The news has started to illustrate the issue I expected. I stated in my blog on September 20th “What we know about AQ is that they are about them and their needs“. That part is now coming to fruition. As ISIL they are now the third party in a civil war between two parties. My initial personal view is for President Assad and his opposition to come to an agreement and unite in a hunt for the members of ISIL/AQ, paving the way to some form of a seize fire.
Not doing so, will escalate this civil war in a plain hunt for lives who did not agree with the sharia convictions of ISIL/AQ. As Sky News now broadcasts how the victims of Syrian events are smuggled into Israeli Military Hospital where these victims are receiving lifesaving first aid and operations. A Samaritan act that will never be voiced by the victims they saved in fear of deadly reprisals. (At: http://news.sky.com/story/1147748/wounded-syrians-left-bleeding-with-the-enemy).
Isn’t it interesting that these so called Muslim ‘warriors’ are there just to ‘support’ one very specific version of Muslim faith. More important, the acts give weight to actually start open military intervention. In response to the article by the BBC (at http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-23925037), which stand point I do support. We are now faced with their tactical blunder which we should exploit. This does however require the support of President Assad. My initial assessment is gaining weight, which was more on the side of the Russian stance that Assad was not the one firing the chemical weapons. As I had stated in my earlier blog, it would make sense that an AQ attack to draw America and Israel into this conflict was the fuse to a powder keg. As the initial attack did not happen, ISIL is now actively attacking ‘their’ enemies. When we consider the September 19th report by Reuters (at http://www.reuters.com/article/2013_/09/19/us-syria-crisis-turkey-idUSBRE98I0C120130919)
This ‘game’ had been about de-stabilisation from the very start. As stated by me “AQ only cares for AQ” and as such, any diplomatic option towards AQ should be classified as null and void.
Yet this will take orchestration of some size, yet as AQ made the mistake of getting too close to the Turkish border, the issues could change if any attack on Turkey commences. At that point the NATO members have no option but to come to the aid of Turkey, also, the Turkish President Abdullah Gul would gain massive support and popularity should it get forced into a direct conflict with AQ forces, now trying to overrun Syrian areas. These events also change the game in other ways. AQ has zero support from Russia (in light of their Chechnyan ‘friends’) and at this point the turning table exists for Iran. If they decide not to get involved, which would be fair enough, the end result remains the same; AQ would have to go it alone, with their former temporary friends as well as the Government forces of President Assad at their throats. The bottle neck comes as NATO/Turkey slam down the box in the final side. AQ will cause massive amounts of damage. That is unlikely to be prevented. This is also where I do not completely support the Guardian article by Sarah Margon (at http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/sep/20/sarin-gas-syria-icc). The quote “Opposition forces have also committed serious abuses, increasingly resorting to executions and indiscriminate shelling of government-held areas.” might not be incorrect, but it might be incomplete. If AQ is part of the opposition, then we must see whether this was an actual act by what is called the ‘moderate’ opposition forces, or are these events the work of AQ and AQ minded opposition forces. So Syria is now clearly less clear cut. It is a civil war with three parties, each with their own agenda.
As such the question grows, why should we get involved? No matter how the Syrian civil war goes. If AQ is not dealt with, they will flame out wreaking havoc on both Jordan and Israel. In addition, AQ is pushing forward with pressures against Egyptian forces as well as attacks on Israel. Reuters reported yesterday the Sinai attack (at http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/09/28/us-egypt-sinai-idUSBRE98R09220130928). It will take massive amounts of discipline for Israel to keep their cool for now. Should the IDF face these attacks on the north side, as well as attacks on the Sinai Eilat side, then we, successful or not, will have to face the consequences. There are also financial repercussions. In a BBC newscast, from last November “This still means that as of Saturday night Israel had spent roughly $29m on interceptor missiles in three days.” The IDF has an Iron Dome presence, yet how much financial pressure is it under at present?
There is a linked view, which comes from the Heritage foundation, an American Think-tank. The article was by Baker Spring and Michaela Dodge. Baker is a Research Fellow in National Security Policy and Michaela is a Research Assistant for Missile Defense and Foreign Policy, so they do know their missiles. Their quote “Each Iron Dome Tamir interceptor costs more than $100,000 to produce. This is many times the cost of a Grad, Qassam, Katyusha-style rockets. But there is more to assessing the cost effectiveness of a defensive system such as Iron Dome than a simple calculation of the cost of an additional defensive interceptor compared to the cost of an additional offensive rockets.” is on target. Their assessment makes the issues not as clear cut, but what is clear is no matter which approach AQ is taking, Israel will feel tremendous pressures as these events drag on and they are not the only one.
Jordan is facing massive pressures through the Syrian refugees. The Guardian reported some of this (at http://www.theguardian.com/news/datablog/2013/jul/25/syrian-refugee-crisis-in-numbers-updated). This article is focussed on the numbers. It does mention the fact that Syria is short on roughly $2B to get anything done. What is less shown is that Jordan was never known for an abundance of resources, especially water. With an additional 3 million mouths to fill those resources will dwindle down to nil quite quickly. Consider that it will need an additional 2 million gallons of water a day, an amount that will run Jordan dry really fast. You can see how Jordan’s goose gets dry cooked. If these numbers mean little, then consider that with a water scarcity in place, their population due to refugees has grown by 50%, all because of the Syrian civil war. A possible solution would be if we could find some solution in Aqaba. It is not a quick solution, yet the option of running a pipeline from the Sinai through Eilat to Aqaba, giving all parties relief might be an option. As that part of the Sinai is in MFO buffer zone C, and if both Egypt and Israel would agree on it, then there would be an accessible place that is in ‘neutral’ space for now, allowing relief to both Israel and Jordan as they are trying to deal with water shortages for the Syrian refugees. This option might also allow for some agricultural solutions, which would deal with the long term issues that will pop up. The AQ would have to be hunted out of the Sinai, but in that regard both Israel and Egypt agree.
Why there? If that region is to have any future, then anything we start now; any action that allows for a growth of tourism in that region, like a second Sharm-El-Sheik, but next to (or close to) Eilat, could in time be the financial infuse that could grow that region to some level of prosperity. Europe and America are now in a low curve, but it will not stay that way. In addition, as tourism grows business. This option has all the makings for finding a long term peaceful solution. It could become an option which will always be a better one than non-stop flooding the region with money and goods.
In my mind (oversimplified, I admit), I see this as a solution. The Dutch are massive experts in Greenhouses. Consider that these are build close to a water plant in the Sinai, Around Eilat, Israel and close to Aqaba, Jordan. So if we can get the water there, in some form, but likely via tankers, there could be an actual push for peaceful reform. We need to get food there in several ways. Finding a way to grow some of it will down the track be the cheapest and it would start real change.
Even though this Powder keg known as the Middle East has been lit and AQ is the fuse, would it not be the master of all Ironies if Al-Qaeda becomes the glue that actually sets in place some lasting form of peace? As, whoever is running Al Qaeda, faces a possible future where a peaceful Middle Eastern alliance develops with Israel as an accepted partner by all and it was thanks to AQ. Would the howling laughter of people not drive him (or her) insane?
Graveyards and politicians both love irony in equal measure, let’s make it so!