Belmont Club

Showdown in the Sands

France is reducing the size of its diplomatic staff in Teheran: “The move is the latest fallout from protesters’ storming of the British embassy in Tehran and adds to the international pressure on the Iranian government.”  The West is clearing the decks, but in anticipation of what?

The Syrian opposition declares its post-Assad policy:  Maybe they are preparing for the fall of Assad and its aftermath. “The head of the opposition Syrian National Council (SNC), said the isolation of Syria was accelerating and he was pushing for more international intervention against Damascus and seeking Russian support. Burhan Ghalioun told the Wall Street Journal he envisioned a post-Assad Syria distanced from anti-Western Iran, and would move closer to the Arab League and Gulf Arab states – countries that are Sunni-led and wary of Shi’ite Iran.”

The fall of Assad will lead to war in the region, according to Iraqi PM Maliki:  The Iraqi PM argues that his exit from Damascus will inaugurate a showdown between the Shi’ites and the Sunni’s everywhere and restart the civil war in Iraq between the two branches of Islam. The long awaited face-off between Sunni militancy and Khomeini’s Islamic revolution for supremacy in the Middle East will finally be on.  Recall that some analysts have interpreted the attacks against the West, including the September 11 attacks, as an extension of the civil war in Islam. If Maliki is correct, the undercards are over and the main event is about to begin.

Deadly clashes rock Yemen: “Correspondents say the latest fighting threatens a power-transfer agreement signed by the veteran president. Under the deal reached last month, President Saleh handed over to Vice-President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi in return for immunity from prosecution. But BBC regional analyst Sebastian Usher says the agreement does not seem to have calmed the tensions in Taez.” Meanwhile, Iraq bomb attacks on pilgrims kill 28. ” A wave of bomb attacks targeting Shiite pilgrims in Iraq killed 28 people and wounded 78 Monday, a day before the peak of the Ashura religious commemorations, security officials and medics said.It was the bloodiest day in Iraq since October 27, when at least 32 people were killed and 71 wounded in twin blasts in Baghdad.”

At least some groups in the region seem to want to bring things to a head rather than singing “I’d like to buy the world a Coke” on a mountain top. Why is it that activists think that war is a Western invention? It is a human invention. People have been killing each other over land, ethnic differences, money or religious belief since the beginning of  recorded history.

Pakistani Taliban is splitting into factions: “Battered by Pakistani military operations and U.S. drone strikes, the once-formidable Pakistani Taliban has splintered into more than 100 smaller factions, weakened and is running short of cash, according to security officials, analysts and tribesmen from the insurgent heartland.” Maybe they’ll have to find something else to do, like earn a living or go to community college.

Hamas Scales Back Presence in Syria: ” Dozens of Hamas operatives have quietly returned to Gaza from Damascus as the Islamist group scales back its presence in Syria and gauges the uncertain future of President Bashar Assad, diplomats said on Sunday.”  It looks like we are witnessing a recession in the terror industry due to increased competition between Sunni and Shi’ite terrorist groups. A lot of terrorists are in danger of long-term unemployment as the industry structure faces a shakeup. The old flagship terror-sponsoring rogue states are going out of business and until the hard men of the region find their footing in the new environment of the Arab spring, why they might have to resort to such shameful occupations as selling insurance, fixing cars, farming crops and other degrading occupations.

Afghans say they’ll need aid for years: “President Hamid Karzai and other Afghan officials here called for political and military support for at least another decade — and for financial assistance until 2030. That would be nearly three decades after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, that led to the international intervention in Afghanistan.”   Maybe nobody really means it when they say “Yankee Go Home”. Not Europe, not Korea, not Japan, not even Afghanistan.

Embattled Assad may start conflict with Israel: Sure. Otherwise what would Hamas do?

Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee chairman Shaul Mofaz warned Monday that the duress which Syrian President Bashar Assad finds himself under could soon lead to an armed conflict between Syria and Israel. “The closer the Assad regime in Syria gets to death’s door, the bigger the threat against Israel becomes,” the Kadima Mk stated in an interview with Army Radio.

US convoys leave Iraq under tribal protection: “With less than a month to go, the US military wants to minimise last-minute dangers and has paid tribal fighters cash to help provide a safe exit from Iraq after more than eight years of war. Much of the mighty US military machine is leaving Iraq by heading south to Kuwait down the main highway, a tempting target for Iran-backed militants.” It’s cheaper than having to stop to fight the “militants” and destroy them.

Maybe the region is just going to have get all these issues off their chest in whatever way it knows how. The Arab Spring may simply the first ‘green shoots’ of the various shakeouts that are shaping up everywhere. History is restarting all over the region, sometimes at the hand of direct US intervention; in other instances as the result of long pent-up domestic pressure overflowing. The Shah, Saddam, Mubarak, and now Assad seem poised to follow each other into oblivion. The sun of the Cold War strongmen is setting and the legacy of Nasser — but not the evil he did — is passing away.

What will follow is unknown. Even the remaining holdouts — notably the House of Saud — do not know what portends. Will Maliki be right in saying that the fall of Assad will remove the last obstacle to a general showdown between Sunni and Shi’a? And what of Turkey? Events raise the question of whether the Caliphate, abolished by Ataturk, is now poised for revival, but at which hands, who can say?

One thing for sure: with the President “leading from behind” and Hillary all over the place with her reset button and Herman von Rompuy trotting the world in search of dime, the citizens of the West can be sure that their leaders are on top of everything. Leave it to the elite. They know best.

Storming the Castle at Amazon Kindle for $3.99
No Way In at Amazon Kindle $3.99, print $9.99
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