Archive for Russia

Turkey, Syria and the Security Council

Posted in Afghanistan, Al Quada, America, Arab, Britain, Islamic Revolution, Security Council, Terrorists, UK, United Nations, USA with tags , , on 14/10/2012 by floroy1942

For the last twenty months or so the world has stood impotently by and watched the death and devastation in Syria. More than 33,000 people, mostly civilians, have died so far in the conflict, with more being added every day. The war, for war it is, can no longer be classified as ‘a popular uprising’ for it has escalated far beyond that and now even involves a neighbour, Turkey.

First Security Council In Session- 1946

First Security Council In Session- 1946

When the conflict began it was the Arab League who first requested that the UN undertake action to stop the conflict, but when the proposal went to the Security Council the process stalled because Russia and China were too intent on protecting their interests in Syria and used their veto power. The Russians sell arms to the Assad regime, and both it and China have large trade agreements with his government. Russia also has another interest in that Syria provides it with the only western port for their navy outside the Black Sea. 

Many analysts feared a protracted Middle East War in the beginning if anyone intervened, but considering it was the Arab League that initiated the call for action I fail to see how that is possible. Since the entire crisis blew up into open conflict both Russia and China have sat on the fence blocking positive action by the United Nations. As in many minor wars in the past forty years like Bosnia the world is forced to stand by and do nothing because one or other country in the Security Council votes against action.

The Meeting of the Big Three

The whole idea of the Security Council was the brain wave of Sir Winston Churchill during the Second World War (Yalta Conference) when he proposed to President Roosevelt and Joseph Stalin that while all nations should be members, the victors (USA, Britain, Russia, France and China) should be the ones to have the deciding votes on any decisions taken by the United Nations.

Scene of the First Security Council Meeting 1946

The first meeting of the newly formed United Nations Security Council took place on 17 January 1946 at Church House Westminster in London. It was a noble idea with all the right intentions, but the geographical and political changes that occurred after the war, i.e. the forming of the Soviet Bloc and the Communist takeover of China, caused the introduction of countries looking out for their own interests above that of the world. This feeling has accelerated out of control over the past thirty years.

Now a new dimension to the Syrian conflict has been added by the involvement of Turkey. Because Turkey is a member of NATO, this now brings all the NATO countries on to the stage. This scenario would have dangerous possibilities of serious consequences if mad-men ruled, for just supposing the Syrian Army felt disposed to mounting an attack on Turkey, The Turks and the rest of NATO respond and then Russia steps in of Syria’s side. I don’t even want to go down that road!

Recep Tayyip Erdogan

Anyway, the point of this exercise is that Recep Tayyip Erdogan the Turkish Prime Minister has now openly criticised the Security Council for its lack of response to this crisis, and in my mind it is way past time when this whole system came under heavy scrutiny. I have stated previously (https://floroy1942.wordpress.com/2012/02/05/should-certain-nations-have-the-veto-power-at-the-un) that I find the idea of certain nations having the power of veto over all United Nations decisions is long outdated. While the original idea was sound and made with good intentions, it has been corrupted beyond measure by nations now looking after their own interests instead of world stability and peace.

This current attitude by Russia and China, and on previous occasions by the USA, has led to the UN becoming nothing more than a very expensive talking shop. Self-important people gather on a regular basis but nothing ever results in action when the muck hits the fan. If we are to have a forum for world politics that actually works, every country needs to have an equal vote, where the majority rule and not a select few.

al Quada – The Scourge of Modern Times.

Islam is on the rise again, and it is well known that terrorists groups like al Quada are deeply involved in the Syrian conflict as well as many other countries that have have played a part in the ‘Arab Spring’. Africa is also going through a period of conflict with insurgents trying to gain control of countries like Mali, Somalia and Yemen. We have the Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and so far neither the Coalition Forces or the Pakistan Army have been able to wipe them out.

We seem to be falling headlong into a series of global disputes and insurgency that is going to require a heavy hand by all the countries of the world to put down if we are all to live in peace for the foreseeable future. The only political group capable of solving these problems on a global scale is the United Nations, but they will continue to be impotent if we retain the veto. It is time for all politicians, governments and countries to stand together and say: “Enough!”

Malala – An Unlikely Heroine

It is time for governments to start listening to the people, and act on the will of the people. Since the attempted assassination by the Taliban of 14 year-old Malala Yousafzai in Pakistan who campaigned for the right of Muslim girls to receive an education, the ordinary people of Pakistan have been demonstrating in the streets for an end to the violence and kidnapping in their country by the insurgents. The people of Syria wish no longer to be ruled by a dictator, just like those in Iraq, Afghanistan, Algeria, Egypt and Libya. The common people across the world are making their voices heard, and it is up to those in power to listen.

It is easy to say: “Oh, that’s an Arab problem”, but it is seeping into the lives of western nations too. It may only be a trickle at the moment but it grows day by day, until one day it will become a flood, but by then it will be too late.

Roy.

How Long Must The Syrian People Endure Assad?

Posted in Al Quada, America, Arab, Human Rights, Insurgents, Security Council, Terrorism, UN, United Nations with tags , , , on 14/07/2012 by floroy1942

For more than sixteen months the people have been dying on the streets of Syrian towns at the hands of a dictator who does not wish to relinquish power while the world stands by spectating. The crisis is no nearer ending than it was in the beginning, despite the useless but well-meaning intervention of Kofi Annan and his ‘Peace Plan’.

Russian Built Attack Helicopters

The plan, such as it was, never even got off the ground despite Annan’s assurances, for people are still dying daily in mortar, artillery and helicopter attacks such as we have recently seen in Tremseh in which an estimated 200 people died in a single strike. Pretty soon Assad will have no people left over which to govern, but still the world stands idly by because two countries, namely Russia and China, are more intent on protecting their interests in the country.

Apart from losing multi-billion dollar trade agreements with the Assad regime, Russia also stands to lose Tartus, its only Mediterranean port for its naval fleet. China on the other hand also stands to lose multi-billion dollar trade agreements with Syria if Assad should fall. These are reasons enough for them to stonewall any UN action to end the fighting with their veto powers at the UN.

The current veto powers of the UN top five countries (USA, Great Britain, Russia, France and China) goes back to the end of WW2, when the conquering nations agreed at the Dumbarton Oaks (August–October 1944) and Yalta (February 1945) conferences that such a move was necessary in the interests of unanimity and to protect their own interests after the bruising battles of the war.

Russian Warship

Since that time it has been used on various occasions by the five powers, normally to protect their own interests as is currently the case in Syria with Russia and China. So long as these two powers refuse to sanction moves against Assad, the world is unable to intervene with a UN military force to stop the killing.

Assad continues to blame terrorists for the troubles, and to be fair, there may be a grain of truth in that for it is certain there are elements of al Quada fighting within the country against the regime, because they probably see an opportunity to gain a foothold there from which to continue their nefarious campaign of terrorism.

Doctor Tries To Save An Injured Girl

It is however clear that Assad will not give up his power struggle unless he either wins, or the world powers step in to remove him. So the onus is back on Russia and China to get off the fence and vote for UN action against this man and his government before thousands more die.

In the past few months China has exercised its veto and otherwise remained fairly quiet, while Russia has made overtures to Assad to end the violence but the one quality missing was conviction.

There can be little doubt that something concrete must be done to stop this useless slaughter, and as I see it, the only way is to rid the United Nations of the stigma of the veto which has so often prevented proper action. Once no country has the right to prevent any UN action approved by the majority can the UN take its rightful place in the world as a leader and peacemeaker.

Roy.

Rebellion – The Spring Of Discontent

Posted in Arab, Christianity, Demonstration, Elections, Muslim, President, Religion, Summit, UN, United Nations with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on 23/04/2011 by floroy1942

Ever since the world ushered in 2011, with the hopes of a fruitful year and a return to economic stability, it seems the pendulum has swung the other way. The prospect of global economic recovery seems as far away as ever, and the news has been dominated by country after country being racked by protests and regime changes, albeit mostly in the arab world.

A New Year With Renewed Hope

As we all know by now, Tunisia was the spark that ignited the trail of discontent across North Africa and on into the Middle East. Protesters in both Tunisia and Egypt have successfully rid themselves of an oppresive regime and may be turning to democracy, but we shall have to wait and see.

Further afield we have seen Libya, Syria, Yemen and The United Arab Emirates among others all suffering civilian unrest. In the case of Libya, outright war between the populace and the government is on-going with Syria heading in the same directiuon. The protesters all demand the same thing, release from an oppressive regime that has held power too long.

Libya: http://youtu.be/nqJgBhDkekc

It has always been the nature of dictators not to relinquish power once they have achieved it, a fact that still holds true today. Many who have, or perhaps will be toppled in the near future, have all held power for many decades and it often occurs that time makes such people lose contact with those they rule.

Libyan Protest

History teaches us that people will accept such a situation with passive acceptance – initially, but over time, especially if their living standards deteriorate, the discontent grows until it suddenly bursts forth in uncontrollable rage. Poor living standards are a great driver to action for those living in oppressed countries.

Desperate measures are taken by some rulers like Gaddafi of Libya and Assad of Syria, who attempt to quell the unrest by force of arms, but as we have seen in both these countries, it only makes the protesters more determined. Libya is now racked by civil war, and even with the help of a UN resolution and the actions of NATO, we are approaching a stalemate.

There are indications the war in Libya will take on a new twist that may well cause headaches at NATO Headquarters. The latest news quotes government sources as saying the eviction of the rebels from Misrata will be left to local tribes who have suffered loss of trade with the city since the uprising began. The army is said to be retreating from Misrata and negotiations will take place between tribal leaders and the rebels. If the tribes do in fact attack the rebel positions in the city it will be civilians against civilians, so where will that leave the coalition forces and the UN Mandate?

Syria Defiance

Meanwhile, Syria is seeing daily deaths among the protesters at the hands of the security forces. International involvement has only taken place in Libya, and it seems unlikely at this time that such action will be repeated in other countries.

Syria: http://youtu.be/qb7Irlq60Ew

Ivory Coast and Nigeria have also been trouble spots for the last few weeks but the reasons there are different.

The Ivorian Protagonists

In Ivory Coast the dispute arose from the failure of its President, Lauren Gbagbo to accept defeat when he lost the election. Fighting has been going on there for some time as forces loyal to Gbagbo sought to prevent the elected President Ouattara from taking office. Eventually Gbagbo was defeated, but now Ouattara is finding it hard to reign in his troops and stop fighting between Gbagbo supporters and his own. Once again, the UN has made pleas for calm which have fallen on deaf ears.

Ivory Coast: http://youtu.be/Y0Lpmdzt6mk

A similar situation is developing in Nigeria where the defeated presidential candidate, Muhammadu Buhuri, refuses to accept his defeat against Goodluck Johnson in an election that was cleared by international observers as being fair. Should the violence continue, there is a chance the Muslim north of the country will be at war with the Christian south.

Sectarian Violence in Nigeria

The difference between this altercation and others seems to be religion, for like Muslims everywhere, they wish to dominate, and the north will not be satisfied until it rules the whole of the country purely for the purposes of turning it into a Muslim state. A story we have all heard before.

The UN is still confining itself to useless pleas for calm and a cessation of violence in the various nations currently in the news. This is standard practice for the international body that rarely sees fit to actually take action to prevent bloodshed and war.

Nigeria: http://youtu.be/QzFQ3zrW7QA

The United Nations was formed as a body with the ideal of ending war and insurrection in any country but has over the years been found wanting. The various nations have almost always found it impossible to come to a decision to end violence, for each country must first look to its own interests before embarking on any agreement to intervene in trouble spots around the world.

The Libyan conflict serves as a prime example, for many countries could not bring themselves to endorse Resolution 1973 until it was too late to be of any strategic use, perhaps because they did not wish to offend the Middle East nations for fear of jeopardising their oil imports. Now with Syria and Yemen they again cannot agree for the same reason, and content themselves with platitudes and pleas for a cessation of the violence, all of which go unheard.

A Sign Of UN Impotence At Ending Wars?

It is obvious these nations will not take any notice, for it has become a power struggle with the elite not wishing to relinquish their grip, and the protesters refusing to accept anything less.

Countries like Russia and China who hold veto powers, refuse to allow any UN action to stop the bloodshed for reasons of their own, which is most likely an attempt to gain influence in the area.

There is little doubt the UN, founded with such lofty ideals, is failing in its mandate in a disastrous fashion, for it was intended to end wars and provide a platform for the settlement of international disputes. Something it has never managed to do, and in my opinion, never will. Meanwhile, ordinary people die needlessly!

Roy.

The Mighty Vulcan – Fond Memories

Posted in Britain, England, Nuclear, Nuclear Weapons, UK, Uncategorized, USA with tags , , , , , , , , , , on 06/03/2011 by floroy1942

I was extremely happy to read that the last surviving Vulcan bomber has once again received its certificate of air worthiness. As the only survivor of the RAF cold war bomber fleet of Vulcan, Victor and Valiant bombers, it is without doubt a truly magnificent sight when seen flying over the green fields of England that it protected so well.

Britain’s Nuclear Deterrent – Victor, Valiant, Vulcan

The fact that it can fly at all is due solely to a group of Vulcan enthusiasts who, with donated money, spent their free time working on the aircraft to get it airworthy. A truely Valiant (excuse the pun) achievement. My compliments Gentlemen!

There follows a video showing the history of the Valiant and Victor Bombers:

There is little doubt that despite the deterrent of the American Strategic Air Command, our V Force was a potent weapon manned by dedicated airmen who gave the Russians pause for thought. Thankfully, cooler heads prevailed during this time of  world crisis, and eventually the world was no longer living in fear of the Russian menace.

This was all due to the far-seeing Mikhail Gorbachev who alone could see the perils of continuing the nuclear stand-off. The people of the world owe this man a great debt.

During my time with the Royal Air Force I had the pleasure of working with both Victor and Vulcan bombers, and as an armourer was responsible for loading the nuclear weapons.

Blue Steel Stand-Off Missile

At the time this was the Blue Steel stand-off bomb that would have devastated any city it was dropped on. Loading these weapons was a long and complicated business, as first we had to fuel the missile with its liquid propellant before actually loading it into the bomb bay.

It was dangerous work, but thanks to the professionalism of all involved, no accidents ever happened. When loading the propellant we had to wear what would be described today as chemical suites to ensure we never came in direct contact with the fuel.

On the Victor aircraft, the missile was only half embedded in the bomb bay and half of it hung below, it was that big. Great care had to be taken when loading this aircraft because it was so low to the ground and there was little clearance between the weapon and the fuselage. The Vulcan on the other hand was very high off the ground and caused no problems.

The greatest part about working with these fine aircraft was to watch a squadron scramble. Within a matter of minutes the whole squadron would be airborne and heading for their targets. Considering Britain had but a four-minute warning of approaching Russian missiles this was of the utmost importance, for nobody wanted our number one deterrent to be caught on the ground.

Scramble!

To see these great aircraft thundering down the runway only seconds apart was a sight to captivate any audience. The most spectacular was always the Vulcan due to its ability to enter an almost vertical climb immediately after leaving the ground. This aircraft was overpowered and had limiters on the throttles to prevent over-stressing the airframe, but excess power made it capable of almost impossible maneuvers with such a huge aircraft.

The standard takeoff pattern was for the first aircraft to stay low and straight ahead after leaving the ground while the second and third would peel off left and right. But the fourth was the most spectacular, for it would enter an almost vertical climb once the wheels left the ground. This takeoff pattern was to minimise the effects of air turbulence on following aircraft, while allowing all to get off the ground in the shortest possible time. It’ s an understatement to say it was spectacular!

The flight characteristics of the Avro Vulcan were akin to those of a fighter as can be amply seen in the following video where the test pilot, Roly Folk rolls the aircraft immediately after takeoff at the Farnborough Air Show in 1955:

During my two years with the Victors we had at one time been operating from a dispersal base that also had Vulcan’s, and one would assume some of the Victor crews had decided to emulate the takeoffs of their Vulcan brethren. The Victor of course did not have the sheer raw power of the Vulcan and this became obvious as the ground crew watched the takeoffs.

Victor Conventional Bomb Load

The first two got off OK but the third pilot had been a little too ambitious, for as he pulled back on the stick and dropped his right wing for the sharp turn to starboard, the wingtip touched the ground, and as we found later, left a scour mark in the grass alongside the runway running for several metres. Thankfully he managed to correct it and got away safely.

After the exercise sortie, the aircraft came back to the base and the airfield became a scene of frantic activity as the ground crew got the aircraft ready for their next flight. Due to the constant tension between east and west all aircraft had to be ready for an immediate scramble should ‘the balloon go up’.

A rather amusing set of incidents occurred during ‘Exercise Skyshield’ in the 60’s which was to test the North American radar defences (NORAD).  Two flights were made by RAF Vulcans and American B52’s against the supposed impregnable radar shield and the result was all B52’s were intercepted while only one Vulcan was detected and intercepted by an F111. This was no doubt due to the sophisticated electronics counter measures (ECM) developed by British scientists and fitted to the Vulcan.

The New Threat

In their role as strategic bomber the V Force excelled, but unfortunately with the advances in anti-aircraft missiles, and their new ability to reach high flying aircraft, a different approach was necessary. For this reason, the V Force became the new generation of ultra low-level bombers. The white skin paint disappeared to be replaced with camouflage paint on the top surfaces.

It was of course necessary for the crews to practice their new low-level role, and this was done amid the peaks and valleys of Scotland. What a magnificent sight it must have been to see a Victor or Vulcan skimming through the valleys at 100 ft!

I remember when one of our Victors took a couple of reporters up to witness their death-defying skills during a low-level flight. When the aircraft returned they were as white as sheets and had just about filled their sick bags. One was heard to mutter “These men are stark raving lunatics” as he stumbled off in search of a stiff drink.

The Victor – Now Just A Tanker

I have many fond memories of my time with Britain’s V Force and was extremely sad when I heard they were to be scrapped. The Victor lingered on as a tanker aircraft and did valuable work , and of course the one surviving Vulcan was among those that dropped bombs on Stanley airfield during the Falklands conflict.

I guess we all have our time, and that of the V bombers is past and condemned to history, but as with the Spitfires, Hurricanes and Lancaster of WW2, it’s fitting that at least one of the old war horses survives.

Roy.

Ban Valentine’s Day?

Posted in Arab, England, Human Rights, Immigrants, Insanity, Modern World, Muslim, Relationships with tags , , , , , , on 11/02/2010 by floroy1942

Incredible though it may seem, a Russian Muslim Council has called for St. Valentine’s Day to be banned! The council of Nizhny Novgorod released a statement calling for the banning of the Valentine’s Day celebration because it “preaches universal permissiveness, amorality and nihilism“. The Council went further by urging head teachers of all schools to cancel celebrations for ‘moral and ethical’ reasons. It would seem they don’t understand the meaning of the celebration. It was first introduced by Pope Gelasius 1 in 496 AD as a day to celebrate the love between two people where both parties give tokens of their love to their partner. Today, this is most often a card or flowers.

St Valentine’s Day has become increasingly popular in Russia in recent years, and around this time of year the shops are full of the usual trinkets and cards, and the trade has become big business.

That any religious group would have the nerve to call for the banning of a cultural festival from another faith is incredible, but in this day and age, what with the rise of Islam across the world, I should not be surprised. I cannot see the Russian authorities taking any notice, but if this happened in Britain, Gordon and his lackeys would soon have St Valentine’s Day shut down for fear of “upsetting the Muslims”.

If Christians continue to allow the Muslims to dictate what they may or may not do or celebrate, how long will it be before they start complaining about Christmas, Easter and the like. I don’t care that this happened in Russia, you know what they say; ‘Today Russia, tomorrow the world!’ Well, maybe not quite, but you know what I mean.

Perhaps we Christians should retaliate and call for a ban on Ramadan! That will sure as hell raise their hackles! I am afraid my answer to all this Muslim bigotry is the same it has always been; If you don’t like the way we live and do things – GO HOME!

Keep Smiling, it ain’t over yet!

Roy.

P.S. Just seen an article about an English primary school in Weston-Super-Mare that has banned its 430 pupils aged between 5 and 11 from celebrating St. Valentines Day. The order comes from the headmaster of Ashcombe Primary School who feels that the children are too young to handle rejection. He has also forbidden the children to exchange valentine cards, and even gone so far as to inform the parents that all cards found on school property will be confiscated. In his opinion, children should wait until they are emotionally and socially mature enough to understand the commitment of having a girl/boyfriend. Pompous oaf! Does he not realise that these days its nothing more than a bit of harmless fun? He should get his marching orders tout suite!!!!

Watch out children – Big Daddy’s watching!


United Nations – The Paper Tiger

Posted in Britain, Iran, North Korea, North Korea Labour Camps, Nuclear, Nuclear Proliferation, Nuclear Weapons, Security Council, UK, UN, United Nations, USA with tags , , , on 12/04/2009 by floroy1942

For a whole week, the United Nations Security Council has been debating what to do about North Korea’s latest missile test, carried out under the guise of a ‘satellite’ launch. The end result is that North Korea will be ‘chastised’ for ‘breaking the rules’.

The five permanent members, plus Japan, have haggled for an entire week just to produce a memorandum that will be laughed at by North Korea. What do we pay these people for? It’s too ridiculous for words!(“Hold out your hand Kim Jung Il. I am going to rap you on the knuckles with this piece of paper. But don’t worry, I’ll do it softly so you won’t feel a thing!”.)

I have always maintained the U.N. is nothing more than a ‘Paper Tiger’ with no real power over the nations of the world, and once again I feel vindicated.

Can anyone give me an example of even one single conflict that the U.N. has successfully managed to end, permanently?

Once again, Russia and China spoiled efforts to get a meaningful response to the missile launch to the extent that the word ‘Missile’ doesn’t even appear in the document.

According to Susan E. Rice, the American Ambassador to the U.N. “The Council wishes to send a clear message to the North Koreans”, but from what I can see, the only message they sent is ‘We, the United Nations are a joke!’

It is bad enough that North Korea, Pakistan and India have nuclear weapons, and we all know that Iran is busy developing one under the guise of generating electricity.

Who will be next, Osama Bin Laden? Oops! Silly me! He doesn’t need to produce his own, Iran will give him as many as he needs!

You can just imagine the conversation; “Good morning Osama. Peace be upon you Brother. How many do you need today?” Osama replies, “let me see, one for New York, one for Washington, one for Los Angeles, one for London and one for Berlin. That should do it for today, so total five please”

The world is indeed becoming a dangerous place to live, and when ‘Rogue States’ like North Korea and Iran start to develop nuclear weapons we are all in grave danger.

The sad thing is, the U.N. does have the power to stop these things happening, if only all the world’s nations could agree. Unfortunately, they’re all human, and the council is made up of politicians. Each country has it’s own agenda, so the chances of them ever agreeing totally on anything is zero.

I think it was Isaac Assimov the science-fiction writer, who once said; “The only thing that will ever unite mankind is an invasion from outer space”. Now that is a statement I fully agree with!

May Heaven help us all! In my view, all nations should agree to totally isolate any country that does not operate under the rules of proper human behavior.

If every nation agreed that such a country be cut off from the rest of the world, even by its neighbours, things would change rapidly. Sounds tough, but as an example, you can’t fight a war without a steady supply of guns and ammo!

So where does today’s decision leave us? Personally, I would say; “Up the creek without a paddle” because the current U.N. action is not going to impress Pyong Yang sufficiently to ensure a change in policy, and there is still the Iran question.

The United Nations seems just as powerless to change Iran’s ambitions as it does North Korea’s. Once these two countries get away with it who will be next?

May your radiation levels always be within limits.

Roy.

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