Beyond the Cusp

April 17, 2015

Iraq War Front Not About What the Media Claims

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The world need not look outside Iraq for proof about the real reason the Iraqi government fight ISIS where they do and further explain the oft ignored results after areas are presumably liberated. The reports have often been suppressed after the Iraq forces, which include Shiite Militias fighting along-side regular Iraqi forces and Iranian fighters mostly from the IRGC (Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps) aiding their strength to some of these more Shiite units. These reports often fail to mention the aftermath of liberating Sunni villages and the ensuing violence which is purported to have resulted in a hunt for the Sunni who may have survived whatever purity test was applied by the ISIS forces after they had assaulted the area. This places the mostly Sunni men’s lives at risk of being targeted and thus forfeited as much if the Militias are simply Shiite fanatics. One can look at the Shiite Militias as being the anti-ISIS forces out to purify these villages by the slaughter of the Sunni forces sympathetic to the ISIS occupation. As far as many in the Shiite Militias are concerned, if one survived the ISIS forces and their purging of those not pure enough from their Sunni perspective, then they are definitely not to be good Muslims by the Shiite forces making up both the Shiite Militias and the IRGC, many of whom are just as fanatical Shiites, have laid waste many of the villages which managed to survive the Sunni purification purges.

Much of the southern areas reclaimed from ISIS have been subjected to purity tests checking their loyalty qualified under Shiite scrutiny. Quite often these villages were found to be impure and in too many instances they were razed to the ground. One can only imagine the horror many of these villages have faced being subjected to a test by fanatical Sunnis from ISIS and when liberated from that predicament being subjected to another test, this time by Shiite fanatics. One can only assume that these villages were left without any men between the ages of thirteen to around forty-five. I realize that when in a fight for your life one will resort often times going to extreme ends to assure that the areas you have cleared are absolutely free of anyone who remotely held a thought of your opposing force. The real difficulty has been surviving first the inquisition as imagined by the Sunni fanatics of ISIS and then within a few weeks having to face another inquisition, this time by Shiite fanatics of the forces presumably aiding the government of Iraq. Obviously this series of back-to-back subjection to opposing inquisitions, very few if any villages remained intact. The one fortunate result is that the Iraq/Iran forces have yet to attempt to destroy everything they judge to be un-Islamic, such as museum exhibits, as had ISIS forces once they had secured an area; though that is little comfort to many of the people living on the or beyond the cusp of the fighting.

Meanwhile, on the front it is the less reported things which are drastically different as all of the forces fighting to hold back or even force retreat from the ISIS, or simply attempting to just hold the line consist of a disparate group of loosely aligned players. When these mostly militia forces finally wrest a village back from ISIS control, there is no purity test applied and the villagers are often assisted in rebuilding their defenses and even improving them so as to have them provide better ability to resist any further assaults regardless of what they might believe. These forces liberating and often rescuing these people from living under ISIS rule are the Kurdish Peshmerga. The Kurds are a wonderful people as they are often misrepresented in the mainstream media. The main theme in Kurdish life is one that many Israelis might recognize, namely that as long as you live peaceably with them, they will have no problem being kindly neighbors with you. The unfortunate truth is that for most of Kurdish people their neighbors have been less than expected in the live-and-let-live department. This was true in Saddam Hussein and Iraq; Erdogan and Turkey; Bashir al-Assad and Syria and finally the Ayatollahs and Iran where all have suppressed, persecuted and even exposed to attempts at genocide using chemical weapons of mass destruction. This use of chemical weapons against the Kurdish villages by Saddam Hussein was part of the reasons for going into Iraq and ending Saddam’s reign of terror against them. This has unfortunately been the case for much of the Kurdish existence.

When the United States coalition forces reached the Kurdish regions in the northern areas of Iraq they were greeted as the liberators they were. The Kurdish people were simply glad and had no problem showing their excitement. Since their liberation from the oppressive rule by Saddam Hussein the Kurds set up their own semiautonomous region which has ruled itself, policed itself, and defended itself. They have accomplished this with little assistance from the outside world. The Kurds initially held back ISIS but had to retreat for a short while but have returned and pushed ISIS out of their areas. They also assisted the Kurdish forces under threat by ISIS in Syria. Even then did they rely predominantly on their own people to do the heavy work and eventually requested that the allied forces target certain areas of Kobanê in order to unseat ISIS forces heavily entrenched positions. This led directly to the gains which have recently liberated Kobanê and the immediate locations. The Kurdish fighters in Syria have requested aid as they have begun to strenuously work to flush out the remaining ISIS forces and found themselves running short on ammunition. The Kurdish front is the most civil and humane of the fronts in Iraq.

The lack of humane treatment of the villagers in the rest of Iraqi warfront has reached a level where some military are questioning the West’s support being provided. Far too many fighters on the Iraqi side are just as ruthless upon taking a town as were their adversaries in ISIS. The Iraqi inquisitors behave when in the presence of American or other Western advisors but these advisors cannot be in all places simultaneously. This has left room for some atrocities to be committed by the presumed allies of the Western forces. This violence has solely been restricted to the Sunni villages which when liberated by Shiite militias are subjected to yet more inhumane treatments and many get to be interviewed in inquisition-like questioning of their purity of faith. As those remaining in these villages have already passed the ISIS inquisitors, they have already received one big black mark on their inquisitor’s sheet as they now test for allegiance to their form of Islam. The conflict has born sufficient evidence of the hatred built around the Sunni-Shiite split in Islam. There is a divide which many people have had to carefully straddle the line between the two being capable of having a Sunni appearance in the morning and having a Shiite appearance that afternoon while surviving the firefight in between. It is also this divide and the highly tense feelings engendered by it that lies at the base of the current violence across much of the Muslim world. And wherever one looks around the Muslim world the differences are almost universally recognizable. There is either the Sunni-Shiite divide or a racial divide of Arab against non-Arab. There is nothing like a Western national feeling in most of the Arab world where people despite racial or financial differences live together sharing those things which makes them better and is most beneficial while retaining some traditions within the home.

Much of the Arab ruled world has this as a prevalent problem as if peoples with different tribal backgrounds were broken into smaller groups and merged with neighbors who were more likely to be enemies were instead forced into a single nation. If such a plan had been implemented then the only governing style that could function at all as a nation was under the oppressive thumb of a strong dictatorial leader who would choose a single or at most dual tribal strength and keep the other tribes suppressed. This style of leadership could lead to the occasional change of leadership through a coup which would bring a similar ruler into office who would change the tribes favored and tribes suppressed. Still this led to a similar situation where the leadership had to invest too much effort in preventing his nation from fragmenting that there was little hope for development. Even had such a plan hoped that in time there could be multiethnic democracies rising from these states, such hopes were soon left unrealized as strong ruler after strong ruler eventually led to the Arab Winter which is still spinning its disastrous results in Syria and Libya where the tribal areas are fighting each other as well as throwing out the old dictator which has been accomplished in Libya without improving anything and still to be completed in Syria with likely similar results. The eventual result of this turmoil is quite probably intending to leave a few strong states to fight it out as to whim will be crowned leader of the Muslim world as well as over the Arab subculture. Currently we are down to a few potential winners in this winner take all scenario and they are Egypt under President and former General Sisi, Saudi Arabia and its Royal Family, Turkey under Erdogan even if he has to invent a new office for him to rule through (oh, wait, didn’t he basically just do that?), and finally the Obama chosen ones, Iran under its Ayatollahs, Assembly of Experts, President and parliament all of which must genuflect in the direction of the Supreme Leader. Those are the players and their task is to unravel the Gordian Knott of Sykes-Picot and reestablish the Caliphate. What the role of the Western world is in all of this is unestablished as there is no true leadership in the Western world other than an apparent mere occupant in the White House, one that has silently empowered Iran and will soon stand with them when they announce their nuclear capability and claim the world as their pearl in the oyster. Where the world goes once Iran has rule over the new Caliphate, marching across Europe nearly unopposed until they reach the channel, is anybody’s guess. Then will the British rue the day they connected to the mainland through a tunnel and hurriedly rush to close it by any means necessary, flooding it included. The world could likely change dramatically over the next two decades. Let’s just hope to recognize it after these changes take effect. The coming problems will dwarf those of today, and that is far from comforting.

Beyond the Cusp

July 8, 2013

Russia, Iran Hope Egypt Follows Syrian Path to Civil War

Iran simply came out declaring that Egyptian military removing President Morsi from power “improper” while Russia warned the Egypt was on the brink of “civil war” in provocative statements. Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Araghchi was quoted in a released statement saying, “Islamists and revolutionaries should not be frustrated. Arab Spring can be followed by warm summer and cold winter.” He went on to claim the “the streets” should not be used to decide the Presidency.

 

Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin quoted in Russian news agencies declaring that the clashes between Morsi supporters and opponents are threatening to take the country into total chaos. Speaking while visiting Kazakhstan Putin warned, “Syria is already in the grips of a civil war, unfortunately enough, and Egypt is moving in that direction.” He added, “We would like to see the Egyptian people avoid this fate.”

 

The Iranian comments should be taken in context remembering that the Morsi Presidency backed as it was by the Muslim Brotherhood brought a thaw to the frozen relations between Iran and Egypt after thirty years back to the 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran. As such, Iran was enjoying the relations with an Islamized Egypt and took full advantage of the situation through repeated use of the Suez Canal to place military vessels into the Mediterranean Sea for the first time. Should Egypt now turn and place a secularist government in place these assets could be placed beyond Iranian reach and relations return to the cold storage from whence it has just been released. This makes the Iranian reaction obviously self-serving and expected.

 

But what about the Russian reactions, what agenda is behind their statements? One would like to be able to say that Putin’s words were sincere and he truly desired the best for the Egyptian people but his record of advancing his agenda at every turn prevents one from doing so. His referencing Syria when referring to the situation in Egypt is likely exactly as it appears, a desire for things to become sufficiently unstable to allow Russia an entrance through which to gain influence while at the same time pushing any influence of the United States aside. The accusation against President Obama of using the United States influence to push an agenda having the effect of placing the President in a defensive position rendering him paralyzed and ineffective. This was caused by his own early statements which initially backed the people’s calls for change and then back-tracking to a more neutral position pointing out the United States historic backing of elected governments. Senator John McCain has called for the United States to withhold the generous United States funding for the Egyptian military until their support has proven itself not to be simply a bald faced military coup grabbing power back to the Egyptian military as it was before the removal of Mubarak. One must remember that one of the main but relatively unmentioned reasons the demonstrations against Mubarak resulted in his stepping down was the military refusing to enforce his government leaving it vulnerable. The reason behind their refusal to back Mubarak was his decision to replace the succession of military appointed Presidents with placing his son as the next in line for the office of President when he stepped aside. This placed him in direct opposition to the military’s until then unopposed position of power in choosing the next President of Egypt. With the United States sending mixed messages on where it stands in the Egyptian revolution, making equivocation the only foreign policy of the Obama Administration, that leaves Russia with a decisive Putin taking full advantage pushing for the most chaotic of possible results in Egypt to allow for Russia to step in and place their influence behind the next President thus forever altering the complexions and alliances of the Middle East.

 

Should Putin get his wildest dreams realized and Egypt spiral into a full blown Syrian style civil war, it is expected that the Russians in some form of coordination most likely with either the military or Muslim Brotherhood, whichever appears to have the more promising and stronger position, to ply their way into assisting their new partners to firmly grasp and hold on power in Egypt going forward. Russia would thoroughly enjoy returning the Middle East into its Cold War divisions where the United States had a relatively weak set of relations with the Arab and Muslim States holding advantages over the Russians in Jordan and Turkey and with a strong relationship with Israel while the Russians, then the Soviet Union, had strong military centered relations with Syria, Egypt, Iran and Iraq. This all changed as a result of two main events, the Iran Iraq War and the rise of Saddam Hussein as a threat to Saudi Arabia who was pushed solidly into the United States orbit as the Russians right after the collapse of the Soviet Union was in no position to offer protection even against Saddam Hussein. Putin has noted the weakness of the United States under the foreign policy of do little then do less under President Obama who has adopted what he laughingly refers to as the lead from behind outlook on the world and has taken the initiative having Russia push their influence and agendas in a manner not seen since the soviet influence peddling which occurred during the Presidency of Jimmy Carter, another weak-willed American President. Should the world scene continue to fragment and become ever more unstable the opportunities for the Russians to place themselves in the fore and relinquish the United States into the shadows of obscurity then the world will be an ever darker place for the foreseeable future. This will be ever the more distressed as there currently does not appear to be another President and renowned cowboy, Ronald Reagan on the American horizon, but then who saw Ronald Reagan as the world leader and strong President he eventually proved he was before he took office? Could history repeat itself or is the world now destined to enter another dark period with the return of despots and military backed potentates and little if any regard for the will of the people becoming the norm and classic democratic liberalism falling into remission. This may be decided in the Middle East over the next few years and if all the current signs are to be believed as prophesizing the direction we are taking, then be afraid, be very afraid.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

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