With  Gaza now looking more and more like a fight to the finish and president Obama vowing to ‘act alone’ to solve the ‘historic influx of migrants’ it may be time to examine some of the finer points of the ongoing world crisis.  First Syria. Let’s not forget Syria, which by the numbers is the highest intensity conflict in the region.

Nate Petrocine of the Institute for the Study of War (Syria Updates) notes how the Syrian rebels are using the same anaconda techniques the Belmont Club described in the Siege of Baghdad.  They are systematically attacking M4 and M5 in Syria to isolate Assad’s forces both from each other and the Latakian coastal region. “Rebel operations have continued to target the vital highways segmenting Idlib province, namely the M5 and the M4. The M5, which spans the western length of Syria from Damascus to Aleppo, is an essential supply route for both regime and opposition forces. Likewise the M4, which connects Aleppo and Idlib to the coast of Latakia, is indispensable for regime forces currently fighting in Aleppo City.”

ISIS (ISIL) is now able to conduct large scale operational warfare competently both in Iraq and Syria. Maliki and Assad are no longer fighting the Viet Cong. They are fighting the NVA. As Petrocine put it:

The late spring and early summer rebel advances in Idlib province indicate that opposition forces have the ability to coordinate large scale offenses over relatively large swaths of territory. The initial Idlib offensive on the M5 around Khan Sheikhoun began with a combined assault over a distance of 45km on a single day. Such an operational range demonstrates that opposition forces are able to coordinate effectively at above a tactical level.

The same adaptive mutation can be observed in Hamas. Israel has waked to the sudden realization that as its drones patrolled the skies over Gaza, its foes, like mole-men, had honeycombed the border with tunnels. The underground equivalent of Iron Dome won’t be ready for a year.

“The high-tech system, which uses special sensors and transmitters, is still in its R&D phase, and if all goes well, should be operational within a year”, notes a report on Israel’s I-24 news.

The enemy has everywhere learned, adapted and evolved. Hamas’ weapons are no longer the crude Qassam rocket. They are bona fide missiles able to cover he breadth of Israel and concreted tunnels, each costing millions. The same however, cannot be with confidence of the Western intelligensia. Terence McCoy of the Washington Post explores ‘Why Hamas stores its weapons inside hospitals, mosques and schools’.

The United Nations has found troves of rockets hidden in three of its schools since the conflict began. “We condemn the group or groups who endangered civilians by placing these munitions in our school,” Chris Gunness, spokesman for the U.N. Relief and Works Agency, said in statement published Wednesday by the Times of Israel. “This is yet another flagrant violation of the neutrality of our premises. We call on all the warring parties to respect the inviolability of U.N. property.”

Earlier this month, the United Nations also found rockets piled inside one of its vacant schools — near other schools used to accommodate displaced people.

The international organization also found 20 additional rockets at another of its schools during an inspection, calling it one more “flagrant violation of the inviolability” of the premises….

The Washington Post’s William Booth saw a “group of men” at a mosque in northern Gaza. They “could be seen moving small rockets into the mosque,” Booth wrote. He also reported that Shifa Hospital in Gaza City had “become a de facto headquarters for Hamas leaders, who can be seen in the hallways and offices.” …

According to longtime Middle East analyst Matthew Levitt, Hamas has long planted weapons in areas inhabited by vulnerable residents. “It happens in schools,” he wrote in Middle East Quarterly. “Hamas has buried caches of arms and explosives under its own kindergarten playgrounds,” referencing a 2001 State Department report that said a Hamas leader was arrested after “additional explosives in a Gaza kindergarten” were discovered.

For years, Hamas has “planned carefully for a major Israeli invasion,” according to a Washington Institute for Near East Policy report.

Yeah, why do they use playgrounds, schools and mosques to store ordnance?

Groups like Hamas are biding their time and anyone who imagines the next attack on America just will be a rerun of 9/11 is ignoring every available signal. It will something much, much worse than you can imagine.

But the Western response is denial, and re-running the same old tropes that our hoary intellectuals learned at French universities in the 1960s. They still think Hamas wants justice; break the cycle of violence and to achieve equality in the apartheid state of Israel.  Yet this back page story from AFP about Libya may provoke some wry amusement. “Libya hospitals face collapse if Asian staff flee.”

TRIPOLI: Libya has warned of a “total collapse” of its health care system as the chaos plaguing the country threatens to send into flight many of the Filipino and Indian staff on whom its hospitals depend. …

Now, 3,000 health workers from the Philippines, making up 60 percent of Libya’s hospital staff, could leave – along with workers from India, who account for another 20 percent.

The question is, where did the other non-Asian 20% come? What did Libya do with all their oil wealth these last decades, besides learn to build bombs to bring down jetliners over Lockerbie?

The flight of the Filipinos is representative of the exodus of expats from the war-torn areas of the Middle East. The last die-hard Filipinos have fled Syria. They are bugging out of Iraq citing “crisis warning number 3″, which appears to mean ‘the beheading is now starting in your neighborhood’.  And when they go its a sure sign the other Third Worlders  are heading for the exits too.

The degree to which the oil-rich countries of the Middle East are dependent on Filipino ‘slave’ labor is so astonishing that it’s funny. The Guardian writes “Qatar’s foreign domestic workers subjected to slave-like conditions”.

Hundreds of Filipino maids have fled to their embassy in recent months because conditions are so harsh. Many complain of physical and sexual abuse, harassment, long periods without pay and the confiscation of mobile phones….

The non-payment of wages, confiscation of documents and inability of workers to leave their employer constitute forced labour under UN rules. According to the International Labour Organisation, forced labour is “all work which is exacted from someone under the menace of any penalty and for which the said person has not offered himself voluntarily”.

Lack of consent can include induced indebtedness and deception about the type and terms of work, withholding or non-payment of wages and the retention of identity documents. Initial consent may be considered irrelevant when deception or fraud has been used to obtain it.

Why does the region, after decades of petrodollars, still have to import managerial, technical from the West and ‘slave’ labor from places like the Philippines? Consider: foreign workers make up four fifths of the population of Qatar. One third the population of Saudi Arabia are ‘non nationals’.  And they can’t even practice their Christian religion in the KSA, despite the UN convention of universal rights. Who’s the apartheid state? Yet if these despised ‘slaves’ leave these host countries will be toast.  Who’s going to change the bedpans, run the x-ray machines, operate the scanner, do the operation, stick in the IV?  Who’s going to pump out the oil?

You can make the world’s best playground-based missile, but you can’t eat it. Time and distances still matter in military operations; the persistence of hatred still drives policy; the everlasting character of slavery breeds dependency among the masters. It’s too bad the left has forgotten its Brecht. He had some good lines.

Who built the seven gates of Thebes?
The books are filled with names of kings.
Was it the kings who hauled the craggy blocks of stone?
And Babylon, so many times destroyed.
Who built the city up each time? In which of Lima’s houses,
That city glittering with gold, lived those who built it?
In the evening when the Chinese wall was finished
Where did the masons go? Imperial Rome
Is full of arcs of triumph. Who reared them up? Over whom
Did the Caesars triumph? Byzantium lives in song.
Were all her dwellings palaces? And even in Atlantis of the legend
The night the seas rushed in,
The drowning men still bellowed for their slaves.


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