Beyond the Cusp

February 22, 2018

Iranian Nuclear War with Israel or the World

 

After reading Professor Louis René Beres’s article “Looking Ahead: Longer Term Prospects for an Israel-Iran Nuclear War” we found some additional aspects which were either dismissed or ignored. We decided that perhaps we could add some information by looking more closely at the Iranian perspectives and what these should mean to Israeli planners. The one item with which we took the most critical concern was his statement, “In essence, there are no conceivable experts on fighting a nuclear war, not in Washington, not in Pyongyang, not in Jerusalem, not in Tehran.” He also postulated that, “Insofar as a nuclear war has never been fought, what will be needed is more broadly intellectual guidance than Israel should ever reasonably expect from even its most senior and accomplished military officers.” The reality is that senior officers often have educations equal to that of many professors and their minds are just as keen and capable of any academic. We will grant that officers exist who are nowhere near the expert of some academics, but mostly those are junior officers and by the time an officer makes Full Bird Colonel they have at the least a Bachelor’s degree and probably a Master’s degree and many a General will have a Doctorate in at least one field from Military History to Mathematics, Physics and possibly Nuclear Physics. They will all have taken courses in Military Tactics, as even Noncommissioned officers are required to take such courses. They will have been required to take a number of command courses and often have attended some very rigorous military training courses which is how they get those impressive patches such as Ranger, Airborne and even Special Forces or Seals in the United States. So, to be honest, there are likely very few professors or other experts who would be better trained, educated and able to make the decisions and make plans to handle any threat including, or even especially, a nuclear standoff or even an actual nuclear exchange.

 

Professor Beres also said that there had never been a nuclear war, but that is technically not entirely valid as the War with Japan at the end of World War II was ended by the use of nuclear weapons which kind of means that the War with Japan did turn into the first, and thus far, only nuclear war. That was a completely one sided nuclear exchange as Japan had no nuclear weapons with which to respond which is what made the American use on Hiroshima and Nagasaki so effective. Fortunately, the Japanese did not know that the United States had used every nuclear weapon at their disposal and did not posses a third weapon. Had Japan tested the resolve of President Truman, the American’s next move was to build fifty additional nuclear weapons in the ensuing year and strike Japan with most of them in simultaneous strikes including Tokyo and a number of nuclear weapons into Mount Fuji in the hopes of causing a massive eruption. This was not much of a lesson for a nuclear standoff between two nuclear-armed adversaries. Such a standoff has limited lessons to teach us with only two which come to mind. The minor one has been the battle of the boasting idiots between President Trump and Kim Jong-un. Deciding which one is the larger idiot would be a difficult call but we would have to side with Kim Jong-un if he honestly believes he is a man-god and that his nation is as happy and well off as any other on the face of the planet. All he would need do is look southward to the Winter Olympics in South Korea to see that his nation is in dire shape and has some extreme problems. But then he knows this and this was what caused him to test President Trump and pressure the world with threats trying to force them to treat his temper tantrum by sending his beleaguered nation food and money. The more serious standoff between two nuclear powers was the Cuban Missile Crisis. This pitted the United States and President Kennedy against the USSR and Commissar Khrushchev. This standoff ended peaceably but not before nerves throughout the globe was frayed to the breaking point.

 

So, let us now look at what the future nuclear situation might be between Israel and Iran as well as Iran and the rest of the world. The first thing which can be stated, is, that Israel would not be the first to use nuclear weapons except in response to an attack using weapons of mass destruction (WMD) against Israel. Israel has made this their policy on nuclear weapons and their use such that they would only be used in response to a WMD attack. Now, such a nuclear response might be used on Iran if there were a massive WMD attack emanating from Syria or Hezballah which could be traced as being ordered by Iran. Should Iran launch a nuclear or other WMD attack on Israel then an Israeli nuclear response should be expected against Iran and for Israel to go on alert in case of an attack across the northern border from Hezballah or Syria. This covers every use of her nuclear weapons by Israel except for one rumored plan known as the Samson Option, used as the basis of “The Samson Option: Israel’s Nuclear Arsenal and American Foreign Policy,” a 1991 book by Seymour Hersh. The theory put forth presumably from an Israeli intelligence source who told of plans that should Israel be facing being overrun and destroyed by invading armies, then she would respond by launching her missiles at the main population centers of numerous Arab and Muslim nations which was hoped to prevent any attacks by Arab armies. The last organized assault on Israel by national military forces was the Yom Kippur War of October 1973, which was before Israel was assumed to have a nuclear arsenal. Since then the Arab world has not launched an assault on Israel using conventional forces and only through terror forces. There may be a question whether Hezballah, with there over one-hundred-thousand rockets and missiles could be considered to be a national type military force equating any attack by Hezballah into an attack by Lebanon and possibly their masters in Tehran thus including Iran? This is a conundrum for the heads of state and the military in Israel and we are not about to second-guess them and will wait for any announced policy. There has been some mention that should Hezballah attack Israel that Israel now considers Hezballah as being the governance of Lebanon and thus any attack by Hezballah would, at the least, be considered an attack by Lebanon.

 

This leaves Iran and what their leadership might be thinking about nuclear confrontations. It was reported by CNN on September 11, 2015, that the Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said during a speech that week in Tehran, state-run media report, which translated as, “I’d say (to Israel) that they will not see (the end) of these 25 years.” That, in and of itself, is ominous enough to rattle nerves or it could be written off to bluster meant to impress the Iranian people. One thing people need to understand about the Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is that his life revolves around the Quran and it is the Quran which provides him with his authority, gives him authority to make Iranian foreign policy decisions, and allows him great latitude concerning internal decision making within Iran. The Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is all but unopposable when it comes to decision making and his word is as good as law. If the Supreme Leader were to order a nuclear attack on Israel, the missiles would be launched within minutes with almost nobody even thinking of questioning these orders. What is unknown is who, other than the Supreme Leader, is able to order such an attack. This is not as well known and there are suspicions that there are some military high level officers who might also be permitted to give such orders including the leader of the IRGC, the special forces and most fanatical of the Iranian military. These are also the forces responsible for foreign operations including terrorist attacks. For our concerns, we will limit our concerns to address just the possibility for the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei ordering a nuclear strike on Israel or on any other nation.

 

First, let us look at what logic might be used by the Ayatollah. He would be aware that the United States has extended their nuclear umbrella to Israel which would imply that any nuclear attack upon Israel would potentially result in the United States striking back at the attacker. Between Israel and the United States, there is little comparison between their nuclear capabilities as the United States has a far more capable nuclear capability. The first question is whether or not the United States truly would respond as promised to a nuclear strike on Israel. The Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has witnessed a number of United States Presidents and has very probably noticed that the level of support Israel receives wavers from President to President, especially under the administration of President Obama. Thus, it is more likely that the Ayatollah would be more likely to consider taking any actions when the United States has a President who has shown preferably hostility to Israel or possibly only an indifference towards Israel and has pressured Israel over the ill-fated peace process. The real problem comes back to the one book which guides the Ayatollahs and much of the higher officers, especially those of the IRGC, which is the Quran. The one command from the Quran which has appeared again and again when it comes to relations towards Israel are two-fold, first, to kill the infidel wherever one finds them, and second, that the hour (end times) will not begin until you fight the Jews. The combination of these two concepts could lead to problems as the Iranian leading Imams and Ayatollahs have repeatedly proposed that Iran was chosen to bring on the coming of the Mahdi and the End Times. They have claimed that should they cause sufficient chaos and follow prescriptions written in the Quran, that they can cause the onset of the End Times and the coming of the Mahdi. This has often been stated to be solely the hope and ideas held by the Twelvers but some in politics have also adopted these ideas in order to gain greater acceptance by the ruling clerics. Many claim that Iran is not ruled by Twelvers though former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad brought this threat to a head and since then there have been more and more in the power structure who have been revealed as Twelvers. The prevalence of the Twelvers would make the leadership more aggressive which could be a problem, a definite problem.

 

Israel and Iran

Israel and Iran

 

What would possibly push a greater threat would be a Supreme Leader Grand Ayatollah who came under some suspicions of impropriety or other weakness which might lead them to make a desperate grab at ending the rumors replacing them with a far greater news story. The Supreme Leader Grand Ayatollah could be completely above all suspicion; but should the economic situations worsen leading to greater demonstrations and complete civil unrest and the regular military side with the people and the Ayatollahs believe they are losing control of the nation and may soon be deposed, then having nothing further to lose they might take equally desperate moves. Either threat could lead the Iranian leadership to throw everything they have in their arsenals at Israel and potentially also the United States. But no matter what the immediate future will bring, eventually the Ayatollahs will decide to use any weapons they have and in the not too distant future, that will mean nuclear weaponry. The Quran will eventually force the leadership who will be pressed by the IRGC commanders to press their revolution and Israel and Saudi Arabia are the two targets highest on their list. This means that sooner or later the Iranians will launch weapons at Israel. We will grant that this would not happen until Iran had struck Saudi Arabia and taken over Mecca and Medina, the two holy cities of all Islam. They also have desires to take over Egypt and would have to take Turkey so as to place somebody to rule there as President Erdoğan still has dreams to reestablish the Ottoman Empire and as he will support Iran, that will only last for as long as the Iranian dreams of reestablishing the Persian Empire do not interrupt his idea for the Ottoman Empire. There is no way for the two empires to coexist as the Persian Empire included all of Turkey and much of the Ottoman Empire plus, the Ottoman Empire also included Mecca and Medina, something the Iranians already have their own ideas about. The one place where Turkey and Iran will agree is on attacking Israel, providing that Israel will only be striking back at Iran and Turkey can remain unscathed. The problem is that at some point in the future the Iranian Supreme Leader and Grand Ayatollah will call for an all out attack to destroy Israel and should Israel see a fair number of ballistic missiles headed for Israel launched from Iran, Israel will no longer have time for diplomacy, Israel will need to reply anticipating that the Iranian missiles are tipped with WMD’s and most likely nuclear weapons. We can only hope that before such an eventuality comes to fruition that the people of Iran succeed in replacing their theocratic dictatorship with a true democratic governance which represents the people’s desires and write a constitution which will revitalize the Iranian economic situation and liberate the people from the Ayatollahs and their oppressive rule. We need remember that before the return of the Ayatollahs in 1979, Israel and Iran were friends with embassies and good relations and vital trade. A return to such would be good for Israel, good for Iran and good for both Iranians and Israelis as well as the rest of the Middle East.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

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February 16, 2018

Sovereignty Over the Shomron

 

Recently we wrote about the postponement again of the Sovereignty Bill where Prime Minister Netanyahu claimed the postponement was due to the need to work with the Administration of President Trump. Well, it turns out that President Trump and his administration does not know about any such need to work with Netanyahu. Perhaps we should be understanding as Prime Minister Netanyahu has so many troubles at the moment that he gets confused about with whom he has discussed what and when or how. The Israeli police have finally completed their multi-year investigations, the latest of their investigations, and have advised that charges be filed against Prime Minister Netanyahu. This has become an event every couple of years where the police recommend charges be brought and when all is said and done more was said than done as the Attorney General and his prosecutors end up giving the police a pat on the head and told they made a great effort but what they found not only does not rise to the need for any accusations, they really should have relied upon a far less partial main witness. One has to wonder what they were thinking when they needed to find some evidence which was worthy of calling for accusations that they turned to the one man who most desires to replace Netanyahu himself, Yair Lapid. For those who don’t know Yair Lapid, he is the most recent replacement for Tzipi Livni as largest desire with the least chance of ever becoming Prime Minister. His self-serving use of the party he founded, Yesh Atid, is merely the necessary invention which will permit him to make claims on being the next greatest savior who can finally make peace and having the intelligence which was evidenced by his astute ability to actually read the teleprompter on the news every night. His entire claim to fame is his being a newscaster who almost never mispronounced a single syllable. The real problem with Mr. Lapid’s plans is he is stuck in the two state solution and believes that leaving the communities beyond the Green Line and even sharing Jerusalem would bring peace, a folly if nothing else.

 

The problem with the solutions of the past is their logic was from the past and belongs to the past. Realities have changes and the weaponry of the terrorists have changed. The previous weapons were handguns, assault rifles, suicide bombs and weapons which could be applied directly to an area. The current weapon of choice still includes all the old weapons plus rockets, missiles, mortars and artillery. This has altered every reality concerning ceding lands to the Arabs as now they have weapons which have vastly increased their range and lethality. Granting the Arabs in the Shomron complete autonomy would open the central regions of Israel and soon after the entirety from the northernmost points to Eilat at the southern tip to rockets and artillery and other lethal weaponry. As everything has changed and progressed, Israel will be required for the safety of her people to retain sovereignty over the entirety of the Shomron if the country is to remain secure. The changed factors makes retaining the Shomron so critical that it matters not if the Europeans, the United Nations, the United States, the Russian or anybody anywhere on the planet might object, Israel must retain all the lands west of the Jordan River, period. Anyone and everyone who wishes to demand otherwise must be ignored and if they should become overly loud, then they will require straight truth about reality and be silenced or ignored, no other option should be considered. International Law, Treaties, the Mandate and every legal document grants Israel total and complete authority and rule over these lands and that is what must be impressed on everyone opposing the Israeli claims. That is the simple reality of the modern situation in the Middle East.

 

Looking at the area, we find wars in Yemen, Syria, Iraq, and including Turkey and Afghanistan and even Pakistan. Currently, except for the provocations from Hamas, Hezballah and Iran, Israel is one of the sole places where peace exists. Israel is one of the most stable governances in the entire Middle East where there is a democracy, another uniqueness, where the people are represented in the government. Allowing the Arabs another state would simply create another unstable area which would initially be a dictatorship with Mahmoud Abbas at its head. The problem is as soon as the IDF would be required to retreat from the area; Abbas would initially be overthrown by members of the Palestinian Authority which would in turn be overthrown by Hamas under the direction and with assistance from Iran. This would grant Iran a launching-off point on the western shores of the Jordan River and on the heights overlooking Tel Aviv and the central region of Israel. Without the Shomron, Israel is a mere nine miles wide at its center thus the Shomron is absolutely necessary for Israel to be capable of self-defense. The Shomron (West Bank on the image below) is absolutely required if Israel is to survive if for no other reason than weapons and tactics of war have been irrevocably altered since 1967 when Jordan held the area and declared war along with Egypt and Syria in the Six Day War. The United Nations demanded that Israel return lands, not all lands, and by returning the Sinai Peninsula and giving up all claims to Gaza, Israel has returned lands and fulfilled any and all requirements placed upon her.

 

Nine Mile Wide Israeli Waist

Nine Mile Wide Israeli Waist

 

Israel faces other challenges well beyond the Jordan River. There is Iran which has promised to destroy the Zionist Entity, and Turkey which despite having official relations still acts more as an enemy than a reliable partner in peace. Additionally, Israel faces Hamas in Gaza, Iran in Syria, Hezballah in Syria and Lebanon and much if not most of Europe and the United Nations all working to destroy the singular Jewish State. What many do not realize is that Israel is the single entity standing between chaos and an invasion of Europe by the hungry forces of Islam which include Turkey, Iran, Hezballah and near countless terrorist groups. The Europeans should realize from the recent increases in terrorism, many which imitate things which have been perpetrated against Israel in the past, that without the plug in the well-shaken bottle which is Israel the violence in the Middle East would explode across Europe pouring into the streets and across city after city. Europe is probably rightfully frightened by what it has witnessed closer to their borders than such violence has been in ages and take their frustrations and trepidations out on the only target which actually might care, Israel. The Europeans know if they were to launch the kind of accusations they throw at Israel at Iran, Syria, Lebanon or others that they would be inviting waves of terrorism to flow across their borders, so out of frustration they target Israel as Israel is not about to take anything out on them. The truth is the land is rightfully Israeli and the Palestinian Arabs were invented in 1964 by Yasser Arafat, Mahmoud Abbas and much assistance of the KGB. We had a recent article with a video halfway down the page where a member of Hamas, in a pique of anger with Egypt, lets loose a barrage revealing the falsity of the Arab narrative against Israel identifying the vast majority of the Arabs as Egyptians, Saudis, Syrians, Iraqis and other Arab and Muslim nations and not native to the area. The reality is that for most of its three-thousand-year history, Jerusalem has had a Jewish majority. No other nation has ever held Jerusalem as its capital city and only the Jews have had an actual freestanding state on the lands west of the Jordan River in the entire history since King David. Israel needs and must retain these lands, as they are all part of her ancestral homeland and have always been vital to her defense.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

February 15, 2018

The Potential for Al Jazeera Starting the next Middle East War

 

Qatar has opened a gashing wound upon the Saudi Royal Family and their claims to be the “Servant of the Holy Places” of Mecca and Medina. Using their weaponized radio and television channels broadcasting as al Jazeera they have called for the internationalizing of the Islamic Holy Cities. Such an eventuality would rob the Saudi Royal Family of their claim which justifies their ability to rule Saudi Arabia and could even foment a civil war within Saudi Arabia. The reasoning behind this call being made by al Jazeera may not even be originating from Qatar but instead from Tehran, Iran and the Mullahs. This might even be a ploy originating in Ankara, Turkey with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan who has visions of reestablishing the Ottoman rule over Mecca and Medina. Wherever the idea for these broadcasts, the one thing which is obvious is, it has heightened already drawn tight tensions with Iran, Qatar and Turkey on one side and Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt on the other. As if things were not bad enough, with the recent drone incursion into Israeli airspace by what was an Iranian flown remote aircraft intercepted by Israel, led to the Israeli airstrike in Syria on Syrian and Iranian command and control centers used for such operations. Add in the recently started new front in Syria with Turkey bringing a war against the Kurds in northern Syria and a likely land grab by Turkey whose President Erdoğan has made speeches claiming that Aleppo historically was a Turkish city. This is also part of President Erdoğan’s delusional belief that it is his destiny to reestablish the Ottoman Empire. He has also made claims on Kirkuk and Mosul which are Kurdish areas of Iraq. One thing which is clear is the Turkish President has strong hatreds with the Kurds both within Turkey and elsewhere.

 

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubayr warned Qatar that clearly previously such a call for internationalizing the Holy Cities of Mecca and Medina would be interpreted by Saudi Arabia as a declaration of war which he further stated, “Do not test the patience of the great powers, you dwarves.” This was an obvious attempt at intimidation which Qatar has apparently disregarded. Qatar has some insurance against any Saudi aggressions as there are troops sent by Turkey within the nation plus Iran has promised to aid Qatari interests from any Saudi or other outside actions. With tensions at such a heightened level and the above-mentioned nations restating their mutual support on each side and enmity for the others, it would take one wrong step, one misspoken word at an overly sensitive moment or even a misreading of intentions to tip over the first domino leading to the entire stack falling in rapid succession. These tensions and the recent fighting between the disparate parties in Syria, the interventions of Iran across the Middle East including Iraq, Syria, Yemen and Lebanon and possibly beyond including Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other terrorist entities have proven President Trump correct in his assessment that Israel-Arab conflict is not the central problem.

 

President Trump has realized the reality that the Arab Palestinians are not the central focus of the Muslim world but an all but forgotten backwater which nobody desires to take too much interest just in case they might be stuck with having to come to their aid. The Arab Palestinians are simply an unwanted group of malcontents whose leadership had worn out their welcome across the Arab world. When the Syrian civil war first started, one of the first places bombed and struck with artillery barrages were the Palestinian refugee camps with the largest being barrel bombed for almost two weeks solid. These were the first victims of Bashir al Assad’s wrath. It may have been that President Trump noted how even the self-declared greatest friends of the Arab Palestinians, the European Union, European nations and leftist NGO’s were all silent and never registered even the slightest of concerns over Bashir al-Assad’s wiping out of the Palestinian refugee camps. Between such lack of real concern for the Arab Palestinians whose troubles could not be placed on Israel and Mahmoud Abbas consistently refusing every offer to talk or reach a peace under any condition has led President Trump to demand actual effort and signs of real sincerity before he will waste any further funding of UNRWA or the Palestinian Authority. President Trump appears to have one main objective in the Middle East, to keep the United States as untangled in the entire area as humanly possible. We should all hope that nothing changes this and forces President Trump to decide it is necessary for the United States to engage in the Middle East as such would only occur if things became excessively dire.

 

Iranian Allies versus Saudi Allies and pro-Saudi but Neutral

Iranian Allies versus Saudi Allies and pro-Saudi but Neutral

 

The unfortunate thing is should a war break out starting between Saudi Arabia and Qatar and quickly spread to having Iran step into the breach and also attack Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates as well as Saudi Arabia to force the Saudis to defend on the greatest number of fronts and also have the possibility of Turkey sending troops and air power to assist Iran as Turkey has returned to allying with Iran after a brief period of neutrality while seeking United States military aid which was provided. What is most disturbing is that Turkey continues to be a NATO member which makes possible numerous troubling demands which could be made of NATO should Turkey be dragged into a conflict against Saudi Arabia and aiding Iran. That raises the question as to what the United States do if called upon to honor the call of another NATO member for aid in a war they were presumably dragged into which would place the United States aiding Iran against Saudi Arabia, Egypt and their other allies which President Trump has decided are the United States true friends within the Islamic World. Perhaps President Trump’s belief that the Middle East is best left at arms distance or further may be the smartest means of dealing with most of the mess developing within. President Putin has been attempting to extract Russia while not losing face or disturbing his allies who are becoming more burdensome than they will likely prove to be worth. In the meantime, Putin had best find some way of putting a tight lid on the building pressure between Qatar and Saudi Arabia probably by insisting that Iran calm their attack dog and end the al Jazeera attacks on the Saudi Royals and end the calls for the internationalization of Mecca and Medina before the pressure boiler explodes from the pressure and open violence breaks out.

 

The causing of a new front in the Iranian war on the rest of the Islamic Arab world in their quest to spread Shiism making it supreme over Sunni Islam by whatever means required has only increased the regions where Iran can now threaten. If Iran truly desires to make Shiism preeminent and dominating the Middle East, picking a war with Saudi Arabia and Egypt would be the most direct method, perhaps not the smartest, but it would be the most direct. Saudi Arabia holds the Holy Cities of Mecca and Medina and Egypt has the largest populations as well as the leading Islamic university, Al-Azhar University in Cairo. Taking control of these assets and swaying this many Arab Muslims would go a long way in having Shiism become dominant in the Middle East and make spreading it throughout the Islamic world far more readily possible. It might simply all depend on exactly how far along the Iranian work to develop and build a nuclear arsenal has come along. If it is much further along than believed by Washington D.C. and Jerusalem, then this task just became far more likely and the Iranian threat beyond just the Middle East just became exponentially more dangerous. This is another reason for the Russians to try to calm the situation because the last thing everybody needs is a war which could easily escalate completely beyond any efforts to control, and an Iran possibly facing losing a conflict with Egypt and Saudi Arabia might become capable of anything to try to alter such an eventuality. The one way Iran could lash out would be an all out attack upon Israel, and the last thing the world would need is an attack on Jerusalem and/or Tel Aviv with weapons of mass destruction, as the Israeli retaliation would be definitive and devastating. Perhaps Qatar had best be advised to calm down their rhetoric as otherwise things stepping beyond anybody’s ability to calm could be right around the corner, and if such is pressed, then it should be understood that Iran desired an open conflict and should receive all the responsibility for what follows equally with whoever fires the first shot.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

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