Beyond the Cusp

October 11, 2019

Israeli Position Becoming More Precarious

 

One would be inclined to believe that the Israeli position in her Middle Eastern neighborhood could become even more at risk, but it just might real soon. First, allow us to make a risk assessment of her current troubles. To her north, in Lebanon, Israel faces the largest terrorist army in the world in Hezballah. Hassan Nasrallah leads a sizeable military which has been provided for quite adequately by Iran who has armed them with over one-hundred-fifty-thousand missiles and rockets. A fair proportion of these rockets and missiles are capable of reaching anywhere within Israel and beyond even with the capability of striking into Saudi Arabia or even Cairo in Egypt. Iran attempted to provide new targeting capabilities turning rockets into guided missiles but were not as successful as Iran had hoped. Israeli timely air strikes destroyed many of these guidance packages before they reached their destination. Still, many hundreds, if not thousands, of the most dangerous and destructive rockets were transformed into guided missiles capable of striking targets with an accuracy of under ten feet. These are the projectiles carrying the largest warheads and capable of greater distance making all of the central Tel Aviv greater metropolitan region well within the range of these more accurate weapons. The Dimona complex and reactor are also targeted as very likely is Jerusalem, Beersheva, Eilat or anywhere else within Israel they wish to target. These weapons are just the start of Hezballah and their threat posed and would be the initiating strike, should they be instructed to attack Israel.

 

Hezballah Rocket & Missile Threat

Hezballah Rocket & Missile Threat

 

Should Hezballah be instructed to distract international attention from any undue attention to Iranian activities, Israel will be attacked from Lebanon and even possibly Syria awaiting the Israeli response. One such was the recent call by European nations who were signatories to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), also known as the Iran nuclear deal, to review very probable infractions by Iran by continuing their nuclear program. Germany, France and Britain warned Iran of their intention to withdraw from the agreement should Iran continue to transgress into areas which the JCPOA forbids. As their actions have yet to pose a real threat to Iran, all is quiet. Should this or any other difficulty begin to make the world close in on Iran, you can expect they will try to get out of the limelight by starting a war with Israel using Hezballah as their weapons of choice. Israel would need to react almost instantly should such a conflict break out as Hezballah is capable of firing thousands of rockets and missiles into Israel every day until they are stopped. This could be taken care of by the Israeli Air Force within thirty-six hours. This still means that all of Israel would be vulnerable to these attacks for a day and a half, something which really would try the Israeli people’s nerves. In our region the attacks would largely be the smaller rockets in greater numbers but unguided, something which is less than encouraging as the numbers would translate into some major damage to the most northern Israeli cities. The real threat comes from the largest payloads and longer ranged articles in the Hezballah arsenal as many of these have been modified with the most advanced targeting packages. These could be used to target vital infrastructure as well as the heart of Tel Aviv and the numerous skyscrapers within that area. Were one of these struck and caused to collapse in the initial strikes, this would result in many thousands of deaths.

 

These very same missiles could also target Jerusalem and the Dimona complex. The Dimona research reactor being struck would spread radioactive contamination over a large region of the Negev potentially reaching the populated regions around Beersheva. In Jerusalem there is always the danger of numerous holy sites being struck, whether intentionally or through random chance with unguided rockets. Hezballah could also strike at Israeli airfields, both military and civilian, which could delay getting all strike aircraft into the air before being required to repair runways. Hezballah would also most certainly strike at communications and command and control centers in their effort to decapitate the military by isolating each unit from command and leaving aircraft without any ground control making takeoffs and landings more treacherous. Finally, Hezballah has set up tank traps and extensive tunnels and bunkers throughout the region south of the Litany River. Hezballah groups are able to move throughout this region without being required to break above the surface as their tunnel system is that extensive. These tunnels and fortified positions are often placed under residential areas with launch and ambush positions often placed within private homes. When fighting, Hezballah forces the residents to remain in their homes while they use them to launch rockets, missiles and mortars into Israel and when ambushing Israel Defense Force troops should Israel be required to enter Lebanon to end the attacks. There is a second alternative where Israel simply unleashes the hounds of war and completely blankets southern Lebanon and the Bekaa Valley in an effort to destroying the Hezballah war machine. Should Hezballah insist that the Lebanese military come to their aid against Israel and any, or many, of their units join in attacking or fighting Israeli forces, then it can be expected that the targeting within Lebanon would be broadened to address the new threats. The Lebanese military had modern equipment provided by the United States, including Abrams Main Battle Tanks, and Russia, including attack helicopters. Such a conflict could easily spread across with attacks coming from within Syria as the IRGC would take such an opportunity to also attack Israel.

 

The IRGC is best described as the Iranian alternative military with close, if not greater, arrays of weapons compared to their formal military. The IRGC is the only military force to be recognized as a terrorist entity and is utilized by Iran to spread terrorist efforts to anywhere on the globe as well as fighting the foreign wars for Iran but providing a small amount of deniability of their actions by the Iranian government. IRGC forces can have uniforms but more often fight dressed as civilians, well-armed civilians. This permits simply taking the weapons of any killed fighter and then inviting the media to come witness the barbarity of Israel by murdering innocent “civilians,” the same “civilians” who were an ambush team which was overrun a short time previous before their identity change from active fighters to deceased civilians. This same tactic is utilized by Hamas and Islamic Jihad in Gaza. This time we hope that Israel minimizes the need for IDF ground troops entering into Lebanon where they would face ambush, potentially at every turn, and numerous casualties would start mounting. It would be preferable for Israel to use almost solely air power and ground-to-ground missiles to decimate all that belongs to Hezballah. A nice finishing touch might be to use a deep penetrator warhead to strike and destroy Hassan Nasrallah and the bunker in which he hides. IRGC units have also been the target of Israeli strikes at their provisions, particularly their missiles and heavy weapons, and also striking any position used to launch attacks on Israel including drone control facilities. Both IRGC and Hezballah forces are engaged in the Syrian civil war and in the coup still fighting in Yemen, the two silent wars as they do not include Israel, thus they are not newsworthy as Israel has been careful in choosing and unbelievably accurate in their strikes on these two terror armies attempting to limit their most dangerous capabilities. Thus far, the IRGC has been restricted to using only their ground troops. This could change at any point with their air force being brought into the fight placing them as far as eastern Iraq presumably to protect them from any Israeli attacks. Such an eventuality if used against Israel would broaden any such war to include Iraq and Iran as viable potential targets.

 

That was just the threats originating in Lebanon and Syria. To the south, Israel faces another dual threat under Iranian control and influence. These are Hamas and Islamic Jihad, the latter simply another Iranian controlled terrorist group and Hamas simply heavily influenced by Iranian desires. Here too the main threats are rockets. Hamas has a rocket they call the Jerusalem rocket simply because the M-75 Ballistic Missile can reach that distance (pictured below). As Israel enforces a blockade of Gaza for the inspection of goods to assure that no weaponry or other implements of war reaching Gaza and Hamas and Islamic Jihad, this has obviously prevented the retrofitting of their rockets with guidance systems making them guided missiles as such systems would be found and prevented from reaching the terrorists. This could potentially have dire results as Jerusalem is about the far edge of the capability of their M-75 rocket, their M-75 unguided rocket. This presents the ultimate irony, the M-75 when fired at Jerusalem is simply pointed in that direction and launched for maximum distance simply to assure reaching Jerusalem, could result in destroying the Dome of the Rock, the al-Aqsa Mosque or both. Needless to point out that Israel would be initially blamed and the media would run with that story for a week or so before printing a retraction and correction somewhere around page C-33 and nowhere near the front page as were the headlines which blamed Israel. Unfortunately, it takes time to gather the intelligence and place the blame on the true culprits. This is another capability which the Iron Dome can and does provide, the computed trajectory of rockets, missiles, mortars and artillery. Once the real data will have been gathered, the article covering the reality where Israel is not the guilty party but rather the Islamic forces which fired the rocket which destroyed precious Islamic sites in Jerusalem will be right next to their retraction and correction. Hamas and Islamic Jihad cooperate to such an extent that they can be treated as a single entity with Hamas the primary force as they are the Gazan government. Should Gaza initiate attacks on Israel in any large number, the IDF will respond in kind and going no further. The retaliatory strikes by Israel often target empty buildings around two or three o’clock in the predawn hours of the morning. Once more, there is no violence or any attacks which are newsworthy until Israel retaliates, a retaliation which the media will transform into the initiating attack only mentioning the earlier terror attacks on Israel in the next to the last paragraph. It should be noted that Hezballah has promised to join any war between Israel and Gaza and Islamic Jihad has responded with their intention to join any war where Hezballah in Lebanon are fighting Israel. They worded their statements implying that Israel was the aggressor despite knowing that such is not the case.

 

Monument for the M-75 Ballistic Missile Named the Jerusalem Rocket

Monument for the M-75 Ballistic Missile Named the Jerusalem Rocket

 

Fortunately, the main problem for Israel being caused by the Palestinian Authority (PA) is their paying terrorists or their surviving family with cash payments for life which are greatly more significant than even the PA government, and security personnel are paid a lesser salary than these terrorists. This offer of cash for murdering Israelis, they call it murdering Zionists or Jews, has become a career choice as should you murder one Israeli and then be arrested, you will serve your sentence in a country club atmosphere with more benefits than many Israelis receive from the government. These attacks are largely stabbings and vehicular rammings of pedestrian traffic. The PA, under both Yasser Arafat and Mahmoud Abbas, has rejected every peace proposal by which any land is placed under Jewish rule allowing Israel to survive as is. Their entire effort is performed with the intent of completely destroying Israel. Their main effort is on the international political front where they seek recognition of the PA as a national government and accepting the PA definition of their borders. The PA views their borders as being the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea, or more simply, all of Israel. The main reason that there is any semblance of quiet on this front is due to the presence of IDF throughout much of the region and good intelligence work by the Shin Bet and others and because to their east, Jordan has a cold peace with Israel which they prefer not to endanger for reasons which will become clear. The turmoil emanating from the PA will start upon the death of Abbas as he has not been able to groom an acceptable replacement as Arafat had prepared him. But even this is but a minor threat as the PA does not have sufficient strength to wield in any such fight. The rest of the southern border is with Egypt and except for illegal entrants and occasional criminal violence, this border is quiet and problems actually are addressed by Egypt rarely requiring any assistance from Israel.

 

Palestinian Textbook Maps depicting Palestine as replacing Israel, not sharing the land in peace and security as the Europeans and the rest of the West insist to misrepresent

 

The eastern border along the Jordan River and its natural barrier called the Jordan River Valley has been the best-behaved border. Yes, occasional terrorists are out of Jordan and were given their target by the PA and not anyone in Jordan. Jordan is the remaining Hashemite kingdom which was set up by the British after World War I with the other having been Iraq where the monarch was removed in a coup. The Jordanian King, Abdullah II, has sufficient control currently using his military and Bedouin Tribes to rule over the approaching eighty-percent of the population being Arab Palestinians. Jordan is the Arab Palestinians country which was made by cutting 78% of the lands east of the Jordan River to the border with Iraq from the intended Jewish State in order to gift it to one of the Hashemite sons of King Faisal (the remaining 22% was left to form Israel). Under King Abdullah II, there has been peace, or at least tranquility, since the treaty was signed in 1994. But there are some serious rumblings out of Jordan as their economy is suffering poor management as the country attempts to care for many millions of Syrian refugees who fled the country escaping the civil war. The economic drain is being felt throughout the kingdom and this has made many of the residents less than enamored at this situation. Many complain and blame their problems on economic mismanagement and an over-reliance on international aid which has led to the current situation. Rioting in the major cities is almost constant, but the King has bigger problems at the moment. Jordanian Bedouin tribes constitute the backbone of the regime and this is starting to faulter. Bani Hassan tribe has taken an adversarial role with the king releasing an official statement listing their concerns demanding they be addressed immediately. The Bani Abbad and Bani Hamida tribes are supportive of these efforts making matters even more serious.

 

So, what would be the result if King Abdullah II abdicated his throne leaving Jordan without any head for the government? Jordan does have a parliament which would continue to operate after the King leaves, but the question then is for how long. Not all of the problems are the fault of the King as he has given much of his power to the legislature, but he retained the final veto power should he desire its use. The problem would begin with an election where either the Muslim Brotherhood or Iran using largely IRGC units would take control turning the country into another terror base from which to launch attacks on Israelis. One can bet that the Iranians will gain a large influence even if they are not the rulers, Iran will gain influence amongst the populace and deal with Israel sending terrorists into Israel along her eastern border. Such an eventuality would not bode well for Israel. Israel already has factories within Jordan providing good jobs. These enterprise zones run by Israeli companies are a good start but cannot become the main provider of jobs in Jordan. Should the Kingdom collapse, these Israeli firms would probably exit bolting back to Israel. The terror situation would, at some point, bring about a crisis which would threaten the peace potentially ending the blissful relationship previously shared. There is another threat which might come to pass which would worsen the tensions in the Middle East, far beyond just Israel. Iran would woo the Jordanians, particularly their leadership. They would offer arms and rocket and missile systems. The buildup in Jordan would easily outpace that which happened with Hezballah in Lebanon. Iran would really love to have Jordan in their pocket as they border nearly the length of the northern border of Saudi Arabia as well as the eastern border of Israel. Iran recently claimed they have attained the ability to wipe Israel from the map. This is almost a tacit statement announcing their having developed a deliverable thermo-nuclear warhead with which they could wipe out much of the Israelis residing in the greater Tel Aviv region. There is also vital infrastructure which supports most of Israel. Iran would have Israel all but surrounded should they gain control in Jordan. There would be further dangers such as an actual threat of declared war breaking out either with Israel or Saudi Arabia. The initial difficulty for Israel should the Jordanian monarch be dethroned will be increased terrorism with the terrorist using everything in the armory including nuclear weapons should they have the need.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

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October 4, 2019

Another Useless European Gesture

 

According to reports by the BBC, Britain, France, and Germany, the three European nations who took part in the negotiations with Iran have warned Iran that any further breaches of the agreement could force them to act and leave the agreement. Such an eventuality presumably would cause the collapse of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). Such a move is said to make it possible for the United Nations to reapply economic and other sanctions against Iran as well as the European Union or at least Britain, France and Germany. Some reports have actually appeared anxious worried that such a collapse of the JCPOA would free Iran to restart the entire nuclear program. Additionally, within days Hezballah leader Hassan Nasrallah threatened to start sending terrorists into Israeli territory. While interviewed by Lebanon’s Massir magazine, Nasrallah was quoted stating, “The enemy is right now in a defensive position. Once we were constantly on the defensive, now we are threatening the enemy, not the opposite. We will enter the occupied territory of Palestine.” These are two related facts which should be seen as one entirety and not as separate in any way. Hezballah does not act independent of their Iranian masters. This will be escalated and was meant to be a shot across the bow warning Britain, France, and Germany not to withdraw from the JCPOA or be blamed for instigating a war in the Middle East, or should we call it by its real name, yet another war with Iran as the instigator in the Middle East.

 

Hassan Nasrallah

Hassan Nasrallah

 

It has been part of the Iranian world policy, you upset Iran and Hezballah will start a large-scale confrontation with Israel unless Iran is further appeased. Iran wears the JCPOA as an accessory by which it can frighten Britain, France, and Germany, and the European Union into any act of appeasement to what Iran fancies. The Iranian threat has been that they are forced by that eternal evil, ever ignorant and wild cowboy in Washington D.C., President Trump, to bend and even break specific parts of the JCPOA as Iran no longer felt constrained by the treaty if the Americans were no longer constrained from sanctioning Iran. The catch for all involved has been that Iran was never restrained by the JCPOA as we have reported repeatedly (see here, here, here and here). We also have shown that Iran was not even following the weak restrictions they claim that they had agreed upon and only not complying with those extreme measures that the United States claimed were included and that they had never agreed to place them in the agreement. Simply stated, Iran has been producing whatever weapons they desire and researching at full speed further nuclear weapons to add to their arsenals.

 

The real question is not so much are Britain, France, and Germany going to depart the JCPOA, but is whether or not they will join with President Trump in reapplying sanctions on Iran and end their comfy little trade deals by which they were making millions of dollars. One can blame the European powers for trading with Iran, but how else were they going to benefit from the billions of dollars lavished upon Tehran and the Mullahs by President Obama. Should Britain, France, and Germany actually leave the JCPOA, the next big question is over sanctions and whether or not this signals they are willing to work with President Trump. If Britain, France, and Germany are unwilling to work with the United States on sanctioning Iran, then any such announcement concerning leaving the JCPOA is just empty rhetoric. But there would be more than Iran finally coming clean about their continuing to develop nuclear weaponry as fast as they could, there would also be the war Iran wound instigate, if not actually order, against Israel to punish the world for their insult and blaming Britain, France, and Germany for their aggressive actions.

 

As we stated above, Nasrallah does not act without permission and orders from Iran. That is why the threats from Nasrallah were expected and were expressions dictated from Tehran. Just to complete the quotes, Nasrallah further stated, “The balance has changed due to the Iranian revolution’s victory, which was begun by the blessed imam Khomeini and is continued by the blessed imam Khamenei. Today we have much better intelligence regarding what the Zionist entity is doing than we had in the past, from official sources as well as from unofficial sources.” This overt threat is actually a restating of the Hezballah threats and claims that they could take back the Galilee from her occupation whenever they decided the time had come. This threat needs also to be taken along with the recent Hezballah claims that stated, “Once we said that we could strike targets south of Haifa. Today, we can say that if Israel has sites south of Eilat, then we can also hit them. All of Israel is under the range of our missiles.” All of this bluster just because of the threat by European powers to leave a treaty which few if any of the participants ever intended keeping. Iran, under the JCPOA presumably was inspecting their own military installations and were to report any breaching of the agreement. Really? Who expected that to work at all?

 

Iran has treated the JCPOA as the fig leaf behind which their nuclear program never even felt a hiccup as was proven when Israel lifted tons of evidence from their secure Tehran bunker in one evening and transported it all to Israel (see image below). These were the final information required by President Trump to pull he United States from the JCPOA and reapply sanctions on Iran in an effort to have them come to the table and negotiate a new deal. Iran does not desire a new deal; they prefer the one they have and will wait for a new President of the United States to be elected and be reasonable with their needs. Should the three European powers also leave the agreement, it never was an actual treaty, then Iran could be facing the reapplication of the sanctions by Europe which would actually cause Tehran some serious headaches. The serious nature with which Iran has reacted with their having ordered a Hezballah threat on Israel is all the proof needed to assess the nature and threat on the JCPOA.

 

Netanyahu Displaying Iranian Nuclear Program Files Stolen from Tehran Bunker

Netanyahu Displaying Iranian Nuclear Program Files Stolen from Tehran Bunker

 

Whether or not Israel should take the Nasrallah threat to heart and possibly take steps to respond will be determined by any information Israel has been able to garner. Over the last half a decade, Nasrallah was largely ignored as Hezballah was up to their ears in the Iranian backed wars in Syria and Yemen. There have been reports that many of the Hezballah operatives have since returned to Lebanon from their efforts supporting Iran. These operatives sent to Yemen and across the border to Syria were presumed to be training more than actually fighting yet, from intercepted casualty reports, the Hezballah members were performing much more than training than was admitted. These threats from Nasrallah should be taken seriously but tempered with intelligence of Hezballah movements of assets and terrorists placing them such that crossing the border appears likely. Israeli intelligence and aerial surveillance should take particular attention to any readying of Hezballah missiles and rockets. Such intelligence should be critically analyzed with specific attention to their Scud rockets and MLRV* units. The former, and its ilk, comprise the ability for Hezballah to strike at Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and the Dimona complex which would be primary targets in the initial round should they be seriously planning an assault upon the north. The MLRV with their rapid multiple rocket barrage capabilities is primarily used in supporting advancing forces by forcing the enemy to take cover and remain buttoned-up thus limiting their vision and ability to detect any attack or infiltration.

 

When it comes to terrorists, we are looking more at infiltration which could come from almost any front or direction. The most obvious would be across the fenced Lebanon border with Israel or, using the Syrian confrontation, entry could be attempted along the Golan Heights. Another option would be to enter through Gaza where allies such as Hamas and Islamic Jihad might assist or their people might carry out attacks for Hezballah to force a two-front confrontation upon Israel. The final entry points would be along the Israeli eastern lands bordering Jordan or the PLO/PA region west of the Jordan River. Israel will probably place their forces already in these positions to heighten awareness and be particularly sensitive to potential terror infiltrations. Israel might also redouble efforts at detecting and destroying tunnels under her borders to facilitate just such operations. The world need realize that this Hezballah threat is actually a threat coming directly from Tehran and should put most of Europe on notice that they have problems within their own countries which lie openly vulnerable to Iranian terror forces of the IRGC or Hezballah. This was not a threat made upon Israel for her presumed occupation of the Galilee but a warning to the world that moves made against Iran could be answered by terrorist forces in Lebanon as well as Iraq, Yemen and other supportive places. Europe should also take the precaution of seeking out any Iranian operatives who probably entered Europe as part of the waves of Middle Eastern and North African “refugees” they foolishly permitted entry. Many of the entering refugees were actually terror operatives and as Iran has the largest amount of control over these terrorists, even more than the Muslim Brotherhood, they could be activated and given targets within Europe to strike. Such strikes by terror operatives would target high profile locations very likely also tourist hot spots with intent to harm as many as possible. Israel is prepared largely while Europe is largely vulnerable. Israel will tread carefully until it is time to act, Europe would be best served to move with bluster intended to maximize the appearance of readiness. One last tip, the terrorists in Europe are most likely controlled through the IRGC or by Hezballah which means that your Lebanese immigrants just might be Hezballah plants. Be well advised Europe, after Israel you are the most inviting of targets along with the United States with a difference, Europe is far closer to their bases in Lebanon, Iraq and Iran.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

*MLRV = Multiple Launch Rocket Vehicle

 

September 10, 2019

Why Am I not All That Worried?

 

Everyday I hear a similar question in several parts. Perhaps writing articles here at Beyond the Cusp makes them believe I actually know and understands what is going on in the world and especially in Israel. It might also be my record of making predictions which have a great amount of veracity and often coming true almost exactly. Whatever the reason, I realize these questions are posed hoping I can ease their minds or accurately warn them when to start to worry and make plans accordingly. The first part of the question is worded something like, is a war coming in the near term? This is usually followed by asking for clarification as to where. This is when I have had to provide some not so great news. The reason is that Hamas in Gaza in the south has stated that they will join in any war should Israel engage with Hezballah in Lebanon to the north while Hezballah has promised to join any war Israel might engage with Hamas. The answer is it matters little where the next conflict starts, it probably, thanks to orders from Iran, will encompass a two-front war against both Hamas (with Islamic Jihad) in the south and Hezballah in the north. This, fortunately, may not matter for the remainder of this year as my feelings are that there will not be any all-encompassing conflict, or this is my wishful thinking.

 

There have been a slowly increasing escalation from out of Lebanon and Syria where Hezballah and the IRGC are aiding Syrian forces loyal to Bashir al-Assad along with Russian air and defensive support. The escalations by these forces have gone from single or twin drones to a drone swarm and single rockets to multiple rocket launches and the use of guided anti-aircraft missiles against ground vehicles. Hamas in Gaza use rocket launchers, anywhere from two or three to as many as a dozen or two. On both fronts, the Iron Dome has intercepted the majority of these projectiles projected to strike populated regions at an unreal excellence and proficiency. There have been threats made after every exchange with Hezballah always making the claim that Israel started everything and thus they will respond to the Israeli belligerence. The only problem with their claims is that the exchanges are almost if not always initiated by Hezballah or Hamas and Islamic Jihad. Hamas also has their weekly, of more accurately daily, rioting along the border replete with launching of kites, balloons and the occasional drone with explosives and incendiary packages aimed for the destruction of Israel. They love the land so much they are willing to completely destroy everything such that nobody can use the region. These are the situations which many in our circles are concerned about, even to the point where it dominates conversation more than the coming election, but not more than the general banter which makes leaving the house worthwhile.

 

To the best of my discernment, many in our circles are displaying a level of tenseness and apprehension noticeably higher than usual. They claim that my lack of uneasiness with what I write and apparently obsession with the news cycle is unexplainable, even considering that I do not believe a war is inevitable this summer or until late next spring. Tomorrow morning, I fully expect to have this conversation within fifteen minutes of meeting the first of my regular circle leading to the same reaction of head shaking and pressing their feelings of ill-at-ease adding an, are you sure, to the conversation. If I am fortunate, others will not overhear our conversing as that almost inevitably brings others echoing the same questions and disbelief and even some expressing concern for my levels of sanity. I always assure them that I am still as unbalanced as ever. The upside of this tense situation surrounding us guarantees that people will want to converse so they can ask and be reassured that there is nothing coming in the immediate time-frame as none of the enemies of Israel desire having everything they own broken and having to wait for Iran to smuggle in a resupply of the necessary components for their rockets and drones. Outside events often supercharge the conversation and the number of scenarios discussed and presented as reasons why I am confused and unfounded in holding such an optimistic, almost Pollyannaish, attitude regarding the danger level around the threats which are thrown around weekly if not daily some weeks. Between Nasrallah boasting of the competence and preparedness of the Hezballah military units being capable of returning the Galilee to Lebanese control, read as Arab control, from the occupation by the Zionist Entity and Yahya Sinwar who leads Hamas insisting that the Friday (and often other days just peeking on Fridays) rioting will continue until the occupation by the Zionist Entity has been destroyed, we are pretty much guaranteed two to five threats each week depending on the need to distract the people from their poor governance. When one includes spokespersons from Islamic Jihad, commanders of the IRGC, Iran itself and Mahmoud Abbas and the rest of the Palestinian Authority (read PLO) circus all coming at the same demands, that the Jews take their rightful subjugation by their Islamic superiors, we seldom go two days without some threat raising concerns.

 

Hezballah is a terror army with all the abilities of the Lebanese Army in addition to their own forces as two-thirds of the Lebanese Army are members of Hezballah or sympathizers and thus do pose a credible threat. The IRGC is a second military fielded by Iran and are Islamic hardliners with radical beliefs. They are well trained and receive the same if not better equipment than the Iranian Army. This provides them with all the same capabilities as the Iranian Army with the possible restriction of less air support. Add in the Iranian Supreme Leader Grand Ayatollah Sayyid Ali Hosseini Khamenei with his and the Iranian fanatics chants each Friday after religious services screaming, “Death to America, Death to Israel,” there is an additional guarantee for my conversation. The way I figure things, if there really was a threat of a war coming in the near period, they would have displayed a far higher rate of increase in the attacks and terrorism. There was the latest attack by Hezballah where they fired anti-aircraft guidable missiles at an IDF base targeting the vehicles and striking a field ambulance which could be claimed was an attempted escalation, almost, as they struck a converted Merkava I battle tank, which are obsolete as a main battle tank but make for a far safer ambulance for the rescue of injured soldiers in an active battle scenario, and claimed they had injured numerous IDF soldiers and claimed possible fatalities. The entire scene at this base was set up with mannequins which were evacuated as if being actual injuries. After Hezballah made their bombastic claims, IDF spokespeople revealed the reality that no Israeli was injured or killed and that the entire exchange was a trap which Hezballah took the bait, hook, line and sinker.

 

Still, the situation which Israel faces on a daily basis is serious and threatening. In the Middle East, threatening is the natural condition, and not just between Israel and her neighbors. Syria is in the midst of a long-running civil war, Iraq is fighting its own Kurdish citizens in the north securing the northern routs for Iran to provide supplies, forces and weaponry for the IRGC, Hezballah and forces fighting supporting Bashir al-Assad, Yemen is in a civil war with the Houthis attempting to overthrow the elected government with Iranian support provided by both the IRGC and Hezballah forces, the Jordanian King is facing the threat of massive unrest from the Arab Palestinians plus all the other conflicts surrounding the MENA nations and the remainder of the world. This is also another reason why I doubt that there will be any conflict this year. Iran is behind almost half of the conflicts in the Middle East. The other violence is mostly Islamic forces attacking those of Animist, Christian or other non-Islamic faith across central Africa in the Transition Zone (see map below). There are also conflicts between India and Pakistan as well as the civil unrest on Mindanao in the Philippines among other regions of strife. With most of the Arab and Islamic world facing internal as well as external conflicts, Israel has become less of an issue throughout their world.

 

African Transition Zone

African Transition Zone

 

This lowering of the level of concern and hatred against Israel as there exists an even more menacing threat, Iran. This has sent Saudi Arabia and many Gulf States to form an almost speaking relationship with Israel. There is far less mention of the Zionist Entity and threats with an exception for the Imams whose entire repertoire consists of hating Israel and Jews. This has caused the uninitiated to express their prediction that Israel will ally with Egypt and Saudi Arabia in order to counter the Iranian threat. Put absolutely no credence in this theme as everything will revert back to hate for the Zionist Entity as soon as Iran ceases to threaten the Sunni Islamic world. Simply put, take Iran out of the equation and the Sunni world will return to their emphasizing the destruction of the Zionist Entity and the return of the region to Arab Islamic rule, their defined norm for not only Israel but to the remainder of the world. Islam has a very simple definition for the world. They divide the world into two camps, Dar al-Islam and Dar al-Harb; being defined as the world of Islam and the world of war respectively. Making this slightly more complicated, the Sunni Muslims and the Shia Muslims each consider the other to be heretics and thus part of Dar al-Harb. This also explains the high level of animosity between the Sunni Arab states and Shiite Iran. With Iran actively holding heavy sway over Iraq and their total control of Lebanon through Hezballah and Syria where they are assisting al-Assad defeat his opposition for control of Syria; this forms what many refer to as the Shiite Crescent and has all but encircled Saudi Arabia potentially explaining their sudden affections for Israel, the sole military which is capable of restraining Iran from doing whatever they please.

 

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

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

 

There is one other reason that we doubt that there will be a war this year, and this includes elections. We can gladly say that the Israeli elections are not the main criteria but the 2020 American elections. Iran is aware that should they be caught pressing for a war anywhere in the Middle East, even Israel, then President Trump would have a free ticket to pose a massive assault on Iran destroying their nuclear program and military ability. As long as after hitting Iran and dealing them a definitive and debilitating strike President Trump departs Iran, then this would leave the rebuilding and possible selecting new governance for the people to do as they see fits them best. Should Iran return to being ruled by a governance nearly identical to their current theocracy, then they would face the same policies from the Trump administration. If the Iranians built a representative governance and called for recognition and relations with the rest of the world, this might be accomplished once their new governance was solidly in place, a constitution or similar document designed and order restored allowing for free and open elections, then perhaps Iran might join the rest of the world. This would require their disbanding the IRGC, ending all support for Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Hezballah and all other terrorist organizations, ceasing their support and control over Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen and liberalizing their civil laws allowing for greater human rights and other freedoms. Then the Middle East could return to their natural positions of complete and total rejection of Israel. This would work to relieve some of the terrorist threats on Israel, but all of them would remain and simply be seeking new backers such as the Muslim Brotherhood, Saudi Arabian entities and other support even to include the European Union, United Nations with accompanying agencies, European nations and others around the world. Things would take a while to settle into whatever the new conditions would become, and things would become more unstable as the terrorist groups would start to compete with one another while seeking funding and support. This would make things unsettled and far more dangerous and quite possibly could press a war with Israel to prove they are the real and true threat to the Jewish State. That is the Middle East, “It is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma,” the description Winston Churchill gave in a radio broadcast in October 1939 talking about the actions the Russians might take in World War II.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

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