‘Warped priorities’ killed 19 Iranian sailors in missile accident

A view of warships during joint Iran-Russia-China naval drills in the Indian Ocean and the Gulf of Oman. (File/AFP)
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Updated 12 May 2020

‘Warped priorities’ killed 19 Iranian sailors in missile accident

  • The nave said the incident occurred during a naval exercise in the Gulf of Oman on Sunday

DUBAI: Warped priorities in Iran’s military policy contributed to the deaths of 19 sailors in a “friendly fire” incident in the Gulf of Oman, analysts told Arab News on Monday.

One Iranian warship accidentally struck another with a missile during an exercise on Sunday, Iran’s navy admitted.
The frigate Jamaran fired at a training target released by a support ship, the Konarak, but the support ship stayed too close to the target and was hit. Along with the 19 dead, 15 sailors were injured.
Dr. Theodore Karasik, a senior adviser to Gulf State Analytics in Washington, told Arab News it was important to note that the incident involved the regular Iranian Navy, and not naval forces of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.
“The IRGC is different in capability and capacity,” Karasik said. “This was a training exercise for the Iranian Navy, and the friendly fire attack is illustrative of training issues. It’s about manpower, training time and equipment.
“Instead of focusing on a capable military that can protect the Iranian state, the regime chooses to focus on militia activity, drones, and the development of ballistic and cruise missiles.”

FASTFACT

The bungled training exercises raised new questions about the readiness of Iranian armed forces.

Sunday’s incident took place at a time of heightened tensions between Iran and the US since 2018, when the US withdrew from the 2015 nuclear deal between major powers and Iran, and Washington reimposed sanctions on Tehran.
Animosity deepened in early January when a US drone strike in Baghdad killed top Iranian warlord Qassem Soleimani. Iran retaliated on Jan. 8 by firing missiles at US military bases in Iraq. Later that day, IRGC forces shot down a Ukrainian airliner, killing all 176 people aboard, in what the military later admitted was a mistake.
Many of those killed aboard the airliner were Iranian and postings on social media on Monday drew comparisons between the two incidents.
“Until when does the Islamic Republic want to play with the lives of Iranians?” Sedighe Taheri wrote on Twitter.


Debate rages over Turkey’s surging pandemic numbers

Pedestrians, wearing face masks, walk in a street of Ankara on November 20, 2020. (AFP)
Updated 24 November 2020

Debate rages over Turkey’s surging pandemic numbers

  • 20% of Israeli travelers to Turkey in October tested positive for coronavirus on their return
  • No PCR test is required now in Turkish airports for the passengers entering the country. It is a very big mistake

ANKARA: Unofficial sources have warned that numbers of COVID-19 cases in Turkey are skyrocketing.

The Turkish Medical Association (TTB) estimated that daily COVID-19 cases have risen to more than 47,500, of which about 12,500 are in Istanbul. This would represent a 300 percent increase in November compared to the month before.

According to official data, however, Turkey recorded 5,103 new COVID-19 patients on Nov. 20 — the second highest new daily figure since March — and its highest daily death toll with 141 fatalities.

Istanbul Mayor Ekrem Imamoglu announced that 186 people died from “infectious diseases” in the city on Nov. 22 — more than the official countrywide death toll. (The Turkish health ministry is accused of classifying some COVID-related deaths as "infection-related deaths")

The TTB, whose data drew on figures from 1,270 medics in 76 provinces, claimed that someone in Turkey dies from COVID-19 every 10 minutes. It declared that “they have lost control of the pandemic.”

Health Minister Fahrettin Koca previously admitted that they do not include everyone who tested positive for COVID-19 in the number of daily cases — they only count those who show symptoms. Following this admission Turkey was put on the UK’s quarantine-on-arrival list in early October.

BACKGROUND

Health Minister Fahrettin Koca previously admitted that they do not include everyone who tested positive for COVID-19 in the number of daily cases — they only count those who show symptoms.

Reports drawing on Israeli health ministry data say that 20 percent of Israeli travelers to Turkey in October tested positive for coronavirus on their return home, which experts consider a worryingly high figure.

Everyone arriving in Israel is obliged to self-isolate for 14 days. There is no such an obligation in Turkey.

“The countries which prove successful in managing the pandemic are those that apply strict quarantine rules and rigorously regulate arrivals in the country. But this is not the case in Turkey nowadays,” said Guner Sonmez, a radiologist from Uskudar University in Istanbul.

“Only one case can again trigger a whole chain of contagion and begin a new wave of pandemic. However, no PCR test is required now in Turkish airports for the passengers who enter the country. It is a very big mistake for managing the dynamics of the pandemic.”

Turkey recently re-introduced a partial evening curfew and restrictions on the weekends, although scientists have been urging a full 14-day lockdown.