Karamanlis and Papadopoulos give a helping hand to Israel's air force!

Cyprus: Appendage of the secret services of the US and their allies

In early February the Athens magazine 'Diplomacy' in a special edition of its website, revealed that no less than 26 Israeli war planes entered the Athens and Nicosia FIR (5/2/07). There were five refuelling planes (specially refitted Boeing 707) escorted by a reconnaissance aircraft. Each refuelling plane was further escorted by four F-15 and F-16 fighters. Of these 26 Israeli war planes, only 6 had previously filed flight plans.

There were no official complaints made by the Greek government of Karamanlis to Israeli government and there were no 'interceptions' or mock firing from Greek jet fighters.

Neither did the Cypriot ministries of Foreign Affairs and Defence made any official announcements. The Papadopoulos government made no mention of 'unacceptable violation of our sovereign rights' and of course nothing emanated from the 'anti-imperialist' Lillikas. The media did not consider this incident serious enough. On the contrary CBC in its evening news programme (5/2/07) reported the violation of Greek airspace by Turkish jet fighters over Amorgos which eventually were driven out of Greek airspace by Greek fighter planes.

It's strange to compare the different responses between the Israeli air force violations and those of Turkey. According to Greek and foreign military analysts, the flights over Greek and Cypriot airspace are part of exercises by Israel's air force on mid-air refuelling for its bomber planes. Their intended target according to Athens daily "Nea" (8/2/07) is Iran.

In an article in Socialist Worker (22/2/07) the British M.P George Galloway of the Respect Party goes on to say that these military exercises of Israel take place on a weekly basis and the planes fly up Gibraltar and back carrying out mid-air refuelling as this is the same return journey between Tel-Aviv and Iran.

The Guardian (26.1.07) described the way the Israeli leadership thinks: "Israel is launching a campaign to isolate Iran economically and to soften up world opinion for the option of a military strike aimed at crippling or delaying Teheran's uranium enrichment programme." The possible attack on nuclear installations is enough to shock and send shivers to every reasonable person. However, these are the threats now made by the US and Israeli military. It's not hard to imagine the consequences of 'surgical strikes' by cruise missiles and bunker busting nuclear tipped bombs on targets near civilian centres. Such attack would open the gates of hell throughout the Muslim world.

For the Papadopoulos government these war plans and preparations with all the unforeseen consequences for the whole region are of no concern. On the contrary the Papadopoulos government, like its predecessor Clerides, is keen to offer any facilities to US and its allies in the hope of diplomatic and political gains regarding the Cyprus issue.

The governments of Karamanlis and Papadopoulos give a helping hand to the criminal plans and war preparations of the US and their allies. This is what lies behind the passive support given to the Israeli military exercises. The government of Papadopoulos is fully committed to Bush's 'permanent war', having signed already 13 'International Agreements and Conventions' relating to his 'war on terror'. This ties up with the 1,245 extraordinary rendition flights by the CIA. According to recent European Parliamentary report, Cyprus is one of the European countries which tolerated the use of its airports by the CIA for its illegal transfers of 'terror suspects'. When this scandal first appeared in the media about a year ago, the Cyprus government dismissed these reports as mere 'allegations'.

The Cyprus Republic is part of this international secret network established by the United States. Based on the agreements signed by the government of 'Change' US warships and aircraft carriers, frequently anchor in Limassol port and later head towards the Persian Gulf or to Somalia (USS Eisenhower) to coordinate bombings there. Furthermore, the British bases are used extensively for training of US soldiers before they are dispatched to Iraq.

The anti-war demonstration planned for the 17th of March becomes very important in the face of these developments. This day has been declared 'international day of action' by the World Social Forum which met in Nairobi earlier this year. We have to show our solidarity with the millions who oppose the occupations and new war plans of US and its alliance of the 'willing' against Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine, Lebanon, Somalia and Iran. Let's all take part in the demonstration in Nicosia on the 17th.

Phaedon Vassiliades
Stop the War Coalition-Cyprus