"...it's not the training to be mean but the training to be kind that is used to keep us leashed best." ~ Black Dog Red

"In case you haven't recognized the trend: it proceeds action, dissent, speech." ~ davidly, on how wars get done

"...What sort of meager, unerotic existence must a man live to find himself moved to such ecstatic heights by the mundane sniping of a congressional budget fight. The fate of human existence does not hang in the balance. The gods are not arrayed on either side. Poseiden, earth-shaker, has regrettably set his sights on the poor fishermen of northern Japan and not on Washington, D.C. where his ire might do some good--I can think of no better spot for a little wetland reclamation project, if you know what I mean. The fight is neither revolution nor apocalypse; it is hardly even a fight. A lot of apparatchiks are moving a lot of phony numbers with more zeros than a century of soccer scores around, weaving a brittle chrysalis around a gross worm that, some time hence, will emerge, untransformed, still a worm." ~ IOZ

Jun 1, 2010

The Rationale

As mentioned below, the Israelis believe they have the authority to seize and attack blockade breakers.

Here, perhaps, the pretext rationale:


Neutral merchant vessels 67. 

Neutral merchant vessels

67. Merchant vessels flying the flag of neutral States may not be attacked unless they:

(a) are believed on reasonable grounds to be carrying contraband or breaching a blockade, and after prior warning they intentionally and clearly refuse to stop, or intentionally and clearly resist visit, search or capture;
(b) engage in belligerent acts on behalf of the enemy;
(c) act as auxiliaries to the enemy s armed forces;
(d) are incorporated into or assist the enemy s intelligence system;
(e) sail under convoy of enemy warships or military aircraft; or
(f) otherwise make an effective contribution to the enemy s military action, e.g., by carrying military materials, and it is not feasible for the attacking forces to first place passengers and crew in a place of safety. Unless circumstances do not permit, they are to be given a warning, so that they can re-route, off-load, or take other precautions.

68. Any attack on these vessels is subject to the basic rules in paragraphs 38-46.

69. The mere fact that a neutral merchant vessel is armed provides no grounds for attacking it.


I don't know if this section actually applies, but the Israelis have formally declared a blockade.

This took a while to find - so if I've gotten it wrong, I'd appreciate a nod in the correct direction.



It would appear that the Israeli's will get their way, officially. They will define the investigation, thanks to formal US intervention at the UN:

"The United States has blocked demands at the UN security council for an international inquiry into Israel's assault on the Turkish ship carrying aid to Gaza that left nine pro-Palestinian activists dead.

A compromise statement instead calls for an impartial investigation which Washington indicated could be carried out by Israel.

Turkey pressed for the security council to launch an investigation similar to Richard Goldstone's inquiry into last year's fighting in Gaza which prompted protests from Israel when it concluded that Israel and Hamas were probably guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Ankara wanted the investigation into the raid on the Mavi Marmara to result in the prosecution of officials responsible for the assault and the payment of compensation to the victims.

But in hours of diplomatic wrangling, the US blocked the move and instead forced a statement that called for 'a prompt, impartial, credible and transparent investigation conforming to international standards.' The US representative at the security council discussions, Alejandro Wolff, indicated that Washington would be satisfied with Israel investigating itself when he called for it to undertake a credible investigation."


h/t Glenn Greenwald


So, will this above rationale make it into the formal, official, super-duper legal finding?

Anyone want to wager?

Over Ian Welsh's way, I wondered up a few questions. Seems the US has officially answered at least one of them:

1. Do the Turks (the gov’t, the major companies) really still want into the failing EU? If not, do the Germans have any carrots to offer them, other than better treatment of Turkish second class citizens, in Germany proper?

2. Do the Israelis have tacit support from the US? If so, do we have to ask seriously if the Israeli state can survive a “bold move” by Netanyahu, Barak and Lieberman? How far will the US state go to preserve the Israeli state, as it is?

3. How close will the Turkish state draw to Iran, Hizbollah and Hamas? As Ian notes above, to Syria? Is this, in part, a Turkish move to join Iran as a regional dominant couplet - especially as Europe’s economy unravels?

4. Will the Russians involve themselves, especially since they already have effective control of the Black Sea?

5. What about all those pipeline end points in Turkey? How much oil and natgas do the Israelis get from those sources? How much do they use to keep their still formidable ground and air wings fueled and battle ready?

6. What about India?

(re-emphasis added)


Jay Taber said...

When the Nazis established ghettoes and death camps, they, too, made formal declarations.

Jack Crow said...

IIRC, very few people cared about that, until after the US, the USSR and England were done bombing Europe into dust.

Anonymous said...

I think the most important immediate point of this incredibly serious act is that the Israeli Likudniks have wholeheartedly endorsed the worldwide view (save for the US) that, as Ian discussed in his endgame scenario post, the apartheid choice. The demographics + water rights (remember that last James Bond movie?) = this x 10 as long as the US is involved in all these idiotic foreign adventures.

'NATO be damned!' is the only possible message from Israel's flaunting of international waters. I mean, really? Is the terrible treatment of 1.5 million people equivalent to some kind of gang fight in their minds? They could've done a few things, like waited for the 1 ship to actually run the blockade, or pretended to give a damn about their prawns. Luckily, even Eliot Spitzer, the only (sorry for the weak bench) hopeful standard bearer for a new American Elliot Ness (sp) managed to give a hard enough time to Glenn Greenwald for him to rightfully bitch about it. No dice, grandma!

This only proves to me that the Likudnics have penetrated as deeply into the IDF as the Evangelicals have into the US Air Force Officer Corps, perhaps further. It would take a book to explain, but as VoteVets.org and JStreet prove in the US, there is still a strong enough commonsensical opposition party in Israel to get their views across in their own papers. Unfortunately, that doesn't seem to be able to cross oceans, regardless of broadband capacity.

But the question that most concerns me is the one about India. I can't put the impetus on anyone, but others have already detailed the happy-go-lucky intricacies involving the numerous pipelines for natgas and the other assorted sundries. Ian's place has had a great discussion with his new pal Dave Anderson about all the logistical detail over non-nuke tank/railroad warfare -

I'm not as concerned as I guess I should be over that possibility, but I do know a bit about Russia's and China's stance vis-a-vis energy resources in Eurasia, but I know very little about India's concerns. They just don't get to be in the news, so my own question is what can they stand to gain in UN parliamentary procedures?

Much talk has been over how Turkey has just gained a hell of a lot of backdoor favors regardless of how they react to public opinion, given how Europe has reacted (and rightfully so, I don't want to take away from the Mississippi Freedom Riders aspect of this flotilla), so how could this affect the region?


Jack Crow said...


Great response. I'm tired, but I'll come back to this in the AM, if you don't mind too terribly.



Jack Crow said...


I think the Turkish state can squeeze a bunch of concessions out of the US, so long as Israel gets what it wants to.

What that is, I don't know.

As for India - I think they're the wild card.

Sorry not so long, though I'd have kicked this headache by now.