Beyond the Cusp

February 15, 2018

The Potential for Al Jazeera Starting the next Middle East War

 

Qatar has opened a gashing wound upon the Saudi Royal Family and their claims to be the “Servant of the Holy Places” of Mecca and Medina. Using their weaponized radio and television channels broadcasting as al Jazeera they have called for the internationalizing of the Islamic Holy Cities. Such an eventuality would rob the Saudi Royal Family of their claim which justifies their ability to rule Saudi Arabia and could even foment a civil war within Saudi Arabia. The reasoning behind this call being made by al Jazeera may not even be originating from Qatar but instead from Tehran, Iran and the Mullahs. This might even be a ploy originating in Ankara, Turkey with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan who has visions of reestablishing the Ottoman rule over Mecca and Medina. Wherever the idea for these broadcasts, the one thing which is obvious is, it has heightened already drawn tight tensions with Iran, Qatar and Turkey on one side and Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt on the other. As if things were not bad enough, with the recent drone incursion into Israeli airspace by what was an Iranian flown remote aircraft intercepted by Israel, led to the Israeli airstrike in Syria on Syrian and Iranian command and control centers used for such operations. Add in the recently started new front in Syria with Turkey bringing a war against the Kurds in northern Syria and a likely land grab by Turkey whose President Erdoğan has made speeches claiming that Aleppo historically was a Turkish city. This is also part of President Erdoğan’s delusional belief that it is his destiny to reestablish the Ottoman Empire. He has also made claims on Kirkuk and Mosul which are Kurdish areas of Iraq. One thing which is clear is the Turkish President has strong hatreds with the Kurds both within Turkey and elsewhere.

 

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubayr warned Qatar that clearly previously such a call for internationalizing the Holy Cities of Mecca and Medina would be interpreted by Saudi Arabia as a declaration of war which he further stated, “Do not test the patience of the great powers, you dwarves.” This was an obvious attempt at intimidation which Qatar has apparently disregarded. Qatar has some insurance against any Saudi aggressions as there are troops sent by Turkey within the nation plus Iran has promised to aid Qatari interests from any Saudi or other outside actions. With tensions at such a heightened level and the above-mentioned nations restating their mutual support on each side and enmity for the others, it would take one wrong step, one misspoken word at an overly sensitive moment or even a misreading of intentions to tip over the first domino leading to the entire stack falling in rapid succession. These tensions and the recent fighting between the disparate parties in Syria, the interventions of Iran across the Middle East including Iraq, Syria, Yemen and Lebanon and possibly beyond including Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other terrorist entities have proven President Trump correct in his assessment that Israel-Arab conflict is not the central problem.

 

President Trump has realized the reality that the Arab Palestinians are not the central focus of the Muslim world but an all but forgotten backwater which nobody desires to take too much interest just in case they might be stuck with having to come to their aid. The Arab Palestinians are simply an unwanted group of malcontents whose leadership had worn out their welcome across the Arab world. When the Syrian civil war first started, one of the first places bombed and struck with artillery barrages were the Palestinian refugee camps with the largest being barrel bombed for almost two weeks solid. These were the first victims of Bashir al Assad’s wrath. It may have been that President Trump noted how even the self-declared greatest friends of the Arab Palestinians, the European Union, European nations and leftist NGO’s were all silent and never registered even the slightest of concerns over Bashir al-Assad’s wiping out of the Palestinian refugee camps. Between such lack of real concern for the Arab Palestinians whose troubles could not be placed on Israel and Mahmoud Abbas consistently refusing every offer to talk or reach a peace under any condition has led President Trump to demand actual effort and signs of real sincerity before he will waste any further funding of UNRWA or the Palestinian Authority. President Trump appears to have one main objective in the Middle East, to keep the United States as untangled in the entire area as humanly possible. We should all hope that nothing changes this and forces President Trump to decide it is necessary for the United States to engage in the Middle East as such would only occur if things became excessively dire.

 

Iranian Allies versus Saudi Allies and pro-Saudi but Neutral

Iranian Allies versus Saudi Allies and pro-Saudi but Neutral

 

The unfortunate thing is should a war break out starting between Saudi Arabia and Qatar and quickly spread to having Iran step into the breach and also attack Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates as well as Saudi Arabia to force the Saudis to defend on the greatest number of fronts and also have the possibility of Turkey sending troops and air power to assist Iran as Turkey has returned to allying with Iran after a brief period of neutrality while seeking United States military aid which was provided. What is most disturbing is that Turkey continues to be a NATO member which makes possible numerous troubling demands which could be made of NATO should Turkey be dragged into a conflict against Saudi Arabia and aiding Iran. That raises the question as to what the United States do if called upon to honor the call of another NATO member for aid in a war they were presumably dragged into which would place the United States aiding Iran against Saudi Arabia, Egypt and their other allies which President Trump has decided are the United States true friends within the Islamic World. Perhaps President Trump’s belief that the Middle East is best left at arms distance or further may be the smartest means of dealing with most of the mess developing within. President Putin has been attempting to extract Russia while not losing face or disturbing his allies who are becoming more burdensome than they will likely prove to be worth. In the meantime, Putin had best find some way of putting a tight lid on the building pressure between Qatar and Saudi Arabia probably by insisting that Iran calm their attack dog and end the al Jazeera attacks on the Saudi Royals and end the calls for the internationalization of Mecca and Medina before the pressure boiler explodes from the pressure and open violence breaks out.

 

The causing of a new front in the Iranian war on the rest of the Islamic Arab world in their quest to spread Shiism making it supreme over Sunni Islam by whatever means required has only increased the regions where Iran can now threaten. If Iran truly desires to make Shiism preeminent and dominating the Middle East, picking a war with Saudi Arabia and Egypt would be the most direct method, perhaps not the smartest, but it would be the most direct. Saudi Arabia holds the Holy Cities of Mecca and Medina and Egypt has the largest populations as well as the leading Islamic university, Al-Azhar University in Cairo. Taking control of these assets and swaying this many Arab Muslims would go a long way in having Shiism become dominant in the Middle East and make spreading it throughout the Islamic world far more readily possible. It might simply all depend on exactly how far along the Iranian work to develop and build a nuclear arsenal has come along. If it is much further along than believed by Washington D.C. and Jerusalem, then this task just became far more likely and the Iranian threat beyond just the Middle East just became exponentially more dangerous. This is another reason for the Russians to try to calm the situation because the last thing everybody needs is a war which could easily escalate completely beyond any efforts to control, and an Iran possibly facing losing a conflict with Egypt and Saudi Arabia might become capable of anything to try to alter such an eventuality. The one way Iran could lash out would be an all out attack upon Israel, and the last thing the world would need is an attack on Jerusalem and/or Tel Aviv with weapons of mass destruction, as the Israeli retaliation would be definitive and devastating. Perhaps Qatar had best be advised to calm down their rhetoric as otherwise things stepping beyond anybody’s ability to calm could be right around the corner, and if such is pressed, then it should be understood that Iran desired an open conflict and should receive all the responsibility for what follows equally with whoever fires the first shot.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

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December 25, 2017

The Next Super Power Faceoff

 

The world media overlook Iran except in some individuals who are fixated on the Middle East. We almost fit that picture except we also glance towards Europe, Russia and even the United States every so often just because things happen. What most of the world does not realize is that Iranian borders do not stop at Iraq, Syria, the Persian Gulf or Afghanistan. The Iranian borders circumnavigate that and so much more. Iran also includes virtually all of Yemen, Lebanon and soon to include Bahrain, Qatar and heavy cooperation, if not complete incorporation, of Eritrea, Djibouti and parts or use of Somalia and the Sudan. Iran likely had forces hidden away in Gaza where Islamic Jihad and Hamas are allied with Iran as well as forces in the Sinai Peninsula. The probability of Iran deciding that Jordan would make a fortuitous addition to its territory, there would be little Jordanian forces could do to prevent such an occurrence (which is why we included Jordan as part of a Greater Iran). We consistently hear complaints of the devious plans for a Greater Israel. Let us think of that for a moment and compare it with peace loving Iran which was an United States ally for much of the past decade and only recently have things turned somewhat sour. Israel returned the Sinai Peninsula to Egypt in return for a cold peace. Israel returned all of southern Lebanon after rescuing the Christians who were being slaughtered by invading Syrian troops without even receiving any treaty. In return for this Hezballah took control of that territory and Iran has backed them with between one-hundred-thousand and one-hundred-fifty-thousand, if not more, rockets and missiles of all sizes, ranges, payloads and guidance capabilities from ten kilometer range with one kilogram payload and no guidance to missiles which can strike all of Israel and into Egypt, possibly to Cairo, with ten-thousand-kilogram payloads with guidance capable of striking within ten meters of the intended target.

 

Iran, in the meantime has taken control of Iraq as a present from the United States pulling their troops. They have been a great friend to the Syria dictator Bashir al-Assad and with assistance from Russia have assisted Bashir al-Assad to retain his hold on Syria where Iran is building a base for the IRGC* within twenty miles of the Golan Heights and the Israeli border. Lebanon has been controlled by Hezballah who have militarized the southern third of the nation with a system of tunnels and underground bunkers along with the aforementioned rockets and missiles. Additionally, they have artillery pieces similar to the German 88 mm anti-tank artillery. We have one of these pieces as part of a fountain at the main entrance to our home town in Israel as it was captured and had been utilized by Hezballah to shell our town during one of the Hezballah wars. Hezballah is, for intents and purposes, a number of groups of units under the command of the IRGC, the Iranian foreign military command which is a separate but fully capable arm of the Iranian military. The Houthis rebels now control the major cities and ports in Yemen and virtually the entire nation and have lobbed rockets into Saudi Arabia including at Riyadh, the Capital of Saudi Arabia, and have been armed by Iran and aided by the IRGC. Iranian weaponry has been intercepted in the Sudan, Sinai Peninsula crossing into Gaza and in the Mediterranean Sea such as the MV Karine A. Greater Iran is a reality which has been ignored by the world media while Israel, which has surrendered territory for the sake of peace, of striving to engulf the Arab world into a Greater Israel. Greater Iran is the width and breadth and has great similarity to the one nation which currently appears to be in the Iranian crosshairs, the United States. Their areas are comparable and they both command the greater part of the battlefield of a continent and are capable of projecting power over wide areas with missiles which are capable of striking anywhere on the globe and being capable of carrying nuclear payloads to any location and it is believed that Iran, despite the Iranian Nuclear Deal, has been manufacturing nuclear weapons for well over a decade and has mastered the technology for manufacture of thermonuclear devices and Super EMP devices. Below are maps of what could very easily be Greater Iran and the United States should there be a conflict between these adversaries sometime in the next decade, possibly two decades. Hopefully a peaceful solution can be found which will satisfy the hunger of Iran for reestablishing the glory and modern version of the conquests of the Persian Empire. The Persian Empire reached the Grecian Isles, down both coasts of the Saudi Peninsula and as far as Egypt. Their known world was presumed to be quite a bit smaller than the entirety of the globe is today, not to mention, conquering the known world today includes a few nations quite capable of defending themselves such as Russia and China. And as mentioned, there is the United States should Iran attempt to take control of any NATO nations such as Greece and Turkey.

 

The Next Super Power Faceoff

The Next Super Power Faceoff

 

Should one listen to the speeches given by the true leader of the Iranian nation, the Grand Ayatollah, Sayyed Ali Hosseini Khamenei (سید علی حسینی خامنه‌ای Persian), one would believe that his ambitions are universal. He envisions an Iranian Shiite Kingdom having complete sovereignty over the entirety of planet Earth. He does not foresee his ruling Iran in that day but that some future Grand Ayatollah after him. He sees such as the will of Allah and thus inevitable. What might ruin this are the visions of Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan who claims his only vision is to take Aleppo, Mosul and the remainder of the Kurdish regions as his effort to reestablish the Ottoman Empire. Then there are the Wahabbists and the Muslim Brotherhood, both of which see themselves at the head of a Sunni Empire of the Earth. One must wonder in such times as these if perchance we will see another attempt by the French to conquer all of Europe including Russia or perhaps the return of the great empires of Europe, Asia, the Americas, Africa and who knows where else. All the while, no matter the realities of the world, the wars flaring, the suffering of humanity in far too many areas and the numerous designs on ruling the world and spreading ones culture over all mankind, the one thing which will remain constant will be the preoccupation of the United Nations and all of its various agencies with the imagined evils of the Jewish State of Israel.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

*IRGC = Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps

 

June 22, 2017

Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Iran, Al-Jazeera and the Gulf States

 

One of the places where that fabric of the world is stretched the tightest is along the Persian Gulf with the Straights of Hormuz being at the near breaking-point. The fabric was ratcheted even tighter right before United States President Trump’s recent visit when Qatar backed out of the deal made which made the Trump visit possible. Following right behind Qatar were both Oman and Bahrain, who also backed out of the deal, leaving Saudi Arabia in a predicament which has its problems and its rewards. The problem is now Saudi Arabia must foot the entire approximately four-hundred-billion dollar deal over three years. The good side is Saudi Arabia will be arming themselves to parity if not exceeding the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF). The next problem is that Saudi Arabian Military is great at marching and wearing fancy dress and intimidating mostly unarmed protesters and putting down any aspirations for the Arab Spring within Saudi Arabia, which took almost five minutes after the Friday launch date when protesters were outnumbered by Saudi Troops in the streets. Then there was the Shiite Arab Spring uprising in Bahrain which was appearing as if they might overthrow their Sunni rulers until, you guessed it, Saudi Arabian armored columns used all six lanes of the connecting causeway sending troops to end the uprising (pictured below). The Arab Spring ended in Bahrain with just the show of force and not one person was killed. Overwhelming force has its place and advantages. So, the Saudis will be the eight-hundred-pound-gorilla with sufficient armaments for two such gorillas. In case these arms are required to defend Saudi Arabia, which includes Mecca and Medina being in Sunni hands, the excess armaments owned by the Saudis will be distributed to well-trained Egyptian troops. Believe it that if the Saudis are in danger from outside forces that Egypt will provide manpower and, if necessary, Pakistan is in agreement to provide the technology to produce along with, some claim, as many as a dozen nuclear weapons. Now we have the chess table set with only a few other necessities which will be revealed as we follow a possible story-line, a scarily possible story line.

 

King Fahd Causeway is the bridge between Bahrain and Saudi Arabia

King Fahd Causeway is the bridge
between Bahrain and Saudi Arabia

 

Currently, Saudi Arabia is less than thrilled with Qatar for their pulling from the deal. There are some who believe they did this as a means of financially testing or even injuring the Saudi Arabian Royal Family who are not as affluent with money overflowing coffers as many in the West believe. Of course, it goes without saying, that Iran was behind this idea for their friend and sometimes, more often than not, ally, Qatar. There are many, ourselves included, who believe that Iran not only asked forcefully that Qatar pull out right before President Trump arrived such that the Saudis would have no recourse but to take up any needs. Then it is thought that Bahrain and Oman were also requested under threat by Iran to also pull from the deal. This has set up a very tense situation in the area around Iran, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States and the length of the Persian Gulf with the Straits of Hormuz the shortest distance between the two rivals (see map below). Qatar is using their control over their news service, Al-Jazeera, which combines television, radio, cable, internet and print media. Much of their electronic media is transmitted via satellite making it next to impossible to block. Qatar has been using their visual media to almost constantly show the visit of President Trump and particularly his visiting sacred and sensitive Islamic areas with women not wearing hair cover or burkas. The women were modestly dressed but not to the strict demands of Islam. These pictures are being accompanied with charges that the Saudi Royal Family are not real Muslims and they have disgraced Islam with their reception of President Trump without forcing the women to be properly covered. These accusations and the near constant flow of the pictures are on order from Iran attempting to insult the Saudi Royals before the Islamic world. The divisions as they currently appear to be are as depicted below.

 

Saudi Arabia, Iran, the Gulf States and the Length of the Persian Gulf with the Straits of Hormuz

Saudi Arabia, Iran, the Gulf States and the
Length of the Persian Gulf with the Straits of Hormuz

 

The problem, and even possibly the intent, is the media assault on the Saudi Arabian rulers by Qatar can only end one of two ways. The first is that Iran orders an end to the constant attempts of insulting and defaming the Saudi Arabian Royal Family and Qatar along with Al-Jazeera move on returning to often broadcasting Iranian attacks on the United States and Israel with occasional mention of Saudi Arabia or Egypt, i.e. regular broadcasting. The other is the attacks on the Saudi Royals leads to their demand they stop or they will be considered as a declaration of war on Saudi Arabia and her allies. The stress of her allies is important. This could result in the Saudis sending troops into Qatar to close down Al-Jazeera and that could result in a reaction from Iran at the request of the rulers of Qatar. This has been the Qatari Ace in the Hole by which they are able to continue to attack their larger neighbor, Saudi Arabia, through their manipulation of their control of the media in the Arab world using Al-Jazeera. This has been their means of bludgeoning the Saudi leadership and governance in service of their Iranian sponsors. The problem is should there begin to be unrest and calls for the end of the rule of the Saudi Arabian Royal Family and things start to become close to a point where the Wahhabi clerics might believe they could take control directly through a popular revolt, the Saudi Royals would act before that point could come to be. This would force their hand and an assault on Qatar, and on the Al-Jazeera headquarters in particular, might become the most viable option.

 

Should things reach the point that Saudi Arabia uses their military superiority to squelch the media assault originating from within Qatar, this might be the flashpoint leading to a far larger military confrontation. Such an attack could result in an Iranian response attacking Bahrain, Oman, United Arab Emirates and counter the Saudi Arabian assault in Qatar. This might not even be the worst result. Should Saudi Arabia respond to such an attack with strikes inside Iran, the response could become a general attack by Iran across the Middle East on the heart of Sunni Islam striking towards Mecca and Medina from both Yemen and western Iraq using Houthis as their shock troops out of Yemen while they strike across Oman to Yemen and possibly land amphibious troops in Yemen for a pincher movement striking Oman from both ends and using Hezballah as their shock troops striking down out of Iraq getting a running start from Syria southward. There might be one feel-good side-effect; the Iranians may find it easier to simply eradicate Islamic State in the process. Jordan may or may not be amongst the targets of an Iranian first strike against Saudi Arabia, but they will be a target if for no other reason as they would allow Iran to surround Israel and Jordan has tens of thousands of Palestinian Arabs who might just join Iran if they were given the right promises. This would be the definitive war between Sunni and Shiite Islam with the winner taking all of Islam or at least a huge step towards that goal if Iran wins and the end of Shia Islam if Saudi Arabia proved triumphant.

 

The truth be told, if Iran were to defeat Saudi Arabia, their number one rival and quite possibly the top of the Iranian bucket list ahead of the United States and even Israel, they would control the two most important cities in all Islam, Mecca and Medina, and gain a treasure trove of weaponry. With the good relations that Iran has with the Sudan and the natural enmity between the Sudan and Egypt, almost a sibling rivalry between the two former British colonies and still Arab colonies, truth be told, Iran would have a natural front with Egypt, the sole power between Iran and total domination of all Islam. This would place Iran a stone’s throw from establishing the Shia dream for the past thirteen-hundred plus years, the defeat of the accursed Sunnis who murdered their leaders and actual descendants of Mohammad and true leaders of Islam, or at least that is their story. Of course, the Sunni will tell a different story about renegade Muslims who are merely apostates.

 

This is one of those pressure points upon which the world may turn upside down, or right-side up, depending upon how you view the world’s current state. Where this is but one of the far too many breaking-points where the stretched fabric of the world is measurably thinner than average and which makes it a point where even the smallest disruption could punch a hole in the fabric from which a tear would soon start if the violence spread leading to a series of events insuring an ever larger ring of violence. Leading to World War I there was an assassination which led to a state of war that even before it was declared began tearing the world apart. Each side began calling in their promises of mutual support and before you knew it, most of the world was engaged in a struggle which after the lines settled simply stagnated with intermittent slaughters when one side or the other sent their troops into no-man’s-land rushing from their trenches attempting to reach the other side’s trenches. Both sides had this little invention, though under separate contracts and differing names, known as the Maxim machinegun (see image below). Maxim became wealthy and by the time the war ended and all the treaties were signed and borders established with the movement of populations, the resultant death toll exceeded fifteen-million.

 

Maxim Machinegun Trenches and No Man’s Land

Maxim Machinegun
Trenches and No Man’s Land

 

Making matters worse, the impositions, including and specifically monetary, placed on Germany were all but directly responsible for World War II and another approximately eighty-million deaths. All told, an assassination of an Archduke and his wife led to close to one-hundred-million deaths and the toll is still being counted as the Sykes-Picot Treaty is responsible for much of the trouble and dissolution of the Arab world, where things are sensitive and reaching a critical mass. Even if the current crises are calmed, the entire situation will simply rise to another similar point of overt pressure in the future unless a permanent solution which recognizes the individual tribes and allegiances. Even then, who knows, and who can even believe they can know. Until humankind learns to live one with the others despite their differences and when the concept of world conquest is forever laid to rest, we will simply live from one crisis to the next until one ultimate crisis ends the existence of humanity leaving so few humans that all knowledge is lost within two or three generations and humanity has to begin again from square one. Who knows how many times we have come to this precipice and fallen, once, twice, one hundred, how many? There has been evidence found of a former cataclysm and there are the ancient Indian texts telling of weapons with unprecedented destructive powers. The world once again has such power, the power to end all civilized life on the planet and cause an unprecedented extinction event exceeded only once or twice in all of Earth’s history. In the famous T. S. Eliot poem, “The Hollow Men” ends with the following two lines, “This is the way the world ends, Not with a bang but with a whimper.” He was close as the last sound will be a whimper but all but immediately before that there will be a series of Earth-shattering bangs of near unprecedented destruction in all of human history combined as all the secondary nuclear powers release their destruction on all who are not fit to live by their definitions, which will be against the others and each other ending all, then the few who survive for a short period will finish with the whimper.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

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