Jabotinsky and Gallipoli

I just started reading Bruce Hoffman’s recent book, Anonymous Soldiers: The Struggle for Israel, 1917-1947

Here’s what I found on page 8: Jabotinsky

“His [Jabotinsky] efforts resulted in the formation of the Zion Mule Corps, which participated in the ill-fated invasion of Turkey at Gallipoli in 1915.”

For the record, Vladimir “Ze’ev” Jabotinsky was a Zionist leader and he was co-responsible of the creation of the Jewish Legion during World War I.

While I was aware of the existence of the Jewish Legion, I ignored the Gallipoli component of its involvement for King and Country (or, I should write Empire). Modest as this contribution might have been, it is nevertheless an excellent example that Israel – even before it was reborn under this name in 1948 – stood with the Allies (I think we can call them the West) when the going got tough.

Enough for now. I’ll publish a review of the book when I finish the last page of it. But I can already say that this is a very enjoyable read and a good investment.

The Heroes of the Israel Defense Force (IDF)

I’ve been blessed to travel to Israel on several occasions for professional purposes. Every time, I was always amazed and impressed by those young men and women who serve in the Israel Defense Force (IDF).

While other young people go to University, travel the world with friends, find a good job or establish a family, young Israelis devote an important part of their life to be on the vanguard of protecting and defending their homeland. For your information, “Males serve for three years and females for just less than two years.

So this video has it all right. It’s not a metaphor. The heroes of the IDF really have Israel’s back. And they’re the first line of defence of the values that are important for us – freedom and democracy.

RT’s article about ISIS

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ISIS-occupied territory in the Middle East source: http://snipurl.com/29uu75t

I don’t know about you, but I like to read news reports and analysis from RT (Russia Today). I like their unconventional way of doing things. Their journalists sometimes irk me, but, overall, this is a very interesting News Agency. They may have an agenda, but which news media doesn’t?

All of this to say that RT reported today the revelations contained in an article from Der Spiegel with some interesting revelations supporting the fact that ISIS is an offspring of the miscalculations and mistakes of the US intervention in Iraq to remove Saddam Hussein from power.

According to RT’s article:

“The reason why ISIS are so successful as a terrorist organization is partly because many of their founding members, including the top strategist, were part of Saddam Hussein’s professional security apparatus. By shattering the well-trained army of Saddam, the US apparently created a group of very intelligent enemies.

Bakr [ISIS mastermind Haji Bakr, whose real name was Samir Abd Muhammad al-Khlifawi] was a “highly intelligent, firm and an excellent logistician,” as an Iraqi journalist described the former officer. But when the US suddenly dissolved the Iraqi army after the 2003 invasion he became “bitter and unemployed.””

Here is a powerful reminder to Western leaders and military planners that one needs to be very careful when approaching the Middle East. It’s also a reminder that we should stick even closer to our friends – lsrael being at the top of that list, but there are others like Jordan, Egypt and Saudi Arabia for example – who are our best allies to confront these threats.

They might not be perfect, but they are reliable, unlike Iran. In a context like this, a staunch friend is 100 times better than a would-be, potential, circumstantial ally.

Canada is a real military player against ISIS

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Canadian Special Forces Members in Training Photo credit: Pinterest

Canada’s a big country geographically, but small in terms of its population. It is therefore logical that the Armed Forces of the country are proportional to this situation.

A famous former Chief of Defence Staff of the Canadian Forces once told me that the Canadian forces regroup less active duty personnel (about 68 000 ) than the US Marine Corps (more than 200 000). For your information, Canada ranks 14th in terms of its military power.

It therefore comes as great news that:

“A senior planner closely involved in directing the U.S.-led coalition’s air war against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant says that Canada had contributed far more to the campaign than the relatively small number of Canadian Special Forces personnel and aircraft might suggest.

[…]

I would submit it is a combination of all the coalition contributions that come together to produce capability. It is the sum of all the parts, if you will, and Canada is a key coalition member.”

Some people – and even political leaders – might like to caricature or ridicule our military contribution to the fight against ISIS, but one fact remains. Canada is willing to do its part. And does it with pride and determination.

PM Narendra Modi and Patrick Brown: A Story of Loyalty

Among the qualities displayed by people in life, none is more important to me than loyalty. Without it, you don’t go far. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi – who participated in a political rally to support Ontario Progressive-Conservative Party leadership candidate Patrick Brown, gave one of the most eloquent manifestations of that quality a few days ago.

Here’s the story:

“Brown met Modi more than five years ago at a trade conference in Gujarat, a state in western India. At that time, Modi was the chief minister of Gujarat and an international pariah. He was accused of being complicit in the deadly 2002 riots that killed more than a thousand people in the state, most of them Muslims.

Even though the courts refused to prosecute Modi, the U.S. refused to issue him a visa and other countries imposed diplomatic boycotts.

That’s when some of Modi’s friends in Gujarat asked “if a Canadian politician could come to speak at his trade conference to try to rebuild this brand of his of being a person who’s going to bring investment to India,” Brown said.

“So I went, I got to know him, I spoke at his conference and we hit it off, so he kept on inviting me back.”

[…]

He [Brown] remembers Modi telling him: “I will never forget who was here during our most difficult days.””

Now, PM Modi – the leader of the 4th military power in the world – has taken upon himself to take time in a busy official state visit to participate in a partisan activity in Canada’s biggest province, Ontario.

I did not know much about Narendra Modi, but his show of friendship and loyalty this week will definitely make me look in his direction from now on.

If the true qualities of a person – or a leader – can be observed in little gestures, then Prime Minister Modi is quite impressive.

The bottom line is: loyalty matters. Period.

Poland vs. Russia

Photo credit: Polish Ministry of Defence
Photo credit: Polish Ministry of Defence

In the current geopolitical context, Poland is on the first line of any potential extended military confrontation with Russia. And you can feel, when you speak with people, a sense of nervousness. After all, Poles are historically very close to Ukraine (a significant part of the territory of Ukraine was once part of Poland – but that’s for another discussion).

It therefore comes as great news that the Polish government has decided to increase its military budget.

And this decision seems to have gained legitimate support across partisan party lines:

 ““A condition for Poland’s independence is her own strength. It is worrying that it is considered a success that Poland increased its defence spending by a mere 0.05pp, whereas a success would be to up it by 1pp to 3% of GDP,” left-leaning commentator Jerzy Rolicki wrote in Gazeta Wyborcza on April 14, in an article that well depicts the mood in Poland, where even the traditionally less hawkish left is now demanding more money for the armed forces.”

In front of the military might of Russia, Poland comes across as David having to potentially confront Goliath.

As the Romans said, Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum. With contemporary history as a witness, who could blame the Polish people for taking no chance?