2012/11/13

Syria - Where is the National Interest?

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In response to Think Defence:

"Syria – Where is the National Interest?"

I have two candidates:

(1) What the UNSC or even UN General Assembly wants done, for supporting the UN means supporting an institution which works for peace and stability*.

(2) What Turkey wants done, for Turkey is the only formal ally (North Atlantic Treaty) which sees its national security interests affected by this Civil War.** Supporting an ally in a useful collective security alliance is usually good business unless said ally is aggressive and is stepping over bounds.


To have an identified national interest doesn't mean you should intervene, though. The national interest is what makes up most of the "pro" side. There's also the "contra" side of human tragedies, fiscal consequences and distraction of the nation from more pressing challenges.


S Ortmann


*: It's fallible, of course.
**: The Lisbon treaty ally Cyprus does appear to be rather safe thanks to the maritime spacing. Israel is not in a written (and published) alliance with either the UK or Germany. Nor are Lebanon, Jordan or Iraq as far as I know.
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3 comments:

  1. The AKP needs new glory for the Turkish military in order to kill Kemalism. They make Turkey a proxy for a US war effort. Syria is part of the ongoing string of US campaigns that change regimes in the Muslim oil&rare earth region.
    Do you honestly suggest to narrow this down into an issue of Turkish aggression?
    Germany is no position to overstep her ability to say more than a rhetoric "no" to these US efforts at improved control over critical resources by regime re-alignment. We can only lean back and do minimum support and we can critize specific Turkish measures.

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  2. Dunno where you got the 'Turkish aggression' thing from. Can't you tell me writing in specifics from me writing in general terms?

    What Germany can or cannot do is not really important these days; Merkel does rather minimalistic policies anyway. Her only huge project appears to be about renewable resources.

    The Syrian Civil War has been going on for a while and all interventions which happen are of diplomatic, intelligence or covert nature. I suppose it'll stay like this. The Turkish border incidents are not much more dramatic than the overflight of Austrian territories by Yugoslav aircraft during bombing runs on Slovenian border posts two decades ago. The typical response to such incidents is to rattle sabres. The atypical response is to use it as pretext for invasion or large scale bombing.

    Few still existing states used the atypical response to minor incidents; US (with incidents involving ships usually) and Israel mostly and at least once China (1979). France isn't very tolerant in such situations either.

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  3. Turkey does not appear to have a really tought out policy, or at least they didn't have one last year.
    An long article in the new left review covers Turkey's ambition and workings in the region (http://newleftreview.org/II/76/cihan-tugal-democratic-janissaries), and the later parts deals explicitly with their actions in the Syrian civil war.

    In short the article describes the outside influences on the civil war as basically Iran vs Saudi, with Turkey starting to side with the Saudis on essentially ethnic grounds.

    Given the involvment of the Saudis, we might see some US overt action (because they like to be loud with what they do), but that's just me speculating wildly. The USA might well leave the Saudis to play all they want now that the apparently are projected to produce most oil in the world in a few decades.

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