Beyond the Cusp

June 11, 2016

Fallujah Residents Caught in the Jaws of a Vice

 

Let us pretend for a moment that you and your family are amongst the Forty-five-thousands or so civilian residents remaining in Fallujah and you want to survive; what does one do? If you remain in the city, the unmerciful shelling and other indirect weapons will eventually strike your home destroying it and your terrified family. If you try to leave, both sides will do what it takes to get you killed. The Islamic State desires two things from the Sunni citizens of Fallujah; they want you murdered using the most horrific means possible such that you and your family can be shown in Facebook and in the media who are stanchly supporting the story line and as human shields once the fighting commences. What story line is that, pray tell? Well, that depends again on whose telling the story. The Western coalition will tell the story of your family’s death as a horrific price being paid to free the city from the Islamic State which placed your family in harm’s way. The Islamic State and Muslim Brotherhood will use the horrific and tragic death of your family as proof of the horrific cost of this war brought down on the rightful rulers of Fallujah by Iran and the Shiite militias who are nothing more than blood thirsty mobs of subhuman scoundrels of the worst kind. The Syrian supporters of Bashir al-Assad will claim that the tragic death of your family simply proves what they have claimed from the start, that they are simply fighting against these same Sunni terrorist forces and the world simply does not understand the situation because if they did they would be backing Assad, not bombing them. The Druze and Kurds would likely claim to put a pox on both your houses as all they want is to rule their own little plot of lands free from the slaughtering forces of both sides which have routinely murdered their families in the name of liberating or defending them literally since the end of World War I and the disaster that Sykes-Picot brought down on the region by its design. These guys may be the only ones with clear vision and also the ones who see the sole path to enlightened behavior, give each tribe or even family their own fig tree, orange tree, a few grape vines and a dozen sheep per adult male and everybody go home. Unfortunately for you, your family and anybody still in Fallujah; ain’t never gonna happen!

 

Apart from the obvious tribal divides and the religious Sunni-Shiite divide, there is another overarching problem; only one side will be left standing at the end of the day still seeking to rule the world and the world does not want anybody ruling the entire world except for their sacred and Heaven chosen leaders. In Iran that is the Supreme Leader whoever is currently in that position which right now is Ali Khamenei. Those with the Islamic State want their Caliph Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. Ask the Western Leaders and they just want to have the old order restored and everybody at each other’s throats but leaving that to killing those within their national border within reason or they will remove you from power and the next idiot they leave in charge will start killing those within the border until it gets ridiculous at which point the Western militaries will come in and replace them with another opposition leader thus keeping the region forever embroiled in petty intra-fratricidal schemes and fighting instead of making any progress towards a modern cohesive society which can compete with Europe in any means of production and resorting to the only other thing they can do for currency, sell the raw materials within their borders to the Europeans who will then make the goods to sell to you and your people who are the chosen sect of the month.

 

Almost nowhere on the face of the planet is there actually nations whose leaders and people desire for all the rest of the world to do well and also desire their people and nation to be free to pursue that which benefits all their people the best and most rewarding way possible by the best available means. Often where one has a leader who appears to desire, there are those groups within the nations who desire to wrest power from that leader by any means necessary and not always within the structure of the society even be that a democratic style of governance with actual fair elections as elections can be so messy and your ideas are all about order, instilling and keeping order, order as you see fit to define it. Where you have a people that desire that the leader inevitable sees some injustice or place in the world where things are not being done in a proper manner as defined by their views, then they must put together a coalition of the willing and sometimes the not so willing and repair that problem until it no longer can bother them. This is sometimes done in a civilized manner otherwise called a trade war. Right now the civilians of Fallujah would welcome a trade war and settle for there being no leader anywhere with a say in their business, not even from amongst their own fellow Fallujahittes. We have to face it that Fallujah had it not so terribly awful under Saddam Hussein as there were plenty of other eggs to crack and/or fry before they came under his attention, never a good thing. Then saving the day came the Americans and their coalition of the willing under George H. W. Bush to free Kuwait and put Iraqi Dictator Saddam Hussein back to Baghdad preventing him from turning south and taking Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States thus gaining a monopoly on much of the world’s oil. Many question if it was worth the price as he remained in power which caused yet another destructive war whose costs are still not ended piling up.

 

Gulf War I was it worth the price A
Gulf War I was it worth the price B

Gulf War I was it worth the price C

Gulf War I was it worth the price?

 

Row 1) F16s Flying Over Burning Oil Fields Immediately After Set Alight by Saddam Hussein
Row 2) Israeli civilians in shelter from rockets (left) aftermath attack in Ramat Gan, Israel (right)
Row 3) Destroyed Iraqi civilian and military vehicles are left sitting on Highway of Death.
Row 4) Aerial view of destroyed Iraqi T-72 tank, BMP-1 and Type 63 on Highway of Death.
Row 5) Kuwait Oil Fields Ablaze, Sky and Ground Blackened as Camels Desperately Forage

 

The cost of a war is impossible to gauge until far after the ramifications are complete. By that standard the initial push by Persia into Greece which eventually led to the conquest of Persia and beyond by Alexander the Great which brought on Rome which fell into a morass of tribal fiefdoms and the Byzantines which fell before the Caliphate and finally knocked out by the Ottomans who fell in World War I leading to Sykes-Picot which leads to so many wars as well as World War I leading to World War II and the current mess we call the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) and the refugees flooding into an already bankrupt and financially desperate Europe and spilling into Canada and the United States where the race for the Presidency will be Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton and the beat goes on, and the beat goes on…

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

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January 16, 2016

Israel and the Jews

 

Allow us to revisit some of the items we have had in articles and draw them together here in one article. This will not be a rehashing of the legal matters, treaties, conventions and other documents and agreements. This is about the Jewish People and the Land of Eretz Yisroel and there are effects which can be observed often only through experiencing and seeing the changes and other effects between the Jewish people and Israel, the land itself. The first thing is that Israel in modern times attracts Jew for any number of reasons. There are two main groups which sometimes cross over and merge for some Jews. There are Jews who feel this strange pull that can only be fulfilled by making Aliyah and return there to their ancestral home which is exactly how many Jews explain there coming to Israel. For some it is the commandment to settle the land which commands the Jewish people to sojourn and commit their only expansive conquest taking the lands promised to Abraham, Izsak and Yaakov in Genesis in the Bible, the Old Testament, the Jewish Bible. Some come to Israel to escape anti-Semitism as Israel is the sole nation which promises to take whatever necessary actions to protect Jews from persecution.

 

Despite the actions of the world to tie Israel’s hands by court threats, protests world-wide, coordinated violence from the Arabs both within Israel and from the areas of Judea and Samaria which have been granted autonomy where their government rewards families whose members attack and murder Jews with higher rewards for more Israelis murdered or mutilated for life. This is what drives the suicide bombers as they know their family will receive a greater salary for life called a pension for a martyr of the cause of freedom, which means literally that they died in the attack, often due to being a walking human bomb, making their family honored and given a pension which is often higher than most Arabs make even those working for their government. This pension, blood money, is an incentive for Arabs who find they are poor and have little hope of providing for the family, often a wife and more than four children that the only way an Arab may decide that a suicide assault on the Jews is their only hope for their family. There have been Arabs from the autonomous region, who have charged at IDF soldiers at a checkpoint with a knife in their hand hoping to be caught and not shot so they can be sent to an Israeli prison as, and some have confessed this, their life would drastically improve where he would have better food and general conditions. Some attacks are carried out by the younger males in a family who know that they will receive next to nothing as an inheritance and for a farming family that is close to a condemnation to poverty and helplessness and they believe their only hope is to kill Israelis so their family will receive a pension should they be martyred and a salary should they be caught and imprisoned.

 

Jews native born to Israel, Sabras (Hebrew: צבר‎), is the name of a cactus Opuntia cactus (pictured below, known in Israel as “tsabar” (צבר) and as the fruit of the Sabra cactus has a hard and thorns outside and its fruit is sweet, soft, juicy and did I mention sweet. That description is really fitting in describing many original Israel born native Jews, some of which are my family. A few native families have resided in Israel since the early and mid-1800s while others have their family’s tree going back beyond and to before the 135CE and earlier 70CE Roman destruction of the Holy Temple and dispersal of the Jews from their land. This was executed in the hope that would destroy the Jewish people as they would no longer be attached to the land. This had worked just as they had done to the remnants of Carthage and possibly numerous other civilizations which we never knew as they did disappear from the face of the Earth. Some have family records which show their families having returned to Eretz Yisroel from the Babylonian Exile when Cyrus the Great of Persia conquered the Babylonian Empire on his way to establishing the Persian Empire, one of the largest and most storied in all history. Cyrus the Great gave the Jews his blessings to return and rebuild the Holy Temple and serve Hashem as directed by Torah. Some Israeli families arrived from Europe after the calamities of the Shoah and World War II. An equal or potentially greater number were expunged and forced from the Arab and Muslim nations of MENA (Middle East and North Africa) as well as Iran through edict, pogroms or legal restrictions making life next to or actually impossible. In most cases all property and wealth was confiscated and in the worst instances, forced out with one suitcase per person and those were inspected and anything of worth was removed.

 

 

Sabra Cactus with Fruit and Flowers

Sabra Cactus with
Fruit and Flowers

 

 

When they claim that the Jews of Israel return to their real homeland they are actually there. When the demand is for the Jews return to the lands where they arrived from, do they include the approximate half of Israelis whose former nation was throughout the Islamic world. Further, look at Europe with the European Union and their labelling of products from parts of Israel and the numbers of Jews literally fleeing European nations such as France, Sweden and others as well as the clincher, the unapologetic denunciations of Israel in every manner such that these are so egregious as they can only be described and blatantly anti-Semitic coming from the Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom. Her inflammatory accusations and denunciation along with her prejudging determinations which would be ruinous for Israel and against every agreement, convention, treaty, Mandate and other legal arrangements and pronouncement or still to be determined through formal negotiations and not the decree of some other nation not involved or even mentioned as a party to the situation are simply over the top. An example of her adamant refusal to take any moderation of her views is easily displayed in this recent debate in the Swedish Parliament where a member demanded of her an explanation of her extremist views shown below.

 

The lands of Israel have been conquered by nearly every empire which showed out of the Middle East, Europe and even from the Mongols from Asia and Egypt from Africa. The only empire to ever get production from the lands of Israel, which did not include simply ruling over and taxing Jews working the lands, were the Egyptians. There are those who claim the lands which today make up the nation of Israel, even if one were to concede Israel all the lands except Gaza from the Jordan River west to the Mediterranean Sea, were originally inhabited by a group of peoples, numerous tribes and city states, known as the Canaanites. This was a valid point in the times of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob but by the time the Israelites left Egypt this was no longer the case as the Egyptians collected taxes and provided protection against the Hittites who resided further north possible within what is today Turkey, and from any other invaders. As the Exodus from Egypt was a revolt against Egypt, there would be a natural series of events that a group who had been originally welcomed and over time and a change in the lineage of the Pharaoh that they had been enslaved as had much of the Egyptian people who revolted with a shove and assist from Hashem who arranged ten incentives to persuade Pharaoh to allow the Israelite nation to leave and have their own homeland. The lands the Israelites took forty years later, give or take a few months, was land which belonged to the Egyptians and it was the tribal chiefs and some Egyptians that were defeated over some time and finally the lands were solidified by King David and King Solomon with a fair bit to spare. This marked the end of Israelite expansive designs. Here are some maps of the areas in question.

 

 

Left side map depicts the division of the Promised Land amongst the tribes and right side map compares the modern promised land from the Jordan west to the Mediterranean Sea compared to the maximum of area during King David’s and King Solomon’s reigns.

 

 

Eventually the land fell to the Babylonians who forced the Israelites into exile working them in Babylon. What is interesting is that the records show next to no Babylonians remaining in the Promised Land more than likely because it refused to produce a decent crop or provide grazing lands. The Persians having some knowledge about the Hebrews and the Promised Land had those Israelite who desired to return to their lands to do so and required only a tax be paid each year. This arrangement worked for a while and the Persian Empire finally fell to the Greeks led by the Macedonian Alexander the Great. The land was again worked by the Israelites but rifts politically had split the lands with the norther ten tribes taking the name of Israelite with them and the southern kingdom was largely made up by the tribe of Judah along with the considerably smaller Benjamin. These were called Judea and had control of Jerusalem and the Temple. The northern tribes were conquered by the Assyrian Greeks and were dispersed throughout their holding and eventually went their separate ways becoming the ten lost tribes of Israel, literally. Judea fell eventually as well but remained in the lands. The Romans replaced the Greeks and from this point forward the life of the lands of Judea and their people who were called Judeans which eventually shortened to Jew.

 

The next part of the lives of the Judean, Jews, was related by a former MK Yaakov Katz in an editorial 407,118: The up to date number of Jews in Judea and Samaria, not counting Jerusalem. In the article he gave a description of what is a Jew which I hope to never forget as it was very relevant to Jewish history, our history. He said that the way to define a Jew is to define us by what others destroyed in order to eradicate the Jewish People, a depravity which has a way too often horrific number of repetitions throughout human history. The Egyptian by restricting us through slavery kept us from our Promised Lands yet we did not simply accept their gods, their idols or leaders who claimed they were gods. The Babylonians destroyed the Holy Temple hoping that would dishearten us and we would assimilate and they would be done with us. Then the Romans dispersed us such that we were scattered with only a few families in any one location which the Romans had done to others to destroy their cohesion and family. This, the Romans hoped would put an end to the Jews. Eventually, after many centuries it was the Catholic and, in turn, other Christians who forced conversion and removed us from our Torah and normal prayers hoping this would end the Jewish problem. Finally we would face the Nazis who decided they would simply annihilate the Jews and finally solve the Jewish Problem. So, if we learned anything, it is that we are defined as Jews by all of our enemies starting with the Egyptians through the Nazis and we find a Jew is the Promised lands of Eretz Yisroel from the covenant made with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. A Jew is the Holy Temple, may it be built in our lifetime. We find a Jew is community and one another as then we have a support group with whom we are more able to remember our commandments and perform mitzvahs and observe the Sabbath. The Jew is nothing without Torah and finally the Jew celebrates life. So, what is a Jew? A Jew is the Promised Land as we were made for each other as well as we are enriched by the Holy Temple which allows for certain Commandments to be fulfilled as they require the Holy Temple and we are to complete the Commandments but those remain unfulfilled. Our need for community becomes evident when after the Roman dispersal we quickly gathered where and how we could and made our little communities where we observed our customs which with time were adapted to the world around us. A Jew without Torah is a Jew unstuck and disconnected from the commandments and mitzvoth which was part of the reason that the greatest of the Rabbis wrote commentary and put the oral law into writings. And finally, a Jew is all about the celebration of life and the great gifts that Hashem has shared with us. What is a Jew in the fewest words possible? I will give it a try. A Jew is the land of Israel with the Temple in Jerusalem and community to be a part of with Torah and celebrating life, Torah, Mitzvoth, and Hashem.

 

All the empires, the Babylonian, Egyptian, Persian, Greek, Assyrian, Roman, the various Islamic and Christian conquerors, the Ottomans and the British all could not make the land bloom; but bloom they finally have done. But that works both ways. The Jews make the land and the land completes the Jew.

 

Coming home to Eretz Yisroel was the most wondrous thing in my life and has lifted burdens from me in ways I find impossible to quantify, let alone to define. For the first time I feel accepted to an extent which surpassed even Colorado in the 1970s and I thought that was heaven yet that barely compares with the coming to Israel. I often need to go look out the window to once again impress on me that I truly am home. The people I meet are mostly willing to go out of their way to help and their efforts mostly are beyond belief as they put up with us not having learned to speak Hebrew. We have found a couple of closely defined niches where we can speak freely and not fear being told to never return. As I explain, we have finally found the Jews we had searched for in the United States and they are all mostly here. I have likely been exposed and learned more about being a Jew here in the last couple of years and the rate of learning is only increasing daily. There are so many people making sure I get things correct that my biggest hope is that I remember one third and I will be far wiser than I was upon our arrival. How would I sum up Israel and the Jews in the fewest words possible? Mutual Fulfillment.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

June 6, 2015

How Did This Mess Get Started

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Looking at the world around us one has to wonder how it all got into the horrible state of affairs. There had to be a lynchpin which started the unraveling, an actual starting point which we can trace everything back to and find the culprit who made that initial error, mistake in judgement. But in order to do that one has to decide which of the unravellings we should start with as there are so many to choose from. There is Putin, or as we like to call him, Vlad the Invader (our original reference recently stolen by a Fox News commentator the erudite pontificator), who has shaken up parts of Central Asia and Eurasia and is threatening Eastern Europe, or at least there are some former nations swallowed by the Iron Curtain of the Soviet Union; there is China who apart from building a blue water navy with which not only to challenge the United States Naval hegemony of the seas, a privilege formerly owned by the British, but are also building Islands in order to cement her claims to the vast South China Sea and thus control or divert much of the sea lane traffic from the Indian Ocean in and out of the Pacific Ocean; there is the financial problems in Europe threatening the stability of the European Union and the adoption of one currency with the Euro; and the final and greatest roiling and boiling cauldron, the Middle East and Northern Africa (MENA). There may be other problems out there but these are the most prevalent and easily identifiable.

 

Let us start with the easiest of these, the financial meltdown in Europe. This problem was a situation just waiting to happen as soon as the most disparate economic nations decided to adopt the same currency unit without permitting a central planning committee to set their financial and economic planning and other such decisions in-line with each other. There was absolutely no way the less productive economies of such nations as Spain, Greece and Portugal had any hope of paralleling the productivity, GDP and economic output of a France, Britain or Germany. Additionally, adding the former Warsaw Pact nations probably sparked an even more divergent economic growth rate as nations such as Poland, the Czech Republic, and others plus the reuniting of Germany allowing the already dominant economy to also feast on the same rebuilding and economic recovery from the less efficient economic model of central planning to a market driven economy which granted these nations a greatly exaggerated GDP during their basically playing catch-up with the rest of Europe and becoming modernized economies. Thus the Euro was a pipe dream which probably had hoped that through the singular monetary unit, the Euro, would lead to a centralizing of economic planning being turned over to the European Union to plan these different economies as if they were a single unit. That was highly unlikely as that would have spelled the demise of the nation states and rendered them merely states in the continental nation of the European Union. What the European Union bureaucrats were seeking was a situation very similar to a former economic model using the Union name, the Soviet Union, replacing Moscow with Brussels and otherwise retaining that centralized, top down dictatorial form of economic planning. The hope of having all the European nations of the European Union surrender that much power to centralized governance was an impossible and thankfully unthinkable centralization of power. This became first indicated when Great Britain took a vote of the people on whether or not to adopt the Euro and the people were clearly heard to say not without losing to an invading army first, otherwise reported as a resounding no and Great Britain retained the Pound but with time would accept the Euro but it would change in buying power as it performed against the Pound. The British model of accepting the Euro while retaining their own currency would very likely have been a far better solution considering what we know now. By allowing each nation their own currency while having them also accept the Euro as legal tender the individual national economic planning would have reflected in their national currency which could slide against the Euro while still having an exchange rate at which the Euro would have an established buying power. This way Greece could remain Greece and Germany could march to their own economic tune and both nations would accept the Euro but their economy would be reflected in the exchange rate which would be set in Brussels. That would provide each nation with its economic freedoms while granting the central control freaks in Brussels their power in determining the value of the Euro to the individual currencies.

 

Next, let us take Vlad the Invader and resurgent Russia. Here the answer is simple; things are as they were inevitably meant to be. Russia has always had that appetite to chew on and swallow the smaller nations around her and some more so than others. Georgia and the Ukraine both fall into the more so than others category. Eventually there would have come along a strong and imperialist charismatic leader, instead we got a shirtless man experiencing a middle age crisis and owning a Napoléon complex likely due to the shared attribute of being of diminutive size also known as vertically challenged. Thus we have Vlad the Invader slowly but inexorably making advances which could have been potentially limited in the Ukraine to the Crimea but there would have been no stopping Putin’s appetite for conquest short of tempting his readiness for war by admitting the Ukraine and any other Warsaw Pact nation into NATO as well as the European Union. Of course this would have had the effect of making any of these moves by Russia on its neighboring countries, or as Vlad sees these nations being simply escaped provinces to be reclaimed, and thus pushing NATO or the weaker European Union into backing their mutual self-defense claims of, to quote an oldie but still a goodie, their all for one and one for all defensive agreements contained in both the European Union and especially NATO. So this can be traced back to Putin’s training as a KGB agent merging with his Napoléon complex plus his nationalistic and simplistic view that Russia was dealt a cruel and unfair blow with the, as he sees it, calamitous and most disastrous and lamentable event of the twentieth century and that he was the individual given the extraordinary and heaven ordained duty to rebuild Russia to her full and former glory. As far as others fearing Russia, especially in that neighborhood, Vlad the Invader has succeeded in spades.

 

China is another historical hegemonic power in the Pacific Ocean or at least the western shores of the Pacific Ocean and at times the Indian Ocean as well. One has to remember that China used to have regular wars with the other great power of Asia, India, back when simple people power was a determining factor and has only in recent history run astride of hard times. Historically China has either been the regional power controlling all she could survey or China was broken into separate mini-states which often warred with each other thus diminishing their powers. The only other situation was when China was overrun or controlled by outside influences and she was in a slow but constant state of regaining her independence and eventually sovereignty over her invaders. China has been and remains the slow and patient survivor and eventual victor which one need but wait to see her resurgence. China has a long history of simply refusing to be cowed or defeated, merely witnessing a temporary inconvenience. China has relied on the winds of change always knowing that no matter what the calamity, be it outside invaders or internal misrule, everything changes and change is the one criteria which can be relied upon to render all things dust. China realizes that there are time when you are riding the crest of the wave and time when the wave has crashed down upon you and whichever end of that wave you find yourself, you will eventually find yourself at the other extreme so enjoy the best of times and remember them as a goal in the worst of times. For China time has been her greatest ally and greatest enemy but she also knows that time is her greatest weapon. China will rise and fall just as the ocean tides, just on a much longer cycle.

 

Then there is the Extended Middle East which incorporates the traditional Middle East and North Africa and often called MENA. We like Extended Middle East better. This area has always been a cauldron of swirling fates. One need do no more than read the Bible, the Old Testament, to realize the great swings of fate for all who resided in this area. There have been great empires which rose from next to nothing to greatness only to be blown away like the desert sands. Some of these empires blew away so completely that one is unable to find their descendants as it is as if they were snatched from the Earth itself. Probably the strangest of stories is the people of the Bible who only recently returned to their historic, ancient lands, Israel. However, this return has become the central story and burdened with the weight of responsibility for all the unrest anywhere on the globe and particularly throughout the Extended Middle East. Despite there being no actual or traceable root to the great turmoil destroying and potentially redrawing the map of the Extended Middle East to Israel, that has not prevented many from historians to political pundits to media reporters and even to governments and their agencies such as the United States Department of State from laying all of the blame at Israel’s doorstep.

 

The turmoil in the central Middle East is nothing new as it is the control point for all trade historically between three massive and divergent continents; Africa, Europe and Asia. This was the locations of a city-state which had no viable crop or natural resource and was hidden away behind a narrow splitting in a rock face and the city was entirely built into another rock face which had an outer clearing protected by tall rock walls and survived purely on trade and taking a percentage of all transactions. The city was Petra which finally and literally fell out of use after an earthquake made its further use untenable. But Petra was an indication on exactly how important the areas of the Middle East were for trade between the three continents. Tracing history in this area you find such names as Egypt, Hittite, Assyrian, Babylonian, Philistines, Minoans, Canaanites who worshipped such gods as Moloch and Baal, Persians and entering the more modern age, the Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Ottomans and finally the French and British. Where to trace back the turmoil and near constant warfare of the Middle East, perhaps to Cain and Abel and the earliest recorded use of a rock as a tool of war. That might be a stretch but the earliest conflict likely predates writing by a sufficient amount of time that it also ceased being a part of the oral history and never got recorded just as the actual traceable location of Atlantis was never given (Pillars of Hercules and out in the great waters, like that helps).

 

But the recent difficulties and intermitted warfare both between nations and internal to nations is traceable to a particular intentional act meant to create just such internal strife and potentially these external wars in order to prevent the area from ever again uniting into the one promise the French and British had given to particular Arab tribal, nations and even clan leaders to persuade them into assisting them in their efforts against the Ottoman Empire during World War I, the reestablishment of the Caliphate, meaning the areas of the Ottoman Empire intact as a singular entity, and leaving these leaders as the ruling council and the ones who would choose the new Caliph. Instead, this promise was not only shattered but the lines drawn after World War I in both the Middle East and rest of the Ottoman Empire as well as the Austria Hungarian Empire in order to prevent there ever being a reunification thus preventing these powers from becoming preeminent and capable of starting the next conflagration. The division of the Austro-Hungarian Empire mostly achieved its purpose and the next war where it did arise out of Germany which was generally a previous part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and had only in the late 1800s gained its unified formation independent of outside control but not necessarily free of their influences thus leading to the rise of Adolph Hitler and the Nazi efforts and Word War II. But in the Middle East we had the Sykes–Picot Agreement which made completely arbitrary borders without, or possibly intentionally ignoring, tribal lines and clans or any of the natural political alignments often splitting lands as in the case of the Kurds; who also were promised their own nation as were the Jews in separate agreements but instead the Kurdish lands were divided and became parts of Turkey, Syria, Iraq and Iran; making each nation internally unstable. Iraq is probably the most well-known of these divisions which in the case of Iraq divided the lands such that the Shiites were predominant in the south, the Sunni predominant in the center and the Kurds predominant in the north. This forced each of these imaginary nations to eventually find that the only way to restore and keep the peace was the rise of a militant strongman willing to impose peace by force of arms such as was the case under Saddam Hussein. Say whatever you like about Saddam Hussein such as he was a butcher, a murderer and a hard tyrant with an iron fist, he kept Iraq from devolving into internecine warfare such as we are witnessing today.

 

The rest of the turmoil which we are suffering through today may have had a recent triggering event, namely the Cairo speech by United States President Barack Obama and his foreign policy which was centered around his campaign promise to end the wars and bring the troops home. Unfortunately for the majority of the people turned victims in the Extended Middle East, President Obama pulled all of the United States military personnel from both Afghanistan and Iraq prematurely as neither nation had developed the experience of the new governance nor the military ability to resist disorder while, especially in Iraq, the suppressed majority had some real and serious issues and grudges to settle with the minority who had ruled the nation through oppressions and they were out to get that revenge which tore the nation apart making it ripe for a force such as ISIS to tear into its midsection and even gain some support from the people there. The Sykes–Picot Agreement was designed to make the Middle East in particular and the Extender Middle East by division of who controlled what area which became independent nations with the arbitrary borders established by their respective colonizers, left the entirety of these areas as a tinder box simply waiting for that spark and it was likely the Cairo Speech and the enthusiastic attempt after the Tunisian vegetable cart vendor’s self-immolation and subsequent uprising in Tunisia being used as the trigger for President Obama’s attempt to redraw the Middle East around granting the Muslim Brotherhood preeminence over the region sharing control with Iran as the hegemon in the east and the Muslim Brotherhood in the west. Even had this plan succeeded it would have only set up a different state of conflict but this time with two very strong entities making for an even potentially greater struggle. The war right now is contained for the most part to the Greater Syrian conflict which includes ISIS and Iraq and the Iranian intervention, and the Egyptian struggle internally for the most part with the Egyptian military wresting control from the Muslim Brotherhood. The trouble in Libya is tribal and most likely to remain in Libya unless ISIS gets a firm and significant foothold and then there will be trouble as ISIS then moves to take all of Libya and begins their spread into Tunisia, Egypt and Algeria, but especially Egypt. History will likely eventually lay the blame for the current explosion of unrest and open warfare in the Extended Middle East to the United States meddling and doing so by proxy removing their personnel, especially military, from the Extended Middle East and stirring the pot so to speak and hoping for the best. They failed, or should we simply say the truth, President Obama really had no idea what he was attempting and misunderstood the players and nearly everything in the Middle East and almost every other foreign affairs which he has chosen action or inaction. Incompetence beyond measure being wielded by a self-indulgent, uninformed, narcissist with delusions of competence and wisdom that produces a boondoggle that only complete ineptitude, ignorance and delusions of grandeur could produce. I am sure there are other adjectives which would apply but for the sake of brevity shall we coin a new phrase and call such complete ineffectiveness which produces great conflagrations as doing an Obamy.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

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