After the arguments, backbiting, political maneuvering and Euro-tantrums, NATO has caved
over its earlier refusal to pre-deploy defensive hardware to Turkey in case of
retaliation by Iraq. It now
says it will do so if it is understood that the move is purely defensive, and
not supportive of an attack on Iraq.
The position of NATO was actually quite justified - an agreement with your
mates that you'll look after each other doesn't really count if one of them
deliberately picks a fight that you counsel him against. But this makes NATO's
cave-in even more significant, and the CoW (Coalition of the Willing) are
taking this as a sign that the UN security council is also going to cave - or
at least give a 'gray resolution'. A 'gray resolution' would be designed to
allow the US to interpret it as
a green light, while still letting others deny that they actually gave
permission for a war.
A gray resolution is the only one which will allow the UN to save face at this
point. Either a refusal (which would be ignored by the US), or agreement (which
would be a major back-down) will make them look weak, spineless and
irrelevant. The middle ground is the only way to go. The only issues then are
'what shade of gray' and 'what about the French'?
The French, locked out of the latest NATO decision because of a 1966 choice
to bow out of some NATO committees has been by-passed in the NATO move. The
petulant Franco-ego may not have healed by the time the UN security council
votes and they may use their veto power against even a gray resolution as
Meanwhile reports are that Saddam is arming his citizens 'in
preparation for war'. Like
Johnny (only-I-have-guns) Howard, he has always followed the
disarminge strategy, to reduce the temptations for popular
uprisings. Arming his citizens is a move which is likely to make both his
government, and any post-war Iraqi government, less secure. He wants to ensure
that even after he is gone that things don't run smoothly.
Now that's payback even the French can envy.