(Banner will apear here)

Beautiful Kabbalah Jewelry Judaicawebstore.com
Font Size:

GEN. DEMPSEY COVERS HIS BUTT

Gen. Dempsey

 The current chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff has this policy - he calls them as he sees them. Apparently he has serious doubts about President Barack Obama's strategy for defeating ISIL in Iraq and Syria by air power. And that is why Gen. Martin Dempsey has told Congress:

 'If there are threats to the US, then I, of course, would go back to the President and make a recommendation that may include the use of US military ground forces'.

 Predictably, Obama hit the roof. If Dempsey had opened the door to the military need for an eventual deployment of American 'boots on the ground', Obama slammed it shut. Appearing before American troops twenty-four hours later in Tampa, Florida hours later, the President declared unequivocally:

 'The American forces that have been deployed to Iraq do not and will not have a combat mission'.

 In an effort to drum up support for his newfound ISIL strategy, Obama noted that Britain and France were already flying missions over Iraq, and that Canada and Australia were sending military advisors. 

Gen. Dempsey inferred that air power may not be capable of defeating ISI,S which is now deployed over a large area of Iraq and Syria

 But he had precious little to show from the Arab states in the region, who have the biggest stake in his goal to 'degrade and ultimately destroy' ISIS that has vowed to topple the Arab regimes. All the Saudis were willing to contribute to Obama's international coalition was to base a US mission for training Syrian moderate rebels on its soil. Aware that Obama's appeal for international military support appears to have nearly petered out, with even Iran turning down an American offer, Gen. Dempsey inferred that air power may not be capable of defeating ISI,S which is now deployed over a large area of Iraq and Syria, and in control of Mosul, Iraq's second largest city, as well as numerous villages.

 

Iraqi commandos training with US soldiers in Baghdad, 2010. (photo credit: US Army)

 Air strikes on these populated areas will inadvertently cause civilian casualties. This is what Israel discovered recently when the IDF tried to defeat Hamas in Gaza solely by air power, but had to throw in its 'boots on the ground' when surprised by the Hamas attack tunnels into Israeli villages. What's more, the billions of dollars invested in the Iraqi Army have gone down the drain after Iraqi soldiers fled the battlefield,, leaving their sophisticated weapons behind for ISIS. Faced with his sorry state of affairs, Gen. Dempsey does not want to be left holding the bag for his role in devising Obama's new military strategy. After commenting about the possibility of a future role for ground forces, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs added:

 

 'He (Obama) told me to come back to him on a case-by-case basis'.

 

 But America's reluctant warrior, Barack Obama, can count on Israel's military support when most of his other allies are holding back. This was the message conveyed by Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman when he conferred with Secretary of State John Kerry in Washington:

'We stand behind the US in the campaign against ISIL, and are ready to play a role if asked to do so, while considering the sensitivities of the states participating in the international coalition and America's needs'.

 

 'We stand behind the US in the campaign against ISIL, and are ready to play a role if asked to do so, while considering the sensitivities of the states participating in the international coalition and America's needs'.

 

 'Thanks but no thanks!' was Kerry's likely response - that's all America needs at this juncture. Amid the tumult, a representative of the Yazidi community in Iraq did seek Israel's aid in trying to do something for his miserable kinsmen who are being butchered and raped by the ISIL sadists. He sought help from the Jewish people who had suffered a similar fate during the Holocaust. There is not much, if anything, Israel can do, but perhaps Netanyahu will appeal for a greater international response when he addresses the upcoming session of the UN General Assembly in New York.

 

 Closer to home is the question of the Druze community in Syria, which could also be attacked by ISIL at some point. Some 100,000 Druze live in Israel where they are fully integrated into Israeli society and serve with distinction in the IDF. (Yours truly can testify that he had a Druze commander during his basic training). If the Druze communities in Syria or Lebanon ever needed Israel's help, it is a safe bet they can count on Israel. Meanwhile, the Kurds, who number some 30 million and live in their cohesive communities in Iran, Iraq, Syria and Turkey, are now ISIL's current target.

 

Now, nearly one hundred years later, with both Iraq and Syria on the verge of a permanent breakup, the Kurds have seized the opportunity to try and forge an independent Kurdistan in those two countries.

 Back in 1916, when British and French diplomats Sykes and Picot drew their historic map to carve up 'Asia Minor', they did not deem fit, or simply forgot, to grant the Kurds some form of territorial recognition. After all, the two imperial powers were bent on divvying up the spoils and imposing their spheres of influence after they helped topple the Ottoman Empire that had ruled the region for some four hundred years. Now, nearly one hundred years later, with both Iraq and Syria on the verge of a permanent breakup, the Kurds have seized the opportunity to try and forge an independent Kurdistan in those two countries.

 

fighting in western Kobani

 But it is turning out to be a bloody struggle - after the Kurdish militia, known as Peshmerga, joined the battle royal between the other ethnic forces in Iraq and Syria, they now they have to take on ISIL. A fierce fight is now raging in northern Iraq where the Kurds have advanced to near the city of Mosul that fell to the Jihadists after the Iraqi army fled the battlefield. American jets have reportedly been lending air support to the Kurdish fighters. However in northern Syria, ISIL is reported to have the upper hand in taking twenty-one Kurdish villages and threatening the town of Kobani. The Kurdish commander in that area has appealed urgently to other Kurdish forces to come to his aid amid the threat of new ISIL massacres of men, and the kidnapping of Kurdish women and girls. Surely this is the time for President Obama to send in the cavalry, so to speak, and order American aircraft to also strike in Syria and go to the aid of the Kurds.

 

Syria never was a real state, but a house of horrors ruled by an Alawite minority that, in 1982, massacred an estimated twenty thousand males as punishment for the Muslim Brotherhood rebellion...The Assad regimes always ruled with an iron fist...

 But in spite of the Islamic State conquering one-third of Iraq and Syria, if the Kurds do succeed in gaining their longed for independence, it may be part of an historic move to redraw the arbitrary and artificial borders that were dictated by Britain and France when they drafted their private map to serve their imperial interests. It is hard to visualize the various ethnic communities of Syria ever overcoming the bad blood in the wake of the current civil war and returning to a united Syria. In fact, Syria never was a real state but a house of horrors ruled by an Alawite minority that, in 1982, massacred an estimated twenty thousand males as punishment for the Muslim Brotherhood rebellion in the town of Hama. The Assad regimes always ruled with an iron fist to keep Shia Muslims, Druze, Kurds, Christians, and everyone else in line).

 

Martin Indyk

 At best, the former country, known as Syria, might revert to the example of neighboring Lebanon, a national entity that is divided between its various ethnic communities that manage to maintain a fragile quiet between periodic civil wars. In fact, the Shiite Muslims, lead by Hezbollah, have a more powerful military force than the official Lebanese Army. This part of the world is in a state of flux, and Israel is caught up in it. No one really has the foggiest idea of when it will end and what it will spawn, not even Dr. Martin Indyk. What will it portend for the Jewish state in the long run?

 

 Take the future of the Golan Heights, a plateau that rises high above Galilee and from where Syrian gunners periodically shelled Israeli towns and villages in the valley below - that is until June, 1967 when the IDF finally dislodged the Syrians from their heavily fortified positions. The strategic danger was further highlighted when Syria joined Egypt in launching its massive surprise attack in the Yom Kippur War of 1973, which almost swept the vastly outnumbered Israeli forces off the Golan, and opened the road into northern Israel. What is much less known about the Golan is that there were 'Israeli settlers' there as far back as in biblical times. The archaeological facts are conclusive - communities such as Gamla, the site of a Jewish city built in the second century CE (AD). In fact, organized Jewish settlement in the region came to an end only in 636 CE, when it was conquered by the Arabs. It remained under Arab control in the 16th Century when the Ottoman Empire (Turkey) moved in.

 

...no one, not even Dr. Martin Indyk, has the foggiest idea of where all this is leading.

 Fast forward to 1916, when Sykes and Picot started bargaining over who would get what, after the Turks were defeated at the end of the Great War. In this back room deal, the French ended up with the Golan, which they subsequently granted to Syria in 1946. And that is how the business of borders is often determined in this part of the world. The point is the borders, determined by Sykes and Picot, are unraveling in Syria, and possibly Iraq. In fact, the Islamic State has declared that its ultimate goal is to replace Sykes-Picot with its Islamic Caliphate. What does all this mean? Simply this - no one, not even Dr. Martin Indyk, has the foggiest idea of where all this is leading. But it is possible to conclude that with Syria's breakup and with Islamic fanatics now in control of the Syrian side of the Golan border, and with the odd errant or deliberate shell landing on the Israeli side, more and more Israelis, including Left-wingers, will oppose any return of the Golan.

 

Lake Ram near Mt. Hermon in the northeastern Golan Heights (photo credit: wikipedia creative commons)

 Consider this - former Israeli prime ministers Yitzhak Rabin, Ehud Barak, Ehud Olmert and even Bibi Netanyahu approached the Assads about returning the Golan in return for a full-fledged peace treaty. Fortunately, they failed. Just imagine today if the IDF were no longer in control of the Heights, but looking up into the artillery muzzles of ISIL, Al Qaeda, you name it. On the basis of past and present experience, the vast majority of Israelis will definitely oppose giving up the Golan. Today's Haaretz newspaper reveals that its public opinion poll indicates that despite all the harsh criticism, Netanyahu is still leading the pack when it comes to the premiership. A commanding thirty-eight percent of Israeli voters favor the incumbent, while Labor's Yitzhak Herzog trails far behind with only seven. Netanyahu's Right wing rival, Avigdor Lieberman, garnered six, while Naftali Bennett polled a paltry five percent. Despite the hullabaloo over the time-out from politics announced by the Likud's Gidon Saar, he also mustered only five percent of Israelis who favor him for the top job.

 

 

 David Essing

  

 

 New column will appear every Friday

 

 

Back To The Top