Greece to be Israel's new best friend.

July 23, 2010 16:08

Forget Turkey for your holidays - Greece is the new "in" place to go.
As Western and Turkish media continued to cover Israel's loss of its only Muslim ally in the Middle East, Jerusalem was busy acquiring a new strategic partner, that of Greece, a NATO member and like Turkey with plenty of Middle East interests, Greece has shown interest in stepping into Turkey's shoes and investing in stronger military and intelligence ties with Israel, very good news as Greece is a member of the EU and a modern western democracy, unlike Turkey with it’s new “best-friend” Mr "I’ma dinnerjacket" of Iran, taking a big step backward into the dark ages.
This development was initiated by Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou, who boasts many Jewish and Israeli friends and business contacts, some of whom hold high political and intelligence positions in Israel. He saw Athens' chance to slot into Ankara's place in Jerusalem and transform their present diplomatic, economic, military and intelligence ties into a thriving strategic alliance, that would carry the same advantages to both sides as did Israel's former relations with Turkey.
According to some sources, Papandreou also hopes this alliance will help ease some of his country's financial woes. But most of all, he is looking to Israel for help in speeding the upgrade of his armed forces and helping transform them into the Christian mainstay of NATO in the Balkans and southern Europe - in place of the Muslim Turkish army.
This notion was not the direct outcome of Israel's break with Turkey or the clash aboard the Turkish Mavi Marmara on May 31 between Israeli commandos and pro-Palestinian Turkish activists. It has been evolving for some time, first broached in the summer of 2008 when Papandreou allowed 100 Israeli F-15 and F-16 fighter-bombers to pass through Greek Mediterranean air space for practicing long flights and in-flight refueling.
The distance between Israel and Greece there and back is 1,900 kilometres, identical to the distance between Israel and Iran.
The Greek prime minister went out of his way to be of assistance, making available to the Israeli Air Force the crews and advanced S-300 PMU1interceptor missile batteries Athens purchased from Russia back in 2000. They were allowed to practice bombing sorties against these batteries, in case Moscow decided to sell them to Iran and Syria.
The severe financial crisis besetting Greece this year enhanced the friendly ties between Athens and Jerusalem. While European Union countries spent long months discussing whether to bail Greece out and save it from collapse (eventually granting a €110 billion package), Papandreou turned to Jewish financial titans in Europe and the United States for help to keep the Greek economy afloat. Greece has already paid back the loans taken out in October 2009 and has now re-negotiated further loans with bills issued this week. So, forget Turkey for your holidays, Greece is the new destination, and with plenty of islands to hop between there should be plenty to please any holiday maker.
In addition to this bit of good news, there is further cause for optimism with
Military sources report that Washington has posted a third carrier opposite Iran's shores. It is supported by amphibious assault ships and up to 4,000 Navy and Marine Corps personnel, bringing the total US strength in these waters to three carriers and 10,000 combat personnel.
The USS Nassau (LHA-4) Amphibious Ready Group 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit, tasked with supporting the Bahrain-based 5th Fleet area of operations, is cruising around the Bab al-Mandeb Straits where the Gulf of Aden flows into the Red Sea. Its presence there accounts for Tehran announcing Sunday, June 27 that its "aid ship for Gaza" had been called off, for fear an American military boarding party would intercept the vessel and search it. This would be permissible under the latest UN sanctions punishing the Islamic Republic for its nuclear program.
The third US carrier group to reach waters around Iran consists of three vessels:
1. The USS Nassau Amphibious Assault ship is not just an enormous landing craft for the 3,000 Marines aboard; its decks carry 6 vertical take-off AV-HB Harrier attack plans; four AH-1W Super Cobra, twelve CH-46 Sea Knight and CH-53 Sea Stallion helicopters, as well choppers convertible to fast V-22 Osprey airplanes capable of landing in any conditions.
This vast warship has 1,400 cabinets for sleeping the entire Marine-24th Marine Expeditionary Unit aboard.
2. The amphibious transport dock ship USS Mesa Verde which carries 800 Marines equipped for instantaneous landing.
3. The amphibious dock landing ship USS Ashland which carries 400 Marines and 102 commandos trained for special operations behind enemy lines.
(The USS Ashland was the target of an al Qaeda Katyusha rocket attack in 2005 when it was docked in Jordan's Aqaba port next door to the Israeli port of Eilat. One of the rockets exploded in Eilat airport. The ship exited the harbour in time to escape harm).
These new arrivals are a massive injection of naval, air and marine muscle to the strength Washington has deployed in the Persian Gulf-Red Sea-Indian Ocean arena in recent months. The USS Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group consisting of twelve warships is cruising in the Arabian Sea opposite Chah Bahar, the Iranian Revolutionary Guards biggest naval base not far from the Iranian-Pakistan border. It is there that most of Iran's special commando units are housed.
Also posted in the Arabian Sea, further to the west, is the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower Strike Group.
In addition to this Israel has a rotating system of at least three Nuclear armed submarines permanently at sea.
This now means that there are 10 Countries surrounding Iran with either US forces based their or US forces actively engaged in activity.
It would seem to be that with the latest information from Panetta of the CIA stating that Iran will have enough material for two bombs within two years and the Russian sponsored Busher reactor now confirmed as having a military application to reuse fuel rods to produce plutonium and to be up and running by September 2010, that plans are afoot to stop these developments before they have been completed.
With thanks to Debka for an interesting scenario.

July 23, 2010 16:08

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