The Arabs and the Jews and Middle East…a continuing story.

Background:

For thousands of years now, Arabs and Jews have been fighting over the same desert.  Since May 1948, part of it has been named Israel but it is historically called Palestine. The Jews claim ownership because God gave them the land…but He didn’t.  They have it because the British gave them a few miles of Palestine in 1948 and they fought for the rest, the same way every nation gets land.  Oh sure, King David proclaimed the Kingdom of Israel in Judea about 1000 BC but it has been owned by almost everyone since then.

The Palestinians claim the same land because they are called ‘Palestinians’ and live on it, but that’s nonsense too.  The Jews have been there as long as the Arabs and over the thousands of the years they both say they have owned it, neither of them actually did.  The area has been the center of conflict almost forever as nations come and go.  Temporary owners have included Assyrians. Philistines, Arabs, Ethiopians, Babylonians, Egyptians, Greeks, Jews, Persians, Romans, Catholics, Turks, French, Ottomans, British…..

See for yourself:  https://en.wikipedia.org /wiki/Timeline_of_the_history_of_the_region_of_Palestine

The current version of Israel was established in 1948 but the Arabs hate Jews (and each other but that’s another story) so they have been trying to kill off the Jews since 1948.  Before 1948 they weren’t serious about it and only had muskets and camels with which to wage war.  Then they got rich on oil and started buying arms.  By 1967 they had a huge advantage in tanks, aircraft and men-at-arms but they didn’t bother to train their armies.  When Egypt, Syria and Jordan got ready to wipe Israel off the map, the Jews executed a pre-emptive strike, beat the very long odds against them and wiped out the tanks and aircraft of all three of those Arab countries.  In the process they acquired the Golan heights and the Sinai desert as far as the Suez canal.

Then they almost pissed it all away by underestimating their enemies  In 1973 Israel came within a few miles and a few hours of being wiped off the map by Egypt, under Sadat and Syria under the elder Assad.  They pulled off a win – barely – and since then they have been much better at maintaining situational awareness.  And they now have over 200 tactical and strategic nuclear weapons.

The bottom line is that it makes no difference which imaginary friend you believe gave your land.  You only have it until someone else comes along and takes it away from you.  Then you are gone, they have your land and your imaginary friend is now their imaginary friend. Everyone goes to battle with the absolute certainty that God is on their side and it’s the same God for both…but one side wins.

Israel is growing in population and wealth and they don’t intend to be wiped off the map, especially by Egypt and Syria.  So Israel need more land and we need to control global oil with the Petrodollar.  Enter the Arab Spring’. Most middle eastern Arab nations, especially Egypt have been temporarily pacified by a dose of  ‘Arab Spring’, which wasn’t Arab at all.  Syria, however,  wasn’t affected too badly.  Assad wasn’t removed like most of the other Arab leaders. Assad, like Saddam and Qaddafi before him, wanted to trade oil for gold instead of settling in Petrodollars.  Even worse, after we destroyed Iraq and Libya, Assad still refused to let us put in a pipeline from Saudi Arabia and Iraq through Syria to the EU so we could prevent Russia from competing in that market via the Turkish Stream pipeline.

So Israel needs more land and the US needs to control global oil with the Petrodollar. How? Like this: (I’m not taking sides here.  I’m just explaining what is happening).

Israel isn’t going to move further into Egypt than the east bank of the Suez canal unless Egypt becomes a threat again but they are going to keep what they won and stay on the canal to show Egypt that they could own it in a day if they wanted to. Egypt needs the revenue from the canal to survive, so they will stay calm in the near term.

However, Israel is going to remove the ‘Palestinians’ from the land historically known as Palestine.  That means keeping the Golan and maintaining the current border from the Suez canal to Jordan, Syria (minus the Golan) and Lebanon. In order to remove Iranian influence in the immediate area, they must occupy Lebanon again and keep it.

They would like to extend their border to the Euphrates river and share a new border with Turkey after Syria disappears but that’s not politically feasible at the moment.  However, it would be if Russia was forced to abandon Syria as an ally and Turkey rejoined NATO instead of vacillating as Erdogan tries to rebuild the Ottoman Empire.  Both he and the US are in the process of destroying Syria, and we have both invades Syria and have troops engaged there. We both call it ‘The War on Terror’ or some other nonsense but it’s really the war to secure Israel’s borders and control the oil.

Today, just after Mike Pompeo left Israel, Israel bombed Syrian military sites near Aleppo and Hama causing huge explosions which registered 2.6 on the Richter scale. The targets were supposedly hardened underground Iranian missile plants and storage facilities and come a couple of days after Iran threatened to hit Israel with missiles if there were any more attacks against them in Syria. [It is being suggested that the Israelis used F-35s in the attack.  That’s unlikely.  F-35s can’t carry bunker busters.] I doubt anyone in Iran is stupid enough to shoot missiles at a nuclear-armed Israel and Iran picked a bad time to make the threat.  First, Israel ignored it, and secondly President Trump is almost certainly going to withdraw from the nuclear deal with Iran on May 12th. In addition, the US commander of CENTCOM just finished a trip to Israel. This attack was completely coordinated with the US and approved by the White House, not only as a message to Syria and Iran, but to Russia as well to get out of Syria because we are going to make it disappear. What we will really do is start WWIII.

With John Bolton talking about regime change in Iran it looks like the US and Israel are teeing up to knock Syria and Iran out of the park…and his new comments suggesting that we apply the ‘Libya model’ to the DPRK makes a North Korea/US summit  looks unproductive.  It will be anyway. Even if it happens the DPRK isn’t going to give up its nukes. The last country the US promised not to attack if they gave up their nuclear program was Libya. After that, Kim Jong Un can’t possibly believe any promise that he won’t be next.

So it has become clear to the world that the US now makes deals and promises; gives guarantees and signs treaties – but breaks them at its convenience – usually after the other side has met their side of the bargain, can’t go back, and has no recourse.

The saga continues.  This is from Nightwatch which is an excellent source apart from the occasional gratuitous Russian slam:

“Supreme leader Ayatollah Khamenei threatened the United States and its allies during a Monday speech to workers. He called Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu a “liar” after Netanyahu accused Iran of deceiving the world about its nuclear program.
“Netanyahu reproduced what he said were copies of Iranian files detailing a project to build nuclear weapons, which was reportedly stopped 15 years ago. Iran said it had never sought to build a bomb when it signed an international deal to curb nuclear activity in 2015.

Netanyahu’s presentation was forceful, but we have some concerns. The graphics contained no links that established that they came from the Iranian trove or any trove. Some deference to the chain of custody is essential in a briefing meant to incriminate. Most of the images on the graphics are available on the Internet.

The content of the files might make the case of a secret nuclear program, but the content of the briefing did not make that case. In our experience, graphics intended to persuade an audience must be self-proving, without explanations.
A second concern is the sheer volume of the trove would require large numbers of experts fluent in Farsi and nuclear technical terminology in Farsi months just to get a cursory sense of what the files and the CDs contained.

A third concern is the absence of dates and security classifications.  The “Manhattan Project” was heavily classified. Every information security system insists on dating materials. None of the graphics contained dates or security markings.

Nuclear experts familiar with the many reports on Iran by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) have posted to the web their judgment that Prime Minister Netanyahu presented no information about Iran that was not already in the public domain. He did not prove his case, but his delivery was top-drawer.”

Nightwatch also made the case that the US has been in Afghanistan for 17+ years; still kills people with bombs or drones a dozen times a day; has spent a TRILLION dollars there; and has accomplished exactly nothing.  In fact, we are losing. The relevant commentary is reproduced below:

“The situation in Afghanistan continues its slow decline. On 30 April, the US Defense Department’s Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) published its latest quarterly report to the US Congress about conditions in Afghanistan. The report runs to 274 pages. This essay summarizes key points in the new report to help answer the question, “How are we doing in Afghanistan?”

Concerning the economy, economic growth stopped after 2012. Per capita GDP was $117 in 2001 and rose to $669 in 2012. This was based on massive foreign spending which was not sustainable after the foreign soldiers began to depart.

Since the US troop drawdown in 2014, per capita GDP dropped to $562 in 2016. Nearly half the population is under 15 years old. The country needs 400,000 jobs annually to keep pace with the growth of the work force. The “shovel-ready” jobs for unemployed young men are with the Islamic State-Khorasan Province and the Taliban.

Focus on private sector development.  During the quarter, the SIGAR completed lessons learned study about the Afghan private sector. The SIGAR published his report in April and it is available online for download.  One key judgment is,

The analysis underscores the difficulty of supporting economic development in a conflict-ravaged country like Afghanistan. For example, the report shows that early signs of economic growth were mainly fueled by inflows of foreign money and were unsustainable. Meanwhile, rosy projections of progress did not take full account of Afghanistan’s economic and security environment, its institutional-capacity limitations, its fraught relations with neighbors, or the impacts of corruption and powerbroker networks.

The SIGAR report on the private sector drew nine lessons about why there has been so little progress in the Afghan economy in 17 years.  The SIGAR also wrote 12 lessons drawn from the US experience of private-sector development in Afghanistan. They include pearls of wisdom such as spending too much money too fast is not good for a primitive economy because it promotes corruption not growth. Introducing a modern market economy into a pre-modern economy won’t work. Most important is the lesson that it is not realistic to expect robust growth when there is no security.

  Nightwatch Comment: The lessons are, of course, valid to the point of being blindingly obvious. They indict the aid agencies as having failed. The record of waste, poor construction, inept management, corruption and neglect is jaw-dropping after more than US$ 1 trillion in investment

Opium is the most valuable crop and export. The SIGAR report contains a map that shows opium culture in nearly every province of Afghanistan, including the northern provinces.

The lack of economic development and of general prosperity are tributes to the success of the Taliban uprising.  In hamstringing the economy, they defeated the one engine of national power that threatened the hold of Islamist traditionalists on a primitive population. That lesson, though, was learned in the Malayan emergency more than a half century ago.”

Nightwatch correctly makes the point that the main crop and export of Afghanistan is opium but stops short of making the obvious observation that US troops serve no other function in Afghanistan than to make sure the opium profits go to the government and not the Taliban or the Islamic State.

To be continued.

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