Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Israel, piracy and the Red Sea

Beneath the surface of daring maritime hijackings, a larger agenda appears to be in play

By Galal Nassar
Al-Ahram Weekly


ISRAELI AMBITIONS: David Ben-Gurion, the first prime minister of Israel, was the first to voice the Zionist entity's ambition to gain control over the Red Sea.....

CONTROLLING EAST AFRICA: The commander of the Israeli navy said, "Control over the Suez Canal only gives Egypt one key to the Red Sea. The second and more important key from the strategic point of view is the Bab Al-Mandeb. This could fall into Israeli hands if it could develop its naval force in the Red Sea zone." Elyahu Salbetter writes that Israeli defence strategists and planners are fully aware of the Arab threat to Israel in the Red Sea, which underscores the need for Israel to establish closer relations with non-Arab countries in east Africa. Certainly, since 1990 the political climate has been even more conducive to Israel's ends. With the aid of its strategic alliance with the US and its overall military superiority, Israel has succeeded in strengthening its political, economic and military ties with Red Sea nations........

Are we not reminded of the scenarios that accompanied the build-up preceding every bombardment and invasion of countries in the Middle East? In particular, should we not be alerted by experience with the game that preceded the invasion of Iraq, especially all the media play that was given to weapons of mass destruction and Iraqi military preparedness?

There is also something difficult to believe in the train of events. Suddenly, gangs of pirates have evolved into a standing army with tactics, strategies and plans of offence. From isolated reports of the capture of some small ships of varying ownership, we suddenly have the hijacking of a Ukrainian vessel bearing heavy arms and, more recently, the hijacking of a gargantuan oil tanker! What is happening? Are we to believe that those pirates have suddenly developed all that organisation and combat skill? Is it not more rational, in light of previous experience, to believe that certain powers have plans to establish control over the area and that magnifying the "piracy peril" is one of the means towards this end?....."

No comments: