Beyond the Cusp

November 24, 2017

Who Starts the Next War?

 

Oh, the possibilities we have. Will it be Trump or Kim Jong-un, Saudi Royal Prince Mohammed bin Salman or the Supreme Leader of Iran, Ali Khamenei, the new Hamas Leader Yahya Sinwar or Hezballah’s Leader Hassan Nasrallah or will it come out of the blue from an unexpected source responding to a terror attack or assassination as happened to start World War I? Will it perhaps be China moving on Taiwan or Russia finishing off the Ukraine or Georgia? It could simply be a severe escalation of Turkey’s private war against the Kurds in Syria and Iran spreading into a Kurdish rebellion within Turkey with the entirety of the Kurdish People finally demanding their own homeland refusing to be picked apart individually by Iran, Syria, Turkey, Iraq and any terror forces sent by the same or even Saudi Arabia or the Muslim Brotherhood. It might be the Basques or Catalan People of Catalonia declaring themselves independent from Spain with Spain having the obvious reaction and moving to end such as that might cause others to have similar thoughts causing the Balkanization of Spain. There are such movements within virtually every nation of Europe and likely the world. There are numerous other peoples in Northern Africa which currently are ruled over by foreign peoples who came along with the Islamic conquests of the Caliphate. One such are the Berbers, one of the tribes which converted to Islam only to be subsumed by Arab culture and rulers. The possibilities are endless but the real contenders come down to the first few listed as those are the least stable places with the most to gain or lose as the world moves forward.

 

The possibility that President Trump will start a war are, contrary to the wild accusations of some detractors, somewhere around nil. First, he would need a declaration from Congress for any actual war or even military actions. The Congress appears barely capable of passing the budget for a single year. Trump also has no taste for any conflict despite all of his bluster and even Kim Jong-un is aware that Trump was all talk and no teeth. This was part of why Kim Jong-un and Trump both have all but ended their contest of words, both realized the other was not about to start a war at this time, so tempting one was simply a waste of effort. So, North Korea and United States are not about to go to war, which should be a relief. If such a conflict were to come to fruition, we would predict that the North Koreans would attempt to make the initial strike forcing President Trump and the Congress to respond in kind. Thus, should a war ever come between the United States and North Korea, it would be at the insistence of North Korea.

 

The next pairing was between Saudi Royal Prince Mohammed bin Salman or the Supreme Leader of Iran, Ali Khamenei. Prince Mohammed bin Salman is the next directly in line to the crown of Saudi Arabia and has been assuming more and more power taking over responsibilities from his father, the aging and ailing King Salman. The Prince was the mastermind behind the Sunni forces which were routed in Syria and has mismanaged the Yemen-Saudi conflict allowing Iranian missiles and Hezballah and IRGC fighters to enter Yemen. Just last week an Iranian provided missile was launched from Yemen towards Riyadh. This was declared to have been an act of war by Iran against Saudi Arabia and there were rumors of an imminent war on the horizon. Prince Mohammed bin Salman has also moved to secure his own position by arresting for criminal corruption close to a dozen of his closest relatives, cousins, leader of the National Guard, governor of Riyadh, and the internationally renowned Prince Alwaleed bin Talal.

 

Further, Prince Salman has promised, or threatened, to westernize, or modernize, Saudi Arabia in an attempt to improve the economy such that it is not entirely dependent upon their oil wealth. The religious class, the clerics and heads of the Wahabbists, are very much opposed to such a plan seeing it as a direct threat to their power and influences on Saudi politics and direction. They have lived off the Royal Family paying them, rewarding them richly from the oil wealth such that they would back the Royal Family permitting them to remain in power. This arrangement left out one very important group, the people of Saudi Arabia who were sentenced to a life of moderations and poverty in far too many instances with lacking education and little chance for improvement.

 

Saudi Arabia and Iran War

Saudi Arabia and Iran War

 

All but needless to say, but a war is actually the last thing Saudi Arabia needs, now or at any time. Should such a war with Iran become inevitable, the winner, if there actually would be a winner, would not gain much and the loser would lose everything. It is for this reason such a war would be devastating to the Middle East and would also have a great possibility to spread and involve other countries. With the Iranians, one could expect Yemen, Iraq, Qatar, what is left of Syria, Lebanon and Turkey, while with Saudi Arabia, one would expect the Gulf States of the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council which includes Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain, and Oman), Jordan and eventually Egypt. There are some wildcards in the equation which include Pakistan, India, Israel and the United States. Pakistan actually could be thought to assist either side as they trade with Iran but they also owe Saudi Arabia for providing the necessary cash required to finance their drive for nuclear weapons. India does have a fair number of trade deals with Iran and they do have a common neighbor in Pakistan plus share the waterway, the Arabian Sea. Israel and the United States are the real game-changers which could completely alter the outcome of the conflict but are also the least likely to enter such a conflict, especially should the Saudi Arabians be the initiator of the conflict. Should Iran start such a conflict, then the probability that Israel or the United States would be greater, especially if the Saudis appeared to be on the losing end.

 

Estimating who would win such a war would need to weigh far too many variables. The basic equation places the newer and superior equipment and technology having bought $350 billion arms deal this year alone. But the Iranians have the population numbers and their military has been tested in Syria and thus experienced, especially the IRGC and Hezballah, the core fighters Iran would use for the tip of their spear. The Saudi Arabian military are known to march very nicely and have little to no actual experience in actual combat. The best equipment cannot make up for lack of experience and experience only mitigates lesser weaponry partially, so the question is which would be the greater equalizer and how long would this difference provide superior fighting ability. In the end, the real question comes down to whether Russia would assist Iran and do so at sufficient a level before the United States decided they needed to assist the Saudi Arabian side of the conflict. The final wildcards bring a nuclear answer to this conflict should nobody use such earlier as Iran is suspected of having nuclear weapons and Saudi Arabia is rumored to have an agreement with Pakistan to provide as many as a dozen such weapons on demand. These wildcards are North Korea and their eight-hundred-pound gorilla which often accompanies them in endeavors, China. One could trace how a conflict between Saudi Arabia and Iran could draw in other nations until it would become the next World War, World War III. Such a war, according to Albert Einstein, would guarantee that the following World War, World War IV, would be fought with sticks and stones. We are thinking of going and picking up some stones tomorrow.

 

The real question we should be answering is, who might be planning to spread their influence and do so successfully enough that they become a threat to the peace of the entire planet? North Korea has talked of conquest but it has mostly been about the Korean peninsula and occasionally of the United States, and that second is simply bluster for domestic consumption. China appears readying to become the Pacific hegemon sharing that title with the United States and have raised expectations that they will be the first to build a Moon base. Japan has also talked of plans to place a base on the Moon in the near future. The United States and Russia have talked of Moon bases as well. Hopefully, the next war that threatens humanity will not be a Moon War where Moon bases start shooting at each other. The Moon race will hopefully be used to initiate cooperation instead of conflict. So, fortunately, the Moon is unlikely to spark the next World War. There have been accusations that Israel desires to conquer much of the lands surrounding them forcefully displacing the Muslim populations. That is pure propaganda which is provably false, as Israel has given up claims to land such as the Sinai Peninsula and Gaza in efforts to reach peace with varying amounts of success. Then there is Iran which has spread their control since the Iranian Revolution in 1979 to Syria, Lebanon, Iraq and Yemen. Iran has made claims that they intend to destroy Israel and the United States, establish a Shiite Crescent across the heart of the Middle East (see map below). The truth is Iran is in the stage of cementing their Shiite Crescent and may be looking further starting with Yemen.

 

Shiite Crescent including Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Iran

Shiite Crescent including Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Iran

 

The one item which Iran has claimed to desire is represented on the map above by the big green star, that covers Mecca and Medina, which along with the oil fields in the northeast of Saudi Arabia make up the targets upon which Iran has set their eyes. Iran has also made constant references to the Persian Empire and reestablishing exactly such hegemony over the Middle East and reaching all the way into Greece and Egypt which was once the extent of the Persian Empire. Both the founder, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Sayyid Ruhollah Mūsavi Khomeini, and his successor, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Sayyid Ali Hosseini Khamenei, have both made references to spreading Shia Islam over the entire planet fulfilling the promises given by Allah in the Quran for Islam to rule the planet. There have been Sunni Muslims who also claimed they would fulfill the same promises such as al-Qaeda, Islamic State and Hamas. Al-Qaeda and Islamic State do not appear to have had much success in this effort and Hamas appears to be currently stymied by Israel and if they were to spread any form of Islam, it would probably be Shia since, just like Hezballah, Hamas is now in the service of Iran. For all intents and purposes, the only groups or nations with any current abilities which have also expressed the desire for word conquest all appear to be serving or are Iran. Additionally, Iran has spoken of their intention to erase the nation of Israel from the map commenting that Israel would be a one-bomb nation once they have sufficient nuclear weapons. They have also shared research with North Korea and shared tactics for a southern approach for using an orbital nuclear weapon to deliver and EMP to the United States destroying much of the electrical infrastructure. The real question that the world needs to address is who is going to stop Iran, when do they plan on starting and what it will take for people to take the concept of Iranian world conquest seriously. Ask almost anyone other than a minority of military leadership about Iran declaration of intent for world conquest; they will laugh at you as if you are insane if not actually trying to get you some medical assistance for your obvious problems. We all may as well face the fact that nobody believes in world conquest by any nation any more now, than anyone had in 1933 when Germany talked of world conquest. The world did finally respond to Germany but had they worked to prevent Germany from building up their military the world would have been saved the horrors of World War II. Iran has spread its influence across the Middle East, has all but surrounded Saudi Arabia, had closed in on Israel on three borders and has control over the Strait of Hormuz and the Bab el Mandeb Strait giving them control over oil shipments to the world and the southern exit from the Red Sea blocking any use of the Suez Canal. How far does Iran need to go to prove they intend to try to conquer the world for Allah and Shiite Islam? This is a question which may get more important as time passes, or we may get fortunate and their efforts fail from reaching any critical point where preventing them becomes an absolute necessity, which would mean they have reached military capabilities making world conquest a possibility.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

November 16, 2017

Israel Cannot be Another United States

 

The first and most obvious reason is size, though that is the least important reason. But the long version of the title for this article should read, “Why Israel cannot be another United States and why the Middle East and Northern Africa (MENA) are in such a mess.” Then the first sentence would change. So, let us start again. Israel cannot and must not be made into a small version of the United States in the Middle East any more than Japan made into United States Asia Pacific, Thailand made into United States Southern Asia, Tanzania made into United States Africa or Poland made into United States Europe. In every case, these are nations which have been homelands to a particular people in some cases since before written history. The Jewish People are directly traceable to the southern nation between the two nations of the Hebrews who came out of Egypt. The two nations were, the northern kingdom of Israel and the southern kingdom of Judea whose people became known as Judeans which over time, and for ease of pronunciation, became Jews. The northern kingdom of Israel was the northern ten tribes with their priest lived in the tribes of Judea and the far smaller Benjamin and their priest, which resulted in the tribe of priests, the Kohanim and the Levites divided between the two kingdoms. As the newly reformed nation invites all of the tribes of Israel and Judea to return, the older name Israel was chosen for the nation of the Jews.

 

Let us now speak to why there are so many wars and unrest throughout the nations making up the area called MENA. The problems derive from the decisions made on how to break up the areas which had belonged to the Caliphate and then the Ottoman Empire as the Ottoman Empire had sided with Germany and Austria-Hungarian Empire in World War I, the losing side. The Allies; Serbia, Russia, France, United Kingdom, Italy, Belgium and the United States were left to decide the new boundaries for the losing forces. The decision was decided to return lands to their indigenous peoples with the exception of the Ottoman Empire as these lands had been transformed into Arab-Muslim lands under Arab rule with their original indigenous tribal demarcations pretty much erased. Germany and Austria-Hungarian Empire were redefined with new borders defined for Germany with their losing areas to Poland and France. The Austria-Hungarian Empire was broken up into numerous nations which were again divided after the fall of the Soviet Union leading to the nations Czech Republic, Slovakia, Austria, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Hungary, Romania and Serbia today (see map below). These divisions were presumed to make nations too weak to begin a new war as Austria-Hungarian Empire had, forcing the Great War. As further punishment, Germany was restricted in the size of their military and police, forced to pay prohibitive reparations and was forbidden from making air or naval power sufficient to threaten England, France or Russia. Obviously, that plan had failed, as it was one of the mitigating factors leading to World War II. We can only pray that the divisions made of the lands of the Ottoman Empire do not cause World War III.

 

Austro-Hungarian Empire Break-up into Independent Nations

Austro-Hungarian Empire Break-up into Independent Nations

 

The division of the Ottoman Empire came under two main rulings, the first resulting from the San Remo Conference and the Treaty of Sèvres which was restated and included in the Treaty of Lausanne. Many ask why all of these treaties, conferences and other agreements from World War I, especially what became known as the Mandate System, and the reason is Article 80 of the United Nations Charter. Article 80 states, in simple English rather than Legalese, that all these agreements from World War I are enforceable by the United Nations and remain recognized and applicable. Two men had met before the end of World War I and decided between them how to “fairly” divide the Ottoman Empire with much of the lands being turned over to, you may have guessed, France and Great Britain. These two men were the Frenchman François Georges-Picot and the British sent Mark Sykes who together drew up the lines which became the Sykes-Picot Agreement. This agreement gave colonial powers to the various allied powers including Spain, Italy, France and Great Britain. Subsequently, all of these powers have relinquished their rule permitting independent states (see map below). We must note that the 1979 date for Iranian independence notes the Islamic revolution and coup which removed the Shah and in his stead placed the Ayatollah Sayyid Ruhollah Mūsavi Khomeini (Persian: سید روح‌الله موسوی خمینی‎‎) into power of the Islamic Republic of Iran. These lines were drawn willy-nilly, as the British might say. There was no regard given for tribal lines, or at least that is the normal reason given. We hold to another more sinister reason for these lines, a combination of complete laziness and the idea that each nation would be near ungovernable. The borders below (see map) are drawn with slight regard for obvious boundaries such as rivers and very straight lines. By dividing peoples into different nations and splitting up tribes in like fashion while placing numerous tribes within every nation, Sykes and Picot guaranteed that rule could only be established through a dictatorial strongman such as Saddam Hussein, Muammar al-Qaddafi and Bashir al-Assad.

 

Dates that the MENA nations received their independence after colonial rule many since the times of the Persians or even earlier

Dates that the MENA nations received their independence after colonial rule many since the times of the Persians or even earlier

 

This very likely was the plan, leave nations near ungovernable and leave tribes and peoples split between different nations preventing their coming together to try to establish their natural homelands. This was the opposite of the European plan where they returned lands to the local peoples while in MENA they mostly did the opposite with select exceptions. These exceptions included the Mandate areas which were divided between Arab Muslim from Christian and Jewish lands granting Lebanon to the area Christians to rule and Israel to its indigenous peoples, the Jews and other tribes of the Hebrews. Thus, Jordan and Syria were made Arab Muslim lands. The Kurdish were promised their own lands but the discovery of oil and a lucrative agreement with King Faisal I (Arabic فيصل الأول) and the British (read Getty) left the Kurds divided between Iraq, Iran, Syria and Turkey. Of these countries, Turkey and Iraq were the two most determined to remove their Kurdish presence through genocide if required. Saddam Hussein used chemical weapons amongst other horrific methods against the Kurds in Iraq and Turkey would do to the Kurds what they did to their Armenian people starting in 1913 and continuing through to nearly the end of World War I in 1917. There were also the added struggles between Shiite and Sunni Moslems with these differences felt the most severely in Iraq, Iran, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Yemen and many of the Gulf States. This is in part what caused much of the violence during the Arab Spring.

 

The Arab Spring very quickly became and remains the Arab Winter except where the state was strong enough and willing to use that strength to squash any rebellion. That was how Saudi Arabia treated any rebellion amongst its fellow gulf states with the best example being Bahrain where Saudi Armor poured down all lanes of the connecting causeway to the main island bringing the demonstrations and any ideas of a revolt to a very fast and permanent end. There are still numerous revolts in various levels of violence ongoing in Libya, Syria and Yemen with possible problems still existing in Turkey, Jordan and Egypt. There is also the continuing violence committed by the Sudan on the recently established South Sudan. This is a sectarian struggle pitting the Islamic fighters from the north against Christians and Animists residing in the south. This war between the Islamists against the Christians and Animists continues across the continent of Africa in what is referred to as the African Transition Zone (see below). Eventually these lands will form borders based on their tribal affiliations. Even then, there will be those who believe as if it were their religion that it is their destiny to expand over more lands. If one were to ask how many more lands, their answer would be all of the lands and they and their children will fight until all lands belong to them and their beliefs. Fortunately, their claim to land is limited to those lands where mankind live, so founding colonies on other planets simply provides them with more lands which must be brought to the one true faith. That is their religious law until the Imams decide otherwise.

 

African Transition Zone

African Transition Zone

 

Therein lies the answer, convince their Imams to change the law or at least how they interpret their laws. We are far from alone in this proposal as some have proposed this before and others continue this cry for hope in their future. They see that continuing on the path of eternal conquest can end only one way, one greatly destructive conflagration. These almost singular voices are all but undiscernible over the cacophony of the raging world around them. One such voice has even carried his plea to the center of Islamic teaching, Al-Azhar University. Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi has walked into the den from which the most renowned and influential of Imams graduate. Al-Azhar University is the Oxford University for Imams. President Sisi has taken the lead position with his appearances and demands for transforming Islam and teaching coexistence, cooperation and acknowledgment of other religions leading inevitably to peace and possibly harmony for mankind at long last. There is the Muslim Reform Movement which are standing for just such a change as are those mentioned at the end of this article. These are people who should be provided prominence as an option worth consideration.

 

To some extent, the allied powers from the First World War, or at least Mark Sykes and François Georges-Picot, is responsible for the discontent and violence which had ravaged the Arab Muslim world for the past quarter a century or so. Then, on the other side, the allied powers did not actually do such a great job with Europe judging by the ensuing World War II. The truth is the exact reason why the resurgence of Islam must be handled with a sense of urgency as well as tactfully. If the near future is bungled, then the result could very well be World War III. The entire problem was born of World War I and led to World War II and must be prevented from ending with World War III. All one need remember is the answer Albert Einstein gave when asked, “What weapons will World War III be fought?” To this Einstein replied, “I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.” Perhaps it would be best not to test the validity of Einstein’s prediction of a possible future.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

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