Beyond the Cusp

September 13, 2013

Gaza and Sinai Vexing Egyptian Military

Since the overthrow of Mubarak as the President of Egypt there have been increasing difficulties with extreme lawlessness in both the Sinai and the border with Gaza. When President Morsi, who had the backing of the Muslim Brotherhood, made up the government in Egypt these problems grew in scope and severity. Reports told of al-Qaeda camps being established leading to radicalization of the Bedouins who found the offers to assist the weapons smugglers paid far better than their previous occupation of herding. The Egyptian government under Morsi began to try and combat the growing menace in the Sinai and even found it necessary to try and restrict the flow of arms into Gaza to Hamas and other terrorist groups there. After an attack on the Rafah border crossings where a band of terrorists murdered fifteen Egyptian border agents in the process of stealing some armored vehicles with which to cross into and attack Israel the Egyptians ramped up their presence for the first time and have done so as deemed necessary since. Their assault into Israel was met and repelled destroying at least one of the stolen armored vehicles. With the military inserted government which replaced the Morsi government after the coup that shall not be named a coup took over they increased the efforts to reinstate the rule of law in the Sinai and concurrently restrict the smuggling tunnels through which arms and other goods enter Gaza and fund Hamas. Despite the risks which any governance of Egypt would face working with Israel, both the Morsi and the Military backed governments have consulted and kept all agreements with Israel though not actually warming to any great extent. One guess is that the Egyptian governments, no matter who it is aligned with, have more than enough problems that since keeping relations with Israel at least non-confrontational if not warm and mushy were an easy investment that paid dividends when they entered into operations in the Sinai.


It is interesting that the Egyptians have had almost the same threats, difficulties and challenges which have plagued the Israelis over the years and they seem to have a similar attitude towards how to address these problems. The Egyptian government escalated their response soon after the military took over governing Egypt. With Israeli understanding and blessings the Egyptians sent armor supported forces in numbers into the Sinai supported by helicopter gunships. These offensives have met with somewhat limited success as the terrorists and smugglers are extremely adept at melting into the natural environment. The most recent escalation was somewhat shocking when the Egyptians stationed a pair of heavy tanks at the Rafah crossing as a response to the recent bombings pulled off by terrorist factions within Gaza. This escalation is a whole new strategy as I do not remember the Israelis stationing tanks within the Philadelphia Corridor when they controlled the Gaza border with Egypt. The Egyptians recently widened the cleared area on the Gaza border which resulted in their demolishing some houses which were revealed to have been used as tunnel entrances. This is the same reaction for which the Israelis were pilloried in the international press and heralded as brutes taking horrific and unnecessary destructive measures against the poor and unfortunate Palestinian civilians. Somehow, the recent actions though identical except having been committed by the Egyptians have passed by silently without even a murmur from the world media or the various NGOs which cursed similar actions by the Israelis. I guess it matters whose troops are exercising precautions taking the needful steps in order to make the environment safer for their troops operating along that border.


It will be interesting to watch as the Egyptians continue to meet the ever escalating challenges in the Sinai and along the Gaza border, though finding reports on such can be a bit difficult. It is expected that the Egyptians will resort to similar methods, precautions, demolitions, walls, blockades, vibrations sensors for tunnel detection, and all of the other overt and imposing appearing necessities for which the world’s media, governments, spokespersons, NGOs and United Nations Agencies challenged the necessity for when implemented by the Israelis. It can be expected that whenever there are comments about the similarities between the Egyptian methods and activities with those of the Israelis will be to note how the Egyptians are using good judgment, incremental escalations and only doing those actions which proved absolutely needed and not going to irrational extremes as the Israelis had done. An objective and rational observer would assess the actions of the Egyptians, when compared to the historic methods used by the Israelis, and report that they matched very closely and that the major exceptions would be the Egyptians went further than the Israelis by giving no or less warnings before demolitions, used heavy armor such as tanks, and the violence level implemented generally by the Egyptians was heightened with less regard for those who posed any level of perceived threat. But don’t expect any real coverage of the Egyptian actions nor will there be any apologies coming to the Israelis over their being berated and demeaned for their actions in the past. Where the actions and means employed may be similar, the reactions from the world will be completely different. If pushed for a reason the world is reacting differently to the Egyptian use of force versus the Israeli use of force, the answer will likely be a shrug and their asking what you are talking about, the Israelis use of force was completely different and what the Egyptians are doing is perfectly understandable. Where the Israelis use of force was measured and performed under strict rules and limitations and the Egyptians are allowing a more liberal implementation of force to a lesser threshold of provocation and are placing fewer restrictions on their forces which will be understood with their loss of troops being higher than the Israelis had suffered. I do not really care how the world reacts and simply wish the Egyptians success and hope they are able to end the lawless culture in the Sinai and close the smuggling into and out of Gaza, especially Gaza as the revolving door which potentially could result from failure would pose a huge threat for Israel as well as Egypt.


Beyond the Cusp


April 16, 2013

Boston Marathon Bombing Terror Attack

I had the misfortune of being available to be watching the news when the explosions occurred at the finish line of the Boston Marathon. The initial reports were about as confusing as they could be which is to be expected. The videos which were available did show two distinct explosions about a block or two apart. The confusion was palpable. The first action that caught my attention was the number of times the video caught young men, likely in their late teens, who acted reflexively not seeming to be thinking taking off their shirts to use them as pressure bandages. Their actions reflect that the promise that Americans react with generosity and when everything is going completely insane around them that many just instinctively seem to know what is required from them and commit to action without a second thought. This was also one of the comments made by British and French soldiers in World War II about the American soldiers who often acted with purpose and ingenuity even without having received orders and took actions addressing the situation with an immediacy which they found astounding. Seeing these youth take immediate action and performing the needed steps to dress wounds and offer what aid they were able before the official first responders had arrived on the scene was a promising sign that in such times our society can function as one hopes it would. That is how it should be in any society which values individuality and life. When you put those two items in the foremost place of importance you get people who become the first responders stepping up to do what is required to assist and attend to those who are in need. Watching those actions was reassuring despite the calamity of the situation which was simply horrific in nature.


The other thing which I am always amazed by is the rapid response from news networks in their coverage. In this case the fact that the location was the finish line of the event of the day in the United States probably allowed for there to be media coverage already in place. The one mitigating point against such being readily available was that the first line runners had finished the race at least two hours earlier and those finishing at the time of the explosions were the amateur runners who average four hours to complete a marathon. That would indicate that the target neither was so much high name recognition victims nor was it for highest body count as either of those objectives would have required the bombs to have been timed for when the first larger groups of the top runners were finishing. These bombs were targeting the average people who were participating in the race for their own personal reasons such as just to share in the experience, satisfy a life’s goal, joining a group running the race, private reasons or proving they could run a marathon, a fete in and of itself. The other differences in the coverage of these situations over time have become more reserved and more careful in reporting possible scenarios. If anything, the reactions have swerved to the point where they seem to prefer finding any explanation or way of perceiving what are obviously terror motivated being blamed to any other reason no matter how far the required stretch.


The news develops so painfully slow and even so a piece of information just revealed which points to Middle East style motivations in these bombings beyond the fact that the two explosions were timed to affect as many people as possible with their being timed so those running from the first blast would be passing the second location when it detonated. This new information was the presence of ball bearings or shotgun pellets that were propelled by at least one of these bombs. Also, unconfirmed reports are there is a person of interest who is under observation being treated in one of the area hospitals where the injured are being treated. Hopefully we will know more by the morning but seems like for now they are simply beating the same guesses and the few actual facts to death and interviewing anybody who they can find. I knew that they were getting desperate for somebody who would present a different slant when Sherriff Joe Arpaio of Arizona was brought on for an interview. What he could possibly add is beyond my limited imagination especially from across the nation and having the same television or radio new sources as the rest of us also have available.


On the purely opinion and speculation front, this attack should not be too surprising other than it has not occurred even sooner. Many of those who are familiar and witnessed the Second Intifada which was launched by Yasser Arafat against the Israeli public from September 2000, have wondered how long it would be before terror attacks against the American public of a similar nature where any event which would draw crowds or places where people congregate such as restaurants or shopping malls became targets for a series of bombings possibly even including suicide bombers. This has been a fear-filled anticipation which law enforcement and those tasked with protection of the American public have likely missed many nights sleep when there were heightened times of alert of which the public were rarely made aware. Should such terror acts begin to be perpetrated on an intensified and seemingly regular cycle of violence against public areas randomly across the nation then perhaps there would be checkpoints at all events and private security checkpoints being operated by private security providing companies similar to what became the norm in Israel. One can only wonder what would be the government’s reaction in such a situation. I have always thought that efforts would become far more obvious and publically viewable once the public had begun to feel vulnerable and made their fears known. Should Americans become inconvenienced by fears over potential terror attacks in their daily lives that the government would step up security and interjection to prevent even the slightest possibility of continued terror acts, the world would likely witness an elimination of terror leadership often with drone attacks as we have witnessed with somewhat more frequency during the Administration of President Obama on a whole new level. Hopefully, if this should become an unfortunate reality one would pray that it did not become a partisan argument and we would witness all of our politicians working together to make America safe for all the people in their daily lives.


By the time this article gets posted we will hopefully have more known about the bombing attack in Boston. We will probably hear from President Obama at some point once the government has definitive information and hopefully even suspects and assigned responsibility for this act of blatant terror. Watching as the news unfolds over the rest of the week should prove informative. Should the spokespeople from Homeland Security or any other branch of the government refer to this as anything other than terrorism would be very damning. Such, as unlikely as it would appear, is a possibility and as proof may we look at the Fort Hood shootings by Major Nidal Hasan where there were fourteen service people and family killed and thirty two more wounded which was determined by the Pentagon to be a case of “workplace violence” and not an act of terror. Also remember the Trolley Square Mall shooting where Sulejman Talović murdered five shoppers and wounding four others before he was shot by an armed shopper. On tapes of the shooting the perpetrator can be heard yelling “Allahu Akbar” while shooting at shoppers yet this too was determined not to be a terror related event. Now all we can do is wait and judge our government as they make determinations and the official story is revealed and we are able to compare that to what we all have observed on the reports that have been shown near constantly since the bombing of the Boston Marathon. The only other actions we can all make is to pray and hope for a full and rapid recovery of those injured and a complete emotional healing of those stricken by this horrific attack.


Beyond the Cusp


April 4, 2013

Countdown Begun to Reports of Israeli Strikes on Gaza

The past two days saw the beginning of an inevitable countdown to reports on all the international news services such as the AP, Reuters, AFP, BBC, al Jazeera and others that Israel has executed widespread air attacks across the Gaza Strip causing some numbers of casualties. These articles will go into great detail describing the loss of life or injuries and very accurate descriptions of the damage to buildings and structures. There will be a list of buildings where it will give the description of people’s homes, small shops or manufacturing buildings all without the additional information that inside the homes were large caches of weapons or that the shops and houses had numerous secondary explosions after being hit as stores exploded nor will it be mentioned that the manufacturers were building mostly rocket parts for Hamas, Islamic Jihad, al Qaeda in Gaza and other terrorists groups to fire into Israel at Sderot and other civilian communities. Eventually, towards the end of the articles usually there will finally be the mention that Israel was responding to rocket and mortar attacks upon Israeli civilians. This mention usually will be left as described or will mention the number if rocket attacks going back a few days at most. The fact that there had been accumulating numbers of attacks going back months will not be stressed. The description will sell a picture that Israel is responding with little warnings to what is but a slight inconvenience of a limited number of rocket attacks which have done such little damage and not even caused any Israeli deaths, or very few if some casualties had occurred in the previous week. This has been the same cycle which is reported as the “cycle of violence” which is the media’s way of making the terrorist rocket attacks and the Israeli reprisals as being of equal offensives morally and under international law. The comparison is neither true nor fair reporting and the media utilizes these deceptive equative evaluations intentionally misrepresenting the situation.

The unfortunate reality is that this series is the rule regarding the reporting on Israeli defensive measures. The media through their slanted reporting make any force utilized by Israel in an attempt to curtail and punish those who terrorize and assault Israeli civilians with incessant rocket and mortar fire into neighborhoods as unacceptably severe. The truth is the only response the media would allow Israel would be to write editorials complaining about their civilians being victimized by the terror attacks almost daily from within Gaza. The likelihood that any of these editorials would be printed is slight and for every time one was allowed to be put into print there would be at least a half dozen others praising and excusing the attacks implying why the Israelis deserve to be on the receiving end of rockets, mortars and other terror attacks. There is occasionally an interesting mix of editorials concerning Israelis with the first one stating how they are living on stolen land against international law and against all human decency in Israel with the following editorial denouncing the fact that Jews reside within the country in which said newspaper is printed and calling for them to be deported and moved to Israel. When such an event occurs it begs the question I have asked of those who claim that Israel has no right and the Jewish people do not deserve to have a homeland, namely where are the Jewish people supposed to live if no country wishes to allow them to live among their peoples in peace and they are denied their own nation? It also begs another question. If the Jewish peoples of Israel are to return to the nations from whence they came, would the numerous European nations accept their three million Jews of European heritage living in Israel? And would the Asian and Arab countries accept the return of the three million Jews of Asian and Arab national heritage back into their lands? We all know the truthful answer and it is they would not be welcome and should they be forced to return then both groups of nations would be demanding the Jews be made to go and live in their own country and leave the lands they would then be living within.

Where the vast majority of people have little real animosity towards the Jewish people, there still exist a sizeable number of peoples who can be found throughout the many countries and civilizations of the world that harbor feelings of animosity for the Jewish peoples. Unfortunately, as is often the case, the people who hold hatreds and animosities are by far the more boisterous from among the population and as thus the ones who are most heard in the discourse between peoples. When such people are allowed to speak disparagingly about any minority without the decent majority speaking up and making those who speak of hatred feel uncomfortable, they eventually act on these hatreds with many otherwise normally innocent people being swept up by runaway emotive driven actions. It becomes the psychology of the mob mentality where a core group of fanatical adherents feel they have sufficient support they sweep up some and can threaten the rest into silence if not cooperation and atrocities soon follow. That is the risk and eventual consequence of unopposed hatreds and misleading reports which cast a people as always in the wrong or acting illegally or cruelly being ignored, or worse, acquiesced eventually snowballing into an irresistible driving force for mob action which seldom is reasoned or moral, just seemingly popular and universally acceptable. It is these possibilities which frighten me the most as I have watched for decades and can attest to the fact that the rages are building and being reinforced through misreporting by the mainstream media and too few are opposing the building insanity and the inevitable is beginning to become a reality and the consequences have already started. We see the evidence in pieces of news which when drawn as a whole paint a fearsome picture. Swastikas painted on Synagogue walls, Jews berated and assaulted on their way to Sabbath services, Israel apartheid days on our campuses, Jews kidnapped and tortured to death, Jewish cemeteries vandalized, Jewish Yeshivas attacked with students and their Rabbis murdered, and other reports where Jewish organizations advise Jews in numerous European cities and even countries not to wear any clothing or jewelry which denotes their Jewishness. And these things have started in the United States and are being protested by Jewish support groups, well, most of them as some are less concerned with protecting Jews than they are with supporting diversity, may they be forgiven. Many in the United State still claim such things could not happen here, but they are already happening here. If the world does not awaken its community conscience we all know what is coming as it has happened too many times throughout history going back almost five thousand years. Do we dare allow it to happen again? If not, what are you willing to do to prevent it reoccurring in your lifetime?

Beyond the Cusp

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