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Mark Steel on the Flotilla 2, June 2010

Posted by thegulfblog.com in American ME Relations, Israeli-Palestinian Conflict.
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Mark Steele on the Flotilla debacle:

It’s time the Israeli government’s PR team made the most of its talents, and became available for hire. Then whenever a nutcase marched into a shopping mall in somewhere like Wisconsin and gunned down a selection of passers-by, they could be on hand to tell the world’s press “The gunman regrets the loss of life but did all he could to avoid violence.” Then various governments would issue statements saying “All we know is a man went berserk with an AK 47, and next to him there’s a pile of corpses, so until we know the facts we can’t pass judgement on what took place.”

To strengthen their case the Israelis have released a photo of the weapons they found on board, (which amount to some knives and tools and wooden sticks) that the naive might think you’d expect to find on any ship, but the more astute will recognise as exactly what you’d carry if you were planning to defeat the Israeli army…

…logical as the statement from the Israeli PM’s spokesman – “We made every possible effort to avoid this incident.” Because the one tiny thing they forgot to do to avoid this incident was not send in armed militia from helicopters in the middle of the night and shoot people. I must be a natural at this sort of technique because I often go all day without climbing off a helicopter and shooting people, and I’m not even making every possible effort.

If this incident had been carried about by Iran, or anyone we were trying to portray as an enemy, so much condemnation would have been spewed out it would have created a vast cloud of outrage that airlines would be unable to fly through.

But as it’s Israel, most governments offer a few diplomatic words that blame no one, but accept the deaths are “regrettable”. They might as well have picked any random word from the dictionary, so the news would tell us “William Hague described the deaths as ‘hexagonal'”, and a statement from the US senate said “It’s all very confusing. In future let’s hope they make every effort to avoid a similar incident.”

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Fast roping 101 2, June 2010

Posted by thegulfblog.com in Israeli-Palestinian Conflict.
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This fantastic and helpful little diagram is taken from Abu Muqawama’s tip-top blog over at CNAS.

Hat tip: MEI Editor

Saudi Crown Prince greets released Qatar coup plotters 2, June 2010

Posted by thegulfblog.com in Qatar, Saudi Arabia.
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In case there was any lingering doubt that Saudi Arabia was behind the coup in 1996 to unseat the Qatari Emir Hamad Bin Jassem Al Thani, it is now gone. The Saudi Crown Prince, the man nominally in line to the Saudi throne, received the coup plotters who were released from Qatari jail last week at the request of the Saudi King.

Arab news reports that the convicted plotters were received at the Crown Prince’s palace in Jeddah. The coup plotters, members of the Al Ghafran branch of the Al Murrah tribe, spent 15 years in Doha’s central jail.

Nearly a decade after their failed coup in 2005 between 5 to 6 thousand members of the Al Ghafran tribe were stripped of their Qatari nationality and forced to rely on Saudi Arabia for help. Reports vary, with some suggesting that the removal of an Al Thani who had granted them some kind of ‘special dispensation’ was the reason whilst others cite lingering anger of the 1996 coup or even a mooted 2002 coup as the trigger for their deportation. I believe that they were, however, re-issued their Qatari ID at a later date.