Distractions and Deliveries: J-Lo’s gyrations beat Russian missile shipments – for the moment.


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WAS J-LO’S OUTFIT TOO SKIMPY? Were her dance moves too raunchy? Was Britain’s Got Talent – a family show – the right venue for the queen of bump and grind? Exactly how many pelvic gyrations should an entertainer be permitted on prime time television? Caught in the eddies of this latest hullabaloo, have the sales of Ms Lopez’s latest release, Live It Up, spiked or troughed?

The debate rages on.

Meanwhile, high above the surface of the Earth, American, British, French and Israeli spy satellites are tracking the progress of a Russian-built air defence system en route to Syria.

If they make it to their destination, the Russians’ sophisticated S-300 surface-to-air missile batteries will provide the beleaguered government of Bashar Al Assad with a formidable strategic response to any air force foolhardy enough to enter Syrian air space. The talking heads of military punditry are already calling the S-300 a “game-changer”.

At the moment, however, the Russian missiles are still too far away from Syria’s borders for the world’s news media to interrupt the global debate about Ms Lopez’s crotch.

That will change.

Not because the millions of Britons currently enjoying Britain’s Got Talent will suddenly develop a passionate interest in the 80,000 victims of the Syrian civil war. Not even the grisly murder of Drummer Lee Rigby in broad daylight – just metres from the gates of Woolwich barracks – could persuade the British people to reflect upon their government’s foreign policy, or consider, even for a moment, whether the one might bear some relation to the other.

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Not even the bovver boys of the English Defence League, getting ready to trash another poor Pakistani’s kebab stand, give much of a toss about foreign policy. Which is odd, really, since the EDL is filled with romantic nostalgia for the UK’s imperial past: the days when Britain possessed not only talent, but also about one quarter of the planet’s land – and all of its sea.

A pity too, in a way, because were they at all interested in the behaviour of Prime Minister James Cameron and his Foreign Secretary, William Hague, the EDL would soon discover that the habits of imperialism die hard. (Even if the UK is now just a guard-dog Uncle Sam occasionally releases to roam its vast estates.)

Had they being paying attention this past week, the EDL’s members would have been reassured to see that the British bulldog’s teeth can still draw blood. As witnesses to those two old heroes of Suez, the UK and France, bullying the EU into lifting its arms embargo of Syria, how lustily they would have cheered. And their cheering would have got a lot louder when they realised that the lifting of the embargo was the old imperialists’ way of sinking the proposed, Russian-sponsored, Syrian peace talks.

These discussions (had they been allowed to occur) would likely have unfolded in a context quite uncongenial to the United States, Britain, France, Israel and the wealthy Sunni Muslim bankrollers of the Syrian rebellion. Over recent days, the Syrian armed forces, aided by their Iranian and Hezbollah allies, have been advancing steadily against the faction-ridden and faltering Syrian Armed Resistance. By June or July – when the talks were scheduled to convene – it’s possible President Assad’s troops and planes could have driven the SAR back across the Turkish border – thereby rendering entirely moot the rebels’ demand that, as the price of peace, Assad step aside from the presidency.

Hoping that Assad’s enemies would refrain from any actions likely to jeopardise the peace process, the Russian Government was delaying the dispatch of the S-300 air defence system to its Syrian ally. But the UK’s and France’s success at persuading the EU to lift its ban on supplying arms to the Syrian combatants has put an end to Russian forbearance. The all-important shipment will soon be on its way.

Everybody from Whitehall to Washington, the Quai d’Orsay, Jerusalem and Riyadh knows that the moment the S-300 system becomes operational any chance of the “West” imposing a Libyan-style “No-Fly Zone” over Syria will be gone. The trouble is, Assad’s Mig fighter jets and Mi24/25 attack helicopters are winning the Syrian civil war. If the SAR is to regain the ground it has lost, the imposition of a US/UK/France/Israel-enforced NFZ is essential.

The Israeli’s have an even more pressing reason to fear the arrival of Russia’s S-300 system. Syria’s Iranian allies keep trying to send surface-to-surface missiles to its friends in the Lebanon-based Hezbollah militia – weapons capable of causing real damage to their intended Israeli targets. So far, the Israel Air Force has interdicted and destroyed these shipments. An effective Syrian air defence system would make such interdictory raids considerably more dangerous.

Presumably this is what prompted the Israeli Defence Minister, Moshe Yaalon to go on the record this morning with the following, very clear, statement concerning the Russians and their “game-changing” arms shipment:

“As far as we are concerned, that is a threat. At this stage I can’t say there is an escalation. The shipments have not been sent on their way yet. And I hope that they will not be sent. If, God forbid, they do reach Syria, we will know what to do.”

But, once again, there’s a problem. The S-300 batteries come with Russian crews. Any Israeli attack will, therefore, stand a very good chance of killing Russian military personnel.

What happens then is anybody’s guess – but it’s unlikely to be very pleasant.

And so, while the spy satellites circle the globe and SIGINT analysts pore over high-res images of crates and containers, trucks and transport aircraft, cargo ships and carrier groups, the rest of the world ogles the video clip of Ms Lopez living it up.

There are worse things to look at.


  1. North Sea oil and gas extraction are falling off the cliff, and Tony B Liar’s grand schemes for endless supplies from Russia have proven to be the bunkum we knew it always was.

    Shipping gas in purpose-built ships is damned expensive. Gas pipelines are much cheaper.

    Now which country stands in the way of a gas pipeline from Qatar to Europe?

    And Syria does have some oil in the ground that the west would like to loot.

    Hence we see yet another round of bringing ‘freedom and democracy’ to the Middle East via the killing of civilians.

    However, the balance of power obviously shifted when the Georgian puppet of western imperialism, Sakavilli, had all his hardware confiscated by the Russians, following his invasion Ossetia; and the west looked on and did nothing.

    Sadly, one has to be armed to the teeth with the most modern weaponry to prevent one’s country being looted by Shell, BP, Exxon etc.

  2. Looks to me like another proxy war! Reds supplying one side while the red-white and blues arm the other.
    John McCain has apparently met up with the rebels and Kerry want to arm them (if he hasn’t done that already)
    Yup the lunatics are in charge of the asylum.
    But J-Los butt must have been awesome!!!

    Great piece as always Chris!!!! Love reading your posts.

  3. As far as the media is concerned sex sells. For some people perhaps the only awareness they would have to the issue raised here is if a news outlet brought prominent advertising space on Lopez and a skimpier outfit.

    Here we have a region known as “the cradle of civilisation” drawing in its descendants dispersed around the world in another war continuous since birth. Some believe the final war will take place in this region, will it also be “the grave of civilisation”? It’ll probably take a massive war to make the media switch attention from dispensing the usual trivial smut because it will be more profitable.

    Great post, reminds me of the song Prime Time – Don McLean.

  4. Welcome to the real world, and to the stern truth in the Middle East, Chris. I totally agree and feel with you, as the world, that is humanity, is bordering on insanity too often.

    I see this every day, I feel this every day, the bizarre ignorance, distraction, the indifference and frivolity of people, choosing to not see what goes on, to look away, to put on their blinkers, to put on the pink tinted glasses, to see the world and society as they choose to.

    Maybe it is human, but it can only be honestly human, to distract when the stress is too high to bear.

    We have a society where there is only some stress for some (the poor, unable to afford food at times, for their kids or themselves, the unemployed, sick, disabled, lone parents not coping and victims of crime), but for most, there is little serious stress at all.

    They just don’t like to be “stressed” and bothered, they do NOT want to see the reality, they are not interested in people being killed, wars being fought, in social injustice, starvation, illness and what goes on. They want to have an “easy” and “happy” life, not blemished with such sadness and worry.

    These people have not time for reality, they choose shows like “Seven Sharp” for “infotainment”, and that stresses them out too much already.

    Welcome to the well doers, the society of the middle and upper middle class, who cannot give a damned shit about others anymore. It is me, us, no not “us” as a collective, me and my partner, if it comes to association.

    F*** the rest, we are stars, fighters, self servers and masters of OUR destiny. Those that cannot keep up, are not “worthy”, they need to shape up and get a kick in the good ol backside, yep.

    That is my world philosophy. Syrians can only blame themselves, they are divisive and full of primitive cultural division and hatred. They get what they deserve, right?

    “Right” that is the direction, for most now, and they do NOT care! Too many of the followers now seem to be Gen Y members. Tells you something about our future to expect!

  5. It is definitely a war of the types that were fought in the Cold War, up there in Syria. Much is at stake, that is for the Assad regime, and of course for their backers, and those are basically only Iran and Hizbollah. They do now basically stand with their backs against the wall, and hence the involvement of those non Syrian allies, and Russia also delivering the missiles.

    It was asking for it, what William Hague, the hard line UK foreign minister pushed through, together with the French. Many European countries were solidly opposed to lifting the arms embargo, so also Austria and Germany.

    But the situation in talks held was unforgiving. There was no solution to be found through neogitations, and the embargo would have ended by the weekend anyway. So no solution became the final resolution, to not extend the embargo and thus practically lift it.

    Thank you UK and France, you are back to your old game in the Middle East, and of course, you have a solid ally, that is Israel, being happy about this.

    But they are also concerned, as the forces in Syria, that oppose Assad and his regime, they also include high level haters of Israel, some Al Qaeda affiliates and other radical Sunni muslims.

    What a great boiling kettle Syria has become. Put your kebabs into the grilling heat and fry your own agenda, to savour what may come.

    But like the last wars, especially the last “great wars”, do not county your blessings too early, this can escalate and pull the whole region into a huge disaster. But then again, the US will oblige and step in, to save those important crude oil sources once again, even if it is just to help the Saudis sell more to China then.

    Peace of another kind, or wars that never end perhaps, all just more of what history delivered before, and what nobody bothers to ever learn from.

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