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Yikes!

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Jack Crow's picture
Submitted by Jack Crow on

Elsewhere, I mused that this sort of thing would be landscape changing. Just sort of speculatively, not really expecting the Turkish government to commit its Navy.

I wonder now, again speculatively, if Bibi/Avigdor will Franz Ferdinand the US into a conflagration.

Also - the Rachel Corrie continues onward, towards Gaza.

Jack Crow's picture
Submitted by Jack Crow on

I'd say it gets "worked out."

How, when, where and by whom - I'm surely not competent to speculate with any expectation of accuracy.

Three days ago, I was pretty sure North Korea was going to move up the press ladder, giving Imperial Barack some cover for the out of control events in the Gulf of Mexico.

But, whether or not the Turkish government still wants into the fragmenting Eurozone, and whether Germany and France now need them as a buffer, probably plays a considerable part.

a little night musing's picture
Submitted by a little night ... on

although, I fear, "worked out" in a way that does not significantly lift the blockade and which still leaves the region less stable than it was before this incident. (Particularly since no one will be happy, but some will have stepped back from the brink a bit and will feel "owed".)

Submitted by lambert on

One might also add the evident desire of the policy elites to get going with the peasant dieback. We've already lost two cities -- Detroit and NOLA. What say we lose a few more to some errant nukes?

Ha ha, only serious...

UPDATE Adding, a 21st Century World War I is a steep price to pay for an Israeli beatdown.

madamab's picture
Submitted by madamab on

Turkey is saying they no longer accept the status quo in Gaza. And basically, they are throwing down the gauntlet to Netanyahu.

People at Ian's are speculating about nukes. Israel will never use nukes - any country that uses nukes (except us, of course, and Israel is not America) is instantly going to be an international pariah. On the other hand, the government has seemingly committed itself to using force against those who try to run the blockade. Is Netanyahu willing to go so far as to do battle with the Turkish navy? Or, is he willing to let an entire flotilla basically invade Israel? What will the Turkish navy do when/if it arrives on Israeli territory?

This could get horribly ugly horribly quickly. I hope it is a wakeup call to both countries and their allies that things simply cannot continue the way they are. Real efforts must be made to address the issues of the people in the camps and the cruelty of Israel's policies towards them, as well as Israel's very real security concerns.

These days, it's hard to tell which disaster to look at first. Just when we think we've seen the worst (the oil gusher), something even scarier happens.

Submitted by Lex on

We're just an itchy trigger finger away from war on the Korean peninsula too. (Based on an obviously cocked-up report about the Cheonan being sunk by a DPRK torpedo.)

Jack Crow's picture
Submitted by Jack Crow on

If Bibi provokes Turkey, in the Mediterranean - the Turkish government can demand NATO to act, which will probably bring to the fore the decade long weakening of that compact (kept strong, now, only by constant warfare in West Asia).

The US, Germany, Britain and probably France will let the Turks hang on it.

Effectively killing NATO (and the NATO pretext for the occupation of Afghanistan and the black ops campaigns in Pakistan and Iran).

Israel will lose a war with Turkey - especially since Hizbollah, Hamas, Syria and Iran can use the cover of events to up their antes, blanketing the Israeli Garrison State with committed adversaries.

I don't know if Netanyahu and Lieberman will do it. But they might just have to lift the siege of Gaza, in the face of the Turkish Navy.

Submitted by Lex on

I've been wondering about Israel having to lift the siege in the face of the Turkish Navy myself. It would be earthshaking.

Jack Crow's picture
Submitted by Jack Crow on

From the Israel perspective, it might be a non-starter. Backing down against the Turks puts the Turks in a very dominant regional position.

The Turks control a number of pipeline end points.

They have also worked with the Israelis on several other pipeline projects, because Tel Aviv cannot in all honesty run pipeline projects through Egypt, Syria, Lebanon or Jordan.

The Turks also have a formidable military, one which meets NATO standards, built in large part with American largesse.

If the Israelis back down against the Turkish show of arms (and naval escorts, breaking the siege, are a show of arms), it's a clear signal to the other regional powers that Israel can be cowed.

What that means in Egypt is anyone's guess - but the ancient Mubarak's succession is not secure, and I don't see how this doesn't add more instability, with the stakes raised even higher, in the battle for control of Egypt's military and economy.

Iran, Hamas, Hizbollah, Syria and even the American stooge in Jordan can re-calculate how far against Israel they can push, for concessions. Especially if they stay behind the Turkish firewall.

I think the Israeli leaders (sic) know this, better than any of us.

So - do they count on the failure of NATO?

Do they count on the preservation of the NATO mission in Af/Pak, even if the Turks push NATO to a decision point?

Do they count on the US continuing to use Israel as the "permanent American air craft carrier, in the Mediterranean"?

Do they, as a client state, count on the US being able to survive a shake up of NATO, keep its West Asian NATO missions active, funded and full of boots, whilst still meeting its obligations to Israel, as the patron state?

Don't know, myself.

But Erdogan has played this very, very boldly.

The famous Chinese curse comes to mind, as I type...

a little night musing's picture
Submitted by a little night ... on

Mankell is on one of the boats in the flotilla which was attacked:

A spokesperson for Ship to Gaza-Sweden said he had last spoken to someone on board Mankell's ship just before 5am Swedish time (4am BST). "They were telling us then about the Israeli soldiers climbing into the neighbouring ship, and they heard shooting aboard it. I was not speaking to Henning but to one of his friends. The Swedish ship was attacked a bit later, 10-15 minutes later. The whole attack was done between 4-5 o'clock Swedish time," said Mikael Löfgren.

"We don't know what's happened since. When the ships were attacked, the Israelis cut off all communications and we haven't heard from them since. As we speak, I can see the ships coming into the harbour of Ashdod [on television] so I presume that's them," Löfgren said. "We don't know if they're all right. The numbers of the killed and wounded are rising all the time. The latest information is talking about 19 deaths. It's a really awful thing."

Ironic, since I was just reviewing one of his books yesterday. Not surprising, given his political activism.

The continuing news - Turkey's throwdown, as Ian put it - is particularly disturbing as Turkey and Israel have historically had relatively good, if not exactly warm, relations. (Turkey was the first Muslim country to recognize the state of Israel, for example.) It seems to mean that a major shift has occurred, that a chasm has opened up. [ETA: the rift has been opening since at least January: see this, for instance.]

As MadamaB said... just when you think you've seen the worst...

Submitted by Lex on

As i learned from a knowledgeable friend this evening, Israel's attack was not an act of piracy...it was an act of war.

So Turkey has every right to invoke NATO's article 5. I doubt that it will, but doing so would either destroy the US-Israel relationship or destroy NATO.

Also, Dave's got an excellent piece up at Ian's place about the sundry ways Turkey can retaliate without going to war. Though sending a Turkish naval escort with the next relief ship is pretty heavy business, and i assume that the Turks meant it when they said it. Israel sinking a Turkish naval vessel would almost certainly invoke article 5. But Israel's only other choice is to allow the blockade to be broken by the Turkish navy.

I'd say that they can't let that happen for fear of looking weak, but i'm not sure how much weaker you can look than having your best commandos beat up by civilians on a peace mission armed with whatever was handy...and disarming the commandos.

Valley Girl's picture
Submitted by Valley Girl on

re:As i learned from a knowledgeable friend this evening, Israel's attack was not an act of piracy...it was an act of war.

That issue is discussed at Mondoweiss. The longer version of the article quoted is is here

Snippets:

A word on the legal position, which is very plain. To attack a foreign flagged vessel in international waters is illegal. It is not piracy, as the Israeli vessels carried a military commission. It is rather an act of illegal warfare.

Because the incident took place on the high seas does not mean however that international law is the only applicable law. The Law of the Sea is quite plain that, when an incident takes placeon a ship on the high seas (outside anybody's territorial waters) the applicable law is that of the flag state of the ship on which the incident occurred. In legal terms, the Turkish ship was Turkish territory.

There are therefore two clear legal possibilities.

Possibility one is that the Israeli commandos were acting on behalf of the government of Israel in killing the activists on the ships. In that case Israel is in a position of war with Turkey, and the act falls under international jurisdiction as a war crime.

Possibility two is that, if the killings were not authorised Israeli military action, they were acts of murder under Turkish jurisdiction. If Israel does not consider itself in a position of war with Turkey, then it must hand over the commandos involved for trial in Turkey under Turkish law.

In brief, if Israel and Turkey are not at war, then it is Turkish law which is applicable to what happened on the ship. It is for Turkey, not Israel, to carry out any inquiry or investigation into events and to initiate any prosecutions. Israel is obliged to hand over indicted personnel for prosecution.

Submitted by libbyliberal on

... we marched to the Israeli embassy on 2nd Ave. from Times Square. A huge number of people, quite passionate... and for last minute alerting on a holiday ... people rallied from everywhere it seemed, though wonder if more than crickets will be on msm.

WTF with this awesome war criminal attack?

I am going to google and listen to radio and try to make sense out of what went down last night.

WTF!!!!!

Another protest at Israeli embassy tomorrow at 5pm and then will attend Chris Hedges forum at 7pm at Revolution Books.

WTF!!!!!! a/k/a YIKES!

Hope to put together a blog.

WTF.

Valley Girl's picture
Submitted by Valley Girl on

Here is link to Philip Munger's post at his blog Progressive Alaska, which in turn gives many links.

firedoglake's Live Blogging of the Israeli Attack on NATO-flagged Humanitarian Flotilla

Philip Munger's long time FDL moniker is Edward Teller. Way way long ago when I was a denizen of FDL ET was the leading and most sane voice discussing I/P in comments.

Here are some snippets about him, but much more at related wikis

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Skies_a...

~~The Skies are Weeping is a cantata by composer Philip Munger. The cantata memorializes Rachel Corrie, an American member of the International Solidarity Movement killed in 2003 by a bulldozer operated by the Israel Defense Forces while she tried to prevent a house demolition in the southern Gaza Strip during the Second Intifada. The second movement also memorializes British photography student and ISM activist Tom Hurndall, who was shot in the head in the Gaza Strip by an IDF sniper on April 11, 2003 and died 9 months later without having regained consciousness in a coma state.~~

~~The original scheduled date for premiere*** of The Skies are Weeping, was April 27 2004 at the University of Alaska Anchorage where Philip Munger teaches.~~

***The performance was cancelled- hatemail, personal threats, etc. (go read wiki link above)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philip_Munger

Also read Modoweiss blog. Much discussion of details there as to current events.

Submitted by jawbone on

women's protest against the killings by the Israeli commandos.

She was hit in the face by a "sound bomb" launched by Israeli border guards.

An American journalist sustained an injury to the eye as Israeli border guards attempted to disperse a women's rally protesting the killing of 10 activists on board the Freedom Fleet, near the Qalandiya checkpoint between Ramallah and Jerusalem.

The woman, identified as 21-year old Emily Henochowicz, was injured after a "sound bomb launched to disperse the crowd struck her in the face.

SNIP

Witnesses said Israeli forces fired volleys of tear gas at unarmed Palestinian and international protesters. An ISM statement said the fire caused "mass panic amongst the demonstrators and those queuing at the largest checkpoint separating the West Bank and Israel."

Another report says she was hit in the face by a tear gas canister. (Warning: Graphic photo)

A third report has a quote from a fellow International Solidarity Movement member:

The ISM Web site quoted witnesses as saying the Israelis targeted her and other international protestors.

“They clearly saw us,” said Sören Johanssen, a Swedish ISM volunteer standing with Henochowicz. “They clearly saw that we were internationals and it really looked as though they were trying to hit us. They fired many canisters at us in rapid succession. One landed on either side of Emily, then the third one hit her in the face.”

It's not easy being a witness, an activist in the Occupied West Bank....

She has a blog, Thirsty Pixels.

nasrudin's picture
Submitted by nasrudin on

So far no one but IBNlive has reported this story -- the phrase "escorted by the Turkish navy" in one sentence in a ten-sentence article being the key. If true, being such an explicit threat, it seems to me it would be mentioned in Hurriyet, Haaretz, and other outlets.

So, acknowledging that such a statement is Yikes!-worthy, and that much of the commentary is sound if IBN's statement is true, I'm waiting for some confirmation before getting very concerned about it.

nasrudin's picture
Submitted by nasrudin on

..."tenor" is a long way from an explicit threat of Turkish naval action, and so far no other source backs up IBN's "Ankara warned" statement.

Jack Crow's picture
Submitted by Jack Crow on

...myself.

I agree - it's unconfirmed. But I don't think the original report indicates a threat.

nasrudin's picture
Submitted by nasrudin on

The opening sentence:

"Turkey has threatened Israel with unprecedented action..."

The money shot:

"Ankara warned that further supply vessels will be sent to Gaza, escorted by the Turkish Navy..."