Saturday, 12 December 2015

Syrian ‘scams’ have a Nigerian ‘flavour’

Aid Worker retrieving a Syrian child from debris following a Syrian Air Force attack  - Scammers are cashing in on the plight of innocents!

 For many years now, we have become accustomed to being seduced by what have become known as Nigerian Scams. The writer first became so acquainted with these in about 1990 via the medium of a fax (remember faxes?) and more closely so when actually in Lagos, probably the most hostile city ever encountered by this columnist during an excess of 30 years travelling experience. Since then, as communications technology has advanced, such solicitations are transmitted via email, SMS, Skype and a whole variety of online media. In November 2013, this column produced an article entitled “Nigerian Scams from Iran?” which has been extensively read in many parts of the world subsequently. The latest such attempt has been made via Facebook but this time, perhaps topically it comes from someone claiming to be in a military establishment in Syria. This is what the ‘poor widow’ has to say after much preliminary platitudes:

“I am so happy being your friend after so much talks today I came to a conclusion to open up to you because I understand you are someone with a good heart and may not betray me. So i have to have the confidence in you and i want to tell you everything and all the secrets that i have here. My dear before my husband was killed he was a wealthy man because he served as a top military with his Rank up to (فريق أول Feriq awwal) before he died, on that day he was bleeding to death he revealed to me that he had hid some 1.3 million Dollars in a security box with Red Cross Diplomatic Agency in Michigan city Indiana State 46360 USA and wants me to start a new life with our kids with it outside Syria."

"The attack on that fateful day destroy everything we had and I lost my husband, family members and valuables. I have written to Red Cross Diplomat and they have confirmed box with them and they do not have idea on the content. Here, we do not have money to run the expenses on our travel, and our lives so much depend on the box of money. "

"I have so much confidence in you and I want to send the money (box) to you through a diplomat so that you will receive the box and i tell you the security code to open the box. You will collect your delivery expenses money and send us some money through the Red Cross agency to plan our travel arrangement to your place. On our arrival, we plan for establishment and settlement. I know you will not regret helping a poor widow in a war center gain freedom and peace with her two kids. In reciprocating for your kind human gesture on securing the box, we will release to you 30% of the total money. Please write me in confirmation." (SIC)

Needless to say one has not exactly rushed to the aid of our Syrian ‘war-widow’ whose given name and email address do not appear to have much connection with that troubled land! “Leslie Biggs” with the initial part of his/her email address being ‘erickbiselela’ does not give the impression of originating in Raqqa, Alleppo or Damascus but is more likely to arise from some flea-pit internet café in Lagos, where historically so many of these vile scams have originated from, milking as they do upon the genuine concerns the real victims of situations that we have witnessed in Syria these past five years.


These types of scams, as they are known, are really the work of criminal gangs and let us be in no doubt as to this reality as there have been a number of cases where people who have been so duped, they have been enticed to fly to Lagos or wherever, ostensibly to sign documentation and have found themselves taken hostage or worse; but irritating though it is to have ones intelligence impugned by such approaches, the writer believes it to be more than deplorable to indulge in the use of sacred religious text in an attempt to add weight to their solicitation, deeply insulting you would have to think, to those who might be offended in this way. Equally, to come up with a spin involving the loss of a loved one is as nauseous as the former tactic.

Just as the scam mail received by this column arrived via the internet, this article will be similarly transmitted around the world and throughout the various networks in an attempt to highlight this type of crime and to urge all due caution in internet transactions. Beware of scams, wheresoever they derive from!


Chris Green 

Beşparmak Media Services

Thursday, 26 November 2015

The World at War Act III, Part II.

Paris - the aftermath!

In the aftermath of the atrocious acts of war that were visited upon France on Friday 13th November, 2015 the wider world has been animated in a response of a mixed nature ever since.  For example, the British government have rightly thrown their support towards the French and have furthermore expressed their determination to strike Daesh (An Arabic word for ‘Bigotted One’) at their apparent heart, in Syria but they are prevented from doing so by parliamentary opposition and the current Labour leader seems to oppose even possessing military capability, much less so actually deploying such forces effectively.

What though, is Daesh and do we understand them enough? The following text gives us a unique insight into this vile, Godless organisation from someone who knows from first hand experience:

I'm a French journalist and former Isis hostage. I receive emails from The Syria Campaign just like you, but this time they have asked to share an article I wrote in the Guardian recently. It has been shared over 20,000 times. I have given Chris Green my permission to reproduce my words in this article.

As a proud Frenchman I am as distressed as anyone about the events in Paris. But I am not shocked or incredulous. I know Islamic State. I spent 10 months as an Isis hostage, and I know for sure that our pain, our grief, our hopes, our lives do not touch them. Theirs is a world apart: Most people only know them from their propaganda material, but I have seen behind that. In my time as their captive, I met perhaps a dozen of them, including Mohammed Emwazi: Jihadi John was one of my jailers. He nicknamed me “Baldy”.

Even now I sometimes chat with them on social media, and can tell you that much of what you think of them results from their brand of marketing and public relations. They present themselves to the public as superheroes, but away from the camera are a bit pathetic in many ways: street kids drunk on ideology and power. In France we have a saying – stupid and evil. I found them more stupid than evil. That is not to understate the murderous potential of stupidity.

All of those beheaded last year were my cellmates, and my jailers would play childish games with us – mental torture – saying one day that we would be released and then two weeks later observing blithely, “Tomorrow we will kill one of you.” The first couple of times we believed them but after that we came to realise that for the most part they were bullshitters having fun with us. (SIC)

They would play mock executions. Once they used chloroform with me. Another time it was a beheading scene. A bunch of French-speaking jihadis were shouting, “We’re going to cut your head off and put it on to your arse and upload it to YouTube.” They had a sword from an antique shop. They were laughing and I played the game by screaming, but they just wanted fun. As soon as they left I turned to another of the French hostages and just laughed. It was so ridiculous.

It struck me forcefully how technologically connected they are; they follow the news obsessively, but everything they see goes through their own filter. They are totally indoctrinated, clinging to all manner of conspiracy theories, never acknowledging the contradictions.

Everything convinces them that they are on the right path and, specifically, that there is a kind of apocalyptic process under way that will lead to a confrontation between an army of Muslims from all over the world and others, the crusaders, the Romans. They see everything as moving us down that road. Consequently, everything is a blessing from Allah.

With their news and social media interest, they will be noting everything that follows their murderous assault on Paris, and my guess is that right now the chant among them will be “We are winning”. They will be heartened by every sign of overreaction, of division, of fear, of racism, of xenophobia; they will be drawn to any examples of ugliness on social media.

Central to their world view is the belief that communities cannot live together with Muslims, and every day their antennae will be tuned towards finding supporting evidence. The pictures from Germany of people welcoming migrants will have been particularly troubling to them. Cohesion, tolerance – it is not what they want to see.

Why France? For many reasons perhaps, but I think they identified my country as a weak link in Europe – as a place where divisions could be sown easily. That’s why, when I am asked how we should respond, I say that we must act responsibly.

And yet more bombs will be our response. I am no apologist for Isis. How could I be? But everything I know tells me this is a mistake. The bombardment will be huge, a symbol of righteous anger. Within 48 hours of the atrocity, fighter planes conducted their most spectacular munitions raid yet in Syria, dropping more than 20 bombs on Raqqa, an Isis stronghold. Revenge was perhaps inevitable, but what’s needed is deliberation. My fear is that this reaction will make a bad situation worse.

While we are trying to destroy Isis, what of the 500,000 civilians still living and trapped in Raqqa? What of their safety? What of the very real prospect that by failing to think this through, we turn many of them into extremists? The priority must be to protect these people, not to take more bombs to Syria. We need no-fly zones – zones closed to Russians, the regime, the coalition. The Syrian people need security or they themselves will turn to groups such as Isis.

Canada withdrew from the air war after the election of Justin Trudeau. I desperately want France to do the same, and rationality tells me it could happen. But pragmatism tells me it won’t. The fact is we are trapped: Isis has trapped us. They came to Paris with Kalashnikovs, claiming that they wanted to stop the bombing, but knowing all too well that the attack would force us to keep bombing or even to intensify these counterproductive attacks. That is what is happening.

Emwazi is gone now, killed in a coalition air strike, his death celebrated in parliament. I do not mourn him. But during his murder spree, he too followed this double bluff strategy. After murdering the American journalist James Foley, he pointed his knife at the camera and, turning to the next intended victim, said: “Obama, you must stop intervening in the Middle East or I will kill him.” He knew very well what the hostage’s fate would be. He knew very well what the American reaction would be – more bombing. It’s what Isis wants, but should we be giving it to them?

The group is wicked, of that there is no doubt. But after all that happened to me, I still don’t feel Isis is the priority. To my mind, Bashar al-Assad is the priority. The Syrian president is responsible for the rise of Isis in Syria, and so long as his regime is in place, Isis cannot be eradicated. Nor can we stop the attacks on our streets. When people say “Isis first, and then Assad”, I say don’t believe them. They just want to keep Assad in place.

At the moment there is no political road map and no plan to engage the Arab Sunni community. Isis will collapse, but politics will make that happen. In the meantime there is much we can achieve in the aftermath of this atrocity, and the key is strong hearts and resilience, for that is what they fear. I know them: bombing they expect. What they fear is unity.

~ Nicolas Henin, French Journalist & ISIS Hostage.

Highly compelling words indeed and however the instincts of some – including this columnist – are inclined towards the concentrated and merciless destruction of Daesh, Msr Henin’s unique insight cannot be ignored. As for Syria and life in its capital Damascus, again we can read the views from one who is there. A former colleague of the writer re-established contact recently; we had worked together in Damascus in 1999. He tells in a succinct manner what day to day life is like there now:

“Here as you maybe heard Damascus in common safe city. From time by time the schools and hospitals and homes even peoples in street hit and killed with the mortar and katiusha by the armed groups at Damascus Country side . There shortage of water and electricity, but it's war , hard war Chris and life become very hard and expensive, but Damascus safe [for now] .” (SIC)

Our former colleague has followed up with his take on the recent incident between Turkish and Russian aircraft, but that perhaps is something that we can look at as things develop in that region.

With most of Europe and further a-field on the highest levels of alert, the world is at it’s most dangerous state since the height of the Cold War. A United Nations effort to destroy Daesh and stabilise Syria has never been more urgently needed.


Chris Green 

Besparmak Media Services

Sunday, 18 October 2015

Peace is attacked in Ankara: After 10/10/15 what next for Turkey?

Ankara Terror Attacks 10/10/15

The smoke may have cleared in central Ankara following the 10/10/15 atrocity by persons and organisations as yet not revealed, but the pall of grief hangs atop the Turkish Capital as 97 families grieve their losses and many more will be fearful of the fate of those who cling to life in hospital as a result of the cowardly bombings that recently occurred. At the time of compiling this copy, the identities of the bombers even if known, are not yet in the public domain; speculation is rife but IS/Da’Esh seem to be the likely culprits. PKK have been implicated too, but such an operation would not seem to have their prints on it neither is the timing – ahead of the snap elections – helpful to their cause.

Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu has suggested that Turkey has a list of would-be suicide bombers but that the authorities are disbarred from intervening and acting upon such intelligence until an action has been carried out! By definition, you would have to think that it is a bit late to act after a suicide bomber has ‘hit the button’ and furthermore, surely National Security interests would have primacy over the legal niceties of an individuals rights (or otherwise). You could be pretty sure that here in Britain, our Intel Services would be –and almost certainly are – taking a somewhat active interest in an individual or group that were linked to such deadly organisations and it beggars belief that M.I.T are not similarly inclined. Apparently though and according to Davutoğlu, if any legal action is taken against suicide bombing suspects before the criminal act, there may be another act committed in protest by other suspects, quid pro quo. So why not take out the other suspects too!?

The terrorist action on 10/10/15 was the largest single terrorist action to be meted out upon the people of Turkeyin the history of the Republic and people have reacted angrily as they emerge from the understandable shock that such a thing took place. Following a call from the Confederation of Public Sector Trades’ Unions (KESK), the Confederation of Progressive Trade Unions of Turkey (DİSK), the Turkish Medical Association (TTB) and the Union of Chambers of Turkish Engineers and Architects (TMMOB), a march was to be held on Oct. 13, starting at Cerrahpaşa and Sirkeci, two different venues in Istanbul’s Fatih district, before joining in Beyazıt Square, to protest the Ankara bombing and commemorate the 97 victims of the massacre. 

The governor’s office however said, at around 2 a.m. on Oct. 13 that the application filed for the demonstration had been rejected because “the places where the march was slated to be organized were places citizens use frequently,” because the route for the demonstration “was not among the places listed in the law on meetings and demonstrations” and because of “the sensibility of the current period.” Accordingly, police units were deployed to prevent people from reaching the planned demonstration routes. 

In the meantime, protests were held against the massacre across the country in multiple cities, varying from İzmir and Uşak in Turkey’s west to Malatya and Adana in the east and south and Giresun and Zonguldak in the north.  Among the cities in the south of the country where protests were held, police also used teargas to attack a group of around 30 lawyers and another 150 people who came to support them in front of the courthouse in the Alanya district of Antalya.

Many interested outside observers – this column being one - have been predicting an escalation of terrorist actions within Turkey as the Syrian crisis accelerates especially since Moscow initiated unilateral actions in support of the Assad Regime. Russia claims great success in neutralising IS/Da’Esh targets but we are not being shown evidence of these strikes whilst there is plenty of reason to believe that these ‘targets’ are actually those that are in direct conflict with the Syrian government which for some 40 years, have been supported by successive Russian governments. 

Turkey is more than ‘touched and concerned’ by this conflict; given that the shared border between Syria and Turkey is some 820 kilometres in length, it would be impossible to prevent some cross-over in the circumstances. Turkey’s geographical and strategic location is critical though for it has become an increasingly important conduit for the passage of many people onwards to Western Europe and many of these will be exceedingly dangerous groups ‘on a mission’.

Russia’s motives, opportunistic they so clearly have to be seen to be, are certainly not those to be interpreted as Moscow attempting to destroy IS; on the contrary, this is Russia taking an even more embedded position in Syria and, given their long pre-existing deep water naval facility there, they are looking further. Thanks to South Cyprus, Russian naval vessels are now able to use sea bases there too and perhaps air-bases may follow. Furthermore, for many years Russian influence has been steadily growing throughout the island of Cyprus. 

Divided Cyprus 'united' under Russia?

To conclude, the Cyprus Negotiations notwithstanding, what ever may be finally agreed it is quite possible these will count for nothing as a deep ‘red carpet’ is rolled out over Cyprus from the south northward. There have already been aerial incidents between Russian and Turkish aircraft recently and these may escalate; furthermore if Russian troops are based in Cyprus, the Turkic-Russo wars may launch again as they did in 1877/8.  

There is more than enough justification for Turkey to maintain and uphold her military presence in Cyprus irrespective of any deal that might be brokered in some sort of bi-federal, bi-zonal arrangement for the latter may count for nought as the Russian Bear's grip tightens. The strategic shape of the Eastern Mediterranean region could change dramatically during the next 5 years and Turkey has a right to defend her borders. The "Arab Spring" is becoming very 'wintery' indeed!

The Russians are coming!


Chris Green 

Besparmak Media Services

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

For Britain, the “EU Question” and immigration are linked: The surge to leave the EU is growing.

Great Britain to leave the EU in 2017? Why not now?

The recent announcement that Britain will take some 20,000 Syrian refugees during the term of the current parliament, whilst in itself hardly a ‘swarm’ in the grand scheme of things, it nevertheless shows that when pushed, our government have a tendency to buckle under the strain of EU diktat. Granted that Germany have absorbed a considerable number of these displaced peoples recently, but they have more room to accommodate them and, given the relatively low birth rate amongst indigenous German’s the argument seems to be that these people can be utilized productively. ‘Cheap labour’ in other words, which is precisely that status ‘enjoyed’ by Turkish immigrants in Germany for decades.

Al Umayyad Mosque - Damascus

This column writer has a particular affection for Syria by virtue of a fairly brief but quite dramatic posting to Damascus some 16 years ago which involved conducting runway surveys on Syrian air facilities including Damascus International Airport. At the time and possibly since that occasion, this was the first instance where a Westerner had access to airside aviation facilities in Syria. A wholly unique experience that was not without drama! The historic sites were equally dramatic for different reasons.

Overall, one developed a feeling for the people many of whom had been and still were, a suppressed people under what has become the ‘dynastic kleptocracy’ of the Assad Regime. Assad senior was still in power in 1999: His death in June of 2000 brought his eldest son Bashir to the ‘throne’. Despite promising beginnings, things are now as we see them and with the dubious assistance of Moscow, Syria burns and millions are fleeing from their ancestral homes perhaps never to return.

If we accept that these people have a vital need to re-settle, not all those surging towards the west are so well intentioned. There is a very real danger that Da’esh (IS/ISIL) will infiltrate those fleeing to the perceived nirvana of the western world, with their own ‘murder cells’ intent on wreaking havoc within the shores of Europe and Great Britain. To this end, it is wise that the government have decided to continue to take people who are already in established camps in Turkey rather than adopting some form of selection process at Calais where you simply could not know what you are going to end up with! It is furthermore the case, as we have seen in Eastern Europe of late, that whole armies of young men are attempting to swarm westward and it is highly unlikely that these are fleeing for their lives; indeed, some might have committed dreadful crimes themselves and are escaping their just punishment!

That such numbers are propelling themselves in our direction is hugely concerning, the human catastrophe notwithstanding. These people are not going to ‘fit in’ here; intuitively, they ‘hate’ the West largely because they have been taught to do so and many will wish to destroy us from within. The sight of minarets across the Thames at London and the imposition of Sharia Law are spectres that many will espouse as good enough reasons to deny entry. It is not an unreasonable fear to hold. Surely there are Muslim countries closer to where these refugees are running from that should accommodate them? What, for example is Saudi Arabia doing for these folk? Compared to Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey – precisely nothing and this needs to be addressed and soon, at UN level.

In the meantime, the campaign for Britain to leave the EU is growing a-pace and this movement is enthusiastically supported by this column. Ironically, the migrant question is unwittingly fanning the fire favourably towards the NO-Vote and despite what those clever pollsters may like to think, it is highly likely that those of us who are patriots and who despise our country being governed by an unelected foreign entity – the EU – will win the day in 2017. We will NOT, despite the Europhiles protestations otherwise, lose any trade or business opportunities at all but on the contrary, as we will have chosen the Open Seas (as endorsed by Winston Churchill) we will secure even more non-EU, international trade. “Trade at all Costs, but not at any price” has long been a mantra of this column and so it will continue.

To conclude, on April 25th 1968, a speech was made by a certain politician in Birmingham. It was to pass into the annals of history more for its press-induced infamy than the prophetic statement that it was. The words uttered were right for the times and they resonate now:

“Looking forward, I am filled with much foreboding. I am like the Roman viewing the River Tiber foaming with much blood”


Chris Green

Besparmak Media Services

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

The battle for Great Britain is over: ‘War’ with the EU has begun.

In the heady period since the Conservative party pulled off their unexpected but much-needed victory in the British General Election on May 9th 2015, the political scene has undergone significant changes at the cost of one or two key scalps; in other words certain well-known MP’s lost their seats perhaps never to be seen again. 

The natural party of fiscal competence and managerial ability, now unencumbered by their former coalition partners the weak, left-leaning Lib Dems, are now able to govern the country without the handbrake being randomly yanked upwards by way of intervention. More crucially, we can now progress towards that which has been denied the British Electorate by successive governments, a referendum on continued membership of the accursed European Union. This column will join others in aggressively supporting the OUT campaign.

The Labour party whose former leader (for want of a more accurate expression) Ed Milliband is now dining alone on his favoured bacon sandwiches, whilst the party machine busies itself in the task of finding a replacement. Veteran hard-Left Wing Jeremy Corbyn has thrown his red hat into the ring at the 11th hour just to add a further entertainment factor into this circus, for not one of the candidates are even remotely statesman-like nor competent. This is good news for the Tories who, if they perform well over the next five years, will renew the tenancy and retain the leys to Number 10 Downing Street for the foreseeable future. 

The Liberal Democrats however are now extinct, something that this column predicted would be the case many times during the past year or so. UKIP despite having polled millions of votes were victims of our electoral system but hey ho, we needed a Tory government and thankfully we got one. We now need to further stabilise the economy and also to hopefully prepare for life unfettered from governance by an unelected foreign entity, the EU.

Across the straits of Dover beyond Calais, which itself is clogged by the worlds unwashed and unwanted -the economic migrants who view Great Britain as the land flowing with milk and honey and who will do anything to set foot here- the EU hierarchy are reeling at the prospect of the inevitable debt default that will be perpetrated by Greece. The EU, in particular France and Germany who were key at ushering Greece into the EEC in 1981, only have themselves to blame.
They knew that the then government in Athens had cooked what passes for their books to enter the EU, but the aforementioned nations were keen to supply military hardware to Greece who at that time and probably still now, harbour thoughts of competing militarily with Turkey. Witness that in 1974, Greek and Greek Cypriot Coalition militia were virtually destroyed by the Turkish Intervention forces in respect of Cyprus, the defeated Greeks were still smarting in the early ‘80’s. Similar perfidy applied when Greece entered the Euro Zone and they have been basically proffering their many and various begging bowls ever since. 

Ironically, the much-vaunted Grexit once it has happened will play into Britain’s hands for Germany in particular does not want to lose the UK as EU members nor the net contribution that we make. If cards are played cannily, treaty change is a strong possibility. That said, Prime Minister Cameron is intuitively pro-EU and his EU counter-parts know this very well. This reality could be our ‘Achilles heel’ to make use deliberately, of a Greek analogy.

Back in Britain, with a guaranteed fixed term of government, the ruling party has much to do. They do not enjoy that much of a majority and the SNP hooligans who have invaded former Labour benches are more than just an invasion of rabble-rousing; they will use their 50+ votes cannily, of that there should be no doubt. Nevertheless, the Tories have already suggested ways to strengthen their position by preventing the Unions from financing the Labour Party. This column would go far further by way of a windfall tax on all union assets to the tune of say 40%, the proceeds of which once collected could be transferred to the NHS.

Surely the union grandees could hardly object given that they are constantly bleating on that the NHS is under threat under a Tory government, whilst conveniently forgetting the enthusiastic manner that PFI was introduced to run our hospitals under the Bliar/Brown era under Nu-Labour. In the perhaps unlikely event that these initiatives were to be introduced, both the unions and Labour would have their functionality nullified. Furthermore, if Mr Corbyn prevails in the Labour leadership campaign, we can expect a Tory government to remain in power for two or three terms, perhaps more.

In conclusion and as we have seen, the pollsters got it badly wrong in respect of predicting the outcome of the recent General Election. They are currently suggesting the OUT campaign will not poll well in the referendum. Well, we shall see, will we not! The signing of the Treaty of Lisbon and ceding the governance of our nation to an unelected foreign entity without a mandate was an act of High Treason. It is therefore our patriotic duty to vote OUT in 2017; to do otherwise is also treason.


Chris Green 

Beşparmak Media Services

Monday, 1 June 2015

Memories of VE Day (2015)

One Sunday morning recently, walking into the vestry of my local church, St Luke’s, Headless Cross (Redditch) in Worcestershire, a close friend and fellow member of our choir invited the writer to view that which she had published in our monthly magazine. So moving were her words, this column now shares them with the wider circle this column touches internationally.

Mrs Dorothy Marriott has become a close friend during the past 4 years or so, within the context of our local church and we have shared many thoughts, memories and reflections based on our mutual love of our church, our faith and liturgical music. We have had a few laughs too…

In a review of the monumental events of the recent VE Day memorial events, which moved so many of us, given the input of the diminishing ranks of those who were contemporary to the times, Dot has these lines to share…

Whilst I was watching V.E. Day 70 years celebrations on the television I was at times moved to tears and when the programme ended, I felt the need to write down what it has all meant to me.

 I was seventeen when I started working in a military hospital. After some initial training my boss decided to take me on his ward rounds to train me further in my chosen career. I shall never forget entering a ward of badly wounded service men who had been in tanks blown up by enemy fire. It was a very hot August that year and flies were crawling over their wired faces, as many had suffered fractured jaws and they were unable to flick the flies away.

Their arms were encased in bags of saline because of the burns caused by the blazing tanks. The smell of burnt flesh is also something that I shall never forget. In other wards there were wounded men so covered in bandages it was a problem to find some where to get a blood sample. Some wards men were there with horrific injuries and in other wards there were paralysed men with no hope of getting mobility back.

 Nevertheless their only thought was to get healed and return to the front and re-join their comrades. Many would laugh and joke with you. War is not glorious, which I fear is a mistaken impression some people feel when watching the parades. I view November Remembrance Sunday with mixed feelings and when we are asked to 'Remember them'- I do. Peace and love, Dot.

Reading and re-reading these anecdotes of events so long ago, but nevertheless seared into Dot’s lovely heart, one could be moved to tears. Apparently some people have been so moved and understandably so. Mrs Marriott (Dot) is surrounded by a close-knit family and furthermore is the current ‘head honcho’ of the local Mothers Union. 

For obvious reasons, one cannot publish a lady’s age, but she is a week or two older than this columnist! She works indefatigably in all she does in a myriad of activities that she pursues, not least singing Soprano in our Church choir. (Yours truly at 57 is the youngest of all of the regular members!... So humbling)

Knowledge is nothing if it is not shared: Dot has shared, in the most succinct and concise sense, strong emotions that mean a lot to her. Deeply moving emotions that must at times trouble her mind: Suffering and strife are not mutually exclusive to World War II of course, nor to earlier conflicts. For example, the only year in the 20th century when a British Soldier was not lost to attrition was 1968. 

We continue to be hugely extended militarily now, thanks to arguably the paucity of political leadership that prevails, ad nausea. Our troops simply do not have the budget commitments that even the appeasement government of 1938 allowed the MOD. Scandalous!

God bless you Dot darling… and thank you….


Chris Green 

Beşparmak Media Services

Monday, 23 February 2015

The Gas-Dream is over – Greek Cyprus looking to Iran?

An Oil and Gas Industry professional source close to this columnist, who is based variously between Turkish Cyprus and Iran, recently encountered an official of the Office of the Minister coordinating Investments and Energy Affairs, in the Iranian Embassy in South Cyprus. He, the Greek Cypriot official, was queuing for a visa prequel – apparently - to flying to Tehran for a meeting with his Iranian counter-parts in the related industry field. Quite what was going on exactly is not yet available to be published, but the question perhaps is, are the GCs considering buying in Oil and Gas from Iran, or are they seeking investments in the Iranian Oilfields? Either way it could be seen as more than just a tacit admission that the great Cypriot Oil and Gas bonanza was just a pipe dream. Contacts in Iran will perhaps know of whatever bi-lateral initiatives might be underway and this will likely leak into this column in due time.

As has been observed in analogous articles in this column of late, it would be a truly justice-laden irony if in fact it was a joint Turkish/Turkish Cypriot initiative that was to discover the sub-marine liquid gold, rather than GC/France/Israel for as we know, Total are not continuing with their exploratory activities at the moment although this may have as much to do with the collapse of the international price of oil as anything else. There could of course be far more here than meets the eye, for in as much as Greek Cyprus may be courting Iranian investment so too might the South Cyprus regime be seeking to import Iranian products, oil gas or otherwise. Quite what Washington will make of this is another thing of course given that the sanction-drivers have been primarily Republican USA historically.

The detail of delivery, either of physical products or financial investments, would be devilish indeed. Sanctions mean that a highly convoluted method would have to be employed in bringing oil/gas to Cyprus unless Turkey is involved. The same could apply in respect of financial transfers either by way of gold or other minerals as currency transfers could not, in theory take place and it is pretty unlikely that Turkey is at all likely to ‘play ball’ unless there is something in it for them such as a settlement on Cyprus, for example. The latter is virtually unthinkable in the current climate and in any event, the South Cyprus regime is rightly not recognised by Ankara. The raising of anti-Iranian sanctions is a prospect, not a certainty.

As alluded to in a recent article which was entitled Greek Cyprus – the ‘Prostitute’ of the Eastern Mediterranean, the ‘irritation’ to the south of the Green Line appear now to be ‘street walking’ in Tehran, so desperate are they to shore up what passes for an economy in their province. The EU has stumped up piles of cash, but they do want it back at some stage and Nicosia, like their elder siblings in Athens do not like having to actually adhere to the terms of the deal. Moscow too has waded in but also with terms that could see neo-Soviet vessels and aircraft in South Cyprus, something that can only add to the instability of the region. If Greek Cyprus really is courting Tehran, this is seriously going to irritate Tel Aviv and the Israeli’s are fairly active in Cyprus too. The issues of gas are indeed ‘electric’!

That a rapprochement with Iran is a matter of common-sense and could promote the re-stabilisation of the region is a given to those of us who understand why. Ham-fisted and one-sided attempts by Greek Cyprus to engage with those who are still somewhat ‘outside the temple’ could damage the work that is being done in this respect. Desperate people are apt to opt for taking desperate measures. Queuing up for a visa for what is hardly going to be for touristy reasons seems to indicate quite how desperate the government of the state of South Cyprus has become. A deal on Cyprus could and should materially improve the lot of both sides of the Cyprus Diaspora. There is simply none as blind as those who absolutely refuse to see!


Chris Green

Beşparmak Media Services

Thursday, 12 February 2015

Greek Cyprus – the ‘Prostitute’ of the Eastern Mediterranean

Possible locations for Russian Air-Bases in south Cyprus

Greek Cyprus has announced the country is ready to host Russia at its aviation and naval bases, marking a split with its fellow EU members, whom are in a deep conflict with Moscow over the Russian military activities in Ukraine, which has led to a violent insurgency within the country. Nato member France, and Israel in particular, both demand access to the airbase in question which is known as Andreas Papandreou Airbase, which was constructed by the southern Cypriot government jointly with Greece. 

Needless to say, this has drawn marked disquiet from Britain and other EU members but for differing reasons. That Greek Cyprus (and Greece) is aligning themselves ever more closely with Moscow has to be a cause of major concern. Their separate and conjoint raison d'être of course is Russian money; in effect, they are once again selling themselves to Russia.

Cyprus historically is an island of huge strategic importance and since time immemorial the island has been fought over, conquered, lost, traded and ultimately divided for that reason. Turkey’s continued military presence is not just to provide security to Turkish Cypriots, while Britain’s presence since 1878 is not wholly in fulfilling her role as a Guarantor Power of the arguably defunct Republic of Cyprus either. It is for strategic purposes primarily and this is also the reason that Russia and Israel want to gain a military foothold there. South Cyprus will let them too – in return for cash, of course. 

As yet, we have not heard a reaction from Ankara as to Turkey’s position on a Russian military presence so close to her coastline. Syria is only 100 miles away too and whilst Russia already have a deep-water port there, airbases on Cyprus will further aid Moscow’s regional ambitions which are a part of Putin’s expansionist policies.

Putting Britain’s case, top British envoy, the British High Commissioner to Cyprus, Damian Roberick Todd who has already had spats with south Nicosia over the gas exploration ‘crisis’ in the region, has highlighted the position of the EU in relation to Russia and the actions of south Cyprus are out of line with voted EU decisions. As ever, south Cyprus ‘olive-pick’ the pieces of the EU that suit it and ignore those that it does not such as austerity measures that are in place because of the fiscal incompetence of the Greek Cypriots. The latter is reflected in Athens too where the newly elected government are not only tearing up the wholly vital austerity regime there, but also aligning closely with Moscow. There is surely a case for suspending the EU membership of both Greece and their cultural siblings, Greek-Cyprus.

South-Cyprus have flirted with Russia in search of soft loans in recent times, although in 2013 when Greek Cypriot Finance Minister Michael Sarris visited Moscow to sell his and his state’s soul to the Russians, when air bases were then on offer, the Russians did not fall for his dubious charms. His dance did not entice nor lure the Muscovite lucre; what was on offer was not juicy enough. Now the south-Nicosia ‘pole-dancers’ are weaving their sordid art once again with similar financial ambitions. This time the Russians are ‘crawling along the Greek-Cypriot kerbs’ because circumstances are now much changed.

By way of its proxy on Cyprus, the socialist Akel Party, Russians have always been active in Cyprus diplomacy and local politics. There are some who will claim that the July 15 Greek induced ‘Colonels Coup’ against Archbishop Makarios, as well as the July 20, 1974 Turkish intervention that the coup triggered, were both a part of a concerted effort to prevent the island from drifting towards the Soviet camp. Furthermore, a Russian military presence in terms of aircraft will inevitably bring both supply and naval vessels too. There is also a Greek-Cyprus/Israeli defence agreement in place since 2010 so how will that be affected?

Whatever the outcome of south-Cyprus ‘street-walking’, the one certain thing is that Turkish Cypriot isolation will be no closer to ending for Moscow has traditionally backed the Greek-Cypriot cause. Cyprus is rammed with Russians now in both the north and the south of the island and no doubt influence much in commercial terms at least in general. One can only imagine that Turkey may bolster her forces in Northern Cyprus to enhance her own security. Dangerous times indeed on the ‘island of tears’.


Chris Green

Beşparmak Media Services