Update: the logical response did not take long. From moments ago: Iranian Army chief says Patriot missiles in Turkey would set stage for "world war" - ISNA News Agency. We now await a response from Russia, China and other regional powers who may not be quite as comfortable as Turkey with having yet another branch of US liberating forces (especially when it has implications on Russian and Qatari gas pipeline plans) operating in their back yard.
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Even as the Nobel peace prize award-winning administration has been vocally partially withdrawing, but never fully, US troops from various middle eastern nations over the past several years, it appears that it has decided to open up a brand new military front, and position US soldiers in yet another hotspot, which is sure to escalate in the future, namely Syria, where yesterday, quietly in the media blanket coverage of the Newtown tragedy, the Pentagon said that some 400 US troops and several Patriot missile batteries would be stationed as part of a NATO force to protect Turkey from "potential Syrian missile attack."
As the AP reports, "Defense Secretary Leon Panetta signed a deployment order en route to Turkey from Afghanistan calling for 400 U.S. soldiers to operate two batteries of Patriots at undisclosed locations in Turkey, Pentagon press secretary George Little told reporters flying with Panetta." As is well known to those who follow the local conflict, the traditional narrative is that the US is supporting the oppressed Syrian rebellion, which has been fighting the Assad regime as glorious guerrilla freedom fighters. What is less known is that parts if not all of the Syrian rebellion have an "explicit stamp of approval" from Al Qaeda, the same Al Qaeda, which when useful, is carted out to justify US foreign, and at times very domestic, interventions, and the trampling of all civil liberties (see U.S. Terrorism Agency to Tap a Vast Database of Citizens) , in various other parts of the world.
During a brief stop at Incirlik Air Base, Panetta told U.S. troops that Turkey might need the Patriots, which are capable of shooting down shorter-range ballistic missiles as well as aircraft.
He said he approved the deployment "so that we can help Turkey have the kind of missile defense it may very well need to deal with the threats coming out of Syria," he said.
The U.S., Germany and the Netherlands are the only NATO members who have the upgraded PAC-3 missiles, capable of missile interception. Each battery has an average of 12 missile launchers, a NATO official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because alliance regulations do not allow him to speak on the record.
In a statement issued Friday NATO spokeswoman Oana Lungescu said "the deployment will be defensive only."
"It will not support a no-fly zone or any offensive operation. Its aim is to deter any threats to Turkey, to defend Turkey's population and territory and to de-escalate the crisis on NATO's south-eastern border," Lungescu said.
Panetta did not mention how soon the two Patriot batteries will head to Turkey or how long they might stay.
Earlier this week in Berlin, German Deputy Foreign Minister Michael Link told lawmakers that current plans call for the missile sites to be stationed at Kahramanmaras, about 60 miles north of Turkey's border with Syria. Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said Thursday that the Netherlands, Germany and the U.S. are working closely with Turkey "to ensure that the Patriots are deployed as soon as possible." But he predicted they would not become operational before the end of January. Turkey joined NATO in 1952, three years after the alliance was formed.
At Incirlik Air Base, about 60 miles north of the Syrian border, an Air Force member asked Panetta what the US would do if Syria used chemical or biological weapons against the rebels. Panetta said he could not be specific in a public setting, but added, "we have drawn up plans" that give President Barack Obama a set of options in the event that U.S. intelligence shows that Syria intends to use such weapons.
What was not asked is how NATO and the US would react if instead of the Assad regime, a false flag "attack" was launched by the Al Qaeda controlled Syrian rebels, always willing to escalate the conflict. From the NYT:
The lone Syrian rebel group with an explicit stamp of approval from Al Qaeda has become one of the uprising’s most effective fighting forces, posing a stark challenge to the United States and other countries that want to support the rebels but not Islamic extremists.
Money flows to the group, the Nusra Front, from like-minded donors abroad. Its fighters, a small minority of the rebels, have the boldness and skill to storm fortified positions and lead other battalions to capture military bases and oil fields. As their successes mount, they gather more weapons and attract more fighters.
The group is a direct offshoot of Al Qaeda in Iraq, Iraqi officials and former Iraqi insurgents say, which has contributed veteran fighters and weapons.
“This is just a simple way of returning the favor to our Syrian brothers that fought with us on the lands of Iraq,” said a veteran of Al Qaeda in Iraq, who said he helped lead the Nusra Front’s efforts in Syria.
Basically, the US is implicitly supporting Al-Qaeda, even as it dispatches of its leader in a quiet burial at sea, witnessed by what appears to be absolutely nobody.
Unexpectedly, someone did ask Panetta the right question: i.e., how Syria would respond to what is obviously an offensive escalation by NATO (and US) forces. The answer confirmed that when it comes to playing its now obsolete role of Globocop, it's fire "defensive" missiles first, ask questions later:
Asked by another Air Force member whether he thought Syria would "react negatively" to the Patriot deployments, Panetta said, "I don't think they have the damn time to worry" about the Patriots since the regime's leaders are struggling to stay in power.
He indicated that Syria's reaction to the Patriots was not a major concern to him.
Separately, NATO will deploy its Airborne Warning and Control System aircraft, or AWACS, to Turkey on a training exercise this month, the NATO said.
He said the exercise was not connected to the deployment of the Patriots.
The aircraft, which can detect launches of ground-to-ground missiles, will exercise command and control procedures as well as test the connectivity of various NATO and Turkish communications and data sharing systems, the official said.
Clearly, the US military is finally preparing for a major push in hostilities against the Assad regime, and as a result we expect the amount of false flag developments will surge. We don't expect the mainstream media to dare to ask why the US is - openly - supporting an Al Qaeda funded and organized resistance.
What certainly will not be asked by anyone is how Russia and China will respond to what is a clear escalation in the redrawing of geopolitical balance of power vis-a-vis what has become the most divisive military hotspot currently in the world.