By Dimitris Konstantakopoulos
Many forces around the world are now conscious of the risk of a huge war against Iran in the Middle East. Because of that, a war against Iran, although it remains a high probability scenario, is less likely to erupt than other conflicts, where less attention is focused, but with potential consequences equally or even more important. One of them is the Greek – Turkish conflict. A war between Greece and Turkey would lead most probably to extensive destructions of both countries, leaving no victor and producing enormous geopolitical consequences, not only for Eastern Mediterranean, but also for the EU, Russia, China and NATO.
Recently, we had a clear example of the destabilizing potential of the Greek – Turkish conflict with the flare – up of tensions in Eastern Mediterranean but also when Secretary of State and leading pro-Israeli Neocon Mike Pompeo intervened in the conflict to blow up the Greek – Turkish moratorium, negotiated by Chancellor Merkel.
Besides, if a war against Iran does correspond to the “local” needs of Neocon extremists (Pompeo, Netanyahu, Thiel, Bannon group with a defining influence upon Trump), their program is not local. They need to make the whole world enter, through generalized chaos, to a situation of “world war in slow motion”, of “low intensity”. They need it because otherwise they cannot beat, by a frontal attack, Russia, China or even lower class rivals. They need absolutely chaos, war and confusion because this is the only way for them to remain in power. They feel compelled to do everything they can now, while Trump, their instrument in most cases, remains in the White House and Netanyahu is still in power.
The Kissinger model
Some observers are already comparing the height of the tensions developing in the region with the height of the tensions during the 1974 Greek – Turkish crisis, which was provoked by Secretary Henry Kissinger (the ancestor of present-day Neocons) in an effort to destroy the Republic of Cyprus (located near the Israeli coast, in one of the most strategic positions in Mediterranean) and its independence.
To impose his reckless and risky policies on a reluctant US administration and organise both the coup in Cyprus and the subsequent Turkish invasion of the island, Kissinger, who had already concentrated in his hands the powers of Secretary of State, National Security advisor, and head of the Forties Committee, profited from the power vacuum in Washington, as President Nixon, under serious attack because of Watergate, was barely able to exercise any supervision of foreign policy. A comparable situation is prevailing now in Washington, as all minds are concentrated on the next presidential election. Not only the US administration but also the Western establishment in general is also deeply divided, a situation which may facilitate the action of forces with a hidden radical agenda inside it.
We recently had the opportunity to see how the two opposing tendencies in the western establishment are confronting each other indirectly, when Chancellor Merkel negotiated a moratorium between Greece and Turkey, only to see Secretary Pompeo (a leading Neocon) intervene two days later to make possible a Greek – Egyptian agreement on delineation of maritime zones which was negotiated for 15 years, an agreement for which neither the US nor Pompeo himself had shown any interest beforehand. The agreement was fully in line with provisions of international law of the sea and even the Greek government was criticised inside the country as being too soft in defending Greek national interests. But Mr. Erdogan considered it a provocation, in the usual over-maximalist style of Turkish reactions, and the Merkel moratorium collapsed. Is this a game between Greece and Turkey, or a game between Merkel and Pompeo? We remind our readers that there was not one Greek-Turkish war, crisis or even peace agreement during the last century which was ultimately planned in Athens or in Ankara. All were planned from outside the region, but executed by Greeks and Turks.
Sending False Signals
Another method Britain and America have used systematically since 1955 has been to send false signals to Athens and Nicosia in order to push them to some actions which would justify the wanted Turkish reaction, and thus exacerbate the crisis. In March 1974 the Greek (CIA and Gladio imposed) Greek dictator Ioannides said to the famous Greek ship-owner Onassis: “Americans told me: get out the priest (Archbishop Makarios, then Cypriot president) and you get Cyprus”, according to an associate of Onassis at that time. Visiting Cyprus in May 1974, Kissinger himself said to Makarios: «Mon seigneur, you are too big a leader for such a small place» (while there were already in place the plans to kill him). Makarios has probably been encouraged by that remark to be more courageous with the Athens junta, thus precipitating the coup and (failed) assassination attempt against him.
(Makarios met Gromyko in Cyprus, probably to assure he would not face any surprises from Moscow, Nikita Khruschev having intervened in 1964 to stop another planned Turkish invasion).
In the past false signals were send mainly to the Greek side of the conflict, as Turkish foreign policy was calibrated on serving US, British and Israeli interests. Now the situation in the region has changed, so false signals can be sent not only to Athens and Nicosia, but also to Ankara.
One has a huge difficulty in interpreting for example the great appreciation and support Mr. Trump is expressing for Mr. Erdogan. Mr. Trump is the US President who did more for Israeli hawks than all (pro-Israeli otherwise) US Presidents in history, and Mr. Netanyahu himself has repeatedly recognised his contribution and characterised the special relationship between him and the US President as a historic opportunity for his country, which comes only once in many decades. But how to explain that Mr. Trump present himself as the best friend of both Mr. Netanyahu and of Mr. Erdogan? Is it possible for Israel and the US to wish a dominant position of Turkey in general and of Erdogan’s Turkey in particular in the Mediterranean?
At any event, we now have the Greek and Cypriot political and military elites believing (or at least pretending to believe) that they have strong Israeli backing, and Mr. Erdogan may be tempted to believe that he also has Trump’s strong backing. All human beings (and politicians share after all also a minimum of human characteristics) tend more easily to believe what corresponds to their needs, not the truths which may be difficult and painful. The consequences of those perceptions can have serious consequences, in this particular situation encouraging both sides of the conflict to be more assertive.