The Eagle Has Landed

Laura: Dead Sea To Red Sea

One of the strands of life that I find especially enjoyable at the moment is quietly observing the number of ‘Mums’ who are dropping their Tesco’s shopping bags and saying, ‘I’ve been a good wife, a good mother, a good employee.... now….. it’s me time,’ and are going off and doing interesting and challenging things. Some are doing courses in this that or the next thing, some are becoming magistrates, some councillors, some are starting businesses, some seek adventure or find confirmation or afformation of their being through sport or coaching. Some do so simply by helping others. I think it is kind of cool. This wave of enthusiasm for rediscovering their joie de vivre does no doubt, leave some husbands sitting at the bottom of the garden wondering whats happened to shake, rattle and roll their little world. I think it's joyful..... kind of reaffirms the very good decision making we made in choosing these girls all those years ago!

And in that warm spirit of enthusiasm I get to welcome Mrs Flashbang home having just completed her Dead to Red Sea Charity Bike Ride and big thanks to friends and family who have supported her! (How bad is it by the way that I seem to have broken the spin dryer?). Well done hon!


That's My Girl

A quick update from our intrepid explorer in the Middle East for her kind supporters.... the call went something like, 'I'm having the time of my life.' On you go then love. Clip above from some self satisfied sod who just got himself a drone... (I do secretly have drone-envy, IWOOT).

Lau, the Flashbang thing was a joke love... not an instruction...

Lau, the Flashbang thing was a joke love... not an instruction...

Diesel, Arthur and I meanwhile are all doing as well as can be expected. If in passing there are any experts out there who know where the powder goes in the white washing machine in the outhouse, (it's one of those that lights up like a Tardis when you press 'On') or indeed where one finds the powder, then do please feel free to call. 




They're All At It

This recently dropped in my in-box,

This is from a M.D. at Hadassah Hospital in Israel, Dr. Arieh Eldad: A very short read......

The (Muslim) Arab Mentality...

It is really hard for western society to understand this kind of thinking. It is counter to civilized understanding. The (Muslim) Arab Mentality...

I was instrumental in establishing the Israeli National Skin Bank, which is the largest in the world. The National Skin Bank stores skin for every day needs as well as for war time or mass casualty situations. The skin bank is hosted at the Hadassah Ein Kerem University hospital in Jerusalem where I was the Chairman of plastic surgery. This is how I was asked to supply skin for an (Muslim) Arab woman from Gaza, who was hospitalized in Soroka Hospital in Beersheva, after her family burned her. Usually, such atrocities happen among (Muslim) Arab families when the women are suspected of having an affair.

We supplied all the needed Homograft for her treatment. She was successfully treated by my friend and colleague, Prof. Lior Rosenberg and discharged to return to Gaza. She was invited for regular follow-up visits to the outpatient clinic in Beersheva.

One day she was caught at a border crossing wearing a suicide belt. Her mission was to explode herself in the outpatient clinic of the hospital where they saved her life. It seems that her family promised her that if she did that, they would forgive her. This is only one example of the war between Jews and Muslims in the Land of Israel. It is not a territorial conflict. This is a civilizational conflict, or rather a war between civilization and barbarism. Bibi (Netanyahu) gets it, Obama does not.
— Dr. Arieh Eldad

Tough one, right? For the moment, the Israeli's have lost the PR battle over Gaza hands down. When though, one reads something like the piece above the balance of judgement moves from the emotional to the more rational. 

Unfortunately, very little is as it might seem. The disinformation and propaganda war is very real and very sophisticated, covers all aspects of media and social media and is present in every single current conflict across the globe. No side is blameless and all are at it but the world becomes particularly tough to unravel when the game is played by high level players such as we see in the Middle East and in the Ukraine. Traditional reporters with the press and television have a very challenging role to fulfil and it has to be said, they aren't making a particularly good rub of things at present. The BBC for example, appear to have decided a long time ago that Israel are the bad guys and their reports do little to "inform and educate" but simply pass on the individual reporters personal view of the 100 square meters around wherever they happen to be when filming. (and please don't suggest you have free and open access to roam because you don't. You have the narrow view of the conflict that your minders, who are there for your safety, will allow you to have and please don't pretend otherwise).

Back to Dr Eidad

We learn from the internet site, which is very good for checking the authenticity of stories circulating on the internet, that the story is real but historical. It dates from 2005 and was recorded in an interview with Dr Eldad in November 2008. Bits have been added to give it a current context and spin; you can read the details here.

So, bit of a cross look to whoever decided to doctor and disseminate a story that actually would have been more powerful left to its own merits. The key point however, is the Dr Eidad's concluding comment, "This is a civilizational conflict, or rather a war between civilization and barbarism."

I agree with that. 

This is not just about Israel, and or Gaza, (indeed many are concerned, including the current players, that if Hamas was destroyed they would be replaced by extremists of a far more worrying profile), this is indeed about civilisation and I fear we are at the beginning of a protracted multi generational conflict in which we will ultimately prevail but the cost may be so much higher than it need be unless politicians openly acknowledge what their security advisor's are already telling them and have been for some time.

Indeed, and for the little it's worth, I believe we have to ruthlessly engage, suppress and destroy the looney jihadist elements in the Middle East then flood the poor Arab countries with economic aid to westernise them to an extent that it would be insane for them to cripple their families by returning to extremism. We have to find an answer to the huge demographic of unemployed 18-25 year olds in the north African and Middle Eastern countries who are uneducated, unemployed and have no future.... none. They are so vulnerable to radicalisation in fact its a wonder that anything is still standing.

There was a time when Afghan women could have career paths in things like medicine, could go to the movies and study at the university. There was law and order and with outside help the government could implement large infrastructure projects such as the construction of hydroelectric plants and roads.Ordinary people had hope.

On the other hand, we did exactly that in Afghanistan in the fifties and sixties when it was, at the time, an enlightened and prosperous country and quite westernised with modern housing, infrastructure and education. That didn't exactly work out to plan then.

It's a profoundly depressing legacy to leave behind after so much hope and optimism for peace that we briefly enjoyed twenty five years ago after the Wall came down. In breaking down the old order we unwittingly created a breeding ground for other historical prejudices and geopolitical fault lines to reemerge across Europe and the Middle East.

Life was a much simpler affair in the Cold War...... at least there were rules to the game.


Egypt; What Now?

As the turbulence in Egypt subsides somewhat, the so called revolution which has been so enthusiastically cheered along by our hysterical media and politicians is far, far from it's conclusion. Moreover, the spill-over into other middle eastern countries will continue. The net impact will lead us to a more destabalised environment in the middle east for some years to come. Taken to it's most gloomy conclusion, one could eventually foresee Israel moving lock, stock and barrel to North Dakota.

Credible analysis has largely been absent during the crisis with most media outlets reverting to televisual friendly loops of stone throwing and mob action. The only thing misssing has been a Hollywood sound score.

Hopefully, as events continue to unfold, our politicians will learn the value of keeping quiet and not to throw out rushed sound bites which only strengthen the incumbent governments and draw the Arab world together. Less.......... is more.

One source of measured and informed analysis is Stratfor. You can follow their latest update on the link.

 Egypt: The Distance Between Enthusiasm and Realityis republished with permission of STRATFOR.