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DESPITE SOME hefty arm twisting and dangling a $30 billion carrot in front of Turkey's political leaders, a US plan to use that country's military bases to launch a northern invasion of Iraq has come unstuck.
Although the Turkish parliament voted last Saturday by 264 to 250 votes to allow 62,000 US troops to deploy in Turkey, it fell short of the necessary majority. The vote left a fuming US, which tried to put a brave face on this setback, and a sick looking Turkish prime minister, Abdullah Gul.
The vote in parliament partly reflected the overwhelming opposition (94% in some opinion polls) of Turkey's population. During the parliamentary debate up to 100,000 people, mobilised by peace groups and trade unions, demonstrated against the war threat in the capital, Ankara.
Ironically, the block on US military deployment comes just weeks after the rift between NATO members over deploying US missile systems to Turkey was papered over.
Unless the situation can be retrieved the US military faces a logistical headache re-routing its troops and hardware. Furthermore, part of the reason for a northern invasion of Iraq by US forces was to act as a buffer between armed Kurdish forces seeking an independent Kurdistan in northern Iraq and a Turkish military wanting to crush such aspirations.
Prior to the vote the US had promised Turkey that it would 'maintain the integrity of Iraq' ie prevent an Iraqi Kurdistan. Without sizeable numbers of US ground troops in the region, Turkey and Kurdish forces could engage in a bloody conflict.
With Turkey's rulers already facing economic crisis, labour unrest, the ongoing Cyprus question, etc, a US-led war with Iraq is proving to be a major source of instability.
US SECURITY service agents are using spying, phone-tapping, and dirty tricks to get the UN to pass the resolution authorising military action against Iraq.
A secret document unearthed by The Observer calls on US spooks and spies to step up surveillance action, including intercepting phones and emails of the six wavering countries on the UN Security Council.
Blatant bribery is also being wielded by Bush and his humble servant Blair to get the vote to invade Iraq. The six floating voters on the Security Council after Bulgaria pledged its vote for Washington are:
ANGOLA which relies heavily on US imperialism for investment and foreign aid. The US offered Angola help for 'reconstruction' after their 27-year-civil war provided it gives the OK for another war in Iraq.
Washington also says it will look the other way if Angola's government goes back on promises to move towards openness and democracy.
CAMEROON supports France's more cautious attitude on war. But Cameroon president Paul Biya faces an election shortly and doesn't want to alienate members of the International Monetary Fund especially the USA who could make life difficult for Cameroon.
A third impoverished African country, GUINEA, is being wooed away from France with promises of aid for their army rangers and a large amount of Britain's £4 million earmarked for West African refugees.
Bigger and less poverty-stricken Security Council members like Chile, Mexico and Pakistan cannot be bribed so cheaply.
CHILE had supported more time for the UN inspectors. There is talk of a US free trade agreement with Chile and other Latin American governments as an inducement to vote the right way.
Trade deals and a new deal for migrants may not be enough to win over MEXICO.
Mass opposition to war in PAKISTAN may also make it very hard to get support from the Musharraf dictatorship.
But the world's richest nation keeps its bribery machine working on some of the planet's poorest states.
Burkina Faso (3)
Democratic Republic of Congo (4)
Ivory Coast (3)
South Africa (127)
Article dated 7 March 2003
The Socialist, weekly newspaper of the Socialist Party
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