Beyond the Cusp

September 19, 2019

Trump, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Israel

 

Mark Langfan wrote a very insightful article reflecting on what the lasting effects of President Trump’s firing of John Bolton and how this could lead to Trump not being reelected. Of course, the final repercussions from letting John Bolton go will play out in ways that none of us will likely get completely correct. As Mr. Langfan points out, with Bolton out of the administration, the voice for stronger actions even unto direct attacks on Iran has been silenced. This is not to infer that there are no other voices purporting for stronger reactions to Iranian belligerent actions. We had pointed out that there was an uneasy relationship between President Trump and his advisor John Bolton as Trump prefers to find economic solutions rather than resorting to using the military and Bolton was far more militaristic having no qualms about resorting to force. We had mentioned reports of heated arguments between the two men as their views were about as far apart and different as possible. But Mr. Langfan was correct in stating that John Bolton served a potentially precious purpose, he was the stick always in the ready countering the carrot dangling Trump making any implied Trump threats of using force more credible. Whether Mr. Langfan’s conclusion that the Iranian attack on the Saudi oil fields and that we can expect more Iranian perfidy and violent attacks on Saudi Arabia may or may not come to fruition depending on numerous factors which we will try and explore.

 

There are credible rumors that after the elections in Israel, and assuming that a government is formed led by incumbent Bibi Netanyahu, President Trump will propose a mutual defense pact between Israel and the United States. The problem is that should Prime Minister Netanyahu be able to form the next Israeli government, he would be predisposed towards accepting such an agreement. Anyone reading our last article would likely see some of the plethora of reasons for Israel to refuse such an offer. We understand that such a position would be difficult to defend by most standards, but here goes. We have one reason and only require this one reason. We have no problem forging agreements with supportive nations for the supply of military hardware, weapons, aircraft, armor, ammunition and other munitions and bombs but we would draw the line on allowing a single soldier from any other nation coming to fight alongside our IDF. The reason is relatively obvious to anyone who has felt the sting of Judeophobia (anti-Semitism). We hold a fear that should American young people come and fight to aid Israel should a war, or should we say when a war breaks out, when any of these young soldiers should be killed, it would be the quickest way of turning great numbers of current Israeli supporters into rabid Israel haters and possibly having them become Judeophobic. The idea of sacrificing good Christian young men and women in a war to save the Jewish State, which would be seen as Christians being sacrificed for the Jews, would turn many average Americans against Israel, against the Jewish State. This is true for the United States and would stand true for any nation sacrificing their young military men and women for Israel or in any other foreign war. Citizens of most nations fully understand using their military youth in a necessary conflict to protect their nation and people but such understanding wanes rapidly when those sacrifices are being made for other people and nations. Add in that in this case the nation would be the Jewish State and the waning would become an abatement leaving a mere trickle of support for aiding Israel. Israel must be prepared to defend herself by herself with as little reliance on outside forces, specifically troops, coming to their aid. Materials are one thing and people, especially young people who make up the fighting forces, facing possible death and some actually being killed in such a war would increase anti-Israel and Judeophobic reactions swaying the majority of the people to decry such activities. This is a situation which Israel would be advised to take every possible measure for self-dependence and never allow non-Israelis from ever fighting in an Israeli war and especially being injured, or worse killed. For this reason, amongst others, Bibi Netanyahu or any other Israeli Prime Minister should refuse to agree to any mutual defense agreement no matter which nation might be offering such.

 

Another reason not to enter such an agreement is even more obvious, Israel also needs to avoid ever being dragged into a conflict, especially one in the Middle East or Northern Africa, the Arab and Islamic world, through any treaty as the IDF is not as large an army as those of other nations around the world. According to Global Fire Power, the IDF ranks as the seventeenth most powerful military, a ranking largely due to the advanced weaponry, especially defensive weaponry such as the Iron Dome and other anti-missile systems and not their number of troops. This ranking rates Turkey, Egypt, Iran and Pakistan all ranked as more powerful militaries. When it comes to active duty personnel, Israel does not even rank in the top twenty-five coming in at around twenty-eighth in the world with numerous Arab and Islamic nations with far larger numbers of active duty personnel. Israel would become excessively vulnerable were she required to station numbers of her active duty troops outside the country. That is an easily observed part of the reality in which Israel lives.

 

Should Iran actually be emboldened by the departure of John Bolton, this would initially likely take the form, as Mr. Langfan predicted, of attacks on Saudi Arabian assets such as the recent attack with drones on their oil fields relatively close to Iran. Targets within Saudi Arabia have the advantage of allowing Iran to offer disclaimers of their involvement pressing other potential entities to be responsible. Some of these would include but not be limited to claiming the attacks were the work of the Houthis in Yemen, allied forces from Iraq where Iran can pretend they were acting independently as well as blaming non-state actors such as Hezballah, the IRGC, Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other Iranian operative groups. Mr. Langfan left out other potential targets which Iran might attack via their proxies such as Egypt or Israel amongst others. Currently, there are some low-level altercation and skirmishes along both the northern and southern borders of Israel. These are utilizing Hezballah in the north supported by IRGC forces and Iranian provided rockets and missiles, Hamas and Islamic Jihad in the south out of Gaza using rockets and incendiary and high explosive balloons, kites and drones being used to turn much of southern Israel into a smoldering wasteland. There will also be the potential for increased terrorism anywhere around the world driven by Iran through their proxies some of which train and operate out of the tri-border region in South America. Iran might even decide to be so bold as to attack the United States indirectly through their international terror network. The only question is how far will Iran go in taking risks of having the United States retaliate. Even were the United States able to discover Iranian involvement in such attacks, their response would be measured and relatively proportional. This is one position which President Trump has mentioned, the concept that military actions need to be measured and proportional to the acts which precipitated such a response. This is a modern concept which has infected the developed world paralleling their belief that the natural state of the world is to be at peace in order to develop the economies and all interactions between nations would be related to trade. Apparently, they have a very warped view of history which is not realistic and may be a potential disaster waiting to happen. Should Iran start to wage a low-grade terror and indirect attack methodologies, the United States would eventually reach a point where such could no longer be ignored, especially as the media would be taunting President Trump for his inaction and timidity in the face of what they would call an obvious war. Further, should the United States be dragged into a war in the Middle East, the last thing Israel needs is to have a mutual defense treaty potentially dragging them into the conflict. But Israel also will have their potential difficulties with an emboldened Iran.

 

Hezballah Rocket Arsenal

 

Israel has Iranian proxies in Gaza with Hamas and Islamic Jihad and in Lebanon and southeastern Syria with Hezballah, the IRGC and even Iranian military forces. Of the two threats, Hezballah is probably the greater one with potentially over one-hundred-fifty-thousand rockets and missiles of various sizes and warheads including numerous which are capable of striking anywhere in Israel and even beyond (see table above). Further, both Hezballah and Islamic Jihad, which will drag Hamas along with them, have promised to provide the other a second front against Israel should hostilities break out. This would include coordinated attacks potentially coming from Lebanon, out of Gaza in the south and along the Golan Heights attacking from Syria as Iran has Israel within their or their proxies’ sights almost circling the tiny Jewish State. Then there is always the final threat Israel could likely face, and that is Iran itself. Iran has numerous rockets and missiles which can reach Israel launched from Iran or Iraq as shorter-range weapons could be launched from Iraq which is much closer to Israel not to mention Iran could launch from within Syria as they have done on several occasions in the recent past. Currently, Hezballah has things remaining at a low boil, but this could change without notice should Iran so choose. Israel would be pressed too close to her limit were Iran to actively enter into hostilities. The fear then would be whether Iran would be launching weapons of mass destruction such as nerve agents, biological agents or possibly nuclear warheads, the greatest of their potential threats whether they are atomic bombs of thermonuclear weapons with the difference being scale. Any Iranian attack on Israel which would be directly traceable to them would require Israel to respond well outside of President Trump’s concept of proportionality. This would be one time when that charge could be leveled against Israel and we would probably simply plead guilty and continue as we are talking the survival of the nation and nothing less.

 

In summation, Israel has sufficient troubles without signing onto a mutual defense pact with the United States. We are unsure that the United States would respond honoring such a treaty made while President Trump is in office after he leaves office and even more so should the Democrats take the White House. Further, President Trump may have emboldened Iran which may have been demonstrated by the recent attack on the Saudi oil fields. This could lead quickly to escalations throughout the Middle East and potentially the world of both terrorism and further potential wars. For those who did not yet read the article by Mark Langfan linked to at the top of the article, we can only advise giving it a perusal. And please allow us to end with one last new thought, Iranian leadership believes that they are the ones who are chosen to rule the world and spread their version of Shia Islam until they have converted the entire population of the planet while beheading those who refuse to convert. This includes bringing the world to the verge of extinction setting much of it in the flames of destruction, nuclear if necessary being broadly used, so as to force the arrival of their chosen messiah. Does this sound eerily familiar? This has been the driving force of the worst conflagrations in our history and this promises to make them all seem like small skirmishes by the time they are done.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

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