November 26, 2011

 

Middle East Powder Keg Ready to Blow

November 26, 2011. Islamabad. While the tidal wave of democracy that overtook the Middle East this year was called the Arab Spring, the Arab Fall may see a rough landing. Situations have reached the point of crisis in a number of countries in the region, and they’re rapidly arriving at that point simultaneously.

US-led forces attacked a Pakistani outpost like this one today killing 24 soldiers.

The most worrisome aspect of it all is the number of nuclear powers involved. No less than five countries with nuclear weapons are on the verge of war, albeit for varying reasons. And with NATO’s massacre of Pakistani troops today, the next world war may have already started.

While each individual conflict is separate and unique, one can’t help but piece them all together into one massive, regional, nuclear war. Just as in World War One and World War Two where world wide alliances were already in place and only waiting for a reason to go to war, such is the case today.

On one side are the United States, Israel, Turkey, India and an unknown list of NATO nations.

On the other side are Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Palestine, Syria, Lebanon and an unknown list of Muslim and Arab countries in the region.

Caught in the middle are Russia and China. The rest of the world is capable of sitting on the sidelines, if they choose. Below is a summary of each individual conflict.

United States vs. Pakistan

Today’s attack by Afghanistan’s ISAF coalition troops, led by US air forces, on a Pakistani army outpost inside of Pakistan may be the deadliest, but it’s only the latest US-led attack on Pakistani assets. Reports of the incident since it happened earlier today have been changing by the hour. Officials from NATO, the force Pakistan accused of the unprovoked attack, spent the day insisting they had little or no information. All sides appeared to be waiting for their own troops’ reports from the scene before commenting.

Pakistani officials have since been the most forthcoming, with US sources cringing at the thought that the reports might be true, and as a result keeping ominously silent. White House spokesman Tommy Vieter would only say, “Senior US civilian and military officials have been in touch with their Pakistani counterparts from Islamabad, Kabul and Washington to express our condolences, our desire to work together to determine what took place, and our commitment to the US-Pakistan partnership which advances our shared interests, including fighting terrorism in the region.”



A summary of all news accounts suggests an American-led air force including helicopter gunships and fighter jets was called in to support ground-level fighting between NATO’s forces in Afghanistan and Taliban rebels. The conflict took place near the Afghan-Pakistan border. When the air support arrived, it accidentally bombed two Pakistani military bases, killing between 24 and 28 Pakistani troops and injuring 12. The death toll is expected to go higher as many of the wounded are in serious or critical condition.

Reuters was able to reach coalition forces in Afghanistan for confirmation. General Carsten Jacobson from the US-led coalition force called the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) confirmed, “Close air support was called in, in the development of the tactical situation, and it is what highly likely caused the Pakistan casualties."

Pakistani Major-General Athar Abbas told Reuters, "When the other side is saying there is a doubt about this, there is no doubt about it. These posts have been marked and handed over to the other side for marking on their maps and are clearly inside Pakistani territory." Another Pakistani officer who requested anonymity revealed how Pakistani citizens are viewing the unprovoked military attack, “They without any reasons attacked our post and killed soldiers asleep."

In the ensuing 12 hours, and as more and more details became available, Pakistan’s official response has gotten increasingly harsh. US-led forces in Afghanistan receive half of their non-military supplies via two roads through Pakistan. Pakistani authorities closed one road immediately after the incident in protest. Hours later, it closed the second route. Just hours ago, Pakistani officials began repeating a government demand that the US evacuate its air base inside their country. The base is used for drone strikes throughout the region. In short, the US and its forces have just been evicted from Pakistan.

A NATO-Pakistan war would surely draw in other participants. Afghani President Hamid Karzai shook the world recently when he announced that in the event of a war between the US and Pakistan, Afghanistan wouldn’t hesitate to actively side with its longtime ally Pakistan. To stop a mass slaughter of NATO and other allied troops in Afghanistan, NATO and US forces would be forced to act quickly and decisively against Pakistan. In that event, India would surely enter the conflict to permanently take the land currently claimed by both countries, namely in the Kashmir region.



The two countries have had little more than a cease fire since Pakistan’s creation in 1947 which left roughly 50 percent of the country’s Muslim population stuck in territory given to Hindu India. The two countries have fought wars in 1947, 1965, 1971 and 1999. They’ve also had bloody military conflicts in 1984, 1985, 1987 and 1995. 2002 saw a military standoff after India’s Parliament was bombed in December 2001 by a suspected Pakistani operative.

If India takes advantage of Pakistan after a NATO assault on the Muslim nation, or even launches a self-proclaimed ‘defensive preemptive strike’, the two long-time nuclear adversaries may actually come to atomic blows. While the US-Pakistan conflict is the most bloody and recent, the other countries in the region threatening war deserve some mention as well.

Israel-Iran

Critical warnings have come out of Israel over the past few weeks insisting Iran is only months away from building a nuclear weapon capable of attacking the Jewish state. Almost the entire slew of Republican Presidential candidates in the US cried for blood and insisted that if Iran needed to be attacked, America should do it for their Israeli ally. Some critics argued that Israeli officials were being dishonest in their assessment in a blatant attempt to push the US into attacking an ever more powerful Iran. French President Nicolas Sarkozy went so far as to call Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “a liar”. Read the Whiteout Press article, ‘Mic Slip Reveals Sarkozy, Obama Disdain for Netanyahu’ for details.

Also consider that the US military and national defense is now blind in Iran and Lebanon. Over the past year, Iranian authorities have repeatedly announced the capture of American CIA and Israeli Mossad spies. Typically, US authorities deny such statements. Earlier this week however, US officials conceded the Iranian announcements were true and the CIA had lost a large number of its agents. Read this week’s Whiteout Press article, ‘Huge CIA Losses in Iran’ for more information. Panic must be spreading throughout the US defense complex. Panicky people do panicky things.

If Israel strikes Iran in a self-proclaimed defensive strike to take out some of Iran’s key nuclear facilities, Iran announced they would immediately strike Israel in retaliation. Hamas and the Palestinian Authority, along with Hezbollah, each control one half of Palestine. Each group would also probably attack Israel, along with Lebanon, Syria and possibly unstable Egypt. The United States would then be forced to defend Israel and strike Iran. Iranian officials have stated in the past 24 hours that any strike by the US on Iran would trigger an Iranian strike on America’s NATO ally Turkey. Being capably of attacking the US with only terrorist cells and not conventional forces, neighboring Turkey and Israel would be Iran’s targets.



Israel-Turkey

With the Israeli conflict with Iran heating up and Turkey suddenly having its own problems with Iran, the Turkish-Israeli conflict has been put on the back burner. Forces on each side have been prepared for war since Israeli commandos attacked and killed volunteers on Turkish humanitarian aid ships attempting to enter Gaza. Turkey vowed to send a second aid convoy, with naval ships escorting and a promise to bring the full force of the Turkish military upon Israel if they dare to attack any of the unarmed aid ships again. This conflict is temporarily on hold.

Israel-Palestine

Since Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas officially asked the UN to recognize Palestine as a country on September 23, Israel has vowed not to let it happen. Upon the announcement, Israel confiscated and withheld all of the Palestinians national funds and has blockaded or taken all current and future aid funding. They also approved hundreds of new and illegal settlements in Palestinian territory. Blind rocket attacks by Palestinian militants and targeted assassinations by Israeli forces continue despite repeated cease fires. If any other conflict in the region erupts into full-blown war, the Israelis and Palestinians would probably go back to war simply as a reflex action.

Syria

24 people were killed today alone in Syria’s civil war. At the same time, Arab League ministers were meeting in Egypt to draft sanctions against the Syrian regime. Unlike its neighbor Egypt that opened its doors to the world and asked for help in removing an unpopular and brutal US-backed dictator, the Syrian people haven’t asked for international help and insist they don’t want it or need it. Because of that reason, Syria’s reform movement has been fighting a bloody civil war against government forces for months. The latest announcement of sanctions by the Arab League, one of Syria’s last allies, may trigger a last act of desperation by the Syrian government to hold onto power. Nothing unites a nation behind its leaders like a sudden war against a hated enemy.



Egypt

Egypt gave the world a brilliant example of a people reclaiming their government from tyrannical leaders. Mass protests led to stand-offs with government forces. Those were followed by bloody and violent attacks on protesters – protesters who learned to fight back but couldn’t hold off the government’s secret police and national security forces. Just as the last flicker of freedom was about to be extinguished, the Egyptian army stepped in. The force made up of citizen soldiers waited while the world held its breath to see which side they would choose. In a historic act of national vision, they chose the side of the people and have been in power ever since. And that’s the problem in Egypt now – the military won’t hand power back over to civilian or democratically elected representatives.

Clashes in Cairo have become bloody and deadly once again between democracy protesters and their former military protectors. The Egyptian military points to rallies like the one held today in Cairo by the Muslim Brotherhood. The extremist group vowed that it will attack Israel as soon as it takes power in Egypt. With the majority of the Egyptian people in no hurry to go to war, many are content with letting the military retain power so the Muslim Brotherhood doesn’t take control. Democracy protesters insist that neither a military dictatorship nor an Islamic theocracy are acceptable outcomes.

Iraq

With the US occupation, Iraq has turned into what Afghanistan was in the 1990’s – a haven for foreign armies. Without the ability to control its borders or its territory, Iraq is the Middle East’s wild west. On top of the United States military and all its western allies in the “army of the willing”, other countries have blatantly violated Iraq’s sovereignty recently, sending entire armies across the border. Iran, Turkey, Syria, even Israel, have or have had their forces fighting battles inside Iraq. While most of them operate in Iraq in an attempt to crush Kurdish freedom fighters, Israel has reportedly begun setting up unmanned drone bases inside Iraq. Such bases would be used in a second front to attack Iran or any other country in the region. Read the Whiteout Press article, ‘Israel Joins Iran and Turkey at War in Iraq’.

 

Tensions are high throughout the Middle East. There’s no telling where or when the next shells will fall or bullets will fly. In reality, they’re falling and flying every day. It unfortunately only becomes newsworthy on days like today when two dozen Pakistani soldiers are slaughtered while they slept in an unprovoked, surprise attack. If the Pakistani people didn’t have a battle cry like ‘Remember the Alamo’, they most surely do now. Stay tuned. Events are changing literally by the hour.

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