Beyond the Cusp

May 11, 2012

Hamas Has Enough Problems

The last year has not exactly been all that wonderful for Hamas and their leadership. Often the Hamas leadership found themselves divided and taking opposite sides on some of the most important issues faced by the terror organization which also has the added difficulty of being the primary governing organization in the Gaza Strip. One of the most difficult choices faced this past year by Hamas was the uprising in Syria. On one side they had to choose which group they were going to support and this was a particularly difficult and perplexing choice. On one side was the Syrian government of President Bashir Assad who was also one of the main allies to Iran, the same country that had been supplying Hamas with arms, training, cash and other vital supplies and services. On the other side was the Muslim Brotherhood who not only was one of the principle backers and components of the Syrian resistance but was also the originating organization which had formed Hamas initially. Adding to this tough choice was the fact that the Muslim Brotherhood had also taken the lead positions in the formation of the new Egyptian government with whom Hamas in Gaza shared a border through which much of their supplies flowed. Hamas had one further complication in that their political arm had its headquarters in Damascus, Syria. Despite all the ties to Bashir Assad, Hamas chose to side with their founding root organization and gave their support to the Syrian opposition. This immediately made things very uncomfortable for the political headquarters of Hamas which soon found themselves homeless as Damascus was no longer a safe haven with Syrian President Bashir Assad holding ill feelings for them after their siding with those sworn to remove him. This also put them in opposition of Iran which, in time, caused a breakup in their relations leaving Hamas seeking new suppliers for weapons, funding and any training they may desire.

All was not a complete loss for Hamas in their choice to side with the Syrian rebels. This not only returned them to within the fold of the Muslim Brotherhood, it made them allies of the rebel forces in Libya. This also opened up a new supplier of sophisticated rockets and weaponry. Exactly how rich a supply quickly became evident from two sources. The Israelis intercepted two major shipments of weapons and other supplies from the Libyan rebels which were heading for Egypt or other transfer points to be unloaded and smuggled into Gaza through the network of terror tunnels spanning the Egyptian border. The really frightening find by the Israelis was the presence of chemical agents which could have been used to produce a range of WMDs (weapons of mass destruction) which included nerve agents. The intercepted shipments also contained longer range rockets as well as guided missiles which were a definite upgrade in weaponry for Hamas forces in the Gaza Strip. These guided munitions included a version of Kornet Antitank Missiles and also some antiaircraft missiles. One of these antitank missiles was used in a terror strike aimed at a yellow school bus which was fortunately almost empty of students. One young man was killed in the strike and the driver escaped with serious injuries which he did survive.

As a result of the break between Hamas and the Iranian and Syrian leadership, Hamas is not only seeking a new location for their political headquarters, but Hamas has also announced that should there be hostilities between Iran and Israel they are not planning on utilizing such an opportunity to mount a large scale attack upon Israel. This unfortunately does not rule out an increase in rocket and mortar cross border terror strike under such circumstances. These styles of cross border strikes have been continued and actually increased in the past year over most previous years. This has brought numerous response attacks from the Israelis including some which targeted terror leaders living in Gaza. Most of these retaliatory strikes were made against known Hamas training areas, munitions’ storage warehouses, metal shops used to produce the rockets, and both rocket firing teams and terror leadership. A number of the assassinations launched against the terror leadership in the Gaza Strip included more than just Hamas leadership but also included the PFLP (Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine), al-Qaeda in Gaza, PRC (Popular Resistance Committees), and other smaller terror groups. One of the results from the Israeli retribution strikes was to force the Hamas leadership to attempt to establish periods of quiet whenever the Israeli strikes were escalated in response to increased terror rockets fired. This was also the cause of some friction between the Hamas Gazan leadership and the other terror groups who did not always heed any declared ceasefires by Hamas. This led to attacks which Hamas believed were unfair as they were struck when they had supposedly not been the aggressors but rather the victims of others taking the lead and attacking Israel.

Another turn which has recently been observed has been Hamas taking steps to reassert their indisputable position as the terror and political leadership within Gaza. This has led to another round of their Security Forces using brutal tactics to squelch any resistance to Hamas as the sole leadership in the Gaza Strip. This has taken much of the usual violence which has been witnessed ever since Hamas took over control of Gaza in a putsch in June 2007 after having decisively won the Palestinian elections the previous fall. Hamas controlled security personnel have been using beatings and other intimidation to reinforce their impositions and censorship of reporters operating in the Gaza Strip as well as using even more violent tactics to intimidate their political rivals, especially any remaining Fatah personnel. Over the past five years Hamas has systematically and periodically kidnapped, tortured, maimed, and incarcerated reporters, journalists, dissidents, political rivals and the leadership of Fatah throughout the Gaza Strip. This violence against any perceived political or other oppositional leadership, forces, manpower, media and activists was severe enough to get the attention of the United Nations Human Rights Commission which on April 20, 2012 released a statement charging Hamas has illegally executed at least eighteen persons since rising to power in Gaza. These charges do not include those from the Fatah leadership and membership in Gaza who had been dragged out into the streets and had both of their kneecaps shot off.

And finally, Hamas has been engaged with the Palestinian authority and Fatah members which make up the PLO as well as ruling in Judea and Samaria (West Bank) in negotiations to unify the two opponents. This has revealed a large disparity between the Hamas leadership within the Gaza Strip and those Hamas leaders who live outside the Gaza Strip. At a meeting between the Political Hamas leaders from outside of Gaza with Mahmoud Abbas and other representatives from Fatah held in Qatar, they managed to hammer out an agreement which both sides were able to support. When within a month the leadership of Hamas within the Gaza Strip met for the formal signing of this agreement, they made numerous additional and far reaching demands which the officials from the West Bank were not willing to acquiesce and the tentative agreement fell apart. In some ways this was a kind of poetic justice as Mahmoud Abbas and his fellow PLO terror masters have used this exact ploy to subvert any negotiations with Israel. On rare occasions we get to feel the warmth and strange satisfaction of schadenfreude and without a shred of remorse. This is definitely such an occasion and we advise taking the full joy of the moment as such perfect examples of such misfortune striking down some of the most deserving is extremely rare.

Beyond the Cusp

April 18, 2012

A World After a Nuclear Iran and Why to Avoid at all Costs

There have been numerous discussions in the media of the consequences of Iran becoming a nuclear power. There are those who claim that Iran can be contained through the same method which has contained any aggressions from going nuclear between the current existing nuclear powers, the MAD theory of mutual and presumed total destruction. Included in this position is the assumption that simply by extending the United States nuclear umbrella to cover all of Iran’s non-nuclear neighbors will suffice to give them comfort and safety removing the temptation for them to also go nuclear. Add in the plans for spreading an antimissile system that will be designed to prevent the launch of any missiles by any one nation against any other nation and what could go wrong? The proposed inclusion of Russia and China as well as NATO in the deployment and maintaining of this missile shield will allay any fears that the system will be built to favor the United States interests by neutralizing the Russian and Chinese weapons while enabling the hegemony by way of the missiles possessed by the United States. But exactly how tenable are these assumptions?

 

The first myth that is repeated despite being contradicted by Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Egypt which have had at least one from within their political or military leadership confirm or lay claim to the certainty that should Iran become nuclear weapon capable, their nations would be extremely hard pressed to not follow suit and develop their own nuclear armaments. These claims were made initially before the plan to spread the coverage of the nuclear umbrella to cover all the nations in the Middle East, Europe, North Africa, and possibly the Far East if requested. What has been mostly ignored in the mainstream press is that this proposition did not put to rest the fears nor silence those who had called for these countries to follow with their own nuclear arsenals in response. Instead, the media gave coverage to the negotiations with Russia which resulted in the cancellation of the planned antimissile systems deployment in Eastern Europe that was planned to be placed in Poland and the Czech Republic. This system has been presumably replaced by the stationing of Aegis equipped cruisers and destroyers with antimissile interceptors in the Eastern Mediterranean and North Sea. Reviews on this substitute system’s efficiency, sustainability and adequacy as compared to the original system have been mixed but all point to one shortcoming, the inability for this solution to address ICBM’s, the launching of a massive number of missiles in a coordinated simultaneous attack, and lack of permanence since in an emergency somewhere else on the globe could force the redeployment of the ships crucial to provide the protection against an attack. There have also been those who claim that the ships cannot provide the complete area of coverage which the original land based system was capable of providing. These shortcomings have not been ignored by the nations in the area.

 

The assumption that Iran would be deterred by the threat of a United States nuclear response to any Iranian provocation has also been questioned by many of the nations closest to the threat and has been laughed at by both Iranian President Ahmadinejad and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei who have intimated that they are willing to sacrifice millions of Iranian lives in a nuclear exchange with Israel if such an attack destroyed the Zionist Entity. And the idea that the major threat of a nuclear armed Iran would come from an Iranian use of these weapons of mass destruction completely misses the totality of the Iranian threats to the rest of the Middle East and the rest of the World. Iran has been launching attacks against Israel for decades without having a single shot fired from within their borders. They have used their proxy forces of Hezballah and more recently Hamas as well as other terrorist groups to launch rockets and missiles upon Israeli cities and towns. Using the same proxy forces they have executed terror raids and attacks within Israel including bombings, shootings, attacks upon IDF border posts, kidnappings and the recent use of an anti-tank guided missile on a school bus in Southern Israel. Iran used Hezballah operatives which had received much of their training in Iran, some claim direct involvement included the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, on Jewish targets in Argentina when they bombed the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires on March 17, 1992 and two years later bombed the Buenos Aires Jewish Community Center on July 18, 1994. These attacks against Israeli interests worldwide would definitely increase in both level of intensity and numbers once Iran has the confidence of their own nuclear deterrence against any retaliation by the rest of the world.

 

Another consideration which would very definitely come into play once Iran feels it is secured against attack due to a nuclear weapons capability would involve their stated intent to be the leading force establishing the new Caliphate. There were accusations that much of the Shiite violence and uprisings throughout many of the countries affected by the Arab Spring, or more appropriately named the Arab Winter, were instigated, guided, armed and generally aided by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps. This accusation weighed heavily in the violence which raged in Bahrain which resulted in Saudi Arabia dispatching a heavy military presence to restore order in the small island nation. There was also a similar uprising of the Shiites residing mostly in the oil rich northeast of Saudi Arabia which resulted in the nearly immediate and overwhelming deployment of military and security forces ending any plans which may have been planned. Such a response came as little surprise for anybody knowledgeable of the iron rule of the family Saud over their territories, just ask the Hashemites. Looking at the future for Iraq after the end of the United States military presence indicates a heavy Iranian influence. Success in gaining control of the government of Iraq to Iranian influences would give Iran a continuous influence from the Indian Ocean and Iranian (or Arab) Gulf all the way to the Mediterranean Sea reaching through Syria and Lebanon in addition to Iraq. This would also pose a direct threat to Turkey which might explain the seemingly friendly relations replete with exchanged visits between Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan and Iranian President Ahmadinejad with the full approval of Iranian Supreme Leader Khamenei.

 

The real threat of a nuclear armed Iran is not so much the threat of their using weapons of mass destruction unless they decide on a suicidal exchange with Israel, something we doubt, but is the freedom to implement their terror proxies to attack without worry of retaliations as they would be under the Iranian nuclear umbrella of protection. The Israel nuclear Armageddon scenario is far less likely than has been hyped by the media. It is their usual distraction with an unlikely but drastic scenario in order to sell their papers or gain listeners and sponsors. The real threat of a nuclear Iran for the United States and Europe comes in the form of Hezballah and other terrorist entities as well as operations carried out by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps. It may come as some surprise to some that there has been a central Hezballah training and operation center in the tri-border area in South America. They literally own the entire town of Ciudad del Este on the lawless borders Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay, thus the name tri-border area. This was the base used for the attacks by Hezballah on the Jewish interests in Buenos Aires, Argentina. These same terrorist groups have been reported to have spread into Mexico and are now assisting, or at least cooperating, with the drug cartels in order to utilize their smuggling routes and facilities in order to insert operatives and supplies inside the United States. Terror attacks throughout the Western nations would go off scale once Iran felt secured by their nuclear weapons. By using their terrorist operatives they attain a small amount of deniability despite all the evidence implicating them collected by security agencies. They would push their terror war through periods of high escalation and lower intensity all the while making sure to maintain a level unlikely to force an actual response. Eventually, a nuclear armed Iran will overplay their aggressions and very likely lead to the most dread of eventualities, a worldwide conflict that sucks every nation into the conflagration. Simply put; everything and anything that is necessary in order to permanently terminate the Iranian nuclear program should be taken from the table and implemented as soon as it is feasible, point blank period!

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

March 28, 2012

What Constitutes an Invasion?

According to this <a href=http://dictionary.reference.com/ target=blank>Dictionary</a> the word invasion is defined as follows:

1. An act or instance of invading or entering as an enemy, especially by an army.

2. The entrance or advent of anything troublesome or harmful, as disease.

3. Entrance as if to take possession or overrun: the annual invasion of the resort by tourists.

4. Infringement by intrusion.

When using the word invasion in relation to a sovereign country, the first of the definitions would be the most applicable. Any situation where a sufficient number of individuals gather with an intent to cross into a chosen country as an organized mob or set of mobs at one or more locations against the will or desire and without permission or required documents, that constitutes an invasions of that country. When those choosing to illegally rush the border of a sovereign country with the intent to occupy areas of the country and demand they be allowed to assume the sovereign power over parts or all of the victim country, that constitutes an invasion.

The planned mass protest of people trespassing across the Israeli borders from all sides with the intent to remain and occupy Jerusalem and other areas of Israel until Israel surrenders control over any areas these trespassers are able to occupy, that is an invasion with malicious intents. Should a similar provocation be perpetrated against any other country on Earth they would respond using any and all levels of resistance up to and including violently repelling the invaders and shooting them where passive or nonlethal means prove inadequate. But I am willing to bet that such rights to defend their border against violation by mass waves of people with nefarious and possibly violent intent will be denied Israel. Then should Israel find it necessary to use even nonlethal force to prevent the violations of their border and it leads to even the slightest of injuries to the invaders, Israel will be roundly condemned by the United Nations, many of the European Governments, European Union Foreign Policy Chief Catherine Ashton, Russia, the Arab League, and an almost endless list of other notables. In the end much of the world will demand of Israel with a unified voice that Israel surrenders Eastern Jerusalem including all of the Old City, the Temple Mount, the Western Wall and entire Kotel areas, while also removing every single Jew living in these areas in order to make the areas acceptable and meeting the demands of the Arab Muslims.

Knowing what the reaction of the world will likely be in response to the infiltration of the Israeli borders by the “Global March on Jerusalem”, the IDF has invested time and training in crowd control methods and nonlethal methods for denial of passage or entry at the border specifically to handle the worst case scenario while hoping that the numbers will be sufficiently small making overt use of force unnecessary. The Israeli government has already notified all the countries with which she shares a border of their intent to defend their border against breaching by any and all means that may become necessitated by the condition and size of the threat. Israel has requested for her neighbors to supply assistance and offering to coordinate efforts should any neighboring country wish to avail themselves of the offer. Somehow I have severe reservations when it comes to expecting any assistance, let alone coordination, from any of the neighboring countries. I fully expect that along the Israel Gaza and Egyptian borders to have assistance supplied by Hamas and other terror groups to facilitate breaches of the Israeli border by any numbers who arrive with the intent of entering Israel. The same can be expected on the Israeli northern border where the Hezballah controlled Lebanese government and military to also assist those hoping to invade Israel providing their numbers are sufficient to make serious problems for the Israeli defensive forces. The Israeli border with Syria is most likely to have no forces to either prevent or assist with the intents to make a mass crossing of the border as much of the military in Syria is busy murdering the Syrian citizenry. The one border which will likely be the quietest will be the Israeli border with Jordan. With the Jordan River forming this border, all crossings will, by necessity, be attempted at one of the bridges. This will allow for an effective defense for the border.

All things considered, my hope is that the numbers who attempt to actually breach the Israeli border are insufficient to make things overly difficult. The chatter around the Global March on Jerusalem has claimed to have as many as two million people who have made their intention known to play their part in this invasion of a sovereign country. We heard of numbers approaching a half a million protesters who were going to cross into Israel for Naqba Day last year and only hundreds, if that many, actually were found at the border attempting to cross the border. If the percentage between predicted and actual remains similar there could be as many as perhaps two thousand “activists” on hand at all border points combined this Friday. Such numbers would be a relief in many ways, especially if this renders the efforts muted and easily handled by the Israeli security forces. Minimal violence, injuries or casualties resulting from the Global March on Jerusalem would be preferable as it would remove any situation where Israel could be vilified and be accused of using nonproportional force against simple unarmed protesters. There would be no mention of the challenge to breach the border of a sovereign nation, just the use of nonproportional force by Israeli defenders. Some things in this world are so predictable, yet time and again the news anchors’ reports of the damning accusations against Israeli defensive efforts replete with gasping breathlessness in order to transmit the seriousness and extent of their complete and total shock and astonishment at the actually very predictable events.

Beyond the Cusp

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