Beyond the Cusp

July 8, 2015

Should ISIS Replace Hamas in Gaza; So What?

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There has been a news story running around loose that ISIS is causing ripples of violence and is intending to replace Hamas as the governing body in Gaza. Should this actually come to pass, what difference it would make has not been explained in the stories I have seen and I am pretty sure I know why, the truth would be too revealing. The other reason this story has had the emphasis given it is so that the world will see such an event as something horrific and of causing a sea of change probably for the worse. This is true only if your name happens to be Ismail Haniyeh and Khaled Mashal of Hamas or Ramadan Shalah and Abd Al Aziz Awda of Islamic Jihad and potentially some of the other top echelon commanders such as Hamas Military Commander Muhammad Deif. The terrorist members of Hamas and Islamic Jihad have been complimented by the lead members of ISIS in Gaza as far back as last summer’s Operation Protective Edge though you would be hard pressed to find many, if any, news stories mentioning such, especially outside of Israel. Even within the Israeli media the subject was barely ever breached for reasons that escape me for their logic. The most news that mentioned Hamas and ISIS in the same breath was those quoting Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and a few other Israeli politicians and top security officers in the IDF and Shin Bet who were making the point publically that there was really no discernible difference between Hamas and ISIS despite what the world media cared to report. The actual discernible difference should both Hamas and Islamic Jihad along with the remaining Fatah and Palestinian Authority individuals all be supplanted by ISIS would be that Ismail Haniyeh and Khaled Mashal of Hamas as well as Ramadan Shalah and Abd Al Aziz Awda of Islamic Jihad and perhaps some of the secondary commanders who were seen as not sufficiently bold in their efforts against Israel as that would be the level of the majority of the change. I am fairly sure that the topmost leaders of Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Fatah, al-Qaeda of Gaza and any other top commanders who have been getting excessively wealthy usurping funds off the top for personal gain, better known as greed, then you have something to fear as such activities are not pure and will deserve punishment by the leaders of ISIS. The top people with the most profit from their positions such as the billionaires of Hamas, Ismail Haniyeh and Khaled Mashal who are both worth many billions of dollars, will simply be spending a lot more time at their mansions in Qatar and as time passes less and less time anywhere near Gaza, Mashal has not visited Gaza except for that occasional photo-op just to validate his credentials and to raise morale amongst the troops. The main loss to these leaders is that the gravy train will stop running and they will just have to suffer a serious financial setback and need to spend very carefully such that they do not spend through their billions of dollars too quickly.

 

In Gaza the difference will be minimal until ISIS has attained what they consider a critical mass such that they have the troops and equipment in place and everything ready for their assault on Israel. They will tell their forces that the day when the Zionist entity will pay dearly and no longer be in possession of the stolen Muslim lands and their fellow Muslims who are pure in their practice and intentions will finally celebrate their victory over the much hated enemies of Allah. Needless to point out but if you happen to be an Arab, Muslim or not, resident in Israel and ISIS were to even temporarily for some few hours gain control of your area of residence then you would be best served to be elsewhere during that period as any Israel Arab, especially the Muslims, will be treated according to Quranic texts and their most violent and strictest of interpretations. This means that those who are followers of Islam will have to explain to deaf ears why they had not risen up and destroyed Israel from the inside and were instead living so peaceably with the Jews. After said testimony, which will be interpreted to be more of a confession of guilt, these Muslims will be declared apostate and appropriately murdered, most likely burned alive as has been the lot for the Shia captured by ISIS. The best off will be the Arab Christians who will be permitted to live after paying the Jiyza, the tax especially levied against Christians and other non-Muslims under which their Muslim leadership will protect them until the next payment comes due, but be warned that sooner rather than later you will either not have the funds to pay the Jiyza or will be given the final choice between adopting Islam or death, and conversion will not necessarily save you as your forced conversion may be determined not to have been spiritually uplifting and you would then meet the fate of an apostate, burned alive.

 

After Hamas, Islamic Jihad and the rest of the terrorist forces in Gaza would necessarily come under the control of ISIS the sea change would barely be more noticeable than a ripple added to the surf pounding the coast; simply put it would produce negligible change. The changes would mostly be cosmetic as while the production of rockets would be increased with the rockets being stored for intense use in support of the eventual ISIS assault to eliminate Israel and liberate the stolen lands which they as the next Caliphate should rule over all the lands that were ever under Islamic rule and that includes all of Israel. The reality would likely be very different as ISIS has a much larger and more important foe than Israel which has been under attack for some time using Gaza as a safe haven and supply depot. The other dirty little secret that the news media have not reported about is that ISIS presence in Gaza is mostly to operate as their liaison with Hamas who manage the supplies and provisions so as to have ISIS in the Sinai Peninsula provided with the appropriate weaponry and ammunition for their attacks on Egyptian forces as their intent is to be able to take possession of sufficient amounts, all or the vast majority, of the entirety of the Sinai Peninsula and have successfully pushed all Egyptian forces from the field of battle and be capable of announcing their great victory and spread into the Sinai Peninsula and declared it as a part of the Islamic State being founded by ISIS. Such an accomplishment would necessarily demand an Egyptian counter-offensive to retake control over the entirety of the Sinai Peninsula using solely Egyptian forces so as not to need Israeli assistance of any note as such would arm ISIS with a propaganda battering-ram with which to unseat President Sisi and the Egyptian government and replace such rule over all of Egypt claiming it for the Islamic State’s Caliphate, just another jewel in their turban and another loss for the Arab Muslims desiring peace under which they can continue their lives.

 

Once ISIS has managed to wrest the Sinai Peninsula from Egyptian control, then ISIS would turn their attention on capturing Cairo and Alexandria, Egypt and then annex the remainder of the country setting to purify the Egyptian population by testing the people on their levels of devotion and knowledge of the Quran and Muslim Law, the Sharia. Should ISIS have the capability of defeating the Egyptian military, not only would such a victory be impressive adding greatly to their reputation, it would serve as another reason proving they are in fact and deed the Caliphate they have declared themselves to be and thus would attract even larger numbers of disenfranchised youth from Western nations as well as across the Muslim world. Such a victory would make any plans to defeat ISIS close to impossible, especially utilizing solely the Iranian forces, even were there to be provided airstrikes as required in support of ground operations to defeat ISIS or seemingly to stop their incremental advances creeping across the landscape. Such a gain would also connect ISIS forces in Libya to the rest of ISIS as well as placing ISIS that much closer to uniting with Boko Haram in western Africa and based in Nigeria. Adding the weapons systems and fighter aircraft to the ISIS arsenals would also be augmented by providing safe zones in which ISIS could train their own pilots providing them with a force multiplier, air support and bombing targets in order to soften them for the ensuing ground assault, something carried out currently by suicide bombers. Such gains made by ISIS would pose a direct threat to the entirety of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) and place increased fears in Europe, particularly the southern nations bordering the Mediterranean Sea. One might suspect that such gains and the accompanying threats would provide sufficient threats that the United States would act in a more forceful manner beyond limited airstrikes, but it is our conjecture that until, at the earliest, mid-January 2017 the world can pretty much rule out any increase in their commitment than to provide minimal air support of a few sorties on an active day. One reason that President Obama would not escalate the situation with ISIS would be due to any expansion westwards across northern Africa poses no imminent threat to Iran. In such a case, western movement would take the focus off Iran allowing them to better prepare for their inevitable conflict with ISIS for as long as ISIS exists, the Shia Muslims will not be safe anymore than Jews, Christians and others who do not bow to Allah.

 

The current efforts by ISIS are bringing more forces to bear in the Sinai Peninsula and it appears they will simply be cementing their gains in Iraq for the time being while continuing their efforts in Syria while striking in the Sinai in an effort to overwhelm the Egyptian forces currently holding the area. This is a natural fit for ISIS to open its next expansion as they already have a resupply base where they are able to keep supplies safely and a place they can hide away from the warfront retreating and enjoying relative peace in which to lick their wounds and plan for their next strike. The ISIS strategy is to strike hard with as many forces across as many fronts of the area of operations causing confusion and high casualty counts on their enemy attempting to overrun their checkpoints and other positions. This is the first time ISIS is fighting a national armed forces as until now they were fighting the remnants of a the Syrian Army and militias such as the Kurdish Peshmerga forces and the Sunni and Shia militias in Iraq and some of Iranian IRGC (Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps) forces which have continued to hold Baghdad and stymying further advances. This has forced ISIS to open a new front from which to make headway and continue to project their strong horse imagery and their invincible forces. Their raid this week assaulted multiple targets striking checkpoints and guard positions across the Sinai Peninsula. These strikes met with varying levels of defense but by the end of the day the Egyptian army had regrouped and pushed ISIS from all the positions they had taken earlier in the day. This was accomplished using assets wisely. The coordinated fight was conducted using forces including the Egyptian Air Force, armored units and those ground forces already deployed in the Sinai Peninsula. ISIS actually brought supplies out of Gaza prompting one Egyptian military leader to breach the subject of Gaza claiming that Egypt held the option of their forces going into Gaza and striking hard at any opposition units that may be; including Hamas, Islamic Jihad or other terror forces they find in Gaza. Initial results have shown that ISIS can push the Egyptian forces from their positions but they have thus far been unable to retain the grounds gained and are forced back into hiding. This may prove to be a war of attrition which would favor ISIS as they are gaining strength as the Western Powers, particularly the United States, appear reticent as they refuse to commit ground troops and actually fight against ISIS. Their anxiousness might be due to their having a plan for one great rout of the United States forces reminiscent of the Tet Offensive in Viet Nam. What that taught the leaders who have studied the History of the United States, particularly their innovative abilities to adapt to their situation and implement strategic options changing their tactics and adopting new and innovative tactics to fit that situation but that as long as the enemy can claim a victory and have produced large numbers of casualties that the media will reside with the isolationist reporting the offensive as have created a new and perilous situation where the forces fighting the United States are described as valiant while the United States military are cast as murderous and treacherous and any other derogatory terms and cast as losing the war or at best not winning. Once the American public has been bombarded with such news reports they demand the troops be brought home and from that point forward the United States has lost and their enemies need only keep up a modicum of effort as a constant reminder and to continue the nightly body count at the opening of every newscast. This was what defeated the United States in Viet Nan, in Afghanistan, and in Iraq once already and the one strength the terror forces have is they have nowhere to run to so they will fight to the last man, woman and child. That sort of determination takes an amount of steady and constant levels of ruthlessness in order to not only defeat them in every battle but to break their spirit and prove to them beyond any doubt that their cause is useless and, in this case, Allah does not favor them being deserving of victory and has handed victory to their sworn enemies. The only question is once the coming war begins, will the American people have the stamina and stomach for completing the fight or will they simply first surrender to the coming propaganda and then inevitably face the final surrender, surrendering to Allah and becoming Muslim and all that does entail.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

January 3, 2015

Losing Bets on an Aging Strong Horse

 

The idea was a noble and decent idea but the execution is proving the old adage of not putting all your eggs in one basket are proving true once again. The NATO allies and others who are dependent on the United States to build the gold standard weapons systems are starting to question that wisdom. The center of this controversy is the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, the latest stealthy fifth generation jet fighter which is being built largely by the United States and is supposed to use a single frame with different variants to cover all functions for fighter jets from carrier landing to straight forward air superiority fighter jet. Covering all of the faults which have become known and may require returning to step one would take more than one article so we will simply look at two specifics; the inability of the carrier model to catch the guide-wire, the problems with the 20mm cannon and the related software and other problems. Some of the other problems that have recently emerged are the latency of the helmet-mounted display, low reliability of the novel Integrated Power Package unit and fire hazards associated with emergency fuel-dumping system. This and the other difficulties have brought the design costs well beyond estimates and there will not be an operative all-encompassing software package until 2019 delaying delivery of a fully working aircraft on schedule impossible. Meanwhile, the cost of development is not the only problem and the concept of designing one fighter jet to master all the varying demands might have theoretically sounded like a great idea; however, the execution of that idea may be proving as daunting as the worst skeptics predicted it would be.

 

The carrier model F-35 problem is simple to state but is likely far more impossible to repair. The main problem is the F-35C (C denotes the carrier variant) has problems with its hook and its ability to grasp the arresting wire and retract properly. Testing showed the hook was placed in designs to be closer to the wheels than in any previous aircraft. This problem and many of the other problems appear to be the result of an overly engineered craft which was given parameters which were too close to theoretical limits resulting in a design which though technically possible in meeting all designed functions but in reality had cut things too close for them to work in the real world. The engineering probably used limits which ignored one crucial fact; the aircraft was to be flown with something which was not designed to tight specifications, an actual human being. A good example is that a car can be capable of doing a quarter mile in exactly ten seconds according to its design specifications. On paper, or should we say according to a computer rendering, the vehicle if every gear change took exactly the same number of milliseconds and the reaction to the starting light tree was perfect and every other action was performed perfectly, the ten second run is possible in theory. The problem comes in when the vehicle is placed in an actual race and for the life of its crew, the car simply never produces that ten second run. Every time going down the track the car times out at around ten and a half seconds. The racer simply never can match the computer model which it used in attaining that ten second result. We very likely have the same situation here. In theory the plane can catch one of the wires and land on an actual carrier but the human pilot cannot get the expected results as his landings do not follow the perfect guidelines of what is possible and instead lands to parameters of what is likely.

 

The other really horrendous engineering problem concerning the 20mm canon is such a mess that it almost seems like they added the weapon after the majority of the design was complete and only then did some engineer notice the F-35 was supposed to have this weapon, so he added it in without concern for it ever actually being used. I know, what makes me make such an absurd claim, of course the engineers placed a cannon or main gun on a fighter jet which was to engage other fighters. Well, not exactly and it would not be the first time either. Way back in the 1960s the air force geniuses designed the F-4 Phantom jet fighters to rely on their missiles only and were never thought to need to have any guns as missiles were to replace guns and dogfighting was never supposed to be required. You probably think this is hyperbole and could not be the case, but let me tell you this; they actually built the first Phantoms without any guns and placed them into combat in Viet Nam. The actual use of the weapons and the training of the pilots actually revolved around firing their missiles from a safe distance and then, once a pilot had used all his missiles, they were trained to run back to their base. The plane was designed without a gun and the pilots were trained such that they would never need a gun. The theory was sound but the enemy did not comply and once they learned that the Phantoms had no guns, guess what the North Vietnamese did; they placed squadrons of fighters closer to the front lines and would send them up to intercept the Phantoms returning after expending their missiles and being unarmed. They very quickly redesigned the plane with forward guns and a sufficient amount of rounds. They then realized the pilots would need training in the theories and actualities of dogfights.

 

Well, the same design apparently was used for the F-35 initially and then somebody remembered the lesson from Viet Nam and the Phantoms not having a forward gun. So, somebody snuck a gun, a 20mm cannon into the aircraft and put as many rounds capability into the gun as room allowed. Why do I think this and what evidence do I have, you ask. Well, the finished F-35 fighter when tested was unable to fire the 20mm cannon. Then, when they went to rewrite the software they likely wanted to know how many rounds the weapon would have and their answer might explain why the weapon was not included in the program for use. The cannon they are using fires at a rate of 3,300 rounds per minute yet the Air Force’s F-35A version can carry just 180 rounds for the gun. This works out to just the slightest bit over three and a quarter seconds firing time before expending all the ammunition. When inquiries were made the response was the gun should be removed anyways as the F-35 was designed for the utilization and requirement on missiles and would never enter into a dogfight situation as they would disengage once their missiles were fired. The reliance on missiles even extended to the argument that guided missiles would be all the pilot needed for any mission including the use of bombs and even more so when deploying weapons for close air support. Their claim was the F-35 was designed to perform all its functions from high altitude and for that reason it would never require bombs or a forward mounted gun. Israel has already cancelled the majority of their purchases of the F-35 and will hopefully use the remainder of the savings and design their own fifth generation fighter and return to producing their own war fighting equipment even to the point of firearms and the ammunition needed.

 

I have mentioned the critical weakness being so dependent on foreign sources for the very items, namely weapons systems, which are vitally necessary for the very existence of the nation. These references can be found towards the end of our article of “Time for Israel to Diversify her Relations in the World.” That became an actual threat which may have figured into the situational awareness during this past summer during the war with Hamas when United States President Obama added an additional requirement for sending military aid and resupply to Israel which prevented any needed resupply of Hellfire missiles. The extra approval requiring State Department signing off on any resupply to Israel was basically a way of cutting off any resupply while claiming to have just added a simple additional step required for such resupply. The White House response to any criticisms and their answer given to the media was that this extra requirement was basically the same requirement for any other sale of military equipment and not anything new, they simply were requiring for any resupply of arms to Israel to receive the same requirement other arms sales required. The difference is that the Israeli resupply had already received all the vetting required and was arranged through a military channel almost equivalent to an actual treaty, but what is a little red tape which equaled an embargo between ‘friends’?

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

February 6, 2013

Part of the Problem Our War Veterans Face

What will follow is just as much a stab in the dark as anything else. On another front, it is an answer to a question I have heard asked many times and then ignored. That question is why today’s war veterans are having such difficulty when the veterans of World War II came home and appeared to simply return to civilian life. The very first and possibly the biggest single item that the rest of us need to know is that we cannot know how to treat them or address their problems; only they can care for each other. And that is the crux of the difference between the veterans of today’s modern wars and those from World War II. It has everything to do with having time to ramp down from a heighten state of mind and sensory overload to a normal life situation where your life is not dependent on split second decisions which can and do come often with no warning, simply a foreboding if you are fortunate. So, how is it so different now compared with seventy years ago?

Item one is that during World War II the soldiers were not allowed to come home leaving the battlefield ongoing and unresolved. They completed their task and had won their war where today we drop troops into an ongoing war and then send them home with the resolution of their fight unresolved. After World War II the soldiers arrived home to victory parades and the news never talked about an unfinished job, there was resolution and the soldiers were welcomed as heroes. In today’s warfare we send soldiers into the war zone and then pull them out leaving the fighting unresolved. There is no finality and then when they hear the news they are reminded that they left the job unfinished. They also left others, their brothers in arms, close friends who are more than just friends behind still facing the terrors and threats day in and day out. The veterans from World War II did not leave comrades behind still fighting the battles, the war had been won and they had experienced a finality that goes missing today. But it is more than that.

When World War II ended the troops did not return home within hours. They did not leave the battlefield and within twenty-four hours get placed almost instantly back in what we call a normal civilian setting. The World War II veterans went through weeks still in Europe waiting for their transport to be arranged. They were kept with their units and the others with whom they had fought side-by-side with. Then, after weeks at the staging areas they were placed on ships that took an additional number of weeks before reaching their home. They were welcomed by a relieved and honoring citizenry who applauded their accomplishments and welcomed them home. There was the long transit time with their buddies that allowed for them to unwind and to give each other the exact and understanding care they needed. When our veterans come home now some are even transferred to a new unit upon arrival which completely cuts them off from their main source of help. They are dumped into a whole new paradigm without the down-time they need and too often away from those who can best understand and commiserate with their problems and difficulties. That brings us to the next problem, who treats their difficulties.

No doctor and no medication can replace a friend who was there next to you listening. Nothing that comes in a pill bottle or from a new and fresh face can share the emotions, memories, and particulars the same as the others who were there with you. And absolutely nothing can replace time, simply time to deal as a community with the community the shared traumas and scars that warfare places on the mind and soul of a soldier. Psychiatry does not have the base knowledge or depth of understanding to deal in a positive and healthy manner with the reprogramming and deprogramming the soldier needs to experience and the forgiving, sympathy, release of pain, understanding, and so many unspoken intangibles beyond the ability of the uninitiated to understand, needed and necessary to allow the soldier to return to what we call a normal life and society. Perhaps the only ones equipped to handle the situations and possess the specific abilities, knowledge, and solutions are the very same soldiers who they had shared the experiences and counted upon to protect and keep each other alive, trusting lives and honor in shared combat experiences can help one another with the adjustment back to so-called normal life.  Many soldiers will never be able to totally return and will suffer from memories and other difficulties but most are able to reach a position of control and understanding of what is necessary for them to live among and within normative society. We do not do the soldier much help by bringing them home so suddenly and quickly as the fast pace allowed by modern transportation. The World War II veterans had the possibly unintentional good fortune of a long and slow trip home aboard a troop ship with their comrades and fellow veterans and most often with the same unit and people who had fought with them side-by-side. They were allowed the camaraderie that just might have been exactly the treatment they were most in need of receiving. The one thing that is becoming evident, the methods we are currently pursuing and the prescription cure-alls are not working and a new approach is most definitely necessary. For those of us who wish to help, may I suggest one simply cure, try listening and say nothing, just listen and smile remembering that these young soldiers went and did what was required at our bidding and we owe them more than we can ever repay, far more.

Beyond the Cusp

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