Beyond the Cusp

January 13, 2016

Israel and the Iran Saudi Arabia Standoff


If you have been following the news in the Middle East there is one overriding story behind almost everything you read about whether it is mentioned or not; the standoff between Iran and Saudi Arabia, also called the Sunni Shiite Never-Ending War which has raged and subsided and raged and subsided repeatedly over the past fourteen centuries. So, let us take a short trip around a few of the hottest hot-spots in the world and peek behind the curtains to uncover some of the behind the scenes realities. Syria, Iran and Hezballah, the Shiite forces, are supporting/allowing Bashir al-Assad to rule Syria or at least be over Damascus and the western seaboard and the Israeli border; while Saudi Arabia supports the Sunni rebel forces trying to unseat al-Assad completely. Then there is the Islamic State which though Sunni is the orphaned freckled, red haired child nobody wishes to claim as their brand, and has been too eager and enthusiastic to embrace the extremes from the Quran and take them to extremes not seen and force them onto the world’s stage for inspection, revulsion and unfathomed attractive side which has swelled their following providing more troops and suicide bombers and women, many from Western nations, seeking to fill a gaping hole in their lives which defies rational explanation. In Yemen Saudi Arabia is supporting the former ruling Sunnis while Iran has provided the weaponry behind the meteoric swarming across Yemen by the Houthis rebels. In Lebanon, Iran has supported the virtual takeover by Hezballah while Saudi Arabia has supported the Sunni Arabs and by that indirectly some of their Christian allies. Hamas in Gaza has been reaping the benefits from two sources aiding their efforts with their natural ally being the Muslim Brotherhood which provides direct military assistance with arms, explosives and experienced trainers while Iran supplies arms, technology and monies keeping a southern front they can call into play to add a second front squeezing Israel between Hamas and Hezballah. Islamic Jihad is entirely supported through Iran which can be used to pressure Hamas to support any attacks under Iranian request knowing that they could always open the front without them and it would make little difference as Israel would still hold Hamas responsible. Egypt is allied behind Saudi Arabia simply because they realize that they have no friends in Tehran and should Iran defeat Saudi Arabia for sole hegemony approaching, if not surpassing Israeli conventional powers would leave Egypt in a difficult position. Iraq is another direct confrontation with Iran supporting the Shiite government in the south and Saudi Arabia supporting the remnants of the Sunni in central and eastern Iraq while Islamic State is dominant in Western Iraq and the Kurds solidifying their North Western Iraq positions with their North Eastern Syria holding and working to survive the Turkish airstrikes which Erdogan pretends that those strikes are against Islamic State forces. Then there are the fires burning in Libya where the Islamic State and al-Qaeda are vying against tribal forces who are fiercely independent and appear that some favor the similar fierceness they perceive in the Islamic State. Then there is Turkey who in many ways is the other wild card other than Egypt with one difference, Turkey would not mind an Iranian dominant Middle East rather than Saudi Arabia as they have had an off and on relationship with Iran never quite burning all their bridges while Saudi Arabia had no great love for Erdogan poisoning their relations thoroughly. The last actor and the thus far only nuclear power with ICBM capabilities but also the only nation which could cause all of these forces to ignore their individual hatreds and unite against which is why Israel is being very quiet and attempting by all means to sit idly on the sidelines of any potential breakout of open warfare. Does Israel have a preferred side? Probably, like Egypt, Israel had no love lost for Iran and would likely see Saudi Arabia as the lesser of two evils. Israel also had relations, though rather chilled on some levels and dependent on the Sisi Presidency and will remain dependent on who holds that office.


There are rumors which have been verified that talks exist between Israel and Turkey to resume more friendly relations by putting the Mavi Marmara debacle behind them. The leaks or intentional releases to the media by high placed officials or people with knowledge or any of the assembly of the usual suspects have pointed out that there exist some very insurmountable obstacles which could scuttle any deal. Then there has been the warnings sounding more like demands from Egypt warning against such moves by Israel. Part of what is driving the rapprochement has been the need by Israel of a route to deliver natural gas to Europe and Turkey being one of the more logical connections which would make such possible. Turkey has already natural gas lines leading into Europe from Russia and other Central Asian sources which any Israeli connection could be wed to and Turkey herself has need of an additional source of natural gas as their relations with Russia have taken a dive over downing of a Russian fighter jet for presumably crossing into Turkish airspace while on a mission in neighboring Syria. Further, Israel will require any deal not demand any sacrifices Israel is not ready to make as Israel also would not savor soured relations with Russia and Russia is a far more important friend and a far worse enemy than Turkey could even pretend to offer. Additionally, the talk that there is a Saudi Arabia oil pipeline deal being researched to allow Saudi Arabian crude oil across Israel and to one of the Israeli Mediterranean ports to be running as a secondary means of getting Saudi Arabian and allied nations hooked into the Saudi and Kuwaiti oil pipeline systems to get their oil to market should hostilities break out and shipping become unsafe and uninsurable over threats by Iran to sink and oil tanker attempting passage through the Straits of Hormuz as they have threatened numerous times. The disaster of a closed Straits of Hormuz and the disaster such would present for oil transportation from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the rest of the GCC nations, all one need do is read the map below, and for all first year ROTC Lieutenants who are map-challenged, the picture of which it can be said that a picture is worth fifty or so maps when describing such a situation as this. Also, by laying such a pipeline, Saudi Arabia would also have gotten around the Bab-el-Mandeb straights where Yemen, coming under Iranian control, though slower than six months ago as the Saudi efforts have begun to take hold, would choke off the southern end of the Red Sea and access to the Suez Canal. Iran has been busy taking control of maritime straits and Saudi Arabia is seeking a pipeline to bypass all the Iranian choke points but at the price of being accused of being a Zionist pawn. That may be the price the Saudi Royals may have to pay.



Map of Straits of Hormuz with Distance Legend plus Picture for a More Visceral Representation

Map of Straits of Hormuz with Distance Legend
plus Picture for a More Visceral Representation



The potential for a crisis should Saudi Arabia-Iranian situation continue to escalate and Saudi Arabia continue their sabotage of the price of oil by refusing to permit OPEC to lower their production as they are using their massive oil production potential to keep the prices where they and their allies can operate and still make a profit, a smaller profit, but still a profit while Iran and their main powerful backer, Russia, both unable to make much if any profits from their oil production capability. Further, this false low price of oil has had a chilling effect on United States fracking production which is more expensive but the United States oil producers, already pumping output, can make a profit by having their output processed within the United States as they save considerably from low transportation costs which would have been further lowered had the Keystone Pipeline been built which would have also facilitated more fracking operations thus increasing jobs not only for building the pipeline but also in the oil fracking business which jobs would have had a longer permanence. The Saudi Arabian pipeline rumored to be in the works to have it go through Jordan and Israel to Mediterranean Ports would provide a new shipping point for shipments to Europe and would conceivably have an expansion of Israeli refining opening new and modern petroleum processing distilleries and other ancillary industries and employment. Such a pipeline, by removing the longer trek from the Persian Gulf around the Arabian Peninsula up the Red Sea and through the Suez Canal just to reach the Mediterranean Sea basically at an Israel port, would save Europeans as their price of oil would be significantly lower and the Saudi Arabians would also find greater profits while still making life difficult for the Russians and especially the Iranian oil industry.


Adding fuel to the fire, Saudi Arabia went forward with the execution of the Shiite cleric, Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr along with forty plus Sunnis. The execution of Shiite Imam Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr comes after his spending a decade waiting execution while protests have rung throughout the Shiite world right up to the execution. After the execution, the Saudi Arabian Embassy in Tehran and one of their Consulates were attacked and the Saudis ordered all diplomats from Iran out of Saudi Arabia within 48 hours. The rest of the GCC capitals also followed suit. The rioters in Iran protesting the Saudi Arabian actions in the execution of Shiite Imam Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr for good measure also were burning flags of the United States claiming they were supportive pawns of Saudi Arabia and also flags of Israel as Israel was really behind the United States and Saudi Arabia, plus were defeating the holy Islamic rule in Egypt and Turkey, meddling in Syria, threatening Lebanon, imposing a greater Israel from the Euphrates River to the Nile River, aggressing against the Rule of the Twelfth Imam and affecting the weather through global warming to sink Easter Island, the Galapagos, the oil fields in Alaska and the polluting of the Solar System with spacecraft blighting Allah’s creations. Well, yes, perhaps I got carried away, but at what point did you notice things had gone off the rails? Actually, there may come a day if Islam completes their desired path and rule all of the world and still, somehow, Israel is left completely alone standing on an Islamic world, still any ill or problem will still be placed at the feet of Israel and blaming Israel will have completed what the BDS loons started, making Israel the idol that all worship as the killer of dreams.


Any completely losing it in this article is due to the dread of having to listen to President Obama’s State of the Union address at least four times if I am to be able to critique it other than, EXCUSE ME!?! Um, sorry for yelling, it is really freaking me out and I will hate my DVR by night’s end.


Beyond the Cusp


July 15, 2013

Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood Fall Upends Obama Middle East Aims

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It has been reported by the <a href=>World Tribune</a> website the absolutely shocking and controversial content of President Obama rendition of the future for the Middle East which the United States as their policy goals for his second term in the White House. The Israelis did not respond in any manner and allowed President Obama to enthusiastically reveal every detail of his vision for solving all the problems in the Middle East simply by building an alliance under a triumvirate of shared absolute power by Shiite Iran teamed with Sunni Egypt and Turkey. It was in the pursuit of this end that President Obama pressured to the point of threatening Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu into apologizing and committing to a complete capitulation to Turkey over the Mavi Marmara terror incident when a Turkish backed flotilla attempted to run the Gaza blockade. When the prearranged ambush was sprung on the IDF soldiers, who boarded the ship armed with paintball guns loaded with pepper spray balls, beating them with metal rods, large knives and other bludgeoning weapons (some reports included gunshots coming from the ship’s attackers before the IDF soldiers responded) as well as taking one soldier below decks and throwing two other IDF soldiers overboard, the IDF soldiers resorted to live fire, as they feared for their lives, killing nine of their attackers. This exchange was the cause of Turkish President Erdogan breaking off relations with Israel and demanding a formal apology and paid retribution for the families of the slain attackers aboard the Mavi Marmara. It was said that the Israelis were in a state of shock but heeded their instruction not to question or comment on anything presented by the American leader.

The plan which has President Obama so enthusiastically engaged calls for the strengthening of Iran, Turkey and Egypt, the Egyptian strengthening has begun with the shipment of F-16 fighter jets to be delivered during this year, and having these three strengthened Muslim nation cooperate and through such cooperation form a single Muslim federation. President Obama claims that such an arrangement would relieve any troubles that might have developed due to the Iranian drive to attain nuclear weapons. President Obama informed the Israeli leaders that once his plan was executed that with Iran now allied with Turkey and Egypt the threat of a nuclear arms race between the various Muslim and Arab nations would no longer be a threat so nobody would need fear a nuclear armed Iran in this scenario. I am sure that this calmed the Israelis being informed that allying Iran with Egypt and Turkey would remove any threat of Iran nuclear weapons being used against the other Arab and Muslim nations and that there would be no adverse results to a nuclear armed Iran as long as the three nations were responsible to each other. President Obama apparently believes that Iran would refrain from attacking Israel with nuclear weapons because Turkey and Egypt would object and prevent such actions. Yes, sure they wouldn’t.

Another nation that is most conspicuous by their absence from President Obama’s new Middle East scheme is Saudi Arabia. The implication was that Saudi Arabia along with Kuwait, Iraq, Bahrain, Qatar and the rest of the nations of the Arabian Peninsula would be under Iranian control making the land to be renamed the Persian Peninsula and the Persian Gulf. The betrayal of Saudi Arabia and all of the other member nations of the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) as a sacrifice given for the honoring of Iran and to reward them for joining President Obama and his plan super Caliphate where the Iranian Shiites along with the Turkish Sunnis and the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood Sunnis all lie down together in harmony and bliss for the good of the Muslim World with President Obama as the great facilitator. This is where the little upheaval in Egypt becomes far more than an inconvenience as for President Obama to make his plan work must have the Islamists in control of each of his three chosen nations, and the Muslim Brotherhood just lost Egypt. Of course this dream Islamist coalition shoves aside the centuries of Sunni-Shiite hatreds in the immediate timeframe in order to unite the adversaries into an irresistible unified force for Islam and return to the glorious Caliphate such as was the Ottoman Empire at its height. What President Obama has caught on to as the solution to all the world’s ills, especially the Muslim World, is the simple walking back the results of World War I, the repealing step-by-step the entirety of the Treaty of Versailles and the Mandate System as they pertain to the world of Islam. No more separate Arab and Muslim nations or any other arbitrary lines and chosen potentates which were put in place just to serve the colonialist European powers, those decrepit and corrupt enslavers of all who were different than they. This is President Obama’s vision, the end of the ill effects of colonialism on the Muslim World and by ridding the Muslim World of this European imposed crippling systems and divisions, the Muslim World will be returned to its golden age.

There are a few major items which might cause this stratagem to fail and fail in a splendid and admirable fashion, a failure unequalled in all of human history, rivaling the Tower of Babel and other epic failures. The most glaring is that the Shiites and Sunnis only know one method for burying the hatchet, and that is to bury it as deeply as possible in the other’s skull which tends to settle any argument. Another problem for President Obama is to get Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to agree to share power and make compromises even with the Muslim Brotherhood approved leader of Egypt, assuming that President Obama can manage to reinstate the Muslim Brotherhood to power in Egypt, no easy task all things considered, let alone the Shiite Grand Ayatollah in Iran. Further problems might arise as I seriously doubt that Saudi Arabia (especially the Royal Family and the Wahhabis), Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Oman or Bahrain would be enthusiastic about being handed to Iran no matter what the reasons. Looking at just the countries which have experienced governmental changes as a result of the Arab Spring one will be witness to a collection of train wrecks where the whole idea was for elected governments to be in place and improvements in every aspect of society with the most advancement coming financially and in personal rights and freedoms. Instead we see a state of affairs better described as having entered an Arab Winter with Libya, Yemen and Syria still experiencing internecine violence as the different factions and tribes struggle for preeminence and control where those interests vary including tribal groups, al-Qaeda and Hezballah fighters, the Muslim Brotherhood forces, State Militaries, and Mujahedeen fighters from throughout the Muslim World and the four corners of the Earth. And last but not least, little Israel would definitely fight to the last soul against any attempts to remove the Jews from their homeland as they have just started to get it together and hit high gear towards rebuilding their society and gathering in their lost children from every corner of the globe.

President Obama may be enthusiastic and all excited, one might even say all atwitter, over the concept of redrawing the Middle East and the rest of the Arab and Muslim Worlds to suit some grant strategy to reconstruct and usher in a second Golden Age of Islam. The idea that the borders between countries, even those borders as artificial as those drawn mostly by the French and the British, can be erased with a few words and there would not be any resistance to turning everything everybody has known in their lives upside-down is foolish and not something worthy of the man who is the leader of the United States. There should be somebody within the Administration to advise the President that his plan is simply not possible. But then we need to remember who the real people are who make up President Obama’s inner circle of advisers. Recognizing that we are counting on Secretary of State John Kerry, Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power, National Security Advisor Susan Rice, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, and Senior Advisor to the President Valerie Jarrett, among others, to give sagely, well thought out, wise and experienced advice to President Obama reveals the crux of the deficiencies surrounding the President. The problem is that each of these high Administration officials have little if any experience in foreign affairs and other than John Kerry and Chuck Hagel the rest of these Presidential Advisors have spent the better part of their lives as agitators for social justice and social transformation and would be more at home designing government mandated single payer healthcare regulations than advising on anything to do with international affairs. And the fact that one has to resort to Chuck Hagel and John Kerry for astute, intricate and nuanced advice should be sufficient to send shiver down one’s spine and a cold chill throughout one’s body filling them with a strong sense of anxiety and trepidation. I can assure you it does so for me.

Beyond the Cusp

May 30, 2013

Potential Results if Obama Orders Syria as a No-Fly Zone

According to inside the White House officials, President Obama’s White House has asked the Pentagon to draw up plans for a no-fly zone over Syria. The no-fly zone would be enforced by the United States as well as France and Great Britain and other NATO members as the next step in assisting the Syrian rebels against Syrian Dictator Bashir al-Assad. The rebels forces which have presumably been vetted and approved would also receive arms as a part of this new offensive. This was part of the reasoning why Senator John McCain just took an “unscheduled” and “private” trip into Syria to talk with the rebel leaders, the good rebels and not the bad rebels, and get a feeling for level of trust and their needs. There are a few questions which deserve a public debate before such drastic actions are undertaken and perhaps we could start the conversation here.


The first item would be to actually enumerate the potential consequences of such an act. We will hear from President Obama as well as Senator McCain and others in his echo chamber how we are allied and have the praise and agreement from the Saudis, Turkey’s leadership, and the members of the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council). We will not hear about the opposition and standing threats which exist and have come from Russia’s President Putin, Hezballah’s Leader Nasrallah and Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Russian President Putin has made his position exquisitely clear stating that Russia fully backs Syrian President al-Assad in his measures taken to put down the revolution being carried out against him by terrorist entities and Russia will back him against any outside interference by any groups or nation. Hezballah’s Nasrallah has promised that his organization has global reach and has in place assets that can be utilized against anybody found to be interfering in the fighting in Syria or who try to influence things against Hezballah in Lebanon. The Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has warned that any country which chooses to assist the rebels in their illegal revolution against their ally al-Assad will have their hand and foot cut off on opposing sides, whatever that actually means. Any way you look at these threats, one can be assured that ramification of enforcing a no-fly zone over Syria could very quickly lead to an escalating situation that could very easily get out of control leading to a much greater conflagration than we are presently witnessing.


But what are the likely initial and secondary events which would most likely actually follow the placing of a no-fly zone over Syrian airspace and arming the rebels with light and some crew served weapons but not heavy weapons. Some of the response would depend on how the no-fly zone were implemented and enforced. If the rebels were supplied with MANPAD Systems and Stinger Missiles, they would then be capable of providing their own air defenses. This method would allow for a suitable threat to exist on any Syrian air attacks that Bashir al-Assad very well might be very restrictive on his use of his air strike capabilities. This method would allow for only a minimal response from Russia who would likely provide al-Assad with potentially ARMs (anti-radar missiles) with which to counter the new armaments given the rebels thus returning a semblance of balance to the fields of combat. But if President Obama and his allies decide to take the more direct and conventional means of enforcing a no-fly zone over Syrian, this would generate a completely different response all around. The direct method includes initially flying sorties over all Syrian airfields and bases taking out as many aircraft such as helicopters and fighters as can be struck on the ground and bombing the runways to render them unusable. This is followed up by keeping air resources at the ready twenty-four hours a day in order to scramble and take out any aircraft that take to the skies within Syria and attacking those which have threat capability against the rebel forces. This direct approach could lead to some very serious responses. The Russians could deploy the S-300 and S-300M air defense missile systems in Syria and even man them with Russian troops. These are top of the line and very capable systems which could pose a serious threat to any United States or NATO planes sent over Syria. Putin might even go so far as to dispatch Russian fighter jets with Russian pilots to engage the United States and allied aircraft. Russia already has at least one known missile destroyer sitting just off the coast of Syria in addition to the Russian naval base in Tartus, Syria. This is just two of a myriad of responses the Russians could potentially take as a response to a United States applied no-fly zone over Syria, what about Iran and Hezballah?


Iran is a completely different story and much more of an unknown enigma. Much of the Iranian weapons capability comes in the form of missiles and rockets. The majority are ground-to-ground types but they also possess capabilities in ground-to-air and both ground-to-ship and ship-to-ship. Their navy consists mostly of fast attack craft armed with ship-to-ship missiles, torpedoes, and automatic cannons or heavy machineguns. The initial threat the Iranians could apply in response would be the closure of the Straits of Hormuz using various anti-ship mines backed up with land-to-sea-missiles already in place along the coastal region, fast attack craft patrolling the waters, longer range missiles stationed inland, and anti-ship artillery placed along the coastal areas. Simultaneously, the Iranians could mount a mass fast attack craft assault on the United States fleet positions with the targeted intent of taking out any aircraft carriers in the area. Such an attack could be coordinated with missile and artillery support from bases throughout Iran as well as anti-ship batteries along the coasts and on the Iranian owned islands in the gulf. Where such an attack may prove suicidal for many of the attacking Iranian ships, the United States would very likely also take some damage with the possibility that such damages could be quite costly and dear. One American warship sunk would likely be more costly than all the Iranian losses in such a confrontation and there would also be the propaganda victory that Iran would claim and would likely be believed and hailed as a sign from Allah across the Muslim World. There is one other unknown about Iran and that is concerning their nuclear program. The Iranians could very well already have a deliverable nuclear weapon, be it an actual twenty kiloton bomb or a smaller yield EMP styled device. Such a weapon might even be deliverable by a missile and could already be in place on a ship off the coasts of the United States or in Venezuela just waiting for the command. This is a potential about which the United States has only rumors and intelligence from satellites and other countries as it is highly doubtful that the United States has any HUMIT placed within Iran.


The final piece of the puzzle is an even greater unknown that Iran, that is Hezballah. It is known that Hezballah has infiltrated and is in league with the Mexican drug cartels. What is unknown is how extensive the Hezballah has positioned assets within the United States. The one truth about Hezballah is that until the 9/11 attack by Osama bin Laden, Hezballah had murdered the most American citizens of any terrorist organization. It was Hezballah who blew up the Marine barracks in Lebanon on October 23, 1983. Where Hezballah is not likely to be a significant threat against American military might, they are extremely capable in dispensing terror in a well-planned and systematic manner which would maximize the effects causing the maximum panic. Their style is to use explosions often to kidnap victims and then either hold them for ransom or simply to kill them one by one over an extended period making sure to make each execution as grizzly and horrid as possible while gaining it word-wide publication using both the old media and the internet. Most of the effect of a Hezballah assault would be mental stress, fear, and intimidation. Hezballah does have the capability to use explosive devices of massive effect and has shown the ability to utilize their assets to maximize their impact. A Hezballah assault would be a steady number of attacks likely spread over a prolonged period with varied lengths of time between attacks and seemingly unpredictable locations. Their initial series of attacks would be dispersed and occur in a swarm and they would repeat the use of swarms of attacks in a short period in order to cause trepidation that there would be a series of bombings or attacks to follow any single attack thus maximizing the public’s fears.


The main reason not to enter into the Syrian civil war has little to do with the problems that retaliation by Syria, Russia, Hezballah, or Iran might unleash. The reality is there are no good guys on any side in this war. There are no allies of the United States or Europe. We would be backing the least offensive of the sides but they would still be offensive. The other problem would be Bashir al-Assad’s response to the United States imposing a no-fly zone over Syria. Bashir al-Assad would resort to using his missiles of which he has a rather large supply. He would use these missiles against any United States assets in Iraq that were within his range as well as the fleet in the Mediterranean Sea and then also on Jordan, Turkey and of course Israel. Along with al-Assad striking Israel, we could also count on Hezballah unleashing thousands upon tens of thousands of missiles on Israel. The odds are Israel would strike back at Lebanon and leave Syria to Turkey, the United States and NATO. Israel has proven they have no dog in the Syrian civil war. But in Lebanon Israel has interests which simply put is to remove Hezballah from controlling the Lebanese government. There may even be the possibility that Iran may use some of the Iraqi assets and mount an attack on Saudi Arabia while all this was taking up everybody’s attentions. The basic truth is that there is no happy side to entering into the Syrian imbroglio, only heartache and great amounts of loss and pain. This is one fight where the best manner to employ is not to fight. Plan all President Obama wishes but the Congress should be demanding that the United States take a pass on Syria but instead they are egging the President on to engage in this evil and deceptive involvement. Mr. President, Please, just say no.


Beyond the Cusp


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