Holiday Gift to Turkey, Batteries Included

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SAM YEH / AFP / Getty Images

A Patriot missile battery in action.

The U.S. is sending a pair of Patriot anti-missile batteries, and some 400 troops to operate them, to protect NATO ally Turkey from any stray missiles from Syria. German and the Netherlands are slated to do the same.

This is more about coming to the aid of a NATO partner with trouble on its doorstep than a move of military significance. Over nearly two years, the rebellion in Syria has killed about 40,000 people while the U.S. and the West have done little to help those seeking to overthrow Syrian strongman Bashar Assad.

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta signed the Patriot deployment orders Friday as he flew from Afghanistan to Incirlik, Turkey. Patriot missiles are designed to shoot down incoming missiles or aircraft. The Patriots “can help Turkey have the kind of missile defense it may very well need to deal with the threats coming out of Syria,” Panetta said at the base, about 60 miles from the Syrian border.

The U.S. and others have warned Assad that they will respond, likely with military force, if he uses his stockpile of chemical weapons on his own people.

Assad apparently is not deaf. Western intelligence agencies reported this week he unleashed crude Scud missiles on rebellious sections of northern Syria. Unfortunately for those targeted, the missiles carried only conventional warheads, which kill by blast, dismemberment, and gross trauma, instead of killing by disrupting the nervous system, as Syria’s sarin gas does.

The U.S. deployment will take its time getting to the southeastern corner of Turkey closest to Syria. Pentagon officials suggest it will take about three weeks. No one in the Pentagon knows if the increasingly beleaguered Syrian strongman will be in power that long.


Panetta: "to deal with the threats coming out of Syria"

The deployment of Patriot missiles preceded the alleged firing of Scud missiles.

Dec 5, 2012 -- NATO commander: Patriots can stop Syrian chemical missiles -- The Patriot defense missile that NATO has just approved for deployment in Turkey could be used in intercepting Syrian missiles with chemical warheads, a senior NATO commander said on Wednesday

.a week later

LA Times, Dec 12 -- U.S. official: Syrian government fired Scud missiles at rebels --   WASHINGTON -- The Syrian government has fired half a dozen Scud missiles at insurgents in recent days, a U.S. official said Wednesday.

and yesterday the US State Dept cleared it all up (not)

MR. VENTRELL: . . . I do – unfortunately, the U.S. Government does have information, however, to confirm that the Assad regime has launched Scud missiles against targets inside of Syria. So I am, unfortunately, able to confirm that today, which is in our view truly a disproportionate military escalation and really a desperate act from this regime.QUESTION: Do you know how many he fired?MR. VENTRELL: I’m not able to confirm --QUESTION: (Inaudible) reported six earlier in the week.MR. VENTRELL: Yeah, I’m not able to confirm a number at this time, Roz.. . . .QUESTION: Yeah. Well, okay. I’m not – I’m really – I know you’re going to think that this isn’t true, but I’m not trying to be difficult. I’m just trying to find out if these are new uses of Scuds since what others were talking about earlier in the week, or are they the same?MR. VENTRELL: Matt, it’s been going on this week. I’m not going to get into it further about what has led us to be able to confirm it.


Oh look, it was a double win from the bogus  Scud Scare -- countering Russia AND Afghan support from Turkey

Hurriyet, Dec 15 -- NATO seeks Afghan solidarity for Patriots

“Our decision is a clear and concrete demonstration of the value of the alliance for our collective security and for your security. It shows that NATO stands with Turkey in the spirit of solidarity. As I look to next year, this spirit of solidarity will be equally important for our continued success,” NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said in a written message he issued at the 19th International Antalya Conference on Security and Cooperation on Friday. 

He stressed that the priority over the next year would be Afghanistan. “We will continue to advise and assist the Afghan forces after 2014. And I hope that Turkey will play an important role in this vital mission, as it does in ISAF,” read the statement.


Regarding the Scud information, first it was "a US official who can't be identified because it's classified information[sic] says a Scud was fired" and then it was "the US says a Scud was fired" and then it was "a Scud was fired" and now on battleland we've regressed to "Western intelligence agencies reported this week he unleashed crude Scud missiles" -- really, the state of journalism needs attention. 

Effective propaganda to be effective should at least be consistent. (Truth not being an issue here.)


Credit where credit is due -- the "a Scud was fired" report was published by the New York Times -- all the s**t  that's new to print.


The Patriots are not to counter Syria, which has its plate full w/o attacking much stronger Turkey. No, the Patriots are to counter Russian SAMs which are countering NATO's air defense. 

Oct 19, 2012 -- ussia installing S-400 anti-aircraft missiles to target Turkey -- Russia is installing an advanced anti-aircraft missile system in its southern military region in reaction to Turkey’s deployment of a NATO missile system, a report says.Russian Col. Igor Gorbul said the army will complete the installation of S-400 anti-aircraft missiles by the end of this year, the Turkish daily Hurriyet reported on Wednesday.Gorbul also stated that the new missiles can destroy ultra-stratospheric and ballistic missiles and all types of airplanes.NATO’s missile system has been established in Turkey’s East Anatolia region. (Malatya)[radar only]


Just find it confounding how some types of weapons are "good" and some are "bad".


Libya, Egypt, and Syria have one thing in common. The population wants to overthrow their government. But one thing they do not have in common, oil. Since Syria lacks in oil drills, they do not get the military help unless chemical weapons are used. What a selfish move USA.


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