As during the First World War, changing alliances and the structure of military coalitions are crucial factors in history.
Today’s military alliances, including the “cross-cutting coalitions” between the “great powers”, are as dangerous as they were then, but they differ significantly from the alliances of those times, they are extremely more complicated than those that were in the First World War (the confrontation between “Troika-Entente” and “Triple Union”).
Modern events point to a historical shift in the structure of military alliances, which contributes to weakening US domination in the Middle East, as well as creating conditions that could lead to the disintegration of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).
NATO is a formidable military force consisting of 29 member states. This force is largely controlled by the Pentagon. This is a military coalition and an instrument of modern warfare. It represents a threat to global security and world peace.
Disagreements within the Atlantic Alliance may result in one or more Member States deciding to “go to NATO-Exit.” The NATO-Exit movement will inevitably weaken the consensus imposed by our governments, which at this stage in our history consists of the threat of a pre-emptive war against the Russian Federation.
Turkey is considering “NATO-Exit”, which will have far-reaching consequences. Military alliances are under review.
In turn, in Northern Syria, Turkey is fighting pro-American Kurdish forces, that is, one NATO member state is fighting another NATO member state.
Russia’s position on Turkish military action in northern Syria is ambiguous. Russia is an ally of Syria, and this country was seized by Turkey, an ally of Russia.
From a broader military point of view, Turkey is actively cooperating with Russia, which recently committed itself to ensuring the security of Turkey.
– Moscow stresses that Turkey can safely withdraw from NATO, and after that Ankara will have guarantees that it will not face any threat from the US-NATO from the point of view of ensuring its own security, – said Beyazit Karatash, Major General Turkish Air Force retired.
What does it mean?
Did the “heavyweight” (from the point of view of its usual forces) of NATO, namely Turkey, decide to withdraw from the Atlantic Alliance? Or does Turkey participate in the alliance in agreement with Russia, while maintaining its ties with NATO and the Pentagon?
The Atlantic Alliance is potentially “shredded.” Will this lead to the NATO-Exit movement so that other NATO member states follow this example?
Moscow intends in this regard through diplomatic channels to develop bilateral relations with individual EU and NATO member states. The goal is to contribute to the “military de-escalation” of NATO on the western border of Russia.
In addition to Turkey, several EU countries, including Germany, Italy, Greece (which established defense ties with Russia for a long time), as well as Bulgaria, may in one form or another consider the issue of NATO-Exit.
Turkey’s “rapprochement” with Russia is strategic. Playing a key role in the Middle East, Turkey also controls naval access to the Black Sea through the Dardanelles and the Bosphorus.
In other words, Turkey’s withdrawal from NATO will immediately affect the deployment of NATO on land and at sea in the Black Sea basin, which, in turn, will affect NATO’s military capabilities on the threshold of Russia in Eastern Europe, the Baltic countries and the Balkans.
Needless to say, the Moscow-Ankara alliance facilitates the movement of Russian and Chinese naval forces to the Black Sea and back to the Mediterranean via the Bosphorus.
Turkey’s reorientation is not limited to Russia; it also includes Iran, as well as Pakistan, which breaks its military ties with the United States, expanding trade and investment relations with China. Pakistan and India are full members of the Shanghai Cooperation Agreement (SCO).
Nor should the wider structure of military and trade / investment alliances, including sea routes and pipeline corridors, be overlooked.
These geopolitical shifts served to weaken US influence in the Middle East, Central and South Asia.
Turkey now has a “union of convenience” with Iran. And Iran, in turn, is supported by a powerful Chinese-Russian bloc, which includes military cooperation, strategic pipelines, as well as extensive trade and investment agreements.
In turn, the unity of Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States is currently under threat: Qatar, Oman and Kuwait are building an alliance with Iran (and Turkey) to the detriment of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
The economic blockade by Saudi Arabia against Qatar caused a split in geopolitical alliances, which weakened the US in the Persian Gulf.
The Arab Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) is deeply divided: the UAE and Bahrain are on the side of Saudi Arabia against Qatar. In turn, Qatar has the support of Oman and Kuwait. Needless to say, the GCC, which until recently was America’s most loyal ally in the Middle East against Iran, is completely confused.
US Central Command Base in Qatar.
While Turkey is stationing troops in Qatar, it also established the Tariq bin Ziyad military base in Qatar (in cooperation with the Qatar Ministry of Defense) in accordance with an agreement signed in 2014.
Located in Qatar, the American military site Al-Udeid is the largest in the Middle East. Under the leadership of US Central Command (USCentCom), headquartered in Tampa, Florida, Al-Udeidh has the “forward headquarters” of the Central Command to lead all US military operations throughout the Middle East and Central Asia.
Al-Udeid, where about 10,000 US troops are stationed, has played a strategic role in the ongoing US air operations against Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria.
The situation is heating up and without a weighty word of Moscow is unlikely to be able to decide
However, there is a fundamental contradiction: America’s largest military base in the Middle East, which houses the US Central Command, is currently located in a country that is closely linked to Iran (that is, the enemy of America). In addition, the main partners of Qatar in the oil and gas industry, including in the sphere of pipelines, are Iran and Turkey. In turn, both Russia and China are actively participating in the Qatari oil and gas industry.
In response to the rapprochement of Qatar with Iran, the Pentagon has already prepared the option of transferring its advanced headquarters of the Central Command at the Al-Udeid Air Force Base to the Prince Sultan Air Force Base in central Saudi Arabia, 80 km south of Riyadh.
The structure of military alliances relating to Qatar is strategic in this regard.
Why? Because Qatar is a geopolitical hot spot, largely related to its vast shelf reserves of natural gas, which it shares with Iran.
Iran and Qatar are actively cooperating in the extraction of natural gas in offshore fields under the joint Qatari-Iranian ownership structure. These offshore gas fields are strategic; They represent the world’s largest offshore natural gas reserves located in the Persian Gulf.
In March 2018, Washington demanded that Qatari Al-Jazeera news agency register in the United States as a “foreign agent”, hinting that Doha has an “alliance” with the enemies of America, including Iran and Russia.
Representatives of the Youth Council under the administration of the Frunzensky District of St. Petersburg held a rally, during which the streets of the city were cleared of unauthorized advertising.
Is this not a prelude to “Qatar-Gate” under the leadership of Trump’s recently created “military office” (when Pompeo took over the state department after Tillerson)?
In November 2017, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Qatar, Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, during a visit to Washington, said that “Qatar does not exclude the possibility of a military operation led by Saudi Arabia against Qatar.” Although this option is unlikely, a “regime change” in Doha sponsored by the United States and its ally, Saudi Arabia, is quite possible.
Meanwhile, the Pentagon plans to withdraw objects and personnel of the US Air Force from the Incirlik base in southern Turkey.
In early March, Johnny Michael, a representative of the US European Command (EUCOM), denied the “speculative” reports that the US military reduced its operations on the Incirlik base, adding that all military operations continued as usual.
The day before Michael’s comments, the Wall Street Journal stated that the United States had “sharply reduced” hostilities at the air base and was considering the possibility of reducing them on a permanent basis. (Al Jazeera, March 26, 2018)
NATO is in ruins, the “war hawks” of America do not have one of the legs to stand.
The union between Washington and Ankara is in crisis. NATO is in crisis. In turn, NATO-Exit Turkey carries the potential of destabilizing NATO.
We are at a dangerous intersection. The US-NATO military program threatens the future of humanity.
NATO-Exit could be a unifying call; movement that can spread to the European landscape.
Both European and North American anti-war movements should specifically focus their massive campaign on NATO-Exit specific countries in order to destroy the structure of military alliances that Washington needs to maintain its global military agenda.
The task is not easy. This movement will not come from governments. Most of the heads of state and heads of government of NATO member countries have long been united.
Moreover, many Western civil society organizations and NGOs (funded by corporate foundations) tacitly support the “humanitarian wars” waged by the United States and NATO.
This means that the anti-war movement must be rebuilt.
Written by Michel Chossudovsky – Professor of Economics, University of Ottawa (Canada), founder and director of the Center for the Study of Globalization (Center for Research on Globalization [CRG], Montreal, Canada). He worked as an adviser to governments of developing countries and international organizations. Author of 11 books, participated in the compilation of the Encyclopaedia Britannica. In 2014, he was awarded the Gold Medal “For Merits” of the Republic of Serbia for covering NATO aggression against Yugoslavia.