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Re: [alpha] INSIGHT - Some thoughts on US, UK, France, Turkey

Released on 2012-03-06 07:00 GMT

Email-ID 1169425
Date 2011-05-19 17:39:07
that should be 1.3 million per day*


From: "Reva Bhalla"
To: "Alpha List"
Sent: Thursday, May 19, 2011 10:24:55 AM
Subject: [alpha] INSIGHT - Some thoughts on US, UK, France, Turkey

My briefing yesterday with the USAF's strategy group was to help prep the
USAF chief of staff before his trip to Turkey the first week of June. In
this meeting, there was a US lt col, French lt col guy and British group
captain, as well as the Europe guy from the State Dept's Office of the
Secretary (who I completely owned in the discussion. he finally quit
trying and then literally applauded stratfor's knowledge of these issues).
Most of the discussion I had with them centered on our view on Turkey, the
intermarium, Turkey's power struggle, etc. so nothing new to add there.
The State Dept is still trying to wrap its head around how to deal with
Turkey more effectively when it's becoming clear that Turkey isn't ready
to handle everything on its plate. THere's also a lack of understanding on
why Azerbaijan matters in this mix. They're about to do what sounds like
a pretty elaborate war game within NATO, and they complain that every time
they do this, they're not allowed to call Iran 'Iran' in the game. It's
referred to as 'Zagros'. Why? Because the Turks insist on not calling
Iran by it's name in these things.

When I brought up Libya, and asked what's next in terms of the air
campaign, the British adn French guys had an interesting response. The
talk of UK only having 6 more months of funding for this air campaign is
all about inter-service rivalry, justifying budgets, etc. The Brits and
the French really don't seem concerned at all about the financial aspect.
THey said it's an expense, but it's not expensive. It's costing each 1.3
million euro per month to do Libya (including the daily patrols and
everything else). By comparison, Afghanistan costs them 1.4 million per

They are fine with the stalemate. The British guy, who had met with the
British air force chief a few days ago, said that no one is really trying
to force the issue at this point. the rebels don't want to ask for state
recognition until they get the West back. No one seems really prepared to
force regime change and give that commitment, but they're willing to wait
this one out until something gives within to make Ghadafi fall
The money isn't what matters. What the Brits and the FRench are really
getting out of this mil campaign is a good, hard lesson from their
"American cousins" on command and control for these missions. The lesson
here is vital for them. THey gave all sorts of examples. When the LIbya
campaign began, France was still coordinating its mission with the UK
through this lt col French liaison in the Pentagon instead of directly
with UK. Now, finally, the Brits have set up a command office in Paris for
them to coordinate. Little things like that make a huge difference, and
the US is helping them along the way so that they can prove they can do
missions like this more independently and manage their neighborhood.
Classic balance of pwoer, as they put it. French-UK cooperation has really
benefited from this whole thing. They could really care less that it's
about Libya. They see this mission as a very useful boost for NATO and
that this raises the bar for new entrants.

I countered that you can't consider it a boost for NATO when you're
missing GERMANY (!) They acknowledged that NATO's original purpose is
broken. These regional realignments, with France, UK adn US working
closely together is the new future. They still seem to think that despite
warming German-Russian ties, they don't need to worry yet about Germany.
Their military is still largely seen as irrelevant, and so in that sense,
NATO is still doing the job of keeping Germany down and Russia out.

The French guy joked that now Strauss-Kahn is out of the running, Sarkozy
doesn't need to continue the war in Libya anymore. He's got the election