Jack Straw Follows Boris Johnson in Truth Telling 131


Jack Straw has been surprisingly truthful about Israel, following on from Boris Johnson’s welcome moment of candour about Saudi Arabia. Unfortunately I cannot recall Straw saying anything anywhere near this honest when he was Foreign Secretary. Yesterday he told Parliament’s International Relations Committee

@ 11:55:03
Lord Howell: “Even if by some miracle there was a different government in Israel and President Trump’s aspirations could go forward and there were some kind of settlement…. even if that happened, would that actually make more than a pimple of difference to the vast storms of the ethnic and religious wars and civil war in Syria, in Iraq?
Jack Straw: I think it would. Because I think to people not just in the Arab world but in the Muslim world the obvious injustices carried out, I’m afraid, by the Israelis against the Palestinians speak to them as of a world which is unfair and which doesn’t recognise justice for everybody, at all. And I don’t know how many of you and your colleagues have been to Israel and Palestine in recent years, I was last there three years ago, at this time of year, but the situation is terrible, and humiliating for Palestinians just going about their daily lives, constant gratuitous humiliations. I understand the security concerns of the Israelis, I do understand and I don’t dismiss them for a second, but much of what the Israelis have been doing is unnecessary, and their continuing flouting of international law and the building of these settlements and the incredible discrimination which they then go in for, so piping water to a settlement, for example, which I went to, in South Hebron, which is on top of a hill, so the Israelis have got water and electricity at relatively cheap prices, but denying water, piped water, just a couple of hundred meters down the hill to a Palestinian village, and then wrecking their cisterns, is an illustration of the problems the Palestinians face, and the difficulty of there being any kind of resolution. The other thing that I’d say is that were there to be a change of government in Israel, the chances are it would be a more right-wing government rather than a more left-wing government, because of the very profound demographic changes which have taken place in the last 25 years in the make-up of Israel’s population.”

I have never understood why it is almost universally accepted that diplomacy is the one area of government where dissembling, dishonesty and disguising what you really think is the best way to achieve results. We wouldn’t accept that approach as the best way for example to run the motorway network. I have never found misrepresentation and concealment to be any more effective in dealing with other governments than it is in dealing with other people in daily life. When I myself practised diplomacy I did so on the basis of being normally straightforward and saying what I believed the government I represented really to think. I would argue that over twenty years this approach worked perfectly well as regards successful dealings with representatives of other governments. It did not work well with Jack Straw, who sacked me. Assuming the above are his genuine views on Palestine, I still persist in the belief it would have been better had he acted on them as Foreign Secretary.


131 thoughts on “Jack Straw Follows Boris Johnson in Truth Telling

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  • Sal

    It seems utterly bizarre that, at a time when we have all been shown that politicians lie, lie and lie, experience no shame or retribution, betray all their promises, blame the public for believing any of them in the first place, and let it be known that we now live in a ‘post-truth world’, that Jack Straw should finally show that he is capable of speaking the truth at all. Boris is less of a surprise, since he aims to grab headlines and truth or lies are completely interchangeable, both being meaningless notions.

  • Node

    I can’t stand Straw. His complicity in enabling the Iraq war have left the blood of hundreds of thousands on his hands, and his hand-wringing hypocrisy afterwards has earned him contempt.

    But credit where’s it due. I can’t remember a more candid description of Israel’s inhumanity from a senior UK politician. Who knows what’s behind it. I don’t imagine the leopard has changed its spots. Perhaps someone bunged him a tenner down the pub to say it, but never look a gift horse in the mouth.

    Googling some key phrases in his speech brings up only this website, so it looks like, so far at least, the MSM ‘s spots are subcutaneous and down to the bone.

    • giyane

      Node, extraordinary rendition, the brainwashing technique by which good Muslims have their personalities changed into ruthless control freaks, has been air-brushed out of the discussion of Libyan and Syrian neo-con wars.
      Abdul Hakim Belhadj , for a pound, got recognition in the UK courts of Jack Straw renditioning him to Gaddaffi and earned the position of head of the military there.
      Boris Johnson fervently supports the Al Qaida products of USUKIS rendition in the Syrian war.

      Whatever Straw wants from life, a bung, a gong, or a clean slate for his heir, his main crime of rendition and its denial has been fully whitewashed, by a lying bastard Tory toff, Boris Johnson, FFS.

      I’d give him a thong but not made from Mrs May’s lederhosen but from the electrical cables Straw used for extraordinary rendition. In the UK, whatever the stink, you will eventually come up smelling of roses.
      Akthib, akthib, akthib /Lie, lie. lie Hatta tusadiqoon/ until they believe you. UK proverb of Arabic origin

    • Ba'al Zevul

      Tend to agree there. This is now post-truth politics. However, this is not a new departure for Straw:

      http://www.jpost.com/Diplomacy-and-Politics/Jack-Straw-to-Post-I-am-not-remotely-anti-Semitic-330008

      …his stated position is down the page a bit, after the usual suspects’ moans have been given pre-eminence.

      There are plenty of people in Israel who take a similar view to me – not least (as I do) because they believe that the current approach of the government of Israel will weaken the position of the State of Israel in the medium- and long-term.

      Which may well be a correct assessment.

  • Trowbridge H. Ford

    Unlike Lord Howell, I have never thought Trump’s aspirations went beyond making himself the biggest guy on the planet.

    And wasn’t Straw prevented from acting on his inclinations for Palestine because it would make him sound too much like Robin Cook, the reason why he replaced him in the first place?

    As I recall, the Mossad resident kidon took him out by doing to him resuscitation which will only make sure you die if you have been poisoned by something like death cap mushrooms.

    That’s what did in Gareth Williams, and almost did me in too.

  • fwl

    Interesting post. It is good to see youCraig recognise and give credit to the words of someone who you have been previously opposed to. How many us here are able to do such things and give credit where credit is due?

    In relation to dissembling, dishonesty and concealment: this concept appears to open Gov policy in Brexit and the Gov repeatedly stresses the importance of secrecy. I have to wonder about that. If you go into a mediation or a negotiation you set out your position, your arguments and what you want in advance. Cards are out on the table although some cards may be quite properly held back eg some documents and reports may not have been disclosed.

    Everyone knows there is some posturing, some attempts to anchor the debate on one’s preferred issues / numbers and a fear that if you are open and too reasonable the other side will anchor the debate on their side.

    For example. X claims 200 off Y. Y counterclaims 200 of X. Y knows in fact he should end up paying X 100. X knows the same, would like 125 and would settle for 75. X will not usually start off with 125 not Y with 75. They both pretend to show some concession with a minor adjustment. It’s a small concealment. Both fear that if they move too far to the other side too quickly they will appear to be the loser particularly if there is a third party such as judicial mediator, or the press or the general public, who will view the game in the window of those initial offers. At the same time each has to manage the expectations of interested parties, shareholders, the press, the public etc. So they engage in some level of concealment as they play their game. A game which human monkeys specialise in and have learnt to specialise in through thousands of years of social contract, whereby X and Y make reciprocal promises not to kill or steal from one another, but one is a more skilful liar than the other.

    However, it doesn’t always have to be like this and sometimes isn’t because sometimes the strong willed confident negotiator can put all his cards (or seemingly all his cards on the table) describe how the game looks for both sides in terms so frank they can’t be denied and put the real deal, i.e. cut to the chase.

    So sometimes concealing, sometimes, sometimes dissembling and sometimes cut to the chase. All strategies have to be known and adapted according to the circumstances and ebb and flow of the game.

    Controlling what is in the window is very important. It’s the Overton window. People manipulate to influence what is seen in the window by the relevant viewer. There are different viewers and smaller groups are permitted a wider perspective window than large groups. So in Brexit the actual parties to the negotiations have a panoramic view whilst the general public are just permitted limited box set views.

  • Node

    Jack Straw : “…. the situation is terrible, and humiliating for Palestinians just going about their daily lives, constant gratuitous humiliations.”

    But don’t take Jack’s word for it – some Israelis brag about it:

    Israeli Troops Humiliate Palestinians – and Put It on YouTube

    “an unidentified young Arab [….] was forced to slap himself and sing to the jubilant shouts of the photographer and his buddies – all of them members of Israel’s Border Police.
    [….] the unknown Palestinian [is] standing in a desert setting while a disembodied voice orders him in Hebrew to hit himself: “Yallah, start, do it hard!” The viewers hear the chuckles of the other policemen and a clear voice telling the Arab: “Say ‘Ana behibak Mishmar Hagvul’ [“I love the Border Police? in a mix of Arabic and Hebrew]. Say it!”

    http://www.haaretz.com/israeli-troops-humiliate-palestinians-and-put-it-on-youtube-1.278442

  • Ian

    You were a diplomat, Craig. Straw was a politician. Therein lies an enormous difference. It became clear to me, after some correspondence with the then Labour government’s foreign office, that they knew very well the situation that Straw describes, and had known it for a long time. The failure is with the politicians who did not have the nerve required to face it and denounce it. The shitstorm you are going to run into (Corbyn’s ritual denunciation and smearing was a minuscule example of what they could expect) is more than most politicians and governments can contemplate handling, without any of the kind of support that anti-apartheid received from the public.It is a sad, and humiliating, state of affairs that we are so cowed by the Israel lobby and its well worn tactics, that no political will take the risk involved of even publicly acknowledging the desperate plight of the Palestinians and their slow ethnic cleansing. The last that I can remember is Jenny Tonge, who of course was publicly traduced and forced to resign. Truth has always been too dangerous for politicians in this area, and they have skirted around the issues with vague sounding condemnations and pathetic attempts to appease the lobby.
    But the sad fact remains – many, if not most, on the labour side know full well what is going on. The civil service certainly does. But none of them have the stomach for the personal attacks they will endure if they stick their head above the parapet.

    • Shatnersrug

      As I’m sure you know Murdoch has s company that seeks to drill on the Golan hights. He sees his papers as a means to protect his interests. The media needs to be broken up and removed from corporate control.

    • giyane

      In my opinion there is no difference whatsoever in the role of politician and diplomat. Both of them, like estate agents, solicitors, teachers, and other knobhead professions, are paid to conceal the truth.
      By our good fortune Craig chose the new profession of whistleblower.

      • Ian

        He didn’t actually choose it, he was forced into it, and arguably less influential because of that. “They are all the same’ is a weak argument which avoids tangling with the reality, and tars everyone with the same brush, when many don’t deserve it.

        • Ba'al Zevul

          Suppose, just suppose, that UK plc is actually getting just a little worried that Israel’s continuing policies are going to blow up in its face in the medium, rather than the indefinite term? Or quite seriously worried about Trump’s intentions in the ME? Might be rather useful to get the pliant Straw to put down a wholly deniable marker on its behalf, no?

  • fwl

    What is scary is that at the same time the Overton Window* has changed to reveal politicians speaking out, speaking the truth and addressing hitherto taboo subjects it has also begun to introduce extrajudicial killing as an acceptable state of affairs. The principle player is President Duterte and Trump appears reluctant to criticise Duterte. Why is this?

    I don’t know, but our hypocritical ancestors the Victorians knew the benefit of concealment and deceit. They believed in civilising values and reputation. Were they simply masters of the social contract game, wonderful early exponents of PR (with the gatling gun in reserve)? If so is it better to be truthful and to see our ugliness stripped bare of hypocrisy, or to aspire to ideals knowing that we are faking hypocrites?

    Again I don’t know but suspect that being honest with oneself is the only honesty that really counts and that when politicians and the media are apparently being honest it is only because it suits them to do so temporarily.

    (* there are many Overton Windows but there is one big one which sets out an apparent consensus on what is ok and what is not).

    • fwl

      If you want to understand how to get unpopular ideas in to the Overton Window study the Koch brothers (Dark Money by Jane Mayer pub 2016).

  • giyane

    I am amazed that you think that Boris Johnson was telling the truth when he said that Saudi Arabia fights proxy wars. he was telling half the truth, which is not the truth in my book. The truth is that this country is fighting a proxy war in Syria, the proxy being a violent, un-liberal, unethical, human enslaving group described by Robin Cook as a contact list for UK proxy mercenaries. Saudi Arabia funds these UK proxies fighting neo-colonial wars for the UK, in order to obtain diplomatic respectability indeed immunity for its daily breaches of international law.

    What happened to the whole truth and nothing but the truth? I know, that never applies to UK politicians.

    • giyane

      Anyway. 9 times out of 10 the motorway network does not inform you of long hold-ups ahead.I was so embarrassed by 10 mile queues on the M6 South of European lorries, heading for ports with deadlines, and no advance warning at the Toll road alternative of an hour and a half crawl at midnight through Walsall.

  • harrylaw

    Yes, the truth about Israel/Palestine is known by the powers that be in Europe and the US, but the sad fact is they do not want to confront them. The ultimate power lies with the UNSC but because of the US veto will never use that authority to criticize, let alone support bringing the necessary sanctions against Israel for its blatant breaches of numerous UNSC resolutions. Similarly with the EU, who salve their collective conscience by issuing pathetic ‘this is not helpful’ complaints, these complaints just go over the heads of the Israelis who could care less what the EU say’s. What the EU does of course is another matter, as when the EU propose to implement EU Regulations [these Regulations are already in place] on goods emanating from Occupied Palestinian Territories and the occupied Golan Heights [Labelling] then the Israelis are ‘Furious’ and accuse Europeans of being Anti Semitic. The Europeans usually back down. Could it be the huge trade differences between Israel and EU and the far smaller trade between Palestine and EU not forgetting the fact that Israel has 200 nuclear weapons, most aimed at adversaries in the middle east, who else are they aimed at? The bottom line is that there is NO political will to solve this problem, politicians are willing to kick this can down the road, knowing full well the train wreck that is going to happen.

  • AAMVN

    Maybe someone has already made this point – but Jack Straw is out of power and unlikely ever to return to office. As such he can be more honest in his views than when his words might get him into trouble with his bosses.

    The late Tony Benn was always very forthright in expressing his opinions but he did so from the back benches for almost all of his career.

  • harrylaw

    There is no chance of a solution in talks between the Israelis and the Palestinian Authority, not only because of the disparity of power, but because Israel regards the West Bank, [they call it Judea and Samaria] as being an integral part of ‘The Land of Israel’ as they see it. The Palestinians see the West Bank [including East Jerusalem] as part of the two state solution [with Gaza of course] Therein lies the problem, two states claiming the same pieces of territory. International law, all of it [and every state at the United Nations apart from Israel, want a two state solution] based on the 1967 borders, Israel rejects world opinion and seems to think it can keep the Palestinians in Bantustans [like Apartheid South Africa] and retain sovereignty over the West Bank. They will maintain this position until an outside power disabuses them of their supremacist notions. I think it will be the ‘Arc of resistance’ now forming in the ‘new’ Middle East Iran, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and possibly Egypt all backed by Russia and to a lesser extent China, will persuade Israel to come to the negotiating table. If they do not, even the smallest of the groups forming the ‘Arc’, Hezbollah have 100,000 rockets [many with GPS guidance, care of Iran] aimed at the vital infrastructure [mostly in Metropolitan Tel Aviv] of Israel, as time goes by Israels position will grow weaker, for the sake of their future existence they must negotiate a two state solution along the 67 borders now, otherwise it is all over for them in the not so distant future.

    • bevin

      What Straw said is general knowledge. As someone pointed out above, the Israelis are well aware that they are making life intolerable for Palestinians. That is the plan.
      Straw should be congratulated for recovering his capacity to tell the truth-it is something that we are all born with and it takes considerable self discipline, of the sort that cripples minds, to spout lies apologising for evil for years on end.
      The truth is that things are so bad and Israeli behaviour so shocking that the current state of affairs, and the state itself, cannot last long. Its ‘friends’, particularly the US, have given it so much rope that it is busily involved in hanging itself. That this is happening is evident from the daily excesses of the Knesset-expelling members, preventing the discussion of important matters through gag rules, extracting loyalty oaths- as well as the day to day madness of torturing children, shooting ‘suspects’ and stealing land. Policies which are only justifiable on the ludicrous basis that the settlers are simply returning home after 2000 years of forced exile! An ideology so laughable that it can hardly be repeated with a straight face by anyone with enough brains to string words together.
      Abbas will soon be dead, then the countdown can start.

  • John Goss

    Perhaps Jack Straw is not well. Suddenly remembering Christian teaching of loving your neighbour could have something to do with remorse now he is in his seventies. Perhaps he is looking back on his life and questioning his own actions in the light of his professed Christianity. If so all well and good. Perhaps power corrupts as the say. And now he has little, and can see an honest man with morals at the head of the Party he joined as a socialist, instead of the ignominious Tony Blair. Perhaps he has seen a new form of potential govenment, one he likes better because it is based on real care for the electorate. Hope so. But for me he still has to prove he is not the same Jack Straw that sent men abroad to be tortured under the extraordinary rendition programme.

    Wouldn’t it be encouraging too if Theresa May remembered she is the daughter of a Church of England priest.

    • michael norton

      Then Scottish Gordon Brown was the son John Ebenezer Brown, a minister of the Church of Scotland and a strong influence on Brown.

      • Sharp Ears

        A wee free and yet another Christian Zionist. He showed Gordon films of his trips to Israel.

        ‘Mr Brown said that his father, a minister in the Church of Scotland, had a deep affection for Israel, which he visited frequently as chairman of the church’s Israel committee. Brown senior would show his son films he had taken on those trips. “I will never forget those early images of your home in my home”, said Mr Brown, adding that “for the whole of my life, I have counted myself a friend of Israel”. With a liberal admixture of biblical allusions, he talked about an “ancient promise redeemed” in Israel’s foundation, and its “unbreakable partnership” with Britain.’

        Yuk.

        A revealing visit
        http://www.economist.com/node/11792879

      • Republicofscotland

        Norton.

        I can find no Christian morals that Gordon Brown acquired from his father, his tenure as PM, was anything but Christian.

        Brown had the audacity to pen a biography on Maxton, yet even here no caring attributes, attached themselves to a Brown.

        Mind you Alistair Darling, once called himself a socialist, I doubt even a smidgen of socialism resides in his twisted mind now.

    • Node

      Perhaps he is looking back on his life and questioning his own actions in the light of his professed Christianity.

      Or equally likely, perhaps he has realised he won’t get any presents from Santa unless he’s a good boy.

  • Mark Buckshon

    Undoubtedly there are challenges in the Palestinian areas and the settler movement there behaves with a mind-set much like white Rhodesians did in the late 70s ….”Woe is us, the media doesn’t understand … the world is against us.” (I can speak with some first-hand authority on this matter because I lived as a ‘lefty’ undercover journalist in Rhodesia turning Zimbabwe 78-80, and have also visited much more recently the West Bank settlements.)

    However, there is a danger in going too far in criticizing the Israelis — because there is quite a bit of moral relativism going on; the Israelis are held to much higher standards than their neighbours, including the Syrians, who have on one side Assad and on the other the other Islamic extremists. We could argue that the Palestinians with all of the discrimination and social humiliation are probably better off both economically and in terms of human rights than most of the population of virtually all of Israel’s neighbours (and certainly the Gaza area, under Hamas control.)

    This isn’t an excuse for Israeli stupidity and “Rhodesian” behaviour. However, it is notable that many western news agencies elect to cover the entire middle east from Jerusalem. Set to the high standards of freedom that we associate with western democracies, Israel earns a failing grade on its Palestinian treatment. But set in the context of the general neighbourhood, the Palestinian-occupied areas are an oasis of liberty.

    • giyane

      Oh dear, I think you may have forgotten one small thing, that Israel trained ISIS in Jordan, hospitalises the ISIS injured, and supplied Mr Baghdadi from their own community, with a little schooling in Arabic filibustering from US prison guards. Al Qaida and ISIS operatives are said to be interchangeable which is why Boris supports them. With everything Israeli it pays to apply reverse to any statements made.

    • Ian

      Oh please, not those well-worn hasbara cliches about ‘higher standards’ and the wonderful conditions in the West Bank. Maybe you didn’t visit Hebron, about as vile a systematic abuse of a native population as you will find.

      • Mark Buckshon

        Well, in fact I was in Hebron less than a year ago. Yes, there are problems there — but the thing that astounded me was the opportunity to interview/meet Christian human rights activists on the ground, openly and directly expressing the pro-Palestinian line. That’s okay, but I can’t imagine that in a true dictatorship that sort of treasonous (to the authorities) behaviour would be allowed.

        Anyone who thinks I am justifying the wrongs of the Israelis should reread my original observations. The settlers (and the government that supports them) have ideological blinders that would make racists smile with agreement. However, I continue to believe that the issues should be seen in context and if I had a choice between living as a Palestinian in any Palestinian area, and as an ordinary citizen in virtually all of the neighbouring countries, I would take the Israeli option.

        • Ian

          You ignore Straw’s point about the running sore that the zionist state is for people all across the region, plus you condescend fantastically to the people whose land it is, and who are being slowly squeezed off it, and herded into enforced ghettos. It is irrelevant what conditions are like in other countries, unless of course you subscribe to the zionist mythology that Palestinians are somehow their ‘guests’ and should be jolly glad for it. And as for open dissent – how naive are you, and again a Zionist trope. So just check how many Palestinians are jailed without trial, many are minors, for dissent, often completely manufactured. You might have gone to Hebron, you obviously didn’t see a thing.

    • Ba'al Zevul

      But Israel has always aspired to be regarded as a Western-style democracy. It can’t complain if it is held to Western democratic standards, surely? Which do not include de facto, demonstrable apartheid.

  • Sharp Ears

    Perhapsn he’s had a conversion on the road to Damascus, or perhaps his conscience is pricking.

    In his reply to Gideon’s father in law, Howell, an ex Foreign Office Minister of State, Straw refers to just some of daily aggravations experienced by the Palestinians, but not to the Occupation itself and some of the resultant horror like taking Palestinian children from their beds in the night and subjecting them to torture and imprisonment.

    See Israel Military Court Watch Testimonies
    http://www.militarycourtwatch.org/category.php?id=5Mz5PlJByaa975726AL3jyLRXWbN

  • Ron

    Hey, we are dealing with people who have just got themselves (via IPSA hahaha) another pay rise whilst everyone else remains worse off ….

  • harrylaw

    In my comments above I indicated how vulnerable Israel was, the same goes for Saudi Arabia who are dependent on oil exports transiting through the Stait of Hormus and who look to the Godfather [uncle Sam for protection] Think of this..”An assault on Ras Tanura, however, would be vastly more serious. As much as 80% of the near 9m barrels of oil a day pumped out by Saudi is believed to end up being piped from fields such as Ghawar to Ras Tanura in the Gulf to be loaded on to supertankers bound for the west”. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2004/jun/03/saudiarabia.oil The ‘Arc of resistance’ could wreck the Saudi economy with several commando teams making the Saudis ‘an offer they can’t refuse’ with the instructions ‘close Ras Tanura’ [unattributed of course] the Saudis have to learn that ‘people in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones’ The fat medieval perverts.

  • Republicofscotland

    “Assuming the above are his genuine views on Palestine”

    ______

    Regardless of whether or not those are Jack
    Straw’s views (but I hope they are, the man would at least have one saving grace), there’s no denying the oppressive Israeli regime.

    We often read in here cries, from the establishment lickspittles, of International Laws flouted, by the likes of Assad, but those same detractors daren’t mention Israel constantly disregards UN laws.

    Such as the illegal settlements, or the illegal wall, the West Bank barrier. The International Court of Justice (ICJ) called for the Wall to be dismantled and labelled it illegal, over 10 years ago, due to the overwhelming economic and social problems, it caused for Palestinians – Today the Wall still stands.

    The Israel government care not what the UN thinks about it encroachment, on the oppressed Palestinian people. The Fourth Geneva Convention prohibits an occupying power from transferring its citizens, into the territory it occupies and from transferring or displacing the population, of an occupied territory within or outside the territory.

    As for Jack Straw, the man has a long road ahead if he’s somehow seeking redemption, beginning with an apology to you Craig, then an apology too the people of Iraq, and so forth.

    However, Straw being Straw, he may just be repositioning himself, hoping like Johnson, to appear more to the public, by acting in a populist manner.

  • Oliver Williams

    It is excessively surprising that truth has come from Jack Straw.
    Can anyone remember another occasion when he told the truth ?
    I don’t mean half-truths and spun-truth which are there only to smooth the passage of the bigger lie.
    Maybe it is just memory of all the other lies which taint my memory of him. But I really do have difficulty remembering when he told the truth or at least something that we could consider as fact based.
    Therefore, why this particular truth now ?

    • michael norton

      Remember tha Family STRAW were VERY KEEN for the United Kingdom to remain within the clutches of the European Empire.

      must be money involved

  • harrylaw

    Israel could be under threat from its friends in the US. And the delivery of man pads. “The thing that should really worry Gen. Townsend is the latest permission of the US Congress to deliver American MANPADs to the Syrian militants in 2017,” Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov, spokesman for the Russian ministry, said. He added that it “was not hard to guess who will get them after they are delivered to Syria.” [Sputnik International]

    The Russian general warned the US against using the authorization to deliver anti-aircraft weapons to Syrian rebels, saying that expecting the weapons to be used “against aircraft of one side only” would be wishful thinking, and was not supported by the previous record of arms transfers to the region.
    “Sooner or later they will bite off the giving hand,” Konashenkov said.
    John McCain favours sending man pads..WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — Media reported earlier in October that Syrian rebels asked Washington for Stinger missiles to use them against Russia’s military jets.

    “Absolutely… Absolutely I would,” McCain said when asked whether he would support the delivery of Stinger missiles to the opposition in Syria. “We certainly did that in Afghanistan. After the Russians invaded Afghanistan, we provided them with surface-to-air capability. It’d be nice to give people that we train and equip and send them to fight the ability to defend themselves. That’s one of the fundamental principles of warfare as I understand it,” McCain said.https://sputniknews.com/us/201510201028835944-us-stingers-missiles-syrian-rebels-mccain/
    The Israeli economy both financial and tourism is wholly dependent on its only International airport, Ben Gurion, it doesn’t take a genius to figure out supplying man pads to extremist Jihadi’s a few miles from Ben Gurion is a recipe for disaster. Both for Israeli and US Airliners. McCain probably never thought of that.

      • harrylaw

        They could still close down Ben Gurion. Remember when a wayward Hamas rocket landed 1 mile from the airport the FFA closed down the airport immediately. If these Israeli planes have this capability to stop a manpad others don’t. And if they are as efficient as IronDome. they would be useless
        During the November 2012 conflict, a detailed review of a large number of photographs of Iron Dome interceptor contrails revealed that the rocket-defense system’s success rate was very low—as low as 5 percent or, perhaps, even less.Theodore A Postal A physicist, Postol is professor of science, technology, and national security policy at MIT. His expertise is in ballistic missile defense technologies and ballistic missiles http://thebulletin.org/bio/theodore-postol

    • philw

      Why would Daesh attack Israel? They are allies. If Israel were unhappy about them getting MANPADs then they wouldnt get them.

      • harrylaw

        Islamic State does not attack Israel, that’s true, but there are hundreds of other groups. As everyone knows once these weapons,or any weapons are introduced onto the battlefield, they are soon sold to the highest bidder, the idea that these groups are vetted, and man pads would only be used by “our good guys” is ludicrous on its face. As was the US 500 million dollar training programme for “moderate rebels, [number trained up just five, yes 5] who on entering Syria promptly joined the head choppers.

  • Tony_0pmoc

    Jack Straw is old unpleasant news.

    Craig Murray meanwhile is headline news in the Daily Mail (post popular online Newspaper in The USA) and The Washington Times.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4034038/Ex-British-ambassador-WikiLeaks-operative-claims-Russia-did-NOT-provide-Clinton-emails-handed-D-C-park-intermediary-disgusted-Democratic-insiders.html

    http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2016/dec/14/craig-murray-says-source-of-hillary-clinton-campai/

    (great photo – The Americans must really like you)

    • bevin

      It will be interesting to see how sales of the Burnes book are affected by this sudden eruption of publicity for the author.

    • lysias

      The Daily Mail has become popular on line in the U.S. because it publishes so much news that the U.S. mainstream media won’t cover or are at least slow to cover.

      For example, Anthony Weiner’s sexting emails to that teenage girl in North Carolina were a Daily Mail scoop that I didn’t see reported in the U.S. media until weeks later, after they had caused the reopening of the Hillary emails case by the FBI.

  • bevin

    Does anyone think that Straw’s extraordinary behaviour may be linked to the debriefing being administered to the trolls on this blog. It is not often that a post about Israel does not elicit an avalanche of Hasbaran commentary.

    Then there is the ominous, and unprecedented, behaviour of the retiring President of the US who seems to be trying to whip up support for a coup. It is the final proof, in my view, that Obama is what everything about his biography screamed that he must be- an actual agent of the CIA, an employee not the employer.
    If it walks like a duck, swims like a duck and quacks…

  • Matt

    can anyone expand on the profound change in the demographics of the Israeli population over the last 25 years that Jack Straw alluded to?

    there has obviously been a trend for Israeli politics to keep moving further to the right since the late 70’s but I lack the overview to understand what is driving this trend,

  • fwl

    The link to the committee interview of Jack Straw is worth watching in its entirety. He has great anecdotes for eg on Iran, Dubai, carpets and circumventing banking difficulties – so thanks for the link.

  • Mark Russell

    “Assuming the above are his genuine views on Palestine, I still persist in the belief it would have been better had he acted on them as Foreign Secretary.”

    Indeed. Thank goodness the internet provides an accurate record of all his actions and statements in government. Next he’ll be warning about the horrorss of rendition and torture and the MSM will hail the new saviour of human rights.

  • '

    @ harrylaw December 15, 2016 at 14:41:
    ‘….and EU not forgetting the fact that Israel has 200 nuclear weapons, most aimed at adversaries in the middle east, who else are they aimed at?….’

    The answer to that is ‘any country in the world’, thanks to Germany providing Israel with six modern submarines capable of carrying nuclear cruise or other missiles.

    • lysias

      Let’s hope other countries have sufficient means of interfering with the guidance of such missiles.

      On the other hand, if the Israelis have nuclear devices secreted in places inside the countries they might want to attack, preventing those devices from going off would be considerably harder.

  • Keith Thomson

    Who would have thought it.. I remember cheering when he lost his seat in the election. He’s probably repenting and trying to distance himself from Tony Blair.. but I think he”ll still go to hell.

  • Sharp Ears

    Following the fall of the rebels in Aleppo, the Times of Israel report Israeli fears of Iranian advances. Bibi will have that drawing of a b**b with the red line across the centre on show again.

    Mr Avi Dichter, former head of Shin Bet, tells us that Israel is a tiger not a rabbit. I think we are already aware of that. They should try living in harmony with their neighbours and treat the Palestinians decently.

    ‘Tiger’ Israel has wary eye on Iran after Syrian rebels lose Aleppo
    http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/middle-east/tiger-israel-has-wary-eye-on-iran-after-syrian-rebels-lose-aleppo/articleshow/56003667.cms

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