By Ray Fleming

THE sham that is America's “coalition of the willing” has been exposed by the shabby deal being done with Turkey, a secular Muslim state, which is being bribed by the United States to get involved in the impending war against Iraq. Turkey is willing – but at a price that even Washington is finding a little hard to swallow, a cool $32 billion. Even America's slush fund must have come under pressure since the war against terrorism began. How much did Pakistan, another Muslim state, get for its help over Afghanistan? Money apart, the US–Turkey deal is a perfect example of the disruptive effect of a war in the Middle East. The first sign was Turkey's request, relayed by the United States, for Nato help with its defence against a possible attack by Iraq. The reasonable French and German objections were blamed for the near break–up of the Nato alliance. Now, as a quid pro quo for Turkish help with bases, America has agreed that in the event of a war Turkish troops could enter the Kurdish territory in Northern Iraq in order to prevent an alliance between Iraqi Kurds and Turkey's own large Kurdish population. This is an example of what is meant by the destabilisation of the Middle East now threatened.

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