Friday, March 27, 2009

Camp David, 30 years on

30 years ago yesterday Egypt and Israel signed the Camp David Accords. The peace treaty brought peace between the two after wars in 1948, 1956, 1967 and 1973. This was the first time an Arab country recognised Israel. It came as a surprise to many that the first country to make peace with Israel was the largest most powerful and most hostile of the Arab states. American President Jimmy Carter brokered the deal with Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin. The gist of the deal was Egyptian recognition of Israel in exchange for a return of the Egyptian Sinai Peninsula captured by Israel in the 1967 war. Thirty years later the treaty has never been violated and Egypt remains one of only two Arab nations to have relations with Israel, Jordan signed a peace agreement in 1994.

Legacy of the Treaty
The treaty is generally seen in Israel as a good thing. The agreement removed Egypt from the Arab Israeli equation as Israel's most powerful opponent was no longer a threat. Many historians believe that the agreement freed up Israel to fight wars on other fronts, most notably against the Palestinians. Peace with Egypt empowered Israel to pursue Palestinian militants more aggressively, even chasing them into the Lebanon and advancing as far as Beirut in 1982. It is highly unlikely that they could have done this if Egypt was still the hostile enemy to the south.

The Treaty was not so popular in Egypt. While Egyptian nationalists were please at the complete return of the Egyptian Sinai which so much blood had been spilt over, many others saw the treaty as a sell out of the Arab and Palestinian cause. In the Arab world Egypt was accused of capitulation and was expelled from the Arab League. President Sadat in particular was demonized as an appeaser of Israeli aggression.

President Sadat
President Sadat was admired in the west as a peace maker, not so among the Muslim masses. On the 6th of October 1981 Egypt was holding its annual military parade in Cairo. During the parade a troop truck that was participating halted in front of the presidential podium, several soldiers jumped out and opened fire on the President and the many dignitaries in attendance. President Sadat was killed along with eleven others. Among those injured was Irish Defence Minister James Tully who was hit in the face with shrapnel.

The Assassination of President Sadat

Menachem Begin
Begin served as Israeli Prime Minister until 1983. During his subsequent time in office he would invade Lebanon and bomb Iraq's nuclear sites in Osirak. He was also the main advocate of the extremely controversial policy of expanding Jewish settlements into the West Bank. He died in 1992 aged 79.

Jimmy Carter
The 39th president is still with us today and only last week was at the white house meeting with National Security Advisor James Jones. Carter is highly respected world wide and the 84 year old won the Nobel peace prize in 2003 for the efforts of The Carter Center to oversee democratic elections in the third world. He has courted controversy in recent times because of his books which are highly critical of Israeli policies in the West Bank and Gaza. Right wing Pro Israeli groups regularly accuse him of being an anti Semite. During the last year he has met with Hamas leaders in an attempt to get them to commit to a cease fire. This has led to outrage among some Israelis who see him as an apologist for terrorism.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Obama talks candidly

Listen to this interesting conversation between President Obama and Steve Kroft of 60 minutes where Obama discusses his first few months in office. Already Obama has done more television interviews in two and a half months that Bush would give in an average year.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Obama reaches out

Why did President Obama have to choose the same week that I am doing the most difficult and important exams I have ever done to make the most significant approach to Iran in 30 years of hostility. Inconsiderate scumbag !

I think this was very cunning by the new President. I will explain next week when I get my life back.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Obama on Jay Leno

President Obama went on the Jay Leno show last night, the first time a sitting President has done so. What ye think of his performance? Watch out for his special Olympics joke in clip 3 around the 4:10 mark. I don't think its going to go down too well. We'll be hearing about this for a while.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

The difference

Martin McGuiness and Peter Robinson also met President Obama on St Patrick's day. The President rightly described the response of the people of Northern Ireland to the recent attacks by dissident republicans as "heroic". I can't help wondering how this is the real difference between Ireland and the Middle East. The Muslim masses have rarely offered any real protest to Muslim acts of terrorism. This can be reasonably interpreted as subtle support for regional and international terrorism. The new president and his special envoy to the Middle East George Mitchell have their work cut out. How do you convince organisations like Hamas and Hezbollah to abandon the bomb when the people essentially support the armed struggle.

Just a little heads up. I have those God awful FE1 law society entrance exams next week. I am down to the last minute cramming, panicking waking up in a sweat stage. I don't expect to post much over the next ten days or so. I hope all you Gubu World addicts can handle it.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Is feidir Linn

Certainly less cringy than Bertie and Bush.

And on the recent attacks in the North.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Chatting to an Israeli Officer

On Friday night last I somehow found myself up at the bar in a city center pub chatting to a random guy who turned out to be a former officer in the Israeli Defence Force. This man had been living and working in Ireland for three years, he was in his late 40s and had fought in the vicious Lebanon war in the early 80s. It was a fairly pleasant chat as he was surprised at the empathy I expressed toward his country, something he claimed was a very rare experience in Ireland. Here is a brief extract of our conversation as best as I can remember.

Random Israeli guy: The Arabs will never accept us. When they say they want to liberate Palestine they are lying. They want to destroy Israel. When they talk about Jewish settlements this is bullshit. They consider Tel Aviv to be a Jewish settlement, it all must go as far as they are concerned, not just the West Bank. When will they realise that we are going nowhere.

Me: Some clearly do think like this but come on, many are just regular people that want to live a normal life. I was in the West Bank once and the people there just want to get on with things. I spoke to a guy in Bethlehem who told me that during the siege of the Church of the nativity in 2002 they had a 23 hour daily curfew and that the IDF announced anyone breaking it was liable to be shot. Are you telling me these people are not entitled to be pissed off at Israel.

Random Israeli guy: I'm not saying they don't suffer. That's obviously a tough situation for them. But what can we do about it. Do you honestly think that if we didn't go after the terrorists and withdrew form all occupied territories that the Arabs would just stop hating us and that we would be safer in our tiny country.

Me: No, I suppose I don't.

Random Israeli guy: If things are that bad for them why don't they go and live in the twenty or so other Arab countries out there. The Jews only have one country. Arabs have many.

Me: But there you go, when you say it like that it sounds like Israeli actions are not motivated by security but the actual purpose is to make life so hard for Arabs that they will all leave and head off to Jordan.

Random Israeli guy: What do you mean ?

Maybe the Arabs do have loads of countries but the Palestinians only have one. Actually, they don't have any. As you rightly said earlier "we are not going anywhere" but the Palestinians, they are not going anywhere either.

Random Israeli guy: Look, if you at look any reasonably impartial historical text from the region you will see that the Palestinians were never a unique and distinct people from the rest of the Arabs. Before Israel was there the British were there, before the British it was the Turks for hundreds of years. People make it sound like Israel simply replace a bustling Arab Palestinian nation, this is nonsense. The Palestinians never had the land in any meaningful way. The Palestinians today living in Gaza and the West Bank are Arab refugees left over from the early Arab Israeli wars. They are not a distinct people entitled to a distinct homeland.

Me: There's the problem then, for all the talk of Hamas not recognising Israel's right to exist. For all the talk of the Arab countries failing to recognise Israel, the truth is you don't recognise the Palestinians right to exist.

Random Israeli guy: Its not that I don't see their right to exist, its that I don't see there claim to the land as legitimate

Me: Whats the difference ?

Random Israeli guy: The difference is that unlike them I don't want to kill every last single one of them.

Me: OK but do you accept the contradiction there. I believe in a secure Israel and a viable Palestine and that can never happen if Israelis keep building settlements and continue to undermine the very concept of a Palestinian as you have been doing.

Unfortunately at this stage the conversation was interrupted by someone from my group who came over to announce that we were leaving for another bar. The Random Israeli guy shook my hand, smiled and told me it was a pleasure discussing this with me before rejoining his work mates at a near by table. This was a very interesting experience and I am very glad it happened. I think it demonstrates the power of dialogue. Talking to Israelis, whether it be in the hazy context of boozed up night in a Dublin pub or through the blogosphere is so much more rewarding than badly informed and highly opinionated Israel bashing which has sadly become the norm in this country.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Suicide Bomb Caught on Camera

Below is the moment before a photographer captures a Tamil Tiger suicide bomb that targeted several Sri Lankan government ministers in the town of Akuressa on the southern tip of Sri Lanka yesterday.

Seconds later...

The Blast killed 14 people and wounded 40 including six government ministers.

The war may be coming to a close in the North but the Tamil Tigers have shown they are still capable of launching attacks against the Sinhalese in the south. No doubt the Sri Lankan military will respond to yesterdays attack by shelling the last Tamil enclave in the North East even more relentlessly.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Sri Lanka bloodshed

A Sri Lankan soldier stands near a tank as it fires a shell at Puthukkudiyirippu where fights between the Sri Lanka army and the Liberation Tamil Tigers Eelam (LTTE) are taking place.

If you think things are bad in the North or even in the Middle East then spare a thought for the people of Sri Lanka. The bloody 26 year civil war appears to be coming to an end. In recent weeks the Sri Lankan army have compressed the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) into a small junle area approximately 50 sq km in the North East of the country. It is of course good that the war is coming to a conclusion but it has a real "Battle of Berlin" feel to it. All rules have gone out the window as atrocity follows atrocity committed by both sides. I can't help ask where is the international outcry, particularly from the far left who accused Israel of genocide in Gaza.

It is believed that about 150,000 civilians are left in the small war zone. The UN and NGO's have reported that the Tamil Tigers are preventing civilians from leaving and even shooting many who try to do so in what is an attempt at using them as human shields. In any case the presence of civilians has not stopped the Sri Lankan military from shelling the region relentlessly. "The government cannot be responsible for the safety and security of civilians still living among the LTTE terrorists," said Lakshman Hulugalle, director general of the government's media center, in a statement recently. Again, this level of destruction and death is greater than anything seen in the Middle East in recent times but for some reason the Sri Lankan government gets a pass while Israel gets demonised. I don't understand why this is. Watch the Reuters clip below.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

ALi G in Ireland

Just a little reminder on how ridiculous the whole thing is. I love when he says to Sammy Wilson, If you is British is you on holiday.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Marty Stepping up

Martin McGuinness is stepping up to his responsibility as Deputy Prime Minister of Northern Ireland to confront dissident republicans for what they are. Enemies of Ireland. McGuinness has really impressed me these last few days. He could in fact be the man of the hour who rescues us from this situation and the absurdity of those that want to re ignite the armed struggle. Watch the clip below where he calls it like it is. Note that he uses the exact same words as Michael Collins did in 1923.

As I said in my previous post. This is Irish history repeating itself. You can sum up Irish history using the following two sentences. The IRA fight the Brits, a deal is done, some refuse to accept the deal and chose to fight on. Those that do accept the deal have to eventually confront those that do not. This is a repeating pattern in Ireland since 1922. It has happened again this week. McGuinness appears to be aware of this. I am not saying there has to be a bloody republican feud but it looks like McGuinness knowing what is at stake is prepared to use his massive influence within the Republican movement to get these guys off the streets and remove the danger to us all. Fair play Marty, Fair play.

Monday, March 9, 2009

PSNI Man Dead, Step Up McGuinness

A PSNI man has been shot dead tonight. It has happened in the predominantly Catholic area of Lismore Manor in Craigavon, County Armagh. I do not know the circumstances of the shooting but it obviously must be connected to Saturdays double murder. Might this man have lost his life as the PSNI were confronting suspects of Saturdays attack or is this an execution of a member of the security forces by the RIRA. We will know shortly. If it is the latter then this could be the beginning of an organised and ambitious dissident campaign. I do not know how organised and ambitious the RIRA are but if this is something new then it means one thing. It is time for Martin McGuinness to step up.

Martin McGuinness is the deputy Prime Minister of Northern Ireland. Tonight a fatal attack was launched on the security forces of that state. Martin McGuinness has the power to end the dissident threat and sooner or later he will have to make a decision on whether he is willing to do what is necesary to see that this happens. His strategy so far has been to try to discredit the RIRA in the eyes of nationalists. But what if this doesn't work and the dissident strategy of tempting British soldiers back on to the streets begins to succeed. He will have to do much more and I don't mean simply condemning the killings in a stronger fashion or get the people to support the police. I mean he will have to actively and aggressively fight them. He will have to recognise that the Real IRA are in fact his enemy, just as the Brits once were. This is Irish history repeating itself. Michael Collins, Eamon De Velera and Sean Lemass all had to pursue former comrades. McGuinness is a former IRA commander. He knows personally who the RIRA leaders are. He can along with senior provisional IRA men that support the peace process provide the information necessary to the PSNI to crush the Real IRA. It is the price of political power. Martin McGuinness has to do this. Is he tough enough ? It will be the toughest thing he has ever done. Tougher that anything he did during the armed struggle. It means ratting out former comrades to the PSNI. They will call him a traitor and a servant of the crown. He will take comfort in the knowledge though that he is safeguarding the power sharing institutions, the peace process and the democratic path to a United Ireland.

Pizza Boy Traitors

The Real IRA have officially claimed responsibility for Saturday nights attack. In a message to The Sunday Tribune the caller said he made no apologies for targeting British soldiers while they continued to occupy Ireland and also said he made no apologies for targeting the pizza delivery men who, he said, were collaborating with the British by servicing them. So basically if you deliver a pizza to a British Army base you deserve to die. Interesting line of thought this. The 32 year old Polish man delivering a dominos pizza was in fact betraying Ireland. Damn right I say. Let this be a lesson to the rest of you quisling pizza boys, stop feeding the enemy. I think this is the single most pathetic thing I have ever heard.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

The reaction

The reaction has been swift. Everybody has condemned the attacks sharply and unambiguously. I think Marty McGuiness got it spot on. The objective of this attack was to get British soldiers back on the street in the hope that it would anger mainstream nationalists sufficiently convincing them in the process to sway in behind the dissident republicans cause. This will never work. As former IRA man Antony McIntyre said on Sky News earlier today "They don't have the resources, they don't have the strategic intelligence, they don't have the support, they simply cannot succeed". In any case the PSNI have not taken the bait and Chief Constable Hugh Orde has wisely stated that no British soldiers will be involved in the pursuit of the gunmen.

A debate is now underway about the continued presence of British soldiers in Northern Ireland. There are 5000 British soldiers in Northern Ireland, more than are currently serving in Iraq. I was aware of this, many people were not. The reason people were not aware of this is because you never see them. They are virtually permanently behind closed doors. At the height of the troubles there were over 60,000 British soldiers in the north. Today's 5000 are part of a peace time garrison that are under orders to be less visible that they would be in England. In fact in order to get at them these dissidents had to pounce as they were having a pizza delivered to the base, shooting two pizza delivery boys while they were at it. Incidental I'd love to know is delivering a pizza to a British army base seen as collaborating with the occupying force, a threat the RIRA recently made against those who carry out maintenance for the Brits.

It is always been clear to me that there are some people who believe that the armed struggle will always be legitimate until the Union Jack comes down. I noticed Pearse's famous quote, Ireland unfree shall never be at peace on Slugger O'Toole earlier. Maybe this is true but it does not make it right. What I do know is that all this has done is destroy two families and given everyone a serious dose of the willies but ultimately it will come to nothing. The only long term effects, other that the misery of the families will be to consolidate the Executive in Stormount because as I said in my last post, Gerry, Martin and co will have to come down hard on these bousies. The authority of the government that Sinn Fein is a part of has just been challenged. Time to step up boys.

One more thing. I would like to apologise for my less than parliamentary language in my last post. I was of course drunk. When I dragged myself home last night I threw myself on the scratcher and was just about to nod off when I heard the one o clock news. Double digit unemployment and British soldiers dead in the North. For a moment I wondered what I'd been drinking because it felt like I was back in the 80s. I am not going to remove the offending words though because I think they are a legitimate indication of how I feel about this. So lets just hope this is a one off. In the meantime I intend to use the wonderful medium of the blogosphere to challenge any militant republican who believes a return to violence is in any way in this countries interests.

Six shot in Antrim

I have just heard that two British military personnel have been shot dead and four people wounded, possibly including civilians, in a drive by shooting outside Massereene Barracks Co Antrim. The incident happened just before ten o clock. First things first, I do not know who the victims were. Although I am aware that there are still British soldiers in the North it was my understanding that the few combat soldiers remaining are never on active duty. So these two people killed were probably not soldiers but some other form of military personnel deemed to be soft targets.

The scene outside Massereene Barracks, Antrim earlier tonight

So whats the story boys. You miss the troubles. You realise that your lives are so utterly without meaning that you want to start a war to make things interesting again. You think enough time has passed since Omagh that you can try this shit again and we will just have to take it. Its 1:30 am as I right this. I'm sure you're sitting in someones gaff now having a few tinnies discussing the operation. Your delighted with how it went and you are wondering what the fall out from it will be. Your hoping nationalist Ireland will sympathise with these killing you fucking Neanderthals.

Let me explain to you what the fall out will be from this act of murder (am hearing more details as it come in, so you dressed up as pizza boys, the founding fathers would be so proud you gutless monkeys). Just as always in Irish history republicans fight the Brits and then do a deal just as Sinn Fein did. Most accept this deal but some will fight on, in this case you, Ireland's freedom fighting pizza boy faggots. Your ignorance and stupidity that accompanied tonight's act of violence will now force Sinn Fein to get off the fence and finally put their weight behind crushing the dissident movements just as Michael Collins, WT Cosgrave, Eamon De Velera, Sean Lemass, Jack Lynch and Charlie Haughey all did before you. Now it is the turn of Adams and McGuinness. But this time it will be considerably easier because you have very little support and when Sinn Fein supporters begin to actively and aggressive put you out of business you haven't got a hope you pathetic fucks. But unfortunately for this to be demonstrated six people had to get shot tonight. As a proud Irish nationalist I ask you to please go to hell !

Saturday, March 7, 2009

US Navy backs down in Irish Sea

You have probably seen this clip of the Irish standing up to the might of the US military and sending them packing with their tales between their legs but I had to put it up anyway. Enjoy with pride.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Bulldozer Attack

There has been another bulldozer attack in Jerusalem. Nobody was killed but two policemen were injured when their squad car was flipped over. This does not bode well for relations between Arabs and Israelis living within Israel. Relations are already at a low point after many Israeli Arabs openly supported Hamas during the recent conflict which prompted the Israeli electorate to swing behind Avigdor Lieberman of the right wing Yisrael Beytenu party who has called for the expulsion of Israel's Arab minority if they refuse to take a loyalty oath. The feeling in Israel is clearly that Israeli Arabs who are already not allowed own weapons and who do not serve in the army now cannot even be trusted with heavy machinery. There were two similar incidents last summer and as in those cases the Arab driver yesterday was shot dead. It is not yet known who this man was but if it turns out that he is connected to the 80 families whose homes are about to be demolished in Arab East Jerusalem to make way for further Jewish settlements it will put the spotlight firmly on Israeli policy of settlement expansion which is expected to increase under a Netenyahu government. Many believe, including myself that settlement expansion is not about "natural growth" as the Jerusalem housing authorities vaguely put it but a deliberate attempt to undermine the future viability of a Palestinian state.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Netenyahu tones it down

In an interesting interview this week in Newsweek Benjamin Netenyahu appeared to moderate his stance slightly yet significantly on Iran. Netenyahu who is now likely to be Israel's next Prime Minister despite his party coming second in the recent election was asked directly by interviewer Lally Weymouth what he thought of President Obama's approach of engagement with Iran. He replied quite reasonably by saying that "the method of dealing with Iran is less important than the goal", the goal being to prevent Iran obtaining a nuclear weapon.

Netenyahu while in opposition has been urging a much tougher position on Iran. He has lobbied for a pre emptive strike on Iran's nuclear sites and has blamed both the July 2006 war and the recent conflict in Gaza on Iran because of their support for Hezbollah and Hamas respectively. Now that he is on the verge of taking power he has to be a bit more practical. If it were possible to bomb Iran's nuclear sites destroying the programme in the process then it would have been done by now. Also Iran have the ability to inflict additional economic chaos on the world during what is already the worst global recession since the twenties. They could do this by retaliating against western targets via their proxy armies and by blockading or attempting to blockade the stait of Hormuz at the entrance to the Persian Gulf in an effort to prevent the oil rich nations of the region exporting to the rest of the world. Naturally the world will not tolerate such a situation which means another way has to be found to convince Iran to abandon their nuclear ambitions. Netenyahu knows this so he has to stop ridiculing any suggestion that talking to Iran might actually achieve something. As Hillary Clinton said in Jerusalem this week, "people shouldn't confuse talking to Iran with being soft on Iran". Technically Americas stance toward Iran has not changed under Obama. Obama rightly believes that a nuclear Iran is unacceptable. He does however believe that the Bush approach of isolating Tehran and belittling them at every opportunity has proved ineffective. Obama's new approach which has not yet manifested itself will probably take the form of an acknowledgement that the US has not always acted honourably toward Iran. The Iranians who crave respect, the ancient Persian empire and all that, have been calling for this for 30 years and many experts believe that such an acknowledgement might be rewarded with major concessions. This is likely to be a fascinating story throughout 2009 which Gubu World will keep a close eye on.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Berlusconi behind Cowen... and traffic wardens

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Burlusconi stood firmly behind his Irish counterpart at an EU summit yesterday in an act of solidarity with his under fire colleague. In a public display of support for the Taoiseach he stood behind him during the photo shoot and placed his hands firmly on the Offaly man's shoulders. Many will remember his similar display of support for Italy's female traffic wardens. Watch the mobile phone footage below of Berlusconi which captures the 72 year old demonstrating his affection for those who keep order on the busy streets of Rome.