Beyond the Cusp

September 16, 2012

Netanyahu and Obama Face Off

I had always thought that it was impossible for Israel to be any further from the United States than they are geographically. I mean they are virtually on opposite sides of the globe, but this weekend that distance is very short compared to the cavernous gap between their leaders over Iran. At one end of the argument we have Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu is demanding that the United States find some common ground with Israel and define a red line which when crossed will activate the military option being taken from the table and implemented. On the other side we have United States President Obama who simply wants Israel to be patient and allow the sanctions placed on Iran to bring about a proper end to the Iranian drive for nuclear weapons, which President Obama holds is the only conclusion anybody can expect because he knows that the sanctions will have the desired effect. All one has to do is look back through the historical record since the United States made the first deliverable nuclear weapons and one can list all the nations who had sanctions levied against them to prevent their attaining nuclear weapons technology, let alone actual nuclear weapons stockpiles. There was Communist China who was not prevented. Then there was Pakistan who has a present nuclear answer to match India, well close enough for the MAD concept to work thus far. Well, at least sanctions brought North Korea’s nuclear to an end, well, actually fruition. Rethinking this, sanctions have never prevented any country from becoming nuclear armed anywhere on planet Earth. So, what will make Iran different? I doubt they can be considered more rational or reasonable and I doubt intimidation of more sanctions will get any reaction other than a snide laugh from the Mullahs. So, exactly when will we see the miracle of sanctions bringing Iran to join in the brotherhood of nations rather than continuing in their roguish manner.

The good news is that President Obama does desire to place a red line, or more accurately, a red light in the formula regarding Iran. President Obama has made it clear he has placed a red light before any Israeli military actions to destroy or at least cause considerable damage to the Iranian nuclear sites. The American President has made it clear through words and deeds that he will go to any lengths to prevent an Israeli military response to the Iranian nuclear weapons drive. No leaked information will be considered too damning, no placing of assets to intercept the Israelis will be overlooked, and no statement will be beyond consideration to cause Israel to forgo their military options on the Iranian nuclear program. Likely the most glaring is the United States program in Iraq where they are being supplied with a fleet of thirty-six US F-16I Block 52 interceptor combat aircraft, the exact same model supplied to Israel complete with specifications requested by Israel when they made their purchases. This arming of Iraq is being carried out in an accelerated pace moving the delivery date to March 2013 instead of the original September 2014 and all the while Iraq has been steadily and with an ever quickening pace moving into orbit around Iran much the same as Syria. These aircraft would most definitely be deployed in an effort to prevent an Israeli strike on Iran from using any route over Iraq and likely even any route close to Iraq such as northern Saudi Arabia. It is highly unlikely that the Iraqis, and definitely the Iranians, would consider such a triviality as an international border preventing them from intercepting an Israeli flight. Also, Saudi Arabian officials have informed Israel that they would not permit any overflight by Israeli aircraft on their way to or from a strike on Iranian targets. This is a complete reversal of their position from as recently as six months ago when they had told Israel unofficially they would very likely be recalibrating their air defense systems should Israel strike the Iranian nuclear sites. The only change in this time period has been the installation by the United States of missile and air interceptor installations such as Patriot Batteries and anti-aircraft systems. One could easily believe that the warning from Saudi Arabia was not so much a change in their position as it was a warning that they had been informed that these new assets being installed and manned by the United States would be used against any and all, likely especially including Israeli, overflight or other encroachment on Saudi or neighboring countries’ air spaces. One can also be assured that President Obama and his close confidant, Turkey’s Prime Minister Erdogan, are in complete agreement on preventing any Israeli use of Turkish air space and the final country is the client state of Iran, Syria. When Israel had made clandestine arrangements with Azerbaijan for the use of two retired airstrips, somehow this information was unfortunately released to Foreign Policy Magazine which published an article by Mark Perry revealing this arrangement which caused it to be immediately rescinded.

As anybody who has been following this story is aware, Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Obama had an one hour discussion concerning policies that the two leaders might be able to reach an agreement on concerning when certain actions would become necessary to interrupt if not destroy the Iranian nuclear drive. Prime Minister Netanyahu demanded a concrete, set in stone red line which would, when crossed, immediately activate a military response. President Obama wanted no part of any standards or requirements or anything set out as a definitive point of no return and instead insisted that Netanyahu accept his promise that in the end President Obama could be counted upon to prevent Iran manufacturing any nuclear bombs. If one were to choose to be flippant about this truly serious and frightening situation, they might ask what would President Obama do if Iran were to assemble, construct, or produce a nuclear bomb or would Iran manufacturing a warhead instead of a bomb be considered as the same or is a warhead permissible. In some ways, knowing how President Obama is said to be so careful and brilliant in the way he chooses his words that this might actually be a necessary line for clarifications. The one item which was made crystal clear is that Israel was not to commit to any military actions or other destructive measures without first garnering the approval of President Obama, Secretary of State Clinton, Secretary of Defense Panetta, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Dempsey and likely France, Britain, Germany, and whoever else might have an opinion. So, as things now stand, Prime Minister Netanyahu is in a military red light zone where no matter where he turns or what actions he might choose to adopt, he has been informed that every possible light is red and the entire world opposes his actions, any actions.

So, one might wonder exactly where does that leave the whole Iran situation. My bet is it is exactly where it was last week, just one week closer to an Iranian nuclear bomb and also one week closer to the first strikes using Iranian nuclear bombs, be it by Iran or Syria or Hezballah or any other of the available Iranian terror options. We are at the same place with the majority of the experts of the opinion that Israel has the most to lose should Iran complete their nuclear ambitions. These same experts are pretty much in agreement that the next target on the Iranian hit list would be Saudi Arabia and the other Sunni oil producing nation of the GCC. The experts feel that the United States has absolutely nothing to fear from an Iranian nuclear bomb as they are completely outside Iran’s ability to deliver such a device and anyways, Iran would not risk the kind of total destruction the United States could deliver if Iran were to act so unwisely as to use nuclear weapons on the United States. We tend to hold a different idea of how the Iranian list of targets goes.

Iran would realize that should they attack Israel they would most definitely reap horrendous destruction in the retaliatory strike as Israel would likely use a good measure of their total nuclear capabilities to assure that Iran would not be a threat ever in the future. Likewise, should they use their new found nuclear capabilities on Saudi Arabia they would face complete destruction at the hands of an American strike. There is also some possibility of an American retaliatory strike should Iran strike Israel, though it would simply be rearranging the rubble from the Israeli strike. Iran also would have to consider the capabilities of the Israeli anti-missile defenses which are becoming quite efficient. The one common denominator on an Iranian nuclear strike anywhere in the Middle East or in Europe would be an American counter strike of likely very devastating consequences. That means that there is no difference in the deterrence for a strike on Israel than a strike on Saudi Arabia or a strike on anywhere in Europe with making a strike on the United States. There is actually a chance that a strike on the United States would result in a lesser degree of damage from any retaliation that any other target would produce as the response is likely to only come from the United States if at all. That leaves the question of what an Iranian nuclear strike on the United States would look like.

First item is we need to assume a number of missiles or bombs that might be utilized in such a strike. For arguments sake, we will assume that the Iranians have sufficient missiles with nuclear warheads to strike twelve cities with sufficient numbers to cause near total destruction. The next question is a little more difficult as it also has to take into consideration how the nuclear devices would be delivered. We will assume that they have smuggled devices for use in two cities and the remaining ten strikes will be made from cargo ships off of coastal areas all around the United States. The coastal cities targeted would be Washington D.C., New York City, Boston, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Houston, New Orleans, Miami and Atlanta. The two central cities would be Chicago and Cleveland. The Iranians have mastered firing their moderate range ballistic missiles off of cargo ships with each ship carrying between two to five missiles which would take on average five to eight minutes travel time to target. With these missiles being fired from within one thousand miles of their targets there would not likely be sufficient time to intercept many of them provided the timing was well coordinated, which can be expected as it is not that difficult. If Congress is in session on the date of the attack and both the President and Vice President are in Washington D.C., along with all of the President’s Cabinet and the Joint Chiefs of Staff, then it can be assumed that the leadership of the United States would be decapitated and it would likely take at least two days to ascertain who would be in command of the government. And even then, how long would it take for order to be reestablished and the attacking nation to be identified, one week, two weeks, a month or even longer? Such an attack on the United States could allow for some time before any response would be forthcoming which would allow Iran time to then make other attacks on Saudi Arabia or Israel or whoever else is on their hit list. With evidence I have seen of the real ranking of targets by many in the Muslim World, such as al-Qaeda, the United States appears on the top of the list with Israel most often next followed by Britain. So, the belief that the United States might be the first target for the Iranian nuclear weapons is not as far-fetched as some would have you believe. We also need to keep in mind that the chants in Tehran, Iran every Friday go, “Death to America! Death to Israel!” Never pretend you know what is in your enemy’s mind and prepare for the worst and hope for the best. The truth is we do not know where Iran will strike first nor do we know for absolute certain how close to producing a nuclear weapon Iran actually is. Such doubts should make for more caution and less comfort that all is well and no harm is just around the corner. What would your red line be. The only statement I have heard from President Obama, Secretary of State Clinton or any State Department talking head has been that the United States draws its red line at building an atomic bomb. Isn’t that cutting it a little bit too close for comfort? The slightest error and just like with India and Pakistan the CIA will be once again caught with their proverbial pants down. Actually, when it comes to predicting when countries would become nuclear capable, the CIA has yet to get one right or even early, they are the most surprised people whenever some new country tests a nuclear weapon. Comforting, isn’t it.

Beyond the Cusp

May 14, 2012

What the Media is not Telling You About Israel and West Bank

The mainstream media in Europe, the United States, around the world, and even throughout Israel is keeping a dirty little secret under wraps as to admit to its existence would ruin the perfect image of the poor and downtrodden Palestinians being victimized by the big, bad, mean Israelis. The secret has numerous facets of which I will recount some of the most flagrant examples of the conspiracy to hide the truth. Every once in a while there will be a report that a few rockets or mortars were fired from Gaza into southern Israel. These reports are usually forced into the public eye due to injuries or the miracles which happen with regularity where the round hits a schoolyard or smashes into a classroom and either does not explode or explodes but the children had just been moved to another location in the school for other activities. The former is reported as when there are Israelis hospitalized or worse from these attacks the particular attack cannot be kept secret any longer. With the miracles which have occurred more times than I can count, are reported partially to prove that these attacks are harmless as nobody was injured despite a school or home or other structure being hit and partially destroyed. What is almost never reported unless you read <a href= target=blank>Arutz Sheva</a> or live in Sederot or other community near the Gaza border is the affect the often daily rocket attacks and the sounding of the Code Red sirens has on the people who live under this constant threat, especially the older citizens and the children. There have been numerous reports made by healthcare officials and psychologists about the stress induced problems, especially on the children many of whom have developed sleep disorders among other problems.

Along the same locations there is also the sniper fire and the placement of IEDs (improvised explosive devices) near the fence between Gaza and southern Israel where these are used to ambush IDF personnel and vehicles which monitor the border road. The threats which at one time only included those Israelis living within a few miles of Gaza have now been extended with the longer range and larger payload carrying rockets to now reach to all of Ashkelon, Beer-Sheba and now Eilat as similar rocket and mortar attack have begun to be launched out of the Sinai into even more of the south of Israel. As the terror groups within Gaza receive more and more of the stronger, larger and more accurate armaments the areas of Israel coming under threat and the ability to make more accurate selection of targets continues to increase. Soon we will see these attacks from within Gaza reaching all the way to Tel Aviv at which time the media will have no choice but to cover such attacks. But in the meantime, as long as the attacks are only targeting some of the poorest towns kibbutzim and developments, the news will willfully ignore them as they are not striking anything the elites find valuable. Soon they are going to get the rudest of awakenings and will be asking the question, “Where did this come from and why did we not know about this threat?” What will the media say then?

On to the other front which gets an even less respect and reporting from the press; the area they call the West Bank instead of using its real names of Judea and Samaria. The purpose of using the term West Bank in place of Judea and Samaria is to keep hidden the historical relevance these lands had as the heart of the ancient Jewish lands. I mean Judea, how can Judea be anything but Jewish, it is the root from which the term Judaism originates. Also, by changing the name they are able to blur the full meaning and intents of the myriad of papers, declarations, decrees, treaties, and inclusionary terms in founding documents all of which distinctly place all of Judea and Samaria as well as all of the rest of the lands between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea as the intended lands for the Jewish homeland. Truth be told, originally the Jewish homeland also included all of Jordan. But as that was signed off on in an agreement that the area today known as Jordan and originally Transjordan would be the Arab Palestine whiles the remaining lands west of the Jordan River were to be Jewish Palestine. The media avoids any reference to the original definition of who was a Palestinian. Before 1964 if a person was referred to as a Palestinian, they were Jewish. The Arabs were called Egyptian, Syrian, or simply Arabs. On rare occasions they were referred to as Arab Palestinian, but never as simply Palestinian. During the World War II the Palestinian Brigade consisted of Jewish soldiers fighting with the British. The Arab forces that entered World War II did entered on the side of the Axis powers, in particular with Germany.

In the lands of Judea and Samaria there have been escalating attacks made on Jewish motorists by rock and Molotov throwing, carjacking, and sniper fire. The rock and carjacking have become daily occurrences which the mainstream media chooses to ignore. Even when they have covered it, the coverage has only included the initial findings of the authorities which are most often that the vehicle was in a single vehicle accident. It is often later that the attack is reclassified as a terrorist attack but why change the story at such a late date. Even when one of these rock attacks murdered a father and infant son, Asher Palmer and his infant son Yonatan, the authorities listed this event as reckless driving. This determination was made despite the small amounts of evidence to the contrary such as the large rock in the back of the van, the large hole in the windshield just above the steering wheel about the same diameter as the rock and the smashed in face of the father with an indentation about the same size as the aforementioned rock. It took over a day and a half before the Police finally surrendered to the findings that a thrown rock may have caused the accident that tragically took these innocent Israeli lives. One such rock attack was filmed and despite the evidence that the car was swerving to avoid the attack, the driver was subsequently arrested and charged with attempted murder for striking an Arab youth who had run straight in front of the car and thrown a rock point-blank at the windshield. The charges were eventually dropped. But why is the press ignoring all these attacks? Whatever could be their purpose?

This is where the truth gets really sickening. Why does the media refuse to report there are daily occurrences of terrorist activities against Israelis, usually Jewish Israelis but not exclusively as some Arab Christian and even Arab Muslims have ended up on the receiving end of these rock attacks simply due to their having the wrong type of license plates (Israeli plates)? They avoid reporting this for two reasons, it would be too repetitive with reports saying the same basic thing just sometimes differing locations each day, and it would spoil the narrative. What narrative you ask? The narratives that the Palestinians are always the victims and on the receiving end of harsh and cruel Israeli oppression while the Jews live the high life with no regard for the Palestinians. The Palestinians have to be portrayed in the kindest and most flattering light while the Israeli “settlers” must be portrayed as interlopers stealing the land and the food out of the Palestinians’ mouths. It must be shown that the Arabs are having their land stolen by Jews while the IDF stands by with their rifles forcing the Palestinians off their native soil. It can never come to light that the vast majority of these people being referred to as the Palestinians are also recent emigrants who came to the area between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea seeking better employment which was available as the Zionists turned swamps and desolate wastelands into profitable farms and industry. The most common names of “Palestinian” families are also very common names of Egyptian and Syrian families and if you research the vast majority of the so-called Palestinians you would find they have numerous relatives back in the homeland from which their names indicate is their actual heritage.

One last little item which will be another example of the truth you have not been told. Most have heard that name which strikes the notes of oppression of the Palestinians. That word is “Naqba” which means catastrophe and is currently used to denote the Palestinian response to Israeli Independence Day. But this was not the original use of the word Naqba. It had a much earlier and vastly different meaning which had absolutely nothing to do with Israel, the Jews, and was used when Palestinian equaled a Jew living in the British Mandate Lands. Simply try a little experiment and search the terms, Naqba Syria France Britain 1920, and let the true and original meaning of the word Naqba be revealed. You will find that the Naqba was the division of greater Syria between France and Britain thus cutting the southern Syrians off from their beloved Damascus. The commonly thought of meaning it denotes today did not come into being until the earliest the late 1970s and mainstream usage in the 1990s. Like so many of the terms and presumed history and facts surrounding the “Palestinians”, it is all stolen from other times, peoples, and histories. The one thing that remains true and cannot be challenged is that the only country in all of recorded history to reside between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea with Jerusalem as its Capital has been the Jewish State whether it was known as Israel or Judea.

Beyond the Cusp

May 11, 2012

Hamas Has Enough Problems

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

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

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

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

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

Beyond the Cusp

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