Beyond the Cusp

July 23, 2017

The Subject Best Left Untouched Today is Korea

 

Korea gets stark coverage in the news; a short article here and there often buried with a headline every couple of weeks with sparse follow-up. There actually is a good reason, there is no good coverage or any way Trump can be blamed or criticized as he has taken measured steps increasing pressure slowly without crossing any critical lines as of yet. The distance from where everyone and everything currently stands and those aforementioned lines has shrunk to a very small distance. Kim has not altered his trajectory launching larger and longer range missiles with his latest calculated to be capable of reaching Alaska and potentially the West Coast of the United States mainland. Kim is pressing all the buttons which distress the Pentagon and make some of those older men with the largest number of medals on their uniforms excessively nervous and rightfully so. On the other side, President Trump has ordered three super-carrier groups to the area in and around the Sea of Japan, sufficient airpower to neutralize all known North Korean launch and nuclear facilities and destroy the vast majority of the rocket and projectile artillery placed just north of the demilitarized zone (see map below) all of them targeting Seoul, the South Korean Capital and home to near twenty-seven-million people. This has been the big threat held by the Kim family as they have ruled, or should we say ruined, North Korea making it a virtual hell on Earth for the entire population with the exception of the elites who live lives as if they were the monarchs and royal court over their medieval serfs who live at their pleasure.

 

Demilitarized Zone Between North Korea and South Korea

Demilitarized Zone Between North Korea and South Korea

 

The founder of North Korea was Kim Il-sung who was a believer in the myth of Communism and how it could make everyone live better under its socialized dictatorship with central planning and everybody receiving an equal portion. Just like most Communist dictatorships, North Korea failed with an ever-shrinking economy which remains now based on selling what meager oil and other natural resources they have most often to China. Much of the industrial base went to the manufacture of military hardware and development and little in consumer goods. Such placement of the investment in military hardware and the military left little for the people. Subsistence farming became a larger and larger part of the economy in the hope of feeding the people. Kim Il-sung died unexpectedly from a sudden heart attack on July 8, 1994, and was succeeded by his son, Kim Jong-il. Things continued in their steady decline throughout his years leading the militaristic country of North Korea. But at least things appeared sane, Russia and China assisted the nation and they threatened to attack South Korea and annihilate Seoul on a semiregular basis in order to gain some form of relief from the West, meaning the United States, which was regularly met by whoever was in the White House as it beat risking the war resuming in the Korean Peninsula. The North continued to press their demands that the Korean Peninsula be united and all the Korean people be ruled by their rightful rulers, the Kim family. The trades with North Korea were always the same basic deal, the United States sent tons of food and other provisions and of course a fair amount of funds all in return for a promise not to cause any disturbances, or in simple terms, peace and quiet and little if anything else which is a large quantity of basic nothing.

 

The original Korean War was fought with the free world with the backing of the United Nations due to a Security Council vote which took place, conveniently, after the Soviet Union walked out in a show of solidarity with Nikita Khrushchev who walked after slamming the table with his shoe, fighting the Communists, largely the Soviet Union. The forces backed by the United States had been pushing the Communists back when the other Communist nation decided to join the fight, one might say the eight-thousand-ton gorilla in the zone, the Chinese came over the border with forces of hundreds of thousands of soldiers pushing the Americans and their allies almost off the peninsula. The American forces rallied and in the end they decided to call it quits and draw a line on or about the 38th Parallel and rather than end the war, just allow it to stall for the time being, an armistice. Kim Jong-Il died on December 17, 2011, and was quickly succeeded by his son, Kim Jong-un. This is where the problems set in. There are many who claim that Kim Jong-un might be unbalanced, a little unstable and frankly dangerous and a potentially dangerous threat. Add in President Donald Trump and things get really dicey.

 

The Kim Family

 

Kim Jong-un is attempting to use the time honored tradition of threaten the world and the Western nations will come up with the goods sooner or later. The problem is, he is basically selling the same nothing for something to a businessman, and that will not fly. President Trump’s answer to Kim Jong-un’s threats has been to slowly build the United States presence sending super-cruiser groups to attend training exercises with allies in the area including South Korea, Japan and others. President Trump attempted to resolve the situation by requesting the North Korean allies in China to talk the situation down. The Chinese and the Russians instead gave the United States an ultimatum to break off their planned operations with South Korea and potentially end their support for the South Koreans. This is all simply another attempt to isolate the South Koreans and allow for North Korea to do the same thing to South Korea as happened to South Vietnam after the United States removed their support. The Cold War is back and as healthy as it ever was and Russia is hoping to make President Trump back off in North Korea as if they can push him around there, they will then do more threatening to force the free world to allow Russia to retake as much of their former satellite nations as they are able. That would bring the end to the freedom in the Ukraine, Belarus, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova and potentially Slovakia, Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary, Serbia and even the Czech Republic, and this is simply Eastern Europe. Then there is Central Asia where Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and a few other nations north of Afghanistan. Once again, should Russia force President Trump to trip and retreat in the Korean Peninsula and then continue the pressure in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, the break where the West would no longer back further and instead would be up in arms, just as in World War II, might very well be Poland again.

 

This hugely dangerous game of chicken is showing no signs of either side blinking and has every sign of reaching a breaking point. If North Korea launches an actual and undeniable ICBM capable of reaching any point on the globe and then start placing satellites into low Earth orbit, with some crashing back to the planet even striking within the United States or Canada, then all bets are off because telling the difference between a crashing weather satellite and an incoming ballistic missile is impossible. The one and most trusted way of knowing the difference is asking the launching nation and trusting their answer. This is not exactly something in which North Korea would be considered a trustworthy nation as far as truth is concerned. Further, once North Korea reaches such ability for launching ballistic missiles and the miniaturized warheads to place atop of these missiles, then everyone need decide whether they can live with a nuclear armed North Korea or would defanging the rogue nation be the only viable option. These two scenarios are on a crash course with reality and the decisions reached by President Trump and his advisors will be weighty and potentially threatening the peace in Asia. The results against the North Korean nuclear missile threat will also go a long way in resolving the war in Syria and whether or not the killing simply continues endlessly. The decisions made in the standoff on the peninsula will send ripples around the world. What is the right move for President Trump? Should he again return to the days when the United States stationed ballistic nuclear missiles in South Korea or place them in Japan or Taiwan as a message to China and Russia that their nuclear mischief in North Korea had its consequences for them equal or greater than the threat the North poses to the Western World? Let’s just say that we had all better wish him decent advice, certainly better and more useable advice than he appears to have received about the Middle East and Israel. If he is as ill prepared to judge Kim Jong-un as he appeared to be with Mahmoud Abbas and his pack of lies, then the world had best tighten their seat-belts, because a misreading of the ripples in this crisis result in a huge conflagration or an alteration in the power centers of the world, largely from Washington the power would flow to Moscow and Beijing. Best of all, everybody tread quietly and carefully as a misstep will be ruinous for all involved.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

May 28, 2015

The Threat Facing Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Others in Gaza

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This summer may prove to end differently than previous summers; it may end without the usual rocket attacks ramping to a crescendo eventually forcing Israel to mount an offensive to put an end to the rockets raining down on Israeli civilian areas. This came to mind that the summer rocket season may have started as a rocket was fired into Israel instigating an Israeli response. Those of us who follow the news in Israel are well attuned to the Hamas and friends usual offensive play out. It starts with a single rocket followed by an arrest to show the European and other Western media that Hamas is a real governing body that does what they can to interdict terrorist activities, especially rockets launched into Israel. There will be a few weeks where one or two rockets are fired on Israel with a smattering of arrests of supposed rocket launchers. The one item missing from actual governance is there are never any arrests of those running the production of the rockets. Also, before launching at Israel, Hamas holds some tests firings into the Mediterranean Sea of their newest rocket designs to test their accuracy and range. If this ends up being a normal summer, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Fatah and the rest will start to fire a rocket a day after the first few weeks of slowly ramped up rocket firing into Israel. Within the next three weeks there will be increases in rocket launches into Israel initially forcing Israel to deploy Iron Dome interception batteries around the civilian areas to protect the population. The launches soon reach tens of rockets per day to eventually hundreds of rockets, many fired in barrages, eventually forcing an Israeli military response into Gaza. Then will begin the Great Hypocrisy.

 

The comparison is easy to make if the media were not attempting to sensationalize the story and make it all about how Israel is causing disproportional civilian casualties. There will be daily releases of each day’s body count as well as a running body count intended to depict Israel as inflicting such harm while there really was no need as virtually no Israeli had been harmed by anything Hamas, Islamic Jihad et al had done. So what if a few rockets are launched at the Israelis as most do not strike built up areas and those that might are intercepted with amazing success by the Iron Dome systems. That lead story sets up the body count comparisons. So, exactly what causes such a high body count within Gaza and such a comparatively low casualty count in Israel? Israel has an extensive warning Code Red System in place where as soon as rockets are fired, using advanced tracking radars the Israelis plot its most probable strike profile and then sound Code Red alarms off in any area which potentially could be struck and the Israelis head into shelters and safe rooms until the threat subsides. This alone would make for a minimized number of casualties within Israel. Secondly, Israel deploys the Iron Dome Intercept Systems around the civilian areas where it will serve the most effective. These systems track the rockets very carefully and can with great accuracy compute their trajectory and determine whether or not each rocket will strike within urban or other populated areas. These systems will compute which battery needs to intercept rockets determined to strike populated areas and then the Iron Domes fire an intercept rocket and intercept the rockets with an unbelievable over ninety percent success rate thus adding another layer of protection.

 

On the Hamas ruled Gaza areas the story is quite different. The first thing to remember is that Israel pulled every Israeli civilian, police and military personnel out of Gaza during the disengagement intended to permit the Arab Palestinian Authority, their presumed governance, to take control of the area and prove their ability to run an efficient governance. This experiment gave almost immediate results which were less than promising as the well-armed and United States trained Arab Palestinian Authority armed forces were unable to prevent the Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other terror entities from launching a coup which sent the Arab Palestinian Authority troops running for their lives into Israel and eventually back to their protected areas in Judea and Samaria. The showing of force put up by the Arab Palestinian Authority troops who were trained in Jordan by United States Special Forces and armed with modern weapons by the United States proved to be of little value when it came to protecting Gaza and its Arab Palestinian Authority governance. They were almost as pitiful as the Iraqi troops have proved in fighting ISIS, and this may prove problematic in the near future. This means that Gaza is a self-ruled entity which is governed by a coalition of Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other terrorist representatives who are intentionally kept separate from the actual terror acts they willingly permit to be launched and financed by the Gaza leadership, which is only loosely allied with the actual government. So, we need to remember two items. First is that Gaza has been a separate area outside of any Israeli influence since the disengagement in August of 2005. Second is that Gaza has its protection and governance provided by terrorist government provided mostly by Hamas and Islamic Jihad which also runs their police and military units as well.

 

With Hamas and Islamic Jihad responsible for protecting the civilian population of Gaza, one might inquire exactly what kind of protection is provided by their governing bodies and their military forces which term is loosely applied to the terrorist forces which wear face concealing ski masks and often parade through Gaza City shooting AK 47s and other weapons into the air as a show of force and meant to impress upon the civilians exactly who is in charge in Gaza, as if they need constant reminders and cowing. Hamas, Islamic Jihad and company (HIJ) have an extremely unique system in place to protect the Arab and other civilians within their jurisdiction; they initially rely on Israel taking extreme care in choosing their targets when they strike such that the possibilities for human losses are minimized. The recent strike was a perfect example as Israel struck a rocket making facility and storage area, otherwise known as a Hamas government building of importance, at an hour which was most likely to prove it to be unmanned and thus having the least possibility for civilian casualties. This is the first line of protection provided by Hamas, Islamic Jihad and company, a complete reliance that Israel will minimize the possibility of civilian casualties. It must be noted that should this actually highly effective manner in which Israel provides for the safety of the Arab population in Gaza, then it can be counted on that there will be press conferences and memos sent to every media agency listing the name, number of unfortunates who now have no means of support and everything required for a fully fleshed out story about the horrors under these incessant Israeli strikes which appear to have no rhyme or reason and just come out of the blue. This rendition of the events will be copied studiously by the reporters as they would not want to have to explain to HIJ how and why their story did not include the entirety of the story line and Heaven forbid should the fact that the responses by Israel are to the provocations of the rockets raining down on their civilian populations. It can never be reported that HIJ have been launching rockets into Israel targeting civilian targets in hopes of maximizing casualties. If it proves necessary to report that HIJ have been firing rockets into Israel, such mention must come after the coverage of the Israeli strike and be framed as much as possible as a retaliatory strike for the Israeli initialized cycle of violence. HIJ know exactly what story must be made the central pillar of the coverage and this is largely predicated on the idea that Israel started the violence, while Arabs are being murdered by Israeli strikes there have been almost no Israeli casualties and most hypocritical is that Israel has not positioned any of the Iron Dome batteries in Gaza to protect the civilians in Gaza, especially in Gaza City and the refugee camp located on the outskirts of Gaza City. There is also never any question of why there are Arab refugees held in Gaza as refugees but not permitted citizenship or freedom, very peculiar, are not these so-called refugees part of the Arab Palestinian population which needs to be repatriated with the rest of the Arab Palestinian population such as that of Gaza? Sometimes one just has to go, ‘Huh??!??’

 

Once the rocket fire by HIJ out of Gaza and striking in Israel with many targeted at civilian population centers and Israel is launching return fire with the intent of destroying the launch site, then HIJ immediately apply their second level of protection for their Arab population. This is a very interesting system used by HIJ as it makes one wonder how it is supposed to minimize the number of Arab residents injured or killed, especially children, during periods of exchanges of fire with the Israelis using highly accurate artillery in counter-fire modality. Counter-fire modality is a highly technological achievement which can be found in the arsenals of most advanced nations. The manner in which this functions is almost automatic and with minimal human input other than to interdict to prevent a return fire for some reason. The event train of counter-fire technology is very simple to explain and much harder to accomplish. Upon the firing of a rocket, artillery round or mortar fired the radars intercept its trajectory and which type of projectile is being tracked. These radar systems are so pin-point accurate in their calculations and so fast that human response of similar complexity would take hours, but that is why we have computers and advanced systems. The computers use the trajectory and type of projectile to compute both its likely area it will strike and even more accurately the exact location from which it was fired. This second set of coordinates are then automatically fed to the fire and control module of an artillery piece which then targets the location and fires a return round meant to destroy the firing location and equipment preventing its further use. All of this computing, targeting and firing of the return counter-fire takes less than fifteen seconds until the computed and counter-fired round strike its target. The HIJ system employed to prevent casualties is allowing and even encouraging children, often under age ten, to stand around the firing battery so they can see how it works. This evil use of children just to provide media coverage pictures of a slaughter, the more gruesome the better and children killed is putting the cherry on top as such guarantees front page top of the fold coverage of the inhuman carnage caused by Israel. The eventual story and caption to the article will completely ignore the five ton artillery piece having been rendered a twisted wreck at the center of the carnage as the pictures will be ever so carefully framed so as to not include the weapons which was central to the attack.

 

The hypocritical and inhuman use of women and children goes much further. When HIJ knows of a coming Israeli air strike, something requiring the most minimal of intelligence work as the Israelis will first send a drone or strike aircraft to pass over the location and environment around it dropping leaflets warning of the coming air strike advising the people to be elsewhere for the immediate future. Upon such warnings the HIJ controlled radio station will make a call for women and children to protect the building or whatever target by ringing the roof or target location with their bodies such that upon reaching the location to make the strike the IDF pilot will see the civilians and abort the strike mission. Once again HIJ is depending on the humanity of the Israeli soldiers and airmen and directly risking their civilians’ lives. Another defense of the people provided by the HIJ leadership is their placements of their rocket launchers, mortar tubes and artillery pieces. It is a rule of warfare to place such tools of war distant from places where civilians are gathered, especially if such place is purported to be a safe zone by their government, but HIJ commanders and operatives intentionally place these weapon systems adjacent to civilian designated shelters counting on the human carnage which such acts potentially can cause when counter-fire systems are being utilized by the other side, a practice often employed by forces to destroy such enemy position and a known system used by Israel. The HIJ forces have been known to place rocket and mortar launching systems on the roof of buildings being utilized for displaced civilians to be cared for, schools and even hospitals. Israeli counter-fire systems are given the coordinates for schools and hospitals and these locations and close proximity require a human to interject and permit such strikes only if the location has multiple launchers or other extenuating circumstances which might make firing necessary. These officers make their decisions with the full knowledge that every such decision will be reviewed by a panel of ranking officers which will include non-infantry and line officers and may include lawyers from the JAG offices. Such consideration likely caution the officers making such decisions to opt for the most passive of responses and not risk a strike going bad.

 

The final hypocrisy is the HIJ commanders place the majority of their troops and leadership underground in their bunker and tunnel systems. If instead of being utilized to strike more effectively at the Israelis the HIJ commanders would allow for Gazans to also take refuge in these sheltered areas there would be far fewer civilian casualties. Unfortunately the HIJ commanders would rather have a larger than necessary body count so as to be able to point to the fact that the Gazans have died as a result of Israeli actions than have Israelis died from anything HIJ had succeeded in doing. The implication is that Israel does not care and ruthlessly murders innocent Arab Gazans as all one need do is view the disparity in the numbers of casualties. Never mind that the Israeli forces attained the highest percentage of combatant to civilian ratio than any other modern day army in recent history and far superior ratio than the drone strikes ordered by United States Presidents Bush or Obama where the ratios approached nine-to-one civilian to combatant kill ratios. That is nine civilians killed for every combatant killed in the United States drone strike program since 2010 while during Protective Edge Israeli actions in Gaza killed at a one-to-one ratio, a far better average than the United States drone strikes which President Obama had lauded as one of the best and most effective programs available to strike terror targets. Meanwhile, a review of the media coverage of the Protective Edge military intervention from last summer we find some telling trends. The main theme was ‘disproportionality’ which accused Israel of using disproportionate force. This was a farce in that the HIJ forces fired a greater number of rockets, artillery and mortar rounds intended for Israeli population centers than Israel fired or bombed in Gaza. Israeli strikes were clearly intended for military targets and safeguards were taken in an attempt to minimize civilian casualties in Gaza. It was in order to minimize Civilian casualties which led to the Israeli ground troops going into Gaza rather than continuing to use aircraft and counter-fire ordinance. Had Israel honestly not cared about loss of life in Gaza she could have indiscriminately fired into Gaza City where most of the HIJ firing locations were placed and simply leveled all of Gaza city and the bordering refugee camp, Arab Palestinian refugee camp. Israel did not need to send her young men into urban areas to fight the most dangerous and difficult of all forms of warfare. This also is why the Arab casualty count was so high and needlessly so. Despite the lie that Gaza is so heavily populated that HIJ forces have no choice but to fire from urban areas as no open areas exist, this is disproven when one also remembers that the HIJ spokespeople often criticize Israel for not doing enough to allow for the Gazan farmers to get their produce to market. Farmers? That means farms, right? That means open fields if I remember what farming requires. We covered this in the article “Gaza, Hamas, Corrected Falsehoods, Frightening Realities”. There is a short video exposing the placement of rocket launching sites to endanger civilians, this time reporters staying in one of Gaza’s hotels, and has a small map showing the urban areas versus the open areas where according to the rules of war is where one is supposed to place their artillery, rockets and mortar tubes.

 

But there may be a wholly different war this summer and it has nothing at all to do with Israel initially. There have been threats against Hamas, which will mean all of HIJ, made by ISIS claiming that they have been too light and easy in their so-called war with Israel. That is ISIS’s complaint, not mine. ISIS has promised HIJ that they will soon be replaced by real Islamic warriors who fight for the glory of Allah, not wimps such as those forces so ineffective against Israel who are unable of even keeping up a continuous level of assault. So, ISIS is threatening to come in and firstly make sure that the Gazans and the members of HIJ meet the strict standards if ISIS in their observance of the proper and righteous form purported by ISIS. What will be interesting should this calamity strike the people of Gaza, I am less concerned about the holy and Islamic members of HIJ as their stringent observance of Islam has to be beyond question, at least which is what I have understood their statements to prove. Maybe ISIS has a different measure of Islamic purity than the various members of HIJ, though I am a bit concerned for the members of the nationalist and secular Fatah members. There is a definitive possibility that ISIS will arrive just in time to judge the efforts made by HIJ as they should be getting close to hitting their stride and launching over a hundred projectiles a day into Israel. Past experience has taught the world that this is where Israel draws the line, seventy-five or so missiles a day, potentially understandable, moving towards one-hundred, not as easily explained away and may require avoiding public appearances and microphones, over one-hundred a day, well now you’ve gone and gotten Israeli leaders undivided attention. This will be made obvious as speeches will ring forth from the podium of the Knesset. You will know you are in a dire situation when the Prime Minister takes to the floor and demands an end to the rockets raining from Gaza or else. After that warning a simple launching of that two-hundred-fiftieth rocket and loose the IDF and the dogs of war. Then again, ISIS might actually mean that their forces in the Sinai Peninsula are going to be tasked with replacing HIJ this summer. They might need Gaza to hide from the Egyptian forces which Egyptian President Sisi (the opposite of ISIS) is reaching the end of his rope, a wholly different meaning than that will have for former Egyptian President Morsi in the near future. ISIS forces may believe they can hide in Gaza as that would place them beyond the reach of the Egyptian army, or at least that may be their assumption. Either way it sounds like HIJ may have some real problems heading their way and then ISIS will find that should Egyptian President Sisi really wish to strike them, their being in Gaza will be of no help as Israel will have no complaints for Egypt sweeping ISIS from Gaza would probably be looked upon favorably by the Israeli government. They might even place the IDF strategically around Gaza just to assure that no ISIS fighters or members of HIJ cross into Israel seeking sanctuary. Perhaps a sign put in place stating ‘No Vacancies’ would be helpful. Looks like any way one slices it, Gaza is in for a rough and tumble summer.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

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