NATO recently decided to increase its military presence in the Middle East with its plan to station Patriot missiles in member state Turkey on its border with Syria. The move, which is clearly meant to change the region’s military balance of power, has been harshly criticized by Iran and Russia.
After more than 21 months of unrest in Syria, the rebels have expanded their sabotage operations across the country, and this has forced the government to use the air force to fight the insurgents. Neighboring Turkey has also intensified its efforts to provide weapons to the rebels, and the recent decision to station Patriot missiles on the Syria-Turkey border is clearly meant to help the rebels in their illegitimate insurgency against the Syrian government.
Despite the massive military and financial assistance provided to the rebels by Western governments and their regional allies, Iran and Russia still have the upper hand, and their efforts to protect the legitimate government of President Bashar al-Assad have proven successful. In fact, U.S. President Barack Obama and his allies were looking for a new tool to counter the rising influence of Iran and Russia in the region, and NATO’s recent move should be interpreted as Obama’s new trump card against Syria’s two major supporters. In other words, Obama is trying to give the U.S. and its allies an ace up the sleeve if the two sides in the Syrian crisis agree to sit down at the negotiating table to reach a deal on the future of Syria.
The decision to station Patriot missiles on the Syria-Turkey border is not just a defensive move. The capabilities of the missile batteries provide the Syrian rebels and their foreign supporters the opportunity to use them if the situation on the ground gets out of control and the battle in Syria intensifies.
Although NATO officials keep insisting that the system is a part of NATO’s general defense shield, the move obviously serves the interests of the Western-Arab front trying to topple the Syrian president.
Over the past few months, the anti-Syria camp has increased their support for the Syrian opposition, and the Patriot missile system is meant to be an extension of other coordinated moves, such as the numerous meetings and conferences in support of the opposition, the dispatch of mercenaries to Syria to fight against Assad, the provision of a huge amount of cash to the rebels, and the massive media propaganda campaign against the Syrian government.