>About Israeli Raid On Mavi Marmara

>Very has been said and written about the Israeli attack on a humanitarian aid flotilla on Monday 31 May 2010. And many things will be said and written in the future. So here in my own blog and space, I will try to share my 2 kuruş.

1) I believe the flotilla reached its strategic targets of getting aid to Gaza and drawing the world’s attention to the situation in Gaza. This is a clear gain for the organizers. After the ships have been docked in Ashdod, Israeli government announced that some of the cargo was loaded on trucks and delivered to Gaza. Egypt felt that it was necessary to open its border to Gaza at Rafah. It is not clear how long that the border will remain open, but never the less it has given the Gazans an important breathing period. These two actions effectively diluted the blockade around Gaza. And for the time being the blockade around Gaza and the situation of Gaza is in the spotlight of world wide public opinion. So even the flotilla failed to reach its intended target, it has fulfilled its strategic aim.

2) Like the sinking of INS Eliat on 21 October 1967, we are witnessing the beginnings of a new era in naval war fighting. Irregular warfare has been long fought on land. Now it has become a naval warfare as well. This was the first incident of a naval clash between a regular and national force and non-state actor/ non-governmental organization. Naval forces are already conducting law enforcement operations around world. Anti piracy patrols in Gulf of Aden, anti narcotics operations in Gulf of Mexico are amongst the common naval operations of today’s naval forces. But this about to change. Even before the the raid on Gaza flotilla, Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah said on Tuesday that his militants were capable of wiping out Israel’s navy and any other ships heading to Israel in the event of a new war with the Jewish state. In the future the navies will clash more frequently with irregular forces on the sea. Almost all existing weaponry, sensory is prepared for a regular naval warfare. Naval forces are already struggling to find and adopt useable new ways to fight piracy in Indian Ocean. Very few navies have any doctrinal and tactical preparedness for the coming new form of warfare and they are not battle tested. In 1967 the navies were busy adapting against the emerging new threat posed by guided weapons and small fast boats carrying them. Now they will be busy to adapt themselves against new threats posed by irregular forces and non-state actor/ non-governmental organization.

3) One of the main rules for an irregular warrior is to blend with the crowd like a fish swims in the sea. This maxim is also valid for naval irregular warfare. The maritime situational awareness will become vital for the naval forces in order to separate friend from foe. This is already an issue in Gulf of Aden. There is no magic way to distinguish between a legal harmless fishermen and a potential pirate. Both use the same skiffs and look very very similar. The warships conducting anti-piracy patrols are looking for small but telltale sign such as nets or ladders to differentiate between friend and foe. When the presence of non-state actor/ non-governmental organizations increase on the seas it will be vital to have a complete naval picture in order to provide the maritime security. Remote sensing devices and unmanned vehicles will be of uttermost importance.

4) There are wild rumors that the next flotilla will be escorted by Turkish Navy. This is rumors, are based on a speech of Turkish Prime Minister Erdoğan. But then again I find this highly impossible. None of the ships in the flotilla with the exception of the freighter Gazze was registered in Turkey. In other words only Gazze had Turkish flag whereas Mavi Marmara is Comoros flagged. If Turkey did not send any warships with the original flotilla in the first time it will not send any in the second flotilla (if there will be a second one). Despite harsh words and angry rhetoric neither country did break their bilateral relations definitely. Yes the Turkey – Israeli relations are at a very low at the moment and will remain so but there is a change for improvement in time.

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