Beyond the Cusp

January 23, 2019

Oh Israel, We Hardly Got to Know You

 

Israel is a tiny little nation with troubles imposed upon her unlike anywhere else. Love Israel, Hate Israel, not care about Israel, no matter your viewpoint, you definitely are never permitted to ignore Israel. If you follow the news you have likely noted that the Jews of Europe are feeling endangered. More so in some countries and less so in others, but in all of Europe the Jews are waking to the fact that their days of comfortable homes and safety are ending or numbered. Many of these Jews are heading, mistakenly, for Canada and the United States or even South America and places unthought of with at least half deciding to just take the plunge and return home to Israel. Yes, return home as this little nation at the eastern edge of the Mediterranean is their home from which they have largely been denied for over two millennia. Those heading for the Americas are going to be in for a rude awakening as things are starting to change and the horizons are darkening. Ms. Nancy Pelosi just saw fit to place freshman Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, (D-MN), to a coveted seat on the all-important House Foreign Affairs Committee. There are some items in the background of Representative Ilhan Omar which require inspection some of which include that she is a sworn follower of Islam, supportive of BDS against Israel, has called Israel an “apartheid regime that has hypnotized the world, and finally Allah to heap punishment on the Jewish state by which she means to annihilate Israel. But, strangely enough, Congresswoman Ilhan Omar along with the rest of the hate Israel electees to the United States House of Representatives, which includes Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib, Deb Haaland and Ayanna Pressley all of whom have spoken against Israel and some have also made anti-Semitic statements and are all intending to prevent any United States cooperation with the Jewish State. Yes, my fellow Jews fleeing European anti-Semitism heading for the United States, you will find that they are less than a decade or at most two behind Europe in this matter.

 

Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib, Deb Haaland Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ayanna Pressley

Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib, Deb Haaland
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ayanna Pressley

 

But, strange as this might appear, the changing Europe and dark horizons in the United States and even the fair Canada are not the biggest or most pressing problem which Israel is facing, at least not directly. Even the coming elections and a lame duck Knesset and government are but pebbles in the road compared to the deep trenches and great hill which are facing Israel in the road ahead. The deep trench right ahead and threatening all of Israel sits right above the Blue Line, a colored line with which not everyone is familiar. The Blue Line is the recognized border which was blessed by the United Nations on their inspection after Israel left Lebanon after the Second Lebanon War which was necessitated due to Hezballah raining rockets down on northern and parts of central Israel. This was when Hezballah had only received approximately thirty to forty thousand rockets from Iran and they still shut down most of Israel for some time. What was instructional was almost immediately after the United Nations inspected the position of the IDF and the placement of the fence Israel constructed giving their approval, Hezballah and the Lebanese government, but that is redundant, along with the support of close to if not over one-hundred nations of the General Assembly immediately complained that Israel was still occupying parts of Lebanon and that Israel needed to cede land to Lebanon which they were now claiming, lands which before the conflict were part of Israel. This has been the exact model on Israeli borders for the past twenty-five years, such that every time that negotiations are concluded and Israel accepts any terms, then the new set of claims as to what Israel need surrender are made. The Arabs refer to this as the destruction of Israel by pieces. Shall we get back to the threat to the north above the Blue Line. Hezballah fired or Israel destroyed most of the thousands of Hezballah missiles and rockets but Iran made good on replacing them, very good. They went so far as to provide Hezballah with what is approximated at one-hundred-fifty-thousand rockets and missiles with far greater range than before and now they threaten all of Israel and their longest range rockets are capable of reaching other targets Iran might decide to have them strike such as Cairo, Alexandria in Egypt and a Saudi military airbase in northwestern Saudi Arabia. The Iranians have built up a very effective regional weapons base in southern Lebanon and the Beqaa Valley. The primary target for the Iranians is, of course, Israel, and they made sure that they gave Hezballah stocks which threaten all of Israel.

 

Hezballah Rocket & Missile Threat

Hezballah Rocket & Missile Threat

 

But Iran was not satisfied with using just Lebanon as a base for striking at Israel. While placing IRGC forces for assisting Bashir al-Assad with his genocidal war to regain control of what is left of Syria, Iran has also placed regular forces with advanced weapons including precision missiles and other armaments for the threefold purposes of assisting in Syria, threatening Russia on their efforts to control Syria and for threatening Israel. We discussed the where and why fore of the Israeli strikes into Syria which had raised a few eyebrows recently in our article “Latest Israeli Aggression Scandal,” which explained the threats and other specifics including the coordination between Israel and Russia. What has also been of interest regarding Syria was President Trump deciding to remove the United States presence which has had the effect of pushing Russia into a closer alignment with Israel vis-à-vis the Iranian threat in the region. What is evident to any observer is that Iran is attempting to place a strong and controlling; one might even call it hegemonic, presence in Syria and Lebanon thus increasing their abilities in operating throughout the Middle East from the Indian Ocean to the Mediterranean Sea. Some have referred to this, ourselves included, as the Iranian Crescent which also includes Yemen as depicted in the map below. Iran has been making moves to surround both Saudi Arabia from the north and south and Israel from the north with Lebanon and Hezballah, the northeast with Syria and the IRGC as well as the south with Islamic Jihad and Hamas in Gaza. Another nation which should also fear Iranian aggressions would be Jordan as it completes the encirclement of both Saudi Arabia and Israel. Should Iran plan on taking control over Jordan, they have a willing ally already against King Abdullah II as well as being inimical towards Israel, the Palestinian Arabs who make up almost eighty percent of the Jordanian population and are allied with the PLO and other terror groups fighting to destroy Israel. This is simply another explosive situation simply waiting for somebody to light the fuse, and then Jordan will quickly look a lot like Syria and the peace treaty with Israel will have become meaningless. That is the problem with any treaty between Israel and an Arab nation, they are only valid for as long as the next leader desires it to remain so, or even the current leader if things inside the country turn sour and they need an escape, they often will blame Israel and start with the threats.

 

Iranian Allies versus Saudi Allies and pro-Saudi but Neutral

Iranian Allies versus Saudi Allies and pro-Saudi but Neutral

 

All of the above pales in comparison to the actual Iranian threat emanating from Iran. Hardly a week will go past without some political leader or military commander threatening to eliminate the Zionist entity, wipe Israel from the map, or as the latest Iranian military loudmouth quoted by Al Jazeera, Aziz Nasirzadeh, the commander of the Iranian air force stated, “We are prepared for the decisive battle against Israel, which will lead to its elimination.” He went on to add, “The young people in the air force are fully ready and impatient to confront the Zionist regime and eliminate it from the Earth,” These bellicose threats were made in response to the Israeli strikes on Iranian position in southern Syria which was in response to the Iranian positions firing a rocket at Israel, which was intercepted by an Iron Dome battery. Commander of Iran’s Army Major General Abdolrahim Mousavi recently claimed, “When the arrogant powers create a sanctuary for the Zionist regime to continue survival, we shouldn’t allow one day to be added to the ominous and illegitimate life of this regime.” Referring to the Revolutionary Guards Corps placed within southern Syria, he added, “The Army will move hand in hand with the IRGC so that the arrogant system will collapse and the Zionist regime will be annihilated.” He predicted this would take place with in twenty-five years, a number frequently used by the Iranian leadership. Speaking hours later, Hezbollah Chief Hassan Nasrallah warned, “The forces of the resistance today have the ability, the power and the missiles to hit any target in Israel.”

 

One might be led to believe that Iran and Hezballah are threatening Israel with imminent demise at their hands and that such a withering attack will be coming in the foreseeable future. There may be more to that idea than one would wish to expect as Israel has placed areas of Mount Hermon off limits to civilians and placed the IDF along the Golan Heights on alert status. This is all despite Israel detecting six infiltration tunnels Hezballah had excavated under the border into northern Israel. The discovery and destruction of these tunnels, dug with technology similar to that used by Hamas to infiltrate from Gaza, likely disrupted any immediate plans by Hezballah against Israel. The one rephrase heard often when Israelis express their concerns about the threats from Iran, Hezballah and other enemies is that Israel need not worry as the United States would prevent any such attacks from destroying Israel. We feel it necessary to point out that should Hezballah and Iran mount an attack upon Israel using weapons of mass destruction, chemical weapons from Syria and Lebanon and nuclear weapons augmented by chemical weapons fired atop ballistic missiles from Iran and inside Iraq, should they overwhelm the Israeli multi-layered defenses, there would be little of Israel for the United States to save. Were Israel overwhelmed and destroyed by Iran or any other of the antagonistic threats, do not for one minute believe that the United States would start a war with the perpetrator. The most Israelis might expect from the United States is a willingness to take in any survivors providing the perpetrator did not follow up with troops on the ground taking care of any need for addressing the fate of survivors. After the disgrace during World War II and the SS St. Louis where the nine-hundred Jews were refused entry by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt as they sailed back to Germany from Cuba along the eastern seaboard resulting in most of the passengers not surviving the war, so I am not all that optimistic that any nation would be willing to take in the surviving Jews leaving them to whatever fate would follow. This is very much why Israel invests so heavily in defensive anti-missile systems and is at the forefront of every form of interceptor currently developed. Many times the United States has offered funding to advance the technologies and produce the systems is exchange for the privilege of being granted the technology for American use. Fortunately, Israel has projects which even the United States is unaware, even DARPA, which we pray we never require relying upon for our survival, but it is good to know our shekels have been used wisely. As the saying goes, if we told you any more we would have to kill you, and we would never wish for that. Perhaps, at this juncture, we should end this article.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

April 9, 2017

Trump and the New Syria Policy

 

Trump has a new Syria policy which, except for one major change, which may not even really be any change, looks awfully similar to the Trump old Syria policy. What we witnessed last Friday was the Trump policy on the use of weapons of mass destruction against civilians. It mattered not whether it had been Syria, North Korea, Libya or any other place where such hideous acts might have been carried out. Wherever there would have been any use of chemical, biological, nuclear or any other weapons of mass destruction against civilians; whoever or whichever nation or leader who would have utilized weapons of mass destruction murdering any number large or small of civilians; would have probably been the recipients of an American strike by Tomahawk Cruise Missiles or B-52 long-range heavy bombers or other long arm of United States military reach to send the message that the United States would no longer stand by and simply twiddle our thumbs or make empty threats setting erasable red lines against such use of these weapons. The message might even have been extended for any mass murdering of civilians using even normative weapons such as barrel bombs or even artillery bombardment. This was President Trump announcing that the United States of old has returned and that nations and their leaders will be held responsible for their actions. We bet that exactly what Trump announced as a challenge to the rest of the world during his short commentary on the Syria attack was the meat that we should take away from the action against Syria, that he desires leading the world in efforts to end the horrors of terrorism by targeting the terror leadership.

 

So, what about this war against Syria everybody claims President Trump just declared? Well, first thing is that, as a number of Congresspersons mentioned, Congress is the body of the government which declares wars and also must be conferred with and approve any sustained military engagements. If President Trump plans an extended military confrontation against Syria, he will be required to get Congressional approval. We would advise not holding your breath waiting for the speech from President Trump before Congress asking for either a declaration of war or an extension for military operations in Syria. President Trump was simply sending a message with an exclamation point. His promise not to enter the Syrian war remains in place as does his promise not to get mired down in any Middle East war. Syria will remain a Russian playground unless Bashir al-Assad has not learned his lesson. Even if Assad is thinking that he might just desire to test the mettle of this new American President and see if this was just simply a one-off and that President Trump simply really is no different than his predecessor, President Obama; the odds are that Russian President Putin likely would advise him against any such stupidity. Even if Bashir al-Assad did not get the message or believes the message which was sent, we can trust that President Putin definitely got the message and that will serve just as well.

 

Donald Trump

 

But what about the long term cost of this military adventure? Has President Trump completely alienated President Putin? After all, President Putin did cancel the agreement where the United States and Russia exchanged information between their military commands so as not to have any misunderstandings or run any risk of their two militaries running into one another as a surprise. That action by President Putin was more posturing than actual anger as that communication likely was used before the attack so that the Russians were advised, likely with insufficient time to warn the Syrians and just sufficient time to get their own people to safety. Even if the Russians were able to warn the Syrians, the message still was received and both leaders, Putin and Assad, likely also know if another such punitive attack should become necessary, there will be no warnings next time. This was a message for more than Assad or Putin; this was a message to the world and most definitely was not a declaration of the United States entering the Syrian war. Those claiming such are simply attempting to be alarmist and are simply people who were not strongly supportive of Trump and were seeking a reason, any reason to run from him and joining those bashing him daily on social media. Those others who would love nothing more than for President Trump to get mired down in the Syrian war and have come out of the woodwork to support this military actions and are calling for more follow-on military actions are not friends of the President and are not seeking the best for him. These are the ones who have opposed President Trump and his non-interventionist policies and are hoping beyond hope that they can finally force him into supporting their policies. They will lose as President Trump if nothing else is his own man and will do as he desires. He signaled exactly his desired path during the campaign and this attack was no deviation.

 

On another front, this attack should remove some of the silliness that President Trump was nothing but President Putin’s marionette. The distraction from the real scandal should be dead and buried and we can now get on to looking for how deep the rabbit hole which starts with President Obama’s National Security Adviser Susan Rice and likely leads right to the President himself. Even if the Russians did actually purloin e-mails from the Democratic National Committee and from Hillary Clinton’s Campaign Chief, John Podesta, e-mails and make them public, had the media been worth their salt they would have found this information themselves. The Democratic National Committee e-mails were not stolen anyway as it is already a known fact that they were leaked by somebody inside the DNC. This means that the media was probably given access to this information and decided to sit on it as it did not serve placing Hillary into the White House. That would even include FOX News as many of the reporters and editorialists even at FOX were in the, “Anybody but Trump Camp,” even if that meant Hillary Clinton. It took somebody not so much interested in the election as they are in releasing anything which was factual and the public should have the right to know. Information on a Presidential candidate definitely fell into those criteria. That was likely the main driving factor behind Wikileaks putting out the information which was in those communications. They actually provided a service for the American voters by placing before them news which the media refused to provide despite its obvious importance. These leaks were more of a shaming of the media than it was a shaming of Hillary Clinton, as it was Hillary Clinton which shamed Hillary Clinton. President Abraham Lincoln loved the truth and trusted the people and his words should be revered by the media and rejoiced by bartenders. President Lincoln is quoted having written or said, “I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The great point is to bring them the real facts, and beer.” We too favor his opinion, waitress, another pitcher if you please.

 

Pitcher of Beer

Pitcher of Beer

 

Kidding aside, Wikileaks should be given a great amount of thanks for revealing truths which the American media refused to release. Where we doubt that their releases actually cost Hillary Clinton a single vote, but we do believe that they may have pushed a few wavering voters to change from simply sleeping in and then going golfing to actually voting for Donald Trump. Our friends in Michigan and Wisconsin will tell us that their going for Trump had nothing to do with people not going to play golf; nobody plays golf there except in July or August because the rest of the year the weather and lake effect storms make such an unpleasant venture. Whatever those few people who were swayed by the information, the truths, released by Wikileaks may or may not have made the difference, but we doubt they did sway the election for Trump as the two camps in the United States have drifted to such extremes that there are probably not sufficient people sitting on the fence and the majority of voters are all from each candidate’s base. The problem is for the candidate who does not excite or have the trust of their party base of voters. As far as getting into the war in Syria, that would have been Hillary’s game, not President Trump. We can close telling our friends in the United States and elsewhere, President Trump was taking a shot across the bow of any state actor who might be misjudging him and thinking that they can use weapons of mass destruction or any weapons indiscriminately, and they had best rethink, as that is something he will not suffer. Instead, President Trump will make such a reckless leader suffer and take the side of any suffering people as long as it will not lead to harming the United States. Do not get to thinking President Trump changed as his number one love and devotion outside of his family is his country, the United States of America.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

April 7, 2017

What Assad Chemical Attack Means for Israel

 

Assad still has no respect for President Trump, the new American President, who he expects to be no different than President Obama. He has basically done an ‘in your face’ chemical agent attack on the Syrian people once again testing the nerve and limits President Trump might impose. But what does all of this have to do with Israel? Well, if Bashir al-Assad has so little concern for his own people, fellow Muslims, even if they are Sunni and not Shia, how much concern would he have for the Jews in Israel? The answer is obvious; None! So with this knowledge the question the Israeli leadership should be considering is what, if anything, should they be considering. So, what would we be considering were we in their shoes?

 

The first thing we would do if we were in Prime Minister Netanyahu shoes is make a call of convenience to Russian President Putin. We would ask how’s the family, how’s the weather in Moscow, did you sleep well last night, and then ask, what do you say we talk a little Bashir al-Assad. When Putin says he does not desire to talk about anything to do with Syria the next thing that should be said, would you like to talk or should we simply act? That ought to get Putin’s attention. Then there would come a serious discussion about Putin shortening the leash on his pet dog in Syria or Israel will take care of the problem. Then we would remind Putin that the KGB is not the only Special Forces trash removal specialists in the world. Simply let Putin know that should Bashir al-Assad ever use chemical agents again that it would be one of the final acts of his already too long life. We would then thank Putin for his assistance in advance and tell him to feel free to call should any problems begin to appear that might need discussion and express Israeli willingness to always discuss any problems or difficulties which may present themselves in relations between our two nations. Then we would thank him for his time and express the hope that there would be no further need to discuss Assad in the future.

 

Vladimir Putin and Bashir al-Assad

Vladimir Putin and Bashir al-Assad

 

There would be no need to tell the world or to make any threats or rattle any sabers. Such posturing would only act as a challenge to Assad to go ahead and use these weapons again simply to prove that he is not afraid of the Israelis. By engaging the Russians, that path might prove to allow for them to apply soft pressure to prevent any further use of chemical weapons in Syria and also against Israel in any future military confrontation that may arise between Israel and Syria and might even prove to be a warning to Hezballah leader Nasrallah also that such weapons use would result in his being hunted down. Unfortunately, there is no warning which would have any effect on the Iranian leadership as their actions are guided by fanatical religious fever where no amount of threat to the leaders will turn them from their decisions for using any weapons, especially against either Israel or the United States as they feel that they are being commanded by Allah to wipe out both nations and take their place ruling the entire planet. What makes the Iranian leaders even more dangerous is their fanatical belief that should they fall in such efforts they would be rewarded in the afterlife and the next rulers would simply follow with their efforts and eventually their efforts must succeed as Allah has promised such.

 

Trying to deal with Iran is fruitless as they are on a religious quest which they believe was assigned them by Allah and thus their lives are meaningless in comparison to their charge by Allah. Their belief cannot be swayed by reason or threat as to them such would only serve to send them to Paradise in an afterlife filled with unending pleasures in lush environs with rivers and waterfalls and all the physical things they were denied on earth. They believe they are but tools and part of something far greater than themselves which has been predetermined and already set in motion and their part is but a brief role which will more likely to be completed by their successors which is perfectly wonderful as far as they are concerned. Nasrallah is also a religiously inspired individual but also has proven to be very fond of his own life. This has been proven by his spending much of his life hidden in a bunker presumably to prevent any Israeli strike killing him. He more often than not does not appear in person and makes his appearances by video feed or recorded video also presumably for his safety. These actions stand in stark contrast to the Mullahs who almost always appear in person often announced well ahead of time with little if any regard for their safety. They have no apparent fear of an Israeli strike almost as if they expect they have their lives protected by Allah. Bashir al-Assad also has shown actions which point to his valuing his life very much. He had a large security force assigned to one thing, protecting his life. These soldiers were considered elite, well-trained, expert security officers who would be willing to give their lives to protect Bashir al-Assad, similar to the Secret Service in the United States and other similar security forces throughout the world protecting numerous world leaders. Religiously driven leaders who are more concerned with religious fates than their lives do not usually surround themselves with large security forces or use remote video when making speeches or other appearances.

 

The facts pointing to the fact that both Assad and Nasrallah take great concern and care in protecting their own lives means that any warning which is taken seriously by these men could serve to prevent these men from acting in undesired manner. This would also imply that by sending such a serious warning through Russian President Putin to al-Assad with having him alter his actions in the future would imply that he and possibly Nasrallah might now be persuaded against using weapons of mass destruction against Israel. Such a reality could be very precious in future scenarios which may come to fruition where Israel and either the Syrian or Hezballah in a war against Israel. The use of such weapons as part of a war where Israel was engaged with Syria or Hezballah has been a serious concern, for both the people and especially the government. The use by Assad of weapons of mass destruction has sent chills through much of the world and especially many Israelis as anybody using such weapons on his own people would be little concerned with using such against others, especially Israel with whom he considers them mortal enemies. When President Obama backed away from his set ‘red line’ the world should have realized then that Assad was an unstable individual who has no regard for the lives of others. His use of chemical agents, barrel bombs, and other bombings and other attacks on civilian centers relentlessly should have set the world on edge as the fact that Assad was using such weapons without any opposition would allow any other megalomaniac with such weapons, say some leader in North Korea, to also turn to using such weapons expecting no reprisals. That is the reason that Assad needs stopping and as Israel has the most to lose from Assad’s use of such weapons, they should consider an intervention, and using the Russians is probably the most efficient means. Anyway one looks at this recent use of chemical weapons by Assad, the world need make sure that this was the final time and the only considerations should be what means should be utilized in assuring that Assad never again uses such weapons, even never again using any weapons would be preferable.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

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