Tag Archives: Taliban

Why it’s Too Late to Stop Terror

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It’s somewhat encouraging to see the victories taking place against ISIS in Syria and Iraq.  Taking out their second in command and capturing the town of Palmyra are both significant accomplishments in the war on the territorial front. That part of the war can be won in somewhat conventional fashion.  The only question is what the best course of action is to win it.  Even the lesser military minds can see an end game.  The main questions are what strategy to use and how long it will take?  With the ongoing terrorist attacks in the west, operations have increased and have so far proven to be relatively successful.  The second war, the terror war being brought to Europe and as of yet on a lesser scale to North America is not a war that can be won any time soon, if at all.  The sad news is, it’s just too late.

It’s a harsh reality, one that may or may not ever impact people directly, but it’s a reality nonetheless.   Even if somehow ISIS would be wiped out in its various bases of operations, the exported terrorists, sitting and waiting for the best opportunities to strike are so spread out and in such large number, even if we were to just wait it out, be vigilant, and stop numerous attacks, there will are still likely to be numerous attacks that will be successful and wreak maximum havoc and suffering.  Just look at Israel, a nation dealing with terror for decades and arguably the most prepared and most adept at dealing with terrorism.  Yet despite the expertise there are still numerous terrorist attacks resulting in the deaths of innocent men, women and children.

There might have been an opportunity a few years back to stop the growth of ISIS, but the sad fact is that until terror hits home, or close to home, western nations are far more accomplished in rationalization than in positive results.  Terrorist activities against Israeli citizens have been rationalized as a fight for liberation.  Attacks against Israelis, Iraqis, Libyans, Pakistanis, just to name a few, are not viewed by the west with the same anger and horror as attacks against the French, Belgian or American. Even today, after 63 people, most of them women and children were killed in a terrorist attack in Lahore, Pakistan, CNN and FOX are providing minimal coverage and discussion.  In fact, a half day later, the terror attack isn’t even the top story.  That’s been changed to a story of how Donald Trump claims to be better for women than anyone and is accompanied by a picture of him kissing his wife Melania. Incidentally, the victims in Pakistan were Christians attacked by a splinter group of the Taliban and purposely done on Easter Sunday.  Iran, a nation with far greater experience and success in the development and exportation of terrorists is allowed to make a deal for nuclear energy and is somehow rewarded with the release of billions of dollars.  Even if somehow we do outlast what we say are hundreds but are more likely thousands of ISIS operatives ready to strike, if the entire approach towards terror doesn’t change, if we do defeat ISIS, we are likely to be left with another group, or even worse, country to fight.  For people who take the view that they can’t be worried about what happens to the “people over there”, they need to understand that it is the sons and brothers of those people the terrorists are radicalizing and mobilizing  against the west.

As is the case with many of my fellow Jews and many pro-Israel citizens in the west, I have argued for years that there is not enough value put on Jewish life.  I still maintain that, but the difference now is that I believe there is not enough value put on any life lost east of Germany.  I am not making a bleeding heart plea for sympathy, rather a legitimate call to arms against global terrorism, not just the flavor of the moment.  ISIS is by far the most active and dangerous organization in the world, but it is joined by so many other groups ready to take over prominence if they get defeated that without a long term global strategy against terror, we are doomed to live with it for the rest of our lives and very likely see it continue for further generations.

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The Nuclear Scenario

Nuclear_bombIt’s the topic we don’t often bring up, but it’s always somewhere in our minds.  With all that is happening in the world one might think it is just a matter of time till we see the use of some form of a nuclear weapon.  It’s a terrifying thought and quite frankly one that makes no normal person happy, regardless of where it would be used.  We can choose to ignore the subject, a decision I would understand because of how frightening it is to imagine, but what I am going to do in this piece is break down the numerous scenarios in which it could happen.

I’ll start with the 5 countries that are members of the Non-Proliferation Treaty. They are the United States, Russia, United Kingdom, France and China.  I believe the least likely of the  to be presented with an option in which to go nuclear is China.  Of the remaining 4, only Russia finds itself in a conflict close to home, but the fact that it is so close to home is the very reason not to use it.  The concerning thing about Russia has always been that after the break up of the Soviet Union there was a concern that weapons were scattered in various locations. That fear has dissipated somewhat with the control Vladimir Putin seems to have over the area, but that being said, Russia is the country on the list I see as most susceptible to terrorist infiltration.  The remaining three are all facing the potential threats of terrorist attacks by Islamic terrorists and should an attack be serious enough and the source identifiable, one can’t take a nuclear response off the table.  That is something all would be reluctant to do unless the attack on them was nuclear, and even then it would be uncertain.

There are four other countries that are nuclear powers, three declared and not members of the Non-Proliferation Treaty, and one which is not a declared nuclear power but widely known as being one. There are more scenarios here and they are all quite terrifying. The first two, India and Pakistan, are the ones that might be seen as most likely to use  a nuclear weapon on the other.  Although the tensions between the two have calmed somewhat over the years, these 2 countries still don’t like each other and have very different global interests.  I believe India would only consider doing so if forced into it  and I believe Pakistan under its current leadership would not use it.  But this is where it gets interesting.  The Taliban has a significant presence in Pakistan and with neighboring Afghanistan still unstable and dealing with its strong Taliban force, no one wants to even think about what would happen should Pakistan’s government be replaced with a government aligned with Islamic extremists, or even worse a Taliban government.  That would without doubt be a global game changer.

There are 2 countries left to speak of, one of which is the one undeclared nuclear power, Israel.  Israel, like the nations in the Non-Proliferation Treaty, will only go nuclear if absolutely necessary, meaning if it is a matter of survival.  Israel would not need nuclear weapons to wipe out Iran’s nuclear program and is more likely to keep Iran in check with the threat of reprisal should Iran get nuclear weapons and use one of its proxies to attack Israel.

I left North Korea for last.  This was not an accident.  It is unquestionably the most dangerous of all the nuclear powers.  Besides the fact that their dictator Kim Jong has repeatedly threatened the U.S., it’s believed that North Korea helped fund the building of Hamas’s terror tunnels from Gaza to Israel.  No one finds it hard to believe that Kim would have a problem providing Hamas or any other terrorist organization with a nuclear weapon.  Like Hamas, Kim Jong’s Korea doesn’t care about his own people so he would have no problem contributing to a genocide of another people.  I have no doubt Israel is watching him very closely.

The terrorism scenario is always out there of course, be it a conventional bomb or dirty bomb,  especially since there are groups that have declared their willingness and desire to cause devastation in large western cities, most notably New York City.

All this is conjecture, but with all the conflicts going on today anything can happen at any time.  Let’s hope this doesn’t.

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Being Objective in the Face of Hypocrisy

Occasionally when watching reports on the events in the Middle East I make an attempt at being objective.  As a Jewish man, I feel anger any time I perceive Jews as being indiscriminately attacked.  It is never pleasant to see any innocent people being hurt, but human nature is that we often feel most passionately when the attack is on one of our own.  Be that as it may, I made every conscious effort to listen objectively to both Mark Regev and Hanan Ashrawi on CNN earlier today.

Mark Regev, an Israeli government spokesman, naturally was on to portray the Israeli side of the conflict.  He explained how the importance of this mission is not only to stop the missiles now, but to allow the southern borders of Israel to live in peace and security in the future.  The subject of the “occupation” (not objective quotation marks) never was broached with him as the discussion was entirely about the direction the conflict could go and how to stop the missiles from flying.  He made one very important point.  Israel has a large Arab population and there is absolutely no way of knowing that these missiles will not injure or kill Arabs and Palestinians, the one group Hamas claims to be fighting for.  I am still trying to be objective but as I was listening to Regev speak, I found it increasingly difficult to understand how any sane person would argue with anything he was saying.  But then again throughout the ages sanity has never been in the forefront when it comes to assaults on Jewish populations.  Objectively speaking.

I then listened to Hanan Ashrawi, who as everyone knows only tells the Palestinian side of the story. I have no problem with her doing this since after all, that’s her job, but after being painted into a corner by CNN’s Gary Tuchman, Ashrawi, as intelligent as she may be, in my estimation unwillingly displayed her approval of violence.  Tuchman asked her what she expected Israel to do after being victim to hundreds of missile attacks from Gaza throughout the year.  He drew the comparison to Florida being attacked by Mexico and rightfully so, said that the citizens of the United States would demand retaliation and that the President would almost certainly oblige his citizenry.  Her response was to speak of what she sees as the underlying problem, which in her estimation is the “occupation”.  At this point I put on my Mr. Objective hat and decided to consider the “occupation” the real issue here.  But when Tuchman continued to push her on what Israel should do about the missiles, she replied something along the lines of, “go back to the negotiating table.”   At this point, if my imaginary hat was real, I would have taken it off, lit a fire somewhere, and burnt it to ashes.

Ashrawi, who is supposed to be one of the intelligent voices of the Palestinian world, basically revealed the worldwide philosophy among Arab and Muslim leadership today.  This philosophy is violently attack until the people you are trying to defeat know that it only stops if you adhere to their demands.  Throw missiles at Israel until you get what you want and then cry to the world about how Israel is killing your people without restraint.  Well let’s examine that as well.  40 people have been killed in airstrikes in Gaza since Wednesday.  That is 4 days of Israeli attacks “without restraint”.  It doesn’t take a genius, or even someone objective to realize that if there were 4 days of unrestrained attacks there would be a lot more than 40 deaths.  In fact, the reason the number is not larger is because these attacks are focused on what is believed to be terrorist hideouts or bases of operations.  When the Arab League gets together to discuss this do they also talk about the 17 civilians, many women and children killed the other day by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan?  These people were part of a wedding party and were killed by a bomb placed by the Taliban, an organization like Hamas in its methods and intent.  In October, 19 civilians were killed by a roadside bomb.  Between these 2 bombings alone 36 civilians were killed.  When you factor in the fact that the Israeli attacks are targeted and have killed Hamas operatives, it is pretty safe to say that more innocent people were murdered in 2 roadside bombs planted by the Taliban, a Hamas ally, than by the “unrestrained” attacks by Israel on Gaza.

I have heard a few Palestinian spokespersons say that Israel should allow free movement in and out of Gaza.  I have a simple response to that.  Israel is currently being attacked by Fajr 5 missiles.  These missiles are being supplied to Hamas by Iran, the nation that has publicly stated its desire to destroy Israel.  With Iran in the process of attempting to construct a nuclear arsenal, and Hamas in alliance with Iran, allowing free access to Gaza would be the equivalent of cutting oneself and walking into shark infested waters.  At this point it would be so easy you almost can’t even blame the shark anymore.

As someone who appreciates objectivity and hates violence, I welcome the true voices of honor and decency.  But both objectivity and peace by definition can’t be one-sided.  I am sure Hanan Ashrawi, a woman with multiple degrees in literacy is aware of this, but admitting this would be breaking from the strategy of force over reason and would put her in a position to do something not very politically expedient for her, which is be at peace with Israel.