Trouble Brewing In The Middle East


Hellenic News of America, PA
Oct 24 2007

The Middle East is a cauldron of tension about to erupt. Iran and Syria
have nuclear military ambitions. Sophisticated weaponry manufactured
by Iran and shipped to Iraq, namely IEDs and EFPs, have caused the
death and wounding of too many of our combat forces. By supplying
Hezbollah, they have also caused the deaths and maiming of too many
Israelis. As a matter of fact, we share with Israel enemies in the
region. Therefore, we should start talking with one another about
joint military operations, mainly against Iran and Syria.

The two best air forces in the world are those of the U.S. and
Israel. Iran and Syria lend themselves attractively to our launching
combined fixed-wing aircraft to widely smash both military and
civilian infrastructure, along with any developing nuclear military
capability. The objective would be to severely inconvenience their
populations, but absolutely not to slaughter them. We are well capable
of targeting to this end as are the Israeli Air Force pilots, trained
by us. Because joint land operations would be high in casualties,
we should not want to see Israeli boots in Iraq against jihadists or
American ones in Lebanon against Hezbollah. The first is our hunt,
the second that of the Israelis.

Moreover, because the Palestinian world is fractured into two parts,
it is beyond healing in the short and intermediate term. This makes a
two state solution involving Israel and Palestine quite unrealistic
now. Who speaks for Palestine? Is it Hamas or Al Fatah? The former
refuses to even recognize the existence of a Jewish state and
the latter creates concerns, at least in my mind, about its good
intentions. In short, save a lot of time and a few bucks by not
engaging in the exercise of futility posed by peace talks. My view
right now: a pox on both Palestinian houses.

At this point, I must observe that a loss by us in either Iraq or
Afghanistan diminishes not only our international power position,
but also the regional one of the Israelis.

Does the Congress want this dual result which can be reduced to
two words in the war against jihadists, "surrender" and with it
"abandonment" of our only stalwart ally in the region, Israel? This
twofold adverse consequence would not be the first in our history.

Vietnam was effectively a surrender by us when in fact we had won the
war on the battlefield. For evidence of abandonment, ask the survivors
in South Vietnam, if you can find any. Conservatively, we left to die
some 2,000,000 South Vietnamese who had not only supported, but also
fought alongside us.

Moving through the region, we can see another eruption about to
occur. It is an attack by Turkey against Northern Iraq, the Kurdish
part of the country. Turkey has already amassed a large army on that
border and has made forays across it in pursuit of Kurds.

Additionally, Turkey is an important supply route for us in
replenishing our forces in Iraq.

This is not the time to be hassling with an ally, which Turkey
assuredly is. In practical terms, we need the leverage of friendship
and cooperation to inhibit the Turkish Army from marching into
the north of Iraq and to preserve our vital supply route into that
country. The Turkish parliament has just authorized the crossing of
the border, thus making our task even more difficult.

With the situation on the Turkish-Iraqi border perilous, the House
Committee on Foreign Affairs labeled as genocide the Turkish killing
of Armenians in 1915.

It happened near the end of World War I as the Ottoman Empire was
going through the last throes of its demise. Also, at that time
there were shifting alliances and upheavals inside Turkey which,
according to that country, had Turks as well as Armenians killed. As
this columns goes to press, the full house is shying away from taking
up the measure. This appears wise because it would complicate matters
for our forces in the field, should the Turkish Army march.

This column first appeared in the Bulletin, a Philadelphia daily,
on October 19.

John J. Tsucalas is a Philadelphia corporate consultant on finance,
marketing, and management. Formerly, he was the Deputy Auditor General
of Pennsylvania. He is a National Defense Executive Reservist, and
served as a First Lieutenant with the United States Air Force. He
can be e-mailed at [email protected]

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