May 31, 2010

The Gaza Flotilla Was Not About Aid

Before Gaza blockade runners violently attacked unarmed Israelis and were subsequently shot by prudently armed Israeli backup, they heard the following announcement:

Posted by Michael J. Totten at May 31, 2010 2:52 PM
Comments
Scary. In the Muslim world, even the "peace activists" are voilent.
Posted by: Carlos at May 31, 2010 3:27 pm
I hate to say it, but Israel messed up. Bad.

I don't know how to prove this, but judging from the reaction around the web and among friends, condemnation of Israel's actions is now well beyond the deranged extremists. A lot of reasonable and intelligent people are appalled by what happened, and we should take them seriously.

Of course, there was a mob prepared to die to defend the Mavi Marmara, and they must have known the innocents below decks would be put in danger by their stupid and suicidal behavior. They wanted to provoke the Israelis into using excessive force for the cameras. That's obvious, but then the Israeli commandos were stupid enough to give them what they wanted.

I was reading anonymous comments on the web from radicals hoping the Israelis had shot more people than was first reported, hoping they killed the Holocaust survivor on board, and Cynthia McKinney too, a former member of the U.S. Congress, so Israel would look all the worse. So there's also people who want the Israelis to engage in deadly force, to kill civilians and so on for propaganda purposes.
Posted by: Robert at May 31, 2010 3:40 pm
Michael, you said on an earlier thread: "I'm pretty sure neither pacifist Europeans nor violently anti-Zionist Middle Easterners will be as happy with the outcome as they expect." Could you elaborate? I'm not playing devil's advocate here. I'm wondering if you think that the provocateurs will not, in the end, get the propaganda advantage they were trying to manufacture?
Posted by: Harold at May 31, 2010 3:48 pm
Harold,

I meant simply that Israel will stubbornly go on existing and defending itself, and that the next war will likely be really ugly.
Posted by: Michael J. Totten at May 31, 2010 3:51 pm
You said it: "for propaganda purposes.". That's the only measure by which Israel fvcked up. Not because they did anything particularly heinous. How many were killed in Indonesisa recently. And nobody gives a crap. "Outrage" is strictly tactical when it comes to Israel.
Posted by: Carlos at May 31, 2010 3:52 pm
Apparently, Turkey is now saying that future "aid" ships are going to have military escorts...and they still want to talk about international law?
Posted by: C.H. at May 31, 2010 4:39 pm
Apparently, Turkey is now saying that future "aid" ships are going to have military escorts...and they still want to talk about international law?

CH, why would anyone think unapologetic genociders have any understanding of international law?
Posted by: Craig at May 31, 2010 4:48 pm
They wouldn't...which is why they look more and more stupid and hypocritical every time they bring it up.

BTW, I'm sure many of the "Free Gaza!" protesters in Istanbul have joined the "Bomb Kurdistan!" demonstrations that flare up every now and then.
Posted by: C.H. at May 31, 2010 4:53 pm
Craig,

I hope you don't mind, but I'm going to use the description "Unapologetic Genociders" on twitter. It sums things up well.
Posted by: C.H. at May 31, 2010 4:55 pm
From Harold: "A lot of reasonable and intelligent people are appalled by what happened, and we should take them seriously."

Of course. What do we know about the dead now? Do we know their identities, or how many of them were armed? Should we believe that 10 people were armed with deadly weapons? Presumably such things have been confiscated as well.

"That's obvious, but then the Israeli commandos were stupid enough to give them what they wanted."

Exactly. Perhaps this ship was full of deranged extremists. Does that mean a bunch of people deserved to die? Of course not. Israel messed up big time on this one. Both sides are to blame for idiotic actions.

"I was reading anonymous comments on the web from radicals hoping the Israelis had shot more people than was first reported, hoping they killed the Holocaust survivor on board, and Cynthia McKinney too, a former member of the U.S. Congress, so Israel would look all the worse. So there's also people who want the Israelis to engage in deadly force, to kill civilians and so on for propaganda purposes."

It comes from both sides as well. On Free Republic, a veritable hate site, people not only cheered the deaths of the activists but hoped McKinney was among them.

From Carlos: "How many were killed in Indonesisa recently. And nobody gives a crap."

I'm not sure what you're referring to, but keep in mind that Israel always receives the most media attention. It has for two milennia. Anything that happens there, where news organizations have many bureaus, will automatically make headlines around the world. Plus, there is the general conception that what happens in Israel fuels the War on Terror.
Posted by: Peter at May 31, 2010 4:58 pm
"Plus, there is the general conception that what happens in Israel fuels the War on Terror."


Which would be a fallacy.

Anyone who believes that a peace agreement between Israel and a future Palestinian State will stop Hakimullah Mehsud's Tehreek-e-Taliban from slaughtering religious minorities has no reason to be taken seriously.

The same goes for Al-Shabaab in Somalia, SIMI in India, AQIM in Algeria/Morocco, the South Thailand insurgency, and so on. None of these have anything to do with Israel.
Posted by: C.H. at May 31, 2010 5:12 pm
Good comment, Peter. It may be too soon to tell, but I think Israel miscalculated.

I read an interesting piece at Stratfor, regarding the propaganda war behind the flotilla and its aftermath. A brief excerpt:

http://www.stratfor.com/weekly/20100531_flotillas_and_wars_public_opinion

"Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon charged that the mission was simply an attempt to provoke the Israelis [3]. That was certainly the case. The mission was designed to demonstrate that the Israelis were unreasonable and brutal. The hope was that Israel would be provoked to extreme action, further alienating Israel from the global community and possibly driving a wedge between Israel and the United States. The operation’s planners also hoped this would trigger a political crisis in Israel.

A logical Israeli response would have been avoiding falling into the provocation trap and suffering the political repercussions the Turkish NGO was trying to trigger. Instead, the Israelis decided to make a show of force. The Israelis appear to have reasoned that backing down would demonstrate weakness and encourage further flotillas to Gaza, unraveling the Israeli position vis-à-vis Hamas. In this thinking, a violent interception was a superior strategy to accommodation regardless of political consequences. Thus, the Israelis accepted the bait and were provoked.

[...]

As with a tank battle or an airstrike, this sort of warfare has nothing to do with fairness. It has to do with controlling public perception and using that public perception to shape foreign policy around the world. In this case, the issue will be whether the deaths were necessary. The Israeli argument of provocation will have limited traction."
Posted by: Robert at May 31, 2010 5:14 pm
http://www.cnn.com/2010/WORLD/meast/05/31/israel.gaza.raid.reaction/index.html

But Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad said there was no excuse for an attack "by armed forces on a humanitarian convoy."

"The Palestinian government strongly condemns this crime, which portrays, once again, Israeli disrespect for the lives of innocent civilians, and its disrespect for international law," Fayyad said.


Is that humor? Or are we expected to believe Palestinian nationalists are opposed to attacking innocent civilians?

Hello?

Well, besides that little bizarre bit of alternate reality, I find it interesting that he thinks people who ambush and try to murder military personnel are "innocent civilians". I always like to remember drama queens like Salam Fayyad and their definition of "innocent civilian" whenever I read statements out of HAMAS or Fatah about civilian casualties.
Posted by: Craig at May 31, 2010 5:17 pm
>>>"How many were killed in Indonesisa recently. And nobody gives a crap."

>>>I'm not sure what you're referring to,

My point exactly
Posted by: Carlos at May 31, 2010 5:20 pm
Well, I did say this was "not going to end well, yes? How did the Israelis mess up? Warn the activists that their boats will be disabled. Israeli Seals disable the propellers and tow them to Israel. This is 2010 and if we can't disable ships, something is wrong. I'm hardly a genius and even I knew what the game was. It is all about perception and do all understand the term "disproportionate force"? That is the new mantra that seeks to defeat Israel.

Now if Turkey wishes to break a legal embargo, then they should be ejected from NATO. If they come at Israel with military protection next time, have Israel warn the Turks, their ships, subs or aircraft will be considered enemy warships.

In this age of bullshit, non-lethal weapons are very important. The US has a microwave system that would make these assholes run for cover.

When I speculated on "response and red lines" last week I anticipated this escalation. Micheal is right about the future and the next eruption will be very ugly. The world is piling on the "lets get Israel now". If the US can't watch the replay, read the laws and make a sound judgment, it does not bode well for the future. For those who keep saying that what the world thinks and a run away narrative means nothing, just watch the fallout of this predictable act. Yes, so predictable, even an armchair blogger like myself saw this coming from miles away.....
Posted by: Maxtrue at May 31, 2010 5:24 pm
Now a Fatah official is saying Israel is "the most despicable country in the world"

http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3896805,00.html

This just shows the alternate reality people like this guy live in. Just think of all the rallies in Gaza that have supported people like Saddam Hussein, Ahmadinejad, Bin Laden, and Omar Al-Bashir -- the butcher of Sudan and architect of the Darfur genocide, which has caused many times more destruction than even 6 decades of Israeli-Palestinian hostilities.

Do hypocrisy always go hand in hand with selfishness?
Posted by: C.H. at May 31, 2010 5:26 pm
Carlos,

I think the fact that the UN called an emergency Security Council meeting over this, but didn't bother when North Korea sank a South Korean warship speaks volumes. Nobody wants to talk about an incident that might involve war between NK & SK, and possible even China and the US. Everyone just wants to beat up on Israel because all the other cool kids are doing it.

Obama needs to start calling in Ambassadors - starting with Turkey, Greece and Sweden - and having a little sit-down with them. And he should seriously consider expelling Turkey's ambassador indefinitely. I think Turkey just sent him back to us, so the timing is good. Maybe he hasn't finished unpacking yet. Turkey should also be dis-invited from Afghanistan. Of course, I think the US should dis-invite itself from Afghanistan so if I had my way maybe we'd just leave the Turks there while we get out of dodge? Oh, and the Turkish genocide Bill definitely needs to be signed, first thing in the morning. Also, we need to let the turks know the next time they launch an attack into Iraq, US planes will shoot theirs down. And speaking of which, no more military co-operation between Turkey and the US, including sales of military equipment. And finally, a review of their NATO membership.

A President who had balls would do some or all of those things in the coming days. Just for starters. It's the least Obama could do, considering if he hadn't been so soft on Turkey's provocations the last year or two, and so hard on Israel, this wouldn't have ever happened.

CH,

Apparently, Turkey is now saying that future "aid" ships are going to have military escorts...

I hope they do. At least nobody can complain if Israel sinks naval vessels that are trying to breach a blockade. And I doubt the activist convoy would proceed, after seeing their escorts vanish beneath the waves.

I hope you don't mind, but I'm going to use the description "Unapologetic Genociders" on twitter. It sums things up well.

Heh... have at it! :)

I wish you luck. It's a crazy world when badguys become goodguys, but I don't really care as long as it doesn't happen here in the US. And, I don't think it will.
Posted by: Craig at May 31, 2010 5:34 pm
Just think of all the rallies in Gaza that have supported people like Saddam Hussein, Ahmadinejad, Bin Laden, and Omar Al-Bashir -- the butcher of Sudan and architect of the Darfur genocide, which has caused many times more destruction than even 6 decades of Israeli-Palestinian hostilities.

What do you expect, CH? They name schools and public squares in the West Bank after Dalal Al-Mughrabi, the mass murderer and child killer. You think people who do things like that have any understanding of right and wrong at all? It's all about what they can use to their benefit. That's all. No more, and no less.
Posted by: Craig at May 31, 2010 5:39 pm
>>>Obama needs to start calling in Ambassadors - starting with Turkey, Greece and Sweden - and having a little sit-down with them. And he should seriously consider expelling Turkey's ambassador indefinitely. I

Obama will do no such thing, as he is on a mission to rehabilitate the image of the Muslim world. That is the true Obama Doctrine. He will instead take the easy way out and join in on the anti-Israel pile one. That's why they all do it, because it's easy. There's no downside to it whatsoever. Only an upside. The anti-Israel crowd takes to the streets, while the pro-Israel sheep stay at home. Why shouldn't anybody join in the pile on?
Posted by: Carlos at May 31, 2010 5:40 pm
Oh, and Happy Memorial Day Craig and all the others who served. I hope that the world doesn't get so inverted the sacrifices made aren't wasted...
Posted by: Maxtrue at May 31, 2010 5:50 pm
That may be true, Carlos, but the US Congress is not on board for that. It's gonna start reeking of bad governance if the congress keeps sending him bills, and he keeps refusing to sign them. Unless he wants to destroy his own image instead of rehabilitating Islam's, he needs to get out in front of this.
Posted by: Craig at May 31, 2010 5:51 pm
PS Carlos,

Obama will do no such thing, as he is on a mission to rehabilitate the image of the Muslim world.

I think he'll get a major FAIL on that if he lets Turkey go from a relatively well-intentioned secular Muslim country to a malicious Islamist state without even trying to do anything about it, on his watch. Hasn't he been saying he wants more Muslim countries to be more like Turkey? Turns out, he wants Turkey to be more like Syria and Iran? WTF?
Posted by: Craig at May 31, 2010 5:57 pm
"Oh, and the Turkish genocide Bill definitely needs to be signed"


Absolutely.
Posted by: C.H. at May 31, 2010 5:59 pm
http://www.informationdissemination.net/2010/05/beware-early-reporting.html
Posted by: Maxtrue at May 31, 2010 6:36 pm
http://www.stratfor.com/weekly/20100531_flotillas_and_wars_public_opinion

And Strafor has been wrong many times. I put this here so some can read the whole thing...
Posted by: Maxtrue at May 31, 2010 6:46 pm
Oh, I see this was here already in full. It might be time sensitive, so it can't hurt...
Posted by: Maxtrue at May 31, 2010 6:47 pm
I'm really disappointed with the Israeli response to the flotilla situation, which can be charitably called moronic. The entire Gaza flotilla was an obvious intent of provocation that the Netanyahu administration walked into because they wanted to appear "tough" rather than "weak" by simply letting them land.
Posted by: Lee Ratner at May 31, 2010 7:16 pm
CORRECTION FOR PETER: Peter wrote at 4:58 pm: "From Harold: "A lot of reasonable and intelligent people are appalled by what happened, and we should take them seriously." That was not Harold. That was Robert. Please do not confuse us.
Posted by: Harold at May 31, 2010 7:38 pm
Why did they intercept them in international waters? This seems to me an unnecessary complication - did they wish to make the statement that nobody enters their waters without their permission? Where they just about to enter their waters or were they far away? I'd be interested if anyone knows the reasoning.
Posted by: Cassius Corodes at May 31, 2010 7:53 pm
[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by PurpleStater, Lachlan O'Dea. Lachlan O'Dea said: This Flotilla stunt was never a good-faith effort to provide aid to Gaza. It was designed to provoke a conflict. http://bit.ly/cYQ6lY [...]
Posted by: Tweets that mention Michael J. Totten -- Topsy.com at May 31, 2010 8:42 pm
[...] so far, here are the facts on the ground in the sea (and I’ll admit, of course, that I am biased):Michael J. Tot­ten notes that the Israeli mil­i­tary warned the flotilla that they were vio­lat­ing a block­ade [...]
Posted by: Israel Flotilla | Gaza Flotilla | Turkey Flotilla | War | Considerations at June 1, 2010 2:08 am
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