Beyond the Cusp

May 8, 2017

Coming American Foreign Policy Challenges and One Done Right

 

We may as well start by talking briefly about the one area that the United States has started addressing and thus far has taken the proper and righteous approach. Contrary to what many have claimed, President Trump had begun to implement a Syria strategy. The first, and thus far, primary step has been to work to show that the United States has a group they are willing to stand with and are going to protect. They have made this statement boldly and sent a message to President Erdogan of Turkey that the Kurds are to be left alone. No longer will his indiscriminate attacks by air and land against the Kurds be tolerated and if President Erdogan desires to join the fight in Syria, then it will be against the Islamic State like he has told the world he was fighting and not against the Kurds who was who he was really fighting. The green and gold banner of the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia and the colors of the United States were noticeable as they flew side-by-side in northern Syria for the first time. The images of Army Strykers and YPG vehicles rolling in Kurdish territories in Syria flooded social media and is intended to send a hands-off message to Turkish forces and to President Erdogan in Ankara. The YPG Militias are part of the Syrian Democratic Forces that the United States has been backing through arming them and now is showing a more active support. In the Washington Times Erdogan was quoted saying on Sunday that he vowed to carry out more strikes against Kurdish targets in northern Syria, telling reporters in Istanbul he was “saddened” by the images of the American and YPG flags flying in tandem. He impressed that this would be a major issue at his scheduled May meeting with President Trump in mid-May. We hope President Erdogan is prepared to be disappointed.

 

United States Armored Troops Move into Kurdish Areas of Syria

United States Armored Troops Move into Kurdish Areas of Syria

 

More news on the Syrian front comes as the White House has called for making areas safe-zones complete with enforced “No-fly zones” in place. President Trump spoke at length with Russian President Putin and it was reported that the talks were productive and the two men appear to have found some common middle ground. It is expected that Turkey’s President Erdogan will oppose any no-fly zones or safe zones that include Kurdish held ground as President Erdogan has sworn to wipe the Kurdish people from the map as he sees them as no different than the Ottomans viewed the Armenian and he desires applying the same solution. Should Presidents Putin and Trump reach an accord on these safe zones and no-fly zones and mutually enforce such, then Erdogan would prove to be a mad-man should he decide to test the resolve of Russia and the United States. Still, we suspect that he will test the American resolve at least twice and once he loses some of his aircraft will he finally return to Turkey and resign that he will not reach his envisioned “Greater Turkey” (see map below). Meanwhile, despite the fact that Syrian Dictator Bashir al-Assad would dearly love to see the Kurds crushed, he shares with Erdogan their mutual hatred of the Kurds viewing them as less Muslim than their own people, the Alawites for Assad and the Turks for Erdogan. As far as the Russians are concerned, as the Kurds have mostly just protected their own spaces and not attacked anyone other than the Islamic State, they are not posing any direct threat to Russia or Assad in their eyes. This will likely lead Putin to allow the Kurdish areas to be designated safe zones and placed under a no-fly order, which would fall to the United States to enforce. President Trump can expect Erdogan to attempt to disallow American aircraft from the base in Turkey to be utilized for this purpose. President Trump could then use an aircraft carrier in the Mediterranean Sea off of Syria or Israel, secretly use an Israel airfield, or ignore Erdogan and test his resolve. Erdogan just might be the fool enough to test President Trump by taking measures against American forced in Turkey thus potentially making Turkey the test case for what happens to people who test a commitment by President Trump. We figure such would be a very risky move with terrible consequences, but Erdogan believes that the United States is still under weak leadership as the American media have portrayed President Trump with their constant questioning and belittling his every move. This could have horrible consequences.

 

Greater Turkey

Greater Turkey

 

There will be two areas where President Trump will face great tests. His being used to business deals where contracts actually mean what the two sides intend to commit to is quite different than when dealing with rogue regimes. President Erdogan will simply be an introductory course in the art of international miscreants. There will be little learned here as this will be reminiscent of President Trump’s days growing up in a rough and tumble New York neighborhood where deeds were the real rest and talk often could substitute for deeds until somebody called you on your words and you needed to then prove your mettle. The real test will come from North Korea and the Palestinian Arabs. Both Kim Jong Un and Mahmoud Abbas have the same record in observing and keeping promises made in agreements, none. Both men will sign agreements, demand the other side meet all obligations and then refute that any demands or promises were made by their side and renege on everything upon which they had agreed. This defaulting by them has no bearing on their demands that everyone else meet the terms of that very agreement. This is the kind of dealing which gets one a bad name in business dealings but is not so uncommon in international affairs. The dictatorial and rogue states are well versed in double-dealing and will not feign from taking affront at others’ comments about them while dispensing insults as if they were candy at a children’s birthday party. This may be something Trump needs to realize that there is no arbitration between nations and the only means of enforcing agreements is through coercion, threat or actual use of force. Where this may be undesirable, it is still a necessary lesson that such is the way of the world and things are far from ideal.

 

Kim Jong Un and Mahmoud Abbas

Kim Jong Un and Mahmoud Abbas

 

The first installment of this message came fast and furious from the Palestinian Authority (PA) this week. While President Trump lauded Mahmoud Abbas for promising to end the payments to terrorists and their families commensurate on the numbers of Israelis the murdered and injured including those in prison in Israel, Mahmoud Abbas and nearly the entirety of the PA hierarchy upon Abbas returning came out in force to deny that any such promise had passed his lips. They also pointed out that such payments were a central tenet of their government and would continue. We guess the good news is that at least they did not announce an increase in these payments. This comes atop news that President Trump promised the PA additional funds and we can only hope that these funds are now prevented in response to the announced continuing for using such funds to reward terrorism directly, a definitive form of incitement if ever there was one. The unilateral PA announcement that funds will continue to be used to pay terrorists benefits commensurate with people murdered and maimed should be used by Congress, if the President does not take the initiative, as the reason to end all United States aid to the PA and to UNRWA (United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East). The additional reason for including UNRWA is the curriculum, which is full of terror incitement and terrorist glorification throughout their schoolbooks and enforced further by employing Hamas members as teachers and administrators in Gaza and PA appointees in similar positions in Judea and Samaria. Their teaching incitement and aggrandizement of terrorism is reason enough under stipulations already in place to end funding to all entities involved. This is but the first test from these two fronts.

 

President Trump will need to understand the duplicitous dealings from these actors before dealing with Iran who proved to have taken President Obama to the cleaners. The fact is President Obama desired just such an end and actually led the parade with the part of class clown aptly played by Secretary of State John Kerry. The fact that Secretary Kerry was actually attempting to please his boss and attempting to do as best as he could only added to the shame heaped on the United States by the Nuclear Deal with Iran. Making matters even worse was the fact that Iran wrote up the agreement they were to make in Farsi which nobody at the State Department or Defense Department ever translated or checked to verify it concurred at least with the European or Russian versions, we already knew the United States version was for domestic use only and that everyone had their own version, this deal was a farce in action. When the news broke that the United States version given to the media did not jibe with either the Russian or the European versions, the Russian and European versions at least matched fairly well and were likely the sole true representation of the actual agreement, the media reported on that for two days never quite detailing the differences and then the Iran deal became old news seldom to be mentioned again until the campaign and Trump using it as a campaign point. Such a fiasco can and must never be permitted again in the future and any and all translations need be vetted for reality and matching the actual points as agreed upon, otherwise we are allowing each member to write and sign their own version of reality and everybody leaves with copies of a treaty which do not match one-another and everyone just then does what they decide is best and no real treaty exists.

 

Kin Jong Un is also delusional, megalomaniacal, and dangerously paranoid. This is not a healthy combination when it comes to world leaders of nations, especially nations on the verge of having warhead size thermonuclear weapons and the ICBM’s on which to place them threatening the entirety of the globe. The entire population of North Korea have been raised and actually believe that when their country fails, that is when, not if, that the entire globe will also be failing as everywhere is just like North Korea. The reality is except for Venezuela of late, the rest of the globe is doing much better than North Korea which is an even more dysfunctional state than Hamastan in Gaza, the PA in Judea and Samaria and possible on par, without the warfare, with Syria. The people are close to starving as a rule of life, there is little relief in sight but they honestly believe that should North Korea fail by war, starvation or plague, then the entirety of the globe must fail with them. This is how they are educated from infancy through into the military if they are fortunate as the military at least can afford food and shelter. Kim Jong Un lives like a king and his top people, military commanders live well, and he is only shown small areas of the capital of Pyongyang where his leadership live in relative comfort with ample housing. The distressing poverty of the country is kept from his eyes as should he realize the mismanagement, nobody can predict how many and whom he would have executed as responsible. As he has had an uncle executed for speaking sharply to him, executed a general for treason with little evidence and even less of a trial and his half brother assassinated sending a hit squad to another nation to murder him, Kim Jong Un has earned his credentials as unstable. How to make such a person hold to a treaty or anything resembling sanity is the question. Strangling him through embargoes may be all it would take for him to initiate nuclear Armageddon.

 

As if Erdogan, Kim Jong Un, Hamas, the PA, Islamic State and Bashir al-Assad was not enough facing President Trump plus a roguish President Putin with his exploits, there is one last madman backed by a regime of madmen, Iran. Their Supreme Leader, the Grand Ayatollah Sayyid Ali Hosseini Khamenei (Persian: سید علی حسینی خامنه‌ای‎‎) believes that he speaks with and for Allah and Muhammad here on earth. He is to be the leader to prepare all Islam for the coming of the Mahdi, the Twelfth Imam who has been in hiding for near on nine-hundred years. His return is to be some mythically magical event and a highway has been built from the perceived well in Qom to the center of the capital of Iran, Yehran, where he will be welcomed by the Supreme Leader, the Assembly of Experts and others from the religious heirarchy in Iran. Iran had two independent militaries with seperate lines of command and sets of orders. The Iranian military is a normative military which is tasked with protection of the nation from all external enemies. The IRGC (Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps) is responsible for activities outside the nation and national security within the nations including the religious police. They are responsible for providing troops and weaponry for the efforts in Syria, for Hezballah in Lebanon, occasionally for arming, training and providing rocket technology to Hamas in Gaza, running and securing the training camps in the Tri-Border region in South America. The Tri-Border Region (see map and picture below) is an area on the borders of Paraguay, Argentina, and Brazil and an area where all three national police and militaries refuse to interfere. It was from these camps that the terror squads, which carried out the bombings on Israeli and Jewish targets in Buenos Aires, were carried out. This has been an IRGC and Hezballah training paradise since the mid 1970’s and has faced little to no interference largely because it is almost as well armed as any force that might be sent to face them in the surrounding jungles. This is the reach available to the IRGC who are in close operational interconnectivity with Hezballah as both serve Iran as foreign contingents. The advantage of the IRGC working with Hezballah is that through such affiliation they provide Iran with sufficient separation to have plausible deniability. Never suspect that Iran does not know how to play political games, remember that it was the Persians who invented the game of chess.

 

Tri_Border Region of South America Terror training haven and Iranian proxy state in the Americas and Base of operations for the 17 March 1992 Israeli Embassy Bombing murdering 29 injuring 242 and the Asociación Mutual Israelita Argentina (AMIA) 18 July 1994bombing murdered 85 injured over 800 and now we must add the murdered Argentine Prosecutor Alberto Nisman to AMIA fatalities

Tri_Border Region of South America Terror training haven and Iranian proxy state in the Americas and Base of operations for the 17 March 1992 Israeli Embassy Bombing murdering 29 injuring 242 and the Asociación Mutual Israelita Argentina (AMIA) 18 July 1994 bombing murdered 85 injured over 800 and now we must add the murdered Argentine Prosecutor Alberto Nisman to AMIA fatalities

 

Supreme Leader, Grand Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, as he is oft referred in the international media, knows well the art of warfare by other means. He appears to be versed in Sun Tzu and the other writers on warfare. He uses words for weapons and assassins when required to strike where he desires. His rule is absolute and as such he has grown accustom to things as he prefers to see them and his subordinates dare not fall short in their assigned tasks. The power structure in Iran follows a duality just as does the military. The Iranians have two main targets, the United States and the Zionist Entity, as they refer to Israel. Together these two make up the Great Satan, United States, and the Little Satan, Israel. Israel is privileged in this world as unlike the United States that only need worry about the Iranian Army and the IRGC military, Israel gets to have an addition to these two adversaries, the al-Quds force, named for the Arab name for Jerusalem. The al-Quds force is responsible directly for the reconquest of Jerusalem primarily and secondarily for the complete destruction of Israel and the death of the Jews, that is all Jews. The al-Quds force is a special group of squads who are selected from the Special Forces groups within the IRGC, which is considered the Special Forces taken from within the military ranks rated on their military prowess and their religious purity. The entirety of the IRGC is religious warriors modeled on the Persian Immortals from history and the al-Quds would then be the Hashshashins, a select group willing to fight to the death without a second thought. Supreme Leader, Grand Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is a person not used to being denied that which he desires. Still, he commands the respect that one will speak only truthfully when answering his questions. This does not mean you will be well received or even survive the telling, but if you are caught in a lie, things will go even worse for you. Torture is a tool in Iran as it is in the PA, Hamastan and North Korea as well as more of the world than most would like to believe. Supreme Leader, Grand Ayatollah Ali Khamenei truly believes that his position will welcome the coming of the final days and be at the center of the world once it has been transformed. He realizes he might not be alive to see this day but that whoever fills the role of Supreme Leader, Grand Ayatollah must be prepared to take on this mantle at any moment. They will be the leader of the conquering forces, which will subdue the world and bring everybody to Islam as they believe. They honestly believe that the Shiites, who are approximately ten percent of Muslims, will win out as the preferred of Allah instead of being murdered as Apostates under a world ruled by Sunni Islam.

 

These are simply the initial individuals who often define the world as they wish it to be and then act from there. The one thing all these leaders and their followers have in common is that they believe they are the rightful and powerful on the world’s stage, and that the United States can be easily defeated and they know exactly how to proceed to do so. They all believe their country to be one of the major forces in the world or a member of what will be the ruling force in the end when everything is settled. They all believe that the world can be brought under the rule of a single individual and that they are the one. (This is where normally we would have to say, “Zathros know, you are not the one, Zathros can tell.” One need remember the show Babylon V to understand or recognize this.) The Western World has reached the decision that the world cannot be conquered and placed under a single leader. They also believe that this is intuitively obvious and that everyone can see that world conquest is a pipe dream that cannot be accomplished. All this means is that they will never rule the world but it does not mean that there are no longer people out in the world willing to try. One might remember in the early days of the Islamic State when, as ISIS, their forces of terrorists were taking uncontested ground and destroying all they could find including irreplaceable artifacts and treasures and their leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was declaring himself Caliph and announcing how the ISIS fighters (terror forces) were going to conquer the world for Allah and convert or murder all unbelievers and simply murder all apostates. Their initial run was impressive until the clash with the Kurds and was bloodied. There went their invincibility, from there the Iraqis contained them, and they stalled out completely. The point was that al-Baghdadi with a few thousand fighters, many not well trained or untrained, still believed that ruling the world was possible. Turkey’s President Erdogan sees himself as the Caliph ruling over the same areas as once made up the Ottoman Empire, which started as a single tribe in Turkey that set out to conquer the world. President Erdogan sees himself as the one to reestablish the Turkish-Ottoman Empire with himself as the central Caliph. It is time that the Europeans woke up and smelled the threats at their doorsteps and their own self-made weakness and how dangerously unprepared they have become for their own defense. They have at most a decade before such might becomes necessary and already it appears that Germany, if they remain with Merkel and France after electing Macron, have simply surrendered to their conquerors. President Trump needs to awaken a sleeping world to the onrushing dangers before the onrushing dangers reach their shores and announce themselves formally. Thus far, the violence has been sporadic and disorganized. That will not remain the case and the time is drawing nigh with not a lot of time to turn Europe around and prepared to fight to save their way of life and their liberated lifestyles. President Trump may have been elected at a crucial time but it will be the two Presidents that follow Trump who will really be inheriting the whirlwind. Inbetween, we will see broken promises strewn as windblown autumn leaves.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

November 25, 2016

Media Suddenly Discovers Dastardly Destruction Everywhere

 

With the election victory by Donald Trump and his running mate Mike Pence the media has discovered numerous pressing situations bordering on the brink of catastrophes. Suddenly Syria has become a conundrum of crushing confrontations waiting for the President elect while the current resident of the White House faced much lesser problems and addressing this would be asking a bit much. Oddly enough they also realized that Iraq is torn with ethnic strife as well as having much of its territory either occupied or threatened by the Islamic State. They also found that the Islamic State is operating as they please in Syria. Yemen is in the midst of a civil war and threatens a vital waterway at the south end of the Red Sea called the Bab-el-Mandeb. Saudi Arabia and Egypt have split with Egypt now aligning with Russia and Bashir al-Assad while Saudi Arabia continues to fight the Yemen Houthi rebels who are backed by Iran. The Saudis are also backing terrorist groups fighting Bashir al-Assad and some suspect they are knowingly funding and arming the Islamic State through alternate avenues. Turkey’s Erdogan appears to have suddenly gone rogue demanding immediate answers for Turkey’s admittance to the European Union (EU) one day and threatening to turn away any offer from the EU and consider joining the joint trading group organized by Russia and China called the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). There are warring tribal groups contending with terrorist groups and crime families all vying for control of their slice of what was Libya. The Sudan and South Sudan are still fighting and there is a civil war of sorts in South Sudan adding to the confusion. There are terrorists plaguing Nigeria and even Europe is being overrun. Their prognosis is that the election of Donald Trump has caused the nations of the Middle East and Northern Africa (MENA) to explode suddenly and fiercely into frenzied destruction and fighting breaking out everywhere. Additionally, Russia is protecting their ports in Syria, namely in Latakia, and thus also protecting Bashir al-Assad who is ever so slowly regaining control of Syria one costly meter at a time. Wait; Russia has use of a port in the Mediterranean Sea, this is big. Oh how simple things would have stayed had only the voters in the United States had chosen wisely and elected Hillary Clinton.

 

The sudden awakening of the mainstream media to the problems throughout MENA states and beyond is almost amusing. Anyone reading news services from these effected regions have known and spoken with furrowed brows and stern hard faces often using terse terms describing ongoing events which continue to spin further and further out of control. Many have laid the problems at the feet of fecklessness in the foreign policies of the United States over the past decade emphasizing the retreat and resentment at being abandoned left to the scoundrels and other threats without any hope of rescue from those they had believed were their ally and eternal friend. As long as the United States did not have even a dog in the fight, and we mean literally not even a dog, let alone manpower or military forces, these traumatic conflagrations were unimportant as far as the media was concerned. The White House ignored these problems while making the one-off mention brushing aside concerns as if they were nothing more than a hiccup on the timeline of history as the White House was making it. The White House and especially President Obama and his Secretaries of State Hillary Clinton and John Kerry along with Samantha Powers and Susan Rice, the pair were Presidential Security Advisor and Ambassador to the United Nations and then switched positions a while after Benghazi, have all painted the Middle East as there being a situation in Syria and the Israeli-Palestinian problem and if only Israel would make nice and completely surrender to the Palestinians then miraculously Syria would become peaceful overnight as would any other disturbance anywhere in the world. It is as if the only actual disturbance in the force is Israel, so does that make Israel Yoda? Seriously, the Obama White House position has been that Israel causes unrest throughout the Middle East and beyond and it is the Jews residing beyond the 1949 Armistice Lines on lands gained in a defensive war started by Egypt and Syria and joined on day two by Jordan despite pleading from Israel for their remaining neutral. This Jordanian attack led to Israel liberating Judea and Samaria from Jordan’s illegal occupation for nineteen years including half of Jerusalem.

 

Had Syria and Egypt attacked any other nation in the world and had Jordan joined on the second day and, for example let us say they attacked Peru; if Peru in that war had gained the lands of Judea and Samaria, they would have been allowed to retain the lands and even push any non-Peruvians off the lands with minimal complaint from the world. The problem is they did not attack Peru but instead they attacked Israel. There is an effort initiated by the British when they saw that allowing the formation of the Jewish State was going to upset the Arabs they decided to do whatever they were able to prevent Israel from ever coming to fruition. They could do this as they controlled the Mandate for the geographic area called Palestine, a name derived from the Roman name for the area of southern Syria, Syria Palaestina.

 

Roman Provinces of Syria Palaestina

 

The British after World War I continued to import Arabs to reside between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea with ample assistance from the Arab League and surrounding Arab nations from as far as Algeria though largely from the Sudan, Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Iraq and even Turkey. This kept the Jewish population below fifty-percent thus never quite fulfilling the requirement of being capable of ruling a nation. In the aftermath of World War II the British had lost their taste for empire and simply wanted to leave the Middle East and particularly the area which was to become Israel. Ever since the British leaving and Israel being founded there have been numerous studies which have shown how the Arab world has designs to be rid of the Jewish State and how often the European nations are supportive of the Arab efforts as though they would love for Israel to fail, they do not have the will to cause such in any manner other than indirectly. Do not misunderstand as the Europeans gladly enrich their lives with the discoveries and inventions from Israeli sources and even have utilized some such as instant messenger programs to support the BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanction Israel) Movement and other injurious acts.

 

Denouncing Israel in the United Nations General Assembly and throughout the various agencies which often act in injurious ways such as when recently UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) ruled that the Temple Mount and surrounding areas have no historical ties to the Jews or Judaism which is a manner of denying the existence of the First and Second Temples and close to two-thousand years of Israelite and Jewish history. And UNESCO comes in a poor second when it comes to denunciations of Israel where the UNHRC (United Nations Human Rights Council) who have denounced Israel in virtually every meeting for the past five years. The General Assemble also has a poor record though there has recently been some small headway with Israel sponsoring resolutions which was passed by a vote of 129-30-8 to set up technical training, global entrepreneurship and sharing of technologic systems through assistance efforts where often Israel and other developed nations share technological advancements in areas such as agriculture and power generation assisting these developing nations making greater and stronger strides toward a bright future.

 

Needless to point out that all these problems, wars, conflagrations and turmoil have existed for much of the past decade and is not a reaction where the world all but exploded because of the election of Donald Trump. We can also predict some of the big news stories and special editions where a story is expounded and enlarged all passed off as news. There will be all sorts of new findings about the rampant homelessness and how people are feeling helpless and cannot seem to find any assistance for their plight. The mentally challenged living on American city streets not receiving their medications and suffering because of the difficulty in receiving proper care will be another feature story, multi-part most likely running for a week or for four straight Sunday night prime time. Unemployment stories will be big initially and the people who are now not considered to be seeking work as their unemployment insurance ran out and they have been unemployed over one year thus are not part of the computations, well, the media will now use a newer and more accurate definition which they will mention softly and in passing once and then count people who have not held a job up to five years, maybe a decade. There will be heartbreaking stories of youths dropping out of school and the United States will have a drug problem once again. There will be heart-wrenching profiles of people being deported for being illegally in the country whether that be overstaying a student visa because you found a good job and who wants to return to the Ukraine about now. There will be stories about how families are on the verge of being broken up as one or any number of the family are here illegally. Many of these stories will be about people who are using the system to press their particular case and many will remain and become legal citizens within a decade, but while they are uncertain their stories play oh so well. Let us leave you with what you may find to be an unbelievably astounding fact; President Obama has deported more people than any previous President.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

June 4, 2016

Weeds in the MENA Garden Conclusions

 

Here is a link. We covered the political upheavals, terror threats, alignments, backing of destabilizing forces and general conditions for all the countries from Western Sahara and Morocco to Iraq and Iran. This article will try to look at the reasons and future mostly dealing with the Middle East after a brief summary on North Africa. For reference here is a map of the area we will cover which adds Turkey to our considerations as they had a few mentions previously.

 

(MENA) Middle East and North Africa Including Turkey and Iran With North Central Africa

(MENA)
Middle East and North Africa
Including Turkey and Iran
With North Central Africa

 

The first step to understanding the area is to determine which nations are playing the controlling interests and what the status of the remaining nations have especially their ties to the controlling players (We can think of this as a game of RISK where only the MENA nations get to play). The players who are vying for the position of leader of the Arab and Muslim world do include one non-nation player which we should cover initially including naming some of their aliases. That force is the Muslim Brotherhood which never actually uses their real name when interacting. In Egypt their political influence is through the Freedom and Justice Party (Arabic: حزب الحرية والعدالة‎). Egypt’s former President Mohamed Morsi was a Freedom and Justice Party member and they still hold a plurality though not an outright majority of the Egyptian Parliament. Currently the Freedom and Justice Party holds 47.2 per cent of all seats in the country’s lower house of Parliament, while allied Islamist parties al Nour Party holds 24.7 and al Wasat Party holds 2.0 per cent, respectively. This gives the Islamists in the lower house of parliament a total of just under 74 percent, a solid majority and a limit on President Sisi’s ability to govern and accomplish all he would prefer to implement. In Turkey the closest alignment with the Muslim Brotherhood, though unofficial, is the ruling Justice and Development Party headed by Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. The relationship has its moments and President Erdoğan did support United States President Obama’s demand that President Morsi be released and returned to the Presidency of Egypt as its duly elected leader after the military coup. This demand continued even after the new elections were held and died a slow and thankfully quiet death and the rise of Sisi from commander of the military to the newly elected President of Egypt (more on this further when we talk about Egypt’s role in the MENA Garden). In Syria, before everything hit the fan and a civil war with more sides than can be easily defined, the Muslim Brotherhood was most closely aligned with the Islamic Socialist Front (more in depth discussion of Syrian Civil War will follow). There is even a branch of the Muslim Brotherhood closely aligned with the situation in Israel which is Hamas. In Iraq the Islamic Party is the largest Sunni political party and would have to be considered the closest link with the Muslim Brotherhood though they are not in a position of any real power as we will see. In Iran the relations with the Muslim Brotherhood are another case of strange bedfellows but in Saudi Arabia, which would pretty much include the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) nations though they can be less trident that are the Saudis who support the Wahabbist strain of Islam, the Muslim Brotherhood is considered as a terrorist group. Through the rest of North Africa the Muslim Brotherhood supports Sunni groups but has little interaction since al-Qaeda aligned Boko Haram swore allegiance with the Islamic State. Some have seen the rise of Islamic State as a challenge to the Muslim Brotherhood within the Islamist communities. The main influences which we will cover in greater detail are the Islamic State, Turkey, Iran, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the Syrian War and Russian concerns in Syria.

 

The oldest force in the area would be Egypt if one were to count the Pharos but that civilization was a completely separate civilization, but we need an excuse to start somewhere. Egypt has the advantage of population as the most populous of the MENA nations. Egypt is also the home of the most respected school for Islamic thought, Al-Azhar University, located with Al-Azhar Mosque in Islamic Cairo and is the oldest degree-granting university. As far as Sunni Islamic thought and interpretation, Al-Azhar is the most prestigious university. It is the central thought center for all Sunni thought and interpretation. Al-Azhar sets the dogma and interpretations used in Quranic thought in all of Sunni Islam which includes near eighty percent of all who follow the prophet Mohammad. This is important as it was during a speech President Sisi gave at Al-Azhar University to a gathering of the entire faculty where he made a request, which has some weight as Sisi is the President of Egypt, the former General of the Armies and very popular with the population which elected him in what could be referred to as a landslide. He has made some moves as best as his position has allowed and without smashing too many toes and defeated every challenge from the Muslim Brotherhood, no small feat. The demand, or request if one is to be polite, was for the Al-Azhar University faculty and Imams throughout all Islam to work within the Quran and adjust the supremacist view of Islam and instead alter the chosen Sura from the Quran and use more of the Sura from the original Mecca writings and allow for them to supercede their contrary Medina version of the Quran. (For an introduction to the two separate versions of the Quran and many quality links throughout the comments may we suggest our article and the comments of Which Quran, Mecca or Medina? The difference between the two writings are so stark that there have been rumors that they were dictated by different people rather than the idea that Mohammad had a different set of circumstances when writing the two versions.) President Sisi did this not just once but in two separate speeches to the Imams of Al-Azhar University. Reforming Islam such that it is made such that it can coexist with other faiths and separates from politics completely and become simply a religion of approaching two billion adherents. President Sisi is also using his position to advance the idea of a unified Islam such that the Sunni and Shiite as well as the lesser sects coexist in a similar manner as the many different Christian groups exist in the world today without open warfare or denouncing of one another.

 

President al-Sisi initially Took his Jihad to al-Azhar University, Cairo, Egypt, Where on December 28, 2014 al-Sisi Delivered his Speech Insisting that Islam Was in Need of a Climactic Reformation if not a Transformation Redefining Jihad from External Violence To the Ongoing Internal Purification In the Eternal Search for Perfection

President al-Sisi initially Took his Jihad to al-Azhar University, Cairo,
Egypt, Where on December 28, 2014 al-Sisi Delivered his Speech
Insisting that Islam Was in Need of a Climactic Reformation if not a
Transformation Redefining Jihad from External Violence To the
Ongoing Internal Purification In the Eternal Search for Perfection

 

The next most influential Sunni nation would have to be Saudi Arabia with its oil wealth. In many ways Saudi Arabia and Egypt work together to defend Sunni Islam with their main threat currently being Iran. The third nation in the Sunni hierarchy is Turkey which is at odds with Egypt as Turkey largely supports the Muslim Brotherhood and called for the return of Morsi to the Presidency after Sisi and the military had removed him presumably at the behest of the people. Turkish President Erdoğan joined President Obama and the two were close for a period as they both stood in support of the Muslim Brotherhood. General Sisi rejected their demands and called for resumption of elected governance and arranged for general election to fill the now vacant office of President and for a new Parliament. Sisi had resigned his post leading the military before running which would have resulted in his being unemployed. The Egyptian Freedom and Justice Party, which is the Muslim Brotherhood representative in Egyptian politics, was included in the elections but Sisi had won the admiration of the Egyptian people and has delivered on his promise to be a reformer. This was proven with his speeches calling for rejection of the supremacy and spread of Islam by the sword rejecting the Muslim Brotherhood calling such calls for world conquest dangerous and injurious to Islam and predicted that such actions would only bring destruction down on the Islamic world. This position is not shared by the Wahabbists in Saudi Arabia or by Erdoğan and definitely rejected by the Muslim Brotherhood. The Muslim Brotherhood was founded by a core group who believed that Islam needed to return to its golden age by imposing the strictest possible and most extreme interpretations of the Quran and Islam which they claimed was during the supremacist periods of conquest and that only by returning to the spread of Islam by any means necessary would Islam return to greatness. President Sisi sees only destruction of Islam if such a policy were to be implemented in today’s world. As for which position is correct we would vote let’s not test both and see which proves superior as the destruction and potential end of human civilization should a full blown all-out war between the Muslim world and the rest of the world be fought neither side would win and only utter destruction would be the end result. Such a war would eventually result in the use of the most extreme weapons at human disposal which would bring on a catastrophic conflagration destroying both sides. As the WOPR computer stated at the end of the movie “War Games” after testing every scenario of thermonuclear war, “A strange game. The only winning move is not to play. How about a nice game of chess?”

 

War Games WOPR Computer

War Games WOPR Computer

 

 

 

 

What remains is Iran which can best be examined by explaining the war in Syria which includes the war in Iraq and the war in Yemen, all of which have an Iranian component as does the governance in Lebanon and the terror war against Israel. This will be quite a long explanation and will be best covered in our next article tomorrow, stay tuned.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

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