Links July 2014 Update

July 18, 2014

This update is published as a separate post because two essential points made in the “roundup section” of Links July 2014 were totally underscored by the most recent developments just as I put the post out.

Facts about Flight MH17

On July 17 the Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17 from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur crashed over the separatist held Donetsk region of eastern Ukraine, approximately 31 miles from the Ukraine-Russia border. The Boeing 777 airliner was flying at 33,000 feet when air traffic control suddenly lost contact. 298 passengers and crew died. This is the most deadly plane crash since September 2011.

Flight MH17 1

Photos of the crash site show plane wreckage and human bodies strewn over a particularly large area, suggesting that Flight MH17 broke up in the air before hitting the ground. A spokesperson for the separatist forces told reporters that they have found the Malaysian plane’s black boxes and plan on sending them to Moscow for inspection.

The separatists deny involvement in the crash, saying that they lack the capability to target a plane flying that high, and accuse the Ukrainian military. The Ukrainian government, in turn alleges that the Malaysian plane was shot down by a BUK surface-to-air missile.

Ukrainian National Security and Defense Council spokesman Andrei Lysenko said that the Ukrainian army is not equipped with the SA-11, while militia members told Russian media last month that they had captured several Ukrainian Army SA-11 systems.

It is seriously doubtful, that rebel fighters from Donetsk could have the skills to operate weapons systems as technologically sophisticated as the BUK (also known as SA-11 or SA-17).

Last month, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu told Russian parliamentarians that Moscow might seek to create a no-fly-zone over eastern Ukraine.

BUK SA-11 2

Lufthansa, Air France, Aeroflot, Transaero, and Turkish Airlines have suspended flights over Ukrainian airspace.

The US Federal Aviation Authority warned US carriers already on April 25 to stay out of the region, where Ukraine’s military and pro-Russian separatists are fighting.

It is doubtful, that clear responsibility will ever be established. It could have been the separatists, (with especially trained “volunteers” from Russia or Belarus), it could have been Russia, it could have been the Ukrainian army or Western special forces (black ops, false flag). While the Europeans try to contain the crisis, the USA wants an escalation, so the latter possibility makes some sense.

It could have been a mistake like in 2001, when Siberia Airlines Flight 1812, en route from Tel Aviv to Novosibirsk, was shot down by the Ukrainian military over the Black Sea. The Ukraine eventually admitted that the disaster was caused by a missile from its armed forces and paid 15 million US$ to surviving family members of the 78 victims.

The downing of Flight MH17 is a gruesome reminder, that there is a full scale war going on in Europe with troops, militias, and mercenaries from Ukraine, Russia, Poland, and possibly several other countries involved.

As written before, this could go on for a long time and it could get more and more ugly (bloody).

The annihilation of Gaza

As predicted, Israel’s gradual and systematic annihilating of Gaza has indeed again infuriate the Arab populations and sparked protests in most Arab capitals.

Even Arab media, usually divided over crucial issues as Syria, Libya, Iraq, Egypt, appears united in representing the suffering of Palestinians in Gaza and exposing the Israeli actions as an assault on a trapped and besieged population.

Gaza protest Tunisia

But while the public has been unified in expressing solidarity with Palestinians, the positions of governments have varied based on their stance toward the Muslim Brotherhood. Nowhere was this discrepancy reflected more clearly than in Egypt and Saudi Arabia, where a number of prominent politicians and pundits have made negative remarks about Hamas (Hamas has been bought by Qatar, which is also the main backer of the Muslim Brotherhood).

The reluctance of Saudi Arabia and Egypt to take a bold position for ending the assault on Gaza has given other regional parties an opportunity to step in. Qatar and Turkey (which is also sympathetic to the Muslim Brotherhood) tried to take up the role that Egypt usually plays, but both have been rebuffed by Israel.

Repercussions in Jordan

Jordanians have taken to the streets in Amman and several other towns (Karak, Irbid, Tafileh, Mafraq, and Jerash), calling on the government to expel the Israeli ambassador, shut down the embassy, cut all relations, and revoke the peace treaty with Israel.

At a rally led by the Muslim Brotherhood on July 9, protesters attempted to storm the Israeli Embassy, but were prevented from reaching the diplomatic mission by Jordanian security forces. Six people were arrested and then released shortly afterwards.

In a display of support for the Palestinians in Gaza, protesters filled the square in front of the Kalouti Mosque in west Amman after Friday prayers on July 11 and the Ramadan special evening prayers on July 15, a few blocks from the Israeli Embassy. Banners depicting the Nazi swastika next to a Star of David and reading “Jordanian government, shut down the Zionist embassy, kick the ambassador out.”

Following an emergency meeting called by the Palestine Committee in the lower house of parliament last week, 20 Jordanian MPs announced they would head for Gaza in a display of solidarity. But Egyptian authorities denied the Jordanian MPs access to the enclave, voicing security concerns.

protest Gaza Jordan

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