Monday, May 31, 2010

Iran's playing chess with Turkish/Israel relations, war at the gates?

I'll avoid as much commentary as possible and let the headlines speak for themselves:

* Israeli commandos: Gaza flotilla crew tried to lynch us
* Strong int'l backlash to flotilla raid
* Turkey recalls envoy to Israel over Gaza flotilla deaths
* Israel issues travel warning to Turkey
* Israel on high alert; Hezbollah demands 'international punishment' over Gaza flotilla deaths
* Protesters storms Israeli consulate in Turkey
* A brutal ambush at sea

Navy commandoes slid down to the vessel one by one, yet then the unexpected occurred: The passengers that awaited them on the deck pulled out bats, clubs, and slingshots with glass marbles, assaulting each soldier as he disembarked. The fighters were nabbed one by one and were beaten up badly, yet they attempted to fight back.

However, to their misfortune, they were only equipped with paintball rifles used to disperse minor protests
, such as the ones held in Bilin. The paintballs obviously made no impression on the activists, who kept on beating the troops up and even attempted to wrest away their weapons.

One soldier who came to the aid of a comrade was captured by the rioters and sustained severe blows. The commandoes were equipped with handguns but were told they should only use them in the face of life-threatening situations. When they came down from the chopper, they kept on shouting to each other “don’t shoot, don’t shoot,” even though they sustained numerous blows.

‘I saw the tip of a rifle’

The Navy commandoes were prepared to mostly encounter political activists seeking to hold a protest, rather than trained street fighters. The soldiers were told they were to verbally convince activists who offer resistance to give up, and only then use paintballs. They were permitted to use their handguns only under extreme circumstances.

The planned rush towards the vessel’s bridge became impossible, even when a second chopper was brought in with another crew of soldiers. “Throw stun grenades,” shouted Flotilla 13’s commander who monitored the operation. The Navy chief was not too far, on board a speedboat belonging to Flotilla 13, along with forces who attempted to climb into the back of the ship.

The forces hurled stun grenades, yet the rioters on the top deck, whose number swelled up to 30 by that time, kept on beating up about 30 commandoes who kept gliding their way one by one from the helicopter. At one point, the attackers nabbed one commando, wrested away his handgun, and threw him down from the top deck to the lower deck, 30 feet below. The soldier sustained a serious head wound and lost his consciousness.

Only after this injury did Flotilla 13 troops ask for permission to use live fire. The commander approved it: You can go ahead and fire. The soldiers pulled out their handguns and started shooting at the rioters’ legs, a move that ultimately neutralized them. Meanwhile, the rioters started to fire back at the commandoes.

“I saw the tip of a rifle sticking out of the stairwell,” one commando said. “He fired at us and we fired back. We didn’t see if we hit him. We looked for him later but couldn’t find him.” Two soldiers sustained gunshot wounds to their knee and stomach after rioters apparently fired at them using guns wrested away from troops.

Perhaps in retrospect they should have tried a different approach to taking over the boats. Obviously, things didn't go well and the anti-Semites of this world are taking this opportunity to yet again use Israel as a punching bag.

There are horrific potential consequences I don't wish to enumerate. Let's just exclaim that Iran has set it's chess pieces, and Turkey is allowing itself to participate in what could be a multi-national and extremely devastating war.

Will a NATO nation take part in a full scale war against Israel? What about US posts in Turkey and in Israel? Russian navy parked in Syria? US forces along the shores facing Iran? We are seeing a very explosive global risk.

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