Beyond the Cusp

April 15, 2017

Is There Truly a Disparity Between Islamic and Christian Anti-Semitism?

 

If one were to look at the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) report on anti-Semitism worldwide one would immediately conclude that the crucial area where anti-Semitism is most pronounced is in the MENA* Arab and Muslim nations. There could be a number of reasons behind this seemingly obvious disparity mostly of which the ADL would claim it was due to greater sensitivity, civility and acceptance of other people’s religions, race, nationality and other differences in the developed world. On the other hand, it might also simply be due to education to answer questions as expected rather than giving honest answers. Another reason could be that due to programming through the education and media that people are not aware that they hold prejudicial thoughts and opinions. It might also be that such thoughts have been eradicated in the developed world, though that would be a miracle. Why am I so cynical about this? Well, it could be due to personal experiences I have had which indicate that perhaps the polling is not accurate because people have really been trained to hide socially undesirable thoughts. Perhaps dosing everybody with sodium pentothal before having them take such surveys would produce far different results, but we will never know.

 

Anti-Semitism figure and acts of vandalism

 

What were some of these experiences? Well, first allow me to give some general observations before we get to a few examples. I should first tell you that these are all observations from the United States as I lack any time even visiting Europe never having given travel there much consideration. I have come to surmise that Israel had a better acceptance and respect than Jews in the United States. Many Christians are confused over how and why some, too many by their thoughts, American Jews appear to hate Israel. Being a lifelong Zionist I was unable to assist them in answering this question as I share their disbelief and puzzlement. All I was ever able to say was that they placed their leftist politics ahead of their Torah and religion. That always drew some of the strangest looks, often a cross between complete inability to understand and simple bewilderment as if told two completely contrary things and claiming they were both true. Many had no ability to comprehend politics trumping religion.

 

Levels in Percentages of Anti-Semitism Worldwide by Regions

Levels in Percentages of Anti-Semitism Worldwide by Regions

 

One thing which made my ability to get some insights many never could was due to a select number of unique items. First, as a blonde haired, blue eyed, Nordic appearing person; nobody would ever suspect that I am Jewish without being told. The other main item was that I usually, most of my life, did not reside in predominantly Jewish neighborhoods. More often than not there were not likely to be any other Jews living within ten miles of where I usually could afford to live. The combination of these two small items placed me in a unique position to gauge real feelings and listen to people when the subject of Jews or Israel came into the conversations. When I was in a mix of people where a few knew I was Jewish, you could see pained looks on their faces when somebody spouted something hateful about Jews and they would all glance at me to see my reactions. Anybody who knows me well realizes that for the most part I do not have outward emotions very often. This allowed for such people to really hang themselves and allowed me to watch the reactions of others and whether or not they would respond defending Jews from hatreds, more often than not they would not. The most frequent reaction from those harboring no hatred or even love for the Jews was to hang their heads somewhat as if withdrawing protected them from the world and hate being spewed. Seldom did anyone speak up and when I would speak up others would often wince as if I were breaking some code and risking life and limb. On a few and very rare occasions it appeared that my defending Jews was unwelcome by the person who held anti-Semitic feelings as if I were impugning their honesty and becoming a threat to their reputation. Things never escalated to blows but I have lost presumed acquaintances and welcomed being relieved of needing to tolerate such people.

 

There was one particular phrase which I encountered more than I would have preferred when people first found out that I was Jewish. Too many responded to my telling them I was Jewish was initially that I was kidding and I would assure them that I was not joking and really am Jewish. Then sometimes, as stated too often, they would speak that phrase, “You do not act like a Jew.” This would almost universally receive my response, “Really, exactly how does a Jew act so I can work on that?” This would immediately make virtually all of them realize that they had revealed a bias which they had not realized they even suffered from. They would apologize and we would make some uncomfortable exchanges and then work our way past it. Fortunately many of these people would then ask questions about Jews and Judaism as they realized that they were living with suspicions and conceptions which they needed to get beyond. Perhaps these events for some became a good thing as they led to their receiving some education on the subject which they needed and probably would not have ever received such otherwise.

 

One thing I learned was that even those who held extremely negative opinions of Jews did not consider themselves to be anti-Semitic. Their feelings were that they were simply being honest and that the problem was with the Jews, not with them. They would tell you it did not bother them if somebody was a Jew and they would not hold their being Jewish against them. They just did not like Jews because Jews were simply not very nice and did not accept others who were not Jews. This revelation often came out claiming that the Jews are very clannish, you know, they stick together and watch out for each other against everybody else. Sometimes, when my mood was less than forgiving or one of these people got under my skin, I would make some comment about the Jewish mother ship hiding on the other side of the Moon and how I was still waiting for my washroom key. That would always get their attention at which point I would inform them they had made their statement in the presence of a Jew, sometimes I might instead say the enemy before informing them I was Jewish. There were those few who when hearing I was Jewish, sometimes one of the other people would break this news to them, they would get in a huff and sometimes even become threatening which never ended well but fortunately never led to actual violence.

 

What I learned in my sixty years of research, well, maybe less as I do not remember the first twenty very well, is that there is some degree of misconceptions as to how Jews act and exactly what a Jew is and what being Jewish means. As a youth I remember being accused more than once with having murdered Jesus. The first time was when I was three by the three year old girl next door who probably heard it in a sermon or from her parents as she was not old enough and proved as she grew not to hate anyone as near as I could tell. I came home crying as it upset me and asked my Mother who was this Jesus person and when did I kill him? I must have really been upset as I do not remember what my Mother told me or how she handled it but I am sure it was sensibly and kindly as that was how she handled everything except punishment for breaking rules, that she was strict and rather harsh which is why I tried not to break her rules. I learned though that there is a level of animus towards Jews, a sort of undercurrent which flows through more of the society than we care to admit. Mostly it is a misunderstanding due largely to the Jews being a complete unknown thus people can only theorize exactly what a Jew must be, what they are like, how they feel about others and other generalities. Much of this is filled in by parents, people around them, their religious teachings and that favorite of all peoples everywhere, suspicions. The one overriding thought is that Jews are simply somehow different from regular people. As a group they are too successful, too wealthy, too much the other and this causes suspicions which lead to distrust. This was mostly what was behind that phrase that I did not act or seem like a Jew to these people as I was not different and shared many of their ideas and principles. My being a Jew troubled them as it shook their entire concept of what a Jew would be.

 

What can we conclude from my experiences? Well, first allow me to point out I lived throughout the United States and moved more times than I care to remember. I worked constructions, retail sales and management, military, airfield crash rescue firefighter, roofing, railroad tie decorative restraining walls (the tallest was over fifty feet), medical electronic repair and calibration, satellite communications electronics, electronic prototyping, shuttle driver and so on. I lived on both coasts, the south, the west, the mid-west, New England, the northwest, Great Lakes and near everywhere inbetween. Basically what I am conveying is my sample size was expansive, diverse and ran the gauntlet of educational backgrounds. What I found was that people are pretty much the same with the more educated simply more practiced at prevarication. The misconceptions about Jews are fairly universal and people who have such misconceptions do not believe they are prejudiced against Jew or suffer even the slightest from anti-Semitism; they believe the way they see Jews is simply normal. What is interesting is that in areas of the world where anti-Semitism is the highest, the people there also believe they are not anti-Semitic, they are simply normal and it is the Jews who are abnormal. The main difference is that in the MENA nations where anti-Semitism is measurably the highest, they realize they hate Jews but simply believe that normally everybody should hate Jews. In the developed world they simply do not believe they hold misconceptions about Jews and are simply shocked when they discover that their beliefs are very probably wrong. Unfortunately, most of the people holding misconceptions about Jews will see these exact traits in any Jew they meet as they seek to believe that they are not hateful because that is undesirable in the society so they must be compassioned. The only way they could ever find out they have a difficulty is to get to know a Jew without knowing the person is Jewish and then have their world shook when they are informed that this otherwise normal person they were friends with is actually one of them, a Jew. Then they can come to grips and possibly change and realize that Jews are actually no different than anyone else. The problem is there simply are not sufficient Jews to go around and allow for everyone to have just such an awareness enhancing experience.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

* MENA are the nations of the Middle East and North Africa

 

March 15, 2017

Save Me Your Holier than Thou, We Paid Our Dues; so You Cannot Demand Our Obedience

 

First we would like to thank those American Jews and Christians who donated to Israeli funds and other interests. We appreciate your visiting and spending your tourist dollars here. We do appreciate the fact that your advice is well-intended and that you only mean for Israel to be the best that is possible. We understand that your desires are for Israel to be the moral example for the world and for us to act in such a manner that everybody will love us. We also understand when you complain that our actions reflect upon you and often appear to make your lives difficult. We understand that sometimes you cannot find any way of defending some of the actions Israel uses and the methods by which we seek to preserve Israel’s existence. We are aware of why you are so furious over Israel’s new travel ban on those who view Israel as an “apartheid” state; oppose the Israeli “settlement” of the Jewish homeland; and fight to isolate and de-legitimize Israel by boycotting Israeli academics, speakers, leaders, and products. We understand that you view this in the same light as Trump’s temporary immigration ban on merely seven Arab states where vetting those arriving from these places is next to impossible.

 

We understand that you feel you would be a hypocrite should you so oppose Trumps actions and simply allow with a wink and a nod Israel to act similarly. We even understand those who have threatened to stop contributing to Israeli funds unless we act properly. Well, allow us to reply, thanks, but no thanks. Keep your monies if that is your desire and please end your endless preaching and demanding that Israel act such that you are comfortable with our actions. Contrary to your opinion, Israel is not around for you to wear on your bracelet as if it were a charm which you can display to your friends and say see how nicely they act always forgiving every slight and never ever taking a hard line against those who would kill every Israeli if only they had the weapons with which to do so. See how they try so hard to diplomatically resolve their problems with those who are launching rockets at their children’s kindergarten and fire rockets timed with the start and end of the school day. Aren’t the Israelis just the most liberal and caring people always taking in whatever refugees appear on their border even when many of them only come to commit heinous acts of terror and act belligerently, especially to the Israeli women and the elderly.

 

This is not going to happen and you are going to have to just settle for the fact that Israel is a nation like every other nation in that sometimes it will need to act in ways which possibly the majority of the world, especially when it is Israel acting so, will go into an uproar denouncing Israel and those doing so might include you or those you know. Sometimes you are not going to be able to defend Israeli actions to your leftist friends who love to point out how Israel is just as bad as every other nation. We know that such is a lie and those making those claims would demand Israel commit suicide and still would complain we were not giving enough. That is just too bad because Israel does act and plan to remain a viable nation able to defend her borders. This requires that these borders are defendable in the first place. That means that we are not going to surrender everything the world would demand of us. We gave away Gaza and that resulted in a disaster yet the world immediately pocketed that generous act of faith and immediately demanded we surrender Judea and Samaria to the same people whose last gift resulted in Hamastan on our southern border and a menace for Egypt in the Sinai Peninsula. Were we to repeat that mistake and the same happen in Judea and Samaria these very same people from the United Nations, European Union and nations around the world would demand we give away the Negev next as proof we wish to get along with the rest of the world. Well, if suicide is what is required to get along with the rest of the world, guess we will not be getting along and you will have to live with these facts such that we can live period.

 

There appears to be a growing existence particularly in the United States believing that Israel must run every decision past a select group of important people who are far more knowledgeable when it comes to policies and what would best serve their desires which Israel should be required to commit to such that they will feel proud to be considered supporters. Should Israel disappoint them, then the Israeli government should be replaced and these same self-serving people should be the final arbiters as to who should run the nation. Those with whom they disagree should be relegated into the minority and only those who are amongst the approved group of left leaning, two-state supporting, anti-settlement, secular, anti-orthodox politicians who would feel comfortable and are acceptable to the leftist wing of the Democrat Party should be permitted to run Israel. Well, that is not about to happen. Israel is rapidly becoming more religious and more Zionist than any of the average Democrat Party leadership could ever be if their recent convention and choices for leadership are any indication of their leanings. Any political groups which find leadership such as Democrat Party National Committee Chair Tom Perez and Deputy Chair Keith Ellison, both of whom have a record of anti-Israel activity and advocacy, are not possible allies of Israel and should not have any influence over Israeli political or military decisions. Those who would support allowing a Women’s March to be coordinated by pro-Palestinian, anti-Israeli Linda Sarsour and convicted Palestinian terrorist Rasmea Odeh are not capable of also claiming to be supportive of Israel. Support of Rasmea Odeh and believing her story that she was innocent of the terror attack bombing of a supermarket which murdered two young Israelis, twenty-one year old Leon Kanner and twenty-two year old Eddie Joffe, and injured nine others because her confession was given while in the custody of the Israeli authorities disqualifies them as being a supporter of Israel. Those who believe her claims of innocence and that she was sexually tortured as was her father for forty-five days before she confessed to her part in the terror attack has beliefs about Israelis which belie their claims of support for Israel. Yet these are often the people who scream the loudest accusing Israel of improper activities and then plead that Israel should be required to seek their approval before taking any actions political, military or other security actions. They are also the most shocked and astounded that Israel would take precautions without conferring first with their betters in the United States, particularly their betters in the leftist organizations such as Jews for Peace, Rabbis for Peace, B’Tselem, J Street and numerous other leftist, post-Zionist radical groups.

 

Much to the horror of these leftist detractors of Israel, the majority of the Israeli population does not agree with their demands that Israel sacrifice even further because peace is just one more sacrifice away, just as they claimed before Israel made the last sacrifice which they claimed that this time it would be the last sacrifice, not like the sacrifice before that which was also to be the last sacrifice as was the one before and the one before and that has been the story for the past twenty-plus years of Israeli final sacrifices for peace. After the Gaza debacle, the Israeli public completely has decided that they see real willingness and a different attitude from those with whom Israel is presumably supposed to be making peace. Mahmoud Abbas has refused to even meet with the Israelis; yet the world demands that Israel continue making sacrifices though the last two sacrifices, if not more, have not been returned and instead have been rebuked and met with claims that whatever sacrifice Israel made was insufficient and until and unless Israel is ready to fall on their sword, then nothing less than suicidal retreats will suffice. Those who claim that such sacrifices are not out of the reasonable sphere are not friends of Israel and are simply seeking to make points as being the greater leftist making the greater demands for Israeli sacrifice than the next leftist. Israel cannot meet the demands from every corner as doing so would be the end of the Jewish State. Israel is not going to commit to being suicidal and will act in the way best suited for continued health and existence of the Jewish State and will refuse those ridiculous demands of the United Nations, European Union, and others whose demands are of a similar nature.

 

Now to get down to the reality and truth of the matter which may be painful for some but, for the most honest, these revelations will come as no surprise as they have known that their views have drifted further and further left and with that drift so have their demands of Israel in the face of the Islamic escalating animosity and belligerence towards the Western World in general and Israel in particular, even more so than the United States. Israel sacrificed in making the Oslo Accords after Yasser Arafat duped the world into believing he had reformed from his terrorist days which included the attempted overthrow of the government in Jordan, the eventual weakening and Islamification of Lebanon and the start of the Lebanon Civil War and formation of Hezballah through his actions. Even after the Second Intifada about which came proof that it had been planned even before Arafat went to hold talks with Israel with President Clinton at Camp David and then in Paris where he already planned the violence such that he could blame it on Israel for not surrendering completely at the negotiations. What Arafat had not planned on was that after he gave President Clinton his word that he would accept a set of terms he deemed beyond Israeli comfort levels that Prime Minister Ehud Barak would agree to his demands for close to ninety-five percent of the West Bank, land swaps, and half of Jerusalem in order to make peace. The next morning when President Clinton planned on finalizing the deal and collecting signatures, Yasser Arafat stormed from the meeting with Secretary of State Madeline Albright chasing him down the hall to no avail.

 

Camp David Talks on a Break as President Bill Clinton, Yasser Arafat and Prime Minister Ehud Barak Stroll the Grounds of the Complex Located Ten Miles North of Frederick, Maryland

Camp David Talks on a Break as President Bill Clinton, Yasser Arafat and Prime Minister Ehud Barak Stroll the Grounds of the Complex Located Ten Miles North of Frederick, Maryland

 

Israel has made concession and sacrifice one after another with nothing to show for it other than the world expecting more from Israel to the point of demanding Israel make sacrifices simply for the sake of having Israel sacrifice with nothing offered in return. This led to the Gaza giveaway where all of Gaza was surrendered by Israel, over eight-thousand Jewish lives turned upside-down being ripped from their homes, their livelihoods often destroyed, their greenhouses turned over to the Arabs who tore them apart to make rockets and launchers, and then soon thereafter the Palestinian Authority surrendered the Gaza Strip over to Hamas, Islamic Jihad and giving a beachhead potentially to Iran on the Israeli southern border. Since signing onto the Oslo Accords where Israel was promised to retain Area C and all of Jerusalem and the Palestinian Authority was granted semi-autonomy over Area A which would lead to their being given Area A as the central lands for their state while Area B would be mutually governed and deliberations would decide where the eventual border would stand to the current situation where the world is demanding that the Arabs be given all of Judea and Samaria, half of Jerusalem and that Israel accept many hundreds of thousand Arab refugees and there are those who demand Israel accept millions of Arab refugees and that all of Jerusalem resulting in not just a single new Arab state but two new Arab states and the death of Israel and likely the extermination of another six-million Jews as the world would again refuse to permit them to emigrate to their shores and to relative safety. This is why Israel can no longer simply bow to every demand and whim which passes for the newest idea which will bring peace and instead decide what will allow Israel to keep peace through sufficient strength and control of strategically significant positions. These vital points include potentially all of Judea and Samaria as the Palestinian Arab population becomes virulently anti-Semitic and more militarized to the point they are becoming a threat to Israel’s continued existence.

 

This is the reality and as things worsen it will become even more of a necessity that Israel reestablish complete control over all of Judea and Samaria; and if that should also require the removal of the Arabs which are known to be militantly anti-Israel and anti-Semitic, then that is what will have to be. The current government would never likely permit such an eventuality, but that does not mean that such would not become necessary and that a future government would remain so intimidated by the world’s leftist largely in Europe and the United States. The threat that Israel will be hated if it does not comply with the next round of demands no longer frightens the Israeli population as they have learned that being hated is not necessarily the worst of all things, ceasing to have a defendable border and a safe place in which to live is far worse and if being hated becomes the price for survival, we will take survival, thank you so very much. We understand and have learned how easy it is for others, even Jews who claim to be our fiercest supporters, to demand that Israel surrender to her enemies and how doing so can make these people feel so superior and good about themselves and how it allows them to claim they are such great supporters of a peaceful solution to the Palestinian situation and how they are the most compassionate. We also are learning how to simply say, “No!” And when “No!” does not suffice, then how about we say, well, let us say we say, “No!” even louder and possibly with a few superlatives added to the mix. And when that fails, as our saying “No” always has, then we will just have to let our actions be our statement, and that we are sure will suffice when that hard day arrives. The problem is the more the world demands the indefensible of Israel the more they make peace impossible because the Arab world stands assured that the rest of the world will hand them the Jews and not even blink when they slaughter the Jews by the millions. They observed the world’s lack of concern during World War II and learned that the world does not care if there are those who wish to murder Jews. They also learned that the world does not much care who is being murdered as long as the murdered are a minority who is not one of them and that includes Yazidi, Kurds, Roma and close to any other group which is too small to defend themselves or cause the rest of the world to care.

 

Even nations do not always get a response when they are gobbled up; just ask Czechoslovakia, currently Slovakia and the Czech Republic which probably means there are two nations which can be swallowed without the world getting even the slightest indigestion as they have not learned from history. One last warning should go out to all the Balkan nations, the smaller nations at the eastern end of Europe closest to the Russian border and the countries of Southeast Asia near China (which is all except India); the world will not care when larger entities swallow you whole or even wholesale because their only concern is are they still feeling safe. It is only when the major nations, which the world has fewer of these every year as now nations such as Spain, Romania, Syria, Yemen and by now even Kuwait are no longer worth going to war over. Should Iran be the nation taking one or more of these nations, not to include Saudi Arabia, and already have tested large nuclear weapons proven to be deliverable by their displayed ICBM capability, then many might complain and call on the United Nations, but none would do much if anything. Thus, any idea that one could expect others to come to the aid of Israel is ludicrous and thus Israel would be left hanging to fend for herself? The world is not getting safer by the hour but far more volatile and dangerous, so please do not fault us for noticing and acting accordingly. You want to hate us, and we would rather you have us to hate than you to have once loved us and now hate our having passed and fallen.

 

Beyond the Cusp 

 

February 17, 2017

Let’s Talk Middle East Conflict, Minus One Overly Blamed Nation

 

We are going to do something which the average person would believe impossible, discuss conflicts in the Middle East, which includes North Africa and the entirety that goes by the initials MENA, without mentioning Israel other than this once. Yes, that is not only possible but necessary such that people can learn how solving the Palestinian issue would not bring peace to one of the most troubled areas on the planet. There are a number of separate wars going on in Libya alone. In the capital city of Tripoli the government’s forces hold a little more than the offices of the Parliament, the President and the other government buildings and their residences, and only because they reside very close to this central area in Tripoli. There are usually a minimum of two rebel groups at any time fighting the government as well as one another. Often there are more than two as these clans believe that they should be the ones running the country and that Libya is their personal playground. These clans also fight against any terrorists who they believe are trying to take over their areas which they actually do control. The terrorists fight to retain their training grounds. Benghazi is also an open warfare zone with no real governance which controls the entire city but it is the second largest concentration of government military forces. As the government forces do control the port of Tripoli there does exist some trade which is mostly necessities as well as arms and ammunition to keep the government in control. Further, Benghazi, Tobruk, Surt and the other major ports are often changing hands as different groups will exert the necessary force to take the ports when they are expecting shipments from their arms merchants. As some European and many Middle East and Asian arms dealers are making a fair profit, the risks of doing business with the different clans and terror groups operating in Libya is worth the risks involved. Needless to say, the violence in Libya does not always stay in Libya; it often crosses borders into Egypt, Algeria, Chad, Niger and even the Sudan. One of the main arms providers is the Sudanese government and arms dealers taking side action arming the Sudanese neighboring nations including Libya but excluding South Sudan as this is not permitted by the Sudanese government.

 

There is a very good reason that the Sudanese government has made the providing of arms to South Sudan a capital offence, they are still fighting a war and committing a slow genocide against the Christians and Animists and act as if nobody in the world has recognized South Sudan as a separate nation. As long as the world, including those who have recognized South Sudan as a separate nation, do nothing of consequence to protest the nascent country from its far stronger and well-armed former rulers, the killing will continue. There have been some troops provided by the African Union. The United Nations also has sent troops to South Sudan. The problem is what is really necessary would be an entire army, which is not what has been sent. Back in 2013 the United States took what it claimed was measures to assure the genocide in South Sudan would be relieved by allocating one-hundred-fifty Marines and a few aircraft to the Horn of Africa from where they were to be capable of evacuating people under threat in South Sudan. As is said repeatedly in Bill Cosby’s routine on Noah, “Right!” Our new United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres stated this week that refugees were fleeing cities and towns and that “The security situation continues to deteriorate in parts of the country and the consequent impact of this ongoing conflict and violence, has reached catastrophic proportions for civilians,” A United Nations report stated, “The rise of militias under the loose command of the SPLA or rebel commanders is spreading the fragmentation and dislocation of its territories, which risk, if this trend continues, remaining out of any government control for years to come.” The United Nations further reports that the numbers of refugees currently seeking relief is beyond one and a half million.

 

Now we can slide over to Somalia which is only a real country on maps for lack of a better means of describing the area. Like Libya there is no actual ruling government but instead a series of gangs ruling their territories with iron fists and warring with each other trying to increase their domain. The people have to make sure they are aware of which gang is currently ruling their block of homes as that will also define where they are allowed to shop and who they may visit. Crossing from one region to the next carries varying degrees of danger. Some of the gangs along the shoreline engage in pirating for a living seeking pleasure yachts, merchant ships and even passing warships which are traveling without escort. These pirates have varying levels of gall living by the code “no guts, no glory.” They have attacked European, Asian, Australian, Canadian and American shipping and anybody else who comes within their range. Their method is to use a larger ship which remains out of sight but relatively close and smaller craft attack the target vessels and attempt to board and commandeer the ship then demanding ransom for the ship, crew and cargo. They check the cargo for anything they might desire or need to keep for themselves and will take any weapons they find an board the ships they take. There has been some degree of international efforts to bring this to an end but for the most part ships take their own risks coming out of the Red Sea after passing through the Suez Canal.

 

Of course that means they need to make their way through the Bab el-Mandeb Straights without being struck by Houthis shelling out of Yemen. The Houthi rebels in Yemen are Iranian backed and attempting to conquer all of Yemen to give Iran a base from which to attack Saudi Arabia from the south. This will come in very handy should Iran decide to attack Saudi Arabia from Iraq and the north mainly the northeast of Saudi Arabia which has the majority of Shiite Muslims as well as most of the oil fields. Additionally, Iran has made friends with Qatar and has made overtures claiming than Oman and Bahrain are actually breakaway Iranian provinces. Much like China keeps threatening that they will one day rejoin Taiwan to the mainland as it is simply a breakaway province, Iran makes the same claims on Oman and Bahrain. Bahrain has a Sunni monarch and a predominantly Shiite population. During the Arab Spring (boy was that a joke and a complete disaster from the word go thanks in part to President Obama who had a hand in these failed revolts with great assistance from Hillary Clinton and the European Union) the Shiites in Bahrain revolted and things appeared to be heading for real troubles, that was until Saudi Arabia used the multi-lane causeway highway to send troops to quell the revolt. The Shiites left their Mosques on Friday all revved up to overthrow the monarch when they found tanks, armored personnel carriers and heavily armed Saudi Arabian troops at both ends of the block so everybody calmed down and went home. Sure there were a few short outbursts of violence which were immediately quelled. The entire Arab Spring in Bahrain ended that Friday with barely a whimper. Similarly, the Shiites in the northeast of Saudi Arabia thought about staging an uprising but were quickly persuaded to remain calm. That thought of rising up was so short it did not even make a single news cycle.

 

Egypt is next on out little tour and is currently largely complacent. They had their Arab Spring and threw out military rule and President Mubarak and replaced him with the predicted Muslim Brotherhood candidate, President Morsi. President Morsi was advised by Turkish President Erdogan to take a slow and steady approach to Islamizing Egypt but paid that no heed. He took off on a radical program of change trying almost overnight to make Egypt a Muslim Brotherhood run totalitarian hellhole. This was met with a public already in revolt mode and they rose up again and demanded Morsi’s head. General of the Army Sisi took the hint and removed the Muslim Brotherhood from power and held new elections. Having the most recognized name in Egypt and having just saved the day, surprisingly Sisi who had stepped down from General of the Army ran and won the Presidency of Egypt. So Egypt is now safely back under military rule for intents and purposes and appears happy to be so. The one problem is the Sinai Peninsula. The Sinai Peninsula is filled with terrorists from al-Qaeda and Islamic State to Hamas and even Iranian backed groups. They attack Egyptian military outposts with varying degrees of success. They often attack the border outposts between Egypt and Gaza in order to allow the flow of terrorists, arms, and contraband into and out of Gaza where Hamas and Islamic Jihad share control. What is interesting about Gaza is that Islamic Jihad is supplied by Iran amongst others and Hamas is Muslim Brotherhood thus provisioned by them and also on occasion they are given rocket engine technologies and even rudimentary guidance systems from Iran as Iran will even arm Sunnis if they are attacking Iran’s favorite target. Egypt has yet to put down the menaces in the Sinai Peninsula and they have even been cleared to use whatever troops and equipment they need and they are apparently fighting a losing battle, or at least not completely reaching a totally peaceful situation. Perhaps they never should have accepted the Sinai Peninsula back when they made peace between President Sadat and Prime Minister Begin.

 

Turkey is also involved in a war which few appear to care to mention. They are claiming to fight against Bashir al-Assad in Syria as well as against Islamic State but somehow the majority of their efforts appear to be barely across the border. They seem preoccupied, or at least President Erdogan is preoccupied, with the Kurds. Turkey could actually make a great agreement and win an ally for life if they would simply allow the Kurds to form their own nation out of northeastern Syria, northern Iraq and at the worst a few tens or hundreds of square miles of southeastern Turkey where the population is majority Kurdish. The United States or other groups would probably handsomely reward Turkey for the lost lands, give a relocation allowance to any Turkish non-Kurdish citizens desiring to leave the Kurdish nation and return to Turkey and all could be settled. Even if Turkey refused to sacrifice a small portion of land, the Kurds in Turkey would likely relocate if they were granted recognition as a nation as was promised them by the British (we all know how good the British are on their promises when oil is involved). Turkey has been bombing and using ground assaults backed by heavy armor against the Kurds who have largely been fighting the Islamic State. Apparently Turkey would prefer the Islamic State on their border than the Kurds, there is no accounting for taste.

 

Middle East & North Africa (MENA)

Middle East & North Africa (MENA)

 

Then there are the wars outside of Yemen and Gaza where Iran is a major player. We are referring to Iraq and Syria where Iran is attempting to rule Iraq through proxy and reestablish Bashir al-Assad as the ruler of Syria. Bashir al-Assad has lost almost the entirety of his nation to the Islamic State, a number of other rebels, a Kurdish section which is simply attempting to protect their own people as well as the Yazidi refugees they took in after rescuing them when the rest of the world twiddled their thumbs, President Obama leading the thumb twiddlers. Iran has a friend in Russia who are actually fighting simply to retain their Mediterranean Sea port privileges such that they retain a warm water port capable of allowing ships to enter the Atlantic Ocean year round without having to pass through the Dardanelles in Turkey, an iffy situation at times. That is why the majority of the Russian operations center around Latakia and the port facilities located in that Mediterranean coastal city. Latakia is also in the central region where the Alawite Tribe resides which also happens to be Bashir al-Assad’s allies and tribal alliance and they along with some of the Druze except they have largely withdrawn and are simply, as are the Kurds, defending their own people and lands from the Islamic State and any other threats. They are safe from the Russians, Iranians and Syrian Army and even most likely the Hezballah forces from Lebanon who are supporting Bashir al-Assad as if Syria was their own country and not Lebanon. Hezballah is there because Iran insisted they fight or else Iran would have cut them off and they would then be facing the rest of Lebanon ready to dispose of the Hezballah terrorists who have been ruling Lebanon through their military threat. The one benefit of Hezballah fighting in Syria and taking the casualties in numbers far higher than are admitted is they are unable to attack any others including but not limited to the Christians and other minorities in Lebanon.

 

Our final stop is at the Afghanistan and Pakistan end of MENA. We left out some of the nations at the far end of northern Africa where one of the major problems is Boko Haram who are bloodthirsty Islamist terrorists who often kidnap Christians and even other Muslims and sell them into slavery. They specialize in selling to the sex slave industry and thus most often target young women and boys. Their other main effort is to murder Christians and Animists, something which sounds familiar from the South Sudan. Boko Haram operated largely centered on northern and central Nigeria and the neighboring areas even south to Mali. Meanwhile, Afghanistan and Pakistan consist of large areas which are considered tribal and the government rarely enters these zones as the tribes are well armed and do not recognize the governmental right to their areas. Too often these tribal areas will war with one another and then they make their money off of allowing terrorists to train and make a lucrative business from poppies. The heroin trade is something the government does not fight as they too benefit from the trafficking in illicit drugs. Until there is introduced another cash crop the farmers will grow and sell the easiest and most profitable crop they can raise, poppies. The flowers are almost as pretty as the profits. Needless to point out but where you have such profits there will always be violence as the tribes desire to expand their fields and taking the tribe next door’s fields is the quickest way to making more profit. Additionally, there is the constant state of conflict between Pakistan and India over Kashmir, a nation which appears on older maps and had the distinction of having to be colored white because it had so many neighboring nations on its border that it needed it own color and white was the best one not in use anywhere else. That concludes our Middle East conflict roundup leaving one nation obviously ignored, imagine all this without mentioning the nation always considered the source of the Middle East conflict chart. Perhaps the rest of it is not so peaceful after all.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

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