Beyond the Cusp

September 18, 2014

Turkey Needs to Prove They Belong in NATO Now

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United States Secretary of State John Kerry toured the nations of the Middle East seeking allies who would be willing to provide support for the operations spelled out by President Obama for dealing with ISIS. Secretary of State Kerry began his trip visiting NATO partner Turkey in hopes that as a fellow NATO nation they would eagerly support the efforts of their NATO ally. This assumption was sorely mistaken. While I was not privy to the look on Secretary Kerry’s face when Turkish President Erdogan, or whichever functionary was assigned to give the government refusal of intent to cooperate in any way, but I can take a good guess at his feigned surprised, you can knock me down with a feather astonishment look on the face of John Kerry. Why anybody would be surprised at the Turkish refusal should not be holding high position in the government of the United States as anybody holding even the smallest knowledge of recent history should remember that it was Turkey that refused to permit and United States, a NATO ally, troops to be deployed from Turkish soil when the Second Gulf War to remove Saddam Hussein from office was initiated. This prevented a second front from being established in the north of Iraq and permitted many top officials from the Hussein government to make their escape into Syria and possibly even into Turkey itself. The official commentary from the State Department simply stated that Turkey is opting out completely from the coalition and its efforts in Iraq and Syria. This should have further been expected considering Turkey being amongst the original and continuing supporters of ISIS.

 

The other problem is that Secretary of State Kerry is running into brick walls where many nations he has approached claiming they support the idea of what the United States has laid out but we are not really able to assist these efforts at this time. In Egypt President Sisi and the rest of the military hierarchy are not about to forgive President Obama and Secretary Kerry for the United States support for the Muslim Brotherhood and their continuing opposition of the military government which won the election after the army overturned the government of President Morsi as part of bringing an end to the massive demonstrations against the Muslim Brotherhood and President Morsi and their application of oppressive laws designed to make a path for Sharia and an end to the secular civilization in Egypt. There will be no support coming out of Egypt for anything coming from the Administration of President Obama, period. Secretary Kerry must have felt like he had won the lottery after his stops in Turkey and Egypt when Saudi Arabia and the Emirates promised financial support but denied to offer any boots on the ground against ISIS. Part of the reasons behind the Sunni refusals also is due to the threat to Shiite Iran that ISIS potentially poses and that ISIS is far more likely to take its fight to purify the true Religion of the Prophet, Sunni Islam, ISIS is predictably more likely to take their forces against Shiite Iran before they tackle the perceived impure governance by the Saudi Royal Family and the other leaders in the Emirates and across the Sunni world. Check back with Saudi Arabia, the Emirates and Egypt after SISI had been severely degraded after their successful overthrow of the Shiite Mullahs in Iran, providing there is any semblance of ISIS that survives an assault on Iran. Until then, the Sunni Arab leaders will not feel the threat and could see the potential for ISIS to, at the least, degrade the arch threat they face, Iran and their sycophants Syria and Hezballah. These results mean that President Obama and his grand plan will place all their expectations for victory on the two groups who have an immediate reason to take on this struggle, the remaining remnants of the Iraqi military and the Kurdish Peshmerga Militias who rescued many of the Yazidi peoples who were surrounded and threatened by ISIS forces and are defending the lands populated by Kurdish peoples. Of these two groups the Kurdish Peshmerga Militias are by far the more capable and likely the most capable of forces who make up their lack of numbers with a fierceness and steadfast convictions. The rest are unlikely to offer any ground forces, or even air support, without the United States also putting forces on the ground and even then they will be reluctant and only provide support troops who are able to serve in the rear and unable to perform combat duties with any measurable effect.

 

Still, the reluctance of Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the Emirates and other nations from the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) is to be expected as these nations are often willing to fight to the very last American troop before they will risk a single of their own troops. They might be willing to provide support troops or combat troops who would hold and guard supply depots and support areas such a motor pools but would be restricted as a condition of their deployment into the theater. Many understand that any problems in MENA locations which the United States determines as a threat, even if it also threatens the nations which are parts of MENA, will refuse to provide troops to fight anywhere outside of their own borders and support any numbers of United States troops being deployed to eradicate the threats to these nations and once the threat has passed they demand that the United States troops leave their territories until the next threat. All of this has been the exact scenario in countless confrontations ever since the Ottoman Empire was defeated as part of World War I and the division of those lands into individual nations over the following couple of decades. This was even the case for most of the fighting during World War I against the Ottoman Empire on behalf of the Arab tribes who resented Ottoman rule and mostly refused to join the battle. The main exception, and it was such an exception that it became the theme for a blockbuster movie, was the Arab revolt which was organized, held together, and led by a single British officer, and possible madman, Major T. E. Lawrence (often mistaken for Peter O’Toole). In all honesty, the film “Lawrence of Arabia” took so much liberty in depicting the Arabs as unorganized tribal forces who suffered from rivalries and discipline difficulties where the reality is most of those led by Major Lawrence were disciplined forces under direct command of their officers, uniformed, and many were captured initially fighting as part of the Ottoman Army and volunteered, initially demanding, to be permitted to fight to overthrow the Ottoman Turks. The movie engendered numerous law suits contesting how many actual people were portrayed to such inaccuracy that the families took umbrage and insult to their honor. There is also the fact that there were other British and French intelligence officers who, like Lawrence, led Arab units. The possible reason that the movie was centered around T. E. Lawrence was likely due to two factors, American journalist Lowell Thomas gave Lawrence much coverage in the West, particularly in the United States, and the extensive and self-aggrandized recounting of Major Lawrence’s accomplishments and importance found within his penned accounting titled, “Seven Pillars of Wisdom.” Maybe we could use another rather eccentric British officer about now, or maybe not.

 

The only actual effrontery which, though expected in this office, likely somewhat blindsided the Administration of President Obama would be the utter refusal to cooperate by the Turkish government. The government of newly elected and first publically elected President, Erdogan’s refusal not only to provide troops on the ground, but to refuse to provide air support, the use of Turkish airfields or even the use of Turkey itself to house troops or supplies or to launch strikes on ISIS in both Iraq and Syria should be taken as a virtual resignation from NATO as he has proven that under his guidance Turkey has split from NATO and moved closer to Iran and the Muslim Brotherhood. This should have been expected as this was the exact reaction and lack of consideration or cooperation which Turkey gave President George W. Bush for utilizing Turkish ground from which to launch a second front in the initial stages of the 2003 start to the Second Iraq War. Apparently the Turkish refusals were just as much a shock and surprise as they were a little over a decade ago. Perhaps President Obama had relied on two things, the fact that he believes he is the anti-Bush President and thus should succeed where President George W. Bush had failed, and that he considers Recep Tayyip Erdogan to be one of if not his closest friend and confidant amongst all the leaders in the world. Apparently the friendship felt by President Obama is not reciprocated nearly as much as he might have anticipated and hoped. Still, with what is reputed to be some of the finest information gathering abilities available to advise an American President, one would have thought that President Obama would have been advised on how poorly his hopes for coordination and cooperation his plan would be rejected by the Arab nations he was presumably offering to help and particularly he would have been informed that the only NATO ally was not going to be onboard with the plan. Why President Obama was not forewarned is a question whose answer we will never know.

 

Still the Turkish refusal to once again assist their NATO allies in efforts in the Middle East begs some serious questions. The first, most obvious and of paramount importance is why Turkey remains within NATO. Perhaps there is no means of removing a member once they have been accepted. The one obvious fact is that the experiment of allowing a nation which historically, since the fall of the Byzantine Empire, has sided with the Muslim and Arab forces of the world including being the central home to the last Caliphate, the Ottoman Empire, would be considered and granted membership in NATO, a Europe centered mutual defense organization. The reason has more to do with the when and why NATO was originally established. On April 4, 1949, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, or NATO, was established with twelve Western nations making up its membership; Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Great Britain, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal and the United States. The organization was established to resist the pressures of the Soviet Union and their iron grab over Eastern Europe and to provide a united front which was to provide a greater defensive front for the individual nations by tying their defense against aggressions into the Three Musketeers pledge of all for one and one for all. A short period later on February 18, 1952, two additional states were granted membership; Greece and more importantly Turkey. The most obvious reason leading to the inclusion of Turkey in NATO was desirable as Turkey ruled over the Bosphorus and Dardanelles which are the two straights which control access to the Mediterranean Sea from the Black Sea which served as the southern route for Russian and Soviet Naval vessels, their western most all season port in the Crimean Peninsula. As the Soviet Union collapsed the reasoning behind NATO, and especially Turkey, should have dissipated leaving the entire alliance to the dustbin of history. But such treaties and similar large organizations, such as labor unions, find new but not necessarily improved, raison d’être. This has been the reality of NATO with it coming up with reason after reason as the years pass which its members generally agree are sufficient excuses to continue the organization. But now that the newest raison d’être is to provide a unified front and mutual protection against potential threats emanating out of Iran or any other threats across the Middle East, the consistent refusal by Turkey to permit any use of their lands and bases or to volunteer their troops or air force joining efforts in the Middle East. What the reason is for having kept Turkey as a member of NATO after their refusal, especially the manner in which they revoked permission with hours left before the invasion of Saddam Hussein’s Iran, causing the delay of the deployment of the forces which were to have assaulted Iran from the north and removing entirely the northern front from the strategy, potentially making the entire plan more likely to fail, is beyond reason and can only be attributed to the belief that the Turkish refusal to honor their obligations as a NATO ally was a once only event. With it now established as their policy and not an exception, there is absolutely no conceivable reason to permit Turkey to remain as a member in NATO and doing so is simply an endangerment to the entire membership of NATO. Somehow, it is very doubtful that their refusal again to cooperate in efforts by NATO ally members will have any consequences as any insult or antagonism of Western nations and alliances comes without consequences. Working contrary to the efforts and intentions of any other alliance or nation will definitely have immediate and serious consequences, especially efforts against, the Chinese, the Russians and the Arab and Muslim worlds. Working contrary to the United States is one of the few acts which has no apparent consequence, well, unless the nation refusing to obey the United States is Israel, the nation which appears to be held to a singular set of rules, consequences and restrictions with expectations of morality of actions on a scale beyond that applied anywhere else and to no other nation, even the United States though they come in a relative second place on the expectation scale imposed by such as the United Nations, the NGOs, the plethora of human rights organizations and the opinion of the web of nations.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

August 13, 2014

So Many Ceasefires and No Peace

The conflict initiated by Hamas when after their abduction of three teenage boys and their murders was followed by an ever increasing numbers of rockets launched from within Gaza onto numerous Israeli civilian areas from Sderot just across the Gaza border all the way to Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Netanya, Haifa and beyond forcing an Israeli military response is currently in yet another tentative ceasefire. It has almost seemed as if there is a new ceasefire announced every few days and often even multiple times per day when the conflict is hot. This is even more evidenced on those all too frequent times when only the Israelis are attempting to observe an announced ceasefire and some combinations of the terrorist groups populating Gaza have refused to accept that ceasefire. Things can get confusing when there are several, possibly as many as a dozen, separate terrorist entities each with their own hierarchy with some having factions which may act independent from the rest of the main body. There have been a couple of times where Hamas has initially claimed they are honoring the ceasefire but cannot be held responsible for the actions of the other groups they claim are beyond their control. Each case eventually proved out that Hamas had also not been holding to the ceasefire but had simply attempted to muddy the waters in an effort to prevent Israel from any retaliatory strikes, a ploy that soon became mute as Israel carried through on their threat to hold Hamas as the governing power in Gaza responsible for any rockets or other transgressions of any ceasefire. Even so there were those brief pauses by Israel even when a ceasefire resulted initially to be held to unilaterally by Israel in the hope that those initial transgressions would be curtailed and a lull would actually take hold. This was often a hope which fell into the dustbin of false hopes as the rockets raining down only increased going forward. The world has demanded that Israel answer for why these ceasefires have not progressed, as the world believes they should, to a permanent agreement to restore the peace, or at least a level of violence the world can comfortably ignore as Israel was not forced to respond as it is only the Israeli actions of self-defense which animates the self-appointed paragons of moral relative truths to rise up and express their indignations.

That answer was provided early yesterday in a press release from the military leadership of Hamas known as the Al-Qassam Brigades stating about the Egyptian negotiations that, “The warriors in Gaza are waiting with Allah’s help to renew the fighting, or to return to planning the next campaign. There’s no escape. Either jihad or planning.” The Hamas leadership in Gaza has expressed their disappointment with the Egyptians, being the neutral party, being the intermediary entity in the negotiations. This was reinforced by Palestinian Authority spokesperson Mustafa Sawaf, considered to be one of the closest leaders aligned with Hamas, who instructed the negotiation team in Cairo, which is comprised of Hamas and Palestinian Authority members, to go home immediately refusing to continue in negotiations mediated by Egypt. Mr. Sawaf defined the Egyptian efforts to be, “the basic delaying source preventing an agreement.” He even went so far as to threaten Arab League Secretary-General Nabil El-Araby not to make a solidarity visit to Gaza intimating, “El-Araby will not be received warmly, and Gaza residents will hit him and his delegation.” Sawaf went so far as to claim that Arab residents of Gaza now view the Arab League as being a, “partners to the slaughter,” an accusation purporting that they support the Israeli counter-terror Operation Protective Edge.

Should the Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Palestinian Authority negotiators heed the pronouncements from Mustafa Sawaf we can expect this conflict not to wane until Hamas and the other terrorist groups have run out of rockets to launch into Israel and not one moment before. This is what much of the coverage of this conflict have reported completely backwards laying the blame on Israel for refusing to compromise and meet Hamas’s demands at least part way. This demand is asking for Israel to meet Hamas part way in granting what would be suicidal concessions by Israel. It matters little whether Israel ends their naval blockade allowing for inspection of all goods into Gaza for weapons or if they permit Hamas to reopen the international airport in Gaza permitting flights to fly into and out of Gaza freely without any restrictions on the goods they transport and a way to enforce such restrictions. Either way, Hamas and the other terrorist groups would gain access to whatever weapons systems they could afford or their allies wished to provide them. How long after Hamas gains an unimpeded and inspection free avenue to import goods before they receive all the modern weaponry their heart desire? The delay would depend almost exclusively on how long it would take for either aircraft or ships to be loaded and arrive in Gaza and not a second longer. Imagine Hamas armed with AT-4 Spigot or AT-5 Spandrel Anti-Tank Light Infantry Missiles, MANPADS Man Portable Air Defense Systems,  MI-28 Havoc Russian attack helicopter or the KA-52 Alligator Attack Helicopter or possibly the Chinese WZ-10 Attack Helicopter & WZ-19, and possibly with time fighter aircraft such as Russian Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-25, Mikoyan MiG-29, Sukhoi Su-30 or even the T-50 Sukhoi PAK FA as well as possibly the Chinese J-10 Chengdu or even the Chengdu J-20 and not only attacking Israel in the most costly war Israel would ever have to fight, but also sharing their newfound armaments with the Muslim Brotherhood in their assaults to retake control of Egypt and then beyond. Allowing Hamas to gain unrestricted importation of whatever their devious black hearts’ desire and what would follow would make ISIS sweeping and slaughtering their way across Iraq seem absolutely tame and inconsequential. What granting Hamas such access to weaponry would produce would be an alliance between Hamas and every other Sunni Islamist extremist terrorist groups including ISIS, al-Qaeda, Boko Haram and any others at the price of their funding the arming of what would really make for the new Caliphate. Sometimes the leadership of the world appears to be totally populated by morons who have absolutely no ability to foresee the results of their actions. Fortunately, in Israel the people will rise up and meet any need to instruct our leaders when they decide the time to try national suicide have arrived because their past mistakes failed to produce that result. Still, they often do not listen, thus the Gaza disengagement. Still, there are those throughout the world pressing Israel to meet Hamas half way and only commit suicide half way. Not sure if suicide can be performed merely half way without completing the act becoming self-fulfilling, so perhaps that would be a bad concession to make.

Beyond the Cusp

August 8, 2014

Hamas Israel Conflict Rant

As the violence recommences anew even before the three day truce had run its course, here are some thoughts from during the lull. Hamas held a huge victory rally in Gaza City yesterday. The celebration came later in the day after they had murdered tens of Gazans who were suspected of aiding the Israelis. What evidence was produced to prove their guilt? If they held any Israeli Shekels or had an Israeli SIM card in their phones or if they had refused to act as willing human shields during the battles between the IDF and Hamas they were found guilty of aiding Israel. Trial you ask? They needed no trial, the guilt was proven by the fact that any suspicions exist. There is no right to a fair trial in Gaza, it is guilt by innuendo and if you fall on the wrong side of a Hamas terrorist of sufficient standing, then you must be guilty so why waste time on a trial when there is a public hanging to be held. Add to this backdrop the reports from numerous troubled and angered reporters who expressed their protestations and disgust at having been threatened and intimidated to force them to cover the events in Gaza reporting that some casualties which they knew were terrorists as being civilians murdered by Israeli forces and not reporting or shooting film or pictures which revealed Hamas and the rest placing their launchers in civilian areas. They told how Hamas and Islamic Jihad had taken over one hospital after another to utilize as their base command centers and launching grounds. Don’t expect the stories their anger speaks of to receive any broad coverage as their home newsroom managers and editors will not find any interest in their revelations as these are not really revelations but just same-old-same-old been there done that.

So, what are the big news stories across the border in Israel? Well, we are experiencing some trepidation that Hamas actually will follow through on their threat and resume launching rockets into Israel when the seventy-two hour ceasefire expires as they are threatening. We are treating close to if not more than two-thousand Gazans even to include some terrorists passed off as civilians, though that matters not to our physicians and healthcare workers, they are simply fellow human beings in need of care, anything else can be addressed once they are healthy and lives not under threat. There are family reunions and celebrations as thirty-thousand IDF reservists were released to return home, and we all celebrate their joy and anticipate when the rest of our young defenders from the reserves are returned to civilian status and everything can feel completely normal again. It has been pleasant not waiting nervously for the Code red sirens to alert and send us scurrying for our closest shelter. We can go shopping without checking and determining our route so we will always be close to a shelter on our way to a store which has its own shelter attached or even better, inside the store. Not all Israelis are this meticulous and many have been through these situations enough times that they have learned that you can over-complicate your life taking out all enjoyment. Many of us remain troubled that so many people in Gaza died needlessly and were simply sacrificed in order to feed the Hamas propaganda mills to engender sympathetic coverage and lay an evil hue to the Israeli efforts. Some of us still try to understand why the world media complies so willingly and rejects any and every explanation for their actions. This will likely be discovered about the same time as we find an understandable explanation for why so many colleges, unions, municipalities and other government and private institutions fall victim to every Hamas and Palestinian propaganda. Some of us ignore it as just one more thing Israel as the Jewish nation will have to endure. Mostly we pray the rockets do not return forcing us to cause more destruction and misery on the Gazan people.

The frustrations I felt center around the near universal condemnations in the media and elsewhere of Israel and the complete pass shown to Hamas, Islamic Jihad and the rest of the terrorists are universally presented as benighted group of revolutionaries working to liberate their lands from colonial hegemonic occupation forces. The world media has attached themselves to this fiction and are selling it as if their own lives depended on it. Never mind that Israel was a British colony for over twenty years before it finally gained its recognition as an independent nation free from the British occupation which had been assigned as part of the Mandate system put in place after World War I. This view ignores the fact that never in the entirety of recorded history has there been a Palestinian nation in the area where Israel holds control or throughout the Middle East. The reason this perception sells comes down to Israel is an advanced, wealthy, progressive and capitalist first world nation in the midst of a sea of poor, second-world nations at best where the majority of their citizens live in relative poverty, thus Israel is cast as an oppressor nation rather than one of the newest nations on the block. Despite all of the various empires to conquer and occupy the region where the ancient Jewish lands existed, never did any of them declare a capital within the area under Israeli influence and control and absolutely no other peoples ever used Jerusalem as their national capital, period. But never mind the facts that prove otherwise, they claim to be a historic peoples called the Palestinians whose nation and capital city has been stolen by the Israelis. Ignore the San Remo Conference which was signed by the leader of the Arab world of the era and all that follows, history is just too boring for the modern socialite who hears the music of the web and will believe whatever they feel is right. It is all about things feeling right, not actually fulfilling international agreements and following the rules of law, rules are so yesterday. Who cares about such ancient lands as Judea, Israel or the Lands of the Hebrews and the history of the Bible. The Bible is just so, well, old, so very old. The Bible is even older than that weirdly worded thing written by those wealthy white slave holding men aiming to craft a nation where they could keep their wealth safe and continue to own slaves. Surely if that Constitution thing is inconsequential the Bible is definitely outdated and irrelevantly inconsequential by ten. How does one communicate with those who do not know about or care about anything older than yesterday? When nothing is relevant how can anyone make a case. When all that matters is fairness and fairness is defined by feelings and a belief that any less advanced or less advantaged people makes claims of oppression against any first world nation then the first world nation is obviously at fault as long as their guilt will not affect the comfort and access to the mall on the weekend. The world appears to have become even more shallow, callow and just perverse and at levels which would have been beyond imagination just a few decades past. What makes the Palestinian propaganda even more insane is that virtually every part of their story line is stolen from the actual history of the Jewish people right down to and including the terminology of “Right of Return” which is an existent set of laws that guide who is rightfully of Jewish heritage and eligible to come home and become an Israeli. The term many might have heard and be familiar with is making Aliya, which actually means to rise in level of holiness. The idea of Aliya applies to anything in Judaism where a person is thought to have performed an act which bring upon them increased holiness, even if only temporarily though it is thought that a remnant of that ascension will remain with the person. The most well recognized form of a person performing an act of Aliya is when a congregant is called to say the prayers before and after the reading of a section of Torah before the rest of the congregation. Perhaps it is the theft of Jewish history and the perversion of that history by the Palestinian terrorists that is a greater threat and danger than their terrorist acts and if you can steal a people’s history, you have also robbed them of their identity and tainted that which they find as their defining uniqueness. That perhaps is the meanest cut of them all.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

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