Peter’s Atlantic Round-Up

09.09.11

Categorie: Africa, Atlantic Round-Up, Europe, Israel, Libya, Peter Vine |

Libya. CBC photo.

Libya. CBC photo.

by PETER VINE

Libya
As the war in Libya reaches its conclusion around Moammar Gadhafi’s hometown of Sirte, rather embarrassing questions are starting to be asked about the role of mercenaries. Until now the focus has been on Gadhafi importing so-called “African” mercenaries from the Central African Republic and Chad, but now a Bosnian-Croat has come forward to say that he had been brought in by Gadhafi as an advisor and over the course of the six month conflict observed the gradual but inevitable collapse of the regime. “Mario” the Croat may not be the only one, as Croatian news sites are reporting that as many as 17 Croats or Bosnian-Croats might have been arrested in Tripoli. There had been rumors in February at the start of the rebellion that Gadhafi had hired Serbs to fight for him.

If any of these stories are true, it would hardly be surprising. The break-up of Yugoslavia in the 1990s left a legacy of a young and disaffected male population with basic military training and experience in the irregular warfare which has become the norm in today’s myriad conflicts. These Bosniaks, Croats and Serbs are now featuring more and more in mercenary markets such as Afghanistan and Iraq.

Turkey
The gloves are officially off between former BFFs Israel and Turkey as the Mavi Mavara fiasco continues to strain relations. Turkey last week expelled the Israeli ambassador after the country refused to apologize for the deaths of Turkish nationals during a botched raid on a flotilla attempting to break a blockade on the Gaza Strip. A U.N. report said that while Israeli forces used “excessive force,” the blockade was legal.

Now things are starting to get serious as Turkey is mirroring the same highly stringent immigration procedures used in Israel, but for Israeli nationals only. The measures include deliberately separating Israeli nationals and questioning them for hours before conducting other humiliating procedures such as strip searches. Other measures have also been announced including trade sanctions and a full suspension of defense ties between the two countries.

The Balkans
Another week and another war crimes conviction. The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia has found former Yugoslav army general Momcilo Perisic guilty of war crimes and sentenced him to 27 years in prison.

Perisic was found guilty of aiding and abetting murders, inhumane acts, persecutions on political, racial or religious grounds, and attacks on civilians in Sarajevo and Sebrenica and also for allowing subordinates to launch rocket attacks on the Croatian city of Zagreb. He was acquitted, however, of aiding and abetting extermination in Srebrenica.

Perisic surrendered and was transferred to The Hague in March 2005, and his trial began in October 2008. He had pleaded not guilty to the charges.

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3 Responses to “Peter’s Atlantic Round-Up”

  1. Prestwick says:

    As an addendum to the Israeli/Turkey ding-dong apparently media in Turkey and elsewhere are reporting that Israeli foreign minister Avigor Lieberman is prepared to green light Israeli assistance to the Kurdish separatist movement the PKK to “punish” Turkey.

    Absolutely gobsmacked if this is true as this and Turkey’s announcement that it would escort ships to Gaza would heap fuel on the fire and potentially result in an armed confrontation between the two nations.

  2. Alejandro says:

    I have to admit Bibi and the Turk PM are marching to war for idiotic reasons. Edrogiean (that is spelled wrong) is emboldened by his recent victory over the military while Benjamin (not even gonna try) is trying to work up support for his conservative coalition in the face of domestic pressure.

    Add the Arab spring, potential civil war in Syria, and the Palestinian U.N. bid and it drives me crazy why the two are sparring when they have common goals that are outside ethers respective nations ability to effectively deal with.

    Either the Turk PM is trying to force the Turkish military to try and force him from power (so he could purge his remaining opponents in the military) or Bibi is too weak to maintain his coalition while trying not to lose control of Parliament.

  3. Prestwick says:

    I honestly think that Bibi has lost control of his government. The man is and always has been out for number one and for all his views on settlements, etc he’d probably sell his nearest and dearest if it meant he had another year in the top job.

    You have possibly one of the most volatile men in Israeli politics in the Foreign Ministry and a Ehud Barak – who barely hides his contempt of Bibi – as his defence minister. All to secure his tenure as PM!

    Both of Bibi’s premierships have been disasters for Israel and the sooner they realise this the better.

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