Category Archives: Articles

Houthi militia risk dragging America into a new global war

Article published in The Daily Telegraph, 5 December 2023. © Richard Kemp

The West has allowed a new Al Qaida armed with ballistic missiles to form under its very eyes. After their post-9/11 neutralisation in Afghanistan, the greatest fear of the US and its allies was that it would re-emerge under the protection and with the support of another state, possibly acquiring weapons of mass destruction. Indeed, a potential alliance between Bin Laden and Saddam Hussein was one of the main drivers of the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

That same nightmare scenario now exists with the Houthis. They have seized control over much of Yemen’s state apparatus. They are sponsored by Iran, which funds them and has armed them with ballistic and cruise missiles and attack drones, some with ranges exceeding 2,000 kilometres – the operational distance to Israeli territory – as well as anti-ship missiles, remote controlled maritime attack vessels and sea mines.

Since mid October the Houthis have been firing drones and missiles at Israel in ‘solidarity’ with Iran’s other proxies, Hamas and Islamic Jihad. On the 31st a ballistic missile was intercepted by the IDF’s Arrow air defence system above the Earth’s atmosphere, marking the first ever example of warfare in space. Since the Gaza war began the Houthis have been attacking shipping in the Red Sea, some with apparent Israeli links.

This is by no means the first time the Houthis have attacked international commercial shipping: in 2016, they attempted to strike two US warships in the Red Sea. They’ve also launched multiple drone and missile strikes against Saudi Arabia and the UAE, some causing significant destruction.

The most recent Houthi attacks were against the USS Carney and several commercial vessels on Sunday. This was a narrow miss: if the American warship had been hit, the West could have been dragged into further conflict. That of course remains a distinct possibility unless the Houthis can be deterred or de-fanged. And then of course there is the immense damage that these attacks are doing to global trade, with the Red Sea providing a vital maritime transit route connecting the Suez Canal to the Indian Ocean.

All of that brings into sharp focus a wider Western strategic naivety in the region. Much of the blame lies at the door of Joe Biden. Soon after he took office, without any apparent thought for the geopolitical implications, he de-listed the Houthis as a foreign terrorist organisation; largely, it must be assumed, because his nemesis Donald Trump proscribed them in the first place. Continue reading

Israel is now attacking the true Hamas stronghold

Article published in The Daily Telegraph, 1 December 2023. © Richard Kemp

After a Hamas rocket launch broke the seven day ceasefire, Israel has now returned to the fight, bombing terrorist targets in Gaza and attacking on the ground. Unless the humanitarian truce is resumed, the IDF has unfinished business to complete in Gaza City and is also attacking Khan Yunis further south.

This city is a major Hamas stronghold. The terrorists will have used the pause in fighting to improve their defences and prepare sniper positions, mines and explosive booby traps. It is likely that Hamas’s leader in Gaza, Yahya Sinwar, is holed up there in the underground tunnel network, along with thousands of terrorists. The IDF also believe that many of the remaining 140 hostages are being held in the city. Along with killing the terrorists, rescuing them will be the highest priority.

This is likely to be a tougher fight than the combat around Gaza city, because many Hamas terrorists, rather than fight a losing battle in the north, retreated there for what may be their last stand. Also because vast numbers of civilians moved south to escape the fighting in the north. The IDF has already made thousands of phone calls and text messages, and dropped leaflets warning them to leave, even air dropping maps showing safer areas to move to. Many however will not leave, and Hamas will do their best to force as many as they can to stay as human shields.

That is going to present the greatest challenge for the IDF. Clearly, as always, for moral as well as legal reasons, they will do all they can to minimise civilian casualties. Not only that, but also the greater the civilian casualties, the greater the pressure from the US to cease hostilities.

The US has also piled yet more demands on the IDF. According to leaked reports from Anthony Blinken’s meeting with the Israeli war cabinet on Thursday, he was told that eradication of Hamas may take months. His extraordinary response was: ‘I don’t think you have the credit for that.’ Blinken’s public remarks also suggested that the clock was ticking for Israel’s war. This puts the IDF in a Catch-22 position. The speedier the operation the greater the likelihood not only of more civilian casualties but also more Israeli military casualties.

The totally unreasonable pressure for a rapid conclusion of hostilities has been applied by the US since the beginning, even in the immediate aftermath of 7th October. A few days ago, Biden perversely tweeted that continuing the war means giving Hamas what they want, and ‘we can’t do that’. He sent Blinken to Israel to try to extend the ceasefire, which he failed to do.

Bringing a so-called peace to Gaza might be politically advantageous for Joe Biden, with both his eyes on the electoral calendar, but it is strategically irresponsible. If Hamas is not destroyed it will continue Continue reading

Duplicitous Joe Biden is forcing an Israeli surrender

Article published in The Daily Telegraph, 27 November 2023. © Richard Kemp

Joe Biden is no friend of Israel. His constant appeasement of Tehran and blatant distancing from Jerusalem – even refusing to invite Netanyahu to the White House – as well as his feeble responses to Iranian-sponsored attacks against US forces in the region, have only weakened the Israeli government’s hand in fighting terrorism.

His dispatch of two carrier strike groups to the region to deter Iran was recognition that these blunders had brought the Middle East towards a much wider conflict. It was also an effort to restrain Israel from taking the law into its own hands against Iran and its proxies by trying to give the impression that the US was ready to do the dirty work if needed. Some hope of that!

After his visit to Jerusalem at the start of the war, Biden said: ‘My administration’s support for Israel’s security is rock solid and unwavering.’ It wasn’t long before his actions proved his duplicitousness. While saying publicly that Hamas had to be defeated, he began coercing Israel behind the scenes to stop short of achieving that goal. US collusion with Qatar, which has long harboured Hamas leaders, forced the Israeli war cabinet to agree a ceasefire in return for release of a few hostages.

Now the four day truce is expiring, Biden is pushing for an extension while still claiming to believe that eliminating Hamas remains a legitimate mission for Israel. He knows that the longer Israel’s attack on Hamas is paused for hostage release, the greater the likelihood that it will not be resumed. Hamas is reeling from six weeks of IDF assaults in the air and on the ground and all that can save them now is a permanent halt to Israeli operations.

They will continue to use their only two effective weapons to attempt to bring that about. The first is the hostages, and Hamas will try to drip feed further releases to buy themselves more time. The second is the civilian population of Gaza. If Israel does return to the fight, Hamas will ensure as many civilians as possible die to intensify international pressure on Israel. In that Biden is also their willing Continue reading

Too many want to believe Hamas’s hospital lies

Article published in The Daily Telegraph, 20 November 2023. © Richard Kemp

Hamas uses hospitals and other protected places like schools and mosques for terrorist purposes. Since 2006, when the terror group took over the Gaza Strip, we have seen report after report showing just that.

Back then, an American Public Broadcasting Service documentary showed Hamas gunmen prowling the corridors of Al-Shifa Hospital, intimidating staff and denying access to protected areas. In 2014, a Washington Post journalist reported that the hospital ‘has become a de facto headquarters for Hamas leaders’. In 2015, Amnesty International said that Hamas interrogated and tortured prisoners in Al-Shifa.

Yet since Israel launched its ground invasion of Gaza, this has suddenly come into question. IDF explanations for raids into civilian buildings, especially hospitals, have been treated with disbelief and even hostility. This is despite CCTV images of hostages being rushed around the Al-Shifa hospital, and evidence of a tunnel leading underground from within the complex. Captured Hamas terrorists have confirmed the use of hospitals for their terrorist cause and even Yahya Sinwar, the leader of Hamas in Gaza, admitted in a speech in 2021 that the group used civilian infrastructure for military purposes.

Chief among those questioning what ought to be clear facts, inevitably, has been the BBC and its international editor, Jeremy Bowen. After the IDF displayed weapons seized at Al-Shifa, he gave an on-air diatribe implying that this was not convincing evidence that Hamas had a base in the hospital. He even suggested the pile of weapons could belong to the ‘security department’. Perhaps it is a coincidence that Bowen’s claim directly echoed the words of a senior Hamas terrorist on Al Jazeera two days earlier.

US intelligence confirms Al-Shifa has been used as a military headquarters. But terminology used by the White House national security spokesman, John Kirby, that it housed a command ‘node’ rather than a command centre as the Israelis described it, suggests a desire to underplay its significance. It’s hard to understand such Continue reading

Sky News’s Kay Burley pushes anti Israel messaging

Article published by,  23 November 2023. © Richard Kemp

I’ve never before heard such an outrageous question asked on British mainstream media in any context. On Thursday Sky News presenter Kay Burley put it to Israeli government spokesman Eylon Levy that the planned release of 150 Palestinian prisoners in exchange for just 50 hostages shows that ‘Israel does not think that Palestinian lives are valued as highly as Israeli lives’. She claimed that an unnamed ‘hostage negotiator’ had suggested that to her.

Hearing this rubbish reminded me immediately of an account by Israeli writer and former soldier Hen Mazzig, who in 2013 was monstrously told by a female university professor in America: ‘You IDF soldiers don’t rape Palestinians because Israelis are so racist and disgusted by them that you won’t touch them.’

Even if Burley’s hostage negotiator actually exists, why on earth would she repeat such a demented proposition live on national TV? There can only be one explanation and that is a desire to humiliate Levy and sow the seeds of Israeli racism into the minds of her viewers. That would be true to form for this channel, whose reports about the Gaza war have been constantly skewed against Israel.

Examples are too numerous to recount here, but just from memory (and I watch as little of Sky News as I can), earlier this month Burley blatantly misquoted Article 51 of the Geneva Conventions in an attempt to persuade viewers that Israel was guilty of war crimes. And another interviewer categorically denied that some anti-Israel protest organizers in the UK had connections with Hamas despite the fact that such links have been definitively proven.

Sky is of course not alone; Israel derangement syndrome is a common sickness among much of the British media. After an explosion occurred in the parking lot of the Al Ahli hospital in Gaza last month, without evidence the BBC immediately accused Israel of bombing it. Their correspondent in Israel, John Donnison, said he couldn’t think of any other possible cause than ‘an Israeli airstrike or several airstrikes’. Continue reading

Armistice Day protests: comment

Article published in The Daily Express, 16 November 2023. © Richard Kemp

The protesters who contemptuously stamped their boots all over the Royal Artillery memorial in London on Wednesday night would no doubt be the first to be outraged if anyone treated with such disrespect the objects and places they hold sacred.

Similarly, at Armistice Day events in London last Saturday, anti-Israel protesters climbed, and hung Palestinian flags on, at least two other war memorials.

This is no coincidence. Their vile behaviour is neither ignorant nor accidental.

It is a deliberate insult to the British values represented by these statues.

These are not just public works of art, they are sacred memorials to honour the best in our society, the men and women who fought and died to preserve our way of life.

People who gave everything they had and everything they would ever have so that others might live in safety and freedom.

They fought against the same fascist ideology that is represented by the pro-Hamas supporters that brandish their flags and chant ‘jihad’ and ‘from the river to the sea’, calling for holy war on our streets and the annihilation of Israel, one of Britain’s democratic allies.

The Home Secretary is talking about changing the law to protect war memorials from such defilement.

We have not needed such laws in the past.

The fact that we seem to need them today is a terrible indictment of the divisions in our society between those who respect British values and those who hold them in such utter contempt.

Clambering over these memorials is only one of the symptoms of these divisions that have been amplified in the weeks following Hamas’s massacre of innocent Israelis on October 7.

Week after week we have seen hundreds of thousands protesting against Israel’s defence of its people from murderous terrorist gangs.

Among their number, there have been supporters of terrorism as well as those who wish to intimidate members of the Jewish community, many of whom are now living in fear.

The Government needs to pay attention to these deeply troubling signs which will require much more far-reaching measures than changing the law on war memorials.

Israel isn’t struggling in Gaza. It’s winning a rapid victory

Article published in The Daily Telegraph, 10 November 2023. © Richard Kemp

The Israel Defence Forces have been attacking Hamas in Gaza from land, sea and air for two weeks now, following a three-week air campaign. Before ground operations began, US military advisers urged the Israelis not to launch a large-scale campaign, which they believed would result in an IDF bloodbath – and be less effective than a combination of air strikes and special forces raids. The IDF rejected that advice, and moved into Gaza with a large combined arms force. And it has confounded its critics.

The IDF has exceeded even its own commanders’ expectations with the speed and the extent of Hamas’s destruction. It has encircled Gaza City and is assaulting terrorist strongholds, killing large numbers of fighters including key commanders, smashing command posts and gaining valuable intelligence, while its forces have sustained fewer casualties than anticipated.

This is highly impressive. When Hamas launched its massacre of Israelis on October 7, it knew that retribution would follow and prepared the ground in detail for exactly what is happening now. Cities are the toughest environment to fight in, especially when on the attack, with innumerable rat-runs, covered fire positions, and concealment for booby-traps, command-detonated explosive charges, snipers and ambushes. As the Russians found out last year, tanks and armoured personnel carriers are particularly vulnerable to short-range anti-armour missiles.

The vast tunnel network that Hamas has constructed beneath Gaza represents another element of extreme danger. But in a neat metaphor for its operation, the IDF is simply avoiding entering tunnels wherever possible, preferring instead to detonate or collapse them from above ground.

Just as Hamas almost certainly exceeded its own expectations in its initial assault, it probably also underestimated the ferocity of Israel’s response. Although the IDF hasn’t yet located and killed the top level terrorist commanders, there are signs that Hamas is now under enormous pressure. Rocket launches from Gaza are at the lowest Continue reading

Ukraine has blown its best chance to defeat Putin

Article published in The Sunday Telegraph, 24 October 2023. © Richard Kemp

Ukraine’s counter offensive had to achieve strategic breakthrough against Russian defences or inflict sufficient attrition to cause a collapse of enemy forces while at the same time energising Western countries to maintain their support. That had to be accomplished before the winter rains set in and armoured manoeuvre became unsustainable. Well, we’re there now and there has been no such breakthrough or attrition.

Nor are any such successes on the cards. Rather, the counter offensive is atrophying towards deadlock, with no prospect of penetrating Russia’s heavily fortified defences with current military capabilities. Even this may be an optimistic view, with Russia undoubtedly preparing its own offensive against a worn-down Ukrainian army.

Of course, the hard truth is that the counter offensive could have succeeded if the US and European countries had stepped up to the plate. They failed to do so, providing only enough military aid to keep Ukraine fighting but nowhere near enough to secure victory against such a powerful enemy. Every step has been marked by procrastination and heel-dragging reluctance to give Ukraine the tools it needed to finish the job.

For example, after months of indecision, it was only in October that the US eventually supplied the long-range ATACMS missiles that could have been decisive if sent in earlier. F16 fighter planes that would have multiplied Ukrainian combat power still remain a distant vision.

Lying behind this abject failure was a successful Russian campaign of deterrence. At a time when bold action was essential, Moscow’s threats of escalation were met instead with timidity and dread. Washington prioritised avoiding retaliation over Ukrainian victory. The ATACMS are a case in point. Biden feared Putin’s wrath if he supplied Ukraine with weapons that could hit Russian territory. Yet, showing the emptiness of his threats, when ATACMS were first used last month, Putin played them down, claiming the weapons ‘cannot change the situation on the front lines’. Continue reading

Any disruption to Armistice Day would be an affront to British values

Article published in The Sun, 3 November 2023. © Richard Kemp

Armistice Day on November 11 and Remembrance Sunday the following day are dignified national commemorations — among the most solemn days in our calendar.

They must not be hijacked by supporters of any cause no matter how important they think it is.

Any disruption to Armistice Day is an affront to British values.

It also directly insults the one million British soldiers, sailors and airmen who gave everything they had and would ever have fighting and dying for our country in the First World War.

That includes soldiers from the Commonwealth countries.

In these ceremonies we show our eternal respect and gratitude for people of all religions, including Christians, Jews, Sikhs and Muslims.

As well as military and political leaders and veterans, clergymen and people of all faiths and cultures take part in honouring them.

We owe our freedom and democracy to those who died — including the right to free speech and peaceful protest.

It is up to every individual whether they choose to wear a poppy — or whether to take part in our national remembrance.

But it’s not up to individuals or groups to interfere with those who do wish to do so.

Any disruption to Armistice Day is an affront to British values.

It also directly insults the one million British soldiers, sailors and airmen who gave everything they had and would ever have fighting and dying for our country in the First World War.

That includes soldiers from the Commonwealth countries.

In these ceremonies we show our eternal respect and gratitude for people of all religions, including Christians, Jews, Sikhs and Muslims. Continue reading

Biden must not betray Israel

Article published in The Daily Telegraph, 1 November 2023. © Richard Kemp

As Israel launched a major ground offensive against Hamas last week, the UN General Assembly overwhelmingly passed an Arab-initiated resolution to deny Israel’s right to self-defence following the horrific assault on October 7. While refusing to name Hamas as the aggressor, the UN called for an immediate ‘humanitarian truce leading to a cessation of hostilities’.

That is nothing less than a policy of appeasement which both Israel and the US have rightly rejected. What does a cessation of hostilities actually mean? Does it mean negotiation, dialogue and compromise? Of course not. Hamas is a jihadist organisation, dedicated to the destruction of the State of Israel and, like ISIS, the establishment of an Islamic caliphate in which Jews are either killed, expelled or subjugated. Does it mean Hamas laying down its arms? Absolutely not. Hamas fanatics can only fight to win, die fighting or escape to fight another day.

No, a cessation of hostilities can only mean Israel withdrawing back behind its borders, leaving Hamas to rebuild the military capability it used to such inhuman and devastating effect three weeks ago, and to replenish the 7,500+ missiles that have been fired at Israel’s civilian population over the last three weeks. In other words, exactly what happened after Jerusalem agreed to a ceasefire following each of the previous four rounds of fighting in Gaza since Hamas took control in 2006.

After October 7, Israel can no longer tolerate that. No country could. The only option is to fight Hamas and its fellow Gaza terrorists until it destroys their ability to attack its people again. There is no doubt about how hard and bloody that will be: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has described it as Israel’s second war of independence. It is an existential fight and if there is any compromise now, Israel will cease to exist in its current form: a country that can defend its people and its territory.

Israel must defend itself not only against Hamas but also its paymasters and military quartermasters in Tehran. Time and again the Iranian ayatollahs have made clear their intention to annihilate Continue reading