U.S. Embassy Bombing in Ankara: Why? Why now?
Copyright: BBC – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-21293598
On February 1, U.S. Embassy in Ankara – in a calm, residential and business neighborhood — was bombed. At the time of writing this, police statements indicate that it is believed to be a suicide attack and the attacker(s) detonated the bomb inside the security checkpoint bunker, killing at least one security guard. Growing up in the nice and pleasant middle-class neighborhood around the embassy, the attack was of particular shock to me.
Who attacked the embassy or what their motives were, will definitely be clear as the investigation continues, however the timing of the attack was of particular importance. Most specifically, CNN-Turk’s Nevsin Mengu has brought several important factors into consideration:
- Earlier in the morning on February 1, Osama bin Laden’s son-in-law Suleiman M., was captured by a joint CIA – MIT (Turkish National Intelligence Agency). The police statement indicates that Suleiman M. had entered Turkey as a political asylum-seeker, with the final goal of traveling to Saudi Arabia to reunite with his wife.
- Israeli airstrike on Syria – and the fact that Israel had contacted Washington before the strike – infuriated not only Syria, but also Iran and Russia. A preemptive Israeli airstrike is not new in the region, but the consent and knowledge of Washington at this political juncture is seen as a very serious act of indirect hostility by the Syria-Iran-Russia axis.
- Turkey had requested NATO Patriot-missile protection on its Syrian border later in 2012 – NATO had responded positively and a number of Patriot missile sites were established with a group of American, German and Dutch military oversight mission. The final shipment of Patriot missiles and launcher system had arrived several days earlier and the full system went operational earlier on February 1.
One, or a combination of these factors have possibly caused the attack today – U.S.-Turkish relations have recovered significantly from its 2003-2008 “low” and both countries have been cooperating extensively in a number of very critical strategic policy issues. U.S. Embassy bombing in Ankara may be an indicator of how this cooperation is seen as a threat, as the attack probably sought to punish both Washington and Ankara.