Beyond the Cusp

October 6, 2013

Why the Israel Palestinian Peace Talks Fail

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This is not an article on why the current peace negotiations between the Israelis and the Palestinian Authority will most likely fail but about why all of these negotiations have and will forever fail. The common perception is that all that is necessary for there to be peace is for the Israelis to make sufficient sacrifices and surrender sufficient land for there to be peace. The mantra we hear over and over to the point it has become almost a chant that the world leaders recite whenever the Israelis and Palestinian Authority leaders meet is “Land for Peace.” There is actually no amount of land that Israel can surrender which will result in peace or even an agreement with the Palestinians. The simple truth is that there is only one result which the Palestinians are willing to accept, the complete annihilation of the Jewish State to be replaced by an Islamic Sharia State completely free of any Jewish, Christian or any non-Muslim religious group allowed to reside within. There will be protests with this claim which are fully expected.

 

I can hear the protestations already that the Palestinian Authority has been accepting and good to the Christians in their midst as claimed by those very same Christians who place the blame for their troubles with the Israelis where it belongs. The reason that the Christians leaders from within the Palestinian areas in Judea, Samaria and Benyamin have little choice in expressing their preferences; as if they do not blame Israel for their every woe, then the Muslims will lose vindictive destructions upon Christian businesses, churches, homes and people even higher degree than they currently inflict. Explain why in all of North Africa and the Middle East, an area almost exclusively under Islamic rule, everywhere in every location with but one exception the numbers of Christians have been decreasing for decades upon decades. The sole exception where the numbers of Christians has been steadily on the increase is Israel where freedom of religion is a treasured value which is held in high esteem. The Muslim lands are not so generous with their acceptance of those who even follow a branch of Islam which is different from that of the governing preference, let alone any religion other than Islam. If you wish to see what the treatment the Christians would receive under Palestinian rule if they spoke the truth all one need do is look to Egypt at the treatment of the Christians by the Muslim Brotherhood since they were removed from power. There have been days where as many as fifty churches have been completely looted of anything worth taking before being burned to the ground. Also, Christian owned businesses which have also been torched along with Christian homes, all of which have burned solely as the result of Muslim anger and perceived insult resultant to President Morsi being removed. The Christians were victimized and blamed for his removal despite the protests of literally tens of millions of Egyptians against his actions which excluded all except his cohorts within the Muslim Brotherhood. The Christians who used to make up approximately three quarters of the population in Bethlehem before the Palestinian Authority was gifted security and political control over the birth place of Jesus but now only a remnant making up less than ten percent still reside in this holies of holy cities in Christendom. The only part which Israel played in this entire procession of events was to gift control to the Palestinian as a result of the tragic Oslo Accords.

 

There are a number of horrific results from the continuing tragedy called the Oslo Accords. Perhaps the greatest of these has been the requirement on the Israelis to placate those who cannot be placated. We can boil down the Israeli needs to a single item which would be sufficient to destroy any possibility for peace. This one item is probably not one the majority of people would even be able to name, let alone be high on their list as Israel is often chastised for making too many demands and not showing a willingness to do what is necessary to reach a peace agreement. This one item has absolutely nothing to do with the settlements or Israeli towns and businesses that are in areas liberated from Jordanian illegal occupation as a result of the June 1967 War. It does not have anything to do with whether or not Israel will be allowed to retain the eastern half of Jerusalem which they have already made an integral part of Israel placing all of Jerusalem under Israeli political and security rule. This one item is not in reference to Israel being permitted to keep some defensive positions and monitoring stations in the Jordan Valley just west of the Jordan River as an early warning system to detect any attack approaching from over Jordanian space. The one item Israel insists the Palestinians meet is to recognize that Israel exists as the state for the Jewish People. The recognition that Israel is the reestablishment of the ancient Jewish homeland is about as basic an understanding of the real reason the world agreed upon when they setup the British Mandate with the stated intent to establish a homeland for the Jewish people. This was voted upon and established international intent for the creation of a state for the Jews before 1920 which is decades ahead of the horrors of the Holocaust. The claim often made that Israel was established as a guilt offering by a world shocked by the horrors of the Holocaust is so easily proved false it is remarkable that it has survived. The Balfour declaration came in 1917 and by 1920 the entire League of Nations had made the Balfour Declaration an international treaty recognized by the world. There have been numerous conferences and accords made all before World War II and the Nazi horrors which echoed and restated support for the establishment of a Jewish State in the Jewish ancient homelands. So, requiring the Palestinians to simply recognize that Israel is and was established as a state for the Jewish People is far from asking the impossible, yet this is the one point above all others which the Palestinians and rest of the Muslim World refuse to grant. Until the Muslim World can recognize that Israel is the state for the Jews, which is even mentioned in the Quran, there can be no peace and that is as simple as it gets. If the world really wishes to find a path to peace between the Jews and the Muslim World they need to require the Muslim World recognize that the Jews have rights to a homeland and that homeland is located as stated in the Old Testament, the Christian Bible and the Islamic Quran on the eastern end of the Mediterranean Sea and includes all of Jerusalem, and only after this has been established should they demand that Israel give even more lands to the Palestinian authority.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

August 24, 2012

How Things Have Changed in Egypt

Egypt was among the countries to have a change in their governance due to the Arab Spring, or so the media and the United States State Department and numerous Western leaders will inform anyone willing to listen. Unfortunately, once the full truth becomes so painfully obvious that no rational argument can deny, we will plainly see that the change was the result of an Arab Winter, not Spring and the changes is Egypt were not for the better and democracy was not the final result. We will discover that the new boss resembles the old boss with some distinct differences, many of which are for the worse. So, let’s take a somber and sober inventory of what exactly happened both going into the Egyptian election and what the resultant governance and changes to Egypt have been produced. We should also take note of who were the winners and who the losers.

Going into the Egyptian election for President we had the eventual winner, Mohamed Morsi, who ran as the candidate put forth by the Freedom and Justice Party which was a recognized and admitted front party for the Muslim Brotherhood. But, if as the candidate for the Freedom and Justice Party Mohamed Morsi was already the Muslim Brotherhood candidate, then why did the Muslim Brotherhood put forward Khayrat el-Shater as their direct representative candidate when they supposedly were also running a candidate under the political party formed and named by the Muslim Brotherhood, the Freedom and Justice Party? The reason was that they put forward Khayrat el-Shater as a sacrificial lamb when they began to suspect that the Military governing Supreme Council of the Armed Forces might be planning to remove candidates they declare to be questionable or tainted such as having been a member of the Mubarak rule or too deeply tied to the Salafists, Muslim Brotherhood or what they considered extremists in order to promote the more secular candidates which was the preferred choice of the Military hierarchy, Ahmed Shafik. By placing a directly tied candidate who was a current member of the Muslim Brotherhood leadership, the Muslim Brotherhood could now further their claim that Mohammed Morsi was not a member in good standing with the Muslim Brotherhood and was a legitimate candidate for the Freedom and Justice Party which they had now established some space between them and the Brotherhood. This feint worked exactly as the Muslim Brotherhood had hoped and even though they technically did not win and get the direct Muslim Brotherhood candidate elected President, they did get their preferred and presentable front candidate of the Freedom and Justice Party elected. The reality was that the Muslim Brotherhood had placed two candidates on the ballot for the position of Egyptian President, one as a sacrificial lamb who made the other appear to be independent of the Muslim Brotherhood and thus gave Western nations the wiggle room they would need and anxiously utilize to back Morsi as a legitimate non-Muslim Brotherhood winner of the Egyptian elections.

So, what has happened to the power structures in Egypt since the Presidential election and how does it differ from the Mubarak regime? One of the first moves taken by President Morsi was to oppose the ruling of the Military Supreme Court ruling which dissolved the Parliament due to presumed election fraud and irregularities. Morsi almost immediately reinstated the Parliament and initially did compromise and only met with one of the two houses of the Parliament, the upper house. From this confrontation against the Military’s attempts to retain as much power as they could and limit the newly elected officials’, including President Morsi’s, powers, the Military clearly lost and thus has had the leadership completely revamped and made Muslim Brotherhood compliant. Morsi simply ignored their rulings and removed the limiting amendments to the new Constitution put in place by the Military and regained all the powers given the office of the President in the initial Constitution.

Within the next month, President Morsi worked around every attempt to restrict his powers and block the maneuvers he was taking. The end result came when President Morsi replaced nearly the entirety of the Military high commanders and replaced them with Muslim Brotherhood approved and sympathetic officers. Now Egypt has a President Morsi with his own hand-picked Generals in command of the Military. This is entirely different than when Egypt had a Military picked President Mubarak who, over time promoted the officers he most trusted into the top positions and thus had his own people in command of the Military. Under President Mubarak the Muslim Brotherhood was kept in check and forced to maintain a low profile or face arrest and imprisonment. The Military had complete and total control of all of the levers of power. Currently, with President Morsi Egypt has a Muslim Brotherhood controlled Parliament and Muslim Brotherhood approved commanders over the Military and is working to taking over the rest of the levers of power. See, totally different. Before the Muslim Brotherhood controlled nothing and the Military had all the control, now the Muslim Brotherhood controls everything using the Military under their control to take command of everything. The real test will come in the next Egyptian elections for President. If the results show obvious signs of vote fraud and any other signs of a controlled outcome, then we will know that all the Egyptians have accomplished was to replace the heads of the Military from restricting the Muslim Brotherhood and enforcing a secular state with a Muslim Brotherhood controlled Military and a Sharia compliant state. The worrisome part of this is that despite the obvious Muslim Brotherhood control, thus far the Western powers and countries have treated the new governance in Egypt as if it were still a secular state and they are ignoring any signs that Egypt is no longer even going to try and have the appearance of compliance with Western objectives. Despite this, the United States is fully committed to continuing the billions of dollars of aid to Egypt even though deep down they have to have realized that this money will no longer buy them even one iota of influence, let alone any measure of control as they previously possessed.

But what are the changes for the people of Egypt, will their plight be improved or will it likely worsen? If you are a Coptic Christian it will most definitely worsen. As bad as things may have gotten from time to time under the Military rule of Mubarak and Sadat and Nasser before him, the non-Muslim population of Egypt was granted at least a modicum of protection and had rights as citizens including even the right to vote. With the Muslim Brotherhood now in control, the Coptic Christians will eventually likely be granted some amount of protection, but only after they have accepted their position as Dhimmi within a Muslim State. Even during this past election where it was supposed to be the first true election in modern Egyptian history, the Coptic Christians were denied their right to vote as in some Coptic neighborhoods Muslim gangs occupied the voting places and refused to allow them to cast any ballots. Even towards the end of the Military control in the run-up to the election the Coptic Christians found their neighborhoods threatened from confrontations with bands of Jihadist Muslims. Such likelihoods are now to become a part of Coptic daily life in Egypt where such eruptions will be a potential and when such violence is loosed on their neighborhoods, they can expect they will be allowed a certain amount of permissiveness and only brought to a halt once the authorities feel the anger has had sufficient venting. Egypt will slowly sink onto Sharia and life for non-Muslims will sink along with it.

And what does this mean for the United States, Israel and the rest of the world? The news this week has exclaimed and featured a signal of what the world, especially the West and Israel, can expect from the new Egypt when it has been reported that while attending the upcoming NAM (Non-Aligned nations Movement) conference being held in Tehran, Iran; President Morsi will be in attendance and is planning on reestablishing relations between Iran and Egypt which have been in a frozen state since Egypt signed its peace with Israel. President Morsi and President Ahmadinejad reestablishing relations will signify a ceremonial sign that the Egyptian Israeli peace has been unofficially abrogated. This has already been made evident through any number of actions and statements made since the election of President Morsi. Morsi and other Egyptian leaders, both inside and outside of the Muslim Brotherhood, have boldly stated that the Camp David Accord must be amended to allow Egypt to exercise its full authority in the Sinai Peninsula which will, for all intents and purposes, be a complete abrogation of the treaty. There have even been some attacks on the troops located in the Sinai as peacekeepers in the last few weeks. This has been swept under the carpet as to let this news out would wake up Americans to the fact that they have troops stationed in the Sinai Peninsula, something that has not received any attention but is now becoming relevant as another place their young men and women are now in harm’s way. Egypt has already strengthened their ties with Turkey, another nation that has been quietly slipping into Islamism. With Egypt now strengthening their bonds with the Islamist tendencies of Turkey and the Iranian extreme Islamism, the world is watching as the new Caliphate is being assembled while the first target of this new Caliphate, Europe followed close behind by the United States, blithely carry-on as if nothing possible could be going awry and whistling past their own graveyard. Israel has been awake and warning but nobody cares to hear their warnings. Even when they make sufficient claims ardently enough to be heard, the United States dispatches some high level government personnel, be it the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Defense, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, or even the Vice President, anybody but the President, of course, to tell Israel to calm down and let those who are adults and know the real truth handle this situation. Poor Israel has been relegated to being the boy who cried wolf, only there is a wolf and he is not even bothering to wear sheep’s clothing, he is snarling and bearing a mouth full of teeth and nobody wants to know. This has all the signs of ending very badly, say Czechoslovakia and the Sudeten Lands or Kosova.

Beyond the Cusp

April 29, 2012

Coming Presidential Race Comparisons Accurate by a Half

The temptation to compare the coming presidential contest of incumbent President Barack Obama against his Republican adversary, Mitt Romney, to the 1980 contest between incumbent President Jimmy Carter and his Republican adversary, Ronald Reagan, are not a totally accurate comparison. President Barack Obama is not exactly a President Jimmy Carter and Mitt Romney, despite the expected attempts to describe him so, is no Ronald Reagan. Granted, there are some similarities between the Presidency of Barack Obama to the Presidency of Jimmy Carter, but there are also differences. The differences of Mitt Romney to Ronald Reagan are somewhat more glaring and is the weaker half differentiating these two periods. The other differences are the state of the United States, the composition of the American populace as well as the electorate, and the current state of the world in general. So, let’s make a more detailed inspection and determine the similarities which may be helpful and the differences which could change the outcome.

We will start with a comparison of both the men and the Presidencies of Jimmy Carter and Barack Obama and how they apply to the coming contest. There is little doubt that many parallels can be drawn between the economies each President experienced with peaking unemployment, a weak dollar, high gasoline prices, and a general sense of malaise and a high misery index, two terms invented to describe the economy under President Carter. But the differences are probably more important than are the similarities. The most evident difference is that we do not have lines forming at 6:00 or earlier in the morning to fuel your car or odd and even day rationing as we experienced during the Carter years. High prices are one thing, getting up hours earlier and hoping the station does not run out of fuel before you get to fill your tank is another. Despite the lagging economy, President Obama is not being berated by the press on the evening news every night with terms like malaise and misery index becoming a part of the daily discourse. The other helpful item which President Obama enjoys that President Carter did not is the fact that the economy has had its ups and downs over the last twenty-five years while the twenty-five years before the Carter Presidency was one of the longest and fastest growing economic periods in American history. Another large difference is that Wall Street has had periods of recovery that has given hope that maybe the worst is over, unfortunately right before the next bubble bursts or reports come in with lower profits or other negative economic indicators forcing the next crash. Despite the truth that in many ways the two Presidencies of Carter and Obama may numerically appear very similar, somehow the coverage and mood of much of the populace does not seem to hold President Obama as directly accountable as the populace did President Carter. The months leading up to the election will end up telling the whole story and it may result in the economy being an even larger problem for President Obama if anything else goes seriously bad on the economic front.

Both President Carter and President Obama have had their share of difficulties in dealing with the Middle East. Even though President Carter could claim the Egyptian and Israeli peace treaty as a major accomplishment, it meant absolutely nothing as the hostage crisis took center stage. As for President Obama, he had his most ambitious military operation with the capture and death of Osama bin Laden which was seen as a complete success despite the loss of the stealth helicopter compared to President Carter and the horrific failure of his attempt to go in and free the embassy hostages in Iran. On the other side, President Carter only turned one Middle East country over to the rule of hostile Islamic rulers, Iran; while President Obama has managed to turn a number of countries over to hostile Islamic rulers. The list includes Lebanon, Egypt, Libya, and Yemen. During the Obama Presidency, Turkey has also completed its long and drawn out march from being a secular country towards becoming an Islamic ruled country under Prime Minister Erdogan. The final plunge was assisted by the actions of the European Union and a number of the member states along with President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton when they all backed Prime Minister Erdogan and preempted any attempt by the Turkish military to force Erdogan from office setting up a new election when it became obvious that the country was slipping away from its secular governance as they are empowered by the Turkish Constitution to implement as a protection of the state from overt religious influences. The main advantage that President Obama has over the predicament President Carter faced is that unlike President Carter who faced the daily reminder of his Middle East problems with the ongoing hostage crisis throughout the election cycle, nothing has yet to completely blow up in President Obama’s face, though Iran may once again provide such for an incumbent American President.

The comparison of Mitt Romney to Ronald Reagan is both stark and subtle. The most obvious difference is the ease with which Candidate Reagan was able to appear with the people. He had a level of comfort and reassurance that has not been duplicated by Mitt Romney. Where both men have the air of assurance and a strong presence, Ronald Reagan had a certain comfort about him where Mitt Romney sometimes seems a little stiff and almost out of sync. Ronald Reagan had an earthiness that is lacking in Mitt Romney though both men have a good sense of humor and are quick on their feet though Mitt Romney comes across more formal while Ronald Reagan appeared more folksy. The biggest difference between Ronald Reagan and Mitt Romney is that Ronald Reagan had a definitive turning point in his life where he made an obvious and complete change of views and a longer run as a true and strong conservative while Mitt Romney still needs to assure many that his conservatism is real and he has made an honest change from his more liberal leanings when he was Governor of Massachusetts. This will very likely be where Mitt Romney will sink or swim gliding into the presidency, assuring the most conservative of his base that he is truly allied with their desires and meets their demands while still satisfying those in the Republican Party and those independents who are demanding he prove to be a moderate. How he can satisfy both camps without being cast as duplicitous is the real test Mitt Romney will face. Perhaps he may want to watch some of Ronald Reagan’s speeches and debates and realize that one can be a real conservative and still sound rational and a man of the people. Ronald Reagan did it; can Mitt Romney pull it off?

This race may appear on the surface to have numerous similarities to the 1980 Presidential election but I have my suspicions that it will turn out to be very different. Granted, President Obama cannot run on his record just as President Carter had to try to hide from his record. President Obama is a much more accomplished speech maker than was President Carter and he will need every ounce of that ability if he is to sway sufficient voters to give him another term. Truthfully, I believe that Mitt Romney is facing the greater challenge as he not only has to compete and defeat the incumbent President, he has to go against a press that is far more hostile against him than the press faced by President Reagan. Still, Mitt Romney has to win over a large portion of his base to have any hope of becoming President. Polls have shown Mitt Romney actually comfortably ahead of President Obama among independents but they also show Mitt Romney being very weak among the conservative Republican base, and without the base his chances are almost nil. The one thing that is guaranteed to put an end to President Obama’s chance for reelection is if the Middle East catches fire and explodes in his face. Such could obviously happen with Iran, but there are also some very precarious problems which could come to the surface and make things very difficult coming out of Iraq, Afghanistan, and the possibility of a conflict between Israel and any one or more of the neighboring countries as well as the Palestinians. This election is just another case of the more things change, the more they appear to be the same.

Beyond the Cusp

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