Beyond the Cusp

October 5, 2014

The Lessons of Carthage, a Teaching Moment for Israel

Filed under: 1949 Armistice Line,Absolutism,Act of War,Administration,Advanced Weapions Systems,Air Strike,al-Qaeda in Gaza,Amalekites,Anti Missile System,Anti-Israel,Anti-Semitism,Anti-Zionist,Appease Islamic Interests,Appeasement,Appointment,Arab Appeasement,Arab League,Arab World,Arabs,Armed Services,Armistice,Ballot Access,Blood Libel,Bombing,Cabinet,Carthage,Ceasefire,Civilization,Code Red Warning System,Condemning Israel,Conflict Avoidnce,Defend Israel,Domestic NGOs,Elections,Europe,European Governments,European Pressure,European Union,Executive Order,Fatah,Fatah Charter,Forced Solution,Foreign Funding,Foreign NGOs,Gaza,Gaza Blockade,Government,Green Line,Hamas,Hamas Charter,Haniyeh of Hamas,Hannibal,Hate,History,IAF,IDF,IDF,Infiltration Tunnels,Inteligence Report,Internal Pressures,International Politics,Intifada,Iron Dome,Islam,Islamic Jihad,Islamic Pressure,Israel,Israeli Interests,Jewish Home,Jewish Leadership,Jewish State,Jihad,Jihad,Khaled Mashaal,Kidnap Soldier,Legal Blockade,Mahmoud Abbas,Mainstream Media,Meaning of Peace,Media Bias,Media Censorship,Media Intimidation,Mediterranean Sea,Middle East,Military Intervention,Misreporting,Muslim Brotherhood,Muslim World,Muslims,Netanyahu,Numidia,Omission,One State Solution,Palestinian,Palestinian Authority,Palestinian Legislative Committee,Palestinian Pressures,Peace Process,Pillar of Defense,Pillar of Smoke,Politics,Pre-Conditions,Prime Minister,Promised Land,Punic Wars,Quintus Maximus,Rafah Crossing,Ramallah,Recognize Israel,Register to Vote,Response to Terrorism,Rock Throwing,Rocket Attacks,Rome,San Remo Conference,Sderot,Secular Interests,Smuggling Tunnels,Support Israel,Terror,Terrorist Release,Threat of War,Two State Solution,United Nations Presures,United States,United States Pressure,Validate Elections,Voting,West Bank,World Opinion,World Pressures,Zionism,Zionist — qwertster @ 2:25 AM
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Any serious study of military history will include the Punic Wars and the lessons which should be taken from the entire series of events and their resultant outcomes and ramifications into the future. The first peculiarity of the Punic Wars is the fact that there were three wars between two of the greatest powers of their time and definitely the strongest forces around the Mediterranean Sea. The initial Punic War was fought as Rome attempted to settle islands in the Mediterranean Sea which were already part of the Carthaginian Empire which was largely based on trade with a strong emphasis on water based trade routes. This resulted in Carthage having a very powerful naval forces which was capable of placing superior numbers of ships with skillful and experienced crews against superior ships of Rome which were only defeated due to their lesser numbers and less experienced crews. Still the Romans managed to severely damage the Carthaginian naval power. Much of the First Punic War was fought in the waters of the Mediterranean Sea with negligible land based fighting except for the battles for control of Sicily which resulted in a Roman crushing land based victory. In the interim period between the first two wars, the Romans seized the opportunity of the troubles and violent conflicts within Cartage taking not only Sicily but also seizing Sardinia and Corsica.

The Second Punic War included the one item almost everyone remembers, the crossing of the Alps with elephants by the Carthaginian General Hannibal. Hannibal’s victories across the northern lands leading to Rome were brilliant victory after victory for his forces defeating the Roman legions. The cost of these battles and the loss of his elephants and almost all of his siege equipment meant that Hannibal was unable to execute the coup de grâce by taking Rome itself. The eventual defeat of Hannibal’s armies came when the Roman Commander Quintus Fabius Maximus utilized a strategy of engagement without fighting. He would position his forces as if preparing to engage Hannibal who would organize his forces and attempt to engage at which point Quintus Fabius Maximus would retreat with his legions into the countryside. The main actual engagement by Quintus Maximus forces were reserved to inhibit and prevent any scrounging by Hannibal’s skirmishers denying Hannibal of the necessities to feed and resupply his troops with necessities which eventually forced Hannibal to retreat. Also forcing Hannibal to retreat home was an offensive by Rome by sea placing troops in Africa threatening Hannibal’s capital and homelands which assisted in his decision to give up his conquest of Rome after fifteen years of mostly success against Roman forces but never quite being able to score that final knockout as the Romans continued to field legion after legion as they were able to replace lost troops seemingly without end. Before peace was finally agreed Hannibal had fallen in battle leading to a void in the leadership of Carthage and a power struggle which forced their suing for peace which Rome accepted also being weary of war and the necessity for tending the homelands and the demands of the people for peace and restoration of order and infrastructure.

Then we come to the Third Punic and final Punic War. This was the most unequal engagement as Carthage not only never recovered fully from the Second Punic War and had also faced skirmishes with Numidian raiders during the intermediate years. Rome, in keeping the peace, was assigned by treaty as the enforcer for resolving any conflicts and had been favoring Numidia over Carthage which alienated the people of Carthage. Rome also desired to avoid any potential for conflict in the future and when it became obvious that Carthage was again building military capabilities, Rome started making increasingly difficult demands under threat of war. The final demand was for the Carthaginians to destroy Carthage the city and move it inland and away from the coast ending their naval capabilities. This was the straw that broke the camel’s back and Carthage refused and Rome had their war to end all Carthage wars. Rome defeated Carthage after a three year siege of the city of Carthage before finally breaching the city walls. The reputed result according to some descriptions from poetic history described the ruins or the city of Carthage was there was no stone or brick left standing upon another and the lands surrounding the city for miles was salted and unable to be productive for the future. Needless to say, the destruction of Carthage was complete and Carthage remained silent through the rest of history and is a suburb of Tunis, Tunisia.

Israel could be said just fought the Third Gaza War against and answering to Hamas aggressions. The First Gaza War from December 27, 2008 to January 18, 2009 was also referred to as Operation Cast Lead in Israel and as the Gaza Massacre in the Arab world and by Hamas as the Battle of al-Furqan. The war was preceded by steadily increasing rocket fire into southern Israel reaching the major cities of Beersheba and Ashdod for the first time during the conflict. The war ended with an agreement partially arranged with outside assistance which included the United States. The Second Gaza War from November 14, 2012 to November 21, 2012 was called Operation Pillar of Defense (Pillar of Cloud is the literal translation) by Israel. The initial launch of the war was in response to the launch of over 100 rockets at Israel from within Gaza during a 24-hour period along with an ambush of an Israeli Jeep on the Israeli side of the Gaza fence. In both of these wars Israel was determined to have gained through military success and resulting from their military victory the Israelis gained a period of quiet from the rocket fire from within Gaza. The victory for Hamas was in media reports and propaganda war damaging Israel’s reputation across the globe. The main difference between the two sides is most stark when you understand what their respective goals are and what they are willing to sacrifice in order to attain those goals. Israel simply desires peace and quiet and an end to rockets launched into their civilian areas and attempts on infiltrations in order to murder and kidnap Israelis, either civilian or military personnel, with the kidnappings to be used to trade for the release of terrorists held in Israeli prisons with emphasis on the release of those whose crimes included the largest numbers of Israelis murdered, almost universally the Israeli casualties are civilians from these attacks which are almost never launched against the IDF. Hamas desires media coverage which paints Israel as monsters that kill indiscriminately and are willing to place as many Gazan civilians in compromised locations in order to maximize the numbers of Gazans injured and killed so that the media has pictures to transmit to the world and they complement these with press releases claiming Israelis target only civilians. The Hamas accusations ring hollow and are closer to projection of their acts onto the Israelis than it is valid and truthful but the media is largely glad to paint Israel in the worst light possible. Further, media in Gaza are subjected to censoring by Hamas minders and often threaten journalists who report damaging truths sometimes ejecting them and placing them on a ban lists never permitted to report from within Gaza in the future.

The recent conflict which actually could reignite at any moment as no peace has been signed and the two sides agreed ceasefire has recently been extended for an additional thirty days until the end of October in order that a peace can be negotiated, theoretically. The reason that such is highly unlikely is because the two sides have only been able to agree to meet towards the end of October and past performance has not indicated any great degree of agreement or cooperation between the two sides. Eventually an agreement will hopefully be reached and signed at a ceremony probably held on the East Lawn of the White House, with President Obama looming over the proceedings grinning like the Cheshire cat from Alice in Wonderland and Vice President Biden wandering around trying to decide where best to stand, while the two parties, who are to sign the agreement, taking positions as far apart as possible without appearing too obvious, eyeing each other warily wondering whether the signing can be pulled off before a disagreement or wrong move is misinterpreted and the entire signing blows up into a shouting match with both sides accusing the other of perfidy and subversion. In the present Hamas threatens repeatedly to return to firing rockets if Israel continues to refuse to meet their every demand, but at least they utilize differing intervals which makes it less predictable and removes any chance for overwhelming boredom. This also is why there are many who hold doubts as to whether the ceasefire can ever lead to an actual armistice or will we wake overly early one morning in the darkness to the sound of the Code Red sirens and the raining of rockets upon our cities renewed. We can ponder on our way to the shelters, as long as it does not interfere with our hopefully quick enough haste as we all have a varying amount of time but all of them measured in seconds, whether the resumption was something an Israeli leader or IDF commander made to the press or did Hamas’s leaders Mashal or Haniyeh just have indigestion during the night and really did not wish to suffer alone. Such a situation is just one more reason that the Israeli leadership, both the military and the politicians though it is difficult to know which should garner the majority of the blame, could and should have taken the lessons of the Punic Wars and the additional carnage, deaths, and destruction heaped on the Roman populace all because their politicians and military leaders were unwilling to take the reins and saddle up and finish what had been started once and for all as they eventually were forced to do after two additional, unnecessary and extremely destructive wars.

There was unity, well as close to unity as is possible in Israel, as over 80% of Israelis in most polls desired, many demanded, the retaking of Gaza and putting an end once and for all with Hamas and Islamic Jihad ending the raining of rockets and wars fought every two or three years. The military was tasked with drawing up sets of plans and their relative cost, projected losses, estimates of Gazan deaths, time frame for length of each scenario and whatever other particulars the Prime Minister and his inner cabinet (war cabinet) had requested or desired. The leadership of the IDF had whomever is tasked with such planning to give them their estimates and the other particulars and also a briefing on the overall strategies and conceivable ramifications likely including reactions by the United Nations, United States, European Union and the rest of the alphabet of NGOs, alliances, compacts and even individual countries and gave them a short time frame, as it is expected by the Command level officers that such plans and their respective costs and eventualities have all been worked out and hashed and rehashed a million times adjusting them to the most recent intelligence and thus all that was required was the summation briefing to be prepared. This all happened in relative quiet and without alarming the public and the briefing for the Prime Minister and his Inner Cabinet was held and everything was probably ignored as I doubt that Prime Minister Netanyahu ever actually desired or would permit the retaking of Gaza as such would cause him extreme discomfort wherever he would travel after Israel did such an, as the rest of the world believes, unthinkable act of cruelty, wretchedness and inhuman brutality. The exercise of having the IDF command work up the briefing was to be able to use that as a balm to soothe the anger and grating disbelief when the backlash came from a public that is sick to death of the repeated wars and the incessant rockets raining down in ever increasing numbers and over increasing range culminating in timeframes measured more in months than years in a crescendo of thousand rockets per week before the leadership finally releases the IDF to take the offensive and silence the rockets at least temporarily. The decision reached was that the cost in lives, equipment, world image, reputation, perception and treasure was too great to bear. The cost analysis considered by the Israeli leadership very probably did not do a cost comparison which included on the ledgers in favor of ending this revolving door of off and on wars the cost of the future wars which if the government continues to balk from responsibility and retake Gaza will continue endlessly at ever shorter intervals of calm and have costs of which eventually will come the cost we cannot bear, the end of Israel under a rain of rockets no amount of Iron Dome, David’s Sling, Arrow 1, 2, 3 or whatever and any other defensive systems. Sometimes the only real defense is a completed offense and if it makes Israel unpopular and denounced, at least we will remain alive which comes before what the idiots around the world think.

Hamas, Islamic Jihad et al refuse to take the responsibility for bringing devastation down on Gaza, making the lives of innocent Gazans horridly difficult. The only crime one can hold the Gazan civilians responsible for was electing Hamas to govern their lives. They may refuse any accusation that they knowingly elected a leadership which would bring these wars down upon them with all the destruction and misery they entail, but because they continue to allow the Hamas government to rule and have not taken any actions to demand new governance they have brought this upon themselves. Where that may sound cruel, it is not as cruel as the actions of the Gazans erupting with joy whenever Hamas realizes and murders Jews to feed the overarching and wanton desire of both Hamas and the rest of the terrorists as well as the majority of Gazans to murder Jews. For Hamas this desire goes further and aims at all of the Jews wherever they reside in their desire to eradicate them starting with Israel and then to continue on that path even if it costs the lives of every civilian who has not picked up a weapon and joined Hamas or Islamic Jihad. The responsibility is as Prime Minister Netanyahu has attempted to explain to a world which does not care to listen; it is the fault of Hamas and the rest of the rocket firing terrorist entities which control Gaza by threat of death. This was demonstrated perfectly and clearly after the first lengthy ceasefire was agreed upon when Hamas executed dozens of Gazans without any trial and without making or proving any charges simply claiming that these were Gazans guilty of not supporting Hamas by collaborating with Israel. Does anybody in the world, let alone in Gaza, honestly believe that the approximately dozen members from Fatah actually were guilty of collaborating with Israel? These were victims of Hamas chosen because they chose to side with Abbas and were no more guilty of whatever crime Hamas claimed than are the Hamas members who are arrested and at times executed in the West Bank in Ramallah by Abbas and Fatah which he commands. There can never be fair and open elections as long as the only candidates running must be vetted and approved by terrorist organizations which includes the West Bank as much as it does Gaza. The last elections which were held under international supervision had Hamas receiving the majority of the votes while Fatah, or the Palestinian Authority, coming in a distant second. This was part of the reasons for the eventual coup by Hamas taking control over Gaza from the Palestinian Authority after Mahmoud Abbas blocked election for the Chairman of the Palestinian Authority as he knew he would lose the election to Haniyeh and Hamas would take control and never relent and all future elections would result in larger Hamas victories. The same situation exists currently and simply because of the conflict Hamas brought down on Gaza. Where the destruction in Gaza should and would cost Hamas votes, Hamas controls Gaza and would control the vote counting, thus they win. In the West Bank Hamas is favored easily over Fatah as Hamas is now viewed as strong and Abbas as weak as he appeared to make statements which were seemingly controlled out of Washington DC and he appeared swayed by the United States and their pressures. This is partly true as his government depends on the billions of dollars they receive every year which originates in the United States though much of it takes circuitous routes to reach the Palestinian Authority while Hamas receives only indirect monies from the United States and will continue receiving these funds as they are actually diverted from UNRWA by Hamas. This is the unfortunate truth and we can expect that before any elections are held for the leadership of the Palestinian Authority either Hamas will be disallowed the right to have a candidate or Abbas will have retired to the French Riviera living comfortably on the billions he has stashed away and having a great view of the Mediterranean, something he has been denied seeing from his office in Ramallah. Just for truth in reporting, Haniyeh is a multi-millionaire and Mashal is a multi-billionaire; and who says terrorism doesn’t pay.

Beyond the Cusp

August 25, 2014

Israel Pleas for the World to Assist Gazan People

Israeli Human Rights Groups and Lawyers have requested for the world to assist in making Gazans safe from the arbitrary executions at the hands of their Hamas overlords. Since Hamas breaking of the last cease fire, the enforcers of Hamas have begun a reign of terror executing over twenty Gazan citizens in efforts to punish the general Gaza population for their having the audacity to actually speak harshly and critically of their Hamas betters. These executions have mostly been carried out summarily without any semblance of a trial or even a shred of justice. Hamas enforcers have also carried out these executions in the public square and others outside Mosques as worshippers were leaving after evening prayers guaranteeing they would have the most direct and effective influence to cower the Gazan people and to serve as a warning against speaking their minds if their thoughts might not be appreciated by the men with all the guns. These executions have all the markings of a purge intended to suppress freedom of thought and reinforcing that the terrorists are their masters and their betters who demand respect and obedience. These murders are further proof that Gaza is a vassal state with the reigning elite being the terror masters of Hamas and Islamic Jihad who hold an iron grip over the population and is holding them hostage to serve their needs, especially as human shields and to provide sufficient cannon fodder who are sent into the jaws of the conflict in order to provide for the necessary civilian fatalities for the terrorist propaganda war against Israel.

 

The silence from the Europeans, United States, United Nations and the rest of the world which has exhibited a great willingness to sound the alarms and ring the bells which claim Israeli misdeeds and the suffering of the Gazan people resulting from the Israeli attacks has been absolutely deafening. Why then is there no equal condemnation and calls to actions to save these same Gazan people when their executioners are Hamas, Islamic Jihad and the other terrorists who rule by force in Gaza. Is the reality that Israel is condemned because Israel does not plan terrorist attacks to punish those who denounce her while Hamas, Islamic Jihad and their brothers in the Muslim Brotherhood and ISIS will extend their terrorist activities to inflict punishment on those who have the nerve and audacity to call out the terrorist evils. Is it that reporters in Gaza face such intimidation and threats that many refuse to speak of their experiences and the terror threats simply out of fear that they may meet the same ends as Daniel Pearle and recently James Foley while Israel protects the freedom of the press sometimes appearing to apply such protection even more stringently to those in the media who are most critical as if to prove exactly how precious that freedom of the press stands in Israel. Where are those intrepid reporters who decry every innocent Gazan who dies while serving the terrorists as a shield and a potential innocent victim of the war to be paraded before the media repeatedly when those same innocent Gazans are being slaughtered under the false pretext that they assisted the Israelis against Hamas and Islamic Jihad? If these executed Gazans were even remotely guilty of anything, it was likely heeding an Israeli warning and vacated an area about to be attacked in contradiction to the Hamas or Islamic Jihad insistence that they and their families remain in the targeted area to serve as shields or potentially victims despite having been given ample warnings to move to safety. Perhaps the father remained but allowed his wife and children to move to safety and on top of that insult to the authority of the terrorists he also had the audacity to manage not to be killed as they hoped so of course his life must be used as an object lesson to keep the rest of the Gazan people properly fearful of their terrorist overlords and their capricious autocratic rule. Israel has sounded the alarm of another instance of senseless slaughter of the Gazan population, this time by their own government and its enforcers and disciplinarian inquisitors. Israel has challenged the United States directly sending a complaint through their Ambassador, Dan Shapiro.

 

Even the left-wing NGO B’Tselem issued a complaint over Hamas summary murder of the twenty plus Gazan victims without their receiving a trial. The Legal Forum of Israel has written a letter which they delivered to Ambassador Shapiro stating, “While we understand that these incidents are not dependent on the United States, the United States influence over members of Hamas, directly and indirectly, can be significant. We request that your government act to put an end to the wave of executions in Gaza. These are cases of arbitrary killings, incomprehensible attacks on human dignity and a terrible violation of human and civil rights. It is now clear that the residents of Gaza are living under a terrorist regime, and the world is not lifting a finger to stop the atrocities. I hope that your government, which acts for human rights and freedom, will see it fit to intervene on behalf of the innocent residents who are paying the price of living under this murderous terrorist regime.” The ball is in the court of the United States and the world, the same world which has been quick to decry any perceived suspicion of Israeli misdeeds. Now we will witness if their indignation extends to the Hamas and Islamic Jihad terror rulers of Gaza.

 

Meanwhile, since the writing of this article and just before posting news reports, Hamas has rounded up at least another one-hundred-fifty more Gazans who presumably committed the crime of collaborating with the Israelis. One of the iron clad proofs of guilt is having a cell phone with an Israeli SIM cards which are most prevalent even in Gaza and probably found in many Hamas members’ phones as well. Until recently virtually all cellphones had an Orange SIM card as that was the service operating in Gaza until the Israelis left Gaza in August of 2005 and many Gazans have simply kept their phones.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

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