Armed Conflicts
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The British have the Cypriots unaware of flights from their bases to Israel - Secret agreement or colonial behaviour?


In a recent article, we reported on the shipment of military vehicles, weapons, equipment and ammunition from the US Inchirlik Base in Turkey by airplanes to a British Base in Cyprus and from there to Israel.

The British do not inform the Cypriot government of flights from their bases in support of Israel in the war against Hamas

However the UK, so far, has not informed the Cypriots about the use of the Cape in support of Israel's bombing of Gaza, International Media points out, citing:

"A British MP recently said that secret US flights from the RAF base at Akrotiri to help Israel bomb Gaza could make Cyprus a "target for terrorism".

Cypriot President Nicos Christodoulides is reportedly not aware of the island's key role in supporting Israel's bombing of Gaza.



The British bases in Cyprus

The UK's major air base in Cyprus, at Akrotiri, has long been the staging post for British bombing campaigns in the Middle East and is located 180 miles from Tel Aviv.

The flight time from Cyprus to Israel is just 40 minutes.

Britain has two "Sovereign Base Areas" in Cyprus - known as Dhekelia in the east of the island and Akrotiri in the west - which are large, top-secret military and intelligence installations, comprising 3% of the island's land area.

Cypriots certainly have the right to know what operations are being carried out from their island

James Heappey, the UK Defence Secretary, told parliament this week: "The Ministry of Defence (MoD) routinely works with the Republic of Cyprus (RoC) on matters relating to the Sovereign Base Areas."

He added: "This includes, where appropriate, informing RoC of flights to and from the RAF base at Akrotiri, although there is no formal requirement to do so."

The information came to light following a parliamentary question from Kenny MacAskill MP, who said:

"It is a British 'sovereign base' but it is located in Cyprus, which is both a sovereign nation and a seeming ally. This lack of any formal mechanism for sharing information about UK and US activity on the island is not only offensive to Cypriots and Cyprus, but potentially puts them at risk."

MacAskill, a former Scottish Justice Minister, added: "Surely they should have the right to know what operations are being carried out from their island. However, these UK and US military actions are being undertaken without any need for consultation with Cypriots, even though it could make them a target for terrorism."

Over 30 military flights were made from the Cape base to Tel Aviv

It was recently revealed that over 30 military transport flights, operated by the RAF, had flown from the RAF Cape base in Tel Aviv since the bombing of Gaza began.

However, Cypriot government spokesman Konstantinos Letibiotis told the Cyprus Mail that he had not received any information about the flights.

Cypriot President Nicos Christodoulides was also asked about it at a press conference and said: "There is no such information, our country cannot be used as a base for military operations."

Britain is also using the Cape to launch surveillance flights with Shadow R1 aircraft over Gaza, apparently to gather intelligence that could help rescue British hostages held by Palestinian groups.

Hamas condemned the flights, saying they made Britain "responsible for the massacres to which our Palestinian people are being subjected".

Secret US flights

For its part, the US Department of Defense also did not respond to multiple requests for information and comment on its activity in the Cape.

MacAskill said: "As well as ignoring the sovereignty of Cyprus, the UK has given up sovereignty of its own military base. It seems that the Americans can do what they like and there is nothing we can do about it," adding, "that the Foreign Office can tell us the number of flights the RAF has made to Israel but refuses to reveal what the Americans are doing is perverse."

Secret deal or colonial behaviour?

In politics it is well known that there are things that are done and not said.

The response of the British MoD that his Ministry cooperates systematically with the Republic of Cyprus on issues related to the bases, adding that this includes, where necessary, informing the Republic of Cyprus about flights to and from the RAF base at Akrotiri, although there is no official requirement to do so, is indicative.

Interpreting it, we would say that it translates either into the existence of a secret agreement, or as a sign of colonial behaviour, with our assessment being in the first version, since the US-UK Cyprus-Israel are allied countries, so Cyprus' tacit consent serves everyone




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