Beyond the Cusp

September 12, 2017

State Department Declaring Open Season on Middle East and Israel

 

We once predicted Rex Tillerson would be a problem for Israel in particular and much of the Middle East as a whole. Secretary of State Tillerson belongs with the State Department with only one shortcoming; he is an Arabist and not a supporter of the new Persians in Iran. Making his position to be at odds with his own department will come when the struggle finally turns to Iran against Saudi Arabia. Rex Tillerson, before becoming Secretary of State for President Trump, was the CEO for ExxonMobil and as such had many enjoyable and enriching relations with the Saudi Royal Family. In that position, Rex Tillerson was granted honors and received with feasts and joyous celebrations. He saw the most shining and generous side of Saudi Arabian culture as he was an honored guest who brought great prosperity with his visits which enriched the Royal Family. He would have stayed in five star hotels in the finest suites available and eaten at royal feasts so it is no wonder that he has great affection, respect and possibly love for the Saudi Arabian rulers, and thus favors their nation which he has only seen their best side. One cannot blame the man for the views he gained in a lifetime of working in the oil industry.

 

Secretary of State and Former CEO for ExxonMobil Rex Tillerson

Secretary of State and Former CEO for ExxonMobil Rex Tillerson

 

Another problem with Rex Tillerson and the State Department is their view that the Kurds should postpone their September 25th vote and any consideration of declaring their independence until it will be more suitable to the understandings and outlook of the United States State Department. Imagine a people, a proud people with a history and who had their own nation until empires came and erased their nations and enslaved them and who, despite the best efforts of Saddam Hussein and his chemical weapons, survived and have been the ones who initially stopped ISIS leading to the current offensive and the best hope for their defeat, having to wait until the United States State Department decides they are ready for their own country. Had President Truman listened to the State Department, the United States would not have recognized Israel but President Harry Truman listened to his mother growing up and read his Bible and was a good man who decided he would listen to his mother and his learnings as a youth over some government department. Now we need to hope that President Trump, another president whose last name begins with a “T” like Harry S. Truman, also can find his way to disregard the State Department and give the Kurds recognition simply because they deserve the recognition and any assistance they require as they have carried the fight against Islamic State for the world. But Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and his State Department have not changed since 1948 where they simply do not believe that people can have their own nation without their permission. With any good fortune, the Kurds will hold their vote, take the world by the horns and declare their independence and the world has the great goodness to recognize their aspirations and recognize that without the Kurds, ISIS might still be rampaging across the Middle East instead of being pushed out of Mosul with the Kurds playing a major role.

 

The Middle East is going through a period of great turmoil shaking off the old lines imposed upon them by the Europeans at the close of World War I. After World War I, the victors (Britain, France, Russia, Italy and Japan) decided where the new boundaries and borders with much of the decisions made by two men, British diplomat Mark Sykes and a French diplomat François Georges-Picot, called the Sykes–Picot Agreement. The lines were drawn with no regard to tribal allegiances, without regard to Sunni and Shiite observance and simply decided on how the major powers decided they would carve up the remains of the former Ottoman Empire. These lines were set up in such a way as served the major powers in Europe and the Russians agreed as they were given some parts of the former Austro-Hungarian Empire and protected them from any resurgence from Turkey. Russia also was in the weakest position as they had left the war early after the revolution unseated the Tsar and the Communists had finally established governance which was to last until almost the end of the Twentieth Century. The Middle East was colonized mostly by the British, French and Italians who gave up their colonies mostly by the end of World War II through until around 1970 (see map below). Still, the nations that were formed were ungovernable resulting in mostly dictatorships, which suppressed most of the population. This led to such leaders as Saddam Hussein, Muammar Gaddafi, Hafez al-Assad, Gamal Abdel Nasser, Abdullah I bin al-Hussein and the Saudi Royals and their successors. Now the Middle East is making its first steps to figuring out where the lines need be drawn and what belongs to whom and everything else. Like any continental shifts in a world, the Middle East will take some time to shake out and there will be those who believe they are entitled to an empire on the backs of others while still other leaders will refuse to surrender rights to their people. This will be where the State Department will take their position that nobody deserves anything without their consent.

 

Dates that the MENA nations received their independence after colonial rule many since the times of the Persians or even earlier

Dates that the MENA nations received their independence after colonial rule many since the times of the Persians or even earlier

 

Now the State Department is demanding that President Trump demand that Israel return seventy-five-million dollars voted for Israel to build additional equipment for their defense against rockets and missiles which Israel requires to upkeep their defenses. The State Department demands these finances be returned as they exceeded the limitation that President Obama placed upon Israeli aid. The State Department claims that Israel lobbied Congress for the additional funds. Many in Congress claim that they voted for the funding without any requests or coaxing from the Israelis. Senator Lindsay Graham, Republican of South Carolina, stated, “Congress is not a party to this agreement nor is this agreement binding on future congresses. Congress has an independent duty to make a decision about the proper level of support for Israel or our other allies. To suggest this will bind future presidents and Congresses for the next decade is constitutionally flawed and impractical.” Many have commented that this is an internal war within the United States government where the Department of State is doing everything they are capable to drive a wedge between the Trump Administration and the Israelis. There are those in Congress who have their hackles up over this claiming that they had no part of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that they feel President Obama forced and threatened on the Israelis. They also declare that it is the duty and responsibility of the Congress and that no President, especially any past President, can limit or restrict their decisions on spending beyond their veto power. Once a President has left office, he can no longer veto Congressional legislation once passed, only the sitting President has such power and the Congress has promised to flex their power and pass legislation to resend these funds should the State department win this round. This is a war that will decide exactly how much influence Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and his Department of State are going to have over the Administration of President Trump. In all honesty, we hope that their influence will be as minimal as possible as it has been our opinion that the Department of State has been on the wrong side of history and the fight from the very start from before World War II onward. We will be watching this test for President Trump as if he gets this one wrong, then we will know that there is troubles coming.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

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