Tag Archives: UN Security Council

The reality of danger

The entire Palestinian UN issue or as some call it Resolution 2334, certain players decided to make certain moves. There will be long term consequences, yet what they are can only be speculated on. The Washington Post gave news last year (4 days ago, at https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/monkey-cage/wp/2016/12/29/trumps-plan-to-move-the-u-s-embassy-to-jerusalem-could-help-the-peace-process/) that is another issue that will play. There is a choice at times to place anything governmental, yet where to place it has been less of an issue. You see the initial quote: ‘move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem could help the peace process‘ is a loaded one. Like in the Netherlands, Israel is one of the few places where the embassies are not in the capital of that nation. Tel Aviv is the most important city in Israel and the central hub for all business. There is a reasonable speculation that Ben-Gurion airport is a driving reason in that. Yet Tel Aviv is only half the size of Jerusalem, which does not make the move wise or foolish. What is a given that moving the embassies to Jerusalem will spark massive response. What is interesting in the Washington Post article is the reference to the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995.

In this we see:

(1) Jerusalem should remain an undivided city in which the rights of every ethnic and religious group are protected.
(2) Jerusalem should be recognized as the capital of the State of Israel; and
(3) the United States Embassy in Israel should be established in Jerusalem no later than May 31, 1999.

We can see that this act was either ignored or basically not taken too serious. The quote “However, a built-in waiver provision intended as a temporary measure has allowed every president since then to delay the move at routine six-month intervals” gives voice to that. So in case of the Israeli case as a solid ally, the US would state ‘not this time around‘ twice a year. Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama, 10 years of delays, 20 delays. Now, we see that the new president will push forward. Still at this point there are a few considerations to keep in mind. It is the quote “But a reversal of the long time U.S. diplomatic boycott of Jerusalem could bode well for Israeli-Palestinian peace prospects. Sending a strong message that the new administration stands with the Israeli government on a major symbolic issue with high potential costs could push the Palestinian leadership to a greater sense of urgency in negotiations” that I have an issue with. You see, Mahmoud Abbas is on his last options, quotes like: “Mahmoud Abbas, Re-elected as Fatah Leader, Moves to Solidify Power” is one side the other is “Hamas delegates find welcome at Fatah conference, but not trust“. The ties between Abbas and Hamas are strained and the Jerusalem move could implode the connections. This comes from a 2007 statement by Mussa Abu Marzuk ‘the failure of any political process to solve the Israeli–Palestinian conflict will lead to ultimate victory and the destruction of Israel reflects the Logic of Implosion of the Resistance Network‘, This resistance network is not that visible. Unlike some claimants to be ‘all for Palestine‘ they tend to brag on social media using photo ops for visibility. There are connections we see regarding Mussa Abu Marzuk, yet there is clearly another side. The conspiracy theories regarding Assad’s mercenaries are as unreliable as it gets, yet there are seemingly links in Beirut that do require scrutiny (an open blog is not the place to do this), the reason for these mentions are the reality that the move to Jerusalem will spark actions by Hamas and anyone with anti-Israel sentiments. Jerusalem could become a powder keg in more than one way. When we look at the same quote again ‘move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem could help the peace process’, I have to conclude that this is not likely to be. The so called burning bridges tactic could become the fire that lights dozens of fuses. Even as Iran had seized funding to the larger degree (implied that this was done), it could be a move that will reopen acts of support from antagonists like Iran, I very much doubt that Iran will be the only one. You see, the embassies not in Jerusalem gave some parties the idea that certain topics could be reopened. This move, when it happens takes that off the table and several parties will not like that at all. Yet it is not all doom and gloom. The reality is that Palestine has a massive benefit when the Embassy moves go through. Consider the benefits that Jerusalem traffic towards a place like Bethlehem brings, which is on the Palestine side.

Yet, this is not about tourism. It is about the rationale of moving the US Embassy. There have been a few voices that the US Embassy would not be safer in Tel Aviv, yet my issue is that there will be more opportunities for extremists to attack it in Jerusalem. Perhaps I will be proven wrong, time will tell. It was last year, just before Christmas, when the Washington Post stated “The United States recognized the 1949 Israeli-Jordanian armistice lines as the new borders of Israel outside Jerusalem, but as for Jerusalem the U.S. position was to support the provision of the 1947 U.N. Partition Resolution, which called for Jerusalem to be a “corpus separatum under a special international regime . . . administered by the United Nations” (at https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/why-the-us-embassy-is-in-tel-aviv-not-jerusalem/2016/12/23/89b5b5a8-c703-11e6-acda-59924caa2450_story.html). As well as “By 1953, the United Nations had shelved plans for a “corpus separatum,” and West Jerusalem was de facto understood to be part of Israel. Keeping the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv had no relationship to the status of East Jerusalem. Not moving the U.S. Embassy to West Jerusalem in 1953 or thereafter was essentially a bureaucratic decision, devoid of any legal justification“. What is now an actual issue is that less than a day ago we see ‘State Department ‘not aware’ of efforts to move US embassy to Jerusalem‘ (source: Times of Israel), where we see “We’re not privy to any moves, any decisions or active efforts to go ahead and move the embassy,” Kirby told CNN“, which reads like a load of ….. (you know the missing word). This is because on November 10th we get “Adviser says Trump tsunami will shift U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem“, making John Kirby an actual idiot. His additional clue word ‘privy’ like it was a secret makes this even more ridiculous. The president Elect has spoken on the intention of this happening. Now the DNC might not like this, yet intentional misinforming the public to this degree in the last 3 weeks of office is just stupid. How can we see John Kirby in any serious continuation when he is racking up disaster statements like this?

So we have ourselves a ballgame, because we now see: “intended ambassador to Israel David Friedman said last month that he looked forward to working “from the US embassy in Israel’s eternal capital, Jerusalem.” Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said subsequently that the PLO would revoke its recognition of Israel if the US moved the embassy“, here we now get the direct consequence of dealing in any non-lethal way with terrorists. The mere ‘revoke its recognition of Israel‘ is a clear sign that Palestine cannot now, or ever be trusted. In that regard, when we see the Fatah–Hamas Gaza Agreement of April 2014, with an indefinite delay on election, we should see in that light the situation of Palestine. With president Mahmoud Abbas in lock-down whilst we see people speaking, clearly with the old man in charge, making him either a puppet or unreliable, likely both. This is the group that the UN wants to do business with. This is the group, which via Egypt started Resolution 2334. In that regard, regardless of the dangers. The option that the US and possibly even Australia are moving their Embassies to Jerusalem. A stronger message needs to be given, either we stand with Israel, or we let it all burn and in this day and age, and from my point of view burning it all is a waste of resources.

We have seen for more than a decade that the Palestine high command is not in charge. That same organisation that tried marketing in the form of “It sought to convince a sufficient core of leftists that the PLO wasn’t really committed to its goal of eradicating Israel. It actually was a peace movement in terrorist disguise”, how has that been working out? The Haaretz quote “Lemon asked Ashrawi to explain what steps the Palestinians have taken for peace with the Israelis, to which Ashrawi answered, “I think we are trying our best to make peace in every possible way” sounds deceptive to say the least, although we must take into consideration that Haaretz will always be pro-Israel, so we can’t really hope for fair and balanced in this equation and I am trying to take this into consideration. My evidence are the loads of Hamas Rockets, a Palestine leadership that plays turncoat depending on ammunition reserves and a so called nation that has decided to delay elections. All these elements are in play when we consider the Israeli issues. A side that we see repeated when we look at the US State Department (at https://www.state.gov/secretary/remarks/2016/12/266119.htm). The quote “Both sides committed to a plan to transition much of the West Bank and Gaza to Palestinian control during permanent status negotiations that would put an end to their conflict. Unfortunately, neither the transition nor the final agreement came about, and both sides bear responsibility for that“, which is true, yet in 1995 onwards, we see bombings and suicide bombings in bus stations like Ashkelon and Jerusalem in addition to markets and streets. With an explosion of events in 2001 and 2002. Now that there is more and more evidence that Iran is backing away with their funds (likely because of oil prices in the basement), now we see there is so much need for a solution, for a suddenly giving in to Palestine. Perhaps the US wants to remember how they dealt with Benedict Arnold. How he was given land and prestige in the US? This question comes to the frame of mind when we see the Times of Israel (not the only source) state “Transcript claims to show US worked with Palestinians on UN resolution” with in addition “An Egyptian paper published what it claims are the transcripts of meetings between top US and Palestinian officials that, if true, would corroborate Israeli accusations that the Obama administration was behind last week’s UN Security Council resolution condemning Israeli settlements“, even as it has been denied by the White House, the actions and the statements from several sides give way to acts of desperation, trying to flush a result that is beneficial to the image of those proclaiming a deal, yet negligent on the State of Israel as it has remained under attack  non-stop until 2011. Is it possible for President Obama to remember what happened on September 11th 2001, perhaps he can also remember how there were no UN resolutions to chastise the Taliban with subsequent acts of diplomacy? Perhaps he remembers them, perhaps he was too busy politicising things. In all this the act of Resolution 2334 seems to be more and more a rash act. Without it, the move of the US embassy might not have been on the table, now to patch things and state that the US is an actual friend of Israel the move seems to have been pushed, with that the additional instigation of questions and requests in Canberra to move the Australian Embassy as well, which in light of Operation Paladin with 12 man could have beneficial logistical options. Operation Paladin is part of the UN Truce Supervision Organisation (UNTSO).

There is still the issue of the actions that led the UK to push for this as well as unconfirmed rumours that New Zealand had received Phone Calls from London regarding the matter. There have been protests on all levels, yet the one in London remains for now a mystery. In light of the upcoming Brexit, this resolution was a bad idea for the UK, having the UK and New Zealand abstain at the very least, although opposing it might have been a better idea. In light of the changes that Iran is showing gives several lights, not all of them good or positive. The implied changes towards Hamas and other players give light that Iran is changing priorities on several levels. It is the Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center who gives the best quality info in this matter. The quote “A member of the Majlis (Iranian parliament) committee for national security and foreign policy told the reformist newspaper Ghanoon that unless Hamas changed its strategy towards Syria and stopped supporting the Syrian opposition, Iran would be forced to establish new ties with other Palestinian groups“, gives way to this (at http://www.terrorism-info.org.il/en/article/21125), it is almost like reading the alternative play ‘One man’s folly is another man’s fiend‘, a not so gentle or secure way to play this game, yet it  does give the additional view to the changes in Iran, a shifting of borders, lines of acceptance without diplomacy. A view we see reinforced with “Hossein Salami added that the United States, the Europeans and the Zionists were planning to contain Hezbollah’s activity, but that Hezbollah had become a significant regional force. If Hezbollah could operate in the unlit ditches and winding alleys of Aleppo, without a doubt it could fight even better in the streets of Haifa and Tel Aviv, he claimed (Tasnim and Sepah News, December 25, 2016)“. Is this merely the wishful thinking of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, the presentation inviting Hezbollah, a combination of these or something else altogether. It is up to Mossad to see where there actual enemies are, yet with Resolution 2334 their game has changed, because the clarity of friends lost means another strategy, one that the west hasn’t had for some time, because in all this, until there is clear crystallisation of who is an actual friend, certain parties will no longer receive any indirect intelligence from either Mossad or Shin Bet on anything NATO intelligence parties would need to know. As this part will get politicised very quickly, the next attack that gets missed will be a clear first indication on the not so clever act of Resolution 2334.

There is a reality of danger in all we see do and act on, yet imposing it and inviting it whilst certain parties have again and again refrained from being anything but unreliable is cause for concern. The map of the Middle East is being redrawn and the rash acts shown so far have had no positive effect at all, which should be a decent wake up call for a collection of foreign offices all around the world. Whether they do is up to them and good luck to those who get to clean up that mess.

 

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A dangerous escalation

This is a worrying moment, not just for me, but for everyone around, it should be a moment to worry. I am not talking about the Greeks (they have been extinct before), or FIFA (others are on the ball now). No it is a little more serious at present. You see last night rebels shot a scud at Saudi Arabia, which now ups the ante for all players and all allies involved. So as we see the BBC News (at http://m.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-33033842), we also see “In a separate development, the Houthi’s have agreed to attend peace talks in Geneva“, which might be redundant now as a Scud has been fired. We can look at all the fact on how inaccurate these missiles are, but the straight complication is not just that a missile was fired, the question becomes what else do these Houthi’s have access to and at some point, We tend to get confused on what matters, I am not stating that certain elements do not matter (like humanitarian aid), but in the light of escalations, humanitarian aid seems to take a backdrop to it all. The issue of escalation will take another turn when Saudi would be forced to act in protection of its citizens. There are a few options and one of them could be the temporary annexation of Yemen as the House of Saud, in allegiance of deposed president Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi takes a ground offensive. At that point, whatever cries for help the Houthi’s then voice, they might not receive too much support. As we look at the humanitarian part, have the involved support groups taken a census of how many of these civilian are Houthis? In addition, when this escalated further, what will be the consequences for Oman? You see, it is not just the players that are an issue, with the growing allegiance of Al Qaeda in Yemen, with the growth of Islamic State, we will see additional escalation both within Yemen, towards Saudi Arabia as well as towards the direction of Oman. What path will be taken is hard for me to tell without better intelligence on the events (there is a limit to the information that the BBC has in its possession). Beyond that is another danger that is now brewing for Saudi Arabia. No matter how they feel regarding the actions against Yemen, it has an effect in the refugee camps in Jordan, Islamic State is more and more active in recruiting the youthful adults there, with over 630,000 refugees, there is every chance that Islamic State has growing numbers not in the hundreds, but in excess of a few thousand. The additional actions of ISIS in Egypt, gives worry on the dangers for Saudi Arabia. Whether scuds are the least accurate missiles or not, it will take one missile from Eritrea to hit close enough to Mecca to make this tinderbox explode. ISIS has never made a secret regarding the capture of Mecca, the question is would they be willing to destroy it? It is an actual question, I do not know the answer. But in the time that several ‘anti-ISIS’ parties were sitting on their hands, escalations are now likely to be all over the filed, which could give Saudi Arabia the premise that they could soon be under attack from more than one side. What do you think will happen then? So, as Yemen has upped the ante with a failed missile attack, we will soon see a different theatre of War. You might think that this is the same as every other attack, but it is not. Reasoning is the following quote from Reuters “Yemen’s dominant Houthi group and its army allies fired a Scud missile at Saudi Arabia“, it is the ‘army allies’, whether valid or not, this now implies that the combatant forces of Yemen are now part of this. I used the work imply for a reason. You see, there is no guarantee that this is truly the case, it could be a collection of sympathising defectors, but Saudi Arabia does not need to take this into consideration, do they? Will it get worse? Most likely yes, but in all honesty, I expected these troops to make more active hostilities against Israel instead of escalating towards Saudi Arabia now. This thought was partially shaped by the incursions and the maintaining of presence of Islamic State in Sinai, with options towards Saudi Arabia, the Islamic State corridor becomes an economic worry for several players, least of all Israel. One source gave me “Muslim Brotherhood also offered to facilitate the entry of ISIS elements to the Egyptian territory, through the western and southern borders of Egypt, in return of ISIS helping Muslim Brotherhood to reach power again in Egypt till they control all country’s joints” I think it goes further than that, I think that there is a growing group of more radicalised members of the Muslim Brotherhood, joining the Islamic State in Sinai and from there move towards Israel and likely (based on the latest information) act against Saudi Arabia too. There is not enough evidence on how likely and how strong these actions would be, but this implies that Saudi Arabia is at least in indirect danger here, this means that Saudi Arabia has to connect with three sides. This also means that the escalations against the Islamic State members in Yemen would require a much harsher turn soon enough. The question will soon become one that America and its NATO allies must answer in more than one way. How much support will their ally Saudi Arabia receive, how much non-interference will be gained from the alliance as humanitarian aid in Yemen could be regarded as politically inconvenient. The only bright spot is that most Islamic State fighters tend to be extremely ad-hoc, so if one of them decides to make a name for himself in Israel, the Israeli air force might be forced to cut down the lifespan of Islamic State in Sinai, a chance that is not that high, whatever attacks Israel is more likely to come from Jordan, especially any attack on Eilat, which will cause other reasons of escalations all over the board. From here we must look at a BBC quote from last March. The quote is “Beyond Yemen, the Sanaa bombings underscore how the American strategy against Islamic State is lacking. The US is not degrading IS fast enough to stop its expansion, and it does not appear to have a plan for confronting IS branches in Sinai, Libya, West Africa, and now Yemen”, there are two problems with the quote. The first one is setting the quote like it should all be the US, or even about the US. This is not the case (only the premise), you see, Sinai is Egyptian turf and Egypt is not making headway here, for Sinai there is an additional complication that it cannot push its army into Sinai, because of the peace accord, which means that Islamic State can move all over buffer zone C, as long as they stay mostly out of sight. In Libya there are additional factors and Jordan is a sovereign state who is working together with the US, yet Islamic State remains a factor here. The biggest worry is that it will grow too large within the refugee community, which would escalate in many way that could cause a slaughter of many thousands of people at the drop of the wrong hat. At that point, the US will not have anywhere near the presence to act, and most likely neither will the Jordan forces. This gives us a map that becomes complicated. With Sheikh Omar Hadeed Brigade making new rocket attacks on Israel from Gaza, we must also question who is in control there, because if these attacks continue, Israel would be forced to escalate even further, especially since Ashdod was hit in a missile attack. This is where we get the issue with the quote “scuds are the least accurate missiles“, it only takes one hit for this tinderbox to be in flames and as such, we should be careful on relying on ANY peace talks at present. In my view Islamic state sees it as a weakness and whatever they do there is only to give time to prepare the next assault. So as there is a chance that both Israel and Saudi Arabia will find the risks too unacceptable and we will see how both Yemen and Gaza will fall under increased air attack. Whatever happens next will also determine how the playing parties will deal with the threats they face. In all this the greatest threat is towards the innocent refugees in Jordan as they are very likely to be in the middle of two factions, who do not care about these ‘refugees’, in all this we must face the dangers to both an Israeli and a Saudi Arabia escalation. In all this, I will not point at the US, here I point at the other NATO players who should have become active long ago, but political pressures stopped several actions. If NATO had acted stronger in the very beginning, Islamic State might not have had the support it ended up having. In May 2014, Daveed Gartenstein-Ross stated the following: “Though NATO did its job extraordinarily well, an intervention whose main purpose was saving lives may have ended up claiming more lives than it preserved; and the war certainly helped jihadist groups who are hostile to the United States and its allies while setting back U.S. regional interests“, I think that this is at the heart of a few events. The political elements who remained on the side of caution have inadvertently given strength to the situation that is now escalating. They are not the only factor, but they are a factor. That same reluctance in Syria is now cause for major problems and escalations. It is hard to see whether it would have worked out in Syria, especially with Russia in the opposing way, but we see now that there are a few more escalation on the map, escalations that would not have been there if the Syrian situation had been resolved a long time ago (no matter in which direction it was resolved). The last one is a personal view and personal assessment, which could of course be wrong. Now we get to the quote by Daveed Gartenstein-Ross. The quote was given a year ago, but the connection to now is clear when we consider the quote “He said the meeting would involve ‘consultations on implementing resolution 2216,’ which the Security Council passed in April, imposing an arms embargo on the Houthi rebels and demanded they relinquish seized territory”, which we get from the Guardian (at http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/jun/06/dozens-killed-in-yemen-saudi-border-raids-as-peace-talks-momentum-gathers) this sounds nice in theory, but since when has Islamic State taken any notice of an arms embargo? Or taken any notice of the Security Council in any way shape or form? These ‘talks’ which basically delays definitive action will have a similar effect, no matter what the Council states, if even one missile hits a target with casualties, the Saudi air force will respond harshly and talks will break down almost immediately. So will Yemen escalate out of proportions? I reckon that answer is less than a week away, but no matter in which direction it goes, if even one of the neighbouring parties takes any action, escalations might not be impossible to stop and what happens after that will cause a Middle Eastern escalation unlike one we have seen before, as it is entirely possible that Iran will get involved undoing loads of talks in mere hours. The question becomes, who makes the first mistake here? A mistake with dire consequences for all players involved.

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