WELL, Y’ALL KNOW WHAT Yogi Berra said. And it definitely ain’t over.
I assume everyone has been at least trying to keep up with the twists and turns in the unfolding tale of what really happened on board the Mavi Marmara and where it all leads. I’ve been holding off on saying anything here until some of the dust has settled, but it doesn’t look like that will be happening any time soon.
I’m not even going to try to go over the whole story at this point. That’s been done already in enough places that I would be merely duplicating others’ efforts. You can get the basics from day one here, and Peace Flotilla is a great place where you can find current updates.
There have also been a number of excellent commentaries made by prominent figures in this arena. Caroline Glick points out several vital points in “Ending Israel’s Losing Streak.”
But I’ll try to recap just a little in order to get on to my main points. Over the weekend, a hodgepodge of leftists calling themselves “Free Gaza” attempted to run Israel’s naval blockade of Hamas-controlled Gaza. The Israel Defense Forces interdicted the offending vessels as allowed under international law. Five of the six vessels were boarded peacefully, but mercenary combatants on board the sixth ship, the Mavi Marmara, ambushed the IDF boarding party with metal poles and clubs, electric saws and other crude weapons, and with grenades, knives and firearms. The IDF troops sustained serious wounds but successfully completed their mission. When the smoke had cleared, the IDF had sustained several injuries, including two rated as serious or critical, and the enemy combatants (please, folks, let’s stop calling them “activists” – they were hired soldiers) sustained many more casualties, including nine fatalities.
As details began to emerge over the next few days, several things began to stand out (including a couple of things that I really haven’t heard discussed much elsewhere):
1) Although the leftists were assembled under the umbrella organization “Free Gaza,” the expedition was actually led by (and the Mavi Marmara operated by) a known terrorist organization headquartered in Turkey known by its initials IHH.
2) The attackers who assaulted the IDF commandos were identified as cash-paid mercenaries, primarily Turkish nationals. (Of the nine fatalities, eight were Turkish citizens and one was a naturalized US citizen from Turkey.)
According to one well-placed source, the cash with which the mercenaries were paid was not passed to them until after they were on board. This would mean they were not quite dedicated enough to the ‘cause’ to be counted on to otherwise show up.
3) Turkey’s role in this affair was, and still is, of very serious concern. It would be distracting here to try to get deeply into the complexities of the Turkey – Iran – Syria axis, but it appears possible that Turkey is vying for a stronger position in that company of thieves. I had issued several “tweets” over the past few days calling attention to the extremity of Turkey’s involvement, but now I’m not so sure it’s a whole lot more than a serious attempt to gain a bigger piece of the pie. To be certain, the Turkish government has recently become a major sponsor of terrorism, but they still haven’t toppled Iran, or even Syria, in that respect.
4) Most importantly, though, the military blockade of Gaza has been in fact very effective against Hamas, and by extension against Iran’s interests in the area, not only in terms of making war materiel less available, but also by way of restricting Hamas’ finances, and even causing serious internal political pressure on the regime.
This brings up a crucial point: the blockade running attempt was a desperation move by Hamas and Iran. I haven’t heard that part of the matter emphasized in the media, but it is very consistent with the hiring of mercenaries in an attempt to repel the IDF naval interdiction. And it is consistent also with the possession by the mercenaries of huge sums of cash, some of which was payment for their services, but the greater part of which was apparently intended for Haniyeh’s grubby little hands. It would also mean that Hamas is not about to give up – because it can’t afford to give up. The next attempt is already underway as of this writing.
A further serious implication of this is that those who are advocating removal of the blockade (and there are many, including major players in the UN and in Europe, and perhaps even the current US administration) are in effect allying themselves politically and even militarily with Hamas, and again by extension with Iran. If that bothers you, it does me, too.