Beyond the Cusp

September 11, 2013

Two Faces of Terrorism’s Victims, Syria and Israel

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The first face we will take is the forces in Syria on both sides of the so-called civil war. On the side of Syrian President Dictator Bashir al-Assad there are two separate and very different terrorist entities. The one more easily perceived as a terrorist entity, despite the European Union’s inability to so identify, is Hezballah. They are a terrorist group which has managed to impose its will on a nation and hijack the political process there by a combination of assassinations and intimidation. The other terrorist group in Syria is the terror arm of the Iranian military, the IRGC (Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps) which is trained and trained as one of the elements of the Iranian military but used as the Iranian presence in foreign efforts where Iran wishes not to be officially involved. The IRGC can act as a conventional military force or they can operate as a terrorist entity. Both the IRGC and Hezballah forces in the Syrian conflict are being mostly applied in a military manner in traditional military style engagements. This is not to imply that they have not been used as a terror instrument but that their main mission is to fight a traditional war. On the other side aligned with what are referred to in the news as the rebel forces are groups attached or aligned with al-Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood. Where the different groups operate mostly independently, they are all fighting towards the same goal, imposing an Islamist state designed to be an integral part of a future Caliphate. They operate as a military force when the aim is taking control of a objectives such as military bases, command and control facilities, towns, neighborhoods or any physical target. They are also deployed to instill terror through such tactics as assassinations, murder of civilians, religious cleansing of towns, destruction of Churches and other religious buildings, suicide bombings, car bombings and other nonmilitary terror attacks forms. So, in Syria if one wishes to support either side they have to first accept that they are acting to support terrorist entities. As we noted long ago, Bashir al-Assad was being completely honest when he first declared that the rebel forces were made up of terrorist groups. Where initially he was not entirely correct as there were actual revolutionary forces striving to install some recognized form of governance replacing al-Assad but now they have been totally displaced and the forces fighting to remove al-Assad are now almost purely terrorist related.

 

Yesterday’s article mentioned that the rebel forces had taken control over the town of Ma’alula, a town made up of mostly Christians who still speak the Aramaic language they spoke when they first adopted Christianity in the first centuries of its inception. We had hoped that the rebel forces which took the town would act like civilized people and not terrorize the town’s citizens or destroy any of the ancient irreplaceable Churches, Monasteries and other landmarks. It was a hope against hope that unfortunately was not reflected over the ensuing day. The terrorists who took the town of Ma’alula are strongly allied with the Muslim Brotherhood, the same Muslim Brotherhood which is systematically eliminating any trace or vestige of the ancient Coptic Christians which remain in Egypt. Despite the fact that such efforts contribute absolutely nothing to their efforts to reinstall Mohamed Morsi to his previous position as the elected President of Egypt, it almost appears that the murder of Coptic Christians along with the removal of their businesses, homes, society, Monasteries and Churches is their primary goal. In Syria the destruction of the Christian presence in Ma’alula along with the forced conversion or murder of the Christian residents has become an apparent objective for the Muslim Brotherhood aligned rebel forces which took the town after the Syrian military there were restationed in a tactical move as Ma’alula in and of itself is of minimal if any tactical value. With this knowledge it can easily be determined that the taking of Ma’alula was committed purely in order to annihilate its Christian population and either destroy the ancient Churches and Monasteries or transform them into Mosques ridding them of any vestiges of their Christian origins. It is also worth noting that the ancient Assyrian Christian community is not the only targeted minority targeted by the terrorist elements in the rebel forces, there is also the Kurdish community. The Kurdish people have one advantage the Christians do not, a military militia which is attempting to protect them and prevent their slaughter or the destruction of their homes, businesses, farms and religious structures. The Kurdish militias in Syria have been reinforced by troops and assets sent by the Kurdish militias of northern Iraq as well as some previous fighters from the PKK Kurdish forces classified as terrorists by Turkey and a number of other nations and institutions. All things aside, the Kurds in Syria are fortunate to have a quasi-military force for protection which unfortunately the Christians do not possess. They are completely dependent on a Christian world which has yet to take note of or make even the smallest effort to protect either the ancient Assyrian Christian community in Syria or the Coptic Christian community in Egypt. Let’s hope that the world’s Christians lift the blinders from their eyes and at the very least provide their brothers and sisters in harm’s way a refuge and a means on arriving there safely no matter the cost.

 

In Israel the terrorists from all sides have heightened their efforts pushing the envelope even further assured that Israel dare not respond in any meaningful manner as long as the peace talks are being conducted as any overt Israeli response would immediately trigger world-wide objections blaming Israel for taking actions which threaten the negotiations and halting any progress towards a lasting peace. This has been the tried and proven method which the terrorists from all sides employ as they have had success in thwarting any Israeli response to terrorism simply by decrying that Israel is just using the peace negotiation as a cover for unfairly victimizing the Palestinians. There are also the increased rhetorical threats which come with every new session of peace negotiations as well as the increase in actual attacks. The threats come from Hamas, Palestinians for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), Hezballah, Palestinian Revolutionary Committee (PRC), al-Qaeda in Gaza and any other group not included in the arm of the Palestinian Authority taking part in the negotiations which is exclusively Fatah. These terrorist entities are not included directly in the negotiations, despite the fact that often Mahmoud Abbas and the other Palestinian Authority and Fatah spokespeople will plead on their behalf or demand certain concessions be made for the Palestinians living in areas outside Fatah or Palestinian Authority direct control but under one of the other groups. The reason these groups claim as their motivation for their increased terrorist attacks and actions is that the peace process has not received their blessings nor does it represent them so they demand the right to attack Israel in any manner in order to force an end to the peace negotiations. The negotiations do not even affect all of the myriad of groups which fall within the Fatah umbrella over which Mahmoud Abbas has ultimate authority. The al-Aksa Martyrs’ Brigades, the most recognizable member of the military wing of Fatah, does not stand down as their terrorist arm ramps up their activities. All of this is just one another insanity which the Israeli people are expected to endure and endure silently as the peace process takes precedent over their safety, even their very lives. The al-Aksa Martyrs’ Brigades have recently announced an entire new front in their war to destroy Israel and annihilate its Jewish citizens Tuesday, declaring that it would give the “green light” to terrorist attacks targeting Israelis beginning on Friday. Their claim is that they are protecting the Temple Mount from “The invasion of the compound by hordes of settlers, and the harm to (Muslim) worshipers, with no intervention from the international community.” This threat is likely one of the most accurate examples of the psychological malady of projection. The truth of the matter is whenever the Muslim interests feel they need to exercise their influence and control over the Temple Mount they organize a riot knowing that the only response by the Israeli security police will be to remove any Jews and close the Temple Mount to Jews for anywhere from a couple of days to even weeks at a time depending on the intensity of the riotous attacks. The one item which must also be mentioned is Hamas originated as the Muslim Brotherhood arm to attack and terrorize the Jewish presence in Israel. The same Muslim Brotherhood which is currently going to extremes to murder Christians and erase any trace of their communities and their faith from what they claim are pure Muslim lands.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

November 20, 2012

Now the World Demands a Cessation of Violence and Attacks

For year after year, hundreds turned into thousands and passed into tens of thousands of rockets pouring over the Gaza border raining down on the residents of southern Israel. Initially it was limited to Sderot and a few unfortunate Kibbutzim located close to the Gaza border. Soon it reached past these unfortunates and included Ashkelon, then Ashod and Beersheba, and have most recently with this augmentation of the terrorist’s rockets the Iranian provided Fadjr rocket which has brought the range nearing the outskirts of Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. All this time the United Nations, the European Union, the United States, almost all the European Governments, virtually the entire world remained silent allowing the barrages to continue unprotested with the notable exception of Canada Prime Minister Steven Harper who denounced the targeting of innocent Israeli civilians. Almost immediately after an Israeli response began to the increased daily fire rate of over one-hundred rockets and mortars per day and the introduction of guided anti-tank Kornet missiles also Iranian in origin which were used against an IDF jeep causing severe injuries and permanently blinding one IDF soldier, the world sprang into fevered action seeking to stop the violent exchanges over the Gaza-Israel border. This was not at all surprising as this has been the same order of world reactions before, during and after the last Israeli response to the attacks in the Cast Lead offensive which did result in a lull in the rocket fire for a short while. So, what was it that launched the entire globe into action to end the violence?

That is an easy question to answer but difficult to prove as even claiming the truth labels one as paranoid and exaggerating the problem as identified. Those who point to the truth are told that they are overreacting as the world is acting to put all the violence to an end and find an agreement that will lead to a permanent peace. So, what is this claim that only the most daft would propose? My bet is you have already figured that out, it is that the world really cannot stomach Israel defending itself against the Palestinian terror offensives. As long as it is Israel, perceived to imply Jews, that are being attacked and absorbing casualties, deaths, and injuries including crippling and permanently debilitating injuries, then the world simply continues as if all is well with maybe the occasional declaration which remains unenforced just to toss the Israeli government a bone. As soon as the tables are turned somewhat and the attacks are also now originating from Israel and the Palestinians are screaming demanding something be done, the world erupts into action with leaders of countries and virtually every NGO rushing and demanding a stop to all violence, when they actually mean all Israeli (Jewish) use of force.

I know, how can I make such a claim? Well, I can go past just because and five examples. We can look at the response to terrorist attacks, suicide bombings and car bombs originating from Judea and Samaria (West Bank) on Israel striking civilians in restaurants, attending services, in nightclubs, and setting up ambushes on roadways which triggered the offensive Israel called Operation Defensive Shield. Almost as soon as the IDF entered Judea and Samaria the world exploded in condemnations and virtually every news service began repeating every Palestinian claim without any fact checks while reporting IDF and Israeli reports with cautionary advisories such as “IDF claims that” or “Israeli sources claim.” When the Palestinians reported about a massacre in Jenin they were carried as fact. To this day one can find references to the Jenin massacre where supposedly thousands of innocent Palestinians were supposedly slaughtered by the IDF. Even despite a United Nations investigation into the events in Jenin reported that there had been no massacre, the number of Palestinians killed was fifty-two with the majority likely being combatants or directly due to the explosive traps set by the Palestinian terrorists in many of the homes and buildings while Israeli casualties were twenty-three IDF soldiers. Despite the United Nations report and the fact that the report received virtually no coverage as it came many months after the whole Operation Defensive Shield had ended, the world still believes the propaganda, especially in the Arab and Muslim worlds where any exaggeration of claim that slanders Jews is automatically accepted as fact.

There was the reaction to the Cast Lead campaign in Gaza that resulted in the derogatory and biased Goldstone Report. When months later Judge Goldstone repudiated his own report and the methods employed in the reaching of the report’s conclusions. His revealing that the members of his team were chosen after they signed an affidavit revealing they had reached a conclusion before they had even researched any facts and were predisposed to condemn Israel no matter the facts revealed. He was pilloried and nearly destroyed by the world press when he came clean about their report’s lack of truth and preconceived conclusions. Then there was the Second Lebanon War which was also roundly deplored and it was stated that Israel was overreacting.

Now we are watching the same reactions to the Israeli actions. The fact that some in the West have reacted finally backing that Israel has a right to self-defense has been very refreshing but still has a troubling side. Thus far that has been the reaction but those supporters have already announced their point of turning on Israeli self-defense. Apparently, there is a limit to how far Israel will be allowed to go and receive the support of much of Europe and possibly their other current support with the exception, which I must note again, of Prime Minister Steven Harper of Canada, thank you PM Harper, you are a pillar of righteous strength among the leaders of nations. The tripping point where Israel’s support evaporates is when the IDF begins any form of ground campaign. Despite the truth that the IDF is the most restrictive military with the strictest ROE (Rules of Engagement) on the planet meant to do as much as is doable to prevent innocent casualties to the point of even suspending all activities despite such a step allows terrorists to escape retribution as the lives of innocents are considered valuable to the people and leadership of Israel, including Palestinians. Don’t believe me, listen to the gentleman we linked to yesterday reporting on the IDF to the United Nations, Col. Richard Kemp (ret.) a career soldier of the British Military. Despite this known fact, a deep dark secret as far as the media and most of the world’s leadership, but a well-known fact that is purposely ignored, the world feels the necessity to place limits on the Israeli use of force in her defense. These leaders are aware that this limitation they will attempt to use will hamper the Israelis ability to actually completely finish the eradication of the ability of Hamas, Islamic Jihad, al-Qaeda in Gaza, the PRC, the Salafists and whatever other terrorist forces I failed to mention to continue to attack the Israeli people who have suffered near ceaseless violence day and night seemingly as far back as one can remember. They intend to prevent Israel from utilizing the same degree of military force as was applied by the United States and her allies after the 911 attacks which began with airstrikes just as have the Israelis and proceeded on to ground invasions with the intent to change the governance of the nations from which a threat was thought to be present. This was the actual range of force applied in both Afghanistan and Iraq and was also applied to parts of Pakistan where it was the cooperation of the Pakistani military which applied the ground forces used to attack targets. Despite the fact that the United States and her NATO allies utilized everything at their disposal to remove threats, such is considered a luxury to be denied to Israel in the defense of her people. Will this limit be applied as threatened? We may unfortunately find out if Hamas and their fellow terrorist entities refuse to stop the launching of the rockets onto the civilian population of Israel. My real hope is that not only will a land invasion prove unnecessary but that the future holds peace and quiet for both Israelis and Palestinians and the whole world, for that matter. Pollyannish? Very much so, but a hope worth holding on to despite all the realities which make such thoughts seem so ridiculous.

Beyond the Cusp

November 13, 2012

What Takes Fifteen to Thirty Seconds?

Fifteen to thirty seconds decides if a group of young girls skipping rope will live long enough to sleep in their own bed tonight.

Fifteen to thirty seconds decides if the grandmother’s bridge club has as many members at the meeting next week.

Fifteen to thirty seconds decides if a mother carrying her two children under three years of age will make their breakfast this morning.

Fifteen to thirty seconds decides if any Israeli Jew, Israeli Christian, Israeli Muslim, Israeli Druze or Israeli Bedouin living within twenty miles of the Gaza Strip will live any longer than today.

This is the determination made every second of every minute of every hour twenty four hours a day, seven day a week, fifty-two weeks a year for all the people no matter their race, religion, or whether they are a resident or simply a visitor or passing through  the southern half of Israel. There is one other small fact that could make any trip through this shooting gallery safer, the rockets and mortars are fired in groups most often to coincide with the start and end of the school day as that is when the largest number of children are turned into targets. Over the past week over two hundred rockets have been launched from the Gaza Strip at Israeli citizens at all hours, day or night. You pray that you can take a quick shower, long luxurious showers are far too risky to even consider, or will you be grabbing the emergency clothes and running naked to the shelter dressing if and when you are safely out of harm’s way. School classes can be interrupted at any point in the day so when you take that math test you also listen for the alert sirens instead of fully concentrating on the numbers before you.

This has been life during what is presumably peace times in Sderot and the other communities within the ever increasing range of the terror rockets fired from Gaza. Prime Minister Netanyahu held a meeting inviting the Ambassadors or their representatives of every country which has an embassy in Israel today in Ashkelon. Netanyahu informed the attendees that should the alarm sound where they met, then they would all have about thirty seconds to find shelter from a rocket attack. But Netanyahu’s words were likely the least important. The children from Sderot and other target communities were the ones whose words were likely the most intensely tragic and hopefully heeded. One such child can be heard in the video attached to this Arutz Sheva article and I beseech that you go hear this young woman speak. I refer to this young woman as a woman because she really does not get to live the life of a child as she lives every day with the Sword of Damocles over her every second of life. She lives the life very different from what almost any normal person would call an average child’s life, knowing that if she stumbles and does not reach the shelter, that stumble may be the last action she ever performs.

In any other country in this world such a condition would be preposterous to even consider unless your country was actually in a war. In any normal country such a situation would result in a massive assault to put such a situation permanently to rest. Throughout the world such a threat would be considered casus belli for war. But this is Israel where if Israel responds too forcefully to such attacks the United Nations and all of its ancillary organizations would all go into a furious frenzied fit. That was the purpose of the meeting with the ambassadors today, to put the world on notice that this will not go unanswered nor be allowed to continue and that Israel will soon choose to take remedial actions to quiet the barrage of her citizens. The world was told that the children of Israel and their parents and families will not be targets for terrorists and not defended. The world was informed that no matter what they think, the answer will be proportional in the eyes of the Israelis and especially in the eyes of these children whose only desire is to grow up in a world that is normal and not a shooting gallery.

And this meeting had an effect on those who launch these rockets as well today. Apparently they wish not to be targets of any return fire from the IDF. The leadership of Hamas agreed and sent their message through Egypt that they will “stop” firing rockets if and only if Israel promises not to take any actions for past attacks. They are hoping that the world, and especially those countries ambassadors who were at the meeting today, will lean on Israel and claim there is no reason to attack as the terrorists have promised to stop. In Israel, even the youngest of the children living within the range of these rockets realize that they have been here before. They have faced similar intense barrages where for days, even weeks, the numbers of rockets greatly increases and when Israel appears to be at their wit’s end, the promise of a cease-fire comes through Egypt from Hamas. They know, even though the world may not, that Hamas agreeing to stop firing rockets is not much of a guarantee as Hamas does not speak for Islamic Jihad, Hamas does not speak for al-Qaeda in Gaza, Hamas does not speak for the PRC (Popular Resistance Committees), and Hamas often does not even speak for all of Hamas. Yes, the numbers of rockets will decrease, well, for now. Soon they will begin to increase as they always have and within a few weeks, months if the children are lucky, the rockets will rain down their terrifying storm where the thunder is the thunder of high explosives. This cease-fire will only last long enough for everybody’s attention to go elsewhere as it always has. This is not the end of the terrifying nights and dangerous walks to and from school each day; it is simply a lull for a short while.

Soon we will hear that the terrorists in Gaza are fully justified to fire these rockets because of the occupation. Israel pulled up and destroyed every so-called settlement in Gaza and removed every last iota of IDF presence. There is no occupation and Hamas has complete autonomy in Gaza. What about the embargo? The embargo was only put in place to prevent even heavier weapons and rockets from easily being shipped into Gaza. Even despite the embargo the Palestinians now have anti-tank rockets that are guided and have started to use these deadly weapons as four seriously injured IDF soldiers who were patrolling on the Israeli side of the Gaza border can attest, one will need to regain consciousness first as he has been in a coma now for closing on a week. All other aid is allowed into Gaza along with the Israelis providing Gaza with much of their water and electricity. Israel has been treating residents from Gaza when Hamas allows them to leave and be treated by Israel for free. Israel ships in tons of food and petroleum daily. The most well-guarded truth is that life in Gaza, outside of the Gaza refugee camp, is very comfortable and the residents are some of the most well off people in the entire Middle East outside the oil sheikdoms. And if life is in such a desperate condition in Gaza, why does nobody ever care to mention the restrictions the Egyptians place on transactions over their border with Gaza? I must assume that there is some geophysical phenomenon which prevents anything from crossing into Gaza from Egypt leaving only the Israeli border as the sole supply point.

The truth is that as soon as the cease-fire has been agreed to by the Israelis the rockets will not fly across the border for possibly a day, or an hour, but if history is any guide, the rockets will return within minutes, possibly seconds of the cease-fire being imposed. Of course the world will insist that Israel ignore the occasional rocket attack and show restraint. How much restraint would these countries show under similar circumstances? I’m thinking about none. When the rockets continue to be fired into Israel, Hamas will quickly point out that they did not fire them and cannot be held responsible for the other terror groups and other actors and have taken all the proper and necessary steps to enforce the cease-fire. And the world will exclaim how wondrous these noble attempts at keeping the peace Hamas has demonstrated and that Israel had best keep their word and not respond to a few errant actions firing a rocket or two. Such a few rockets are nothing to get all worked up over. Israel really needs to be bigger than that. Somehow, I must disagree. Eventually Israel will need to start to take definitive actions to permanently put an end to the terrorizing of her children, not to mention everybody else. For all those who have ever claimed that something must be done “for the children”, certainly they will understand any actions Israel decides to take for her children, or are Israeli children of a different sort? One rocket or a hundred rockets, what difference would it make if your children were on the receiving end. No rockets must be the only acceptable condition. Anything else should mean targeted leadership of Hamas and every group that is beyond their so-called control. And if their leadership goes underground as they have before, then it is time to send in teams to dig them up and present them to Israeli courts.

Israel does not desire to take control over Gaza. Israel simply wants to live in peace and leave Gaza to live in peace. The peace has to be reciprocal or not at all. If the rockets were to stop tomorrow and remain stopped, within a day or two there would be peace and no violence would fly across the Gaza Israel border. If Israel should stop reprisals against the rockets, then there would be hundreds and eventually thousands of rockets flying from Gaza on to Israeli citizens every week, every day if such were achievable. Just because the media throughout the world and, sorry to say, even within Israel do not cover the rocket attacks and pretend they do not exist, that does not allow these children to live without being in constant fear for their lives. Peace for these children is the only acceptable result and that must be the result the whole world demands. Anything else is simply permitting the unthinkable to become acceptable simply because the victims are Israeli, are Jews. Hasn’t the world had enough of this behavior, this miserable excusing any action if it is intended to kill or harm Jews?

Update: Since the writing of this article, the cease-fire had been agreed to by Hamas produced calm, for six hours, until early this morning a rocket was fired into the Ashdod area. Fortunately, it exploded away from any populated or industrial areas. Midnight to 6 AM does not qualify as a crease-fire as it is more like a night’s sleep before returning to normal activities, which for the terrorists in Gaza means launching rockets into Israel. For those who still wish to claim that Hamas is unable to do anything about the rockets being rained down on Israeli children as well as everybody else, please view this video released by Hamas earlier this week depicting rockets being launched at Israel.

Beyond the Cusp

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