Beyond the Cusp

December 25, 2017

The Next Super Power Faceoff

 

The world media overlook Iran except in some individuals who are fixated on the Middle East. We almost fit that picture except we also glance towards Europe, Russia and even the United States every so often just because things happen. What most of the world does not realize is that Iranian borders do not stop at Iraq, Syria, the Persian Gulf or Afghanistan. The Iranian borders circumnavigate that and so much more. Iran also includes virtually all of Yemen, Lebanon and soon to include Bahrain, Qatar and heavy cooperation, if not complete incorporation, of Eritrea, Djibouti and parts or use of Somalia and the Sudan. Iran likely had forces hidden away in Gaza where Islamic Jihad and Hamas are allied with Iran as well as forces in the Sinai Peninsula. The probability of Iran deciding that Jordan would make a fortuitous addition to its territory, there would be little Jordanian forces could do to prevent such an occurrence (which is why we included Jordan as part of a Greater Iran). We consistently hear complaints of the devious plans for a Greater Israel. Let us think of that for a moment and compare it with peace loving Iran which was an United States ally for much of the past decade and only recently have things turned somewhat sour. Israel returned the Sinai Peninsula to Egypt in return for a cold peace. Israel returned all of southern Lebanon after rescuing the Christians who were being slaughtered by invading Syrian troops without even receiving any treaty. In return for this Hezballah took control of that territory and Iran has backed them with between one-hundred-thousand and one-hundred-fifty-thousand, if not more, rockets and missiles of all sizes, ranges, payloads and guidance capabilities from ten kilometer range with one kilogram payload and no guidance to missiles which can strike all of Israel and into Egypt, possibly to Cairo, with ten-thousand-kilogram payloads with guidance capable of striking within ten meters of the intended target.

 

Iran, in the meantime has taken control of Iraq as a present from the United States pulling their troops. They have been a great friend to the Syria dictator Bashir al-Assad and with assistance from Russia have assisted Bashir al-Assad to retain his hold on Syria where Iran is building a base for the IRGC* within twenty miles of the Golan Heights and the Israeli border. Lebanon has been controlled by Hezballah who have militarized the southern third of the nation with a system of tunnels and underground bunkers along with the aforementioned rockets and missiles. Additionally, they have artillery pieces similar to the German 88 mm anti-tank artillery. We have one of these pieces as part of a fountain at the main entrance to our home town in Israel as it was captured and had been utilized by Hezballah to shell our town during one of the Hezballah wars. Hezballah is, for intents and purposes, a number of groups of units under the command of the IRGC, the Iranian foreign military command which is a separate but fully capable arm of the Iranian military. The Houthis rebels now control the major cities and ports in Yemen and virtually the entire nation and have lobbed rockets into Saudi Arabia including at Riyadh, the Capital of Saudi Arabia, and have been armed by Iran and aided by the IRGC. Iranian weaponry has been intercepted in the Sudan, Sinai Peninsula crossing into Gaza and in the Mediterranean Sea such as the MV Karine A. Greater Iran is a reality which has been ignored by the world media while Israel, which has surrendered territory for the sake of peace, of striving to engulf the Arab world into a Greater Israel. Greater Iran is the width and breadth and has great similarity to the one nation which currently appears to be in the Iranian crosshairs, the United States. Their areas are comparable and they both command the greater part of the battlefield of a continent and are capable of projecting power over wide areas with missiles which are capable of striking anywhere on the globe and being capable of carrying nuclear payloads to any location and it is believed that Iran, despite the Iranian Nuclear Deal, has been manufacturing nuclear weapons for well over a decade and has mastered the technology for manufacture of thermonuclear devices and Super EMP devices. Below are maps of what could very easily be Greater Iran and the United States should there be a conflict between these adversaries sometime in the next decade, possibly two decades. Hopefully a peaceful solution can be found which will satisfy the hunger of Iran for reestablishing the glory and modern version of the conquests of the Persian Empire. The Persian Empire reached the Grecian Isles, down both coasts of the Saudi Peninsula and as far as Egypt. Their known world was presumed to be quite a bit smaller than the entirety of the globe is today, not to mention, conquering the known world today includes a few nations quite capable of defending themselves such as Russia and China. And as mentioned, there is the United States should Iran attempt to take control of any NATO nations such as Greece and Turkey.

 

The Next Super Power Faceoff

The Next Super Power Faceoff

 

Should one listen to the speeches given by the true leader of the Iranian nation, the Grand Ayatollah, Sayyed Ali Hosseini Khamenei (سید علی حسینی خامنه‌ای Persian), one would believe that his ambitions are universal. He envisions an Iranian Shiite Kingdom having complete sovereignty over the entirety of planet Earth. He does not foresee his ruling Iran in that day but that some future Grand Ayatollah after him. He sees such as the will of Allah and thus inevitable. What might ruin this are the visions of Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan who claims his only vision is to take Aleppo, Mosul and the remainder of the Kurdish regions as his effort to reestablish the Ottoman Empire. Then there are the Wahabbists and the Muslim Brotherhood, both of which see themselves at the head of a Sunni Empire of the Earth. One must wonder in such times as these if perchance we will see another attempt by the French to conquer all of Europe including Russia or perhaps the return of the great empires of Europe, Asia, the Americas, Africa and who knows where else. All the while, no matter the realities of the world, the wars flaring, the suffering of humanity in far too many areas and the numerous designs on ruling the world and spreading ones culture over all mankind, the one thing which will remain constant will be the preoccupation of the United Nations and all of its various agencies with the imagined evils of the Jewish State of Israel.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

*IRGC = Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps

 

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June 22, 2017

Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Iran, Al-Jazeera and the Gulf States

 

One of the places where that fabric of the world is stretched the tightest is along the Persian Gulf with the Straights of Hormuz being at the near breaking-point. The fabric was ratcheted even tighter right before United States President Trump’s recent visit when Qatar backed out of the deal made which made the Trump visit possible. Following right behind Qatar were both Oman and Bahrain, who also backed out of the deal, leaving Saudi Arabia in a predicament which has its problems and its rewards. The problem is now Saudi Arabia must foot the entire approximately four-hundred-billion dollar deal over three years. The good side is Saudi Arabia will be arming themselves to parity if not exceeding the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF). The next problem is that Saudi Arabian Military is great at marching and wearing fancy dress and intimidating mostly unarmed protesters and putting down any aspirations for the Arab Spring within Saudi Arabia, which took almost five minutes after the Friday launch date when protesters were outnumbered by Saudi Troops in the streets. Then there was the Shiite Arab Spring uprising in Bahrain which was appearing as if they might overthrow their Sunni rulers until, you guessed it, Saudi Arabian armored columns used all six lanes of the connecting causeway sending troops to end the uprising (pictured below). The Arab Spring ended in Bahrain with just the show of force and not one person was killed. Overwhelming force has its place and advantages. So, the Saudis will be the eight-hundred-pound-gorilla with sufficient armaments for two such gorillas. In case these arms are required to defend Saudi Arabia, which includes Mecca and Medina being in Sunni hands, the excess armaments owned by the Saudis will be distributed to well-trained Egyptian troops. Believe it that if the Saudis are in danger from outside forces that Egypt will provide manpower and, if necessary, Pakistan is in agreement to provide the technology to produce along with, some claim, as many as a dozen nuclear weapons. Now we have the chess table set with only a few other necessities which will be revealed as we follow a possible story-line, a scarily possible story line.

 

King Fahd Causeway is the bridge between Bahrain and Saudi Arabia

King Fahd Causeway is the bridge
between Bahrain and Saudi Arabia

 

Currently, Saudi Arabia is less than thrilled with Qatar for their pulling from the deal. There are some who believe they did this as a means of financially testing or even injuring the Saudi Arabian Royal Family who are not as affluent with money overflowing coffers as many in the West believe. Of course, it goes without saying, that Iran was behind this idea for their friend and sometimes, more often than not, ally, Qatar. There are many, ourselves included, who believe that Iran not only asked forcefully that Qatar pull out right before President Trump arrived such that the Saudis would have no recourse but to take up any needs. Then it is thought that Bahrain and Oman were also requested under threat by Iran to also pull from the deal. This has set up a very tense situation in the area around Iran, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States and the length of the Persian Gulf with the Straits of Hormuz the shortest distance between the two rivals (see map below). Qatar is using their control over their news service, Al-Jazeera, which combines television, radio, cable, internet and print media. Much of their electronic media is transmitted via satellite making it next to impossible to block. Qatar has been using their visual media to almost constantly show the visit of President Trump and particularly his visiting sacred and sensitive Islamic areas with women not wearing hair cover or burkas. The women were modestly dressed but not to the strict demands of Islam. These pictures are being accompanied with charges that the Saudi Royal Family are not real Muslims and they have disgraced Islam with their reception of President Trump without forcing the women to be properly covered. These accusations and the near constant flow of the pictures are on order from Iran attempting to insult the Saudi Royals before the Islamic world. The divisions as they currently appear to be are as depicted below.

 

Saudi Arabia, Iran, the Gulf States and the Length of the Persian Gulf with the Straits of Hormuz

Saudi Arabia, Iran, the Gulf States and the
Length of the Persian Gulf with the Straits of Hormuz

 

The problem, and even possibly the intent, is the media assault on the Saudi Arabian rulers by Qatar can only end one of two ways. The first is that Iran orders an end to the constant attempts of insulting and defaming the Saudi Arabian Royal Family and Qatar along with Al-Jazeera move on returning to often broadcasting Iranian attacks on the United States and Israel with occasional mention of Saudi Arabia or Egypt, i.e. regular broadcasting. The other is the attacks on the Saudi Royals leads to their demand they stop or they will be considered as a declaration of war on Saudi Arabia and her allies. The stress of her allies is important. This could result in the Saudis sending troops into Qatar to close down Al-Jazeera and that could result in a reaction from Iran at the request of the rulers of Qatar. This has been the Qatari Ace in the Hole by which they are able to continue to attack their larger neighbor, Saudi Arabia, through their manipulation of their control of the media in the Arab world using Al-Jazeera. This has been their means of bludgeoning the Saudi leadership and governance in service of their Iranian sponsors. The problem is should there begin to be unrest and calls for the end of the rule of the Saudi Arabian Royal Family and things start to become close to a point where the Wahhabi clerics might believe they could take control directly through a popular revolt, the Saudi Royals would act before that point could come to be. This would force their hand and an assault on Qatar, and on the Al-Jazeera headquarters in particular, might become the most viable option.

 

Should things reach the point that Saudi Arabia uses their military superiority to squelch the media assault originating from within Qatar, this might be the flashpoint leading to a far larger military confrontation. Such an attack could result in an Iranian response attacking Bahrain, Oman, United Arab Emirates and counter the Saudi Arabian assault in Qatar. This might not even be the worst result. Should Saudi Arabia respond to such an attack with strikes inside Iran, the response could become a general attack by Iran across the Middle East on the heart of Sunni Islam striking towards Mecca and Medina from both Yemen and western Iraq using Houthis as their shock troops out of Yemen while they strike across Oman to Yemen and possibly land amphibious troops in Yemen for a pincher movement striking Oman from both ends and using Hezballah as their shock troops striking down out of Iraq getting a running start from Syria southward. There might be one feel-good side-effect; the Iranians may find it easier to simply eradicate Islamic State in the process. Jordan may or may not be amongst the targets of an Iranian first strike against Saudi Arabia, but they will be a target if for no other reason as they would allow Iran to surround Israel and Jordan has tens of thousands of Palestinian Arabs who might just join Iran if they were given the right promises. This would be the definitive war between Sunni and Shiite Islam with the winner taking all of Islam or at least a huge step towards that goal if Iran wins and the end of Shia Islam if Saudi Arabia proved triumphant.

 

The truth be told, if Iran were to defeat Saudi Arabia, their number one rival and quite possibly the top of the Iranian bucket list ahead of the United States and even Israel, they would control the two most important cities in all Islam, Mecca and Medina, and gain a treasure trove of weaponry. With the good relations that Iran has with the Sudan and the natural enmity between the Sudan and Egypt, almost a sibling rivalry between the two former British colonies and still Arab colonies, truth be told, Iran would have a natural front with Egypt, the sole power between Iran and total domination of all Islam. This would place Iran a stone’s throw from establishing the Shia dream for the past thirteen-hundred plus years, the defeat of the accursed Sunnis who murdered their leaders and actual descendants of Mohammad and true leaders of Islam, or at least that is their story. Of course, the Sunni will tell a different story about renegade Muslims who are merely apostates.

 

This is one of those pressure points upon which the world may turn upside down, or right-side up, depending upon how you view the world’s current state. Where this is but one of the far too many breaking-points where the stretched fabric of the world is measurably thinner than average and which makes it a point where even the smallest disruption could punch a hole in the fabric from which a tear would soon start if the violence spread leading to a series of events insuring an ever larger ring of violence. Leading to World War I there was an assassination which led to a state of war that even before it was declared began tearing the world apart. Each side began calling in their promises of mutual support and before you knew it, most of the world was engaged in a struggle which after the lines settled simply stagnated with intermittent slaughters when one side or the other sent their troops into no-man’s-land rushing from their trenches attempting to reach the other side’s trenches. Both sides had this little invention, though under separate contracts and differing names, known as the Maxim machinegun (see image below). Maxim became wealthy and by the time the war ended and all the treaties were signed and borders established with the movement of populations, the resultant death toll exceeded fifteen-million.

 

Maxim Machinegun Trenches and No Man’s Land

Maxim Machinegun
Trenches and No Man’s Land

 

Making matters worse, the impositions, including and specifically monetary, placed on Germany were all but directly responsible for World War II and another approximately eighty-million deaths. All told, an assassination of an Archduke and his wife led to close to one-hundred-million deaths and the toll is still being counted as the Sykes-Picot Treaty is responsible for much of the trouble and dissolution of the Arab world, where things are sensitive and reaching a critical mass. Even if the current crises are calmed, the entire situation will simply rise to another similar point of overt pressure in the future unless a permanent solution which recognizes the individual tribes and allegiances. Even then, who knows, and who can even believe they can know. Until humankind learns to live one with the others despite their differences and when the concept of world conquest is forever laid to rest, we will simply live from one crisis to the next until one ultimate crisis ends the existence of humanity leaving so few humans that all knowledge is lost within two or three generations and humanity has to begin again from square one. Who knows how many times we have come to this precipice and fallen, once, twice, one hundred, how many? There has been evidence found of a former cataclysm and there are the ancient Indian texts telling of weapons with unprecedented destructive powers. The world once again has such power, the power to end all civilized life on the planet and cause an unprecedented extinction event exceeded only once or twice in all of Earth’s history. In the famous T. S. Eliot poem, “The Hollow Men” ends with the following two lines, “This is the way the world ends, Not with a bang but with a whimper.” He was close as the last sound will be a whimper but all but immediately before that there will be a series of Earth-shattering bangs of near unprecedented destruction in all of human history combined as all the secondary nuclear powers release their destruction on all who are not fit to live by their definitions, which will be against the others and each other ending all, then the few who survive for a short period will finish with the whimper.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

January 13, 2016

Israel and the Iran Saudi Arabia Standoff

 

If you have been following the news in the Middle East there is one overriding story behind almost everything you read about whether it is mentioned or not; the standoff between Iran and Saudi Arabia, also called the Sunni Shiite Never-Ending War which has raged and subsided and raged and subsided repeatedly over the past fourteen centuries. So, let us take a short trip around a few of the hottest hot-spots in the world and peek behind the curtains to uncover some of the behind the scenes realities. Syria, Iran and Hezballah, the Shiite forces, are supporting/allowing Bashir al-Assad to rule Syria or at least be over Damascus and the western seaboard and the Israeli border; while Saudi Arabia supports the Sunni rebel forces trying to unseat al-Assad completely. Then there is the Islamic State which though Sunni is the orphaned freckled, red haired child nobody wishes to claim as their brand, and has been too eager and enthusiastic to embrace the extremes from the Quran and take them to extremes not seen and force them onto the world’s stage for inspection, revulsion and unfathomed attractive side which has swelled their following providing more troops and suicide bombers and women, many from Western nations, seeking to fill a gaping hole in their lives which defies rational explanation. In Yemen Saudi Arabia is supporting the former ruling Sunnis while Iran has provided the weaponry behind the meteoric swarming across Yemen by the Houthis rebels. In Lebanon, Iran has supported the virtual takeover by Hezballah while Saudi Arabia has supported the Sunni Arabs and by that indirectly some of their Christian allies. Hamas in Gaza has been reaping the benefits from two sources aiding their efforts with their natural ally being the Muslim Brotherhood which provides direct military assistance with arms, explosives and experienced trainers while Iran supplies arms, technology and monies keeping a southern front they can call into play to add a second front squeezing Israel between Hamas and Hezballah. Islamic Jihad is entirely supported through Iran which can be used to pressure Hamas to support any attacks under Iranian request knowing that they could always open the front without them and it would make little difference as Israel would still hold Hamas responsible. Egypt is allied behind Saudi Arabia simply because they realize that they have no friends in Tehran and should Iran defeat Saudi Arabia for sole hegemony approaching, if not surpassing Israeli conventional powers would leave Egypt in a difficult position. Iraq is another direct confrontation with Iran supporting the Shiite government in the south and Saudi Arabia supporting the remnants of the Sunni in central and eastern Iraq while Islamic State is dominant in Western Iraq and the Kurds solidifying their North Western Iraq positions with their North Eastern Syria holding and working to survive the Turkish airstrikes which Erdogan pretends that those strikes are against Islamic State forces. Then there are the fires burning in Libya where the Islamic State and al-Qaeda are vying against tribal forces who are fiercely independent and appear that some favor the similar fierceness they perceive in the Islamic State. Then there is Turkey who in many ways is the other wild card other than Egypt with one difference, Turkey would not mind an Iranian dominant Middle East rather than Saudi Arabia as they have had an off and on relationship with Iran never quite burning all their bridges while Saudi Arabia had no great love for Erdogan poisoning their relations thoroughly. The last actor and the thus far only nuclear power with ICBM capabilities but also the only nation which could cause all of these forces to ignore their individual hatreds and unite against which is why Israel is being very quiet and attempting by all means to sit idly on the sidelines of any potential breakout of open warfare. Does Israel have a preferred side? Probably, like Egypt, Israel had no love lost for Iran and would likely see Saudi Arabia as the lesser of two evils. Israel also had relations, though rather chilled on some levels and dependent on the Sisi Presidency and will remain dependent on who holds that office.

 

There are rumors which have been verified that talks exist between Israel and Turkey to resume more friendly relations by putting the Mavi Marmara debacle behind them. The leaks or intentional releases to the media by high placed officials or people with knowledge or any of the assembly of the usual suspects have pointed out that there exist some very insurmountable obstacles which could scuttle any deal. Then there has been the warnings sounding more like demands from Egypt warning against such moves by Israel. Part of what is driving the rapprochement has been the need by Israel of a route to deliver natural gas to Europe and Turkey being one of the more logical connections which would make such possible. Turkey has already natural gas lines leading into Europe from Russia and other Central Asian sources which any Israeli connection could be wed to and Turkey herself has need of an additional source of natural gas as their relations with Russia have taken a dive over downing of a Russian fighter jet for presumably crossing into Turkish airspace while on a mission in neighboring Syria. Further, Israel will require any deal not demand any sacrifices Israel is not ready to make as Israel also would not savor soured relations with Russia and Russia is a far more important friend and a far worse enemy than Turkey could even pretend to offer. Additionally, the talk that there is a Saudi Arabia oil pipeline deal being researched to allow Saudi Arabian crude oil across Israel and to one of the Israeli Mediterranean ports to be running as a secondary means of getting Saudi Arabian and allied nations hooked into the Saudi and Kuwaiti oil pipeline systems to get their oil to market should hostilities break out and shipping become unsafe and uninsurable over threats by Iran to sink and oil tanker attempting passage through the Straits of Hormuz as they have threatened numerous times. The disaster of a closed Straits of Hormuz and the disaster such would present for oil transportation from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the rest of the GCC nations, all one need do is read the map below, and for all first year ROTC Lieutenants who are map-challenged, the picture of which it can be said that a picture is worth fifty or so maps when describing such a situation as this. Also, by laying such a pipeline, Saudi Arabia would also have gotten around the Bab-el-Mandeb straights where Yemen, coming under Iranian control, though slower than six months ago as the Saudi efforts have begun to take hold, would choke off the southern end of the Red Sea and access to the Suez Canal. Iran has been busy taking control of maritime straits and Saudi Arabia is seeking a pipeline to bypass all the Iranian choke points but at the price of being accused of being a Zionist pawn. That may be the price the Saudi Royals may have to pay.

 

 

Map of Straits of Hormuz with Distance Legend plus Picture for a More Visceral Representation

Map of Straits of Hormuz with Distance Legend
plus Picture for a More Visceral Representation

 

 

The potential for a crisis should Saudi Arabia-Iranian situation continue to escalate and Saudi Arabia continue their sabotage of the price of oil by refusing to permit OPEC to lower their production as they are using their massive oil production potential to keep the prices where they and their allies can operate and still make a profit, a smaller profit, but still a profit while Iran and their main powerful backer, Russia, both unable to make much if any profits from their oil production capability. Further, this false low price of oil has had a chilling effect on United States fracking production which is more expensive but the United States oil producers, already pumping output, can make a profit by having their output processed within the United States as they save considerably from low transportation costs which would have been further lowered had the Keystone Pipeline been built which would have also facilitated more fracking operations thus increasing jobs not only for building the pipeline but also in the oil fracking business which jobs would have had a longer permanence. The Saudi Arabian pipeline rumored to be in the works to have it go through Jordan and Israel to Mediterranean Ports would provide a new shipping point for shipments to Europe and would conceivably have an expansion of Israeli refining opening new and modern petroleum processing distilleries and other ancillary industries and employment. Such a pipeline, by removing the longer trek from the Persian Gulf around the Arabian Peninsula up the Red Sea and through the Suez Canal just to reach the Mediterranean Sea basically at an Israel port, would save Europeans as their price of oil would be significantly lower and the Saudi Arabians would also find greater profits while still making life difficult for the Russians and especially the Iranian oil industry.

 

Adding fuel to the fire, Saudi Arabia went forward with the execution of the Shiite cleric, Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr along with forty plus Sunnis. The execution of Shiite Imam Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr comes after his spending a decade waiting execution while protests have rung throughout the Shiite world right up to the execution. After the execution, the Saudi Arabian Embassy in Tehran and one of their Consulates were attacked and the Saudis ordered all diplomats from Iran out of Saudi Arabia within 48 hours. The rest of the GCC capitals also followed suit. The rioters in Iran protesting the Saudi Arabian actions in the execution of Shiite Imam Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr for good measure also were burning flags of the United States claiming they were supportive pawns of Saudi Arabia and also flags of Israel as Israel was really behind the United States and Saudi Arabia, plus were defeating the holy Islamic rule in Egypt and Turkey, meddling in Syria, threatening Lebanon, imposing a greater Israel from the Euphrates River to the Nile River, aggressing against the Rule of the Twelfth Imam and affecting the weather through global warming to sink Easter Island, the Galapagos, the oil fields in Alaska and the polluting of the Solar System with spacecraft blighting Allah’s creations. Well, yes, perhaps I got carried away, but at what point did you notice things had gone off the rails? Actually, there may come a day if Islam completes their desired path and rule all of the world and still, somehow, Israel is left completely alone standing on an Islamic world, still any ill or problem will still be placed at the feet of Israel and blaming Israel will have completed what the BDS loons started, making Israel the idol that all worship as the killer of dreams.

 

Any completely losing it in this article is due to the dread of having to listen to President Obama’s State of the Union address at least four times if I am to be able to critique it other than, EXCUSE ME!?! Um, sorry for yelling, it is really freaking me out and I will hate my DVR by night’s end.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

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