Added: Flotillas and the Wars of Public Opinion by George Friedman at STRATFOR. An excerpt:
Public opinion matters where issues are not of fundamental interest to a nation. Israel is not a fundamental interest to other nations. The ability to generate public antipathy to Israel can therefore reshape Israeli relations with countries critical to Israel. For example, a redefinition of U.S.-Israeli relations will have much less effect on the United States than on Israel. The Obama administration, already irritated by the Israelis, might now see a shift in U.S. public opinion that will open the way to a new U.S.-Israeli relationship disadvantageous to Israel.Israel’s Gaza policy since the 2005 pullout has been a combination of incomplete control and inconclusive war, while having to bear complete responsibility for the consequences. This doesn’t seem sustainable. The alternatives are difficult in both the direction of more control at great cost and in the direction of less control while maintaining active deterrence at unknown cost. I favour the latter as more within the realm of the possible, but I’m uncertain.
The Israelis will argue that this is all unfair, as they were provoked [...] they seem to think that the issue is whose logic is correct. But the issue actually is, whose logic will be heard? As with a tank battle or an airstrike, this sort of warfare has nothing to do with fairness. It has to do with controlling public perception and using that public perception to shape foreign policy around the world. In this case, the issue will be whether the deaths were necessary. The Israeli argument of provocation will have limited traction.
Added 3rd June:
This is not the way we put an end to war, writes Terry Glavin.
Flesh is Grass on the Gaza flotilla.
Two more from Abu Muqawama: The Limits of Military Operations, and Two Thoughts on Israel.
A series of posts at the maritime strategy blog Information Dissemination: Israeli Actions Are Stupid But Legal, More Thoughts on the Gaza Flotilla, InfoWar Observations, a short one, Priorities, on the value of Israeli manufactured drones to the Turkish military, and a longer one, On Bloggers and Battleships, looking at possible lessons for the US Navy.
Added 4th June:
Iranian blogger Pedestrian condemns the Israeli action, but detects double standards amongst some of Israel's critics in the Western Left:
As usual, pro-peace activists are busy organizing events and writing blog posts and I thank them for that. But I wonder where a lot of them were when Ahmadinejad was murdering his own citizens?I don’t agree with everything else in her post, but then that’s what the comments thread is for.
….. Oh! I remember now! They were busy writing articles supporting him.
I guess murder is only murder if Israel does it.
What angers me about their response to Iran is not that it matters (in the end, the situation in Iran will not change for better or worse no matter what they do). But that they are responsible for the very double standards they accuse the West of and which we Iranians and Arabs are all too well accustomed to.
All the main green leaders have condemned the murders on the flotilla. And I’m glad they did. They are reaffirming one of the most admirable positions of the green movement:
Che ghazeh, Che Iran, Margh Bar Zaleman.
Whether in Gaza or in Iran, down with all tyrants.
Added 5th June:
Bigots on the left, bigots on the right, Bob from Brockley surveys a depressing prospect.
In The New York Times, a reconstruction of events including an account by protester Dr Mahmut Coskun. The close of the article:
In Istanbul, the activists had come home and Dr. Coskun was remembering the raid. He was bitter that commandos had not let him help a bleeding man, instead delivering occasional kicks, he said, and forcing the passengers to lie face down on the deck, handcuffed, for hours.
He was also angry at the young men who fought the commandos. He rebuked one of them for bragging about having beaten an Israeli.
“I told him, just because you wanted to flex your muscles and drag three soldiers down, nine people ended up dead.”
But most of all he was stunned that the Israelis had used their guns on the activists.
“We expected them to come on board the ship, and to take us hostage, but we never thought they would use live bullets to do it,” he said.