The Iran – Israel Crisis: Part 1, The Stakes

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F16 jet swirl

How long till war?

All eyes are on Iran and its nuclear program.  The Iranian government has stated that it pursues only peaceful ends in its new-found interest in uranium enrichment.  Israel and the United States have accused Iran of building nuclear WMDs.  In this article, Part 1, we will review how Israel and Iran are igniting the next world war and how conventional methods of defusing this situation have failed.  In Part 2, we will examine the diplomatic failures which have allowed this situation to persist and worsen.  In Part 3 we will review unlikely alternatives which might be able to prevent the United States from being dragged into a 21st century Vietnam.

Why are Iran and Israel Moving Towards War?

Iran and Israel have the keys to peace or war in the Middle East; they both choose war. we can see the rational explanation behind this absurd decision by looking into game theory and the Prisoners’ Dilemma. Both sides have the option of backing down; however, if either side took enacted peaceful measures it would open itself for attack from the opposition.  Without mutual trust or a shared allied superpower to help negotiate a thawing of relations these nations are locked onto the war path.

How Will the War Begin on Our Current Course?

Israel has talked openly about a preemptive strike.  With a surprise attack Israeli fighter jets plan to cripple the Iranian nuclear program beyond repair.  Iran will doubtlessly strike back; igniting a regional war against Israel.  The United States will most likely be dragged into the conflict with the inevitable Iranian retaliations.  In an American military war-game codenamed Internal Look, which played out many possible scenarios following an Israeli preemptive strike,  United States ships were attacked by Iranian planes attempting to intercept the retreating Israel fighters.  This is one of dozens of possibilities which could throw American into a pan-Arabian war in one of the world’s most volatile and important regions,

Why is It Important to Prevent War?

Life and energy.

It is of primary importance to maintain peace to prevent wholesale slaughter on a scale not seen since the end of World War Two.  Iran uses human waves of millions of loyalists to crush enemies while Israel decimates invaders with overwhelming air power and possibly nuclear.  A conflict would kill thousands; if there is an alternative, it must be pursued

Second, oil is something critical to the Middle Oil flow will slow to a trickle if war explodes across the Persian Gulf; either blockades of the Straits of Hormuz or wholesale destruction of regional oil tankers could cut off the world’s energy supply.  International blackouts would cause unprecedented chaos.

The question becomes that if war would be so disastrous why would the powers that be allowed it to deteriorate to this strained point?  Find the answer in Part 2; it will be up tomorrow.

All comments are appreciated and will be answered promptly.

Of Catholics and Communists: The Christmas Spirit In Cuba (Gives Freedom to 2900 Prisoners)

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Pope_cropped

Pope Benedict XVI fosters big change in little Cuba

Cuba is about to meet with God.

Or at least his representative, the Pope.

Pope Benedict XVI has declared he will visit Cuba shortly before Easter in early 2012.  Approximately eighty-five percent of the country is Roman Catholic so the papal visit is like Santa Claus coming to Christmas Party.  The country is putting its best foot forward for the visit while going to great lengths to cover-up any blemishes.  But like teenage acne, several sins mars country’s image.  Their jails hold dozens of political prisoners and massive economic inequalities burden the population.

Nonetheless, the Cuban government is taking near unprecedented actions to legitimize itself; in the spirit of Christmas they have released  2900 prisoners on Christmas Eve.

The Cuban government’s motivations for this greatest of gifts is tainted.  The released seem to be marginal political prisoners whose initial arrests are unjustified.  Important prisoners have not been released.  American Alan Gross, serving 15 years for subversive CIA-backed activities, has remain imprisoned alongside critical political prisoners.  Cuba still expects to be congratulated for its humanitarianism.

It is like when my sister stole all the Christmas cookies; she expected to be congratulated upon returning the platter, despite every tasty gingerbread man missing at least one limb.

I speculate that Cuba is changing, for the better.  Rather than maintaining the fantasy that Cuba is a socialist paradise its new leader, President Raul Castro, is moving to better Cuba pragmatically.  Freeing these prisoners, whom never should have been behind bars in the first place, is one definite step towards legitimizing Cuba in the eyes of the international community.

Being legitimate is important; both Israel and Palestine are effectively countries, but Israel is de jure while Palestine is not.  That is why Israel is a partner in international trade, operates in global alliances, and has a high standard of living while Palestine is not even on the map.

Already key political figures, such as Pope Benedict XVI, are acknowledging the increasing credibility of Cuba, with publicized visits.

It will take time, however I believe Cuba is now in the opening stages of positive trajectory that ends with it being an integrated member of the international community.  There is corroborative evidence the country is changing for the better. Earlier this month the national banks launched a micro loan program to give every citizen financing to better his home and investments.  There is even an emerging middle class.

It will take hard work and many years, but change is coming.  The Christmas Spirit, inspiring both peace on earth and goodwill to all men, is one key ingredient to ending hardship in Cuba.  Maybe Castro will give even better gifts next Christmas, or at least steal fewer cookies.

Arab Spring Unveils New Nations

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Modern maps lie.

Today, there are far more functional countries in the world than any map will list.  These unrecognized countries are nation-states.  This designation means they are identified by their a unified culture which is separate politically and socially from their official government.   The Arab Spring has blown the lid off many of the worst autocracies, from the deserts of the Sahara to the Balkans peninsula.  Corrupt central governments are receding before small nation-state across the Third World.  In the twenty-first century stability in the Middle East and rapidly developing countries  will be marked by the emergence of small, regional nation-states whose legitimization comes from their ties to the local cultures.

Since 2004 there have been two countries in Yemen.  There is the recognized militaristic government under President Saleh, the target of international outrage as massing Arab Spring protesters demand his resignation and that of his heavy-handed parliament.  UN  observers have taken advantage of this strife to visit off-limits regions of the country.  They have discovered a new nation.

In the north of Yemen  the separatist Houthis have established a large territory, encompassing cities, which they operated independently from the recognized government.  Their struggle for independence is largely hidden by the oppressive Saleh regime, who bombarded and assaulted northern towns indiscriminately.  We learn from Yemen that there can be operating, unrecognized governments in destabilized nations.  Some have already emerged.

South Sudan broke away from Sudan on July 9, 2011 to the applause and amazement of the world.  Before their split from Sudan the South Sudanese were largely unrepresented in their ex-government’s corrupt and violent regime, which has killed hundreds of thousands in the Darfur Genocide.  A separatist movement in South Sudan was able to win support for a new nation because natives wanted a government from their people for their people.

There is still unrest in South Sudan; however, they have even gained a foothold as an established nation.  Money is beginning to flow into South Sudan.  For example, the country recently won a $2.14 billion dollar oil export deal.  Meanwhile, South Sudan President Salva Kiir Mayardit has met with President Obama and begun to build tentative relations with the United States.  South Sudan is here to stay.  The African Union, one of the most notable inter-country organization in Africa, has admitted South Sudan as a full-fledged member.  The future looks bright for South Sudan.  We learn from Southern Sudan that unrecognized nations can emerge members of the international community.  Other nation-states, still unrecognized, still have international impact.

Palestine is a new state-nation, despite what Israeli claims.  It is one of the most renown largely, yet unrecognized, new nation-states in the world.  For years they have lived under a trade embargo from Israel because of the Palestinian’s Hamas government, who seeks to wipe Israel from the map.  However, with the winds of the Arab Spring change has come to the Gaza Strip.  With Mubarak’s resignation in Egypt and the erosion of the Israel-Egyptian alliance the western border of Palestine has been opened.  This derivative of the Arab Spring has allowed critical resources and new ideas to sweep through the Hamas government.  It was suspected this would cause an explosion of  terrorist activity into Israel and snowballing border war

This is not the case.

Instead, Hamas is calling for a mitigation of violence.  They are even willing to consent to the 1967 borders between Israel and Palestine.  In the aftermath of the Arab Spring these radicals are willing to yield where they once vowed they would not.  I believe the Arab Spring is influencing these separatist leaders to make rational moves and take what they can get.  If Israel can also agree to this deal they might be able to bring peace to a region that has been swamped in conflict for more than half a century through recognizing two separate states of Palestine and Israel.  In the past they attempted several varieties of hegemony over the radically different Jews and Muslims with no success. Nation-states are the solution to end territorial conflicts because the end the predicament with a definitive border line.  This solution is not limited to the Middle East.

In Europe, Kosovo has emerged as a semi-recognized nation-state within the borders of Serbia.  Between Mali and Algeria Al-Qaeda Islamic Maghred  is establish local support for a new territory of power.  Despite each nation-state being radically different all of these, from across the world, share common traits.  Each is recognized by its own unique cultures.  In addition, these new countries have the ability to be self-sufficient because of the emotional investment the leaders have in their homeland.  Finally, nation-states can emerge anywhere in the world where there is an unrepresented, by motivated, minority with a unified culture.

The Age of World Wars, which has lasted since the French-Indian War until the fall of the Berlin Wall, is over.  We are entering the Separatist Wars, between emerging nation-states and their oppressive governments.

Nation-states will fight for new countries because that will be the only way they can secure their own futures.  Rather than sweeping conflicts across conflicts the twenty-first century will be marked by numerous heated conflicts.  Once the dust settles many cultural enclaves will emerge as state-nations.

The world will be off with nation-states governments will curtail of corruption and increase representation of otherwise ignored populations because of their cultural investments.  This is my prediction, interpret it as you wish.

Pipeline Bombed: Egyptian Extremists Cut Off Oil to Israel and Jordan

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Fire ripped across the deserts of Egypt today as extremists detonated bombs on the Egyptian-Israeli pipeline, cutting off the flow of oil.  Emergency services dispatched to the area have reported that the fire will take days to extinguish.  While the flow of oil was quickly halted the fire continues fester.  Nobody was killed in the explosion.  Civilians have been evacuated and advised to not return to the area until the fire is completely under control.

Israel confirmed that the flow of oil has stopped and is looking into alternative means of supporting themselves while the pipeline is repaired.  Jordan, who relies on eighty percent of their energy from the Egyptian-Israeli pipeline have been forced to import Radicals in the Egyptian government and populace seek to permanently cut off supply to Israel, due to historic hostilities.  This would be catastrophic for the countries relations; the fragile Middle East rests on the ominous edge of another tortuous conflict.

This is the third attempted bombing of the pipeline.  The first explosion halted the oil delivery for a full thirty-eight days.  The second explosives, set over a month later, failed to explode and were safely removed by Egyptian bomb squads.  Today, the third set detonated, causing skyrocketing flames and a rain of debris.

Many Egyptians are outraged that Egypt is sending valuable oil to its traditional enemy Israel; not only does more than half of the population want to stop the oil transfer many want to terminate the peace treaty between the nations.  This anger, amidst an uneasy peace that has gripped Egypt, has resulted in radicals targeting the pipeline.

Previously the Energy Minister of Egypt was arrested and interrogated for the low rates the pipeline has delivered oil to Israel. Many believed, whether they were biased by their cultural tendencies, that the oil was under priced far below market price and selling the oil to Israel was against the interests of Egypt.

Both Israel, who receives forty percent of their energy from the pipeline, and Jordan, who receives eighty percent of their oil from the pipeline, are forced to get alternative sources of fuel.  Israel is pushing forward with opening up its own oil fields, called the Tamar Gas Fields, to supplement its own energy needs.   Jordan has announced that they will import the more costly diesel.

Some are speculating that the region is set for war regardless of how this crisis is resolved, the radicals in Egypt and Jordan have gained enough power to win governmental support for attack Israel.  This pipeline sabotage might be the opening move in a long and costly war.  If this is the case, oil will be the least of concerns to what will doubtlessly evolve into the most devastating war of the twenty first century and the Jasmine Revolution.

Israel: The Gestapo State

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There is a country out there in the world that continues to commit war crimes in this modern era.  Assassinating leaders on foreign soil.  Burning towns to the ground, arresting the minorities living there.  Walling off a city.  Blockading a neighboring nation.  This is the state of Israel.

Don’t believe me?  Here’s the evidence.

Assassination in Dubai:

Mr. Mabouh, executed in Dubai January 9,2010, by Mossad (Israeli Intelligence)

The remains of part of a burned Bedouin village:

This is an example of one of countless Bedouin communities that Israeli services systematically eliminates

The West Bank Wall:

This wall encircles most of Jerusalem, separating the Jewish population from the Muslim population

Blockading Gaza:

Gaza - After thirty eight years of occupation and five years of a blockade

The Israeli government was forged in war and is sustained by war; however a significant portion of these conflicts are incited by the harsh measures taken in every region of the country.   They are treating many of their own citizens, particularly the Muslims, like the enemy. This earns Israel more foes to fight.  Every time another atrocity is committed international support falls a little bit, while sympathy for the Muslims increases.  Israel is digging its own grave.

To be fair, they have always needed to fight with brutal efficiency in order to stay alive.  The Six Day War.  The October War.  Dozens of minor conflicts.  Had they not proven again and again that they are willing to fight to the last man there is a chance they would no longer be here.  To this day they still have enemies that will not bargain for peace: Hamas, Serbia, and Iran.  Perhaps these violent measures are all that is saving Israel from all out war; perhaps new polices will be more effective, peaceful polices.

Negotiation is the only path to salvation for Israel.  They lack the military muscle to war their way to peace.  Positive diplomatic relations need to be developed.

The path to peace is rocky and dangerous, each of their enemies needs something specialized before they will turn away from war.  Serbia will demand land, the Golan Heights, which they lost in the Six Day War almost fifty years ago.  Iran needs a regimen change, which may happen in a day or a decade.  The country is too unstable to currently negotiate with.  In both cases they need to be careful to never appear too weak, that would be asking for invasion

Hamas cannot be fought or negotiated with directly; they are a fanatical guerrilla organization that dreams only of eliminating Israel.  The solution is to buy the populace of Gaza, where significant Hamas resistance hides, giving them resources to rebuild and reconstruct their dismantled lives.  Without public support Hamas will be nothing more than a name.

These measures need to be enacted swiftly; Israel is already losing much international support.  Many have noted a growing divide between the Israeli government and the United States, their protector.  Each new incident, as seen above, increases tension between the two countries.  Should their alliance ever snap Israel will be doomed

While Israel currently possesses massive military power, necessary to defend itself, it lacks  the industry to rapidly replace destroyed units.  In the past they have relied on the United States to supply them with replacements.  When they lost dozens of aircraft and hundreds of tanks in the October War America replaced the lost units, giving them the stomping power to defeat both Serbia and Egypt.  In future wars Israel will continue to rely on its protector.

Should its protector leave, Israel will cease to exist.  The Muslim nation surrounding the Jewish country, desperate for their long awaited revenge, will pounce from all directions.  Since the alliance is broken the United States will not step in and it is doubtful any other countries will want to get involved in a massive war.  Israel will fight valiantly, but as it loses fighters and tanks they will be driven back. And back. And back.  Jerusalem will fall.

The aftermath of this loss will simply be known as the Second Holocaust.  While some Muslim governments will attempt to act civilly, others will execute all Jewish citizens that are found.  The only survivors will be the ones who flee.

This does not have to come to pass; Israel simply needs to enact new, peaceful, policies. They can save themselves, maintain good relations with the United States, and bring peace to the Middle East.  All they have to do is peacefully negotiate.

Bibliography

Assassination in Dubai-http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/8486531.stm

Burning a Bedouin village to the ground-http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-10777040

West Bank Wall-http://www.vtjp.org/background/Separation_Wall_Report.htm

Gaza Blockade- http://noorslist.wordpress.com/2009/01/14/5-minute-guide-to-gaza/

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