While Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has condemned Israel
for the atrocities committed in Lebanon, his government remains a staunch ally
of Israel and a major military actor in the Middle East and Central Asia, with
close ties to Washington, Tel Aviv and NATO headquarters in Brussels.
"This war is unjust... The Israeli war ...is simply fueling hatred...
It is not difficult to see that a terrible global war and a huge disaster await
us.”", said Erdogan at the Organization of the Islamic Conference
(OIC) meeting in Kuala Lumpur, in early August
In a cruel irony, Turkey, through its military alliance with Israel and the
US, is a de facto partner in the "terrible global war" alluded to
by Prime Minister Erdogan.
The Turkish head of government's apparent indignation responds to strong anti-Israeli
sentiment within Turkey and the Middle East. His Justice and Development Party
(AKP), which dominates the ruling coalition is considered to be a "pro-Islamic
political entity". Yet beneath the gilded surface of Turkish party politics,
the ruling AKP coalition government led Prime Minister Erdogan is complicit
in Israeli war crimes.
Turkey's condemnation of Israel is in blatant contradiction with the substance
of its longstanding military cooperation agreement with Israel, which the ruling
AKP government has actively pursued. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has
not only supported Israeli interests, he had also developed a close personal
rapport with (former) Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.
The contradictions underlying Turkey's foreign policy also relate to complex divisions
within the ruling coalition as well as between the government and the Military
hierarchy, which historically has maintained a close rapport with the Pentagon
and NATO. While the alliance with Israel may be the source of political contention
in the Turkish parliament, it has, nonetheless, been accepted and endorsed, since
the mid-1990s, by successive government coalitions.
The Israeli-Turkish Military Alliance
A significant turnaround in Turkish foreign policy occurred in the immediate
wake of the Cold War, which contributed to redefining the Turkey-Israel relationship.
Initially forged under the helm of Prime Minister Tansu Çiller, the Israeli-Turkish
military pact is characterized by the landmark 1994 Security and Secrecy Agreement
(SSA). This strategic realignment of Turkey with Israel was part of Washington's
post Cold War agenda in the Middle East, which was also supported by US covert
intelligence operations. In 1997, Mrs. Ciller was accused of having been recruited
by the CIA and "of accepting money from foreign governments [the US] to
work against Turkey's national interests". (Voice
of America, 17 July 1997)
The 1994 Security and Secrecy Agreement emulates a defunct secret agreement
between Israel and Turkey formulated in the late 1950s at the height of the
Cold War, entitled the "Peripheral Pact":
"By 1958, however, a fascinating secret agreement, sometimes referred
to as the "peripheral pact", had emerged between the two nations.
It’s conceptual framework can be traced back even before the founding
of the state [of Israel] to the ideology of Baruch
‘Uzel [Uziel], an Israeli leader who would later become a member
of the Liberal Party.
Notably, exact details of the alliance remain hidden in numerous classified
Israeli documents, and are obscured by Turkish secrecy, classified documents,
and insistence that there was no actually documented pact between the countries.
Nonetheless, it seems the alliance had three fundamental tenets. The diplomatic
tenet involved joint public relations campaigns to influence general publics.
The military aspect allegedly involved the exchange of intelligence information,
joint planning for mutual aid in emergencies, and Turkish support in the Pentagon
and at NATO for an improved Israeli military. Some also say that “highly
sensitive” scientific cooperation as well as the export of Israeli military
equipment to the Republic occurred. (See Washington
This 1958 bilateral military cooperation agreement, however, was short lived.
In the course of the 1960s, Turkey pursued a rapprochement with both the Soviet
Union and the Arab countries. (Ibid).
A protocol on Defense Cooperation was established in 1992 under the government
of Süleyman Demirel, followed two years later by the signing of the 1994
Security and Secrecy Agreement (SSA). Necmettin Erbakan succeeded Tansu Çiller
as Prime Minister in 1997 in "an Islamic center-right coalition" with
Ciller's True Path Party.
In 1997, the Erbakan government was forced to resign as result of pressures
exerted by the Military in what was described as "a post- modern coup d'État".
The US sponsored 1994 Security and Secrecy Agreement (SSA) implemented by the
Çiller government, essentially set the stage for a firm and close relationship
between Israel and Turkey in military and intelligence cooperation, joint military
exercises, weapons production and training. The SSA is far-reaching in its implications.
It also requires the exchange of military intelligence in what is described
as the "guaranteed secrecy in the exchange and sharing of information".
From the outset in 1992, the Israeli-Turkish military alliance has consistently
been directed against Syria. A 1993 Memorandum of Understanding led to the creation
of (Israeli-Turkish) "joint committees" to handle so-called regional
threats. Under the terms of the Memorandum, Turkey and Israel agreed "to
cooperate in gathering intelligence on Syria, Iran, and Iraq and to meet regularly
to share assessments pertaining to terrorism and these countries' military capabilities."
Turkey agreed to allow IDF and Israeli security forces to gather electronic
intelligence on Syria and Iran from Turkey. In exchange, Israel assisted in
the equipping and training of Turkish forces in anti-terror warfare along
the Syrian, Iraqi, and Iranian borders." (Ibid)
In 1997, Israel and Turkey launched "A Strategic Dialogue" involving
a bi-annual process of high level military consultations by the respective deputy
chiefs of staff. (Milliyet, Istanbul, in Turkish 14 July 2006).
The 1994 SSA was followed in 1996 by a Military Training and Cooperation Agreement
(MTCA). Also in 1996, Turkey entered into a Military Industry Cooperation Agreement
with Israel, which was in turn instrumental to the signing of "a secret
agreement" with Israel Military Industries to update its tank division,
modernize its helicopter fleet and its F-4 and F-5 combat planes (Ibid). In
turn, the two countries entered into negotiations with a view to establishing
a Free Trade
Agreement, which came into operation in 2000.
On the official agenda of recent Israeli-Turkish talks are joint defense projects,
including the joint production of Arrow
II Theater Missile Defense and Popeye II missiles. The latter, also known
as the Have Lite, are advanced small missiles, designed for deployment on fighter
Israel's Arrow II
More recently, the Eastern Mediterranean corridor, from the Red Sea, through
Lebanon and Syria to the Syrian- Turkish border has, both from a strategic and
economic standpoint, become an important factor in the evolving Israel-Turkey
military alliance. It is intimately related to the proposed Ceyhan-Ashkelon
oil pipeline project (to be implemented by Turkey and Israel), which would link
the Baku-Tblisi-Ceyhan pipeline to Israel's Ashkelon-Eilat pipeline. (Michel
war on Lebanon and the Battle for Oil, July 2006)
The war on Lebanon ultimately seeks to establish joint Israeli-Turkish military
control over a coastal corridor extending from the Israeli-Lebanese border to
the East Mediterranean border between Syria and Turkey. What this militarization
of the coastal Lebanese-Syrian corridor would signify is the control of almost
the entire Eastern Mediterranean coastline by Turkey and Israel under the terms
of the Israeli-Turkish military alliance. (Ibid)
Water is also part of this strategic relationship. Under a 2004 agreement,
Turkey was to sell some 50 million cubic meters of water per annum to Israel
over a 20 year period. In recent developments, the agreement has been revised.
The water would to be channeled to Israel via an Israeli-Turkish water pipeline.
The NATO-Israel Security Agreement
In April 2001, Israel entered into "a security agreement" with NATO
as part of NATO's Mediterranean Dialogue:
"This security agreement provides the framework for the protection of
classified information, as defined by all 19 member countries, and is signed
by countries that wish to engage in cooperation with NATO."
In 2004, the decision was taken to "elevate" the 2001 Mediterranean
Dialogue "to a genuine [military] partnership and to launch the Istanbul
Cooperation Initiative (ICI) with selected countries [including Algeria,
Egypt, Israel, Jordan. Mauritania, Morocco and Tunisia] in the broader region
of the Middle East." The mandate of the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative,
"contribute to regional security and stability, by
promoting greater practical cooperation, enhancing the Dialogue’s
political dimension, assisting in defense reform, cooperation in
the field of border security, achieving interoperability and contributing
to the fight against terrorism, while complementing other international efforts."
(NATO, emphasis added)
The Initiative "offers a 'menu' of bilateral activities" consisting
of "defense reform, defense budgeting, defense planning and civil-military
relations; military-to-military cooperation to contribute to interoperability
through participation in selected military exercises and related education and
training activities,..." ; cooperation in the fight against terrorism,
including through intelligence-sharing; cooperation in the Alliance's work on
the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction ... (NATO,
The Istanbul Cooperation Initiative)
In practical terms, the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative (ICI) neutralizes Israel's
potential adversaries in the Arab World. It essentially grants a green light
to Israel and its indefectible Turkish ally. It ensures that other member States
(frontline Arab States) of the NATO sponsored ICI, will not intervene in a Middle
East conflict instigated by Israel. This is the main purpose of the Istanbul
Cooperation Initiative (ICI): paralyze the Arab States at the diplomatic and
military levels, to ensure that they will not act in any meaningful way against
US-Israeli interests in the Middle East.
By late 2004, the "enhanced" Mediterranean Dialogue (Istanbul Cooperation
Initiative), had evolved into a more cohesive military cooperation agreement.
The member countries met in Brussels in November 2004. Senior Israeli IDF officers
held discussions, under NATO auspices, with the top military brass of six members
of the Mediterranean basin nations, including Egypt, Jordan, Algeria, Tunisia,
Morocco, Algeria and Mauritania. The hidden agenda of this meeting was essentially
to set the stage for a full-fledged NATO-Israel partnership, with the tacit
consent of the frontline Arab States.
This partnership relationship was firmed up in bilateral NATO-Israel talks
held in Tel Aviv in February 2005.
Joint NATO-Israel Military Exercises
In early 2005, the US, Israel and Turkey held military exercises in the Eastern
Mediterranean, off the coast of Syria, which were followed by NATO military
exercises with Israel, which included several Arab countries.
These joint war games were then followed in February 2005, by NATO's Secretary
General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer's visit to Israel. De Hoop Scheffer had talks
with Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom, Defense Minister
Shaul Mofaz and the Chief of Staff of the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) Lt. General
Moshe Ya’alon. (NATO
Press Release, 24 February 2005).
The purpose of these meetings pertained to "possible ways of expanding
current cooperation, particularly in the areas of military co-operation, the
fight against terrorism and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction."
The ongoing relationship between NATO and Israel was confirmed in NATO's Secretary
General de Hoop Scheffer's February 2005 speech in Tel Aviv:
"...At NATO’s Istanbul Summit [June 2004], we agreed, in close
consultation with Israel and other partners in this process, to try to move
our relationship to another level – in short, to move from dialogue
to partnership. We want to further intensify our political dialogue;
to promote greater interoperability between our military forces;
and to encourage greater cooperation on defense reform, as well as in the
critical fight against terrorism. ...
... Israel has ... stepped forward with a list of concrete proposals for
enhancing our cooperation. These proposals cover many areas of common interest,
such as the fight against terrorism or joint military exercises,
where Israel’s expertise is very much valued. They underline your country’s
desire for a strengthened relation, and we are looking forward to working
with Israel in the framework of an individual action programme. (NATO
website, 24 February 2005, click for complete transcript of speech) (emphasis
These military cooperation ties were viewed by the Israeli military as a means
to "enhance Israel's deterrence capability regarding potential enemies
threatening it, mainly Iran and Syria."
It is worth noting that in February 2005, coinciding with the NATO mission
to Israel, the government of Ariel Sharon dismissed General Moshe Ya'alon as
Chief of Staff and appointed Air Force General Dan Halutz. This was the first
time in Israeli history that an Air Force General was appointed Chief of Staff
(See Uri Avnery, http://www.globalresearch.ca/articles/AVN502A.html
The appointment of Major General Dan Halutz as IDF Chief of Staff was considered
in Israeli political circles as "the appointment of the right man at the
right time." In retrospect, his appointment has a direct bearing on the
planning of the air campaign directed against Lebanon, although at the time
Maj General Halutz was slated to undertake the planning of possible aerial bombing
raids on Iran, as part of a planned US-Israeli operation. These planned bombings
on Iran would be coordinated by US Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM) in liaison
with Israel, Turkey and NATO. (See Michel
Chossudovsky, May 2005, February 2006, Jan 2006 ).
The Role of NATO in Relation to the War on Lebanon
NATO cannot under any circumstances play a "neutral stabilizing"
role in Lebanon. NATO's involvement would be dictated by the precise terms of
the "NATO-Israel partnership". A NATO "stabilization force",
pursuant to a UN Security Council Resolution would side with Israel against
The NATO-Israel partnership establishes NATO's "responsibilities"
in relation to its ally Israel: Israel is under attack and has "the legitimate
right to defend itself". The terms of the NATO-Israel agreement as defined
in the February 2005 consultations in Tel Aviv, specifically point to "the
fight against terrorism".
The 2005 Israel-NATO agreement is all the more important because it requires
NATO, in the context of the Israeli led war on Lebanon, to support Israel. It
also means that NATO would be involved in the triangular process of military
consultations and planning, which link Tel Aviv to Washington and Ankara.
Meanwhile, the NATO-Israel partnership reached in 2005 was also viewed by the
Israeli government as an opportunity to boost the shattered image of Israel:
The more Israel's image is strengthened as a country facing enemies who attempt
to attack it for no justified reason, the greater will be the possibility
that aid will be extended to Israel by NATO. Furthermore, Iran and Syria will
have to take into account the possibility that the increasing cooperation
between Israel and NATO will strengthen Israel's links with Turkey, also a
member of NATO. Given Turkey's impressive military potential and its geographic
proximity to both Iran and Syria, Israel's operational options against them,
if and when it sees the need, could gain considerable strength. "
(Jaffa Center for Strategic Studies, http://www.tau.ac.il/jcss/sa/v7n4p4Shalom.html
New Pro-Israeli Turkish Chief of Staff
Another crucial and related development --which has a direct bearing on the
current situation in Lebanon-- is the timely appointment by the Erdogan government
of a new Chief of Staff. Ground Forces Commander General Yasar Buyukanit's is
slated to succeed Gen. Hilmi Ozkok in late August.
General Yasar Buyukanit
General Buyukanit is pro-Israeli. He is a US approved appointee, firmly committed
to America's "War on Terrorism". His timely appointment at the outset
of Israel's military campaign in Lebanon bears a direct relationship to the
evolving Middle East war theater.
The appointment of General Buyukanit as Chief of Staff has been in the pipeline
since December 2005, when he visited Washington for consultations with his US
counterparts. At the Pentagon, General Buyukanit met the Chairman of the Joint
Chiefs of Staff General Peter Pace, Army Commander General Francis Harvey Under
Secretary of Defense for Policy Eric Edelman.
General Yasar Buyukanit also had discussions at the American Enterprise Institute
(AEI), a Neo-conservative think tank with close ties to the Pentagon. AEI's
military analyst Thomas Donnelly was responsible for outlining and drafting
the 2000 Neo-conservative military blueprint entitled "Rebuilding
America's Defenses" published by the Project of the New American century
The decision by the Turkish cabinet led by Prime Minister Erdogan, to appoint
General Buyukanit as Chief of Staff, was ratified by President Ahmet Necdet
Sezer in early August at the height of a judicial procedure, indirectly implicating
General Buyukanit, in the alleged organization of state-sponsored death squads
targeting Kurdish rebels in Turkey's southeastern region (The Independent, 21
Coinciding with General Buyukanit's appointment as Chief of Staff, Prime Minister
Erdogan's government had already formulated the contours of Turkey's participation
in "an international force for stability in Lebanon" in anticipation
of a UN Security Council resolution, which was being prepared by France and
the United States.
Under the helm of General Buyukanit, the Turkish military could come play a
more active role in the Israeli sponsored conflict. This role would be based
on the terms of the military alliance between Israel and Turkey as well as on
Israel's partnership with NATO.
Meanwhile, General Buyukanit's appointment as Chief of Staff is likely to be
followed by purges within the Military, with a view to weeding out anti-Israeli
sentiment among Turkey's senior military brass. The first target of this streamlining
could be Deputy Chief of Staff General Isik Kosaner, who refused to attend the
bi-annual "Strategic Dialogue" with his Israeli counterparts in Tel
Aviv in mid-July.
If the Lebanon war were to escalate into a broader conflict involving Syria,
Turkish ground troops could be deployed under the terms of the Israeli-Turkish
military alliance. It is worth mentioning that prime ministers Recep Erdogan
and Ariel Sharon in a 2005 meeting in Tel Aviv decided to set up a "Hotline
for the exchange of intelligence" as part of their evolving military alliance.
What this suggests is that Turkey is a potential partner in the ongoing war
"Triple Alliance": US, Israel, Turkey
Already during the Clinton Administration, a triangular military alliance between
the US, Israel and Turkey had unfolded. This "triple alliance", which
is dominated by the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, integrates and coordinates military
command decisions between the three countries pertaining to the broader Middle
East. It is based on the close military ties respectively of Israel and Turkey
with the US, coupled with a strong bilateral military relationship between Tel
Aviv and Ankara. Amply documented, Israel and Turkey are partners in the US
planned aerial attacks on Iran, which have been in an advanced state of readiness
since mid-2005. (See
Michel Chossudovsky, May 2005)
US-Turkey: "Shared Vision"
In recent developments, on July 6, barely a week before the bombing of Lebanon,
a so-called "Shared Vision" document was signed by the US and Turkey,
which essentially confirms the "Triple Alliance". Turkish Foreign
Minister Abdullah Gul was in Washington with U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza
Rice for the signing ceremony.
The "Shared Vision" agreement describes the relationship between
Turkey and the United States as: "characterized by strong bonds of friendship,
alliance, mutual trust and unity of vision. We share the same set of values
and ideals in our regional and global objectives: the promotion of peace, democracy,
freedom and prosperity." more significantly, it implies Turkey's unbending
support of the US "war on terrorism".
In practice, the document requires the Ankara government to endorse Washington's
foreign policy stance with regard to Israel's right to "self defense"
. This commitment was ratified barely a week before the onslaught of the war
on Lebanon. According to Zaman (Istanbul) (July 6, 2006), the "Shared Vision"
document is aimed at ensuring that:
" Turkey remains aligned with the United States and the West in strategic
and tactical terms, adding that Ankara in turn wants to be part of the political
planning processes in the Middle East rather than a 'blind implementer' of
policies determined by global players."
The document defines Turkey's strategic and military alignment in the broader
Middle East-Central Asian region as defined in Washington's "Greater
Middle East Initiative":
"[The Shared Vision agreement] will encourage democracy and stability
in Iraq, the Black Sea, Caucasus, Central Asia and Afghanistan [as well as
support] "international efforts aimed at resolving the Middle East conflict;
boosting peace and stability through democracy in the Greater Middle East
Initiative; ensuring energy security; strengthening transatlantic relations;
and enhancing understanding among religions and cultures.( Turkish
Daily, 6 July 2006)
Escalation and Military Build-up
Israel is involved in a major military operation with the full deployment of
its air force and ground forces. More than 30,000 CHECK troops have already
been deployed. The target of the Israeli-led military operation is not Hizbollah
but the destruction an entire country and the impoverishment of its population.
Israel is meeting fierce resistance not only from Hizbollah but from an armed
civilian movement. The Israeli government has issued an order to mobilize as
many as 40,000 additional reserve soldiers (Patrick
Martin, July 2006)
In contrast to the "shock and awe" March 2003 Blitzkrieg over Iraq,
the Israelis have aimed systematically and almost exclusively civilian targets.
Moreover, Lebanon is defenseless. It does not possess an air defense system
and the Israelis know it. The number of declared targets is staggering, even
when compared, for instance, to the 300 selected strategic targets identified
in the 1991 Gulf war.
The civilian infrastructure has been destroyed: water, telecommunications,
bridges, airports, gas stations, power plants, dairy factories, etc. Confirmed
by the British press, in towns and villages across Lebanon, schools and hospitals
have been targeted with meticulous accuracy. In an utterly twisted logic, the
Israeli government has casually blamed Hizbollah for using the schools and hospitals
as hideouts or launch pads to wage their terrorist activities. (ABC Australia,
interview with Israeli Ambassador to Australia, Nati Tamir, 21 July 2006).
Israeli Stockpiling of WMD
Recent developments in the war theater point towards escalation both within
and beyond the borders of Lebanon. The Israeli government has confirmed that
it is in for a "long war". Patterns of weapons stockpiling by Israel
support the long war agenda. To meet shortfalls in current stockpiles of WMD,
Israel's IDF is to take delivery of an emergency shipment of precision guided
bombs, including US made GBU-28 bunker buster bombs produced by Raytheon.
The proposed shipment is described by military observers as somewhat "unusual".
Israel already has a large stockpile of precision guided weapons. In addition
to its own stockpiles, the IDF took delivery in 2005 of some 5000 US made "smart
air launched weapons" including some 500 "bunker-buster" bombs.
While the report suggests that "Israel still had a long list of targets
in Lebanon to strike", the history of these deliveries of bunker buster
bombs to Israel since 2004, suggests that they may be intended for use in the
broader Middle Eastern region, including Syria and Iran.
The Broader Middle East War
The war in Lebanon is an integral part of the US Middle East war agenda. Over
the last two years, US military documents and national security statements point
quite explicitly to Syria and Iran as potential targets of US military aggression.
Escalation in relation to Syria is a strategic scenario, contemplated by US,
Israeli and Turkish military planners.
In their July Joint
Press Conference at the White House, President George W. Bush and Prime
Minister Tony Blair renewed, in no uncertain terms, their threats against Syria
and Iran. These threats are now backed by concrete military plans:
"The message is very, very simple to them. It is that, you have a choice.
Iran and Syria have a choice. And they may think that they can avoid this
choice; in fact, they can't. And when things are set in train like what has
happened in Lebanon over the past few weeks, it only, in my view, underscores
the fact they have this choice. They can either come in and participate as
proper and responsible members of the international community, or they will
face the risk of increasing confrontation. (White House, 28 July 2006)
This and other statements point to escalation, where Lebanon is slated to be
used as a casus belli, a "just cause" for war on Syria and possibly
Iran, due to their alleged support of Hizbollah.
On the other hand, the Syrian government has intimated that if Israel launches
an all out invasion of Lebanon beyond the southern region, it would have no
choice but to intervene in the conflict:.
"Syria issued a stark warning that an Israeli invasion of Lebanon would
drag it into the spiraling Middle East conflict and called for an immediate
'If Israel makes a land entry into Lebanon, they can get to within 20 km
of Damascus,' Information Minister Moshen Bilal told the Spanish newspaper
'What will we do? Stand by with our arms folded? Absolutely not. Without
any doubt Syria will intervene in the conflict.'" (AFX,
26 July 2006)
Moreover any encroachment or movement of Israeli troops inside Syrian territory
could trigger the entry of Syria into the conflict. Syrian troops and air force
are currently deployed and are "in an advanced state of readiness".
If Syria were to be brought into the war, in all likelihood Turkey would intervene
in accordance with the terms of the Israel-Turkey military alliance. NATO would
send troops pursuant to its 2005 military partnership agreement with Israel.
Meanwhile, the Bush administration in close liaison with Britain is pushing
for a UN Security Council Resolution on Iran's nuclear program, which could
lead in the months ahead to punitive bombings directed against Iran.
In relation to Lebanon, Iran's president Ahmadinejad intimated at the very
outset of the bombing campaign that Iran would intervene if Syria is attacked:
Mr [Mahmud] Ahmadinezhad expressed grave concerns over the Zionist military's
attacks on Palestinian and Lebanese civilians. He described the aggressions
as the sign of weakness on the part the illegitimate regime. He said despite
what the Zionist officials may think, such actions cannot save the regime.
Commenting on the recent Israeli threats against Syria, the president said
that the regime's ever increasing aggressive measures would be interpreted
as an attack on the whole of the Islamic world, adding that it would meet
with a strong response.(Voice
of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Tehran, in Persian 0430 14 July 2006)
As the Middle East war escalates, the Resistance movements in the various countries
will move closer together. Already a solidarity movement in favor of Hizbollah
has developed in Iraq. In Lebanon, sectarian boundaries are breaking down between
Sunni and Shiite. Muslims and Maronite Christians are joining hands to defend
The US and Israel will not be able to handle this resistance on the ground
without destroying the entire country with aerial bombardments. If Syria is
brought into the war and Turkey intervenes, the entire Middle East will flare
has a formidable military arsenal with more than 300,000 troops. Yet at
the same time, there is a very strong anti-Israeli sentiment in Turkey to the
extent that the Erdogan government would have to present Turkey's role to public
opinion as part of a limited "peace-keeping" or humanitarian mandate
under UN auspices.
The Anti-war Movement
The geopolitics behind the war on Lebanon must be addressed by the Antiwar
movement. We are not dealing with a limited conflict between the Israeli Armed
Forces (IDF) and Hizbollah as conveyed by the Western media. The Lebanese war
theater is part of a broader US military agenda, which encompasses a region
extending from the Eastern Mediterranean into the heartland of Central Asia.
The war on Lebanon must be viewed as "a stage" in this broader "military
The structure of military alliances is crucial in understanding the evolution
of the US sponsored Middle East war. The war on Lebanon is not strictly an Israeli
military project, it is part of a coordinated military endeavor by Israel's
main partners and allies including the US, Britain, Turkey, and the member states
of the Atlantic Alliance.
While Israel is indelibly responsible for "Crimes against Peace"
as defined in Article 6a of the Nuremberg Charter: for "the planning, preparation,
initiation or waging of a war of aggression, or a war in violation of international
treaties", the same Article 6a also extends to Israel's military partners
Israel is responsible for "War Crimes" under Article 6b
of the Nuremberg Charter .through the "plunder of public or private
property, wanton destruction of cities, towns or villages, or devastation not
justified by military necessity;" (Art. 6b). It is responsible for
"Crimes against Humanity" through the perpetration of acts
of : "murder, extermination, enslavement, deportation, and other inhumane
acts committed against any civilian population, before or during the war..."
Those Western heads of State and heads of government who overtly support Israel's
air raids and illegal occupation of Lebanon, are complicit in "war crimes"
and "crimes against humanity." This pertains specifically to those
Western political leaders who, at the outset of the war, turned down the "cease
fire" proposal, which would have led to a halt to the Israeli aerial bombardments,
largely directed against the civilian population.
The legitimacy of the main political and military actors and corporate sponsors
must be the target of a consistent anti-war movement which goes beyond the expression
of anti-war sentiment and the holding of large public antiwar rallies. Under
the Nuremberg Charter, Article 6, Western leaders who support and/or pay lip
service to Israel's war crimes are categorized as accomplices:
"Leaders, organizers, instigators and accomplices participating in the
formulation or execution of a common plan or conspiracy to commit any of the
foregoing crimes are responsible for all acts performed by any persons in
execution of such plan."
The latter clause also applies to the permanent members of Security Council,
who uphold Israel's right to "self defense". Article 7 of the Nuremberg
Charter stipulates that "the official position of defendants, whether
as Heads of State or responsible officials in Government Departments, shall
not be considered as freeing them from responsibility or mitigating punishment."
There is a sense of urgency in reversing the tide of war.
Reversing the tide of war can not be limited to a critique of the US war agenda.
Ultimately what is at stake is the legitimacy of the political and military
actors and the economic power structures, which ultimately control the formulation,
and direction of US foreign policy.
A war agenda is not disarmed through antiwar sentiment. One does not reverse
the tide by asking President Bush or Prime Minister Olmert: "please abide
by the Geneva Convention" and the Nuremberg Charter. Ultimately a consistent
antiwar agenda requires unseating the war criminals in high office as a first
step towards disarming the institutions and corporate structures of the New
To break the "war on terrorism" consensus, we must also break its
propaganda apparatus, the pervasive structures of media disinformation, the
fear and intimidation campaign, which galvanize public opinion into accepting
the legitimacy of the Anglo-American military project.
This can only be effectively implemented by unseating the war criminals from
the positions of authority which they quite legitimately occupy. It is this
legitimacy of "war criminals" in high office in our respective countries,
which has to be broken.
Sanctions against Israel
Sanctions against Israel must be adopted by member countries of the United
Nations. And if they are not adopted or ratified by the relevant government
or inter-governmental authorities, then the officials representing those authorities
should be held responsible for "war crimes" under the Nuremberg Charter.
If the national legislatures of UN member countries uphold governments which
condone Israeli war crimes, then those members of parliament must also be unseated.
A UN Security Council resolution cannot override or erase the fact that Israel
has violated international law and has committed extensive crimes. Moreover,
the veto exercised by a permanent member which might temporarily uphold Israel's
actions, including its illegal occupation of Lebanon, has no legitimacy and
cannot override the UN Charter and the tenets of international law (Nuremberg
In other words, if appropriate sanctions against Israel are not adopted by
the UN Security Council, due the encroachment of the one or more permanent members
of the Security Council, the heads of State and heads of government of those
permanent member countries of the Security Council (e.g. US, UK, France) should
be considered, under the Nuremberg Charter, accomplices of Israeli "crimes
against the peace", " war crimes" and "crimes against humanity".
Similarly, the adoption of a bogus consensus Security Council resolution brokered
by the US, France or Britain, which protects the interests of Israel and/or
upholds the illegal occupation, while calling for the disarmament of Hizbollah,
does not alter the fact that Israel has committed those crimes. Moreover, it
should be clear that if such a resolution were to be adopted, those members
who voted in favor of the resolution would, under Article 6 of the Nuremberg
Charter, be considered accomplices of Israeli crimes. Ultimately what such as
bogus resolution signifies is the "criminalization" of the United
Nations Security Council.
But the more crucial and complex relationship to be addressed by the antiwar
movement pertains to the powers operating behind the scenes: the Anglo-American
oil giants, the so-called "defense contractors" which produce Weapons
of Mass Destruction in the real sense of the word, the media conglomerates which
fabricate the news and constitute an instrument of war propaganda, and the powerful
financial institutions, whose interests are served in a profit driven war.
Michel Chossudovsky is the author of the international
best seller "The
Globalization of Poverty " published in eleven languages. He is
Professor of Economics at the University of Ottawa and Director of the Center
for Research on Globalization, at www.globalresearch.ca
. He is also a contributor to the Encyclopaedia Britannica. His most recent
book is entitled: America’s
"War on Terrorism", Global Research, 2005.
To order Chossudovsky's book America's
"War on Terrorism", click here.
Note: Readers are welcome to cross-post this article with
a view to spreading the word and warning people of the dangers of a broader
Middle East war.
NUREMBERG CHARTER (EXCERPTS)
for complete text
II. JURISDICTION AND GENERAL PRINCIPLES
The Tribunal established by the Agreement referred to in Article 1 hereof for
the trial and punishment of the major war criminals of the European Axis countries
shall have the power to try and punish persons who, acting in the interests
of the European Axis countries, whether as individuals or as members of organizations,
committed any of the following crimes.
The following acts, or any of them, are crimes coming within the jurisdiction
of the Tribunal for which there shall be individual responsibility:
(a) CRIMES AGAINST PEACE: namely, planning, preparation, initiation
or waging of a war of aggression, or a war in violation of international treaties,
agreements or assurances, or participation in a common plan or conspiracy for
the accomplishment of any of the foregoing;
(b) WAR CRIMES: namely, violations of the laws or customs
of war. Such violations shall include, but not be limited to, murder, ill-treatment
or deportation to slave labor or for any other purpose of civilian population
of or in occupied territory, murder or ill-treatment of prisoners of war or
persons on the seas, killing of hostages, plunder of public or private property,
wanton destruction of cities, towns or villages, or devastation not justified
by military necessity;
(c)CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY: namely, murder, extermination,
enslavement, deportation, and other inhumane acts committed against any civilian
population, before or during the war; or persecutions on political, racial or
religious grounds in execution of or in connection with any crime within the
jurisdiction of the Tribunal, whether or not in violation of the domestic law
of the country where perpetrated.
Leaders, organizers, instigators and accomplices participating in the formulation
or execution of a common plan or conspiracy to commit any of the foregoing crimes
are responsible for all acts performed by any persons in execution of such plan.
The official position of defendants, whether as Heads of State or responsible
officials in Government Departments, shall not be considered as freeing them
from responsibility or mitigating punishment.
The fact that the Defendant acted pursuant to order of his Government or of
a superior shall not free him from responsibility, but may be considered in
mitigation of punishment if the Tribunal determines that justice so requires.
At the trial of any individual member of any group or organization the Tribunal
may declare (in connection with any act of which the individual may be convicted)
that the group or organization of which the individual was a member was a criminal
After the receipt of the
Indictment the Tribunal shall give such notice as it thinks fit that the
prosecution intends to ask the Tribunal to make such declaration and any member
of the organization will be entitled to apply to the Tribunal for leave to be
heard by the Tribunal upon the question of the criminal character of the organization.
The Tribunal shall have power to allow or reject the application. If the application
is allowed, the Tribunal may direct in what manner the applicants shall be represented
In cases where a group or organization is declared criminal by the Tribunal,
the competent national authority of any Signatory shall have the right to bring
individual to trial for membership therein before national, military or occupation
courts. In any such case the criminal nature of the group or organization is
considered proved and shall not be questioned.
Any person convicted by the Tribunal may be charged before a national, military
or occupation court, referred to in Article
10 of this Charter, with a crime other than of membership in a criminal
group or organization and such court may, after convicting him, impose upon
him punishment independent of and additional to the punishment imposed by the
Tribunal for participation in the criminal activities of such group or organization.
The Tribunal shall have the right to take proceedings against a person charged
with crimes set out in Article 6 of this Charter in his absence, if he has not
been found or if the Tribunal, for any reason, finds it necessary, in the interests
of justice, to conduct the hearing in his absence.
The Tribunal shall draw up rules for its procedure. These rules
shall not be inconsistent with the provisions of this Charter.