By Dominic Evans in Beirut, Reuters, Dec. 15, 2012
Iran's army chief of staff warned NATO on Saturday that stationing Patriot anti-missile batteries on Turkey's border with Syria was setting the stage for world war.
General Hassan Firouzabadi, whose country has been a staunch supporter of President Bashar al-Assad throughout the 21-month uprising against his rule, called on the Western military alliance to reverse its decision to deploy the defense system.
"Each one of these Patriots is a black mark on the world map, and is meant to cause a world war," Firouzabadi said, according to the Iranian Students' News Agency. "They are making plans for a world war and this is very dangerous for the future of humanity and for the future of Europe itself."
Despite the warning, Firouzabadi did not threaten any action against Turkey in his speech to senior commanders at the National Defence University in Tehran. "We are Turkey's friend and we want security for Turkey," he said [....]
Panetta Orders Deployment of U.S. Antimissile Units in Turkey
By Thom Shanker and Michael R. Gordon, New York Times, Dec. 14/15, 2012
INCIRLIK AIR BASE, Turkey — Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta signed an official deployment order on Friday to send 400 American military personnel and two Patriot air defense batteries to Turkey as its tensions intensify with neighboring Syria, where government forces have increasingly resorted to aerial attacks, including the use of ballistic missiles, to fight a spreading insurgency.
The American batteries will be part of a broader push to strengthen Turkey’s defenses that will include the deployment of four other Patriot batteries — two from Germany and two from the Netherlands. Each battery contains multiple rounds of guided missiles that can intercept and destroy other missiles and hostile aircraft flying at high speeds.
Mr. Panetta’s deployment order, the result of NATO discussions last week, represents the most direct American military action so far to help contain the Syrian conflict and minimize its risk of spilling across the 550-mile border with Turkey, a NATO member that is housing more than 100,000 Syrian refugees and providing aid to the Syrian rebels [....]