Monday, May 31, 2010

Greek-Israeli Military Manoeuvres Cancelled

The Greek-Israeli Air Force Exercise “Minos 2010” was cancelled today on the orders of Greek PM Papandreou. The order comes as a result of Israel’s intervention in the “Gaza Flotilla” in which 19 people have reportedly been killed.

The military action by Israel is making headlines all over the world at the moment. Israel had warned that it would intervene and not allow the flotilla to reach Gaza.

The baffling part of this whole story is that the Greek side has been lured into this conflict by having people and ships join the Turkish NGO on their quest to do something which was sure to end in violence. The flotilla is widely seen as a political statement against Israel by Turkey. By cancelling the military exercise the government is taking a firm position against Israel and is effectively siding with Turkey on the issue. Why?

Friday, May 28, 2010

US & Israel...

...Wake up. Look at your so called allies...

Greek Coast Guard Prevents Greek Citizens from Raising the Flag on Greek Soil

Strategy-Geopolitics has posted a disturbing item which claims the Greek Coast Guard has prevented citizens from Northern Greece to raise the Greek flag on the Zourafa Rock in the Aegean. According to a confidential Coast Guard document which was leaked on the internet, the flag could not be raised due to the “danger of damage being caused to the lighthouse installation and its operation due to the rock’s morphology”.

Zourafa can be found at 6 nautical miles northeast of Samothraki Island and is a basic point for the delineation of Greece’s eastern borders. The Coast Guard has also forbidden fishing in this area. Greek fishermen that sail through the area are routinely harassed by the Turkish Coast Guard while Turkish fishermen can fish in the area undisturbed.

One problem facing the Zourafa rock is that it is slowly sinking into the sea. According to historical data of the Hellenic Navy’s Hydrographical Service the rock had a coastline of 465 metres. Today, some decades later, this has shrunken to just 32 metres.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Greek-Israeli Military Manoeuvres

The combined Greek-Israeli Air Forces Exercise “Minos 2010” started today. During the exercise, which will last until the beginning of June, Israeli F-15 and F-16 aircraft will be stationed at the 115th Combat Wing in Souda, Crete. The exercises will take place in the Ionian Sea, mainland Greece and the Aegean Sea.

The exercise will include aerial refuelling drills of Greek fighters from Israeli tankers. The Search and Rescue portion of the exercise has been postponed to a later date. This exercise will not feature any Israeli aircraft taking off from Israeli bases and attacking ground targets in mainland Greece. This was the case during the “Glorious Spartan” exercise in 2008, which lots of attention in the international press as it was seen as a rehearsal for an Israeli attack on Iran’ nuclear sites.


True Lies

During his recent visit to Athens Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan said, among other things, that Turkey doesn’t bomb other nations. A few days later the Turkish military attacked PKK positions in Northern Iraq.

In Case You Missed It...

... have a look over here. This is the latest edition of the online Fox2 Magazine. It’s full of info on interesting defence related topics. Browse through it online or download as a PDF. It’s 116 pages and it’s bound to keep you busy for a while.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Erdogan in Athens

There hasn’t been much to report on serious matters of defence lately except that Turkey is generating enormous tensions in the Aegean with Turkish exercises taking place near to Greek shores, Greek aircraft being threatened by Turkey while flying within Greek airspace or the Athens FIR etc. In short, the expected flare up of provocations meant to take advantage of Greece’s current vulnerable position. I would actually be more worried if Turkey behaved normally for a change and wasn’t being so aggressive.

Today’s rant won’t be about Greece’s appeasing reaction to all this or Turkey’s expansionist attitudes. This post is as a result of some of the ridiculously simplistic reporting I have seen in other European countries as a result of Erdogan’s visit to Athens. One report even said “Turkey and Greece bury the hatchet”. And I’m thinking: really? Two days ago Greek Air Force aircraft flying within Greek airspace were threatened by Turkish ships. How much more aggressive can you get without an all out war? Where do some of these reporters get their news from?

So let’s look at one of the areas of “cooperation” where Greece and Turkey “buried the hatchet”. Turkey has signed a protocol with Greece whereby it promises to take back 1,000 illegal immigrants per year, of the ones that illegally cross over from Turkey to Greece. Hang on; Turkey is already obliged to take back many more than that based on existing agreements, not only with Greece but the EU. Why do I feel someone is trying to pull the wool over my eyes? Over a hundred thousand illegal immigrants cross over from Turkey into Greece each year. Furthermore, each time a Greek or FRONTEX patrol detects a group of illegal immigrants attempting to cross over into Greece the Turkish Armed forces mysteriously appear and start threatening these patrols, showing once more that the Turkish Armed Forces are involved in smuggling illegal immigrants.*

It would be refreshing to see a news story in the European press that actually gets the story right for once.

*Not surprisingly the threats against FRONTEX have temporarily stopped now that it’s Germany’s turn to supply FRONTEX with the means to carry out these patrols. Obviously the Turks are brave when it comes to smaller countries like Greece, Poland and Lithuania.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Project Northern Lights

The Hellenic Air Force announced that it conducted a live fire drill at the Swedish Vidsel range between the 8th and 17th of March 2010. During this exercise an AIM-120C7 AMRAAM missile was fired. The Air Force took part in this exercise with 2 F-16C Block 52+ from 337 Squadron based at the 110th Combat Wing in Larissa.

On their way to Sweden and back the aircraft used the Lechfeld airbase in Germany to refuel.

The results of the missile drill have not been announced.