Beyond the Cusp

February 17, 2017

Let’s Talk Middle East Conflict, Minus One Overly Blamed Nation

 

We are going to do something which the average person would believe impossible, discuss conflicts in the Middle East, which includes North Africa and the entirety that goes by the initials MENA, without mentioning Israel other than this once. Yes, that is not only possible but necessary such that people can learn how solving the Palestinian issue would not bring peace to one of the most troubled areas on the planet. There are a number of separate wars going on in Libya alone. In the capital city of Tripoli the government’s forces hold a little more than the offices of the Parliament, the President and the other government buildings and their residences, and only because they reside very close to this central area in Tripoli. There are usually a minimum of two rebel groups at any time fighting the government as well as one another. Often there are more than two as these clans believe that they should be the ones running the country and that Libya is their personal playground. These clans also fight against any terrorists who they believe are trying to take over their areas which they actually do control. The terrorists fight to retain their training grounds. Benghazi is also an open warfare zone with no real governance which controls the entire city but it is the second largest concentration of government military forces. As the government forces do control the port of Tripoli there does exist some trade which is mostly necessities as well as arms and ammunition to keep the government in control. Further, Benghazi, Tobruk, Surt and the other major ports are often changing hands as different groups will exert the necessary force to take the ports when they are expecting shipments from their arms merchants. As some European and many Middle East and Asian arms dealers are making a fair profit, the risks of doing business with the different clans and terror groups operating in Libya is worth the risks involved. Needless to say, the violence in Libya does not always stay in Libya; it often crosses borders into Egypt, Algeria, Chad, Niger and even the Sudan. One of the main arms providers is the Sudanese government and arms dealers taking side action arming the Sudanese neighboring nations including Libya but excluding South Sudan as this is not permitted by the Sudanese government.

 

There is a very good reason that the Sudanese government has made the providing of arms to South Sudan a capital offence, they are still fighting a war and committing a slow genocide against the Christians and Animists and act as if nobody in the world has recognized South Sudan as a separate nation. As long as the world, including those who have recognized South Sudan as a separate nation, do nothing of consequence to protest the nascent country from its far stronger and well-armed former rulers, the killing will continue. There have been some troops provided by the African Union. The United Nations also has sent troops to South Sudan. The problem is what is really necessary would be an entire army, which is not what has been sent. Back in 2013 the United States took what it claimed was measures to assure the genocide in South Sudan would be relieved by allocating one-hundred-fifty Marines and a few aircraft to the Horn of Africa from where they were to be capable of evacuating people under threat in South Sudan. As is said repeatedly in Bill Cosby’s routine on Noah, “Right!” Our new United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres stated this week that refugees were fleeing cities and towns and that “The security situation continues to deteriorate in parts of the country and the consequent impact of this ongoing conflict and violence, has reached catastrophic proportions for civilians,” A United Nations report stated, “The rise of militias under the loose command of the SPLA or rebel commanders is spreading the fragmentation and dislocation of its territories, which risk, if this trend continues, remaining out of any government control for years to come.” The United Nations further reports that the numbers of refugees currently seeking relief is beyond one and a half million.

 

Now we can slide over to Somalia which is only a real country on maps for lack of a better means of describing the area. Like Libya there is no actual ruling government but instead a series of gangs ruling their territories with iron fists and warring with each other trying to increase their domain. The people have to make sure they are aware of which gang is currently ruling their block of homes as that will also define where they are allowed to shop and who they may visit. Crossing from one region to the next carries varying degrees of danger. Some of the gangs along the shoreline engage in pirating for a living seeking pleasure yachts, merchant ships and even passing warships which are traveling without escort. These pirates have varying levels of gall living by the code “no guts, no glory.” They have attacked European, Asian, Australian, Canadian and American shipping and anybody else who comes within their range. Their method is to use a larger ship which remains out of sight but relatively close and smaller craft attack the target vessels and attempt to board and commandeer the ship then demanding ransom for the ship, crew and cargo. They check the cargo for anything they might desire or need to keep for themselves and will take any weapons they find an board the ships they take. There has been some degree of international efforts to bring this to an end but for the most part ships take their own risks coming out of the Red Sea after passing through the Suez Canal.

 

Of course that means they need to make their way through the Bab el-Mandeb Straights without being struck by Houthis shelling out of Yemen. The Houthi rebels in Yemen are Iranian backed and attempting to conquer all of Yemen to give Iran a base from which to attack Saudi Arabia from the south. This will come in very handy should Iran decide to attack Saudi Arabia from Iraq and the north mainly the northeast of Saudi Arabia which has the majority of Shiite Muslims as well as most of the oil fields. Additionally, Iran has made friends with Qatar and has made overtures claiming than Oman and Bahrain are actually breakaway Iranian provinces. Much like China keeps threatening that they will one day rejoin Taiwan to the mainland as it is simply a breakaway province, Iran makes the same claims on Oman and Bahrain. Bahrain has a Sunni monarch and a predominantly Shiite population. During the Arab Spring (boy was that a joke and a complete disaster from the word go thanks in part to President Obama who had a hand in these failed revolts with great assistance from Hillary Clinton and the European Union) the Shiites in Bahrain revolted and things appeared to be heading for real troubles, that was until Saudi Arabia used the multi-lane causeway highway to send troops to quell the revolt. The Shiites left their Mosques on Friday all revved up to overthrow the monarch when they found tanks, armored personnel carriers and heavily armed Saudi Arabian troops at both ends of the block so everybody calmed down and went home. Sure there were a few short outbursts of violence which were immediately quelled. The entire Arab Spring in Bahrain ended that Friday with barely a whimper. Similarly, the Shiites in the northeast of Saudi Arabia thought about staging an uprising but were quickly persuaded to remain calm. That thought of rising up was so short it did not even make a single news cycle.

 

Egypt is next on out little tour and is currently largely complacent. They had their Arab Spring and threw out military rule and President Mubarak and replaced him with the predicted Muslim Brotherhood candidate, President Morsi. President Morsi was advised by Turkish President Erdogan to take a slow and steady approach to Islamizing Egypt but paid that no heed. He took off on a radical program of change trying almost overnight to make Egypt a Muslim Brotherhood run totalitarian hellhole. This was met with a public already in revolt mode and they rose up again and demanded Morsi’s head. General of the Army Sisi took the hint and removed the Muslim Brotherhood from power and held new elections. Having the most recognized name in Egypt and having just saved the day, surprisingly Sisi who had stepped down from General of the Army ran and won the Presidency of Egypt. So Egypt is now safely back under military rule for intents and purposes and appears happy to be so. The one problem is the Sinai Peninsula. The Sinai Peninsula is filled with terrorists from al-Qaeda and Islamic State to Hamas and even Iranian backed groups. They attack Egyptian military outposts with varying degrees of success. They often attack the border outposts between Egypt and Gaza in order to allow the flow of terrorists, arms, and contraband into and out of Gaza where Hamas and Islamic Jihad share control. What is interesting about Gaza is that Islamic Jihad is supplied by Iran amongst others and Hamas is Muslim Brotherhood thus provisioned by them and also on occasion they are given rocket engine technologies and even rudimentary guidance systems from Iran as Iran will even arm Sunnis if they are attacking Iran’s favorite target. Egypt has yet to put down the menaces in the Sinai Peninsula and they have even been cleared to use whatever troops and equipment they need and they are apparently fighting a losing battle, or at least not completely reaching a totally peaceful situation. Perhaps they never should have accepted the Sinai Peninsula back when they made peace between President Sadat and Prime Minister Begin.

 

Turkey is also involved in a war which few appear to care to mention. They are claiming to fight against Bashir al-Assad in Syria as well as against Islamic State but somehow the majority of their efforts appear to be barely across the border. They seem preoccupied, or at least President Erdogan is preoccupied, with the Kurds. Turkey could actually make a great agreement and win an ally for life if they would simply allow the Kurds to form their own nation out of northeastern Syria, northern Iraq and at the worst a few tens or hundreds of square miles of southeastern Turkey where the population is majority Kurdish. The United States or other groups would probably handsomely reward Turkey for the lost lands, give a relocation allowance to any Turkish non-Kurdish citizens desiring to leave the Kurdish nation and return to Turkey and all could be settled. Even if Turkey refused to sacrifice a small portion of land, the Kurds in Turkey would likely relocate if they were granted recognition as a nation as was promised them by the British (we all know how good the British are on their promises when oil is involved). Turkey has been bombing and using ground assaults backed by heavy armor against the Kurds who have largely been fighting the Islamic State. Apparently Turkey would prefer the Islamic State on their border than the Kurds, there is no accounting for taste.

 

Middle East & North Africa (MENA)

Middle East & North Africa (MENA)

 

Then there are the wars outside of Yemen and Gaza where Iran is a major player. We are referring to Iraq and Syria where Iran is attempting to rule Iraq through proxy and reestablish Bashir al-Assad as the ruler of Syria. Bashir al-Assad has lost almost the entirety of his nation to the Islamic State, a number of other rebels, a Kurdish section which is simply attempting to protect their own people as well as the Yazidi refugees they took in after rescuing them when the rest of the world twiddled their thumbs, President Obama leading the thumb twiddlers. Iran has a friend in Russia who are actually fighting simply to retain their Mediterranean Sea port privileges such that they retain a warm water port capable of allowing ships to enter the Atlantic Ocean year round without having to pass through the Dardanelles in Turkey, an iffy situation at times. That is why the majority of the Russian operations center around Latakia and the port facilities located in that Mediterranean coastal city. Latakia is also in the central region where the Alawite Tribe resides which also happens to be Bashir al-Assad’s allies and tribal alliance and they along with some of the Druze except they have largely withdrawn and are simply, as are the Kurds, defending their own people and lands from the Islamic State and any other threats. They are safe from the Russians, Iranians and Syrian Army and even most likely the Hezballah forces from Lebanon who are supporting Bashir al-Assad as if Syria was their own country and not Lebanon. Hezballah is there because Iran insisted they fight or else Iran would have cut them off and they would then be facing the rest of Lebanon ready to dispose of the Hezballah terrorists who have been ruling Lebanon through their military threat. The one benefit of Hezballah fighting in Syria and taking the casualties in numbers far higher than are admitted is they are unable to attack any others including but not limited to the Christians and other minorities in Lebanon.

 

Our final stop is at the Afghanistan and Pakistan end of MENA. We left out some of the nations at the far end of northern Africa where one of the major problems is Boko Haram who are bloodthirsty Islamist terrorists who often kidnap Christians and even other Muslims and sell them into slavery. They specialize in selling to the sex slave industry and thus most often target young women and boys. Their other main effort is to murder Christians and Animists, something which sounds familiar from the South Sudan. Boko Haram operated largely centered on northern and central Nigeria and the neighboring areas even south to Mali. Meanwhile, Afghanistan and Pakistan consist of large areas which are considered tribal and the government rarely enters these zones as the tribes are well armed and do not recognize the governmental right to their areas. Too often these tribal areas will war with one another and then they make their money off of allowing terrorists to train and make a lucrative business from poppies. The heroin trade is something the government does not fight as they too benefit from the trafficking in illicit drugs. Until there is introduced another cash crop the farmers will grow and sell the easiest and most profitable crop they can raise, poppies. The flowers are almost as pretty as the profits. Needless to point out but where you have such profits there will always be violence as the tribes desire to expand their fields and taking the tribe next door’s fields is the quickest way to making more profit. Additionally, there is the constant state of conflict between Pakistan and India over Kashmir, a nation which appears on older maps and had the distinction of having to be colored white because it had so many neighboring nations on its border that it needed it own color and white was the best one not in use anywhere else. That concludes our Middle East conflict roundup leaving one nation obviously ignored, imagine all this without mentioning the nation always considered the source of the Middle East conflict chart. Perhaps the rest of it is not so peaceful after all.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

January 28, 2017

Reasons for NOT Moving the Embassy to Jerusalem

 

This has been the most and greatest coverage we have seen since the Inauguration of President Trump when covering his promises and the possibility that he might falter. Every article has mentioned different choices predicting which promises the President Trump would renege upon. Many claimed he would never build the wall along the Mexican border. Some kind of cheated by claiming that he would merely use a fence or even cameras with computer monitoring for motion detection and alerting the Border Police instead of building a wall along the entire border. Some would claim that the terrain would prevent it being a wall along the entire border but these arguments were disingenuous as the wording of a “wall along the Mexico border” simply meant closing the border through the use of combined deterrents, walls, fences or monitoring through advances of technology in the most difficult terrain or least used crossing locations and simply closing the border using all means necessary and required. Others claimed he would be unable to deport all the illegal immigrants as promised. First off, that was not the promise. He promised to deport illegal immigrants with felony convictions and to work at finding an equitable solution in which deportation may be an integral part of the equation.

 

The one item which made virtually every article’s list was the promise to move the American Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Almost, well, honestly every article we read claimed that President Trump would not be capable of moving the embassy as the threats, dangers, political pressures or even that Trump would use moving the embassy to force the Israelis to make the next concession of dividing Jerusalem and returning to the 1949 Armistice Lines with very minor land swaps making a final peace deal. What the problem with the claim is that the Congress passage and the signing into law of the Jerusalem Act “recognized Jerusalem as the undivided capital of Israel, under Israeli sovereignty.” That makes an undivided Jerusalem under Israeli sovereignty United States law and thus holds any President to standing either actively for the undivided capital of Israel as being all of Jerusalem or remaining silent, no matter how President Obama attempted to divide Jerusalem as he disregarded numerous laws including the United States Constitution. Even some Israeli media has come up with lists for why President Trump will not, or should not (Haaretz), move the embassy to Jerusalem claiming things so extreme as stated by Haaretz, “Relocating its embassy to Jerusalem would mean the U.S. taking a partisan stance on a central and sensitive issue, a source of controversy between Israel and the Palestinians, and between Israel and the international community.” That is a falsehood unless moving the embassy to western Jerusalem would be taking a position that western Jerusalem would remain part of Israel. Is Haaretz indicating that Israel should leave western Jerusalem and if that is the meaning, then what else should Israel surrender or does Haaretz stand with the most extreme position such as that expressed by Helen Thomas who stated on May 27, 2010, when asked whether she had any comments on Israel? “Tell them to get the hell out of Palestine,” she replied. “Remember, these people are occupied and it’s their land. It’s not Germany, it’s not Poland.” When further asked where they should go, she answered, “They should go home.” When asked where’s home, Thomas replied: “Poland, Germany and America and everywhere else.”

 

Move American Embassy to Jerusalem

 

The American Embassy could easily be moved to even the most western edge of Jerusalem and be as far as possible from any lands under dispute and still there would be whole hosts of people screaming that the United States is persecuting the Palestinian Arabs and determining to cheat them out of their homeland. This might at first glance appear as a ridiculous position to take as it could be so easily repudiated except that the Palestinian Arab claims include all of Jerusalem. The reality is the United States has already made a statement that is determined to cheat the Palestinian Arabs out of their homeland by leaving their embassy in Tel Aviv as the Arab claim is to all of Israel just as the students chant in campuses across the United States, Europe and beyond, “From the river to the sea, Palestine must be free.” The Palestinian Arabs are actually the entire Arab world’s crowbar and will be their implement by which they continue to wage their war to destroy all of Israel. The truth is the existence of a United States Embassy is an affront to the Palestinian Arab claims to their “rightful” country which would be built on the ruins of the Jewish State as anything less would be an aberrance to their stated demands and eventual goals. This is part of why Mahmoud Abbas, and Yasser Arafat before him, refused even offers which granted them with over 90% of Judea and Samaria along with all of Gaza and east Jerusalem as their capital when offered in 1999, 2000 and in 2008.

 

So, why should President Trump move the United States Embassy to Jerusalem according to us here at Beyond the Cusp? Well, we could use our favorite reason when trying to win an argument as kids with our parents when life got between us and a promise to go somewhere fun, “But you promised,” but we know that does not wash when things are on this level. First, it would send a message that there really has been a change in Washington D.C. and that the change will very likely be permanent for all intents and purposes. The world’s train is racing towards oblivion and nobody is manning the breaks. The old steam engine is racing with its speed balls spinning full out threatening to blow off their spinners. Everything about the old globe is screaming, whistles blowing and rivets near popping and the boiler exploding and the Deadman’s switch rig disabled and there is nobody in the cabin. Well, there was nobody in the cabin. This was the picture of the world not long ago and hopefully things will be saved before we hit a sharp curve and it all goes off the tracks. Brexit was step one and President Trump is step two but nobody knows how many steps it will require for sanity to rescue the world. Will the needful steps be taken or will the next cataclysm strike before the world regains sanity. What are the necessary steps that will bring the world back within the bounds, who can tell? The world has been slowly gaining reckless speed slowly slipping out of control and towards untold violence. There are those forces which would welcome the untold violence. They loudly proclaim their love for violence and the death it brings. They claim to worship death and that this allows them power over all who worship life. Their claim is that death conquers life. Those who love life claim that death is the rest one receives after a full, long and hopefully well spent life. These are opposing views which cannot be reconciliated, one must prevail. The good news is that President Trump is aware of the challenge though he has spoken only about it through allegory and indirect references. Moving the United States Embassy would be a strong message when it is announced as a definitive and executable policy decision. Perhaps that is the future for the moving of the United States Embassy, a declaration that the United States and life will declare over death and those who believe it is primacy. Yes, perhaps the moving of the Embassy will be a greater declaration than what the debaters believe it will be. Perhaps there is a grander plan than we are aware, perhaps the plan is greater than men and from beyond our understanding. This may be a greater issue than a mere embassy and the city in which it sits. Jerusalem had been more than a city and perhaps this is more than a simple embassy. Lastly, if the reason not to move the embassy to Jerusalem is because it reportedly will inflame Muslim passions moving them to further animosity and in turn greater acts of violence, then there is no reason not to move the embassy as from all observations of the Middle East, especially Syria, Iraq, Turkey, Libya and both Sudan and South Sudan as well as the levels of terrorism in Europe, more so Western Europe and also in the United States, though there it has been reported as anything but terror, especially Islamic driven terror, the levels could not conceivably be any higher. Violence, thy name is Islam, has become a truism of our times and thus simply move the embassy as there is no possible additional levels other than war, and that will happen whether the embassy is moved or not. If we had our way and the United States had not already purchased the land, then we would call for the embassy not only to be moved to Jerusalem but to the Jewish sector of the Old City as well. After all, did not Trump promise that his Presidency would be a brave and bold rebeginning for America and her relations with her friends? Well then, let’s get it off on the right foot.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

June 3, 2016

Weeds in the MENA Garden

 

 

If one were to ask the European Union, the United States, the United Nations and the world media who is responsible for the unrest throughout the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) the resounding echoes would continue to scream Israel for likely the rest of eternity, but is that an honest assessment or simply a knee jerk automatic programed response spurred by anti-Israel, anti-Zionist, anti-Semitic hatreds? The easiest way to tell would be to take a quick whirl around the MENA nations and see what the truth is. Let us start our excursion at the western edge and head to the east and see what we will see.

 

A map of MENA nations is almost up to date and is only missing the Sudan, and as the Sudan was split after years of tribal and religious violence, South Sudan; and some go so far as to include Turkey, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Djibouti, Eretria, and Somalia.

A map of MENA nations is almost up to date and is only missing the Sudan, and as the Sudan was split after years of tribal and religious violence, South Sudan; and some go so far as to include Turkey, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Djibouti, Eretria, and Somalia.

 

Coming into the North of Africa from the Atlantic Ocean the first country we would visit would be Western Sahara where we would find Morocco has occupied Western Sahara since 1975 in violation of resolutions by the United Nations Security Council and International Court of Justice ruling. Any efforts to dislodge Morocco from Western Sahara have been blocked directly by the United States whose full support of the Moroccan occupation shows no sign of relenting. The conflict reemerged as the “Independence Intifada” in 2005 which has remained as depicted in map below. Despite numerous efforts to defuse the situation the standoff remains.

 

Occupied Western Sahara  by Morocco Shaded Area  and Western Sahara Unshaded

Occupied Western Sahara
by Morocco Shaded Area
and Western Sahara Unshaded

 

Continuing on from the Morocco-Western Sahara conflict we next visit Mauritania which has had a rocky recent history including two military coups, the first was in 2005 followed eventually by elections for a new president in 2007 followed by the second coup in 2008. General Abdul Aziz took power after the coup but found the nation had few supporters amongst them predominantly were Morocco, Libya and Iran while the United States and European nations rejected the legitimacy of the coup continuing to refer to Abdallahi as the legitimate president of Mauritania. After the resignation of Abdallahi there were elections which allowed Abdel Aziz to become the civilian president. In February 2011 there were waves of unrest as the Arab Spring spread to Mauritania demanding President Mohamed Abdel Aziz institute political, economic, and legal reforms. The unrest culminated in April of 2012 as thousands of people in Mauritania attended demonstrations in the capital calling for President Mohamed Abdel Aziz to resign. Currently the nation is under military rule with the legal system based on Islam and Sharia.

 

Heading across the southern end the picture in Mali, Niger and Chad is the constant internal strife between Christian governments and Islamic uprisings with much of the major horrific attacks conducted by the terrorist group Boko Haram which literally means Western education is forbidden. Boko Haram follows Saudi Wahhabism and has pledged their loyalty to the Islamic State. Along the north there has been steady unrest in Algeria and especially Libya since the NATO backed coup where President Obama declared that the United States was leading from behind in the ouster of and eventual execution (murder) of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi. In Libya the nation is in fractious rule of numerous terror groups and tribal armies with some having declared alliance with the Islamic State. In the south east there is the Sudan which bled in the south especially in the Darfur area. Eventually the Sudan was force to divide allowing South Sudan to become independent. In October of 2015, South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir issued a decree establishing twenty-eight states in place of the ten constitutionally established states. The decree established the new states largely along ethnic lines. He took it to the parliament for approval as a constitutional amendment in November and the South Sudanese parliament empowered President Kiir to create new states.

 

This brings us to Egypt where the recent history has played out live and large in the Western media. The Arab Spring riots led to the removal of President and military strongman Mubarak. The elections were held fairly soon after Mubarak was forced to step down largely by the United States backing of the Muslim Brotherhood. These elections overwhelmingly approved Muslim Brotherhood candidate Morsi to the presidency and a large Muslim Brotherhood majority in the parliament. Within the year new rioting broke out protesting the implementation of Sharia despite warnings from Turkish President Erdogan to the Morsi government to slow their radical changes or face resistance. This led to the military removing Morsi and arresting him for election fraud. New election instated former General of the Army Sisi as President though he still had an Islamist and presumed Muslim Brotherhood controlled parliament. The Obama administration refused to recognize Sisi and demanded that Morsi be reinstated; a request which was roundly ignored. Unrest still exists between Egypt and the United States which will be resolved by the Presidential election this November in the United States. As to what either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump might choose to do is a complete mystery at the present time as neither has addressed foreign policy beyond Hillary’s claim to deep knowledge claiming her time as a Senator of New York and a stint as Secretary of State under President Obama which included the Benghazi, Libya fiasco amongst other miscues and Trump claiming to have conducted business deals with numerous foreign governments and met many world leaders though particulars remain largely unconfirmed. Egypt has also faced unrest largely from the Muslim Brotherhood and the Islamic State where both are vying for control of the Sinai from where they would presumably unseat Sisi and retake the presidency. Hamas in Gaza was seen as providing assistance to these and some Iranian backed groups in the Sinai thus earning themselves a complete sea and land embargo enforced by Egypt from their waters and land borders with Gaza. The Egyptian blockade is often ignored with the large amount of attention paid to the Israeli “blockade” which is actually an inspection of goods before allowing their delivery to Gaza usually within one or two days done to assure that weapons are not being imported by Hamas and the other terror groups which rule Gaza. Egypt too is a work in progress.

 

We will return to Israel subsequently but meanwhile on to Lebanon where the terror groups Hezballah runs the government with an opposition often afraid to act to remove the terror group as previous attempts have resulted in untimely deaths. Lebanon cannot be addressed without discussing Syria and the state of war which has more facets than hewn crystals. The main three forces are Syrian dictator Bashir al Assad who has retreated to the Alawite tribal areas along the Mediterranean coast and Lebanese border. Assad is backed by Iran and their proxy, Hezballah, out of Lebanon. These are the Shiite forces which also receive tactical support largely in the form of air strikes by the Russians who are protecting their port area along the Mediterranean coast. Inland there are Sunni groups, oft referred to as terror groups, supported largely by Saudi Arabia and Turkey. Finally there are the forces of the Islamic State which stretch into Iraq where they face the Iraqi Army backed by Iran who uses mostly IRGC (Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps) placing Iran at either end of the Islamic State. The Islamic State has been largely self-financed though there have been rumored support from Qatar. There is another group in northern Iraq and extending into northeastern Syria which is controlled by Kurdish Militias which are opposed strongly by Turkey. The Kurdish forces were at one time rumored to be receiving training by Israeli trainers on a clandestine mission though many have refuted that this was just a means of explaining the Kurdish forces resilience and holding their own against Islamist forces considered to be better equipped.

 

This takes us to the Saudi Peninsula and Jordan which we can count as a single unit of the GCC (Gulf Coordination Council) which is a group backed mostly by Saudi Arabia which includes Kuwait and the Gulf States and to a lesser extent, Jordan. Saudi Arabia has a close working relationship with the Egyptian government of President Sisi who are jointly facing terror groups including those supported or aligned with Islamic State as well as Iranian backed terrorists and the Houthi Tribes in the Yemen civil war, a front where Iran backed and Saudi Arabian backed forces are in direct confrontation. The United States has opposed and presumably attempted to prevent, though with little success, arms shipments to the Houthis by Iran and also opposed the bombing sorties from Saudi Arabia with equal lack of success and the belligerents continue to fight on. In the southernmost areas of Yemen, the prized areas which overlook the narrow passage from the Red Sea into the Arabian Sea, called Bab el-Mandeb Strait are a group of fighters originally claiming alliance with al-Qaeda but recently changing their alliance to presumably the Islamic State. These groups have benefited directly from Saudi raids as has the currently recognized Hadi-led government.

 

Yemen Battle Map

Yemen Battle Map

 

Lastly let us finally look at Israel. On the Golan Heights IDF (Israeli Defense Forces) have returned fire when fired upon by intention and otherwise has unofficial drop points for wounded individuals, civilian and combatant though no difference is noted, wounded and in need of treatment. IDF soldiers take these wounded and treat them in their field facility with the more serious cases transferred to Israeli hospitals for treatment. After treatment the individuals once sufficiently recovered are returned from whence they came at same drop points. All sides can view the individual drop points and all points are respected by other fighting factions in an unarranged agreement as all sides use this treatment method and no one side wishes to risk being cut-off from Israeli treatment and have to rely on whatever resources they have available. We have no information as to whether any Iranian forces have received treatment from the Israelis though if placed in civilian clothing they would receive the same treatment as any other individual. The Israeli border with Lebanon is currently quiet as Hezballah has sufficient on their plate with forces in the Syrian conflict and rumored even to have some fighting with IRGC or Houthis in Yemen. Intelligence believed to be accurate estimated that Hezballah has stores of rockets of varying size and capable of striking Tel Aviv, Bathsheva and even Ashkelon as well as guided missiles from Iran capable of striking anywhere in Israel including the southernmost port city of Eilat carrying warhead as large as two kilos and potentially five or ten up to one-hundred kilos warheads on their short and medium ranged rockets of which they possess as many as one-hundred-seventy-five-thousand. On their larger missiles they have warheads of as much as seven-hundred-fifty kilos on modified Zilzal-2 with a four-hundred km range and which they possess an estimated one thousand. Their Fateh-110 missile has a range three-hundred km range striking at Mach 3.5 carrying a four to seven-hundred kg warhead of which Hezballah possess more than twenty-thousand and lastly there is the Shaheen-II two stage missile which has a range of two-thousand km making able to strike anywhere in Israel and into Egypt. Each missile is capable of flight altitude of up to three-hundred km, is GPS guided, and varies a one-thousand plus kg warhead making it potentially capable of carrying a nuclear warhead and retaining it guidance hardware. It is doubtful that Iran has, let alone provided Hezballah with a deliverable nuclear warhead. Such is not far from the horizon for Iran but their providing Hezballah with such a weapon is doubtful.

 

The remaining fronts for Israel are with Jordan and Egypt which are both peaceful and with the Palestinian Authority (PA) in Judea and Samaria as well as with Hamas and ally Islamic Jihad and other terror and criminal groups in Gaza. The front with the PA is largely one where there are terror strikes which can be planned by Abbas and the his PLO terror groups or the less planned but instigated through calls for violence from PA figures, PLO figures or any of a litany of groups most of which are either headed by Mahmoud Abbas or are willful practitioners at his beck and call. The most recent round were stabbings carried out largely by Palestinian Arab and some Israeli Arab youths as well as car rammings along with rock and Molotov cocktail throwing with rioting which are carried out routinely by PA controlled terror groups, the Tamini family instigators who work closely with European Union and other European NGOs whose main aims are to cause any violent response by Israel which is filmed and the instigation causing the defensive act is edited and with careful editing and juxtaposition of stock footage, prerecorded footage or actual footage with any questionable instigations by the Arabs edited over or out completely compiled into the final product which is then transmitted throughout European news agencies within a matter of a couple of hours and they run with it unedited as if it were an actual news story followed by their governments and the European union then condemning Israel for use of disproportional force or the commission of war crimes and crimes against humanity. The Gaza front is another area where Iran attempts with some success to smuggle arms mostly containing rocket motors and rocket parts and technology. Funding for Hamas comes from UNRWA as well as from the PA making the European Union, United States, United Nations and individual European nations as well as numerous Arab countries direct or indirect financiers of Hamas terrorism and rocket attacks as well as Arab instigations and propaganda which permeates their entire society from their media to the schools, summer camps soccer leagues and every aspect of childhood and raising the children to hate Jews as well as Israel. The Hamas Charter calls not only for the annihilation of Israel but of Jews worldwide. Similar language is found in Islamic Jihad and Hezballah pamphlets and charters or constitutions. The hatred goes well beyond Israel and includes Jews everywhere as well as Western culture and societies. Hamas and their allies as well as Hezballah desire a world caliphate under Sharia and openly claim so. The main difference is whether the caliphate would be Shiite or Sunni, for the rest of us that is a minor comfort.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

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