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Beyond Sykes-Picot - A Vision to Improve the Lives of the Palestinian and Israeli People PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Imad Abdullah   
Wednesday, 01 May 2019 08:28

PEACE TO PROSPERITY

 

 

  1. Ending Armageddon Forever: A New Vision for Peace between Israelis and Palestinians

 

 

By: Imad F. Abdullah, Architect AIA
Author of “A Crystal Ball Visioning, Unfolding The 21st Century”

Houston, Texas, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

 

C:\Users\papa\Pictures\Khairatforever\ANGEL OF THE TRUMPET II.jpg

 

ANGEL OF THE TRUMPET – COPYRIGHT KHAIRAT AL-SALEH 1939-2014

 

The Quest for Peace between Israel and The Palestinians is for Israelis to Question

Prepared by Imad F Abdullah

April 24, 2020

Peace will come when Israelis decide to have peace. How can this come about and what can Israelis do? There are serious questions for them to address and to question themselves and their leaders before following them blindly. Here is an outline:

How will Israel’s Dream survive, can it and should it and at what price?

Who determines what’s the extent of the Dream? Should Israelis remain in limbo on which  borders fulfill the dream? How realistic is it to expand beyond the current territory under control when it is so difficult to maintain peace within? How many are willing to sacrifice children and family members to have the dream fulfilled for others?

How will Israel’s dream survive with the One State solution? Can it continue with the Two States solution? If more land is the goal to achieve the Dream, can the West Bank Palestinians be squeezed only in the three main cities: Ramallah, Hebron and Nablus? What about Israeli Palestinians?

Long range, how viable is the concept of having to govern over six million Palestinians? Do some of the Israeli Leaders demonize Palestinian leaders to prevent constructive dialogues?

It’s been 100 years since The Balfour Declaration and the ensuing Palestinian resistance, and their new generations continues for the foreseeable future. Many still live in refugee camps within Israel and in several Arab countries where they are they are denied hundreds of job categories such as in Lebanon, and are limited to owning their home and possibly one other in several others. They cannot build equity to evade generational poverty and this ferment dissent and fuels opposition.

Many were dispossessed of their Real estate ownership in Palestine and it is now extremely difficult to sort out among diaspora inheriting owners. Some Land registry issues go back to the Ottoman rule, and a fair approach is necessary

Can Israelis challenge their existing parties’ hegemony? Will they reactivate and support parties with clear peace agendas, and will they find real alternatives to compensate, to resettle, and to reunite Palestinian and Jewish families ho were victimized?

Do Israelis overestimate the value of their industrial and technological capabilities?

With China becoming the main supplier of the world, what can Israel offer to its Arab neighbors other than hyping the threat of Iran and promises of support in case of internal upheavals?

Many of the so called friendly Arab countries are becoming more industrialized and self-sufficient. Other than the security of peaceful existence with Israel they do not have trade matters that can only be sourced through Israel and as such Israel cannot rely on continued benefits in the future as economic allegiances have no borders nor friendships

How does the oil figure in the future? Currently several countries are practically prevented from producing substantial oil whether due to sanctions, wars, hegemony or pricing realities. Still Oil hit negative pricing the week of April 21, 2020. If Israel’s oil offshore cannot be drilled economically, what future there is in relying on this oil?

 

How long would military superiority last and is it a viable concept now in lieu of peace?

Worldwide connectivity allows opposing blocks of Israel to grow and solidify at a fast rate, and they are becoming formidable foes. It is only a matter of time before much more advanced rockets rain on Israeli cities and airports.

With advancing precision there will be no place to hide for Israel’s political leaders and Knesset members, nor the military leadership.  The threat is already present from South Lebanon and Gaza, and if Jordan is destabilized there will be similar threats building there.

Would keeping a state of war with some neighbors (Syria, Iran and others) suffice to hold Israel as a country? Would Israelis living in Tel Aviv and along the Mediterranean Coast identify fully with Settlers inland and their mentality and the refusal of many to report to compulsory military service? Can military readiness survive forever and at what price?

How cohesive is Israeli Society? Would religion suffice to hold Israel as a country? Would continuously reliving the Holocaust ? Will it always have the desired effect or could it become heavy on the young generation to deal with it and with the unknown consequences of potentially alienating them? What options can spare Israeli children from becoming casualties of war or terror? Why does Israel assume it can police the region at the risk of incalculable destruction?

One Futuristic Outlook

Just as Germany and France became partners after a World War sixty years ago, Palestinians and Israelis can become partners. Just as Europe needed a Marshall Plan to rise from the ashes. Palestine will need one, and it can pave the way to a partnership

This time is the best time to embark on this new roadmap. The more it is delayed the more emboldened will be the oppressed, the more fanatic, and the less likely that Israel will find Palestinian partners to make peace, and with the caveat that the longer it takes the less likely Israel will find a Palestinian partner who will accept the 1967 borders rather than the whole of historic Palestine.

Peace terms already exist after 70 years of UN resolutions and world powers agreements and negotiations among parties. A reasonable blueprint is easily achievable, it is time for Israelis wishing to live in peace to demand it.

RATIONALE

Israel's New Dawn, Only If.....

By Imad F Abdullah

March 5, 2020

A new dawn is upon Israel only if it can see it.

A blueprint for long-term peaceful existence of Israel was previously presented as shown on the following pages and it is becoming more and more realistic with all the recent developments and when the Israeli public moves past the rhetoric and rosy promises and analyses the realities which offer the prospect for a new dawn

To begin with, and as the whole world grapples with the spread of the coronavirus and its long-term implications, it is time to reassess what guarantees Israelis their existence knowing that the present conditions may have changed drastically the course of future wars. Might is no longer the only force as few industrial societies can survive the lockdown being imposed by Coronavirus without peace within and with all neighbors, and with the concerted cooperation of everyone

The results of Israel's last election coupled with the spread of the virus are creating difficult choices, some opportunities, and big challenges for Israel's style of Democracy. Israelis have faced many crossroads in the past and have made choices relatively collectively.  This time a new factor emerged from this election becoming the third largest bloc in The Knesset: the Arab Bloc. In a heavily divided society, it can become the swing vote on major policies, testing fundamental tenets of Democracy with the equal right to vote for non-Jews

So far Israelis have looked at the future from two opposing directions: a majority wants to grab and annex land at whatever cost and a minority wants peace at the price of reasonable fairness.

Now major disruptors are already here: Israel's new Generations, the X, Y, Z and the next up-and-coming may not fall into the fold of either as many may not buy into the biblical claim on land or they may consider it heresy with all the Science of the last 100 years, and may not be ready for the necessary sacrifices to maintain the old approach

Israel has always relied on its best friend, the United States of America but changes are also coming there that must be considered. There are changes in the US demographics which will affect the relationship Israel especially when Latinos in US with little or no tie to the historical and no guilt feeling about Europe's wars of the last century gain more power and political clout.

Nature in its own way can impact political decisions: the swarms of locusts invading Africa are expected to reach Israel in due course, devastating crops and livestock. The Palestinian society with its much lower footprint can be a major asset to help bridge the expected shortages and disruptions

The upcoming forks are bound to create deep splits and challenge values, ethics and principles especially as some political leaders who can still command large voting blocks are facing challenges in courts about their integrity and ability to lead.

Democracy is recent but it survived its history, and in the process, it was able to build and destroy just the same, devour the faithful and split the future whether through peace or war and destruction. Israelis need to look beyond their present leaders and question whether those charting the future can lead to the new dawn if Israel is to survive its own present

 

 

Introduction

 

Foresighted vision can offer solutions that would initially appear totally unexpected and impossible to implement.

 

This approach merits serious consideration by all parties as it carries the seeds for a realistic solution toward a permanent and lasting peace.

 

Issues may appear intractable for Israel such as the question of refugees and the right of return, and Israel has always looked at its geography from a perspective of land area versus population.

 

This view locked its leaders into a mindset of “keeping the rest of them out”. Time to reconsider and adopt the model of prosperous dense cities for the solution.

A Visionary Plan for Two States - A Change of Context Solution

The solution lies in how we build successful cities and provides employment with new economies, how we design for present day densities such as Singapore and Cairo.

 

To achieve this plan and to live in permanent peace, Israel is asked to make a one time land concession along the border with Lebanon, a narrow zone between one to five miles wide inside Israel depending on Terrain to form a permanent security buffer zone.

 

The New Palestine will be The West Bank, the Zone and Gaza: The area can closely be defined as lands between the border and Israel’s Highway 899 just to the South running East – West, starting at The Mediterranean and connecting to the East with highway 866 going north to the northernmost border of Israel and to the historic Syrian border west of The Golan Heights.

 

The zone is to be developed into highly dense linear cities with mid-rise and high-rise buildings for residents and employment centers and services, and it will be populated by Palestinian refugees who choose to return and live there. Residents will have a real stake in stability when they have mortgages and start building equity.

The Zone can act as barrier between and to forestall the permanent state of war readiness which saps productive energy of all citizens. It will be secured by Multi-national forces until cities are built and permanency achieved.

 

In defining the border lines Israel can apply the same methods in the Trump Plan to configure the New Palestinian Zone, weave the border and connect towns by secure corridors, and private companies can provide transportation from the zone to the West Bank similar to how passengers are transported from Jordan crossings.

 

The map sketch herewith shows the relation of the zone to the overall map.

 

 

No Scale

 

 

Why ask for the concession there?

 

The Zone already serves as a buffer with Lebanon and Syria but it is extremely vulnerable and residents frequently go to shelters or evacuate. “Security” for Israel is questionable when it cannot protect without the “mutual destruction” threat.

 

The Zone may already be dotted with mines and unexploded bombs on both sides of the border. They need to be deactivated and removed.

Zone on an enlarged map

 

 

 

 

 

Zone Development Following the Model of Successful Cities

The new population centers within the zone will follow the example of highly successful cities worldwide where talent and capital and technology are concentrated at very high densities.

 

Many of these cities are constricted by geography (mountains, sea or rivers) and their width closely resembles the New Palestine Zone. Here are Examples from World Cities:

 

Hong Kong is less than two miles wide on either side for most of the sea channel

Manhattan is 2.5 miles wide across Central Park.

San Francisco is 5 miles wide

Seattle is 2.5 miles wide (up to 5 miles)

Dubai is 3.5 miles wide

Abu Dhabi peninsula is 2.5 miles wide

Barcelona is 4 miles wide

Gaza is 5 miles wide, with nearly two 2 million residents

 

Who is building similar cities?

 

As Cairo reaches 25 million residents, Egypt is undertaking a vast development program consisting of many concentrated buildings at the same time such as in “New Cairo” as shown in the pictures herewith.

 

 

 

Artist’s render of Egypt’s New Administrative Capital, planned for a 725-sq-km site in the desert east of Cairo (Courtesy of the Urban Development Consortium, UDC+5)

The New Cairo

 

The linear dense corridor has been followed in several countries and it carries substantial efficiencies. In cities with large subway systems, development follows the subway lines and extends most of the time up to a point within a reasonable walk from the station. The same pattern can be observed along major railway stations in Europe. Transportation nodes in the zone will act accordingly.

 

To implement The Plan Israelis and Palestinians need to consider

 

How to stop this dark outcome for upcoming generations and change the course to a bright future.

Prevent future wars which will be super destructive with cyber-attacks, chemical, biological and other yet undiscovered warfare by the next generation of dispossessed Palestinians.

 

“Corona Virus” is a wake-up call for how vulnerable all humanity can be.

This New Vision offers a realistic approach for all the parties and the big powers and the UN, and can be implemented within a realistic time frame since it offers much more acceptance and an invitation for cooperation.

 

lake view residence new cairo

New City in Egypt

 

 

Capitalizing on this Moment: Can the Downside be turned to an Upside?

 

Within the Deal of the Century are parameters that open doors for this new perspective such as:

 

The Two State Solution, Citizenship and Freedom for Palestinians within their country.

 

Security for all sides, acknowledgement for the need to compensate.

 

Creating opportunities with new infrastructure and institutions that has long been lagging.

 

Connectivity and freedom of movement are incorporated but under heavy security.

 

Demands Presented by Israel in The Deal

 

Long periods before implementation to prove Palestinian compliance subject to Israel’s approval.

 

Incorporates to Israel lands that have always been defined by the UN as Palestinian.

 

Negates the Right of Return and compensation to the Palestinian Diaspora.

 

The terms demanded were very rigid and reflected deep fears and prevented acceptance.

 

Rejection by the Palestinians

 

Was expected for what they considered one-sided terms.

 

Heavy doubts due to Israel not implementing many UN Resolutions and Oslo Agreement.

 

No confidence that present promises will be done rather than Israel using time to create more facts on the ground.

 

Consequences

 

Rejection maintains the conflict for the foreseeable future. Results are destructive wars and retributions, increased terrorism, more fanaticism.

 

Fact is, the timing of the announcement reflects Israel’s realization of what such a bleak future can hold and how soon it could happen and the need to look at peace as a solution.

 

Another result is the permanent confrontation between Israel and neighboring countries. All continue to build their own armaments for a mutual and destructive balance of power.

 

 

Everyone Benefits

 

Palestine could emulate systems such as the relation in the US between its fifty states. Political power and leadership subject to elections and people's vote and the elected leadership will work out how Palestinians everywhere get a fair share to give full support.

 

A lot more than the fifty billion dollars offered in the Trump Deal will be generated and will go to investments. Currently half of that amount is subsidized loans, about the rest are grants and private capital.

 

Substantial additional funds will flow back and the whole region will prosper.

 

Israelis and their institutions will benefit from proximity to the new population. Palestinians inside can choose to relocate to this new zone to share in the coming boom.

 

Relocation will be by choice and crossings between both states subject to normal customs. Visas and border crossings with Jordan and Egypt to be monitored by these countries. Access to the Holy places and Jerusalem is to be guaranteed by international powers.

 

A market for private real estate exchange can take place for residents wishing to transfer

Major population centers of Israel to the South between Haifa to Gaza will maintain an overwhelming Jewish majority. Israel will be inwardly secure in its Jewishness and could forgo  asking others for recognition.

 

Diaspora Palestinian refugees

 

Land given back by Israel constitutes a powerful concession for the sake of peace.

 

Refugees in Lebanon, Syria and Jordan and other countries can return to northern Palestine.

Some can return to relatives in The West Bank and Gaza if they choose.

 

Refugees could be offered option to resettle anywhere in the world with assistance of UN to rejoin diaspora families. Lump sum compensations can be offered.

 

Claims on Israel from Palestinians and claims on Palestine from Israelis can be resolved with much objectivity and compassion since the plan addresses substantial refugee issues.

 

Countries hosting refugees now will experience long term stability and security. some may find it beneficial to offer resettlement to some to gain productive human capital.

 

Long Term Security

 

Security was never achieved by oppression or domination and Israel knows it too well as it continuously faces the thousands of youth along the Gaza border and elsewhere who are willing to take bullets for their demands.  The potential for a new Intifada looms on the horizon and it can paralyze many economic sectors.

 

Israel’s best security long term is for a stable and viable Palestine for mutual protection.

Permanent peace and security will be guaranteed by world powers and life will return to normal when peace is achieved.

 

The Lebanon Factor

 

Some areas of the buffer may benefit from additional narrow strips from Lebanon to maintain good continuity. Lebanon could benefit greatly from the new population and its needs and may find it to its advantage to engage and offer options within a parallel zone,  provide water from the Litani River and easy access to the historic port of Tyre.

 

Return of Palestinian refugees from Lebanon diffuses the conflict with Israel, and Hezbollah could revert to a political movement with full representation and participation.

 

 

 

Sovereign States – Peace with Syria

 

The New Palestine will become totally independent with its own institutions and government, and relations with Israel will be according to international laws and agreements.

 

Palestine could have a portion of the Sinai around Gaza (similar to Trump’s Plan). Gaza becomes a major port. Palestine will coordinate with Israel and Jordan for access to ports on the Red Sea.

 

The Golan Heights return to Syria can end the state of war with Israel, and Iran will no longer need to think of building a nuclear bomb.

 

Separation of Religion and State (Church and State as known in the US)

 

The claim by many Israelis based on the Historical 2000 years ago and for Greater Israel does not hold legal validity since many residents of the area and including some Arab tribes would have been Jews before the arrival of Christianity.  Conversion occurred after Christianity and Islam but this does not negate the same historical rights for Arabs under this theory.

 

“Arabia” has been defined geographically by Greek cartographers well before 400 BC as encompassing the whole region as it is known today and its people had various pagan beliefs and religions including Judaism for some.

 

Past Land Annexation

 

Over the years Israel has chipped at public lands within the 1948 framework and properties with unregistered owners.  Ownership of such lands belongs to the state of Palestine much like the USA owning public lands in most of its states.

 

In time teams can be formed in Palestine to assemble missing land ownership titles and find the original owners or heirs.

 

Capitalizing on Existing Frameworks

 

Long term security comes from a shared peaceful future and an investment in the viability and stability of countries that have to coexist. Many substantive issues are to be worked-out with well-defined obligations of all parties with international guarantees, including water and natural resources distribution, security cooperation and so on.

 

Frameworks already exist. Parties should strive to implement workable solutions especially as none of the issues constitute an existential threat once the refugee problem is addressed.

 

 

Changing Mindsets

 

Many in Israel would find it inconceivable that they will tie their security directly to Palestine but peace has a price and land is a lot less valuable than lives of soldiers and tragedies all around.

 

Israel will continue to be a very strong regional military power and will always remain as such and can overwhelm any action outside the security agreed upon.

 

Israel has been reasonably peaceful internally for several years with over 1,8 million Palestinians (20% of population) living within, proof that shared coexistence can work well.

 

Israel can advance peace by adopting the futuristic mindset that supports and welcomes these dense new cities along its northern border and in Gaza. Future similar cities can be along the Jordan River near the main bridge crossings with Jordan and inside the West Bank.

 

When regional peace arrives and hopefully in the not too distant future, High-Speed Rail can connect all countries and allow their citizens to have much wider employment opportunities.

A Timely Concept

 

The concept of highly dense cities, whether “La Defense” in Paris, “The London Bankside Yards” or “the Singapore Miracle” has already created “a new world order” that produced advancement for all societies that implemented it.

 

This is how civilization flourished exponentially as densities and the critical mass synergy produced new science and creativity and modern lifestyles.

 

Massive construction projects will take place including within Israel to fill the demands of fast-growing developments. Israel is well positioned to capitalize on the benefits that peace and the new human potential offer and the consumption that needs to be satisfied.

 

As with any new approach, there will be doubters and those who look for the holes rather than try to achieve the whole. It takes bold moves to make a leap into a future with vastly improved conditions for all and requires a critical and serious dialogue with as much of an open mind as the conflict over 75 years has tried to prevent.

 

Lasting peace needs astute leaders with historic perspectives and keen analysis of future expectations to carry such a bold plan. If an “Armageddon” takes place, History will be the harshest critic and future generations will never forgive their elders of today.

 

A final note from the author: as an architect one offers concepts and ideas with the full knowledge that the political divide and the historic framework that engulf this situation are large and substantial and are the domain of decision makers and political leaders on both sides and other world powers. This contribution is from one who traveled to all five continents and visited many cities and with a keen perspective on how the future is intertwined with how we build our cities and urban places.

 

 

II - WHERE TO STOCHASTICS?


By Imad F Abdullah

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

January 7, 2020

 

 

The world is on edge awaiting the outcome of the Iran – USA face-off. Some suggest a major showdown of epic proportions following the funeral marches of millions in Iran, and others anticipate a less public confrontation considering the imbalance of power between the two countries.

The US moved substantial military might to the region including B-52 Bombers to their base in the island of Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean, a clear message that any confrontation will result in massive escalation.

Though many may question the timing of the killing of Major Soleimani, it is not difficult to compare it to the timing of the attack on Saddam and follow-up Iraq invasion which was heavily related to attempts of Saddam to sell oil with currencies outside the Dollar just as Iran has been planning for a good while.

One would have to assume a lot of US follow-up planning is in place pending the reaction of Iran as the Deep State in the US may have concluded that this is an opportune time to set back the Nuclear Progress of Iran by several years into the future via massive military means at a time they consider Iran much weaker today and unable to inflict an unbearable level of harm. The Deep State is also emboldened by the fact that the reactions in the past to US positions on Jerusalem and on Israeli settlements have been quite timid all over the world.

Assumptions would be that the main damage will be to US allies who are not as ready to protect themselves, and the outcome will justify the severity of anticipated damages on the premise that it would be less now than after some years when Iran becomes Nuclear.  Ironically the reconstruction of several countries after the Iraq war was beneficial to many entities.

It is well to accept that US policy is planned for many years and decades in advance, and it is not that much affected by who is the president but by the timing of events on the historical scale. Presidents execute, and though it may be President Trump this time, past presidents have executed with precise timing ever since World War 2.

We are in unpredictable times and tempers are quite high. The "where to" scenarios could invite very dark times and possibly a Doomsday on the horizon. One would hope the rest of the world powers will interfere enough to stem the tide and reverse the slide to the "Nowhere" as nowhere could be the ending for many innocents trapped within this generational cycle of attempts at dominance and the ensuing world powers continuous confrontation.

 

 

 


III - WHERE MODELING DO NOT FAIL


REMINDER


"In probability theory, a purely stochastic system is one whose state is non-deterministic (i.e., "random") so that the subsequent state of the system is determined probabilistically. Any system or process that must be analyzed using probability theory is stochastic at least in part.[1][2] Stochastic systems and processes play a fundamental role in mathematical models of phenomena in many fields of science, engineering, and economics.”

Our previous works since 1973 are based on the role of TRIGGERS to accelerate convergence, or to avoid false convergence; we succeeded in establishing strong link between war in UKRAINIA and war in SYRIA. With SOLEIMANI elimination, the link is extended to US-IRAN war; unless US rebuild their strategy and stop threatening IRAN considering that IRAN is  military so weak wrt the huge US army. But IRAN has got strong allies, Does Mr. TRUMP  underestimating a new form of alliance which is becoming stronger day after day. Editor’s note 06/01/2020 and



PRESIDENT TRUMP TWEET:

To Iranian President Rouhani: NEVER, EVER THREATEN THE UNITED STATES AGAIN OR YOU WILL SUFFER CONSEQUENCES THE LIKES OF WHICH FEW THROUGHOUT HISTORY HAVE EVER SUFFERED BEFORE. WE ARE NO LONGER A COUNTRY THAT WILL STAND FOR YOUR DEMENTED WORDS OF VIOLENCE & DEATH. BE CAUTIOUS!


Iran deal

Sunday’s tweet from Trump to Rouhani was considered political bluster when just two days later the U.S. leader said he was “ready to make a real deal” with Iran.

But the two leaders have been at odds ever since Trump announced that he would withdraw the United States from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). The JCPOA is another name for the Iran nuclear deal in which the Islamic republic was asked to stop enriching uranium in exchange for a lifting of economic sanctions.

Source :

https://www.cnbc.com/2018/07/27/iranian-commander-soleimani-to-trump-if-you-begin-the-war-we-will-e.html



IV - 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?

 

V - How Soon Armageddon, 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




 


VI - 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

 

Last Updated on Saturday, 02 May 2020 09:14
 

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