic caliphate but I don't think the Iranian theocracy will go along with him after a certain point.

And Bram's point about food is a good one.


Tam said...


At least Tehran and Ankara can agree that the Kurds are the spawn of Shaitan.

Ian Argent said...

Side note: Kurds sit on or near the Anatolian Highlands. Losing them is never a good idea for the powers that be on the Bosporus...

I sometimes wonder what the brass content in the generative organs of the pilots flying into the various israeli airports must be - I figure there's an very small chance on each flight in the ATC is going to tell all inbound flights that they have 30 seconds to turn around before theater air defense goes weapons free, and A/C on bingo fuel may ditch here, here, and here