Hamas

Beware: Israel the Eager Provocateur

Off the keyboard of Anthony Cartalucci

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Published on Land Destroyer on August 8, 2014

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August 8, 2014 (Tony Cartalucci – NEO) – With hostilities once again erupting between Israeli forces and Palestine, onlookers must keep in mind the greater agenda in which the current violence is playing out and the stated agenda of achieving hegemony over the Middle East in which Israel plays a pivotal role – as the “unilateral aggressor.”

FOB Israel 

Of course, Israel does nothing unilaterally. It is a stunted, militaristic faux-state that depends entirely on the West for its continued existence. From the funds it builds its military with, to the very hardware it buys and maintains, starting from the day the modern state of Israel was founded up to and including today, Israel is in reality a state-sized forward operating base (FOB). Wikipedia defines a FOB as follows:

“The base may be used for an extended period of time. FOBs are traditionally supported by Main Operating Bases that are required to provide backup support to them.[citation needed] An FOB also improves reaction time to local areas as opposed to having all troops on the main operating base.”  

As such, Israel’s constant and otherwise irrational belligerence makes perfect sense. An FOB’s priorities are not prosperity and peace as would a nation’s, but rather to engage forward into enemy territory. The trick over the years has been to portray Israel as a nation, while propping up its constant belligerence and aggression as “self-defense.” To keep this illusion in motion, Israel and its regional and Western collaborators have even created full-time enemies, including Hamas itself – a creation of Israeli intelligence and to this day primarily propped up by Saudi Arabia and Qatar, both of which are defacto regional partners with the West and of course Israel itself.

The Wall Street Journal reported in their article, “How Israel Helped to Spawn Hamas,” that (emphasis added): 

“Hamas, to my great regret, is Israel’s creation,” says Mr. Cohen, a Tunisian-born Jew who worked in Gaza for more than two decades. Responsible for religious affairs in the region until 1994, Mr. Cohen watched the Islamist movement take shape, muscle aside secular Palestinian rivals and then morph into what is today Hamas, a militant group that is sworn to Israel’s destruction.

Instead of trying to curb Gaza’s Islamists from the outset, says Mr. Cohen, Israel for years tolerated and, in some cases, encouraged them as a counterweight to the secular nationalists of the Palestine Liberation Organization and its dominant faction, Yasser Arafat’s Fatah. Israel cooperated with a crippled, half-blind cleric named Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, even as he was laying the foundations for what would become Hamas. Sheikh Yassin continues to inspire militants today; during the recent war in Gaza, Hamas fighters confronted Israeli troops with “Yassins,” primitive rocket-propelled grenades named in honor of the cleric.

 

This is in fact exactly what Hamas is still being used today for – to counter real opposition movements by dividing against each other different factions of Muslims and secular organizations alike, in confusion and armed combat, preventing a greater, unified front against Western expansion and exploitation throughout the region. Extremist groups closely aligned to Hamas, including Al Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood, would flood into Iraq during the US occupation to “serendipitously” disrupt united Sunni-Shia’a resistance, and create bloody infighting that broke the back of meaningful opposition against foreign occupation. The same method is being used again in Syria, and with the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria’s (ISIS) incursion into Iraq weeks ago, yet again against Baghdad



Divided and in perpetual conflict, the Arab World across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) has not been able to create strong, secular, nationalist nations to protect Arab socioeconomic and political interests. In the process, the West has been able to exploit, divide, and conquer regions of MENA over and over again. Israel’s role as the ultimate casus belli, instigator, and aggressor, has been instrumental in keeping this hegemonic enterprise alive and well with the region kept in a perpetual and crippling defensive posture. 

Israel’s Role as “Unilateral Aggressor” is Stated US Policy

Logistically, it is obvious Israel does not exist without Western support, and therefore does not act without Western approval. The illusion of its unilateral aggression is designed specifically to lend the West plausible deniability for brutality and unprovoked aggression it believes it cannot afford to be associated with directly. This is stated across years of US policy papers, including the most definitive report on the subject, Brooking Institution’s 2009 report “Which Path to Persia?” 

The report itself conspires to use covert provocations to trigger a war with Iran, to undermine it politically through foreign-sponsored “protests” augmented by covert armed groups, the direct funding, arming, and use of listed terrorist organizations against the Iranian people, and specifically the use of Israel to attack Iran with covert Western backing to make it appear as if Tel Aviv took the steps unilaterally. It specifically states: 

“An Israeli air campaign against Iran would have a number of very important differences from an American campaign. First, the Israeli Air Force (IAF) has the problem of overflight transit from Israel to Iran. Israel has no aircraft carriers, so its planes must take off from Israeli air bases. It also does not possess long-range bombers like the B-1 or B-2, or huge fleets of refueling tankers, all of which means that unlike the United States, Israel cannot avoid flying through someone’s air space. The most direct route from Israel to Iran’s Natanz facility is roughly 1,750 kilometers across Jordan and Iraq. As the occupying power in Iraq, the United States is responsible for defending Iraqi airspace. “Which Path to Persia?-page 105 (.pdf)

“From the American perspective, this negates the whole point of the option—distancing the United States from culpability—and it could jeopardize American efforts in Iraq, thus making it a possible nonstarter for Washington. Finally, Israeli violation of Jordanian airspace would likely create political problems for King Abdullah of Jordan, one of America’s (and Israel’s) closest Arab friends in the region. Thus it is exceedingly unlikely that the United States would allow Israel to overfly Iraq, and because of the problems it would create for Washington and Amman, it is unlikely that Israel would try to fly over Jordan.” Which Path to Perisa?-page 106 (.pdf)

“An Israeli attack on Iran would directly affect key American strategic interests. If Israel were to overfly iraq, both the Iranians and the vast majority of people around the world would see the strike as abetted, if not authorized, by the United States. Even if Israel were to use another route, many Iranians would still see the attack as American supported or even American orchestrated. After all, the aircraft in any strike would be American produced, supplied, and funded F-15s and F-16s, and much of the ordnance would be American made. In fact, $3 billion dollars in U.S. assistance annually sustains the IDF’s conventional superiority in the region.” Which Path to Persia-page 106 (.pdf) 

“…the Israelis may want to hold off until they have a peace deal with Syria in hand (assuming that Jerusalem believes that one is within reach), which would help them mitigate blowback from Hizballah and potentially Hamas. Consequently, they might want Washington to push hard in mediating between Jerusalem and Damascus.” -page 109 (.pdf) 

With the US fully withdrawn from Iraq and Damascus significantly weakened, many of these problems have been adequately addressed, and with the US’ perceived “failure” in and “withdrawal” from the region being eagerly reported by the Western press itself, the stage is set for the ultimate staged “unilateral” attack by Israel, not only against its own Hamas provocateurs, but through a series of dubious associations, Hezbollah, Damascus, and even Iran itself. 

Of course, another possibility exists. As seen before, Israeli belligerence and intentional role as regional arch-villain has been used to undermine targets throughout the region as well as boost others up. That Hamas’ current and most public supporters are Israel’s own regional collaborators, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, a quick and humiliating stalemate for Israel would help boost the credibility of Riyadh and Doha across the region ahead of renewed pushes against both Damascus and Baghdad. 

Whichever route Israel takes, it will be apparent soon enough. Should the conflict expand rapidly and involve Hezbollah, the final battle may be underway. If the conflict remains limited to Hamas, the possibility that the Israel is trying to lend Hamas’ public sponsors in Riyadh and Doha credibility and momentum throughout the region will be greater. 

Israel: The Bottom Line

What Israel is doing across the region is both criminal and demands condemnation. However, it must be condemned in the context of a belligerent client regime acting not in the best interests of the Israeli people or toward peace, prosperity, and coexistence with its neighbors, but rather for foreign interests that see the nation instead as a massive forward operating base. Protesting Israel alone is not enough. Boycotting Israeli businesses and industries is also fruitless and even helps play into the engineered strategy of tension constructed by Israel’s sponsors. Israel does not fund its military might by local cottage or even national industry, it does so via immense foreign aid.

Instead, to protest and undermine Israel’s role as regional provocateur, target the corporate-financier interests that feed it billions of dollars annually. Separate, isolate, and protest Israel’s political leadership rather than Israel’s existence and population. Reach out to Israelis who oppose their government’s current posture of perpetual provocations, and those in the middle who may be swayed one way or another.

By throwing rocks at Israel as a whole, one plays into the besieged mentality the government invests immense resources in perpetuating among common Israelis. Those who might otherwise see their government as the villain will seek its protection against irrational external hatred directed at the entire nation rather than at those responsible for its criminal extraterritorial brutality – whether it is in the occupied territories of Palestine, or across the borders of its neighbors in Syria, Iraq, Iran, or beyond.

All Hell

From the keyboard of James Howard Kunstler
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angels leave hell

Originally Published on Clusterfuck Nation  August 4, 2014

That tractable beast, World Opinion, was apparently looking the other way when US video war-gamers blew up wedding parties and donkeys by remote control in Pakistan, Yemen, and Afghanistan, not to mention the now long ago shock-and-awe bombardment of poor innocent Iraq. It’s not paying much attention these days to the remorseless advance of ISIS (or ISL or the Islamic State) as it cuts a psychopathic swath through the Middle East marked by wholesale executions of civil servants, beheadings of “infidels,” and the occasional crucifixion of suspected enemies and traitors. UN Secretary Ban Ki Moon is so busy issuing condemnations of Israel that he has forgotten to ask Hamas the elementary question: What part of… quit firing rockets… don’t you understand?

Demonic forces are on the loose again now one hundred years after Europe blew itself apart for no good reason. (Why? Because some young Serbian nobody killed the heir to the Austrian throne on a back street in Sarajevo?) Maybe we are making a mistake to think that any sort of rationality applies now. Here in the depraved and disintegrating USA, we pretend that Afghanistan threatens our national interest from 7,000 miles away while denying that Russia has any business with its crumbling next-door neighbor (and former province), Ukraine — the crumbling of which was bought and paid for by the US Department of State and CIA.

The long sobering aftermath of World War Two is over now and World Opinion can once again assume the role of a rough beast slouching toward cataclysm. Starting from the premise that nothing is funnier than unhappiness, how funny is it that the US affects to manage the great demographic upheavals of the Middle East and Europe while it can’t even protect its own citizens from the still-florid looting and swindling operations of Wall Street — not to mention the wholesale renting of congressmen, cabinet secretaries, supreme court justices, and White House aides by US chartered corporations?

World Opinion is easily massaged by grandstanding around children who have been put in harm’s way deliberately by cynical adults. The UN was, shall we say, less than fastidious about Hamas stashing rockets and other war materials in their Gaza schools. In fact, they didn’t make a peep — for years — and now they dare squawk that these arsenals are being targeted, even as Hamas continues its rocket attacks? Did these UN morons ever grok the possibility that they were being played? And, of course, not to change the subject too harshly but note also how children are being used to play the suspension of US immigration laws by cynical US political party hacks. Despite the dishonest pleadings of undocumentarians, what part of… illegal immigrant… remains unclear,?

Here is what I think is going to happen now. Israel will withdraw from Gaza. Hamas’s war-making ability has been deeply degraded for a while, but any further rocket attacks will be answered in kind. Perhaps the citizens of Gaza will rethink who they want to have as leaders. The action will shift back to the ISIS swath across Syria and Iraq. ISIS has become a juggernaut, seizing enough money and valuable assets like oil and gas fields to greatly expand its vicious operations. You can say this about ISIS: they are very plain about their objective: to reestablish a fundamentalist caliphate — that is, to return to the eleventh century. Personally, I think the Middle East is primed for exactly that outcome, since its brief adventure as a wealthy, modernized oil-producing region is reaching its natural limits. The very specter of that fate is enough to destabilize the fragile political arrangements there, and may actually hasten the arrival of those natural limits as the activities of ISIS shuts in the necessarily rational operation of the companies that run the oil wells, pipelines, transport terminals. Watch what it does to capital markets, without which oil production founders anywhere.

Speaking of capital markets, keep your eyes on the US indexes. Never has so much fragility-in-motion come so close to an implacable wall of consequence. All hell seems to be breaking loose.

 

***

James Howard Kunstler is the author of many books including (non-fiction) The Geography of Nowhere, The City in Mind: Notes on the Urban Condition, Home from Nowhere, The Long Emergency, and Too Much Magic: Wishful Thinking, Technology and the Fate of the Nation. His novels include World Made By Hand, The Witch of Hebron, Maggie Darling — A Modern Romance, The Halloween Ball, an Embarrassment of Riches, and many others. He has published three novellas with Water Street Press: Manhattan Gothic, A Christmas Orphan, and The Flight of Mehetabel.

 

War Zones

From the keyboard of James Howard Kunstler

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Smoke and fire from an Israeli bomb rises into the air ove Gaza City
Originally Published on Clusterfuck Nation  July 21, 2014

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu summed it up the other day when he said, “We use our rockets to protect our women and children; they [Hamas] use their women and children to protect their rockets.”

Some time ago, the Left adopted the Palestinians as their pet oppressed minority group so there is nothing that Israel might do that will be okay with them, except to commit suicide, that is, cease to exist — which is the stated policy of Hamas. Every time Israel refuses the suggestion that it cease to exist, the Left becomes inflamed. They cannot imagine why Israel would prefer to fight for its existence than to roll over and die.

The Palestinian leadership doesn’t really want to talk about any resolution to the enduring crisis in which Israel is granted the right to exist. That doesn’t leave a whole lot of room for negotiation, and so they have literally painted themselves into a geographical corner of the region called the Gaza Strip where one of their other policies is to grow the Palestinian population in the hopes of eventually wiping Israel off the map by sheer demographic pressure. The political Right Wing of Israel is using exactly the same tactic in the contested West Bank. All of that is tragic, of course, because when the oil age comes to an end the entire region of the southern Levant will probably support one-twentieth of the population of all ethnic groups.

The New York Times reported that street protests against Israel had broken out in London and Paris, giving the impression that some broad national sentiment was being expressed when, in fact, the protesters were from the large Muslim communities that these nations had foolishly invited to immigrate there. Has anyone in the West still failed to notice the pugnacity of Islam in our time? Islam does not want to co-exist with the West anymore than the Palestinians want to grant Israel the right to exist.

Luckily for the West, there is enough animosity between the Islamic factions to distract Islam from its mission to defeat all the great-and-small Satans cluttering up their world. All this is happening as that world lurches into the twilight of the oil age, which until lately had given so much financial leverage to Islam. Really, the entire Middle East, including Israel, has overpopulated itself so severely that the only plausible outcome is the desperate fight over what’s left. A hundred and fifty years ago a mere half million people inhabited the place that is now Israel, and more than 90 percent of them were Arabic. Then came the great Industrial explosion of activity, migrations, and soaring birth rates thanks to fossil fuels. When that phase of history concludes, the population there will go down accordingly.

Over millennia, Israel or Palestine or the Levant (take your pick) has been under the dominion of rotating empires: Greece, Rome, Byzantium, the Egyptian Mameluks, the Turks, Great Britain. Who owns what has been an expression of a particular slice of time, and the current time is no different. As a geographical crossroads of trade and cultures, the region is one of the most fought-over places in the world and may continue to be as long as human beings are around. Hamas and the Palestinians in effect declared war on Israel by lobbing rockets out of Gaza and now Israel is answering. The Palestinians have got the war they asked for and they are trying to manipulate world opinion by mingling their war machine in the heart of their population center of Gaza City. Their choice.

The other hot zone in the world right now, Ukraine, got hotter the past week when somebody or some faction shot down a commercial Malaysian airliner. The question that no news organ has so far raised: why are any commercial airlines routing their planes over a war zone? Especially a war zone where other airplanes have been shot down recently. Just how dumb has the human race become?

And as sad as this incident may be, what business is it of the USA to get involved over a downed flight of a foreign airline that originated in the Netherlands and was carrying passengers overwhelmingly of Dutch nationality? Our presumption to involve ourselves in this is flat-out insane. It’s the kind of behavior that leads to world wars.

 

***

James Howard Kunstler is the author of many books including (non-fiction) The Geography of Nowhere, The City in Mind: Notes on the Urban Condition, Home from Nowhere, The Long Emergency, and Too Much Magic: Wishful Thinking, Technology and the Fate of the Nation. His novels include World Made By Hand, The Witch of Hebron, Maggie Darling — A Modern Romance, The Halloween Ball, an Embarrassment of Riches, and many others. He has published three novellas with Water Street Press: Manhattan Gothic, A Christmas Orphan, and The Flight of Mehetabel.

 

Struggle to the Death

From the keyboard of James Howard Kunstler

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Hamas-firing-rocket
Originally Published on Clusterfuck Nation  July 14, 2014

For public consumption, the fatuous haircut-in-search-of-a-brain, a.k.a. Secretary of State John Kerry, hauled out the dog-eared playbook for “negotiating a ceasefire” between the Palestinian Hamas leadership and Israel. Neither side takes him seriously, of course. In this historic moment of Islamic uproar across the entire region, Hamas is just following the larger script: act up and act out.

They would like to catch the momentum of rampaging ISIS next door, but Hamas is not a mobile force of mostly young male psychopaths. They’re stuck in Gaza embedded among their women and children doing what they can to eliminate Israel and replace it with an Islamic state. For the moment that means lobbing rockets from launch sites planted among the homes and institutions of daily life in the densely urbanized Gaza strip.

So far in the current offensive, they’ve launched over 700 missiles at Israel. Some of the rockets, purchased through the world’s arms bazaar from China, are powerful enough to reach Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. But they are poorly-targeted and Israel’s “iron dome” anti-missile system can intercept some of them before they land on anything.

Unlike previous offensives, when Hamas rocketeers could set up mobile Qassam missiles in alleyways or rooftops, and beat it a few minutes after firing, the new larger rockets require sturdier installations. Thus they can be systematically discovered and targeted. Hamas is quite willing to sacrifice the women and children who eat and sleep around their rocket installations for the propaganda value of pretending that they were not deliberately put in harm’s way.

Israel has accepted the reality that Hamas deliberately uses its own people as human shields and has opted to destroy the missile-launch sites in any case, because the alternative is to give Hamas free reign in bombarding Israel. One would think that world opinion would understand this equation. But there is little sympathy for Israel’s predicament, and little appreciation for Hamas’s calculated ruthlessness vis-à-vis its own people.

The birth-rate in Gaza is among the highest in the world. If it is a deliberate result of social policy, it is a cruel bargain for the Palestinians, who are apparently regarded as expendable by the Hamas leadership. In a culture that glorifies suicide bombings, routine human sacrifice must be normal, though to a Western sensibility it seems tragic.

It shapes up as a struggle to the death that will not be impeded by reason, the good intentions of others, or sentimentality. What Israel remembers is that nobody was on the side of its people in 1939 and they’ll be damned to make the same mistake of not fighting back again. This certainly sets up a situation of extreme political danger in the region, but no more now than the ISIS juggernaut, or the larger beef between the two basic branches of Islam, or the fate of the fragile Saud monarchy.

This is not a region of the world than can support large populations of human beings of any religious persuasion, and in the new age of extreme resource limits blind circumstance itself, more than personalities or doctrines, will determine who gets to inhabit what rockpile.

What’s changed is the perception that the USA has any role to play any longer even in the diplomatic theatrics. The Middle East is disintegrating faster than any polity in historical memory. It appears that, if anything, the USA has only succeeded in accelerating the process wherever we turn our attentions. Since the 1970s, we haven’t felt the ultimate consequence of trouble in that part of the world, which would be an interruption in the oil supply coming out of there.

Back then, there might have been something we could do about it. Now there is nothing we can do but stand on the sidelines and wait. In the meantime, wouldn’t it be a good idea to attend to our own problems, especially the critical need to prepare for American life in a post-oil world?

 

 

***

James Howard Kunstler is the author of many books including (non-fiction) The Geography of Nowhere, The City in Mind: Notes on the Urban Condition, Home from Nowhere, The Long Emergency, and Too Much Magic: Wishful Thinking, Technology and the Fate of the Nation. His novels include World Made By Hand, The Witch of Hebron, Maggie Darling — A Modern Romance, The Halloween Ball, an Embarrassment of Riches, and many others. He has published three novellas with Water Street Press: Manhattan Gothic, A Christmas Orphan, and The Flight of Mehetabel.

 

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