Beyond the Cusp

April 10, 2017

Did Trump Just Give Putin a Way Out of Syria?

 

The article by Mark Langfan for Arutz Sheva is a good read and has some interesting propositions. His optimism and suppositions would make the world a safer place if they came to fruition but perhaps we should scale back the ideas of future cooperation and settle for the possible over the preferable. Peace and secure and unchallenged borders throughout the Balkans would be wonderful but are not exactly possible as the spirits there are too unsettled and restless. Further, it is not likely that Putin would settle for just one-third of the Ukraine plus the Crimean Peninsula as he desires the weapons manufacturing capabilities in the central regions of the Ukraine and all the wheat fields to feed all of Russia just as Stalin had done. Putin would never allow his prize to become part of NATO. But the one interesting piece from the article was the exit policy which, with the world and their condemnation of Bashir al-Assad over the release of Sarin nerve agent on a civilian population, gives Putin the perfect excuse. His theory is Putin will use this incident to pull his support for al-Assad and then working with NATO, or with Trump to be more accurate, will place an acceptable, and presumably pliable, leader in Syria in return for the two naval bases and airfield and then everyone will be free to remove ISIS, the Islamic State, working in coordination. We hope at least this part of Mr. Langfan’s exercise in a proposed future in Syria and the rest of Europe, the Balkans and Ukraine will come to fruition. It almost appears that Mr. Langfan believes that Presidents Trump and Putin are cooperating in a pact of mutual endorsement and support, likely a misconception, but still appears to permeate his thinking.

 

Unfortunately, thus far President Putin appears to be stanchly defending Bashir al-Assad and placing the blame on the munitions kept presumably by the rebels, possibly ISIS, at the targeted location. That is not the actions of a man who is planning on deserting al-Assad to replace him with anyone, especially a Sunni. Russia is not about to alter their cozy relations with Iran either. Had Russia any plans on removing al-Assad and deserting their support for Iran, the delivery early this year of the S-300 anti-aircraft batteries would never have happened. Russia is firmly committed to the Shia cause and the projected plans by Iran to spread Shia Islam across the Middle East and eventually on to Northern Africa and beyond. What the Russian plans are, is quite a mystery but the Iranian plans are an easy read as it is all in their holy books under Jihad.

 

The Mullah of Iran intend on spreading Shia Islam to every corner of the globe, including Russia. Their plan is not to accomplish this by this year or even in the lifetime of the Supreme Leader nor the next Supreme Leader or necessarily the next or the next but eventually there will be one who does finish their destiny. The leaders of Iran are assured that their viewed destiny cannot be prevented because it was written in the Quran and Allah’s will can never be denied. Of course the Sunnis, such as Islamic State or the Royals in Saudi Arabia, also believe the same verses guarantee their eventual supremacy of the entire world. I know what some are saying, both sets of what some of you are saying. One group is claiming that they cannot both be correct and there is another group simply exclaiming for us to give them a break and are we really trying to push that crazy Islam intends to conquer the world canard? The latter groups will claim that nobody still believes they can honestly conquer the world and that the idea of conquering the world went out after the death of Alexander the Great, when Rome fell, with the end of the British Empire, or when the Soviet Union collapsed. Well, here are a few little clues which may answer a few doubts. First, we are not claiming anything new with the idea that, Islam will conquer the world because it is Allah’s will, that is in the Quran. The Quran can be confusing for many reasons, first of which is it is not arranged in chronological order, it is arranged for ease of children memorizing it starting young so it is in order from shortest to longest. For more information we wrote an introductory article a number of years back which we should update when we get a chance.

 

As far as nobody thinks they can conquer the world any more, allow us to mention a few other than our Islamic friends, allow us to introduce the Chinese in command of the mainland who have yet to surrender on the concept of a world ruled by their improved version of Communism with a touch of Capitalism, and there is Putin who was sold before he became a member of the KGB that Russia must rule everything. Also, there is our chubby friend Kim Jung Un who is just insane enough to still think he will be the one though he can be discounted due to lack of sanity and we are sure there is someone else somewhere who cannot let go of the megalomaniacal hope that they will one day rule the world, if not the universe. Just because the western world reached the conclusion that the world was not capable of being conquered and it was more profitable to engage in commerce does not mean that everyone else in every other part of the world also saw such as the only sane result and still believe the best way to attain world unity is not cooperation but by their singular conquest of the world or the complete domination of their philosophy, rules and religion. The world does not run under one philosophy or one set of understandings. That has been a somewhat difficult belief to have some in the western world to understand as they honestly believe that the rest of the world has or will adopt western culture and ideas as they honestly believe that it is superior. Surprise, that is also a form of conquest of the globe through a less violent means, by cultural dominance erasing all other cultures. One of the problems with this idea is that not all of the globe has electricity and many nations closely monitor all information and even music from coming within their borders. Some manage this through propaganda or religious edicts and strict enforcement.

 

What matters is that there really are bad people by western standards of Judeo-Christian morality. Don’t start rolling the eyes at the use of the worlds Judeo-Christian morality as that has been the dominating force in the western world which allowed for the scientific revolution and the progression to the separation of church and state which allowed for the technological progress of the last few centuries. That was not universally the case and as the western world made great progress and appeared to become dominant, the Islamic world crept into their shell and believed that returning to their original roots when they were dominant, the seventh century through eleventh century when they were on their way to conquering the world (see map below). Islam has been waiting for their opportunity to return to preeminence. The Saudi Arabians believed they could buy that future with their oil wealth along with the other Arabian Gulf States, the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), and have been buying the necessary weaponry over the years and have been supplying much of the arms and funding, through back channels for deniability, for the Islamic State, formerly ISIS. They were the money behind al-Qaeda, provided fifteen of the nineteen hijackers on 9/11, have assisted the Wahhabi sect of Islam which have their own designs on world conquest and have expended too many American and allied soldiers fighting their wars to keep them safe. Some concepts and beliefs die hard and Islam promise from Allah of ruling the world might just top the list.

 

Spread of Islam Across North Africa and into the Iberian Peninsula

Spread of Islam Across North Africa and into the Iberian Peninsula

 

The conclusion of this is that Putin has signed on with Iran and the Shiites for better or worse as the Sunnis betrayed Russia when they switched sides changing over to American arms and protections. The odds are Putin not only remembers the betrayal but that it weighs heavily on him and is a part of his reasoning of supporting Iran. He likely sees Saudi Arabia as the leader of the Sunnis and the main reason why he will not betray Iran and thus stand by Bashir al-Assad. As for was al-Assad responsible for the Sarin Gas chemical release, that will remain something which might be discovered in whatever ensuing investigation is conducted. That also could depend on who does the investigation. It is possible there will be multiple investigations with them being at odds with one another depending on which side conducts the investigation. Such is the state of our world and it could not be more dangerous.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

November 29, 2015

NATO and the Turkey Problem

 

We here at BTC have warned about the eventual problem that Turkey was going to pose for NATO any number of times over the years going back to our article The Turkey Problem for NATO, though we never envisioned it might mean war with Russia to be honest. We saw the problem coming between Turkey and Israel which only was heightened after the Mavi Marmara blockade running confrontation between Israeli Special Forces and the terrorists placed on the lead ship intentionally by IHH terrorist groups posing as a human rights group in our article Let’s Talk Turkey. The problem we saw forming between Turkey and NATO remained centered on their different Middle East views particularly when it came to Israel. This became heightened once again over Iraq and the Second Iraq War when once again the ever more so drifting from a secular state into an Islamic state when at the onset of the second Iraq War Turkey’s entrenched leader refused NATO ally the United States from launching the second pincer of the initial engagement from within Turkey, as originally planned, in the article Turkey Needs to Prove They Belong in NATO Now. Turkey has continued their slide into an Islamic state replete with a strongman with near dictatorial powers in Recep Tayyip Erdogan. It was here in September of 2014 we continued to question the reason for continuing to have Turkey in NATO. The initial reason had been as a stalwart NATO member who could bottle up the bulk of the Russian Mediterranean fleet by refusing them access to the Bosphorus Strait and the Dardanelles, originally and often still referred to as the Strait of Constantinople, through which any ships docked in the Black Sea would necessarily have to pass to make their way from the Black Sea through the Mediterranean Sea and onto the Atlantic Ocean, the only passage once the northern route freezes every winter. It was partially due to having a docking and repair facility which was one of the factors in the Russian seizure of the Crimean and the docks at the port city of Sevastopol and the Sevastopol Docks and Shipyards which is the resting and repair port for the Russian Atlantic Fleet during the winter months. One can see the tactical necessity the Bosphorus Strait and the Dardanelles in the map below.

 

 

From the Sevastopol Docks and Shipyards Across the Black Sea then Through the Bosphorus Strait and the Dardanelles to the Mediterranean Sea and thus the Atlantic Ocean

From the Sevastopol Docks and Shipyards
Across the Black Sea then
Through the Bosphorus Strait and the Dardanelles
to the Mediterranean Sea and thus the Atlantic Ocean

 

 

After the Cold War ended, or at least ended until the current outward weakened appearance of the United States under President Obama, this tactical necessity for containing the Russian Atlantic fleet became far less important. Since the increased strength of the Russian naval forces, particularly its Atlantic and Mediterranean fleet the passage through these Turkish chokepoints had appeared to have lessened. That was before the current madness which is Syria and the Russian presence with both boots in the war in support of Syrian dictator Bashir al-Assad. Suddenly fleet access to Sevastopol Docks and Shipyards has once again become of importance, or at least would have except for the lead from behind, well behind, foreign policy, or lack thereof, once again could have blockaded the heavy vessels of the Russian fleet. As it stands currently, the Russian Navy has been sending one of their large cruisers and battleships through these waters in order to have them in the Mediterranean Sea just in case they may be required in Syria. This is also the reason that the Russians are so concerned about their and the Iranian’s puppet in Syria, Bashir al-Assad. The Russians have set up forces both land and sea around the most important area in Syria, the western strip from Damascus with its international airport to the dock city of Latakia as seen in the map below.

 

 

Area West of Demarcation Line is Minimal Area for Russia to Control which Includes Most Military and Dual Use Areas Including the All-Important Area Around Damascus and Latakia Granting Access to Damascus International Airport and the Latakia Shipyards and Docks

Area West of Demarcation Line is Minimal Area
for Russia to Control which Includes Most Military
and Dual Use Areas Including the All-Important
Area Around Damascus and Latakia Granting
Access to Damascus International Airport
and the Latakia Shipyards and Docks

 

 

As the fighting in Syria worsened, especially for Assad and the Russian interest back in February of this year and it began to appear that the Alevites who are the tribe, which the Assad Family belongs, supporting Bashir al-Assad and in turn the Russians we noted the necessity for any outside forces, primarily the United States and NATO, in our article Battle for Middle East and Beyond Are Now Choosing Sides. This article included the Iranian influence as well as the Kurdish forces the neighboring situation in Iraq, ISIS, now calling themselves the Islamic State, but had not included the Russians as their main concerns back then included areas around Latakia and its naval base which was Russian built and was not exactly intended for the Syrian Navy, like they have one. At that time Turkey was less concerned with Assad as they were the Kurdish forces which had actually begun to merge between the Syrian Kurdish fighters and areas with their considerably stronger Kurds in the northern third of Iraq. This was the set-up which leads us directly to the present situation.

 

The sides have been aligned and the battle lines drawn. Russia has ended any pretense of soft support of Bashir al-Assad and the Iranian influence and can be expected to only increase their footprint. Where such may end is anybody’s guess. Meanwhile, the Islamic State appears to be mostly cementing their control over the large area they have carved out between Syria and central Iraq and cleaning house while trying to hold their own against the pressures from the Kurdish Militias, the Peshmerga Militias, who have retaken some of the major cities formerly under Kurdish control or belonged to the Yazidis. The areas liberated from Islamic State forces have revealed the true horrors which are the Islamic State including mass graves. The group presumably vetted and supported by the United States, the so-called Free Syrian Army has proven to be more embarrassment than force to be feared. These forces have been degraded to the point of virtual uselessness but these are still President Obama’s reason d’etre for being even minimally involved in the fight against the Islamic State. Whatever remnants of the Free Syrian Army can be fielded, are being attacked by Russia. This is important for another reason, these were the side backed by Turkey as well as the United States which have served as the conduit for United States aid monies and equipment has been placed into the battle. Much of what was sent presumably for the American trained forces but ended up in the hands of al-Qaeda. The ultimate joke of the entire tragedy which is the Syrian Civil War has been the training and equipping of the Free Syrian Army which had become all but useless as a force in Syria all while the United States invested millions upon millions of dollars and succeeded in training as few as five soldiers and definitely under a dozen. This is the force President Obama has supported and trained almost completely out of existence. These were also Turkey’s best hope for defeating al-Assad and the Turkish pipeline now feeds al-Qaeda forces and very likely is still allowing supplies to flow to the Islamic State just as Turkey has been selling their crude oil and mixing into the Turkish supplies which are piped to refineries and on to Europe. So, the lines have been drawn and the different sides defined even to include the double-dealing of Turkey at the orders from Recep Tayyip Erdogan. A state of status-quo has seemingly set in with the Russians now enforcing al-Assad which includes siding with Iran and fighting the presumably vetted fighters of the Free Syrian Army.

 

This is the force along with al-Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood presumably supported through the United States efforts and also by Turkey’s efforts and which the Russians have invested their main efforts of their attacks. This has placed the United States technically allied with the Russians against the Islamic State while also supporting those selfsame groups which includes the remnants of the Free Syrian Army all of which being made insignificant due to the efforts by the Russian efforts to degrade their abilities to fight. These forces receive some weak-willed support from Turkey as well as the majority of the United States as these were the forces which were to bring free and open elections to the remnants of the Syrian people who remain. The interesting alignments come to the fore with the Kurds who are despised by Turkey, supported to some extent by Europe and the United States, though most of this aid goes to the Kurdish forces in Iraq; have neutral relations with the Russians and are despised for their success in resisting even some of the greatest efforts by the Islamic State which revolved around Kobane. It was this front of fighting which melded together the two separate Kurdish groups into one Kurdish nation, well, at least as much a nation as is the Islamic State or the remnants of what was Iraq which has had its central region taken by the Islamic State which is now closing in on Baghdad, the Iraqi Capital City. The support structure of the Syrian campaign which has been defined as intended to degrade and defeat the Islamic State, ISIL as President Obama refers to them as well as the Junior Varsity, is confusing to say the least.

 

But much of this all fell by the wayside in the last few days as this was the week that somebody took their stand as solidly as possible and then immediately reassured itself of the backing of the group to which they belong and had a pivotal role to play previously. We are referring to the shoot-down of the Russian fighter-bomber by Turkish anti-aircraft weapons. There were initial reports that one of the Russian pilots managed to parachute from the stricken jet after it was struck by Turkish fire and was captured and executed by Turkish forces but those reports have been found to be false. The pilot in question was rescued in a twelve-hour operation involving Special Forces according to Russia sources. This may help to deescalate the crisis which is Turkey at the moment. It has been suspected, actually a lot stronger than suspected all the way past known and into certitude, which Turkey has been key for Islamic State recruitment allowing them to set up interviewing sessions in hotels which were moved every few weeks to give the appearance of having to avoid being too overt. It is a shame that Turkey did not follow this charade up by having heavily armed police storm the room in the hotel which was used right after they had moved on. This covert on-the-sly support for Islamic State’s most important business, recruitment and their sale of oil, to be channeled through Turkey who makes out financially well due to these facts. Everyone knows that Russia, especially under Putin, does not let things lie unbalanced from their favor even if it takes decades for them to serve-up their cold dish of retribution, some might call it revenge or even vengeance. Turkey must expect some payback from Putin; the only debate is how serious the Russian vengeance will be. What was distressing was that within a few hours Istanbul (Constantinople) had placed a call to Brussels, Belgium in order to request that NATO forces and nations stand ready to support Turkey in the case of any overly overt acts by Russia such as an invasion to take control of Turkey’s greatest asset, the Bosphorus Strait and the Dardanelles, the gateway which separates Europe from Asia. This has been the classic line between the two continents. Now it could become the initial battle in a much greater conflict should it become a reading of blows with each one made to be one measure harder than the previous measure. The main question NATO may need to answer is whether that old remnant from the first Cold War has any teeth or validity now in what is rapidly becoming the second cold War and may go hot at any moment as long as threats of escalation or simply this for that trade-offs to continue.

 

 

Various Stages of Russian Fighter/Bomber During Turkey’s Provocation Over Claimed Airspace Violation by the Russian Pilot

Various Stages of Russian Fighter/Bomber
During Turkey’s Provocation Over Claimed
Airspace Violation by the Russian Pilot

 

 

Where this will go nobody at this moment other than Russian leader Putin and potentially Turkey’s leader Erdogan can say. Both men are strong willed and willing to go to any lengths to maintain their power. Putin switched the job descriptions for the offices of President and Prime Minister in order to get around the term limit and switched everything back as he returned to his previous position. On the other hand, Erdogan used his party and influence to prevent any government from taking power in order to force new elections where through intimidation and other frauds was able to return his party to absolute power with a majority of the seats in the Turkish Parliament. These are the extents these two men have used to remain in power for most if not all of this young century. We can be assured that neither will back down nor will they let such assaults lie without some form of retribution. Meanwhile, there has already been ramification with Russian Foreign Minister cancelling his visit to Turkey which was scheduled for early next month. There have also been a number of trade deals backed out of and voided placing financial pressures on a nation which can ill afford any such disruptions. Truth be told, both nations are financially vulnerable at the moment and this could have further ramification on a world financial situation where very few nations are sitting particularly safe from fallout if a trade war ensues between Turkey and Russia as this would mean potentially Russia refusing to use the oil pipelines which cut through Turkey which would be a major blow to the Turkish economy. One can bet that for as long as this is a contentious issue that Russians will not be vacationing on the Black Sea coast of Turkey, another financial hit on Turkey. Relations and actions will be measured and may quiet as long there are no future provocations between Turkey and Russia though I expect that Russian aircraft may avail themselves of taking bombing routes dangerously close and likely over the Syrian Turkey border rendering that border being crossed by Russian aircraft making raids on Syria acceptable and this be Putin’s revenge because it is the also on the face with the gauntlet followed by throwing at the feet of Erdogan just daring him to take another shot at one of the Russian aircraft ignoring the border at their leisure. This could get intense and seriously large real fast, especially if these two leaders start to play the international form of the game of chicken as neither one of these leaders will even flinch, let alone swerve away at the last moment; this situation would produce a clash of massive proportions which Turkey would be well-advised to avoid because against Putin, Erdogan would lose and Turkey be irrevocably damaged, perhaps destroyed would be more appropriate a term.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

April 29, 2014

Anti-Semitism Explodes in the Ukraine

Serial news stories have dribbled in from the Ukraine reporting incident after incident of attacks on Jews and Jewish buildings and institutions since the beginning of the Russian offensive to instigate unrest presumably to facilitate their reacquisition of Ukrainian territory back under Russian control starting with the annexation of the Crimean Peninsula. There was the mugging of a Jewish man who was barely able to make it to the neighborhood Synagogue which may have saved his life. Soon thereafter a Synagogue in a neighboring town was firebombed. A second Synagogue was firebombed a few weeks later and there have been numerous reports of verbal abuse and Jews being accosted though not seriously injured in the confrontations. This past weekend brought an end to such benign attacks as events have become far more serious and life-threatening.

 

Yesterday some three-hundred pro-Russian militants armed with baseball bats assaulted a branch of the bank owned by a well-known Jewish oligarch regional governor who has voiced criticism of Moscow. The attack was on the Donetsk office of the private banking and metal industry holding belonging to Igor Kolomoisky. Mr. Kolomoisky is also governor of the nearby region of Dnipropetrovsk. The rioters screamed charges of “fascist” and “enemy of the people” during the assault among other abuses. Kolomoisky has been particularly vocal in his opposition to Russian President Vladimir Putin claiming, “He has gone mad with his mission to re-establish the Russian empire.” He has said that Putin was, vowing that “separatism will not pass in Dnipropetrovsk.” Apparently that is sufficient to have your business assaulted and the offices overturned and employees threatened by imminent threats of violence.

 

Over the weekend the Mayor of the eastern Ukrainian city of Kharkov, Gennady Kernes, has been shot in the back by unidentified gunmen. Reported in the City Hall’s website a report on the incident says that doctors are fighting to save his life. Mr. Kernes is known to be Jewish and this has been suspected as a contributing motivation behind the shooting. The rabbi of Kharkov, Rabbi Moshe Moskowitz, told Arutz Sheva that the mayor is being operated on and that security forces are attempting to catch the shooters. As mayor of Kharkov since March 2010, Kernes had been a strong supporter of President Viktor Yanukovich right till his ouster in February. This removes anti-Russian motives as the motivation in his attempted assassination making anti-Semitism an even likelier motivation, especially with the recent boiling over of such emotions which have resulted in a general state of fear in the Jewish community in the Ukraine.

 

The rabbi said the mayor had been jogging and was apparently shot in the back many times. The Rabbi was quoted stating, “This is a very dear Jew, with a warm and loving connection to the community, and we are shocked by the assassination. We are praying for his health – Moshe son of Hana.” Our prayers also go out for Mayor Kernes. Another report that included more information on the severity of the wounds was given by Kernes’s friend Yury Sapronov who told Vesti Ukrainy, a news outlet, “They shot him in the back from the forest. The injury is serious. His lung is pierced and his liver pierced all the way through.”

 

Abraham Duvdevani, head of the WZO, stated, “We strongly condemn this despicable act, and wish a speedy recovery to the mayor.” Anti-Semitism during the early months of 2014 is at a height not seen for decades and anti-Semitic groups operate with no restraint in many places around the world according to Abraham Duvdevani. Jews around the world, especially in Ukraine, feel the need to defend themselves against the spreading hatreds. Abraham Duvdevani further stated, “We must fight this until it is removed from the world.” May we suggest to Mr. Duvdevani and the World Zionist Organization that perhaps in addition to calling attention to these difficult times and the imminent threat to Jewish life in the Ukraine that they coordinate with Israel and arrange for an escape route for those Jews who wish to leave the Ukraine and return to Israel. There have been reports of a sizeable segment of the Ukrainian Jewish community who have expressed the desire to make Aliyah and return home and many do not have sufficient means to make this happen without some assistance. We hope that there will be assistance for those Jews anywhere who desire to return to Israel even if the main reason is due to the increased anti-Semitism which is rearing its head across wide swaths of the globe.

 

This is even more important and deserves additional emphasis in Israel where the commemoration of the Shoah was just observed and a nation stood for two minutes of silent remembrance while the wail of the siren exclaimed the moment. Echoing our sentiments was Yaakov Haguel, the WZO’s Israel activity head for the fight against anti-Semitism, who called on the Ukrainian government to find Kernes’ shooters and put them on trial. “Today, on Holocaust Martyrs and Heroes Memorial Day, as anti-Semitism continues to rage, I call on the leaders of the world to use a strong hand against anti-Semitic incidents, whether large or small.” How many more Jews will have to pay before the world takes a stand this time, how many?

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

Next Page »

Blog at WordPress.com.