Sailing through the Suez
By: Kian Mokhtari
Blimey, the dollar and the euro go belly up against the Swiss franc; Tel Aviv says it’s a "provocation"; Washington winces and it's all because two Iranian warships are on their way to the Suez Canal.
But hardly anyone even spares a second glance when a US and a French aircraft carrier, each the size of a mountain, enter the Persian Gulf trailing an Israeli nuke capable submarine. The US naval fighter jets take high speed runs at Iranian airspace and that is not called a provocation. Even the French Rafael fighters make runs at Iranian naval bases –at least one with disastrous results for the frog leg-munching pilot and his aircraft. But no, that is not a provocation so we are told by the Western "sans tambour ni trompette" media.
But a single deployment of two Iranian naval vessels to the Mediterranean to ensure safety for Iranian commercial shipping as Egypt teeters on the brink of chaos, and howls of foul go up from every Western satellite nation you can find; though granted the nations in question are steadily shrinking in numbers because their glove puppet regimes are falling one by one.
Iranian Navy will take special care not to visit Bahrain; what with its king busy murdering his opponents to save his sorry robes and jalopy throne held up with sticky tape, made in the US and Britain. Of course his secret police's many jailhouses that have been busy torturing his disgruntled subjects for the last four-decades have also done their bit to help his "royal" cause.
The US and environmentalists however, have every right to be concerned about Bahrain. The island serves as a base for the US 5th fleet and is as such the largest convenience facility for the American sailors –incidentally Washington has been known to call ablution "strategic."
For the environmentalists however the concern is what could end up in the waters of the Persian Gulf with tens of thousands of American sailors and airmen denied Bahraini washrooms!
As far as the Iranian Navy is concerned a tour of the Mediterranean might not be such a bad thing for the sailors and officers onboard its ships, as they get a much cherished opportunity to get away from the heat and the humidity of the Persian Gulf waters. Also with the Egyptian military out of sorts for the minute, there's no telling what might happen to the Suez Canal and the commercial shipping thoroughfare. Especially since Britain, France and Israel have had their beady eyes on the control of the canal ever since losing it to its rightful owner, Egypt, in 1956.
But that is neither here nor there; Iranian ships can sail anywhere they want so long as they adhere to the UN laws on high seas. And given the meticulous nature of discipline within Iran's armed forces, no mishaps are likely. Unless of course Tel Aviv is busy yet again with its sorcerers' cauldron packed with endless conspiracies and tricks.
So let Israel be warned that its witches' "double, double, toil and trouble" efforts might backfire. "Let sleeping dogs lie" has always been the best policy in my opinion, having lost a chunk or two of muscle when I woke up the dogs during my childhood.
By: Kian Mokhtari
Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable. John F. Kennedy
What has really got on many old hands' nerves in all of Egypt's recent revolution, uprising, palaver, furor or whatever you may want to call it, is the old tactic of trying to bring the military into it.
At first it was President Mubarak's government who tried to calm things in the ancient civilization's streets by sending tanks and troops in. Then it was calls from revolutionary minds that the army should take people's side.
So muscling in on the situation was a first thought for the both sides of the equation. Then the Egyptian army command did the best possible thing; faced with a venomous enemy like Israel on its flank it declared its neutrality in the whole affair to keep in one piece for national defense.
Having lived through one revolution and observed a number of others in just one lifetime, people in my generation believe it does not matter how many people are on the street at any given time. Because estimates in Egypt's case in particular have been much exaggerated in either the people' favor or understated to the Egyptian government's advantage.
So what has to be done is what both Egypt's Western backers and possible future hijackers of Egyptian revolution fear the most: hold a national referendum with foreign observers from a multitude of non-aligned countries to count the ballot.
Now Egyptians are going to have a tough time tagging Mubarak as "a traitor" because of his record. He was a Spitfire fighter pilot who flew against the attempted foreign invasion of the Suez Canal in 1956. In 1962 he converted to Tupolov-16 jet bombers. In 1966 he wrote to the Egyptian high command warning that Israel may be watching the Egyptian Air Force's routine and asked for unannounced alterations to the daily routine of flights. He was reprimanded for his insolence by Gamal Abdel Nasser; but would you believe it, the Israelis in fact had been watching, amazed at the way Egyptian pilots climbed into their cockpits at 7am every morning.
So in 1967 the Israeli air force aircraft arrived at just before 7am and took out the entire Egyptian air force on the ground. Mubarak was hastily reinstated and was given the command of one of the most heavily bombed Cairo airbases. He took command and the airbase was the only military aviation garrison to inflict casualties on Israel.
Then in 1973, as Commander of the Egyptian Air Force, Hosni Mubarak inflicted the heaviest toll on the Israeli air force to date with upward of one hundred Israeli jets brought down.
During the 1973 war with Israel Egypt's armor got bogged down in the Sinai dessert because it ran out of fuel. Saudi Arabian tankers were passing through the Suez Canal –just a stone's throw from Egypt- at that very moment but they refused Egypt's pleas to dock at Alexandria and supply the desperate Egyptian armed forces. The former Shah of Iran finally came to the rescue but his fleet of tankers was far away and simply got there too late.
So Egypt failed to win simply because its Arab brothers proved unreliable partners.
Is it any surprise for Egypt to have opted for peace with Israel afterwards? Almost Every time Palestinians and Israelis had a run-in between 1948-1973 it was either Egypt or Syria or both countries that paid the price in manpower, infrastructure and military losses while Saudi Arabia and Persian Gulf littoral states got rich. As for Jordan; actually the King of Jordan at the time was spying for the CIA and he warned Israel of an attempt by Syria and Egypt to recapture territory lost during the 1967 war.
So in Mr Mubarak, we have a decorated veteran who became president of Egypt and kept his country out of war for three decades. But no doubt the third world leaders in their ultimate "wisdom" will tag yet another one of their ranks a dictator, confirming the Western version of history that all dictators, despots and henchmen originate in the Eastern hemisphere -oh great!
My best piece of advice to the Egyptian people is if Mubarak has to go then so be it. But do not throw him to the Western wolves and remember his lifetime of service to Egypt and consider the reasons for his decisions.
As for Palestine; well the problem is the unelected Palestinian leadership that has a penchant for treachery. We can only help people who want to help themselves. With the current Palestinian Authority in charge, it is hard to hold out much hope for a Palestinian future; do you not agree?