Beyond the Cusp

April 26, 2015

Israel Will Not Protect the World Alone This Time

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Back when Saddam Hussein was actually developing nuclear weapons material and was having the perfect nuclear reactor being built by profiteering interests from France and had bunkers constructed by an equally monetarily enterprising German company and believing they had the world fooled as the Europeans were more concerned by their bottom line and the United States was apparently blithely ignorant of the Iraqi game; so the weight of dispatching the central items of what was potentially the Iraqi nuclear weapons development central point, the reactor was relegated to the Israelis acting alone. The Iraqis were not using the technically challenging uranium differentiation system, which in the early 1980s was a rather daunting challenge, and instead was opting for a plutonium producing reactor. This left the Iraqis with what was apparently an unfettered romp to develop nuclear weapons while appearing to remain compliant to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) of which Iraq was a signatory. And so it remained until the morning of June 7, 1981 when the Israelis launched “Operation Opera” to destroy the French built and almost ready to have its nuclear fuel rods installed Osirak Reactor which was capable of producing weapons grade plutonium. The entirety of the Western world opposed any attack on the reactor or accompanying buildings as the Europeans relied on Iraqi oil or had too numerous business dealings and other profitable relations which may have faced difficulties or potential cancellation should Iraq suspect the Western powers in any way supported any such attack. Even within Israel there were the expected and usual detractors against Israeli actions including the then leader of the opposition Labor Party Shimon Peres, Yitzchak Shamir predicting extreme and non-survivable reactions and backlash as well as those in the cabinet who also opposed any attack for various reasons chief of which was the effect it would have on the peace treaty with Egypt. Prime Minister Menachem Begin still pushed the idea for an intervention to destroy the reactor forward in hopes the Cabinet would eventually see there was no other viable choice. There were logistics problems which had to be overcome such as but not limited to removing external fuel tanks on the F-16s in order to equip them with the heavy munitions necessary for the attack, assign F-15s to guard the bombers to, from and during the attack in case of Iraqi countermeasures, as well as training the pilots to fly on the floor to avoid being detected by any Arab radar and choosing a route which would also minimize detection. The final trigger which finally won approval for the attack was the knowledge that the fuel rods had been prepared for shipment from France to Iraq which if installed would have resulted in a radioactive cloud from any assault making the vote a now or never choice. This changed the critical opposition to now support the attack. The original attack date was set but it became necessary to call off the attack and reschedule it for the next month. Fortunately this setback still permitted the attack to be set before the fuel rods were to be installed in the reactor or even be stored in close proximity to the reactor buildings themselves. The Osirak Reactor was destroyed and Israel faced censure at the United Nations with President Ronald Reagan refusing to use the American veto to protect the Israelis as he too felt betrayed by their attack without first having received his approval, something he had all but assured was not forthcoming even had it been sought. The remainder including the Western world’s great reliefs and their acclamations and thanks, even if belated, that they were not facing a nuclear armed Saddam Hussein in either the first or second Gulf Wars.


Looking at Iran one might be tempted to claim that it seems like, if we may be permitted to steal a quotation from Yogi Berra, “It’s like déjà vu all over again.” This time it’s not Iraq but their neighbor, Iran. It is not Saddam Hussein but rather the Ayatollah Ali Hosseini Khamenei. This time it is a Shiite ruler not a Sunni ruler though it is once again an adversary of Saudi Arabia. And just like the last time, the Saudis Royals are not about to launch any attack, especially not on their own and highly unlikely they would ally with and accompany the Israelis. The United States is once again against any such attack and threatens to withhold any usual protection at the United Nations Security Council should Israel choose to ignore their opposition and attack anyways. The Europeans are once again all after the rewards of trade agreements they are already salivating over as the United States takes the brunt of any criticisms for the near obvious bad deal of a lifetime as President Obama is willing to take the scorns and suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune if it permits him to construct a new kingdom in the Middle East to replace the old alliances with Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Israel with one where the United States and Iran share the hegemony with Iran the hegemony taking care of the Middle East and the United States free to attend to other concerns. This alliance comes complete with other supporting characters including but not limited to Syria, Lebanon, Iraq and potentially Yemen and whichever other nations the ever slowly devouring appetite of the Ayatollahs set their attentions towards. Additionally, the Russians are playing the role of the Soviet Union in the Middle East and beyond with an unsurprising echo of the Soviet past with the Russian President being Colonel Putin formerly of KGB fame and China will be China taking advantage of any situation the world inadvertently creates, like the need by Iran for an outlet to sell their crude oil. Thus the world is hurling full steam ahead towards a nuclear armed nation which remains the inheritors of the Persian Empire’s proud historic past with all of its attitude of empire which they traded in order to name themselves after the Nazi master race Aryan, or Iran in Farsi, and add to such the trait and heritage of the potentially suicidal belief patterns of Shia Islam and these nations central to permitting this nuclear arming of such a nation all claim Israel has lost it and gone over the deep end when they claim that perhaps a second look might be a good idea.


There have been more than just a few articles which point to the fact that the world is relying on good old Israel to ride over the hill and rescue the world from itself once more. They even point to the fact that there exist a number of Sunni nations including but not limited to Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States which would potentially offer their assistance or at least give spiritual support. There is some bad news for the world; it is going to take a whole different level of support if they really expect Israel to suffer the ramifications of and the promised denunciations, trade embargoes, United Nations sanctions, and other barbs and mistreatments in size and scope potentially previously unimagined. Israel has stated that they are quite capable and up to the task of striking and setting the Iranian nuclear program back potentially months or even for over a year or even two years. That is not the question; the question is whether it is worth the severe and unprecedented ramifications that is the main concern for Israel. Israel has to weigh whether it will be beyond her ability to guarantee that Iran has too much to lose by using their nuclear weapons once they develop and build them, whether that be in ten months or the ten years that President Obama promises, making it thus worth the price which would be guaranteed in the retaliatory strikes by Hamas, Hezballah, Syria, IRGC and a guarantee that Iran will use their first nuclear weapon on Tel Aviv no matter what the cost even should it require using it from aboard a ship making a suicide run for the shoreline beaches of Tel Aviv. The consequences of assaulting the Iranian nuclear sites are well known to Israel as well as her neighbors in the Middle East. These are the very same consequences which have intimidated the other nations who, like Israel, will be threatened by a nuclear weapon armed Iran. It is this threat which may well lead to a nuclear weapons arms race throughout the Middle East and North Africa with Egypt, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and even the Gulf States leading the way. This too must also be included in the Israeli calculus. The one thing heard repeatedly is that there is no threats which Israel could use to deter the Iranians from carrying out their threat to launch a nuclear attack on Tel Aviv once they have sufficient a store of nuclear weapons to follow up with further strike should Israel retaliate.


That leads us to the question of exactly what threats could Israel utilize to prevent a nuclear attack by the Iranians once they are sufficiently armed. The unfortunate, or potentially advantageously, truth about the threats which would be most effective on Iran is that they would also be very disconcerting and threatening to the rest of the Muslim world. It is obvious that should Iran drop any nuclear weapons anywhere, or everywhere, across Israel that Israel would strike every population center across all of Iran, Syria, Shiite Iraq and Hezballah portions of Lebanon and thus these would not be sufficient deterrence to prevent an Iranian nuclear attack on Israel. But then peer pressure may be exactly what might be required to pressure Iran from striking at Israel. The first targets Israel needs to assure Iran will be targeted beyond her borders should be every holy shrine and city in all of Shia Islam. Going beyond this point would be potentially dangerous for Israel as it would also potentially push what might be uncomfortable allies throughout the Muslim world forcing them to become an ally with Iran against Israel. Still, some concern might be given to such targets as to the two cities which Iran has placed as their most prized desire in all the world and the reason that Iran and Saudi Arabia are so set against one another, Mecca and Medina. These are the most prized cities in all of Islam and before World War I were under the care of the Hashemite Royal Family. That changed with the fall of the Ottoman Empire when the Saudi Royal Family forcibly took control of Mecca and Medina. This was the reason behind the British promise to grant the Hashemite family a kingdom in exchange for their assistance during World War I and thus Jordan today ruled by a Hashemite King. Such a threat though of destroying Mecca and Medina would be a counter attack as a last ditch response after a disastrous attack which had likely destroyed the majority of the Israeli population and economic centers simply by striking central Tel Aviv with any nuclear weapon. With such damage already inflicted on Israel there would be so little left to risk as Israel as a functioning nation would be in serious jeopardy. In a perfect world Israel would not be facing such a predicament but then again in a perfect world President Jimmy Carter would not have given the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini the support in dethroning the Shah and thus the Ayatollahs would not be in power in Iran. But in a really perfect world the United States would not have overthrown the democratically elected Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh placing the Shāh Mohammad-Rezā Pahlavi into power reestablishing the Iranian Royal family. Perfect worlds can be so confusing and lead to a tangled web that takes some serious untangling. I guess the world would never be a perfect place and then who knows if we would actually really like what a perfect world might give us as result, who knows.


Beyond the Cusp


October 22, 2013

Is the Fight for the Heart of the Republican Party Over?

Those of us old enough to remember back forty to fifty years might recall the period where the Democrat Party went through the final fight for its heart and soul between the old Blue Dog Democrats and the International Collectivist Socialists who eventually won out. The transition was started by President Lyndon B. Johnson and those who backed George McGovern for the nomination in 1972 closed the transition of the Democrat Party. It was these powers who brought forth such Democrat Presidential candidates as President Jimmy Carter, Walter Mondale, Michael Dukakis, and so forth right up to the current President, Barack Obama. The Democrat Party became a wholly owned subsidiary of the AFL-CIO affiliated Unions, the Teachers Unions, the community organizers, the NAACP, and at the controls pulling all the strings were the International Socialists also referred to as the Communists. There have been those Democrat candidates who were not solidly under the control of these puppet masters but they have been few and have had to allow much of the programs and legislation proposed by the Socialists in order to also be able to serve their own preferences.


The battle for the Democrats being settled, the fight over whether these same interests will be in control of the Republican Party has now been in progress for the past twenty years. The International Collectivist Socialists go by many other names as to use either their long title or the simple title of Communists would make their acceptance by the American public that much more difficult. This fight to convert the United States into imply another European styled socialist state has been ongoing since the early 1900s but was interrupted by the two World Wars which demanded that the United States be united in a patriotic fervor backing the troops in what were necessary fights to retain freedom and this fight was supported by the socialists as well as by patriots and virtually all of the politicians. The early politicians behind this slow takeover of the American political scene called themselves Progressives and touted the idea that the people should hold the power over all elected officials. This was not their end goal but they used this in order to pass under a populist demand, the Amendment XVII, which allowed for the direct election of United States Senators taking their selection away from the individual States. This simple Amendment to the Constitution completely removed the individual States from being represented in the Federal Government which had been one of the checks and balances that prevented the Federal government from steamrolling over the States. Before the passage of the Amendment XVII the Federal Government was checked by the States from imposing unfunded mandates upon the States leading to laying additional expenditures on the States for programs designed in Washington but dropped in the lap of the States to run and finance their implementation and enforcement. Since the passage this method of pushing programs onto the States has been one of the methods by which the Federal Government has introduced new programs and initiatives and paid the introductory period after which it falls to the States to continue the implementation and all that entailed. Eventually these programs and expenditures grew to the point that they helped make a slowdown in the economy turn into the Great Depression. This economic downturn while passing within a couple of years in Europe where the governments were gridlocked and failed to act allowing for a natural recovery, in the United States President Franklin D. Roosevelt tried one program after another changing approaches every few months never giving any one approach time to actually accomplish the desired goals. Despite the claims that President Roosevelt’s programs finally led to the end of the Great Depression, the real solution was because the onset of World War II and the American entry into the war put an end to any attempts to spur the economy as the war footing production brought the economy back to full productive capacity out of necessity. Still, after the war the people had grown suspicious of anything tied to the Progressive agenda so the Progressives simply rebranded themselves as the Liberals. Recent history has tarnished the liberal brand to the point that Hillary Clinton actually claimed not to be a liberal but rather she was a classical turn of the century Progressive.


So, for simplicity let us use the preferred terminology and refer to the collectivists by the name they prefer, Progressives. The Republican Party has, for all intents and purposes, been hijacked by the Progressives who are almost exactly the same as the Progressive Democrats except they claim that their methods would be a better approach because they will utilize a market based system. The words sound great except there is no actual way to use a market based system as these programs all result in top down big government programs which eventually result in higher taxes and always exceed all expected costs and grow seemingly exponentially. If you listened to Jeb Bush give his ideal approach to addressing Obama Care recently he claimed that what the Republicans needed to do was sit back and allow for Obama Care to fall apart and prove impossible and then propose a Republican run version of government healthcare and extoll the benefits of the Republican plan which would be market based, whatever that means when you have a government run healthcare system. Senator John McCain expressed the desire for the Republicans to wait for Obama Care to fail and then the Republicans could adjust, amend and generally repair those items that did not function of Obama Care and then the Republicans could claim the credit for a functioning government run healthcare. Do either of those ideas sound like a Constitutional approach or does it simply sound like they want the Republicans to simply become Democrat Lite? The truth, and it is an unfortunate truth, is that the Republican hierarchy and leadership are almost as progressive and collectivist as are the Democrats and we are rapidly heading to a one and a half party system where in too many instances there would be virtually no difference between the Democrat and the Republican beyond their language, both would work towards the same big government solutions and the complete abandonment of the American Constitution. As the next weeks and months pass just watch how Republicans treat those such as Senator Cruz and the true Conservatives in the House of Representatives and the Senate as well as the old line Republicans gathering to push the chosen 2016 Presidential candidate, Jeb Bush. While watching this also ask yourself what are the real differences between Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush other than Jeb is somewhat less annoying to listen to. It may surprise you when you compare them issue to issue and find the difference is a matter of shade, not substance.


Beyond the Cusp


May 18, 2013

Turkey’s Erdogan and Russia’s Putin Ignore Obama’s Requests

The initial repercussions to President Obama dithering and retreating from enforcing his Syrian chemical weapons use “red line” have begun and the ramifications are far more damaging to world peace and security than anything that Syria’s Civil War could ever produce. The initial shot across the bow came from Turkey where Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan stated, “According to my plan, most probably I would be visiting Gaza in June.” Erdogan added referring to his intents to visit both Hamas leadership in Gaza and Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah, “I place a lot of significance on this visit in terms of peace in the Middle East. I’m hoping that that visit will contribute to unity in Palestine.”


State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki responded to the news declaring that, “As we’ve said consistently, we oppose engagement with Hamas, a foreign terrorist organization which remains a destabilizing force in Gaza and the region. We urge all parties who share our interest in the creation of a Palestinian state to take steps that promote the resumption of peace talks between the Palestinians and Israel.” Additionally, Secretary of State John Kerry commented during his visit to Turkey that Prime Minister Erdogan’s trip to Gaza would be “better delayed” waiting until the time when the “right circumstances” existed. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan struck back indignantly stating in response to Secretary Kerry’s impositions that “we wish he had not said that.”


Now the United States and the Obama Administration are facing a situation of explaining to Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu exactly what he gained and where were the promised reconciliations with Turkey that President Obama had implied as a promise should Israel apologize. The Israeli-Turkish relations remain in a deep freeze with the charges and other legal actions by Turkish citizens and government agencies proceeding apace despite the humbling position Netanyahu was forced into taking at the close of President Obama’s visit, the visit where the President had promised there would be no surprises. The result is a slightly weakened Israel who now has been forced into a submissive position with Turkey and appearing weaker to the entire run of nations in the Middle East and the rest of the Muslim World. The full ramifications of President Obama’s miscalculations and consistent demands on Israel along with his weakness showed Syria and his apparent subservience to the Muslim Brotherhood as he supports their rise to power resultant from the Arab Winter, Obama’s Arab Spring.


On another front which also has ramifications in Syria and throughout the Middle East comes from Russia. Despite the ramifications presented to Russian President Vladimir Putin by Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu on a recent visit in Moscow which advised that the selling of the anti-aircraft S-300 advanced missile systems to Syria thus changing dramatically the balance of power in the Middle East, the Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov stated in an interview with Lebanese-based Al-Mayadeen television, the Russian government “committed to the agreements” signed with Syria regarding the advanced missiles and will “fully carry them out.” Lavrov further explained, “We have no intention of breaking international law. However, we do not want our reputation as reliable suppliers of weapons to be affected.” These statements came two days after Prime Minister Netanyahu’s visit leaving no doubt whether the ramifications and effects on Israel were known and able to be part of the equation.


Further comments on what other driving influences were behind the Russian’s decision were recently provided by Russian parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee Alexei Pushkov. His supplementary information paints a troubling picture of the credibility possessed by President Obama and on his ability to influence anything concerning world affairs. Alexei Pushkov was quoted to say, “We’re opposed to no-fly zones, because they are the first step toward aerial attack. Syria asked Russia to help it defend itself from aerial assault.” He also went further in explaining that Russia’s decision to send S-300 missile systems to Syria is, in part, a message to the United States. A more forceful message was also made with the deployment of at least twelve warships to patrol near a Russian Navy base in Syria. This was likely to be a message to all parties including NATO members and Israel not to interfere in Syria as Russia will act to defend their interests.


Both of these situations cast strong aspersions on the ability of President Obama to apply pressure or power in any situation anywhere in the world. This is an obvious reaction to President Obama’s timidity concerning the reported use by Syrian troops’ use of chemical weapons. The rules of unintended consequences applies to these actions which were primarily resultant of President Obama’s inept mishandling over the Syrian red line threat yet Israel will also pay a hard price as well. Reinforcing these feelings were also the well documented examples of his slow and tepid response to any military situation. These include but are not limited to President Obama taking months to approve the mission against Osama bin Laden after he was advised that all was prepared and certainty of success was extremely high, his complete lack of concern in addressing the situation in Benghazi where the American Ambassador to Libya Stevens and three others were murdered when had immediate actions been taken or even proper security increased in a timely manner after receiving requests for more readiness, and the President dithering and almost losing the opportunity to interdict Somali pirates holding American hostages. One more item which has the potential to have devastating consequences is the Iranian drive for nuclear weapons. How is it possible for any world leader concerned over the Iranian nuclear program take seriously President Obama’s promise that he will act if such becomes necessary. He did not act in Benghazi, nor did he act after the Syrian use of chemical weapons, he took close to six months to pull the trigger on the Osama bin Laden raid, so how could anyone expect a timely response to prevent the Iranians from attaining not just one nuclear device but tens or even hundreds of such devices before President Obama even begins to consider acting. This threat does not only pose a large problem for Israel as it also has serious ramifications for Saudi Arabia and the other members of the GCC as well as Europe, though the Europeans have blinders on and refuse to even notice any threat. The world is facing the same type of threats that were evident towards the end of President Carter’s term in office with the Iranian Hostage Crisis, a Middle East on fire, and a Soviet threat spreading throughout much of the planet. The main difference is we will have four full years of these ramifications and not just ten to fifteen months as was the case with Jimmy Carter. President Obama will very likely fulfill the prediction some who were at the time dismissed as alarmist pessimists when claiming that he would be another President Carter except on steroids. If even the slightest possibility exists that such may prove true, that should scare the life out of anybody, it sure does many of us here at BTC.


Beyond the Cusp


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