NATO Won't Cite Iran in Missile Defense Plan
Thursday, Nov. 18, 2010
NATO this week does not intend to explicitly make the connection between its proposed missile shield and fears of an Iranian missile strike, alliance head Anders Fogh Rasmussen told the Financial Times (see GSN, Nov. 16).
The move is intended to win the support of Turkey, which could host part of the system and which has voiced strong reservations against singling out its neighbor.
"We do not want to single out particular countries," Rasmussen said. "More than 30 countries already have -- or are aspiring to acquire -- missile technologies with a range that can hit NATO territory. So there is no need to single out or name specific countries, because this is an evolving threat."
Leaders from the 28 NATO nations are meeting tomorrow and Saturday in Lisbon, Portugal, to consider a new mission statement that would address strategies for dealing with modern-day security challenges. The heads of state are anticipated to determine whether to officially include missile defense among NATO objectives, paving the way for an initiative to integrate and augment the protective systems of member states.
An Obama administration plan to gradually field land- and sea-based missile interceptors around Europe would be incorporated into NATO missile defense plans. A draft of the organization's new mission statement reportedly calls for shield infrastructure to be deployed in Romania, Poland and Turkey.
Even if Tehran is not specifically identified as a missile threat, Ankara might still oppose allowing a radar base to be located on its soil while giving its backing to missile defense as a core NATO objective, alliance diplomats said. That could require further talks down the line (James Blitz, Financial Times, Nov. 17).
Ankara wants the missile shield's command-and-control architecture to be established on Turkish soil, Politico reported today.
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said this week if command-and-control was not located in Turkey then it would be impossible for his government to agree to host the radar base.
Obama administration officials, however, do not want wish to see foreign nations hosting the command infrastructure. They anticipate instead it would be situated at U.S. military installations in Germany.