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Beyond Sykes-Picot Iran and the US: can Armageddon be stopped? PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Imad Abdullah   
Wednesday, 01 May 2019 08:28

 

 

I- Iran and the US: can Armageddon be stopped?

By Imad F Abdullah

Author of "A Crystal Ball Visioning, Unfolding the 21st Century"

January 4, 2020

Much has been discussed about Iran's options in response to the killing of Major Soleimani.

In the opinion of this writer, any vengeful reaction whether to assets or to entities will not produce the necessary change in context that the situation demands; however, there is one option that stands a chance to diffuse the heat of the moment and create a time margin that allows a way out of this impasse.

Considering that the incident occurred near the Baghdad Airport and the potential breach of its security, Iran could arrange with Iraqi authorities to round-up all personnel and entities in charge of the airport security and in due course potential collaborators with any foreign military planes flying over the airport in the last days before the attack on Soleimani.

All accused detainees can be placed on trial in a public forum and with punishment corresponding to their particular crime when proven. The accused would have legal representation of their choice and the proceedings will be open to the world.

Iran as a state will have shown maximum restraint and yet acted responsibly and without a "Tit for tat" approach.

If there are US Servicemen or contractors among the detained, the impact will be substantial on the future of the Trump presidency and yet the shadow of war will be removed.

 

This approach allows Iran the clout to reopen the discussions on the imposed sanctions in due course as a quid pro quo if there are "guilty as charged" parties among the detained.

At the same time and as Iran watches the relationship between N Korea and the US, Iran is very cognizant of the leverage obtained by nuclear capabilities. Buying time while diffusing the situation of a destructive confrontation would be very high on Iran's priorities.

The shadow of the Hostage Crisis in 1979 and its impact on the future of Carter Presidency looms large. Will history repeat itself?

II- How Soon Armageddon[1], and who will initiate the first strike in The Middle East to redefine The New World Order?

November 30, 2019

Events are moving at a fast pace all around the Middle East and the maps are in a

state of flux with every incursion from whichever power or faction that wants a

landing in a land where so many have laid claim over millennia and tried to

capture and to hold on it against the will of its native original owners.

Centuries are compressed to decades and at times to only few years nowadays,

and the claim to ownership is for whoever has an upper hand for the moment in

hopes of permanency and ultimate recognition.

History has not been kind to any occupier, whether England over an emerging

United States or Spain over native Latin Americans. The wounds remain deep

over many centuries and though the US and Britain are now close allies, a

wide divide remains between Spain and Latin and South America as time

did not heal the pain nor forgive the theft of much gold and riches

The Middle East and North Africa today are in the eye of this centurial hurricane,

the tigers of history roaming around and some barbarians are still pounding at

the gate.

In a world awash with oil and with it in that area too abundant to produce

all at once, Iran and Iraq are trying to maximize their share, and Syria is

attempting to prevent others from siphoning and selling its share. Turkey is

juggling high stakes balls trying to maintain NATO relations and to keep

Russia’s S400 missiles. It wants to fend off Kurdish aspirations while relocating

millions of Syrian refugees to newly captured territory along the Syrian border

to create a would-be buffer zone, all the while courting President Trump and

aiming to keep relations flowing with Iran. Spectators are confused most of

the time and few are amused considering the tragedies all around.

Some stability found its way to Tunisia and Egypt, and luckily for Algeria and

Jordan the wave of upheavals seems to have passed by at least for now.

To compound the spectacle, rumors around suggest substantial rare earth

metals in Syria lending speculation on why the US insists on remaining in Syria

and why France and Britain continue the quest for a semblance of a newer

“Sikes – Picot” that preserves future benefits.

Facing elections next year, President Trump is eager to get re-elected, if only

to protect the legacy he created and to prevent a newer and more aggressive

Obama style legacy from resurging Democrats. He has been doling out favors

to Israel regardless of established international agreements and increasing

sanctions on its arch-enemy Iran, counting on Israel to deliver a much-needed

portion of the Jewish Vote and favorable media reporting.

In this volatile Powder Keg, who will initiate the first strike, when and where?

To win wars the concepts of “First Strike” and the “Element of Surprise” are very

prized among Generals and they constantly evaluate the “when” and “how

powerful the hit”. The biggest danger to this concept is the Generals of the

enemy as they are doing the same calculations. In past wars, Israel prevailed in

the 1967 war due to its surprise attack on Egypt’s Air Force, only thereafter for

Egypt and Syria to achieve substantial early advances with the surprise Yom

Kippur 1973 war.

Whether it is the Pearl Harbor outcome after the attack by Japanese Kamikaze

pilots or the “D Day” landing in WW2, the First Strike concept is much on

everyone’s mind, and with such tight quarters between opposing forces and

the short distances between the major centers of Lebanon and Israel, the region

is very much on edge.

For quite some time now, Lebanon has been dodging the bullet with its policy

of non-interference and non-involvement, and there was opposition among

some factions against a détente with Syria. With the heavy sanctions on Syria,

Lebanon has become its gateway and benefits from a large influx of visiting

Syrians living abroad coming to visit the homeland. Still it has imposed tight visa requirements on incoming Syrians and Iraqis. This has resulted in less import

and export with periodically blocked borders.

Over long periods, there was a large influx of Dollars from older migrant

generations who sent substantial sums to Lebanon. Nowadays the new

generations may not have the same feelings for an ancestral homeland nor

the extended time to spend weeks or months there. They do not need to

have a “pied-a-terre” or buy a place as they can stay in hotels or with relatives.

This reduces demand on real estate and reduces the influx of foreign currencies.

The National Debt has been piling up and the recent demonstrations decry

so much corruption. Blocking streets paralyses everyone and results are

drastic tensions and a potential explosive situation. The people are already

suffering from shortages in electricity and pay some of highest cell phone rates

anywhere, and prices of drugs are astronomical when available since there is a

real shortage of Dollars to import international goods. The Lebanese Lira is

practically floating and the Street determines its value on a day to day need.

More powder is simmering with the presence of many Syrian refugees who

have been in Lebanon nearly 8 years and are not certain to return to what in

Syria. In addition, there are the hundreds of thousands of 1948 refugees from

Palestine who are still living in camps for over 70 years.

As normally happens in such conditions, the Wealthy and the Ruling Class

already anticipate events and move considerable personal wealth to foreign

stable countries. The drain has been substantial on the Central Bank and

particularly as Syria taps whatever Dollar sources are available to it in Lebanon

for its own foreign currency needs

Lebanon religious factions have specific territorial geography that they

control and prevent others from getting to it by blocking certain access roads.

As such, trade and commerce are always hostage to political events, and

people are unable to always have access to work opportunities across such divides.

This limits income and results in many seeking to leave Lebanon for job

opportunities

Lebanon is practically an island in a turbulent region and at times contributes

to the turbulence. This has had drastic consequences and continues to impact

the country as several factions oppose a rapprochement with Syria, Lebanon’s

main roadway to the rest of the Arab world and money flow from the Gulf

countries is drying out. Can President Trump pressure them for a bail out and

how long would it last? Would some of the inflow get siphoned by corrupt

operatives which already built over 80 billion in foreign debt?

Can the country survive a financial meltdown? Many countries experienced

this including Argentina, Germany and Lebanon in 1983.

The situation is very volatile, and demonstrators could turn to violence with

targeted incitement. History is also full of examples of what is likely to occur

when the civil disobedience spirit or revolution take hold: the French revolution consumed many of its leaders, and Mussolini was executed by his own people.

Libya and Iraq are living examples of countries living in hell now and under

practically the Law of the jungle.

In summary, it is difficult to foresee the outcome now considering the

numerous factors at play but we can highlight some questions and possibilities:

The current ruling class benefiting from the last 40 years will not give up easily and this could result in worse conditions to force the population into submission

Will France and England and the US intervene to protect the status quo which served them since Lebanon’s independence

Can a new government be formed? Can technocrats govern without the might

of tribal and religious backing that the last elected members relied on?

Will Lebanon request the UN to take over and administer it and will anyone accept the responsibility of a Lebanon on the rocks?

Will Lebanon divide along its religious tribal political lines? Would this

approach concentrate Hezbollah within its defined enclaves and will it be

targeted then? Whether he party gets attacked or not, it would still remain

at 30 to 35% of the population and will not go away.

In order to achieve such a goal, Israel may decide to create a pretext before

starting a surprise attack, and though the opposition is usually weighing their

responses not to provoke too much counter attacks, measured response as it is

labeled, a response on the level of major first strike could ignite the whole

region and no winners will emerge.

Israel may want to consider how to secure the future while it is in a strong

position to have favorable agreements. So far it has not defined its borders

and it may be time to do so. It may be time to bet on peace, and begin to

remove the hundreds of thousands of land mines separating Lebanon from

Israel, and to start a worldwide campaign of compensation for the victims of

war from all parties.

If not now, there is a very large young generation and their children who will be

battling Israel for the next two generations and nobody knows what will be the armaments of the future. In this scenario, there will be no need for another

Sikes Picot

III- Could there be “A New World Order” and would it work this time?

April 30, 2019

Beyond Sykes-Pico after WW1 and the International Treaties following WW2

which set the course of the last century, the New World Order before our eyes

now has been to divide, to Parcel-out, and to instill hegemony on such parcels

rather than total subjugation. Watching recent events one can easily

come to this conclusion.

Let’s start with Libya: Every day now the situation gets more dire and Libya

can easily be split to two countries, each having its own port (Tripoli or

Benghazi). With the current offensive. Libyan banks are accumulating huge

debt making the country totally vulnerable to lenders in addition to warring sides

Yemen is so bloodied that a peaceful reunification seems years away.

Two separate countries seem to be the intended outcome, and unfortunately

it has taken a disastrous toll on its people

Lebanon could be on the verge of a divide across its land starting around

Sidon and running East to the Syrian Border. The area south of the divide up

to Israel’s northern border can expect a vicious war intended to root out

Hezbollah fighters without heavily impacting Beirut or the North. Hezbollah is

no match for Israeli American English French power and Iran may be helpless

to assist with all the air and land routes controlled by the US military

The current embargo and sanctions imposed on Syria will cause substantial

deterioration in military capabilities that reduces the effect of its support

for Lebanese factions siding with it. Syria’s Eastern Provinces where the oil is

plentiful are occupied by outside powers, and splitting the country at least

in the near term may be the end result. The situation in the NW area of Idlib

could result in another permanent division absent the will to have it reunified

with Syria since nobody knows what to do with the hardened foreign fighters

there.

Iraq is practically divided into spheres of power and with a constitution that

prevents the formation of a very large military power. A homeland for the Kurds

that gets carved out of Iraq, Syria and Turkey is constantly debated and may

be awaiting the right strategic timing

Turkey is jockeying and straddling whenever and wherever it can to prevent

the loss of its Eastern third to a Kurdish Nation.

Sudan is already finished, the two countries now working to see where interests

meet to solve regional water and population migration issues.

Venezuela is in the eye of the storm; a split is looming on the horizon and

the country is in a severe economic and financial crisis. It will take years

to normalize whether the government is changed or not

The United Kingdom may not remain united with BREXIT looming.

Since the military power and Deep State are in England, the split will not

impact England’s perennial intent at maintaining it power internationally

Spain faced its divide with Catalonia and the situation remains quite fluid.

Tunisia was let go, being a small player with limited resources.

Algeria remains a target with their large oil deposits.

Egypt almost got divided with the Arab Spring and remains for now in a

precarious state relying on Saudi and UAE financial support. It’s one

hundred million population without reasonable prosperity is a powder

keg simmering all the time.

It is interesting to note that this approach follows past divisions of

Yugoslavia and the Soviet Union, and in a much earlier age North Korea from

South Korea.

Along the whole spectrum, there is much oil in most of these areas and

controlling how much is produced or preventing its production allows

world prices to remain stable and under control, a necessary need for

industrial nations. Control of oil gives negotiating power when dealing

with competing powers and is a means to achieve economic objectives

Rare Metals are also found in many of these troubled regions. They are quite

scarce now and world powers are vying for control of these resources

wherever they are with China making inroads worldwide.

This New Order started long ago but much was accomplished recently and

practically during the last twenty years. The Deep States are the constant

element guiding decisions and all leaders operate within this web.

What about other super-powers and the super-dormant ones?

Though quite large, Brazil has much to do to reach military parity let

alone some superiority. It needs somewhat of an economic miracle to

achieve more cohesion and provide a brighter future for its people.

Russia, China, India, Pakistan, North Korea, Iran and Japan present formidable

challenges and especially for the current US administration although Japan

is within its sphere of influence.

North Korea operates under the umbrellas of Russia and China and as such

can be left for another time.

Considering that India and Pakistan neutralize each other on the world

scene, Iran could be deemed vulnerable and targeted. Iran is more of a

monolithic entity similar to Japan rather than a country with too much

diversity. There are different and diverse populations but their size fades

compared to the large block of nationalistic Iranian Shia sect which has

been in control since 1978.

Whoever is elected president in 2020 will be tasked to address one of

these challenges, maybe more depending on the outcome of the simmering

situation in Lebanon. The likelihood of war is reduced as we get close

to the US presidential elections although this is by no means a given certainty

especially if a lightning strike limited to South Lebanon takes effect.

Given this possibility, the magnitude of its outcome cannot be

underestimated especially if the roles of Syria and Iran are marginalized and

assuming the strike neutralizes the local Shia militias and their supporters.

Consider the following scenarios and possibilities:

What happens if South Lebanon becomes the future home of Syrian refugees

currently in Lebanon and Jordan unwilling to return to Syria since many

have lost their homes, some oppose the regime, and those 18 or over

would be drafted into the Syrian Military Service? Will this influx by

mainly “Sunnis” neutralize the future threat from the “Shias” and stave off

the long-term threat to Israel from the North and will this reshuffling create

a permanent change toward a Sunni State? Will other Lebanese

religious factions embrace the change or is there another Civil War in the making?

Could it also become the home of a new wave of Palestinians enticed to

leave Israel by various means to reduce the demographic pressure on Israel

and end the “two State Solution” permanently? Will the 1948

Palestinians refugees currently in Lebanon’s camps be relocated to that

South for what would become a substitute state?

Will neighboring events engulf the whole region and the inferno reigns for

decades again or will some states such as Jordan be spared and remain

cohesive and with reasonable stability under the rule and guidance of its

King Abdullah?

As this “New World Order” unfolds in front of our eyes the scene is one of

a large chess game where the soldiers are different masses from the

surrounding countries engaged in a survival territorial conflict while kings and

queens are buttressed behind superior armaments. Everyone’s vulnerability

resides with the choke points of naval commerce, be it the Hormuz Channel

or the two outlets of the Red Sea, the Suez Canal and Bab Al Mandab.

Controlling an outcome with so many uncertainties is a real challenge but

“Time” has proven unable to bring solutions to reality. The “Status Quo”

is being continuously stirred and the Military Brass everywhere is weighing

the outcomes and how to minimize their damage.

Some reality is in order at this moment: As much as everyone clamors for

concern about Climate Change and its impact on humans and wildlife and

the future of Earth, the dangers surrounding humanity from conflicts

and wars are incredibly risky and no one can predict how much our

Climate can deteriorate and possibly irreversibly after a few nuclear

warheads are launched.

We seem to be in uncharted waters, with the survival instinct taking

over all other considerations. The experience of the last century has been

one of world wars and practically mass extinctions at times, and areas of

no-man’s lands due to nuclear radiation and deep mines.

The world needs a clear compass that unites enough people worldwide

to make a difference in controlling the future and away from the scorched

earth approach that could bring the end-of-times long before its time



[1] It is a biblical term mentioned in Revelation to refer to the place of the final struggle between good and evil at the end of the world

 

Last Updated on Thursday, 09 January 2020 08:29
 

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