Amid news that the US and other NATO partners are looking favorably on Turkey’s request to be sent US-made patriot missiles, NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen wants us to believe the following:
Such a deployment would augment Turkey’s air defence capabilities to defend the population and territory of Turkey. It would contribute to the de-escalation of the crisis along NATO’s south-eastern border. And it would be a concrete demonstration of Alliance solidarity and resolve.
In its letter, the Turkish government stressed that the deployment will be defensive only, and that it will in no way support a no-fly zone or any offensive operation.
Patriot missiles are useless for stopping mortar and artillery shells, great against aircraft and large missiles. It seems to me that the only believable scenario in which Syria’s embattled regime might launch those at Turkish territory is in fact one where a no-fly zone effort or offensive operation to set up safe havens was launched by Turkey. In such a case, Syria might even consider using its chemical weapons and those Patriots would suddenly be very useful indeed. But to suggest that Syria might suddenly take leave of its senses and launch aircraft or missiles at Turkey for no reason whatsoever, precipitating instant war with NATO, is to beggar credibility. If NATO is sending Patriot missiles to Turkey, then they’ve some plan up their sleeve.