Beyond the Cusp

January 9, 2017

Crushing Truck Terror in Jerusalem

 

Truck ramming terrorism returns to where such first found targets, Israel. On the promenade in the Amon Hanatziv neighborhood in Jerusalem where soldiers were getting off a bus, a truck rammed into the crowd on Sunday killing four and wounded seventeen (disturbing video below). The attack could have been far worse if not for the timely acts of a civilian security guard/guide who shot the terrorist as he was turning the truck for a second ramming. Quoting an interview printed in the Jerusalem Post, they reported,
Security guard and tour guide Eitan Rund told Army Radio that after the truck drove into the crowd, “I saw the truck go in reverse, and then I realized that it wasn’t an accident. I ran toward him [the driver] and emptied my whole clip. He drove backward and onto the wounded again. They were motionless, some wounded and some scared. It wasn’t a good scene. There was hesitation to open fire. I have no doubt that this was a significant factor, because all they tell them recently is to be careful. It could be that a few minutes less of hesitation and the situation would have been better.”

 

 

 

We here at BTC find the fact that soldiers at the scene, many of them armed, were so hesitant to fire at the terrorist that this might have produced the first fatalities due to the recent events and the trial that found Sergeant Elor Azariya guilty of manslaughter. We had predicted just such a scenario where soldiers would die from hesitating to shoot fearing legal repercussions in our recent article, What the Guilty Verdict of Sgt. Elor Azariya Will Mean. From the video it appears that nobody at the scene could have prevented the truck striking the crowd as it came screaming from the street directly into the people departing the bus with less than a second to react. Perhaps, if there was hesitation, it came once it appeared the terrorist was attempting to turn the truck for a second run. The evidence that some hesitated was the fact that the cab of the truck was not riddled with 5.56mm rounds having punched holes in the chassis and smashing through the windshield. Instead, the windshield appears to have approximately a dozen holes signifying bullet strikes with a few appearing to have multiple hits (see image below). The reality is that after twenty seconds of the above video, when the soldiers waiting a short distance from the attack behind a Jersey Wall barrier start to run in a direction away from the terrorist and the truck, a number can be seen to have weapons and are showing absolutely no interest in running towards the truck to engage but are running away. The soldiers with weapons were amongst some of the last to flee, but they appear not to be advancing to shoot and engage the terrorist. This was some of the evidence that perhaps shooting terrorists has become something viewed as a dangerous idea and as long as anybody else is engaging, then best not to shoot and end up tried for needlessly placing too much firepower at the target.

 

Truck From Jerusalem Ramming Terror Strike

Truck From Jerusalem Ramming Terror Strike

 

The IDF officer, Col. Yaniv Aluf, commander of the IDF Officers School, was the officer who carried out a preliminary investigation of the attack. His report conflicts with the version of events reported by the civilian security guard’s interview where he reported that soldiers hesitated. Col. Yaniv Aluf’s investigation suggested that at least two cadets fired toward the terrorist at close range. Major General Moti Almoz agreed with the Colonel claiming that it was wrong to suggest that soldiers were hesitant to shoot or especially that the Azaria conviction had any bearing on the incident. Major General Almoz added that the soldiers likely did not know initially that this was a terrorist attack and were probably thinking it was a car accident. Almoz was quoted stating, “The moment that they realized that it was an attack, two cadets fired toward the truck.” That was two soldiers out of how many who were armed, that would be a point worth knowing. With the numbers of soldiers and the many that had weapons, that truck should have looked more like those in movies where the vehicle falls apart once touched and not simply having a dozen bullet holes in the windshield. We are fairly sure that there will be no responses from any of the soldiers at the scene as they were likely briefed and instructed not to talk to the media.

 

The grim reality comes in the form of the names of the deceased. Three female soldiers – 20-year-old Lt. Yael Yekutiel of Givatayim, 22-year-old Lt. Shir Hajaj of Ma’aleh Adumim, and 20-year-old Sec.-Lt. Shira Tzur of Haifa – and one male soldier, 20-year old Sec.-Lt. Erez Orbach of Alon Shvut, were declared dead at the scene. Additionally, the hospital reported that two cadets were seriously wounded, and fifteen other officers and cadets sustained less severe wounds. Our prayers are that they all make recoveries such that there can be some small miracles from this horrifying event. The terrorist was identified as Fadi al-Qanbar, from the nearby neighborhood of Jebl Mukaber, long a source of incitement and attackers. Some reports claimed that the terrorist’s family was known to have ties to terrorist activity. Before anybody asks why this person was not under surveillance, even if such a tactic was thought to be a deterrent, there are not sufficient security personnel to follow every potential terrorist within the areas under Israeli control. As far as giving the Arabs the lands the world claims would satisfy them and end the terror, one question if you don’t mind, why were the Arabs launching terror attacks before June of 1967 when there was no “occupied territory” and why were there pogrom like riots in Jerusalem and Hevron in the 1920’s and 1930’s before there was even a State of Israel. The terrorism has nothing to do with “occupied territory” unless you claim all of Israel is “occupied territory” and every home and apartment where lives a Jew is “occupied territory,” then you might be closer to correct. Mahmoud Abbas has stated numerous times that he will only end terrorist activities when all of Israel has been defeated and made Judenrein. That is his final compromise, all of Israel destroyed and every Jew dead. How is Israel to negotiate with such?

 

All the conferences like we will speak on tomorrow and all the wondrous exclamations of how peace can be attained by Israel for a small price, all these grand and eloquent statespersons from Europe, the United States State Department and President Obama from the White House all misunderstand Mahmoud Abbas’s claim to his desire for the missing 22% which is rightfully Arab. If we may be permitted a quote from Egyptian Judge, Justice El Araby, from the International Court of Justice (ICJ) and who sat in judgement as part of the panel which heard the case where the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) sought an advisory opinion in 2003 from the ICJ on the legality of the security barrier erected by Israel. The Honorable Justice El Araby warned the UNGA and others that filing further ran some risks, as he stated,

 

“The international legal status of the Palestinian Territory (paras. 70-71 of the Advisory Opinion), in my view, merits more comprehensive treatment. A historical survey is relevant to the question posed by the General Assembly, for it serves as the background to understanding the legal status of the Palestinian Territory on the one hand and underlines the special and continuing responsibility of the General Assembly on the other. This may appear as academic, without relevance to the present events. The present is however determined by the accumulation of past events and no reasonable and fair concern for the future can possibly disregard a firm grasp of past events. In particular, when on more than one occasion, the rule of law was consistently side-stepped. The point of departure, or one can say in legal jargon, the critical date, is the League of Nations Mandate which was entrusted to Great Britain.”

 

This advisory would be well heeded by these coming conferences and potential United Nations Security Council endorsing and attempting to enforce any grand solution on Israel by establishing an Arab State of Palestine with defined borders which Israel had not agreed to grant. The truth is that under real and standing International Law derived from the Balfour Declaration, the San Remo Conference, the Treaty of Sèvres, Treaty of Lausanne, the British Mandate, the Churchill White Papers, Anglo-American Convention, Article 80 of the United Nations Charter et al. For a fairly straight forward coverage of the rights for the establishment of the State of Israel at the very minimum on all lands west of the Jordan River, please refer to Legal Rights and Title of Sovereignty of the Jewish People to the Land of Israel and Palestine under International Law. The reality is that any Arab State can thus far only be established in Gaza as Israel voluntarily, if also foolishly granting too much relying upon trust in promises in a private letter from a President of the United States which apparently can be ignored once they leave office as proven by President Obama claiming the letter has no legal standing and he did not make and thus will not keep the promises within, let that be a cautionary note to all putting faith in promises from American Presidents. Any further release of land by Israel would be excessively foolish but it is also the sole legal manner in which there can be any future state for the Palestinians and as long as their terrorist means and claims to erase all of Israel killing all the Jews found within continue, there will be no such surrender of territories for that purpose or any other. The ongoing threat to take Israel before the ICJ and win the rights to lands, according to Abbas all of the lands, but any lands will find their decision handed down being that all the lands belong rightfully to Israel and that only through an agreement, a treaty, can there be anything resembling an Arab State within the borders of the Jordan River west to the Mediterranean Sea. This is why despite constant threats from Abbas and his merry henchmen and the European Union and numerous European governments to take Israel before the ICJ and force Israel to grant the Palestinians their rightful state has and never will happen is because they all know the legal rights and claim Israel holds to these lands and they are aware that they would not only lose in the ICJ but that all future arguments they wish to present would become worthless. Even should the Arabs conquer the lands, they would still revert to the Jews whenever they decided to sue in the ICJ for their rightful inheritance and the only manner around such would be to get a representative for Israel to sign a surrendering document giving up all claims to these lands. We would advise against holding your breath as that will cause unconsciousness.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

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June 3, 2016

Weeds in the MENA Garden

 

 

If one were to ask the European Union, the United States, the United Nations and the world media who is responsible for the unrest throughout the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) the resounding echoes would continue to scream Israel for likely the rest of eternity, but is that an honest assessment or simply a knee jerk automatic programed response spurred by anti-Israel, anti-Zionist, anti-Semitic hatreds? The easiest way to tell would be to take a quick whirl around the MENA nations and see what the truth is. Let us start our excursion at the western edge and head to the east and see what we will see.

 

A map of MENA nations is almost up to date and is only missing the Sudan, and as the Sudan was split after years of tribal and religious violence, South Sudan; and some go so far as to include Turkey, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Djibouti, Eretria, and Somalia.

A map of MENA nations is almost up to date and is only missing the Sudan, and as the Sudan was split after years of tribal and religious violence, South Sudan; and some go so far as to include Turkey, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Djibouti, Eretria, and Somalia.

 

Coming into the North of Africa from the Atlantic Ocean the first country we would visit would be Western Sahara where we would find Morocco has occupied Western Sahara since 1975 in violation of resolutions by the United Nations Security Council and International Court of Justice ruling. Any efforts to dislodge Morocco from Western Sahara have been blocked directly by the United States whose full support of the Moroccan occupation shows no sign of relenting. The conflict reemerged as the “Independence Intifada” in 2005 which has remained as depicted in map below. Despite numerous efforts to defuse the situation the standoff remains.

 

Occupied Western Sahara  by Morocco Shaded Area  and Western Sahara Unshaded

Occupied Western Sahara
by Morocco Shaded Area
and Western Sahara Unshaded

 

Continuing on from the Morocco-Western Sahara conflict we next visit Mauritania which has had a rocky recent history including two military coups, the first was in 2005 followed eventually by elections for a new president in 2007 followed by the second coup in 2008. General Abdul Aziz took power after the coup but found the nation had few supporters amongst them predominantly were Morocco, Libya and Iran while the United States and European nations rejected the legitimacy of the coup continuing to refer to Abdallahi as the legitimate president of Mauritania. After the resignation of Abdallahi there were elections which allowed Abdel Aziz to become the civilian president. In February 2011 there were waves of unrest as the Arab Spring spread to Mauritania demanding President Mohamed Abdel Aziz institute political, economic, and legal reforms. The unrest culminated in April of 2012 as thousands of people in Mauritania attended demonstrations in the capital calling for President Mohamed Abdel Aziz to resign. Currently the nation is under military rule with the legal system based on Islam and Sharia.

 

Heading across the southern end the picture in Mali, Niger and Chad is the constant internal strife between Christian governments and Islamic uprisings with much of the major horrific attacks conducted by the terrorist group Boko Haram which literally means Western education is forbidden. Boko Haram follows Saudi Wahhabism and has pledged their loyalty to the Islamic State. Along the north there has been steady unrest in Algeria and especially Libya since the NATO backed coup where President Obama declared that the United States was leading from behind in the ouster of and eventual execution (murder) of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi. In Libya the nation is in fractious rule of numerous terror groups and tribal armies with some having declared alliance with the Islamic State. In the south east there is the Sudan which bled in the south especially in the Darfur area. Eventually the Sudan was force to divide allowing South Sudan to become independent. In October of 2015, South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir issued a decree establishing twenty-eight states in place of the ten constitutionally established states. The decree established the new states largely along ethnic lines. He took it to the parliament for approval as a constitutional amendment in November and the South Sudanese parliament empowered President Kiir to create new states.

 

This brings us to Egypt where the recent history has played out live and large in the Western media. The Arab Spring riots led to the removal of President and military strongman Mubarak. The elections were held fairly soon after Mubarak was forced to step down largely by the United States backing of the Muslim Brotherhood. These elections overwhelmingly approved Muslim Brotherhood candidate Morsi to the presidency and a large Muslim Brotherhood majority in the parliament. Within the year new rioting broke out protesting the implementation of Sharia despite warnings from Turkish President Erdogan to the Morsi government to slow their radical changes or face resistance. This led to the military removing Morsi and arresting him for election fraud. New election instated former General of the Army Sisi as President though he still had an Islamist and presumed Muslim Brotherhood controlled parliament. The Obama administration refused to recognize Sisi and demanded that Morsi be reinstated; a request which was roundly ignored. Unrest still exists between Egypt and the United States which will be resolved by the Presidential election this November in the United States. As to what either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump might choose to do is a complete mystery at the present time as neither has addressed foreign policy beyond Hillary’s claim to deep knowledge claiming her time as a Senator of New York and a stint as Secretary of State under President Obama which included the Benghazi, Libya fiasco amongst other miscues and Trump claiming to have conducted business deals with numerous foreign governments and met many world leaders though particulars remain largely unconfirmed. Egypt has also faced unrest largely from the Muslim Brotherhood and the Islamic State where both are vying for control of the Sinai from where they would presumably unseat Sisi and retake the presidency. Hamas in Gaza was seen as providing assistance to these and some Iranian backed groups in the Sinai thus earning themselves a complete sea and land embargo enforced by Egypt from their waters and land borders with Gaza. The Egyptian blockade is often ignored with the large amount of attention paid to the Israeli “blockade” which is actually an inspection of goods before allowing their delivery to Gaza usually within one or two days done to assure that weapons are not being imported by Hamas and the other terror groups which rule Gaza. Egypt too is a work in progress.

 

We will return to Israel subsequently but meanwhile on to Lebanon where the terror groups Hezballah runs the government with an opposition often afraid to act to remove the terror group as previous attempts have resulted in untimely deaths. Lebanon cannot be addressed without discussing Syria and the state of war which has more facets than hewn crystals. The main three forces are Syrian dictator Bashir al Assad who has retreated to the Alawite tribal areas along the Mediterranean coast and Lebanese border. Assad is backed by Iran and their proxy, Hezballah, out of Lebanon. These are the Shiite forces which also receive tactical support largely in the form of air strikes by the Russians who are protecting their port area along the Mediterranean coast. Inland there are Sunni groups, oft referred to as terror groups, supported largely by Saudi Arabia and Turkey. Finally there are the forces of the Islamic State which stretch into Iraq where they face the Iraqi Army backed by Iran who uses mostly IRGC (Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps) placing Iran at either end of the Islamic State. The Islamic State has been largely self-financed though there have been rumored support from Qatar. There is another group in northern Iraq and extending into northeastern Syria which is controlled by Kurdish Militias which are opposed strongly by Turkey. The Kurdish forces were at one time rumored to be receiving training by Israeli trainers on a clandestine mission though many have refuted that this was just a means of explaining the Kurdish forces resilience and holding their own against Islamist forces considered to be better equipped.

 

This takes us to the Saudi Peninsula and Jordan which we can count as a single unit of the GCC (Gulf Coordination Council) which is a group backed mostly by Saudi Arabia which includes Kuwait and the Gulf States and to a lesser extent, Jordan. Saudi Arabia has a close working relationship with the Egyptian government of President Sisi who are jointly facing terror groups including those supported or aligned with Islamic State as well as Iranian backed terrorists and the Houthi Tribes in the Yemen civil war, a front where Iran backed and Saudi Arabian backed forces are in direct confrontation. The United States has opposed and presumably attempted to prevent, though with little success, arms shipments to the Houthis by Iran and also opposed the bombing sorties from Saudi Arabia with equal lack of success and the belligerents continue to fight on. In the southernmost areas of Yemen, the prized areas which overlook the narrow passage from the Red Sea into the Arabian Sea, called Bab el-Mandeb Strait are a group of fighters originally claiming alliance with al-Qaeda but recently changing their alliance to presumably the Islamic State. These groups have benefited directly from Saudi raids as has the currently recognized Hadi-led government.

 

Yemen Battle Map

Yemen Battle Map

 

Lastly let us finally look at Israel. On the Golan Heights IDF (Israeli Defense Forces) have returned fire when fired upon by intention and otherwise has unofficial drop points for wounded individuals, civilian and combatant though no difference is noted, wounded and in need of treatment. IDF soldiers take these wounded and treat them in their field facility with the more serious cases transferred to Israeli hospitals for treatment. After treatment the individuals once sufficiently recovered are returned from whence they came at same drop points. All sides can view the individual drop points and all points are respected by other fighting factions in an unarranged agreement as all sides use this treatment method and no one side wishes to risk being cut-off from Israeli treatment and have to rely on whatever resources they have available. We have no information as to whether any Iranian forces have received treatment from the Israelis though if placed in civilian clothing they would receive the same treatment as any other individual. The Israeli border with Lebanon is currently quiet as Hezballah has sufficient on their plate with forces in the Syrian conflict and rumored even to have some fighting with IRGC or Houthis in Yemen. Intelligence believed to be accurate estimated that Hezballah has stores of rockets of varying size and capable of striking Tel Aviv, Bathsheva and even Ashkelon as well as guided missiles from Iran capable of striking anywhere in Israel including the southernmost port city of Eilat carrying warhead as large as two kilos and potentially five or ten up to one-hundred kilos warheads on their short and medium ranged rockets of which they possess as many as one-hundred-seventy-five-thousand. On their larger missiles they have warheads of as much as seven-hundred-fifty kilos on modified Zilzal-2 with a four-hundred km range and which they possess an estimated one thousand. Their Fateh-110 missile has a range three-hundred km range striking at Mach 3.5 carrying a four to seven-hundred kg warhead of which Hezballah possess more than twenty-thousand and lastly there is the Shaheen-II two stage missile which has a range of two-thousand km making able to strike anywhere in Israel and into Egypt. Each missile is capable of flight altitude of up to three-hundred km, is GPS guided, and varies a one-thousand plus kg warhead making it potentially capable of carrying a nuclear warhead and retaining it guidance hardware. It is doubtful that Iran has, let alone provided Hezballah with a deliverable nuclear warhead. Such is not far from the horizon for Iran but their providing Hezballah with such a weapon is doubtful.

 

The remaining fronts for Israel are with Jordan and Egypt which are both peaceful and with the Palestinian Authority (PA) in Judea and Samaria as well as with Hamas and ally Islamic Jihad and other terror and criminal groups in Gaza. The front with the PA is largely one where there are terror strikes which can be planned by Abbas and the his PLO terror groups or the less planned but instigated through calls for violence from PA figures, PLO figures or any of a litany of groups most of which are either headed by Mahmoud Abbas or are willful practitioners at his beck and call. The most recent round were stabbings carried out largely by Palestinian Arab and some Israeli Arab youths as well as car rammings along with rock and Molotov cocktail throwing with rioting which are carried out routinely by PA controlled terror groups, the Tamini family instigators who work closely with European Union and other European NGOs whose main aims are to cause any violent response by Israel which is filmed and the instigation causing the defensive act is edited and with careful editing and juxtaposition of stock footage, prerecorded footage or actual footage with any questionable instigations by the Arabs edited over or out completely compiled into the final product which is then transmitted throughout European news agencies within a matter of a couple of hours and they run with it unedited as if it were an actual news story followed by their governments and the European union then condemning Israel for use of disproportional force or the commission of war crimes and crimes against humanity. The Gaza front is another area where Iran attempts with some success to smuggle arms mostly containing rocket motors and rocket parts and technology. Funding for Hamas comes from UNRWA as well as from the PA making the European Union, United States, United Nations and individual European nations as well as numerous Arab countries direct or indirect financiers of Hamas terrorism and rocket attacks as well as Arab instigations and propaganda which permeates their entire society from their media to the schools, summer camps soccer leagues and every aspect of childhood and raising the children to hate Jews as well as Israel. The Hamas Charter calls not only for the annihilation of Israel but of Jews worldwide. Similar language is found in Islamic Jihad and Hezballah pamphlets and charters or constitutions. The hatred goes well beyond Israel and includes Jews everywhere as well as Western culture and societies. Hamas and their allies as well as Hezballah desire a world caliphate under Sharia and openly claim so. The main difference is whether the caliphate would be Shiite or Sunni, for the rest of us that is a minor comfort.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

June 8, 2015

The Signs of War in the North, They Are a Changin’

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We just had the usual late spring three day national exercise where one day they hold coast to mountains, north to south siren head for the shelters practice scenarios. Then there was the news that the IDF and emergency services were practicing for a potential and unprecedented assault where thousands of rockets would be launched in mass swarms with as many as a thousand rockets per wave, something well beyond anything that the Iron Dome with even every other system assisting could ever be hoped to prevent. The estimates were that under such an assault there could be as many as four-thousand deaths and untold casualties in the first few days. Where such news stories likely unnerved a great number of those reading them, I had been feeling something was amiss and even mentioned that to people after the practice shelter runs just seemed eerily more like a premonition than a practice session. The claims is that Iran is planning this little warm welcome by arming Hezballah in Lebanon with more rockets than they would likely be capable of launching even if given free range to do so for two to three weeks. Then they are also attempting to set up a secondary strike location near the Golan Heights likely to strike the IDF forces guarding that front and potentially also giving the Iron Dome and other anti-missile systems a second set of angles to compute on their intercepts. Perhaps that explains the serious tautness permeating the air making each breath full of the tensions strangling the very oxygen needed for life itself.

 

Will these feelings really be a true forecast of what is to come later this summer or just a case of the nerves which will be remembered with great laughter at my expense. I will welcome the humbling experience but then again there are many other threats which could also make life less enjoyable here in Israel. Fortunately the BDS people have not succeeded to any great extent outside the university and college campuses despite the great dilemmas and threats of the past few weeks with the FIFA affair and the Orange CEO misfire and retractions followed by repeated apologies and protestations of great affection for and loyalty to providing service in Israel. Meanwhile, it appears that the crisis of upsetting the Israeli public was far more concerning than any threat from the BDS crowd whose loud screaming has proven to be unnerving but eventually harmless and without any real harm if ignored. Still, the initial reaction from the CEO of Orange could prove troubling should other CEOs prove to be anywhere near as panicked as the Orange executive then Israel might end up facing some difficulties but also should these companies have such easily spooked in response to empty threats CEOs then perhaps they should find a new CEO made of sterner stuff. But the BDS is a mostly empty threat while Iran is a very real threat with great complications.

 

The main complication is what should Israel do if they realize that an attack is imminent from Iran, strike at Iran in a preemptive strike to prevent what would be an existential threat to Israeli existence and risk President Obama leading the charge in the United Nations Security Council to destroy Israel by referring them to the International Court of Justice at the Hague for attacking another United Nations member nation with the American President believing the Iranian claims that they had no such attack planned and Israel really was the greatest threat to peace in the Middle East and even the entire world. The following destructive actions from the United States, European Union, United Nations, and the international court systems which could result in a majority of nations recalling their ambassadors and closure of the Israeli Embassies in their nations and even the United Nations might eject Israel and cancel the United Nations Resolution which was theoretically the reason Israel became a nation. The fact that the United Nations and the world’s nations turning against Israel could not actually have any effects on the fact that Israel is a nation as Israel meets the requirements that define a nation so despite whatever actions the rest of the world might decide to take, Israel would remain a nation unless overrun by the nations of the world as revenge for their perceived unprovoked attack on Iran, though that is also highly unlikely.

 

Where, in all reality, an assault out of Iran is unlikely at this time, an assault from out of Syria coordinated with Hezballah in Lebanon as well as assisting in the Syrian assault as the last hurrah attempting to gain allies to assist Bashir al-Assad as his position has become more untenable with every passing week and it is rapidly becoming desperation time where any possible hope will be attempted no matter how far-fetched or remote the probability for success. An assault on Israel, especially one which leaves Israel sufficiently hurt that Assad can claim that he has accomplished what the rest of the Arab world has failed in achieving, making Israel reel from the damages of a swarm rocket attack, as swarm attacks are the known Iranian tactic for overwhelming opponents hoping for marginal success, would the world finally back an Israel equivalent strike to prevent similar follow on attacks or turn on Israel claiming the tired accusation of disproportionate response, as they are want to do. The possibility that such an attempt would assist Assad in any way shape or form is ludicrous and would only result in an assault by Israel on the areas of Lebanon controlled by Hezballah to wipe out every possible missile and rocket storage areas and launchers and also destroy every last possible Hezballah base, training area, bunkers, tunnel systems and any other assets that Israeli intelligence has identified. There will be the unfortunate necessity to strike the storage and launch sites in southern Lebanon which are largely below the Litani River, an area which the United Nations forces in Lebanon, UNIFIL, were supposed to prevent Hezballah from rearming and rebuilding their infrastructure according to United Nations Resolution 1701 which brought the last Lebanon War to an end. Unfortunately the UNFIL forces have had great difficulty and quickly simply gave up and refused to risk any confrontation while the European UNIFIL troops simply took their equipment and returned to Europe refusing to assist claiming the risk was too great and the potential for success too low, and there even have been those seen to aid Hezballah in their operations in southern Lebanon. This has allowed Hezballah to place launchers and missiles and rockets in virtually every civilian structure including schools, apartments, homes, hospitals and virtually every other structure imaginable. The intents of Hezballah is exactly the same intent Israel experienced last summer during Operation Protective Edge where Hamas fired the majority of their rockets from next to the same exact types of buildings and had their underground bunkers beneath hospitals and schools in attempts to maximize the civilian casualties in order to generate as much bad media coverage as possible.

 

Hamas also understood that Israeli missile defense and the fact that Israelis have shelters built into most buildings with them required in every new apartment, each apartment and not just the building, and in every newly build office building and retrofit being completed on most older buildings and many schools have been fortified to resist rocket fire; this the Israelis would be vastly more protected and thus the Israeli emphasis on life would serve to minimize Israeli casualties while in Gaza the Hamas efforts would intentionally cause excessive casualties amongst the civilians even making many levels higher directly caused by the overt Hamas efforts. They used this disparity and the media jumped at the reports basically asking over and over again how come there are so few Israeli casualties while there are reportedly thousands of Gazan civilian casualties being reported. There was an interesting finding confirmed by the United Nations investigations that there was almost and even number of Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other combatant casualties as there were civilian casualties. The fact that Hamas and Islamic Jihad used the bunker and tunnel systems to keep their fighters as safe as they were able while refusing the civilians any similar access to these areas of safety.

 

The fact that the IDF attained a virtual 1:1 ratio was unprecedented in modern warfare by any military since the advent of modern warfare. World War I was the last war where civilian casualties were appreciably lower than civilian casualties having a ratio of 2:3 of civilians to combatants killed. World War II had a ratio of 2:1 civilians to combatants killed while the Korean War had a ratio of 2:1 civilians to combatants as well. The Viet Nam war numbers are very controversial and range in ratios of civilians to combatants from 1:3 or 1:1 or the more similar to previous wars of 2:1. The two Chechen Wars had ratios of 10:1 in the first war and over 4:1 in the second with a total of approximately 7:1. The NATO war in Yugoslavia had a 4:1 ratio of civilians to combatants. The Iraq War produced a ratio of well over 4:1 civilians to combatants by the numbers estimated by the Iraqi figures and 1:2 civilians to combatants by Coalition numbers, a case of believe whomever you like. The winner for most contested numbers as well as estimated worst numbers was the totality of the drone warfare by the United States in Pakistan. The United States claims that the total number of civilians killed during the past two years was a total of twenty to thirty civilians against numbers approaching between five-hundred and one-thousand militants and terrorists. Daniel L. Byman of the Brookings Institution estimated a ratio of 10:1 as being much closer to the truth. The reported worst ratio ever reported for a single strike, thus the worst possible example and should be taken as such and not an actual comment but more as an example how in modern warfare a single attack can go so absolutely wrong. The report was from the British paper the Guardian which reported, “On 15 October 2010, Hellfire missiles fired from a Predator or Reaper drone killed Hussain, the Pakistani Taliban later confirmed. For the death of a man whom practically no American can name, the US killed 128 people, 13 of them children.” This single attack produced a civilian to combatant ratio of 128:1, fortunately this worst case scenario has had no similar such tragedies as far as we could ascertain.

 

What this whole discussion about ratios of civilian to combatant was simply to put into perspective the fact that the IDF conducts itself with the restraint and discipline often recalled in military training as control of fire, the confirming of targets and assuring that the long field of fire is free of noncombatants thus minimizing the harm to noncombatants. What people need to realize that in warfare where if you do not eliminate an enemy combatant whence you have the opportunity then you are risking the lives of many of your fellow soldiers and potentially to yourself. Should a Hamas, Islamic Jihad or other terror combatant in Gaza present themselves as a target believing that no Israeli would ever shoot them because they have strapped two young children to their chest hiding their torso from being viable targets due to the children he has unmercifully and illegally as such is a grievous breach of the rules of warfare, but these are terrorists who have a sizeable disregard for the rules of war. They should understand one of numerous rules of war that states that should a combatant utilize a protected building, item or person to protect their position or person, then that protected building, item or person is no longer protected and can be determined as a legitimate target if not shooting the target otherwise protected item to remove the combatant and end the threat of the actual target, such as permissible providing no other alternative is available. Thus far there have been no reports where any IDF soldier had targeted any combatant terrorist who has thusly protected themselves unless they were positive that they had a shot which they confidently could make without causing undue threat to the innocent children beyond the horrors they are already experiencing. Simply put, there have been incidents where trained snipers were embedded in combat units and took such shots usually targeting the combatant’s head thus causing the innocents no harm and possibly saving their lives.

 

The one item we can be assured of is that should Hezballah begin raining rockets, mortars, artillery rounds and missiles into Israel and largely targeting civilian areas with approaching one-thousand-two-hundred or more which would overwhelm even the extremely effective Iron Dome systems and the other systems developed to augment Iron Dome providing a layered defense system, but even such would never be capable, as neither would any other earthly system, of intercepting such a volume of projectiles. The only way to prevent such a threat would be to blanket style attack taking out every potential asset Hezballah has destroying their arsenal in place in both Lebanon and Syria. There would be no viable alternative and do not even go down that blind alley known as the United Nations which will be screaming for Israel to practice restraint and not escalate the threats and violence. And if Israel should actually listen and scale back her response leaving the vast majority of the Hezballah weapons systems intact then who will prevent Hezballah from launching another thousand-plus projectiles on day two then once again there would be the United Nations which will be screaming for Israel to practice restraint and not escalate the threats and violence. Then the third day after Israel called off a night of horrific raids destroying everything they know where it exists using the most accurate munitions in the Israeli arsenal leading to yet another day of approaching or exceeding a thousand projectiles followed immediately by the United Nations which will be screaming for Israel to practice restraint and not escalate the threats and violence. Hezballah is reputed to have over one-hundred-thousand rockets and missiles and this does not include artillery rounds or mortar rounds. This means that Hezballah would be capable of continuing such thousand rockets and missiles for over three months as they would have sufficient to last at least one-hundred days before requiring any restocking by Iran.

 

The threatening reality is that Iran is currently resupplying Hezballah ahead of any conflict and by the time they pull the covers off the launchers and launching the rockets and missiles while all the time the United Nations which will be screaming for Israel to practice restraint and not escalate the threats and violence. I realize the United Nations reference might be getting a little repetitious but just realize how the Israelis feel when we are always told to show restraint as it must be permissible to target Israelis even though only about three out of four Israelis are Jews. We heard the complaints during last summer’s war with Hamas, Islamic Jihad and friends where reporter after reporter would ask why there were so many Gazan civilian deaths and virtually no Israeli civilian casualties. If my memory serves me correctly there was one reporter at least who slipped up and instead of saying Gazans and Israelis but instead stated there were vastly more Arab casualties than Jewish casualties and it begs the questions as to where are the dead Jews in comparable numbers to the Arab deaths in Gaza. He likely stated it the way many others also saw the conflict as so many Arab dead and almost not even a single dead Jew.

 

We can only guess how many were thinking where were the dead Jews in significant numbers despite their knowledge of the extents that the Israeli government and construction companies have gone to fortify safe areas in order to prevent Israeli casualties, Jewish, Arab, Christians, Muslims (yes Israeli Muslims and perhaps one should ask how many Jews are allowed in Arab Palestinian areas), Baha’I and others all living in some degree of terror during the war last summer and would be just as terrorized should the potential warfare that Iran and Nasrallah has hinted awaits Israel, if not more so. The real problem is if the signals from Iran are anywhere near accurate, there might also be another front opened up from out of Gaza initiated by Hamas and coordinated with Islamic Jihad and the other forces which Iran has kept on their payrolls. The real fear is if any warfare this summer should turn into a full-scale and all-out war with far more than the Iranian allies with potentially Turkey adding their forces as well as Iraq and who knows who else. My prayers are for nobody to be even frightened this summer because no violence or threats of violence beyond that we have already heard. May peace grace the hot and hazy days of summer.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

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