War pushed back to mid-March?
The Washington Times is reporting that war planners have pushed back the start of Gulf War Redux to mid-March due to diplomatic snags and difficulty in moving heavy infantry divisions.
In addition to the roadblocks thrown up by France and Germany, as well as continued foot-dragging by other members of the U.N. Security Council, NATO ally Turkey is upping its demand for aid in return for the stationing of up to 40,000 American troops in a northern front.
Washington has reportedly offered Ankara grants of $6 billion and loans of up to $20 billion in exchange for its support, and has expressed frustration over Turkey’s failure to accept the deal. U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell has said he wants an answer by the end of the day.
The Turks are being exceptionally savvy, however.
“We have found the figures insufficient and we are not looking favourably at the offer,” Economy Minister Ali Babacan told the Cumhuriyet newspaper. He also concern that while the Washington has told Ankara that any war would be short, congressional approval for the grants and loans could take between six and eight weeks.
“What if the operation is over before the completion of the congressional process and Congress tells us ‘Sorry’?” he said. “That is why a written deal is a must.”
The Turks probably watched how the United States dealt with Pakistan. In exchange for help in Afghanistan and against Al Qa’ida, Pakistan was rewarded with terror attacks and the continuation of strict limits on Pakistan-made clothes. Mind you, this was after Bush personally promised Gen. Musharraf that the United States would lift import restrictions. Instead, Bush dropped the plan in Dec. 2001 when, facing imminent defeat in the House of his broad package of trade legislation, he decided to woo six lawmakers from textile states by promising them he would stiff Pakistan.
The Washington Times says time is of the essence for the Americans, however, because heavy armor must be shipped across the Atlantic. I’ve been told however, that much of the heavy armor used has been pre-positioned throughout the 1990s in order to avoid this kind of broadly telegraphed buildup. I’m not sure what to make of this bit of data.