The Election That Broke America

Something happened on Nov. 3rd. The quiet deconstruction of a unified American ethos, which had been occuring slowly and with little open expression, finally broke out into the conscious psyche of American politics.

For years there has been a growing divide between Red State and Blue State America, but now this divide has spilled out into a real split. Neither side trusts eachother and neither side appears interested in reconciling. In a sense there are two countries existing in one land mass.

So what’s next? And how does this impact Israel and the world?

The aftermath of the election and the uncertainty of America’s future as its decline becomes more and more apparent has no doubt emboldened its enemies, which in many cases are the same enemies that Israel has.

Without unity of purpose and with one President in the White House and another “President” acting as a shadow president, the US remains fractured on all issues. China, Iran, immigration, abortion, gun rights, and more appear to be issues which both the Blue Country and Red Country have diametrically divergent views about.

Ultimately, there is no long term salvation for the USA without a real sense of cultural cohesiveness; the sort of something, which is more than just a focus on making money.

America is now heading towards a breakup. First it will be unoffical, but as unresolvable issues pile up and the hard left tries to be more bolshevik than the bolsheviks, the break will in fact materialize. Red Country America and Blue Country America will separate.

Iran will rise once more after being beaten back by Trump. Turkey will continue to dominate and expand. China will overtake the USA and the West as the unrivaled superpower.

Israel will continue to be seen by Greece and Cyprus as well as the Eastern block of the EU as the fulcrum, which they can rely on. The same goes for the Sunni Arab States.

So however the next week pans out for Trump or Biden (media projections are meaningless) the USA has passed the tipping point and is now on a real descent.

The Statue of Exile falls at the End of Days. We will soon find out how long that actually takes and what will be taken down with it.

Instability in Jordan: The impact on Trump’s “Ultimate Deal”

“Jordan sees largest anti-government protests in years” “Al  Jazeera ”, June 4,2018.

 “Jordanians take to the streets to protest austerity measures” CNN, June 4, 2018

“Jordan: thousands protest against IMF-backed austerity measures”,  -“The Guardian , June 3, 2018

These are  merely a small sample of the international media coverage of the  wide spread unrest and protests against new IMF mandated austerity measures, that rocked the kingdom of Jordan  last month. They raised troubling questions as to the long term durability of the country’s incumbent monarchical regime and of the ruling Hashemite dynasty.

Jury still out?

In response to public anger at the austerity measures, King Abdallah, the third member of the Hashemite line to rule Jordan since its inception in 1946, replaced his prime minster and ordered a review of the IMF prescribed reforms.

The jury is still out on whether these steps will placate public anger—and if so for how long. For, with persistently high unemployment (now hovering just under 20%), a national debt reaching 95% , rising inflation (the highest in years), sluggish growth and increasing poverty, Jordan faces daunting domestic socio-economic challenges.

However, beyond its own internal woes, the kingdom has been plagued by severe external problems  induced by the tribulations of others in the turbulent region in which it is located. Thus, the war in Syria–and earlier in Iraq– led to a deluge of refugees into the hapless country—straining its social services to their very limits.

None of this augurs well for future stability—and even if reports that most of the public ire has been directed at the government rather than the king are true—there seems scant room for optimism as to what is to come.

Crucial strategic terrain

One of the possible repercussions of the challenge to the stability of the Hashemite regime, that has received meager attention in the public discourse, is the potential impact that political upheaval in Jordan may have on the feasibility of Donald Trump’s “ultimate deal” Mid-East peace plan which is rumored to be announced soon.

This is particularly pertinent with regard to the practicality and prudence of any territorial concessions this plan may call on Israel to make. After all, the identity of a prospective successor to the current incumbent regime in Amman is of tremendous consequence to Israel.

In the past, I have been at pains to convey, as graphically as possible, the crucial strategic significance of the territory designated for any envisioned Palestinian state—whatever its precise geographical parameters—have for Israel (see for example, here and here).

For the most part, this territory comprises limestone hills, that rise above Israel’s heavily populated coastal plain, and totally dominate the country’s major population centers (where around 80% of the civilian population resides and 80% of Israel’s commercial activity takes place).

Crucial terrain  (Cont.)

The same is true for a large portion of Israel’s vital infrastructure systems and installations (military and civilian) – including many of the country’s military airfields, IDF bases and its only international airport, Ben Gurion; its major seaports and naval bases; much of its principle transportation axes (road and rail); important desalination plants and water conveyance systems; power generating facilities; as well as crucial centers of civilian government and military command.

All of these would be in range of cheap, primitive weapons, readily available to renegade non-state actors (read “radical terror groups”)—of the kind already being used against Israel from territories relinquished by Israel in the past—who could at will disrupt Israel’s ability to maintain any semblance of socio-economic routine in the heart of the country. Clearly, such weapons could be used from any territory to relinquished in the future, with or without the tacit approval of any potential Palestinian “peace partner”

Back to the Trump plan: It is portions of this strategically vital territory Israel may be called on to yield.

Jordan is immediately adjacent to this territory from the east. It is separated from it by only by the Jordan Valley, whose steep slope constitute a formidable topographical barrier between the Hashemite monarchy and the strategic highlands of Judea-Samaria, making the Valley itself a vital military asset.

Back to the “Ultimate Deal”

Clearly then,, for Israel, who controls Jordan  is a matter of critical importance—especially in light of the grim experience of the “Arab Spring”.

Indeed, despite all the grievances Israel may have regarding the repeated displays of diplomatic animosity by the current Jordanian regime, its seems highly implausible that any successor regime is likely to be more amicable. Quite the opposite. Barring some unforeseen development, pundits would generally agree that the most likely candidates to take over the reins of power are extreme Islamist elements, who would be more radical and more inimical to Israel by far.

Accordingly, when weighing any territorial concessions, it matters hugely whether Jordan is governed by a relatively moderate pro-western monarch or by an extremist Jihadist regime—whose territorial reach  extends from the Jordan River to the western fringes of Iraq.

Putting aside for the moment the weighty question of whether any Palestinian interlocutor can be trusted to honor any deal struck with him, it is clear that in the latter case, territorial concessions are likely to be far more perilous than in the former. After all, the territory conceded will be far more accessible to hostile anti-Israel elements and far more susceptible to incendiary incitement from Jihadi elements.

Planning for “the day after”….

For Israel, then, strategic prudence dictates that its working assumption must be that the Hashemite regime has a limited “shelf life”.

The forces of instability in Jordan are beyond Israel’s control, and although it might be able to attenuate them in the margins, it cannot determine their eventual outcome—or who will seize, or sustain, command of the country.

So, whatever advantages might be entailed in the continued rule of Abdallah,

Israel must prepare for “the day after” and tailor its ability to accede any territorial concessions in the Trump peace plan accordingly.

PACKER’S CORNER: President Trump Does It Again

He has done it again! Just yesterday, President Trump officially announced that he is withdrawing from the agreement reached between the obama administration, Europe and Iran concerning their nuclear weapons program. The idea of the agreement, more or less, was to pay Iran tons of money so that they wouldn’t try to make a nuclear bomb. All the while they can continue with terrorism and all that stuff, just no nuclear weapon. Also, this is being done on the honor system. Iran’s 2nd favorite system! (Honor killing system is a consistent #1)

Reactions have been swift and predictable:

For withdrawing: America, Israel, Saudi Arabia
Against withdrawing: Iran, Europe
(its kind of like World War 2 all over again)

This all comes at a time when Iran is threatening to retaliate against a bunch of very successful recent Israeli attacks (including last night) against Iranian targets in Syria. Israel has made preparations for the possibility of an Iranian/Hezbollah attack, but mostly life goes on pretty routine. Most folks focused on next week.

What’s next week?

  • Jerusalem Day (51st anniversary of Jewish victory in the Six Day War and return of Jewish sovereignty to Jerusalem and other historical/biblical cities, like Hevron, Shiloh, Shechem, Jericho, etc.)
  • Moving of American Embassy to Jerusalem
  • Ramadan (muslim month of fasting and violence)
  • Shavuos (anniversary of the giving of the Torah on Mount Sinai)

That’s alot going on, even for here.

And finally, yesterday the soldier, Elor Azarya, was released from jail. This is wonderful news and way, way overdue. His brother is getting married tonight and for sure Elor will be celebrated there as a hero. This will likely continue for the rest of his life. He can thank the thoughtless, immoral Israeli left for his lifetime hero status. He’s a cool guy, but they are the ones who made him a hero.

After next week, expect some excitement in the Knesset, strategic building in Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem and more clarity as to who is running in the Jerusalem mayor elections.

In the meantime, sit back and enjoy the show!

Can Israel Save the Saudi Royal Family From Itself?

Rumors have been swirling over the past few days about what appears to be a secret visit by the Saudi Crown Prince to Israel.

“A prince from the Royal Court visited the country in secret over the past few days and discussed the idea of pushing regional peace forward with a number of senior Israeli officials,” the IBC reported, citing the Russian Sputnik media outlet.

This rumor was further strengthened by both Arab media and Israeli media claims.  While it is highly doubtful that the Saudi Crown Prince actually made a secret visit to Israel, the idea that the Saudis are busy trying to find a way to strengthen ties with Israel is not beyond the pale of reason.

The Saudi Royal Family is in the middle of a serious transition away from their terrorist backing past. Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman is a far more worldly personality than his predecessors and sees his role as steering the Kingdom away from the wahhabism it has been associated with.

Despite his growing power there are many leaders within the Saudi Kingdom who are opposed to the many changes that the Crown Prince is trying to bring to the Kingdom.  Although the traditional leadership has allowed to back channel covert relations with Israel, these have been for the sole purpose of pushing back on Iran. The Crown Prince seems to be pushing for a far more open relationship.

Trump: Saudi Arabia has a “very positive” feeling toward Israel 

President Donald Trump made history in his foreign trip to Saudi Arabia and Israel, by forcing the Saudis to allow Air Force 1 to fly directly from Riyadh to Israel. The meetings in Riyadh left the President with the impression that the Saudis are now willing to open to the point where he made the now famous line: “Saudi Arabia has a ‘very positive’ feeling toward Israel.”

So the question remains why is the Crown Prince so bullish (at least behind the scenes still) on forging a relationship that goes beyond defense with Israel?

The answer the lies in his realization that not only is Israel not going anyway, but it is the key for the Sunni Arab states to connect in a far more broad way to the wider world.  While the Sunni block has been busy fomenting jihadism and selling oil, Israel has been developed into a global leader in innovation that has growing connections to India, China, Africa, and other developing regions.  Not to mention its reputation as a leader in military technologies.

With jihadism becoming dangerous to its own masters and oil running out, the Crown Prince knows he must pivot and change in order to survive. While peace between Israel and the “Palestinians” remains elusive, peace between Saudi Arabia and Israel may very well reshape the Middle East in a way that can change the nature of Israel’s relationship to the Sunni world.