It is an old saying that still applies today. It reflects on two events, two that show that the events we see escalating have a profound impact on choices, those in the past and in the future. When we consider the events (at http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/nov/18/synagogue-murders-binyamin-netanyahu-despicable-murderers) of slaughter, we see two sides of the same equation, on one side can we hold a group accountable for the action of a few people. Can Palestine be held accountable for the events of two Palestinians? The UN is so eager to add Palestine and give them loads of options, yet the massive amount of events going on form 1946 gives clear way that many have been on track and remain on track to eradicate the Jewish population. There is something entirely wrong about that, yet we must accept that Palestine has genuine grievances; however these are completely ignorable towards the fact that genocide should not be condoned, the Israeli state, which seemingly became the quick solution for governments after the WW2 massacre. As I personally see it, the powers that be who were in charge in 1945 required a solution for giving the Jewish population a solution and made their dream come true of the start of the state of Israel. Was this wrong? I am not wise enough to have the answer to this, yet what is a certainty is that, if it had not happened, Europe would have been confronted with a population bend on revenge after what was done to them. Consider the danger of death squads getting even with the Dutch, German and French population for what was done to them. Even if we consider legal events (at http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/jewish-family-in-restitution-standoff-with-german-city-of-teltow-a-939659.html), ‘A German-American lawyer and his family have been fighting for over two decades to reclaim lucrative properties lost under the Nazi regime‘ is only one of millions. Consider when massive chunks of Amsterdam, Berlin, Munich, Koln, Leiden, Utrecht, Paris, Reims, and that list goes on. Creating the state of Israel was the easy way out. Even though Historically, that part would have been even larger than what it is now. Yet, the issue does not stop here.
When we look at the second news story we see that the US has been kind enough to leave some hardware for Isis (at http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/nov/18/un-report-isis-enough-weapons-carry-on-fighting-two-years). The four bullet points are:
- Arsenal is sufficient enough to threaten region ‘even without territory’
- Much of Isis’s weapon stocks were stolen from US-backed Iraqi military
- Report recommends sanctions including seizing Isis oil tanker trucks
- Foreign jihadis flocking to Iraq and Syria on ‘unprecedented scale’
The first issue shows that ISIS has enough power to be a clear threat, this leaves the indication that the initial US strategy of bombing was never a true option. I never believed it to be and several deeper into military knowledge and strategy had the same idea on this. The term ‘no boots on the ground’ was not realistic from day one. To be honest, it would be realistic if other nations had stepped up to the plate for this, which would not be a unacceptable idea, as America is both financially and economically in a state slightly lower than the average basement. It is not unrealistic to let other nations step up to the plate, but that would leave it all in the hands of politicians, which gives the reader an idea of how much is unlikely to happen.
The second issue is twofold, either the Iraqi military is strategically inapt to deal with the situation, in the second it is not impossible that part of the Iraqi military is on the side of ISIS and they military is to some extent the eyes and ears of ISIS. The last part is clear speculation by me, but overall is that such a stretch? ISIS is making massive stride all over the middle east, there is additional clear indication that ISIS has reached Gaza and moreover, Hamas is losing more and more control of the west bank. These escalating issues are now becoming a worry on several fields. West Bank, Sinai and they are gaining visibility in Jordan.
The third issue is about recommendations. It sounds nice in theory, but what will be done when they only deal with Islamic partners like Pakistan, Morocco, Tunisia, Palestine, Senegal and others, how much confiscation will there be? More important, the recommendation ignores the biggest danger. What if ISIS locks down on the oil, they got by without it easy enough, but when the lock down starts, how long until most nations go into a lock down? Consider the barricading of oil transport to US and Europe for two weeks, how long until that powder keg paralyses nations and economies? Frank Herbert wrote it about it in his book Dune: ‘He who can destroy a thing, controls a thing‘, that is a truth we ignored. The tactic (seen as ‘scorched Earth‘) has been employed by Stalin during WW2, Sherman in the American civil war, Lord Kitchener in South Africa and by the Russians against Napoleon. The tactic was to some extent banned under Article 54 of Protocol I of the 1977 Geneva Conventions, which is only nice if ISIS would respect that, but we can definitely rule out that chance.
The fourth one is the nightmare many government face, not as they go there to fight, but what happens when these people return, which allows ISIS to place lone wolf terrorists, with massive amounts of options to damage the nations that gave them a life and future in the first place. Now we get to the title!
si fueris alibi, vivito sicut ibi
If you are elsewhere, live as them there (rough translation), yet the second part is not exactly happening, yes they start like that, then they take over and others convert or die. This is at the core of the issue, and as we speak, there is intelligence out there that is confirming (actually they are not denying, which is not the same) that ISIS is growing its numbers from the refugee camps, camps with over 2 million people. If only 1% joins, they will have enough troops to change the face of the Middle East.
We can debate on legitimacy of Iraq all we want, but in the end does it truly matter? The events that changed the map are now at the centre of the moments that shape the new Middle East. The question becomes who wins? It is clear that the winner will have a foundation of support all over the Middle East, yet where will that leave Israel and America? Soon they will be forced down a path of war that none considered to the extent that anyone envisioned. It will be the first war that might have the blessing of the Arabian states, as it seems decently clear that they have enough worry from ISIS as well. If ISIS grows beyond a certain point, we will see a change in Jordan and Syria first, after that the tinderbox will truly light up, with threats to Egypt and the nations surrounding the UAE and Saudi Arabia, then what will we do? Consider ISIS not just with troops and arms, but with access to the oil wells and they decide who gets delivery. Then we end up with the nightmare scenario, just because it was left to the politicians.
So as we now consider the fullness of the text: “si fueris Romae, Romano vivito more; si fueris alibi, vivito sicut ibi“, those in charge need to consider who they are dealing with and throw out the play book they used for too long a time without ANY results, consider who these Romans are and deal with them, because if we don’t they will hand out the dealings of portions of grief none will survive, which will be extremely uncomfortable for all of us.