Saturday, June 30, 2012

Obama's incredible shrinking security cooperation with Israel

by Carl in Jerusalem
Saturday, June 30, 2012

 Shavua tov, a good week to everyone.

The baby's name is.... I cannot tell you yet because this post is being prepared before the Sabbath....

The Obama administration and its supporters in the Leftist chattering classes (people like Jeffrey Goldberg) love to tell us how Obama has 'enhanced security cooperation' with Israel to 'unprecedented levels.' In fact, anytime anyone mentions the fact that Obama has abused Prime Minister Netanyahu, become the only American President to call for an Israeli return to the indefensible 1949 armistice lines, and been only the second American President (after his idol, Jimmy Carter) to declare Israeli 'settlements' 'illegal,' the response is to ignore the charge, and to talk about how Obama has 'enhanced security cooperation' with Israel to 'unprecedented levels.' Shoshana Bryen reports that security cooperation is shrinking quickly. And one can only imagine what would happen to it if God forbid there is a second Obama term.

Turkey bluntly objects to sharing intelligence informationwith Israel – specifically the intelligence from NATO's Turkey-based, U.S.-run X-Band early warning radars. At a NATO meeting in Brussels, Turkish Defense Minister Ismet Yilmaz told reporters, "We need to trust states' words. This is a NATO facility and it shouldn't be used beyond the scope of this purpose." The "state" in question was clearly the U.S., and "beyond the scope" referred to sharing information with Israel. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta replied, "Clearly, the NATO members are the ones that will participate in the program and access information produced by the missile defense system." In a meeting in February, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen parroted the Turkish formula. "We do stress that data within this missile defense system are not shared with a third country. Data are shared within our alliance, among allies, it is a defensive system to protect the populations of NATO allies," Rasmussen said.

Agreeing publicly to keep intelligence information from Israel – a more likely target of Iran than Europe/NATO – at the behest of Turkey is a serious diminution of the U.S.-Israel security relationship as well as the Israel-NATO relationship, and elevates Turkey to the role of spoiler.

According to one source, Turkey assured Iran that the X-Band radars were not aimed at the Islamic Republic and that a Turkish military officer was in charge of receiving the intelligence information. Here the U.S. appears to have balked, telling Israel that Americans were in charge of the information, but not reassuring Israel on the subject of information sharing. Further, since the station in Turkey also acquires information from the X-Band radar based in Israel, it raises Israeli concerns that Turkey will have access to security information from Israeli skies.

Turkey also demanded the exclusion of Israel from Anatolian Eagle, a NATO exercise conducted every few years to enhance aerial cooperation. The Turkish decision caused Italy and the U.S. to pull out, and the exercise was canceled – "postponed," according to US sources as was the planned U.S.-Israel missile defense exercise, Austere Challenge, which would have had a strong intelligence-sharing component.

NATO's snub of Israel at the meeting in Chicago in May was simply waved away: "Israel is neither a participant in ISAF nor in KFOR (Afghanistan and Kosovo missions)," said Rasmussen, even as he acknowledged that 13 other"partner" nations would attend because, "In today's world security challenges know no borders, and no country or alliance can deal with most of them on their own."

It was said then that Turkey used its NATO veto. But Israel was similarly not invited to the inaugural meeting of the Global Counterterrorism Forum in Istanbul -- not a NATO meeting.

Coming on the heels of Eager Lion 2012, a Special Operations exercise involving 12,000 troops from 19 countries (excluding Israel and including several countries at war with Israel), the counterterrorism forum was designed by Secretary of State Clinton to "build the international architecture for dealing with 21st century terrorism." The State Department was responsible for the invitations, so Turkey had no veto. If the Administration had wanted to make the point that Israel is a valued partner in counterterrorism activities, it could have insisted that Israel be there or else moved the meeting.


Turkey is riding high with the Administration right now; and President Obama welcomed the Turkish Prime Minister in March as an "outstanding partner and an outstanding friend on a wide range of issues" -- including, apparently, in reducing relations with Israel.
Read the whole thing. So much for Obama's claims of 'unprecedented' security cooperation with Israel. I wonder whether Obama's Best Friend Forever is raising money in Turkey for Obama's reelection campaign. What could go wrong?

posted by Carl in Jerusalem @ 9:28 PM