Beyond the Cusp

October 22, 2019

The Kurdish Dilemma

History will judge and rejudge President Trump’s move to pull American forces out of the Kurdish region of northern Syria allowing a Turkish invasion. This move by the President is likely traceable to his main weakness, taking leaders of other nations at their word. In the situation with the Kurds, the word of Turkish President Erdoğan stating that he was merely going to keep the Islamic State and other terrorists from making bases and a home in Syria and leaving civilian Syrians at peace is worthless. President Trump and his advisors should know from history that President Erdoğan considers all Kurds to be terrorists. Further, they should have researched and found where Erdoğan claimed to be leading the reestablishment of the Ottoman Empire and desires absorbing Syria as far as Aleppo and Iraq all the way through Mosul and the Mosul oil fields. This would also place almost all the remaining Kurds outside of Turkey within the enlarged Turkey and thus facing genocidal efforts. We had discussed and revealed Erdoğan’s plans back on April 25, 2017, in our article Turkey Has a New Caliph Called THE President complete with a map of the Greater Turkey he envisions. We understood that the argument favoring Erdoğan’s expansionist plans was the fact that Turkey is a NATO member state and thus the United States is obliged to militarily support Turkey against perceived threats. If that is what NATO demands, then this we elucidated upon in our January 25, 2018, article, Time for United States or Turkey to Leave NATO. We discussed and proposed establishing Kurdistan numerous times including here, here and here. These should stand as providing a solid background and so now on to the current set of events.

We understand that President Trump promised on the campaign trail to disengage from all the Middle East squabbling and specifically the Arab on Arab fighting. This promise was his direct reference when announcing the pullout of American forces from the Kurdish regions of Syria and probably will soon be followed by the same in Iraq if our premises prove accurate. There are a few intractable facts which make the situation with the Kurds different and separate from President Trump’s campaign promise. The Kurds are amongst the very few peoples who refused to Arabize and thereby have kept much of their culture, kept their language and have distinct practices and are not uniformly following the Arab or Islamic dictates which have influenced most of the cultures which the Arabs have absorbed and destroyed. The Kurdish tribes include a large minority of Christians who the Islamic State had trapped and were set to annihilate them. These were the Yazidis of whom we spoke during our article of November 13, 2016, titled Erdogan Declares Border War on European Union, where the world, United States and her State Department included, ignored the plight of these largely unarmed civilians trapped on a mountain where ISIS promised to slaughter the men and use the women as they pleased. The Kurds of northern Iraq and Syria came to the rescue and pulled a majority of the Yazidis to safety. This is not an Arab on Arab fight but a Turk vs, Kurd war. We agree with President Trump when he complains that these wars between MENA tribes have been going on for centuries and the United States has fought in a few too many. We understand his not wanting to be dragged into another MENA conflict. We will even go so far as to understand his premise that the Kurds have received aid moneys, arms, training and support from the United States and it is time for them to stand on their own and emulate Israel, the one MENA nation to never have foreign troops defending them from her enemies. This begs one simple set of questions; can the Kurds be equated with the Israelis, does the United States owe the Kurds protections, and lastly, is there some means by which the United States can prevent a genocidal war by Turkey against the Kurds. We will take them one at a time.

Can the Kurds be equated with Israel? Actually, this is possible in a plethora of means. The first concerns statehood. When the Iraqi Kurds held their referendum and of those polled over 75% desired their declaring their independence, this was where the United States could have assisted the Kurds greatly. Instead, the State Department insisted that the United States would not provide them with support or even recognition as a new country insisting that this was not a good time for such a declaration. The State Department promised to let the Kurds know when it would be convenient. Read the top of this paragraph and instead of Kurds or Kurdish, replace it with Israel and Jewish and you have the reaction of the State Department to Israeli declaration of independence in May of 1948. Yes, President Truman recognized Israel and then the American government slapped an arms embargo on the entire region. As the Soviets were arming the Arabs, this embargo really only affected Israel. With the Kurds you have a heavily armed with American weapons Turkish military, one of the largest and presumed best armies in the world ranking within the top ten and the Kurdish militias who have limited armor and no air cover. Israel had far less equipped armies when the several Arab states augmented by militias attacking her on the very first morning of her existence. Israel received a fair amount of military aid from Czechoslovakia who sold Israel most of the arms remaining within their borders from the several armies of World War II. This aid included some armor and aircraft. The aid granted the Kurds had largely not included armor and had never included aircraft and minimal artillery. Any war between Turkey and the Kurds of either northern Syria or Iraq would be similar to Godzilla vs. Bambi. Israel was very fortunate to not be crushed in the 1948 Arab war to annihilate the Jewish State at her birth. Many feel it was nothing short of a miracle. Should the Kurds manage to throw off any Turkish attack, that too would be a miracle.

Next, we ask, does the United States owe the Kurds protections? The answer in realpolitik is an abrupt, “No!” According to realpolitik, no nation ever really owes another country or group anything just because they faced a common foe together. Britain used the animosity existing between Spain and France to their advantage by backing the weaker of the two turning the tables on the more powerful nation. When such a war ended, and during the lead-up to the next bout between France and Spain, Britain often was required to change sides as the other was not the weaker of the two. Britain never felt any debt to their last ally as for them, it was about preventing either France or Spain from becoming strong enough to challenge Britain. The United States never felt any debt to France for their aid in the Revolutionary War against Britain thus when the French Revolution erupted, the United States simply watched officially from the other side of the pond. If any nation has shown to be out of character and actually shown allegiance to former allies, that has been the United States who gives preference to things European, and particularly British. So, in the real-world of everyone out for number one, the United States does not actually owe the Kurds anything as they were fighting a common foe which the Kurds would have been required to face with or without any assist from the United States. This was proven when the Kurds went to the aid of the Yazidis and the world twiddled their thumbs.

And lastly, is there some means by which the United States can prevent a genocidal war by Turkey against the Kurds? The answer is that there is a means by which the United States can assist the Kurds, and not all of them require the use of any military force. Probably the most obvious would be for the United States to pressure Turkey such that they decide that it is not worth the sacrifice just to attack the Kurds of Syria and probably Iraq after them. President Trump honestly believes that economic threats and potential sanctions will be sufficient to persuade President Erdoğan to largely remain within his borders. One only need look at the collapsing economy and currency of Turkey to realize that Erdoğan does not care about these things anywhere near as much as he desires to reestablish the Ottoman Empire, or at least taking the initial steps, which he defines as taking northern Syria and Iraq south to Aleppo and Mosul along with the oil fields and the elimination of the Kurds. One would not be unfair to expect Turkey to follow up with the elimination of the Kurds within their current borders. They have carried out such attacks previously. The United States, had the Kurds been of any real importance, could have aided them far more greatly by aiding their declaring independence at least from Iraq after the resolution for independence. There are two means by which America could back their former allied Kurds at this late date. The first would be to threaten to remove Turkey from NATO, something which should have been done over a decade past. The other would be to provide air cover for the Kurds against Turkish air power which the Kurds have no ability to fight alone. This could be provided by providing them with anti-aircraft missiles, namely MANPADS. The other would be using American air-power to prevent Turkish raids on Kurdish villages, something we predict will soon be part of the Turkish offensive. Without such aid, the Kurds will prove to be sitting ducks falling victim to Turkish air attacks aiding their military thrusts into northern Syria and probably northern Iraq soon thereafter. President Erdoğan was completely serious when he claimed to be the new leader of the reestablished Ottoman Empire and his desire to capture Aleppo and Mosul.

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

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

Could there be a bright side to the presumed coming Turkish assault on northern Syria and Iraq? Yes, there is one positive in that Turkey will become a threat to the Iranians establishing their Shiite Crescent pictured above connecting Iran with the Mediterranean and placing them on the borders of Israel. The downside would be a conflict between Iran and Turkey which would bathe the entire region in blood. Such a conflict would greatly weaken one side while likely eliminating the military ability of the other. In case of a war between Iran and Turkey, the United States can expect to be drawn into a far more costly war in the Middle East as Turkey could call upon NATO to aid in any conflict with Iran. Should NATO members agree to intervene, their decision would mean that most of the fighting would be conducted by the United States with perhaps moral support from the remainder of NATO. American air power should be used either as a threat or, should it be necessary, as a hammer to crush any ability for the genocidal assault on the Kurds. Still, much of the problem the Kurds currently face comes down to two main factors. The first is the Kurds not following through and establishing their own nation of Kurdistan and the second the inability for the Syrian Kurds and Iraqi Kurds from being able to join together and form a political entity which both could endure. There are strong differences in their political outlooks with one favoring a democratic rule and the other a socialist government under a strong leadership. The coming conflagration between the Kurds and Erdoğan’s Turkey could result in a far greater conflict between Iran and Turkey which will result in a great loss of life and far reaching destruction. Such a conflict could result in one side initiating the use of nuclear weapons. We have stated often our expectation that Iran already had dozens of nuclear weapons and possibly a number of thermonuclear weapons while Turkey had a sharing agreement with NATO should they face nuclear attacks to utilize in their response, NATO willing. Should an Iran-Turkey war turn to nuclear weapons, it will be unavoidable for NATO to remain neutral as Turkey would most likely be the one attacked with such weapons which obligates the intervention of NATO and thus the United States. Such an escalation could pull Russia, amongst others, into the fray leading to escalation after escalation with nobody knowing what would be the end result.

Beyond the Cusp

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

 

January 14, 2019

Latest Israeli Aggression Scandal

 

There have been reports and the follow-up denunciations over Israeli airstrikes against positions within Syria. Why this should bother people is beyond understanding. Even the fact that there was a ceasefire reached between Syria and Israel quite some time ago, the recent and numerous attacks upon Israeli sovereign soil ended any such agreement. We understand that after every rocket launched, artillery fire, sniper shootings and other aggressions by forces in Syria there has been the spurious apologies claiming they were all accidental. This included a number of drones which have crossed and flown over Israeli communities in the Galilee with armaments on many of these drones which were fortunately intercepted before they claimed lives or destroyed whatever was their intended target. All of these incidents would be considered acts of war were they perpetrated against any nation other than Israel. Because these blatant attacks were merely against Israel, the standing opinion is that Israelis need to just suck it up and absorb such assaults from time to time simply because the world demands so. Well, let us tell you a little truth, Israel is an equal with any other nation and if your leaders believe that such attacks upon Israel sovereign soil is nothing to get upset about, perhaps you would feel more understanding if you lived in our neighborhood and were suffering such intrusions. So, yes, Israel has attacked positions in Syria with the majority of them not even Syrian positions but those of Iran. Let us talk a little about these Iranian outposts.

 

The first thing one need know is that the Iranian leadership has declared that they are at war with Israel. They have blatantly insisted that they will wipe Israel off the map, that Israel is a cancerous tumor which must be excised, that Israel is an offense to Islam and numerous other claims of hostility. Then there are the weekly few hours of hate, they had to go one better than the mere two minutes of hate in the book 1984 by George Orwell, where throngs of Iranians gather in Tehran and other cities after Friday services and chant, “Death to Israel,” and sometimes, “Death to America,” and they do these chants with great fervor and true intent to carry out their claims some day. Well, that day may be approaching should Iran succeed in taking control of Syria and Bashir al-Assad pushing Russia from Syria all together. Iran has set up some IRGC command centers and barracks for their forces which are supporting al-Assad in the slaughter of his own people as he attempts to retake what is left of his former country. The fact that the United States, on orders from President Donald Trump, is on their way out of Syria, that leaves the only true powers in Syria to be Russia and Iran. Allow us to disabuse you if you thought that Russia and Syria were working in conjunction to assist Bashir al-Assad, they are competing for the role of the power behind the throne in Syria and there can be only one. Iran is not about to share Syria with anyone and especially the sea coast and port facilities, the areas which Russia desires most and is willing to go to the mat to retain them. That leaves a question of where does Israel fit into all of this. Well, that is easy as President Trump advised Russian President Putin that he should look to Israel if he ever might need a friend once the United States has departed. This will make for some interesting dialogue and interplay to say the least.

 

This is all part of the future in what is rapidly becoming the new Middle East. We have the United States advising the Russians that for any assistance they may need in Syria to turn to Israel. Meanwhile, there has been a thawing to the point of secretive negotiations between Saudi Arabia and Israel as well as a whole new attitude by a number of the Gulf States concerning Israel with some potentially making overtures of allowing for diplomatic relations and an exchange of embassies. All of this simply because the Arab Sunni Islamic nations are in fear for their lives from their Persian neighbors and Shiite Islam arising bearing threats against them. Impending upheavals make for very strange bedfellows, don’t they? With the United States on their way out of the entire Middle East, that leaves the two main powers to be Iran (Persia) and Israel. Historically, it was the Persians under Cyrus the Great who liberated the Jews from their Babylonian exile allowing them to return home and build the Second Temple. Further, previous to 1979 and President Jimmy Carter assisting the overthrow of the Shah Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi allowing for Grand Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini to assume leadership claiming that the Ayatollah, as a religious cleric, had to be a man of peace and tranquility, Iran and Israel had been close friends. Grand Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini was the initiator of the hatred and vile spouted by Iranian leaders since his return against Israel and the United States. The embassy crisis followed where student revolutionaries who adhered to the Ayatollah’s teachings seized sixty-six hostages, mostly diplomats and embassy employees. After a short period of time, thirteen of these hostages were released, these were women, African-Americans and not American citizens thus, Khomeini argued that they were subjects of American oppressions. The remainders were held for four-hundred-forty-four days, up until the hour that Ronald Reagan was sworn into office as President of the United States. Thus, President Barack Obama was not the first President to befriend the Iranian Ayatollahs.

 

The main problem for Iran when it comes to making good on their numerous promises of destroying Israel, the Zionist Entity as they often refer to Israel, is that Iran does not share a border with Israel from which to mount an attack. There is a fair distance and a couple of other countries which are in the way (see map below). Iran has already taken care of one of those countries by basically becoming the new rulers, by proxies, of Iraq and they almost completely control Lebanon through Hezballah. The Iranian problem is who takes control of Syria, in particular southern Syria including Damascus and the border along the Golan Heights. This threat makes the fact that Israel has refused to return the Golan Heights to Syria even in exchange of a treaty as history showed that the sniper training was carried out on the Golan Heights with Israeli farmers as their targets. If Israel had returned the Golan Heights, one could safely bet that there would be IRGC troops atop them today shooting into the fertile valleys where most of Israeli farms are located. The threat of Iranian troops amassed along the Lebanese and Syrian borders is the main reason that Israel and Russia have a common problem, Iran. This is where we get to why Israel has been making airstrikes into Syria.

 

Distance Between Israel and Iran Plus Nuclear Sites and Size Comparison

Distance Between Israel and Iran Plus Nuclear Sites and Size Comparison

 

The problem has been that Iran has all but completed their Shiite Crescent across from the Indian Ocean to the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea (see map below) and taken control of almost all trade routes and the flow of oil from the Middle East. Their efforts in Yemen and Syria are the only areas which are still being contentious. The Kurds in northern Iraq are not a great concern to Iran as their main reason for desiring Iraq is as a land bridge to the Mediterranean Sea and for supplying their forces in Syria and Lebanon via that land bridge. Their interest in Yemen is in order to pose a threat to Saudi Arabia from the south as well as the north. The two regions within Saudi Arabia which are desired by Iran, as they do not want the large region of sand and rocks in the central region, are the oil fields largely in the northeast and control of Mecca and Medina (where the star is on the map) which are the two holy cities and the claim under which the Saudi Royal family has claimed their right to rule, and the second is the Bab-el-Mandeb Straight, which controls the southern exit from the Red Sea which also gives them control over the Suez Canal, the main source of revenue for Egypt other than tourism. Iran has within their own territory the ability to threaten ships passing through the Straights of Hormuz through which almost all of Middle East oil, that of the Gulf States, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Iran and Kuwait, pass through which they have previously blockaded only to have the United States Fifth Fleet reopen the waters by escorting every oil tanker and ship passing through that choke-point. The Iranian aim is to control the entirety of the Middle East through holding every vital seaway and thus holding every Middle East nation hostage with their economies at risk. They have come very close to these goals with only Saudi Arabia preventing their final takeover of Yemen using the Houthis as their proxies while providing them with Hezballah forces as well as IRGC assistance. In Syria Iran has gone further while using Hezballah and IRGC, they have also committed some of the regular Iranian military who are largely assisting with logistics and been responsible for the attempted drone attacks upon Israel.

 

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

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

 

So, why has Israel attacked Syria? To be technical, Israel has not attacked Syria as much as they have been preventing the Iranians from setting up home bases in Syria, prevented as much as possible the arming of Hezballah with long range missiles and rockets and other armaments and heavy weapons, and struck at IRGC targets and struck weapons caches which belonged to either Hezballah or the IRGC. Israel has, for the most part, cleared these strikes with Russian commanders such that they not have their forces in the target region. Despite the fact that this could tip off the Iranian forces allowing them time to relocate the particular items which Israel hopes to destroy, Israel still will strike trying not to start a war with Russia, just with Iran and Syria. That would not work well as missile carriers are quite recognizable and easily located. Thus transporting missiles to prevent Israeli airstrikes from destroying them may just be making that easier as they would be in the open. Israel is actually still in a state of war with Syria which makes all of these strikes that much more Kosher. With the exit of the United States, the only things standing between Iran and an open route from Tehran to the Mediterranean Sea are Russia and Israel. Further, if we were Jordan, we would be very nervous having the voracious appetite for controlling the Middle Eat and maximizing borders with Saudi Arabia and Israel sitting on their northern and eastern borders. Perhaps it would be advantageous for the King of Jordan to be making nice with Israel and stop picking needless fights just to appease violent Islamists protesting demanding the destruction of Israel. We suspect (though have no proof yet) that these protesters in Jordan are backed by Iran and possibly being trained by IRGC terror experts in an attempt to foment the overthrow of King Abdullah II replacing him with, what else, a Shiite theocracy run by Iran. In order to try to prevent many of these things and beyond what we mentioned here, such as eventually taking Egypt, Turkey and then driving across Europe and who knows after that, Iranian ambitions as stated by the Ayatollah is to rule the world imposing Shia Islam as the sole religion. Iran through Hezballah already has a training region in South America in what is called the Tri-Border Area. How big a potential threat is Iran, well President Trump thinks they are a real big threat and we agreed, discussing the entirety of the threats with this article. Their potential for creating threats reaches to every corner of the earth and hopefully not beyond, at least not yet. Part, a small part, of stopping Iran is the vital link they require in Syria, thus Israel will continue to do what is required to prevent this calamity from occurring to Israel and potentially Europe and beyond.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

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