Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The next flotilla

The Jerusalem Post reports of the various preparations going on for the next flotilla, which is coming from Iran but will not be protected by the Islamic Revolutionary Guards.
The announcement quoted Mohammad Ali Nouraee, an aid official, who said one cargo will be sent to Turkey, and then shipped to Gaza from Istanbul while the other will leave from the port of Khorramshahr.

Nouraee said that the ships would sail without protective security because the Iranians “do not want to fight", however he emphasized that "we are willing to become martyred in this way.”

According to IRNA, a senior official of the the Islamic Revolutionary Guards, Deputy Commander Hossein Salami, has said that escorting the two cargo ships "was not on the guards agenda."
In addition three Iranian members of the Majlis are planning to visit Gaza through Egypt and the Egyptian government has announced that they will let them through the crossing at Rafah. Of course, they will. The wall is there to protect Egypt from the Gazan Palestinians not to protect the latter from Iranian parliamentarians.

Meanwhile, Israel has agreed to an international commission to investigate what went wrong over that flotilla (hint: maybe the Israeli government and the IDF should start paying attention to the fact that this is a PR war as well as a bang-bang war) and the Arab League has entered the fray. They may be attacking Israel but as this article points out, the main targets are Turkey and Iran. It has dawned on the Arab League that these two countries are muscling in on their political territory.

After enumerating all the levels on which Israel managed to botch what ought to have been a straightforward operation of prevention, Samuel Segev of the Winnipeg Free Press sums up the situation fairly accurately:
However, on the strategic level, Turkey lost. The blockade of the Gaza Strip, which was Turkey's main objective, is not lifted. Israel had shown Turkey that it was ready to pay the diplomatic price for defeating Turkey's goal in Gaza. In co-ordination with Israel, Egypt also eased some of the restrictions on travel by land from Gaza to Sinai, but it maintained the naval blockade of the Gaza Strip. Finally, the chairman of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, conveyed the same message. In his meeting with Obama at the White House last Wednesday, Abbas insisted that Hamas should not emerge as the victor from Operation Sea Breeze.

Finally, and as a result of fast consultations among all concerned, the moderate Arab countries have now re-entered the Gaza scene, after three years of absence. They realized that their absence created a void that Turkey was trying fast to fill. It is in this context that we should see the current visit of Amr Mussa, the secretary general of the Arab League to the Gaza Strip. In his discussions with Hamas local leaders, Mussa is trying to convince them to reconcile with Mahmoud Abbas, according to the Egyptian plan. Mussa's message has also a regional meaning: It is a message to Turkey and Iran that the Sunni Arab world will never agree to a non-Arab country dominating the Middle East.
I think the expression that best sums it all up is the old military one of SNAFU. But I don't think Israel is the biggest loser - that has to be, once again, the Palestinians.

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