Beyond the Cusp

July 4, 2019

Iran Edging Towards War with the World

 

The ramping is about to begin for earnest. In recent reports we find that, “Iranian President Hassan Rouhani issued an ultimatum Wednesday to the remaining signatories of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), better known as the Iran nuclear deal, vowing to end all limitations on uranium enrichment if its demands are not met.” In related reports we find that the, “Islamic Republic had quadrupled its enrichment rate of low-enrichment uranium,” as well as that according to an unnamed source said who was quoted by Fars, “As the commission meeting in Vienna could not satisfy Iran’s just demands … Iran is determined to cut it commitments to the deal and the 300 kg enriched uranium limit will be soon breached.” We have our own opinions about the Iranian nuclear program, you know, the program which under the JCPOA they would monitor themselves, report to the United Nations and then the two could work together with assistance from the European Union to allow Iran to do as they please, manufacture nuclear weapons both in warheads and payloads for their several forms of delivery all while not breaking a stretched and warped JCPOA which will end up being even more porous than the original, the one President Trump withdrew from as it had insufficient restrictions and allowed Iran complete ability to become a nuclear armed nation within the decade. So, what to expect without getting lost in the minutia as that is what will be discussed, covered by the media and used as a distraction while Iran continues to arm herself.

 

Iran already had rudimentary nuclear devices which would serve as guidelines from where they could develop more powerful weapons and miniaturize them such that they would be deliverable atop their numerous ballistic missiles and especially atop their ICBM which has been in development for at least a decade. There are numerous different ballistic missiles which Iran manufactures (Pictured below). The ranges given are assuming a near maximum payload and can be increased by reducing the payload. That is why the miniaturization becomes so important, you get greater deliverable yields per pound or kilo and thus instead of their Simorgh missile being restricted to a range of 4000 to 6000 km, by decreasing the payload by 33% and the range increases to approximately 5500 to 8000 km which begins to bring some coastal areas of the United States within range from Tehran. Even fully loaded, that missile can readily strike every European capital city with ease. Add in the other means that Iran has proven to be capable of deploying, such as firing ballistic missiles from cargo-container ships which brings all but remote parts of Siberia within range as even the Shahab-3 has been fired from a cargo ship stationed in the Caspian Sea test firing over the western mountains of Iran striking a firing range in the southern end of the range in the high desert. These tests were fortunately caught and the trajectory tracked by surveillance satellites. Needless to comment, but a nuclear armed Iran places every capital city and most major metropolitan areas in the Western world and beyond within range of either their ground-based missiles or their cargo-container ship fired missiles making almost nobody safe from an Iranian threat carried out. This knowledge should be part of any calculations made concerning Iran.

 

Iranian Rocket Types and Varieties of Ranges

Iranian Rocket Types and Varieties of Ranges 

 

 

Iranian Missile Trajectory of test firing from freighter cargo ship sailing out in the Caspian Sea aimed to strike in the southern end of the high desert covering a range of close to two-thousand-five-hundred kilometers. This test has been practiced with every solid rocket missiles from Iranian armories.

Iranian Missile Trajectory of test firing from freighter cargo ship sailing out in the Caspian Sea aimed to strike in the southern end of the high desert covering a range of close to two-thousand-five-hundred kilometers. This test has been practiced with every solid rocket missiles from Iranian armories. 

 

 

This leads to the most vital question; would Iran initiate the use of nuclear weapons. One comment may provide an inside look at the Iranian outlook if war should break out. A senior Iranian parliamentarian threatened on Monday that Israel will be destroyed in half an hour if the United States attacks Iran, the semi-official Iranian Mehr news agency reported, according to this source. So, Iran is willing to provoke a war with the United States and should the United States respond, they would attack Israel, a nation which is not a party to the conflict to that point. And there is more hidden in this threat to provoke widening any conflict by attacking the Jewish State. Iran would certainly attempt to utilize any response from Israel as a reason for the Islamic world to come to their aid in this jihad now about to be waged on Israel as well as the United States. But even this is not the end of what is intimated in this threat, and that will answer our question about Iran using nuclear weapons when initiating a conflict. The same source also reports that Mojtaba Zonnour, Chairman of Iranian Parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Commission, made the remarks in an interview with the Al-Alam TV network stating, “If the US attacks us, only half an hour will remain of Israel’s lifespan.” We also should remember that other Iranian officials have referred to Israel as a one or two bomb country inferring that with as few as two bombs, Israel could be, for all intents and purposes, destroyed as a nation leaving little of her population and infrastructure. Now, we know Israel is a rather small nation, about the size and shape of New Jersey, but it would take numerous salvos of conventional explosives in order to destroy Israel. On the other hand, with a nuclear weapon were to be dropped at the southern end of the Tel Aviv metropolitan region and another between Tel Aviv and Haifa, then a goodly part of Israel would face ruination. The next question would be whether or not Iran would bomb Jerusalem, the second largest and populous city, as this too would be necessary if Israel were to actually be destroyed. Still, to destroy Israel in such a manner, the only means would be to use nuclear weapons. These leads us to believe that Iranian leadership has little compunction about using nuclear weapons, and this should trouble everybody.

 

Thus far open warfare has been avoided, not that it has not come very close. There were the oil tankers which were attacked with mines and other means in the area around the Straits of Hormuz which did not bring any response from the United States. They could rightfully claim that they did not have conclusive evidence that the Iranians were involved. Then came the downing of the United States reconnaissance drone which was purportedly in international air space which was tied directly to Iran. President Trump initiated a response only to call off the strike and order the aircraft back to their stations on the aircraft carriers in the Arabian Sea. There have been numerous discussions as to whether this made President Trump appear prudent or was a sign of weakness. Whichever appeals to you, it makes little difference until somebody acts upon such suppositions. Should Iran interpret their not being hit and the strike being called back and believe the United States is fearful of any war with Iran, then there is going to be a problem. From what we have read and feel, Iran will continue pushing until there does come a response from the United States and then they will run to the European Union and the United Nations screaming ‘Foul!’ At this point, the world will begin to take sides in this coming disaster. The initial breakdown will be evidenced by the General Assembly vote as to whether they back the Iranian complaint or side with the United States and their claims of Iranian provocations. Then things will develop as the United States, or at least President Trump, will insist on backing from the rest of NATO. We can pretty much guarantee that Turkey will claim that they are too involved in containing the Syrian violence to spare any forces. Of course, that is simply their excuse, the reality is that Turkey is no longer a supportive member of NATO and has decided to go along with the Islamic world and their eternal struggle against the nonbelievers.

 

The most frightening thing has also been commentary from Iranian leaders over the years who have stated things such as, “If the US attacks us, only half an hour will remain of Israel’s lifespan,” plus referring to the recall by President Trump of the strike force, “If they (the Americans) had predicted their attack would be successful, they would not have cancelled it and it would definitely have happened,” and lastly, the Supreme Leader has stated in the past that he would sacrifice Iran if it was required in order to destroy Israel. Once again, we have the immediate result of an Iranian first strike on Israel would destroy the nation. This kind of statement is being made with the knowledge that well over half of any initial set of missiles would be intercepted by the series of anti-missile platforms developed by Israel which include David’s Sling and the gamut of Arrow interceptors which are tied into the THAAD interceptor and over-the-horizon detection systems which President Trump ordered set up in Israel to assist with her defense against such attacks. But when Iran threatens to destroy Israel with two bombs, what they intend is they will launch some countable number of missiles, potentially nuclear tipped, and hope to get at least two through the Israeli defenses while Hezballah, Hamas and Islamic Jihad will attempt to launch as many of their over one-hundred-fifty-thousand missiles and rockets in their combined inventory and be counting on such a barrage to destroy Israel. This, too, has been made questionable due to the Israeli Iron Dome interceptors but even they would be pushed beyond breaking point with such a number of targets to down. Perhaps, once such an exchange had taken place between Hezballah in southern Lebanon and southwestern Syria aided by the Iranian IRGC forces in southern Syria probably all coordinated with Hamas and Islamic Jihad largely in Gaza with some potential for problems out of the Shomron areas of the Palestinian Authority, then Iran might launch a second series of missiles hoping that the majority of the Israeli interceptors were destroyed.

 

The real problem is that we are talking about how Iran would go about destroying Israel, but why would they take on an adversary which might well be willing to utterly destroy at least Tehran and Qom. Why Qom, I hear some ask. Qom is the holy city from whence the Twelfth Imam is said to arise from through some miraculous events as he has been in hiding, presumably in this well in Qom, and he will signal the beginning of Shiite Islam rising and not only becoming the strong horse and the main sect of Islam (it currently represents about 10% of Islam with the Sunni being almost all the remainder) and soon after to ruling the world. The one thing which would be assumed should an attack of missiles be launched against Israel by Iran, namely that it would be a WMD attack of either nuclear topped missiles or warheads carrying chemical agents. Any Israeli response to a WMD attack is well known, Israel will return in kind meaning Israel will use WMDs which means nuclear missiles. The reality is that any actual Iranian missile launch from their areas in Iran, Syria or Iraq would likely be initiated with the launching of likely hundreds of missiles towards Israel. Israel cannot be expected to wait and see how many were intercepted and what were the nature of the ones which detonated within Israel before responding. Israel has about eight to ten minutes to decide whether or not to respond and exactly how Israel will respond if they decide to do so. That does not leave any time for consultations and is the kind of decision which would be laid primarily in the lap of the Prime Minister. With such a time limit before the missiles strike, one need figure that of those eight to ten minutes after detection, five would be required to order, program and launch any response. That leaves time for what would be the toughest four-minute decision in Bibi Netanyahu or any Israeli Prime Minister’s time in office. Fortunately, that decision would never be placed in our hands for the foreseeable future. Israel almost naturally must assume that any Iranian missile launch would be largely made up of WMDs, probably both nuclear and chemical agent warheads would be employed.

 

Further, Israel is not likely to be their only target launched upon as we can expect many of the Gulf States, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia and potentially even Egypt. Iran has plans for their taking of the Saudi Arabian oil fields along with the Gulf States and Kuwait as well as taking control of Mecca and Medina. They believe that by doing so they will have destroyed the Saudi Royal family and much of the Sunni world’s leadership leaving the Islamic world for the taking. Despite the news coverage stressing everything Israel launched and does militarily while playing down the responses from the Saudis and their allies; President Trump will be blamed for not attacking Iran, attacking Iran too forcefully, attacking Iran too anemically, for using weapons systems which were too expensive when less measures were available, using WMDs, not using WMDs or just about anything else one can imagine. We cannot leave out the howling, wringing of hands, crocodile tears and other news anchor antics should a single United States soldier be injured or, heavens forbid, killed. We are not sure where the concept came that wars can be fought without casualties, but that is a very dangerous concept. The best bet, as the WOPR computer system from the movie “War Games” stated after doing some deep thinking, “Strange Game. The only winning move is not to play.” Well, we pray that nobody decides to initiate this strange game where the only winning move is not starting something which others are assured of completing.

 

War Games WOPR Computer

War Games WOPR Computer 

 

Beyond the Cusp

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June 11, 2019

So, You Thought Hezballah was Merely an Israeli Problem?

 

You read the news and almost every time, if not every time for most, when the Hezballah is reported, it is virtually always to do with Israel or some other conflict in the Middle East. Hezballah is mentioned in threats to fire missiles striking in Israel, tunneling beneath the Lebanon border into Israel with intent of infiltration raids on Israeli civilians, fighting alongside Bashir al-Assad Syrian forces aided by Iran and the IRGC in Syria, aiding with training as well as fighting allied with the Houthi rebel forces in Yemen and in that rare occasional report which mentions the tri-border region in South America where Hezballah has a series of training areas where Argentina shares borders with Brazil plus Paraguay. The areas you almost never hear references to Hezballah is in Europe, Asia, North America and southern Africa. Perhaps this is due to such events being swept neatly under the legal carpet presumably for the common good of the society. After all, no political figure wants to hear the news reporting of any Hezballah plots to carry out an attack using three or so metric tons of an explosive, say, ammonium nitrate, anywhere near their district, city, county, state or country, all depending on the political level which would be so threatened. Perhaps the political pressures could affect the way in which any such threat would be detected, investigated, possibly prosecuted or, to avoid any undue strain on the body politic, and arrange for other means of handling those involved.

 

Well, guess what. That is right, such a terror threat which was foiled with minimal fanfare and without anyone being charged, that despite one initially being arrested, all because the timing was off. This has come to light thanks to a deep investigation carried out by The Telegraph where it was reported that Hezballah had been caught planning a terror strike in or around London with, you guessed it, using metric tons of ammonium nitrate. MI-5, assisted by the London Police Department, uncovered the stash containing thousands of disposable ice packs filled with ammonium nitrate. This amount was considerably more than was used in the Oklahoma City bombing that killed 168 people and damaged hundreds of buildings. The raids were carried out on three businesses and one home in North West London by MI-5 and authorities after a months-long investigation. It was stated that MI-5 was acting on a tip from a foreign government which uncovered the major terrorist plot linked to the radical Islamist terror organization and Iranian ally, Hezbollah.

 

Here is where everything becomes interesting and contains a political attempt to cover up the entire series of events as they came at an inconvenient time. What makes it all the more intriguing was that there was one suspect, a man in his forties, arrested in connection with the raids, though he was later released without charge. The fact that only one person was detained, and then no charges made concerning a plot of such size makes for numerous questions to arise. What had authorities so worried that there was a code of silence concerning the entire affair and no arrests, trials or other ramifications from a months long investigation. Presumably, citing “well-placed sources”, the report claimed that the terror plot had been disrupted by a covert intelligence operation “rather than seeking a prosecution,” which is puzzling. Where things become somewhat clearer is when we are told that this plot was timed during the time of the negotiations and pending of the Iran nuclear deal. This was where The Telegraph suggested that the matter was withheld from the public in order to keep “the Iran nuclear deal afloat.” Still, it was reported that the plot was so serious that then Prime Minister David Cameron and then Home Secretary Theresa May were personally briefed on the discovery of the explosive material. One need not read much further to see where to begin to look to see the origination of the demand that this be kept as quiet as possible and not to make any large display including arrests which could have led to some very uncomfortable complications. After all, this was around the point that the Iran nuclear deal (JCPOA) and we all knew instinctively that nothing, and we mean nothing, was to come between the P5+1 and the Iran deal.

 

UK supporters of extremist group Hezbollah

UK supporters of extremist group Hezbollah

 

The British public has every reason to be quite put out by such political suppression of such an important investigation to the point that there were no arrests or other actions taken beyond raids to impound the explosives while not pursuing further actions. We ask, how is it possible to have such a plot with three-metric tons of explosives but not have any people involved with the use of the explosives or even a group planning for its use. Nobody was found or even to be of interest to MI-5 or the London Police concerning what was definitively a major pending terrorist attack. This cover-up probably extended to high officials in the British government requesting the silence on whomever the unidentified foreign government which provided the initial tip to the British assisting in their preventing a potential tragedy. They were likely contacted and had the situation explained and thus the request for not reporting their efforts in preventing the attack. The threat of terrorism is far too great and is of great importance to the people of every nation. Such an attempt would be politically important as well as the right for the people to know the truth about the world we all live within. But the news and the ruling elite do not treat the people in all too many countries as being capable of handling the truth. Kind of reminds one of the critical lines from some movie. So, because the people are too unsophisticated, too ignorant, so delicate, so uneducated and so emotionally unstable that they are deemed not capable of living in a world where they are told what the reality actually is. This is why the news granted for public consumption is not the reality of the world but a picture of a world with just the right kind of problems which permit the political class to remain in power unchallenged and apparently with everything under control. Telling the people that a significant threat of a terror attack was planned in their precious city and was very probably prevented due to some unmentionable country providing a warning with sufficient information that MI-5 and the police could clean up the threat without even a ripple being told to those who were under this threat. Makes one feel as if the public is not entitled to the truth as they presumably cannot handle the truth.

 

 

This is where society has reached, the stage where there are two worlds, the one we are all left sleeping peaceably in our beds each night assured that all is well meanwhile the elites know the reality that they are fortunate that terror threats are discovered and it matters not by whom as long as the people are able to be left in blissful ignorance. This is a sad commentary on our societies as it provides a picture where the people are expected to simply accept the reality fed them by a coordination of the political class and their media allies. The media also does not believe that the people can handle reality, so they sell the people a story-line which lulls them into a sense of being fully protected and safe. The powers that be insist on keeping everyone within the lines they set out for the public and the media and the politicians work to provide as little of the real threats from being identified as it might upset their ability to be reelected, and that is all that matters, right? Why should the people expect for their ruling elite who are chosen time after time to return to their comfortable little jobs while the decision to place trust in these elected officials is all a mirage. So we have what is an important treaty in the wings, well, better not tell the people that those who the politicians are about to make a deal concerning the manufacturing of nuclear weapons were planning what would have been one of the largest terror attacks for somewhere in London to be executed by the terrorist groups which handles the worldwide terror network for the Iranians. The politicians wanted the treaty as it would allow for trade and making large profits for the people who really matter, so the regular folk need not be troubled with any such information which could be distressing. This goes double if it might make for difficulty in carrying on business as usual and making their financiers happy. So, rest easy, they made raids and took away all the explosives and nobody was responsible for the planned terror strike or for hiding three metric tons of explosives, it all just assembled all by itself without any human intervention. And not to worry, the people planning the attack would never attempt to try so again, they probably promised. You know, they promised that they would go home and never try such an attack as was spoiled again just as Iran has promised not to manufacture nuclear weapons or more advanced ballistic missiles, you know, just like the ballistic missiles they have been testing. Read about these tests here, here, here, here and here. We hope you have a nice day and remember not to worry; your worrying would only upset the governing class.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

May 17, 2019

Iran Pushing the Envelope

 

Iranian forces, including their fast-ships, have been striking and sabotaging oil tankers as they pass through the Strait of Hormuz. Thus far, they have yet to damage a ship such that it leaked oil, was disabled or sank. These attacks have technically broken past the level that President Trump stated could merit a response from the American forces in the region. That leads one to wonder if, when and what it will take to rise to the level where President Trump cannot any longer ignore these provocations. This leads to an entire series of further questions as to whether Iran will settle for renegotiating with the United States or push until they force a confrontation. The question which is most important remains whether or not inevitably there will be any actual meeting of the two forces, Iran and the United States. Guess we could say that is the billion-dollar question.

 

We can assume that President Trump would prefer to force negotiations which does not mean that he will ignore almost any level of provocation. That leads to what exactly are the intentions of the Iranian leadership, which boils down to is the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei set upon pressing matters beyond the breaking point. That is where this entire scenario becomes a nightmare. Ali Khamenei appears to be set on pushing this into a military conflagration between Iran and the United States and top that off by having Hezballah and likely Islamic Jihad and Hamas attacking Israel with a heavy missile and rocket bombardments just as their Supreme Leader, the heads of the IRGC and a number of other officials have promised will be part of any conflict in the Middle East. You may ask, why would Iran engage both the United States and Israel as doing so would only endanger Iran even more. What the Iranians believe is that by promising to target Israel, this would make it more difficult for the United States to actually engage Iran. This is unfortunate as threatening Israel will have little if any influence upon any decisions which President Trump will be forced to make should Iran continue escalating their strikes on shipping. Iran might even go farther and attack ground targets in Kuwait, Saudi Arabia or any of the other Gulf States. That would force a confrontation as such a threat to oil shipments and production would cause havoc with oil prices which would be another means for forcing the confrontation with the United States. The bad news is that things do appear as if the Iranians, specifically the IRGC, will not end their escalations until they force an American response. That could then lead to an ever-widening Middle East war.

 

Dr. Mordechai Kedar, one of the foremost Middle East experts, predicts with his article, “The Third Gulf War has already begun,” that the only item still undecided is the date when the unavoidable war will begin and how fast and far will it expand to the rest of the Middle East. We here in Israel have been trying to ignore the slowly heating of the Persian Gulf and instead watching the Eurovision being held currently in Tel Aviv. There is nothing like an entertaining distraction right when one is so badly needed. We, unfortunately, have little interest in the singing contest and far more interest in what our immediate future holds. One thing which cannot be said is that life is boring here in Israel. We just had ten-thousand screaming mad fire-, stone- and explosive-throwing rioters protesting Nakba Day along the Gaza border this past week. This was taken for what it actually is, just the next installment of the Arab attempts to make our lives unbearable. The vast majority of Israelis are made out of sterner stuff than folding before such threats. This is even more valid an argument when things could always be so much worse and the threats so much more frightening. Even then, the Israeli response is to simply respond as the situations require. Any attacks which are tractable to Iran, then Israel has promised that Iran would feel some part of the response. The truth is we would really prefer to live in peace allowing us to pursue making discoveries, treatments, inventions and other advancements which would advance and improve the lives of people around the world in the process.

 

Should Dr. Kedar prove correct, once the conflagration between Iran and the United States initiates, then we would hope that the Iranian threat to involve Israel was bluster and not an actual threat which they will follow through upon. If Hezballah were to initiate aggressions against Israel, Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu has promised a response which will bring the ability of Hezballah and Lebanon to conduct any further aggressions to a halt as rapidly as Israel is able. Fortunately, Prime Minister Netanyahu did not promise “shock and awe” type of attack as was the threat which was made by President George W. Bush against Iraq and Saddam Hussein. The initial attack proved to appear less shock and awe because the attacks were specific and struck only those targets desired thus limiting the collateral damage, additional suffering, and a less impressive display than what many expected. Simply put, it was a far cry that the bombings conducted during World War II in which cities were laid to waste. The most well known of such attacks was the firebombing of Dresden (see image below). That was the original shock and awe. Hopefully the world will never again know destruction such as Dresden as well as Tokyo and, of course, Hiroshima and Nagasaki of World War II. These are exactly the threats which Iran has threatened to unleash. We should all hope that, to use an old western America phrase, Iran is all hat and no cattle. The unfortunate reality is the Iranians may be dead set on causing a stampede unleashing as much cattle as they can lay their hands upon. May any actual exchange be short and cause the minimal number of casualties and end almost before it starts.

 

Image of Dresden Firestorm Consuming the City

Image of Dresden Firestorm Consuming the City

 

The best would be no conflict and a peaceful resolution. But we have two blustering leaders who both are very unlikely to be bluffed or pressured into backing down. On the Iranian side, their leadership from the Supreme Leader, President, IRGC commanders and others are all threatening maximum levels of force even to threatening to destroy the American fleet with a single missile. This has been interpreted as likely a threat to use an EMP device though a nuclear tipped missile would also fit the bill and should not be put beyond the Iranian intent. They have promised similar total devastating attack upon Israel which would instigate a similar response against all attacking forces as well as likely an attack on Iran. So, if the question is are the Iranian leaders suicidal? They have responded to this question already stating that they would consider the complete and total destruction of Iran a reasonable price to pay if that is what was necessary for the destruction of Israel and the United States. All we can assume is that this is probably the most dangerous threat the world has faced in years. The near future promises, as things currently stand, to be filled with threats which could lead to a war spreading beyond the initial borders, even beyond Israel. The Iranians are counting on Russia coming to their aid. Russian President Putin probably is not feeling as attached and ready to aid Iran as the Iranians believe which could prevent any conflict from spreading outside the Middle East, as if that is not horrible enough. Things could not stand to be much worse than they now sit, may the threats pass without incident.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

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