Beyond the Cusp

February 15, 2018

The Potential for Al Jazeera Starting the next Middle East War


Qatar has opened a gashing wound upon the Saudi Royal Family and their claims to be the “Servant of the Holy Places” of Mecca and Medina. Using their weaponized radio and television channels broadcasting as al Jazeera they have called for the internationalizing of the Islamic Holy Cities. Such an eventuality would rob the Saudi Royal Family of their claim which justifies their ability to rule Saudi Arabia and could even foment a civil war within Saudi Arabia. The reasoning behind this call being made by al Jazeera may not even be originating from Qatar but instead from Tehran, Iran and the Mullahs. This might even be a ploy originating in Ankara, Turkey with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan who has visions of reestablishing the Ottoman rule over Mecca and Medina. Wherever the idea for these broadcasts, the one thing which is obvious is, it has heightened already drawn tight tensions with Iran, Qatar and Turkey on one side and Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt on the other. As if things were not bad enough, with the recent drone incursion into Israeli airspace by what was an Iranian flown remote aircraft intercepted by Israel, led to the Israeli airstrike in Syria on Syrian and Iranian command and control centers used for such operations. Add in the recently started new front in Syria with Turkey bringing a war against the Kurds in northern Syria and a likely land grab by Turkey whose President Erdoğan has made speeches claiming that Aleppo historically was a Turkish city. This is also part of President Erdoğan’s delusional belief that it is his destiny to reestablish the Ottoman Empire. He has also made claims on Kirkuk and Mosul which are Kurdish areas of Iraq. One thing which is clear is the Turkish President has strong hatreds with the Kurds both within Turkey and elsewhere.


Meanwhile, Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubayr warned Qatar that clearly previously such a call for internationalizing the Holy Cities of Mecca and Medina would be interpreted by Saudi Arabia as a declaration of war which he further stated, “Do not test the patience of the great powers, you dwarves.” This was an obvious attempt at intimidation which Qatar has apparently disregarded. Qatar has some insurance against any Saudi aggressions as there are troops sent by Turkey within the nation plus Iran has promised to aid Qatari interests from any Saudi or other outside actions. With tensions at such a heightened level and the above-mentioned nations restating their mutual support on each side and enmity for the others, it would take one wrong step, one misspoken word at an overly sensitive moment or even a misreading of intentions to tip over the first domino leading to the entire stack falling in rapid succession. These tensions and the recent fighting between the disparate parties in Syria, the interventions of Iran across the Middle East including Iraq, Syria, Yemen and Lebanon and possibly beyond including Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other terrorist entities have proven President Trump correct in his assessment that Israel-Arab conflict is not the central problem.


President Trump has realized the reality that the Arab Palestinians are not the central focus of the Muslim world but an all but forgotten backwater which nobody desires to take too much interest just in case they might be stuck with having to come to their aid. The Arab Palestinians are simply an unwanted group of malcontents whose leadership had worn out their welcome across the Arab world. When the Syrian civil war first started, one of the first places bombed and struck with artillery barrages were the Palestinian refugee camps with the largest being barrel bombed for almost two weeks solid. These were the first victims of Bashir al Assad’s wrath. It may have been that President Trump noted how even the self-declared greatest friends of the Arab Palestinians, the European Union, European nations and leftist NGO’s were all silent and never registered even the slightest of concerns over Bashir al-Assad’s wiping out of the Palestinian refugee camps. Between such lack of real concern for the Arab Palestinians whose troubles could not be placed on Israel and Mahmoud Abbas consistently refusing every offer to talk or reach a peace under any condition has led President Trump to demand actual effort and signs of real sincerity before he will waste any further funding of UNRWA or the Palestinian Authority. President Trump appears to have one main objective in the Middle East, to keep the United States as untangled in the entire area as humanly possible. We should all hope that nothing changes this and forces President Trump to decide it is necessary for the United States to engage in the Middle East as such would only occur if things became excessively dire.


Iranian Allies versus Saudi Allies and pro-Saudi but Neutral

Iranian Allies versus Saudi Allies and pro-Saudi but Neutral


The unfortunate thing is should a war break out starting between Saudi Arabia and Qatar and quickly spread to having Iran step into the breach and also attack Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates as well as Saudi Arabia to force the Saudis to defend on the greatest number of fronts and also have the possibility of Turkey sending troops and air power to assist Iran as Turkey has returned to allying with Iran after a brief period of neutrality while seeking United States military aid which was provided. What is most disturbing is that Turkey continues to be a NATO member which makes possible numerous troubling demands which could be made of NATO should Turkey be dragged into a conflict against Saudi Arabia and aiding Iran. That raises the question as to what the United States do if called upon to honor the call of another NATO member for aid in a war they were presumably dragged into which would place the United States aiding Iran against Saudi Arabia, Egypt and their other allies which President Trump has decided are the United States true friends within the Islamic World. Perhaps President Trump’s belief that the Middle East is best left at arms distance or further may be the smartest means of dealing with most of the mess developing within. President Putin has been attempting to extract Russia while not losing face or disturbing his allies who are becoming more burdensome than they will likely prove to be worth. In the meantime, Putin had best find some way of putting a tight lid on the building pressure between Qatar and Saudi Arabia probably by insisting that Iran calm their attack dog and end the al Jazeera attacks on the Saudi Royals and end the calls for the internationalization of Mecca and Medina before the pressure boiler explodes from the pressure and open violence breaks out.


The causing of a new front in the Iranian war on the rest of the Islamic Arab world in their quest to spread Shiism making it supreme over Sunni Islam by whatever means required has only increased the regions where Iran can now threaten. If Iran truly desires to make Shiism preeminent and dominating the Middle East, picking a war with Saudi Arabia and Egypt would be the most direct method, perhaps not the smartest, but it would be the most direct. Saudi Arabia holds the Holy Cities of Mecca and Medina and Egypt has the largest populations as well as the leading Islamic university, Al-Azhar University in Cairo. Taking control of these assets and swaying this many Arab Muslims would go a long way in having Shiism become dominant in the Middle East and make spreading it throughout the Islamic world far more readily possible. It might simply all depend on exactly how far along the Iranian work to develop and build a nuclear arsenal has come along. If it is much further along than believed by Washington D.C. and Jerusalem, then this task just became far more likely and the Iranian threat beyond just the Middle East just became exponentially more dangerous. This is another reason for the Russians to try to calm the situation because the last thing everybody needs is a war which could easily escalate completely beyond any efforts to control, and an Iran possibly facing losing a conflict with Egypt and Saudi Arabia might become capable of anything to try to alter such an eventuality. The one way Iran could lash out would be an all out attack upon Israel, and the last thing the world would need is an attack on Jerusalem and/or Tel Aviv with weapons of mass destruction, as the Israeli retaliation would be definitive and devastating. Perhaps Qatar had best be advised to calm down their rhetoric as otherwise things stepping beyond anybody’s ability to calm could be right around the corner, and if such is pressed, then it should be understood that Iran desired an open conflict and should receive all the responsibility for what follows equally with whoever fires the first shot.


Beyond the Cusp



January 22, 2018

Current Assessments of Arab-Israeli Conflict Unhelpful


There are a number of glaring false assumptions about the Arab-Israeli conflict which serve only to minimize the antipathy felt by the aggressor which began the conflict and set it in motion for perpetuity. The most easily identified errors are that the conflict began in 1948 with the founding of the state of Israel, that the conflict is one-hundred years old, that the disagreement is over borders, that Jerusalem is a central core of the problem and a dozen other such falsities. This war started at the oasis of Khaybar outside Medina. For close to a thousand years Jews lived in the oases of Teyma, Khaybar, and Yathrib peaceably with the surrounding communities, both idolatrous and the growing Islamic community in Medina. There was one area of contention between the Jewish communities and Muhammad, the Jews refused to convert and refused to accept him as the final prophet holding to the historic Jewish belief that the period of the Prophets was long ended. In the year 628-9 A.D., Muhammad gathered his forces and invaded the Jewish community at the Oasis of Khaybar defeating them. In less than a decade, the Islamic forces had defeated all of the separate Jewish communities driving them from the area. It is partially because these were the first groups with whom Muhammad warred or due to the stiff resistance and lack of trust as treaties were disregarded when they were considered inconvenient and no longer to one’s advantage that a great animosity was built between the Jews and Muslims that the Jews are chosen for a particular hatred by Islam. Consider the example of the Qurayza Tribe of Jews, who were defeated by Muhammad despite their leader opting to stay neutral when their town was besieged by a Meccan army that was sent to take revenge for Muhammad’s deadly caravan raids. Their sin was not joining the fight to defend Muhammad and his fellow caravan raiders who were within their town. The tribe killed no one from either side and even surrendered peacefully to Muhammad after the Meccans had been turned back. Yet still Muhammad had every male member of the Qurayza Tribe beheaded. The wars between the Muslims and their continued history of periodic particularly harsh treatment of Jews emanate from these battles.


Further, the Quran even states, in Sahih Bukhari 52:177, “The Hour will not be established until you fight with the Jews, and the stone behind which a Jew will be hiding will say, ‘O Muslim! There is a Jew hiding behind me, so kill him.’” This requires the followers of Islam to war against the Jews, some now interpret this to mean defeating Israel, before their end-times can commence or at least have its time set. This adds to their reasons to fight against Jews which now means Israel. Additionally there are the two spheres which the world is divided among in Islam, Dar al-Islam and Dar al-Harb. Dar al-Islam is the House of Islam, the area under Islamic rule and thus considered to be at peace; and Dar el Harb being the House of War which includes all lands with which Islam is at war that includes everything outside Dar al-Islam, simply put, everywhere else. Another point is that once Islam conquers any territory, it is to then remain under Islamic dominance forever and should Islamic territory be lost, even or especially were it to revert to previous (infidel) ownership thus falling outside Islam, that becomes a mortal affront to the supremacy of Islam. Hamas has in their preamble to the Hamas Charter a quote from their founder, Imam Hassan al-Banna “Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it.” Obviously, throughout history at numerous times the Jews and even Israel was an area of supreme importance and considered to be the ultimate threat facing Islam. But then, we would simply ask ourselves, why should Islam be any different from everyone else. Before you get up and demand what we mean by everyone else, let us give a partial list of everyone else throughout history; the Pharos’s Egypt, Philistines, Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians, Ancient Greeks, Roman Empire, Byzantines, Islamic Caliphate, Crusaders, English Empire, Rome’s Inquisition, Spanish Empire, Nazis, Communists and others.


In all honesty, we are not claiming by any stretch of the imagination that Israel’s only difficulty is with Islam as there are a plethora of others who would love for Israel to disappear. Many groups outside the Arab and Muslim worlds would also be happy for Israel to disappear. We also need to point out not all of the Arab and Muslim worlds actively want to destroy Israel. One of the main forces which in ambivalent at best and animosity at the worst we have Rome, Vatican City to be more precise where the Catholic Church has a long history of following Replacement Theology which turned the Jews from the Chosen People into the Cursed People. Much of Replacement Theology is based upon the Jewish People being dispersed and denied any return to the Holy Lands. The fact that Israel had been destroyed and the Jews apparently thrown from their homelands was all the proof that the Christians, or in this case the Catholic Church, had replaced the Jews as the Chosen People and the Jews cursed. Then we come to Martin Luther who carries Replacement Theology one-step further and claiming that the Catholic Church has sold their souls and were to join the Jews as cursed and his church was the replacement and true faith. This idea of Replacement Theology continued being used by each Protestant Church during the Reformation. The Church of England, Episcopal Church, also took the position of being the singular holy church for the British Isles which led to years of fighting between the Catholics and the Anglicans. Every step along the way, Replacement Theology was utilized by each Protestant Church founder claimed to have the rights to the title of the Chosen People and all previous forms of Christianity and the Jews now being the cursed people. Islam was no exception as when Muhammad came forth with Islam, he declared that he was presenting the final incarnation of Allah’s word and Islam would be the last and only Chosen People as they replaced all the various Christian faiths and especially the Jews, just as the Christians had denoted the Jews.


Refuting the Lie of Replacement Theology


Along with each religion, the nation which adopted these various sects of Christianity, the different forms of Islam and the anti-religion Communism all declared their animosity against the Jews. When Israel was reformed by David Ben Gurion declaring Israel founded, all the aforementioned religions had a total conniption-fit expressing their protestation in various means. Most Christian faiths declared this not to be the real return of the Jews and in no way made them once again the Chosen People with the Catholic Church even declaring Israel as an abomination while much of the Islamic world and the Arab League declared total genocidal war of cleansing of the Zionist Entity. The thing which is interesting is how the Arab Islamic worlds ignore the reestablishment of the Jewish homelands of Israel by referring to Israel as the Zionist entity such that they can claim that this is not the reestablished Jewish or Israelite homelands. This is also why they also claim that the Jews of today are not related to the Jews from antiquity despite genetic proof of their having Middle Eastern DNA markers and many families have traceable histories back many centuries even beyond one millennium. They even doubt those Jewish families who have never left Jerusalem except temporarily after Christian and Islamic expulsions always to return as soon as they were able.


What makes much of the efforts in the modern era since 1948 to solve the various forms it has taken adjusting to changing conditions and models presented is that they take that the entirety of the problem either began in 1948 with the founding of Israel, it started with the treaties and conferences after World War I or it began with the onset of modern Zionism. These are all completely wrong, as Islam had been at active war with the Jews throughout their history at various levels. People will point to periods where Jews thrived under Islamic rulers but most of these rulers did not follow strict Sharia, the Quranic defined statutes of law. The other difficulty is that despite periods where Jews were treated fairly well, these were always limited periods similar to the periods under European rule in the various nations where Jews were accepted for periods always eventually to come under critical treatment and even actively murdered often by burning at the stake, hanging, boiled in oil and the many various tortures of the Inquisitions. Islam began with mistreatment of the Jews either demanding the Jizya, a special tax levied against non-Muslims for the privilege and protection living under Islamic rule. This tax varied depending on the requirements of the governance, the greater their need the greater the Jizya often leading to a condition which becomes unlivable. This war against the Jews began, as we pointed out at the beginning, in the year 628-9 A.D. and continued, as has the Christian warfare against the Jews, intermittently ever since or as the anti-religious forces of Communism and Nazism have constantly since their inception.


Beyond the Cusp


January 16, 2018

President Trump and Middle East Peace


Seemingly forever, we have listened to what we are going to call Middle East poker. They have been playing five-card stud where you are dealt one card face-down and two face-up then bet, another face-up then bet and a final card face-up followed by final bets. This has been one of the slowest games of poker having started with the initial deal at the onset of the Oslo Accords. Apparently, according to Mahmoud Abbas, he has made his final bet and may be retiring from the table. For the sake of brevity, allow us to quickly review the dealt cards before discussing the final deal which apparently came recently. There are five hands at the table, the Palestinian Authority (PA), Hamas, United Nations (UN), European Union (EU) and Israel with the United States dealing the cards. We know very little about the down-card, as it is face-down, but the three face-up cards are as follows; the PA has two 2’s and a J; Hamas has an A, 7 and 5; the UN has three clubs with a 2, 5 and 10; the EU has three hearts with a 4, 9 and an A; and Israel has two K’s and a 10. As is obvious, it appears that it is anybody’s game to win all depending upon that last card. What we know but the others do not is that Israel has a K as their down-card giving them two pair and thus they can only possibly lose to the PA, UN or EU with Hamas holding the weak hand where a pair of A’s is their best possible hand. So, just as in reality, it comes down to the last card to be dealt except for Hamas who will likely fold taking their remainder of their chips, Gaza, and heading off to play their terror war a while longer.


Now would be a good time to also define some of the other realities surrounding this game. The EU and UN are playing such that should it appear that the Palestinians and the Arabs are not going to defeat Israel on their own, and they get the right last card, they will extend the game demanding a new hand. They can only extend the game to a new deal, they cannot actually dictate a solution as only the United States actually has that power along with Russia, but both the United States and Russia would need to agree for that to work and that is highly unlikely with a few choice exceptions which depend on the last card being dealt. The Oslo Accords were supposed to last only five years and bring a settlement or the effort was to be abandoned. That changed when the United States under President Clinton made a deal with Ehud Barak to extend the Oslo Accords framework indefinitely, or at least until all the cards have been dealt. Technically, if Israel were to demand that it is game over, the game would end right there, the final cards dealt and everybody would show their hands. Not even the United States could get away with that without Russian agreement. The game has been drawn out by the EU and the UN raising the pot by one chip when it was their bet so as to slow everything down at the request of the PA and Hamas. This is why without any real gains or change in the board there has been an unbelievable time between any significant changes as the only strong bets would come when a new card has been dealt, which appears to be once every three to four years which also tends to correspond with new talks.


What changed, you ask. President Trump entered as the new dealer when he was elected. He first took a walk around the casino and talked with the others assembled in the Muddle East Casino and gathered them all together in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia for a big dinner where they spoke frankly. The Donald, as he likes to be known, asked each at the table, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the others from the various Gulf States and across Northern Africa and around the Middle East what was the biggest problem for them, the Palestinian statehood or the Iranian threat. Well, Egypt and Saudi Arabia pretty much spoke for the majority and stated that Iran was the big deal and the Palestinians had long outlived any usefulness and were now a sideshow which they enjoyed as it sometimes made Israel squirm, but even that had lost its appeal as Israel could be of more assistance having the same worries about Iran. So the Arab leaders threw in the towel and said let the last card be played and we will live with the results. That was when The Donald informed them that it was up to them to inform Mahmoud Abbas that the last card was being dealt and that he would need to show his hand. At the same time The Donald with assistance from his staff informed the EU and UN that the final card was being played and that the smallest bet permitted would be either all-in or fold, one bet and that was it. Then, The Donald settled into the dealer’s chair and has dealt the final cards to the players.


The PA got their second J giving them a pair of 2’s and a pair of J’s. The UN got a diamond to go with their three clubs and folded while the EU also got a diamond to go with their three hearts and also folded. Hamas folded before receiving a final card realizing they should simply forget unity with the PA and keep what they had already won on a side bet with the PA, that being Gaza. Israel got a second 10 giving them two pair of K’s over 10’s. So that leaves the PA and Israel to bet with the PA to lead the betting. This was where Mahmoud Abbas started to sweat before stomping around the table screaming and throwing the EU’s and UN’s now empty chairs as they have retreated to the bar to watch. Israel’s Bibi Netanyahu sat quietly not even glancing one last time at his hold-card confident he remembers what it was. Some of what Mahmoud Abbas screamed is worth repeating as it has an aroma of total defeat and his knowing that, but it could be a rouse to draw Bibi in, there is that down-card and the PA might just have a full-house filling in their two pair. But first, some of the rant needs be told.


Among his openers was his reference to the White House peace ‘deal of the century’ as the “slap of the century,” promising to slap the United States back. This came about the same time as this outburst, “I am saying that Oslo, there is no Oslo.” He added for insult, “Israel ended Oslo.” He screamed about, “Jerusalem is Mecca. Jerusalem is Mecca,” comparing Jerusalem to Islam’s holiest site elevating Jerusalem from third holiest behind Mecca and Medina, definitely a sign of apparent desperation in an attempt to make the result of the deal void by such a declaration. Many will dismiss this as pure rhetoric and unimportant except that it does depict a reality about the importance of Jerusalem in Islam, a completely false exclamation as anybody serious about the truth knows. Abbas slammed two outspoken US officials, Ambassador to Israel David Friedman and Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley, referring to them as, “These two personalities are an insult for a self-respecting administration.” The Donald raised one eyebrow giving Abbas a sideways glaring glance.


Point Made and Point Rejected

Point Made and Point Rejected


These were but a few of the outbursts scattered between the other temper tantrums and then he kind of trailed off mumbling where only some of what he muttered was discernible. One such phrase was, “We are an authority without any power and under an occupation without any cost. We will not accept it remaining like this.” That was soon followed by the middle of a sentence being just slightly louder so we hear, “popular and peaceful resistance,” pause “resistance,” which he called “stronger and more effective than any other,” some heavy huffing and puffing and then he said, “is our path to force out the occupation from our land.” Then referring to Ramallah’s policy of paying salaries to Palestinian security prisoners, he let out loudly that he, “completely rejects,” any attempt to change the policy as it is rightful to pay these holy fighters, by which he refers to what most of the world recognize as terrorists. Of the United States’ offer to the Palestinians of the Jerusalem suburb of Abu Dis as the capital of a future Palestinian state he fumed and cursed and stated the most significant but likely overlooked declaration pointing directly at The Donald yelling, “May God demolish your house.”


What became obvious during the ranting by Mahmoud Abbas was that when he was ordered to meet with the Saudi Royal Family in Riyadh, the message sent from Saudi Arabia about the “deal of the century” being drawn up by the Trump administration and that he need accept the deal or resign as they would no longer support the Palestinians. President Trump had likely reached a deal which the Saudis agreed to back completely and that they would convey that message to Abbas. He may actually have heeded that and this may be the end of his tenure as he also told the assembled that this may be the final time they see him speaking as their leader. Some have commented this sounded like a summation and a resignation speech. This was also a declaration of war as we pointed out yesterday with his insistence on continued peaceful resistance, code words for terrorist attacks.


Perhaps now for the explanation of the meaning of the Arab curse delivered by Abbas on President Donald Trump of, “May God demolish your house.” Perhaps it would be easiest to simply quote Dr. Mordechai Kedar from his article “The speech in which Abbas Dug His Own Grave.” Here is what he told us about this curse.

This imprecation does not merely relate to someone’s present home, but to all the members of his family being thrown into the street to lead lives of destitution, humiliation and shame.

His entire article is really well worth reading as it spends time covering some of the history and other events which we did not cover here having done so over the years. Now back to the card game.


We already know that even should the PA have their full-house, their best hand would be three J’s over a pair of 2’s and Israel has a full-house of three K’s over a pair of 10’s thus Israel holds the winning hand and Bibi likely knows this. This means that the PA’s bet only matters if they fold and try to salvage some position and a way to deal with President Trump who is determined to end this charade. He stated in his campaign that he would recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and move the embassy, which has now been done and is in motion and he also stated he intended to make the deal of the century in the Middle East and bring the Arab Israeli conflict to a close, and it looks like he meant every word of that as well. He stated he would give it his best deal-making ability and if that did not work then there was likely no solution. By that, he obviously meant that he would have the United States wash their hands of the whole thing and leave it to the PA and Israel to hash out alone. He has ended the idea of Jerusalem being up for grabs, granted Israel, and he terminated UNRWA’s funding which will likely not be picked up by Saudi Arabia, as we would bet that was also discussed and if they desire assistance with Iran, then they will toe the line they had drawn for them. The EU and UN cannot afford to take up the slack as the EU is almost broke and the UN would be risking all United States funding if they did so as President Trump has intimated. So, UNWRA is all but finished as President Trump may even instruct the UN to close it down or face a complete lack of funding from the United States which would be the death knell for the UN and they know this. Apparently, the people holding all the cards are Israel in the Middle East and The Donald worldwide.


In the end, he started to trail off a bit murmuring, “We do not take instructions from anyone, and say ‘no’ to anyone if it is about our destiny, our cause, our country and our people… 1,000 times no,” In one true statement there he unknowingly summed up the entirety of the Palestinian position since the beginning when he had stated, “No, a thousand times no!” We hope he either eventually sits and makes his bet or folds and walks away, either way; Israel will win. Apparently, this game is over, deals made and the only thing left is for the shouting, and Abbas is definitely doing much of that.


Beyond the Cusp


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