Beyond the Cusp

June 27, 2013

Arab Spring Entering Arab Winter Redux

Whether one wishes to credit what is coming in the very near future to the spreading of the Syrian Civil War or the second round of the Arab Spring really makes little difference. Perhaps the best way to approach this is to give a quick review of where each of the nations which made transitions in round one of the Arab Spring currently are and whether or not the Arab Spring blossomed into an Arab Summer of contentment or blasted its way into a cold, hard Arab Winter. In Tunisia the resultant election placed an Islamic governance into power which was heavily leaning on the Muslim Brotherhood to take the helm and lead the nation. This led to steadily increased protests as the people resisted the imposition of religious aligned laws, a sort of Sharia light. The people had expected to have the result to produce a more secular governance but the Muslim Brotherhood having the most organized campaign with the most funding won out and now there is a growing state of unrest. In Libya the government in Tripoli does not have any strong hold on power with a differing group controlling Benghazi and similar results in every corner of the nation with each region basically under the control of the most populous tribe or family. Libya is rapidly becoming the new training ground for al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups who are able to set up camps through bribing the individual reining tribe over any particular location who in turn protect them from any interference from the central government or foreign forces and interests. Then there is the shining example of supposed success resulting from the Arab Spring, Egypt. That success is about to stand a crucial test from which the current government may not survive. The one year anniversary of the election of Muslim Brotherhood backed President Morsi occurs this weekend. There have been rising protests and some resultant violence building up to this weekend’s supposed celebration of one year under President Morsi. Where one year ago the people were filled with hope and demanding that the Egyptian military return to its bases and leave the government and the people to get on with the nation’s business, now the people are praying for the Egyptian military to replace the Morsi government and begin to repair the country and return them to even a level of economic health that existed under President Mubarak. President Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood are about to face a repeat of the Arab Spring revolution where they will get to play the role of Mubarak. So, the Arab Spring resulted in an Arab Winter with no successful governance put in place and in every instance the governing simply made thing worse. In every case there were no great increases in personal freedoms and liberties, if anything the government became more oppressive especially against minorities. The economies which were far from ideal somehow managed to get considerably worse with unemployment rising skyward, trade falling into a shambles, monetary reserves depleted, tourism nonexistent, and every measure of wealth and economic health dropping off the scale downwards. In a simple summary, in every case where the Arab Spring forced changes things have deteriorated into catastrophe.


Next we need to look at Syria and the effect of the Arab Spring there. This was the first case where a dictator, or should I say President for Life, simply decided he was not going to leave no matter what the price. President al-Assad had the benefit of outside assistance which allowed him to stand against those who protested against his continued rule. When al-Assad finally decided he had had enough of the protesters and turned the military upon them he initially appeared to have succeeded in preventing his overthrow. Then the protesters were replaced by rebel forces who initially were from two camps, one democratic and one religious. As time passed the democracy faction began to dwindle in numbers to the point that they were absorbed, or maybe subsumed, by the Islamist rebel forces. Then there came a split in the Islamist rebels with the leadership split between Muslim Brotherhood and al-Qaeda. There is a delicate balance with each side of this divide working with the other against their common enemy, al-Assad. The Syrian Civil War has morphed into a traditional Islamic war for dominance between the two oldest foes within Islam, the Sunni-Shiite divide, a war that has a long history. The addition of outside Sunni reinforcements being brought into theater by both the Muslim Brotherhood and al-Qaeda the rebel side has sufficient human forces and is seeking more heavy weapons with which to equalize the military assets possessed by the Syrian military. The Syrian military also has outside assistance with their being fully backed by Iran. This has brought both IRGC elite forces and Hezballah irregular troops who have excellent training and very high morale. This has led to a standoff that had slightly appeared to favor the rebels but now the tide appears to have changed as al-Assad and his allies recently taking the offensive. This has apparently included a limited use of chemical weapons which is proving to be the deciding factor in a number of battles.


There has been a direct spinoff of the violence in Syria with the Syrian Civil War spreading across the border into Lebanon where the Sunni militias have confronted Hezballah forces threatening to spark a similar civil war once again in Lebanon. There have also been other sparks and cinders from the Syrian Civil War spreading into Jordan and Turkey. Iran is taking advantage of these difficulties in Turkey where Shiite dissidents have taken to the streets with violent riots resulting. This is leading to a potential Civil War breaking out in Turkey where President Erdogan is facing his first real challenge to his authority. This is stressing Turkey even further than the hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees who have fled across the border seeking safety and relief from the violence that is destroying any semblance of normalcy or civilization within the Syrian borders. The refugee situation is no better in Jordan but at least there is no threat to the government as of yet in Jordan. This may be due to the presence of a training exercise involving Jordanian and American troops in Jordan. How long the quiet will persist in Jordan is not an easy question to answer as the American forces will not remain in country forever. There have been rumors that the United States military equipment which was imported for these exercises may remain in Jordan for the time being in order to strengthen King Hussein. With Iran behind al-Assad in Syria and having a hand in the rioting against Erdogan in Turkey, one has to wonder how long before Iran’s mischief enters Jordan.


The last part in this Arab Winter Spring Summer or Fall spreading confrontation is directly traceable back to Iran whose terror sponsor and training forces are currently supporting Shiite insurrection throughout many locations in the Middle East. They are operating in Yemen adding yet another front tearing that nation apart. As mentioned they are in Syria and Turkey up to their necks and are likely biding their time waiting for the opportunity to sponsor an uprising in Jordan. Iran has taken virtual control over the Iraqi Shiite government which has gone so far as to issue warrants for the arrest of the leading Sunni officers within the government. The Sunni have even petitioned the Kurds to form a united front against the Iranian backed Shiites. Iraq has returned to its turmoil with suicide bombings and other terrorist attacks occurring almost daily. The Iranian sponsored Shiite offensive across the Middle East has possibly been partially responsible for Sunni attacks of Shiites in Egypt where riots have broken out with Sunnis attacking Shiite neighborhoods beating Egyptian Shiite citizens as well as burning their Mosques, businesses and homes. This violence is on top of similar attacks against Coptic Christians also in Egypt. As stated above, Egypt may fall into complete chaos starting this weekend. All of these confrontations within the Muslim world almost dwarf the current violence on the borders of Islam with the Christians and Animists across Central and North Africa including such places but not limited to Mali, Nigeria, Kenya, and Rwanda. This summer will be very hot across many areas on the globe and not all of them necessarily related to Islam as there are also economic difficulties behind other areas experiencing unrest and rioting. If you live somewhere that is calm and serene than count yourself as lucky and living in an area which is blessed because such areas are becoming more and more rare as time passes. If you are in an area of unrest and violence we feel for you but as even the areas of quiet are not as far and safe from the roiling cauldrons as to allow our complacency.


Beyond the Cusp


September 5, 2011

Libya’s Next Governance

There has been some optimistic talk about the plans for a new constitution for the newly liberated Libya that was released late last week. There is mention of the rights of women to participate in all things political, economic and social, so very quaint. They also made sure to make guarantees of religious rights and the rights of minorities to exist in the great harmonious society in the making, how precious. The one overreaching problem in believing any of these high sounding promises is found in a mere two words hidden amongst all the flowery wonderful sounding promises, Islamic Jurisprudence, more aptly called Sharia. Many will hold out hope that there may be a balance found and that Libya will not go the way of Saudi Arabian society where women are not allowed to drive or vote and being Jewish will get you executed, or even worse, like Iran where even Muslims are targeted by the government and nobody can consider themselves as safe.

Despite all the promises from President Obama that he knew who the people were that we were backing with our bombs, money, and other forms of support, things may not be the nice package he was trying to sell. American and their European allies whose countries joined in what I like to call Obama’s folly now get to wait and see how badly we were misled about the end results in Libya. Were those like myself who questioned the intentions of the Libyan rebels fearing the worst in that they would turn out to be strict Islamists or did President Obama and the Europeans who joined in this effort correct that democracy was on the way with liberty and justice for all in Libya if only we gave the rebels a little assistance. Well, its reckoning time and it is still not looking very promising from where I’m sitting, but we will see. We still have the small matter of Gadhafi and his sons loose and still capable of causing more mayhem and casualties. Hopefully, the fighting in Libya will soon be over, but that also may be a matter for debate.

There is another front that causes me some degree of concern about the National Transition Council (NTC), the name for our presumed friendly rebels. The NTC is anything but a nice homogenous group with shared ideas, ideals, principles and goals. That is part of the reason for the contradictory items in the rough draft of a proposed constitution. This may turn out similarly to a very famous revolution that became famous for its dueling factions which led to a second revolution where virtually everything gained initially ended up being lost. It is quite possible that the revolution to oust Gadhafi will not end well even after the mad Colonel and his sons have been complete defeated. There is, as with the French Revolution, that distinct possibility that a second revolution will break out between those who want a true liberation and those who insist on the imposition of Sharia with all its ramifications. Right now, the future in Libya is anything but resolved and peace may be as far away now as it was at the outbreak of the revolution no matter what anybody says or what most Libyans desire. Libya is still a riddle wrapped in an enigma wrapped in a war zone, and that does not bode well quite yet.

Beyond the Cusp

July 2, 2011

Needed Actions to End Israeli-Palestinian Peace Process Stalemate

In the vast majority of cases, initiatives to jump-start the Israeli-Palestinian Peace Talks are marked by the proposal for Israel to start by making some grand unilateral sacrifices to show their desire for peace. With this almost always the first demand, it is no wonder the Palestinian Authority refuses to come to the table. The Palestinian leadership is totally aware that the more intransient they act, the greater the demands on Israel to give land away and free terrorists in order to make talks more attractive. I have news for everyone, it is not working. Why should the Palestinians come and negotiate when by not negotiating and appearing for an annual photo-op before walking away, using whatever excuse they can dream up, is rewarded with the West and Israel’s “friends” making the Palestinian demands for them, and without their need to reciprocate. Usually, it has historically been some new demand that the world will soon agree that Israel needs to grant the Palestinians as an enticement to negotiate.

So, what we have watched since 1967? It has been a repetition of the same actions while expecting different outcomes. Albert Einstein referred to this process as proof of insanity, and in this case he was dead-on accurate. The only recent change has come thanks to President Obama who has made a habit of inventing new demands that the Palestinians never even asked for or expected. A complete building freeze beyond the Green Line, the return to the 1949 Armistice Lines, and forcing Israel to divide Jerusalem are prime examples. George W. Bush, under the advice of Secretary of State Rice and Defense Secretary Gates, came up with a real winner when he pressured Israel to cede Gaza unilaterally to the Palestinian Authority. Many have pointed out that Israel received nothing in return for this gesture, but they are not entirely correct on this matter. Israel has received plenty for surrendering Gaza and forcing the Jewish residents to leave their homes, businesses, property, and uproot their lives for promises that are still to be met and years of misery. Israel has been on the receiving end of a near constant daily barrage of rockets and mortars while having Gilad Shalit kidnapped and held under unknown conditions for over five years now. Unfortunate Gilad has not been allowed any contact with his family, been denied Red Cross visitations to assure his treatment is humane, and, I fear, is very likely dead by now. That is the grand prize Israel received by complying with President George W. Bush, a person often said to be Israel’s greatest friend ever. Really?

So, what might be tried to encourage actual serious and productive negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians. By now it should be obvious that pressuring Israel while handling the Palestinians with reverential deference is not working. First, politicians stop using support for Israel as a campaign promise when you have no intention of fully honoring obligations and treaties entered into by the United States and instead your support for Israel becomes we want two states for two peoples living side by side in peace and prosperity. Give me a break! Look up some history and you will find that the United States agreed to enforce the enacting of the Balfour Declaration and the San Remo Conference when they ratified the Anglo-American Convention of December 3, 1924. By this agreement, the United States is party to a treaty that declared that a Jewish State was to be formed from the remainder of the British Mandate after the formation of Transjordan. This should be binding the United States to insist that Israel’s borders are from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea. Since this was established through a treaty, it has the force of law, not the force of a possible suggestion. But, since remembering one’s obligations from so long ago is no longer expected of the world, as these treaties were signed off on by Great Britain, France, Italy, and Japan with the United States included in the San Remo Conference in an advisory role; and were subsequently affirmed by the United States with their signing of the Anglo-American Convention, this all does not matter any longer, that was so, so long ago. So, what now?

Perhaps we need to simplify matters concerning the Palestinians. First off, disband UNRWA (United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East) and place the Palestinian refugees that meet the United Nations general definition of a refugee to be administered by UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees) and simply inform those who do not fit the true United Nations definition of a refugee that it is well past time they took up the care of their own lives. Why is it that the world made a completely separate agency simply to care for, protect, house, feed, and redefine the term “refugee” in order to perpetuate infinitely and forever a refugee population beyond those people who were truly displaced, whether by their own actions or by force of others’ actions?

Whose great idea was it that not only the original 650,000 approximated refugees resulting from a variety of forces and influences resultant from the 1948-9 Arab Israeli War would also include their progeny henceforth and forever? I realize it makes for great job security for the UNRWA employees, but it does nothing to solve the refugee problem, it can only exacerbate the problem, which is exactly what we are witness to today. Once UNRWA is eliminated and solely the real and actual surviving refugees have been determined will a solution be feasible. It is beyond ridiculous to expect Israel to deal with the potential influx of four to five million refugees when the original refugee numbers were barely more than 15% of the current running total. During around the same period of time, in the aftermath of World War II, there were numerous other refugee problems which were all addressed by the UNHCR and those refugees have all been resettled and their children and their grandchildren, and even some great grandchildren are living normal lives in their respective new or old countries. The one which resettled Muslims and Hindus and Buddhists between India and Pakistan was of such a magnitude that the numbers who were transferred dwarfed all other refugee problems of that era, yet every refugee from that great migration and their families are today safely settled in either India, Pakistan or wherever in the world they may have migrated. The sole perpetuated refugee problem is that of the Palestinians. Why?

Now we are entering the real heart of this dilemma. The reason the Palestinians were treated separately was because their brethren, the very same peoples from whence they originated, refused to accept them or any responsibility for their welfare and chose instead to intentionally make their lives a misery that could be placed at the Israeli Jews’ feet. The Palestinians were made into a weapon of war, a living grudge and propaganda tool with which to batter the international community with in order to defile the world image of Israel. This is the dirty little secret that nobody dares mention, for to do so is heresy and brings immediate refutation and rejection. The reason this is treated as the third rail is because to admit the truth of the complicity of the rest of the world in the charade, this psychological Jihad against Israel, would reveal exactly how deep into the mire supposedly enlightened societies will go to deny the Jewish people the same rights as normal people. Yes, I differentiated between Jews and normal people as that is what is the truth of the actions of the world against Israel, a denial of the humanity and likeness of the Jewish people to the rest of humanity.

The true tragedy and sickness is that for many Palestinians, their family, clans, tribes, and histories lie with the people on the outside of the fences and barbed wire, the same people who keep them in squalor and severe poverty simply as a political weapon against Jews. So, yes, the first step is to allow the Palestinians rights to return to their original homes and families and be treated as equals in their own lands. That is the other dirty little secret is that the Palestinians are actually Syrian and Egyptian with a few Iraqi, Turkish, Saudi, and other Arab people who immigrated into the areas where the Jews had made new jobs available. This means that the Palestinians arrived subsequent to the Jews and due to the economic condition created by the early Zionists. Many of these Arab immigrants also remained in their homes during the 1948-9 War and are today full citizens of Israel with identical rights and privileges as the Jewish Israelis. Some are doctors working side by side with Jewish doctors. Some are Judges including one who served on the Israeli Supreme Court during his judgeship. There are a number of Arabs currently serving in the Israeli Parliament, the Knesset.

And for the last little secret that everybody always fails to mention; there is not one Palestinian refugee being held in a refugee camp within the areas controlled by Israel and the IDF. Every single Palestinian refugee camp is under Arab ownership, control, rule, and oppression. Israel does not contain a single refugee camp with Israeli guards. The refugee camps exist in areas under Palestinian Authority control, Hamas control, Lebanese control, Syrian control, and used to be under Jordanian control until the PLO attempted a coup against the Jordanian Crown who sent them into exile in Lebanon where they again tried to overthrow the government and the leadership ended up in Tripoli while members of the PLO formed the core of what became Hezballah.

Those are the truths you will almost never hear, but please, research them and learn and you will find it is not the Israelis or the Jews who keep the Palestinian refugees in camps; it is their brothers and sisters in the Arab countries of their origin, and in many cases, the country of their birth and ancestry. Think about that for a while. Wake up to the truth and let it be known by all.

Beyond the Cusp

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