Mis­sile de­fense con­ces­sion

The Washington Times Weekly - - Geopolitics -

The Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion is about to make an­other con­ces­sion to Rus­sia on mis­sile de­fense by con­clud­ing an agree­ment with Tur­key to base a radar there that would mon­i­tor Ira­nian mis­sile launches.

The deal is rais­ing ques­tions about whether the ad­min­is­tra­tion gave in to a Turk­ish de­mand that no mis­sile-track­ing data from the radar be shared with Is­rael or other non-NATO mem­bers. The de­mand was based on the Turk­ish gov­ern­ment’s in­creas­ing Is­lamist and pro-Ira­nian poli­cies.

The TPY-2 radar deal has been un­der dis­cus­sion for the past year and goes against a plan by the Ge­orge W. Bush ad­min­is­tra­tion to place a radar in one of two for­mer Soviet re­publics, Ge­or­gia or Azer­bai­jan.

Moscow op­posed putting the radar in those states, claim­ing it would threaten Rus­sia’s nu­clear mis­sile forces.

Ear­lier con­ces­sions by the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion in­cluded can­cel­ing plans to de­ploy 10 long-range mis­sile in­ter­cep­tors in Poland in fa­vor of its less-ca­pa­ble “phased adap­tive ap­proach” that re­lies on untested mis­sile de­fense sys­tems, specif­i­cally a fu­ture long-range ver­sion of the Navy’s SM-3 in­ter­cep­tor.

A se­nior U.S. na­tional se­cu­rity of­fi­cial said the Turk­ish agree­ment for the radar is ex­pected to be com­pleted in the next week.

“It’s yet an­other con­ces­sion to the Rus­sians,” the of­fi­cial said. A sec­ond of­fi­cial said con­clu­sion of deal was im­mi­nent.

Also, plac­ing the radar in Tur­key will pro­vide less ca­pa­bil­ity against a fu­ture Ira­nian lon­grange mis­sile tar­geted against the United States, the first of­fi­cial said.

State Depart­ment spokesman Mark Toner said dis­cus­sions on a for­ward-based radar have been un­der way for some­time.

Mr. Toner said the phased adap­tive ap­proach mis­sile de­fense is “not about Rus­sia.”

The mis­sile de­fense pro­gram “is a bet­ter sys­tem that will pro­vide fuller pro­tec­tion to our NATO al­lies and the United States and it will do sooner than the pre­vi­ous sys­tem.”

Wil­liam Burns, nom­i­nee to be deputy sec­re­tary of state, was asked last week if he thought Is­rael should be blocked from us­ing the TPY-2 radar data, as Tur­key sug­gested in con­di­tion­ing its role in NATO mis­sile de­fenses.

Mr. Burns did not an­swer di­rectly. He replied that the phased adap­tive ap­proach and NATO mis­sile de­fenses “are for the de­fense of NATO and Europe.” He said the Pen­tagon has “sep­a­rate and ro­bust mis­sile de­fense co­op­er­a­tive ef­forts with Is­rael.”

“The United States has stated con­sis­tently that it re­serves the right to use in­for­ma­tion from U.S. sen­sors in what­ever ways it deems nec­es­sary,” Mr. Burns said in re­sponse to writ­ten ques­tions posed by Sen. Mark Kirk, Illi­nois Repub­li­can, as part of the nom­i­na­tion process.

A Turk­ish Em­bassy spokes­woman had no im­me­di­ate com­ment.

A clas­si­fied Jan. 26, 2010, State Depart­ment cable said the Turk­ish gov­ern­ment was still de­bat­ing how to re­spond to U.S. re­quests to put the radar and pos­si­bly other mis­sile de­fenses in Tur­key.

The cable, made pub­lic by the anti-se­crecy site Wik­iLeaks, said Turk­ish Prime Min­is­ter Re­cep Tayyip Er­do­gan had told Pres­i­dent Obama that “such a sys­tem must be im­ple­mented in a NATO con­text to di­min­ish the po­lit­i­cal cost that his gov­ern­ment will likely bear, both in terms of do­mes­tic pol­i­tics and in Tur­key’s re­la­tions with Iran.”

“Er­do­gan is con­cerned that Tur­key’s par­tic­i­pa­tion might later give Is­rael pro­tec­tion from an Ira­nian coun­ter­strike,” said the cable, la­beled “se­cret.”

The Czech Repub­lic re­cently pulled out of plans to host a mis­sile early-warn­ing radar as part of the ad­min­is­tra­tion’s pro­gram. Prague of­fi­cials claimed their par­tic­i­pa­tion was re­jected be­cause the sys­tem would have pro­vided data on mis­sile at­tacks but was not con­nected to in­ter­cep­tors that could shoot them down.

In Fe­bru­ary, four Repub­li­can sen­a­tors wrote to De­fense Sec­re­tary Robert M. Gates urg­ing him to put the radar in Ge­or­gia in­stead of Tur­key.

“We be­lieve the U.S. should de­ploy the most ef­fec­tive mis­sile de­fenses pos­si­ble — in part­ner­ship with our al­lies — that pro­vide for pro­tec­tion for the U.S. home­land, our de­ployed forces and our al­lies,” said the letter by Sens. Jon Kyl of Ari­zona, James E. Risch of Idaho, James M. In­hofe of Ok­la­homa and Mr. Kirk.


Zelzal mis­siles are launched as part of ma­neu­vers two weeks ago by the Ira­nian Rev­o­lu­tion­ary Guards. Ac­cord­ing to a Wik­iLeaks cable, Turk­ish Prime Min­is­ter Re­cep Tayyip Er­do­gan “is con­cerned that Tur­key’s par tic­i­pa­tion [in U.S. mis­sile de­fenses] might later give Is­rael pro­tec­tion from an Ira­nian coun­ter­strike.”

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