Category Archives: Middle East Transformation

Trump Foreign Policy-The Kurds-Syria-Turkey–Part II

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City of Raqqa, before and after the Syrian Civil War and the Rise and Fall of ISIS.

In the last segment, we laid out the main players in the Kurdish, Syrian, Turkey conflict theatre and discussed each of the player’s interested in chaos or stability in the region.  Bear in mind that we are actually discussing a narrow, 20 mile long strip of land along the Northeast Syrian Border that is bordered to the North by Turkey.  This land is shown below as the Safe Zone that Turkey is demanding to be cleared of Kurdish and Syrian Influence.

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In the past 3 days, President Trump has been able to negotiate a ceasefire between Turkey, Syria and the Kurds.  Sporadic fighting continues and will continue between various subgroups but so far no major air strikes have occurred.  In about 3 more days, the parties involved, including the Kurds, must agree to clearing the “Safe Zone” and cease hostilities indefinitely.  Turkey would then be responsible for “peace” in the “Safe Zone”.

Will the ceasefire hold?  Maybe.  The Kurds will have to withdraw to the south and east into other parts of Syria or even Iraq.  Without US financial and arms support, it will be difficult for the Kurds to wage any real incursions into Turkey claimed territory or into Turkey itself.  If you look at the red dots on the map, these are areas where there are ISIS supporters.  These cities are surrounded by Turkish, Kurdish, Syrian, and SDF forces that will pretty much insure that the odds of a rise in ISIS strength in the Northeastern region of Syria is slim to none.  (Iraq is a different story and will be dealt with in a subsequent post.)   So, the question is whether Turkey and the Syrian-Kurds can coexist in this region without hostilities.  My bet is that there will be periodic skirmishes but no major offensive by either side.  The Kurds can’t afford it and Turkey has the US watching it closely.

What is Next?

NATO:  The NATO nations must meet with Turkey and reinforce their insistence on peace in the “Safe Zone” with assurances that the NATO members will work to insure that the Kurds remain non-combative and that “terror” attacks by them on Turkish targets be stopped.  The NATO nations must step up and take responsibility for their citizens who left Europe to join ISIS are brought back into their home countries and kept incarcerated.  Same for the US.  Turkey should maintain custody for those of Middle Eastern descent who joined ISIS whose return to their home country would only insure their release.

Syrian Civil War Aftermath:  The Syrians who are aligned against the Syrian Assad regime have a choice to keep up their insurgency or accept that they were unable to topple Assad.  My money is on some type of truce being formed between Assad and the rebel forces.  Assad is a brutal dictator and this outcome may be something of a humanitarian crisis without some form of international intervention that does NOT have to involve direct military force.

This “civil war” has left much of Syria in rubble and their population decimated with a high number of expatriated refugees.  Estimates of deaths due to this civil war range from 220,000 to 500,000 men, women and children.  Hundreds of thousands have fled to Europe, Jordan and other countries.  Unless the infrastructure of Syria is somehow rebuilt, it will be impossible for these refugees to return. The picture at the top of this article of the city of Raqqa is a small example of the devastation that the civil war has inflicted on a once beautiful and well developed nation.  

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Syrian Refugees leaving Syria

Rebuilding Syria:  The World Bank has estimated that it would cost US$180 Billion to rebuild the infrastructure in Syria.  Many believe that this estimate is low by a factor of 3 or 4!  With oil prices hovering around $50.00 per barrel, Syrian revenues could not begin to fund this rebuilding effort.  In 2014, Syria’s GDP was only US$24.6 Billion!  Other nations in the Middle East are also somewhat squeezed by lower oil prices so their ability, or desire, to help in rebuilding Syria is not all that great.

Who Gets Stuck With the Bill:  One of the best features of President Trump’s withdrawal from Syria is that Assad, Russia, and Iran are now faced with either paying for the rebuilding of Syria or dealing with a nation in shambles whose citizens are living in abject poverty and have literally nothing to lose.  One not too bright so-called expert on TV stated that President Trump’s withdrawal from Syria meant that Syria is now in the hands of the RUSSIANS.  Really!  Syria has been in the hands of the Russians since the Cold War and when Assad’s father ruled Syria.  Russia wants NOTHING to do with funding the cost to rebuild Syria.  Russia’s GDP is only US$1.5 trillion and they do not want to use over 20% of their GDP on Syria!  President Trump has squeezed every red cent out of Iran with his sanctions so they have little or nothing to contribute to the rebuilding of Syria, nor do they really care about the citizenry of Syria.  After all, whatever little the Ayatollahs have left they have to use to fund Hamas, Hezbollah, and the Houthis in Yemen.  All the while the Ayatollahs are facing an increasing level of hostilities from their own citizens at home!

Syria and Iranian Crap Shoot:  President Trump has laid the foundation to force Assad to cave in and give up much of his autonomy at home in favor of international cooperation to rebuild his country.  Assad is like a stockholder holding all of the shares of a company that is worth ZERO.  He has no bargaining chips; Russia has its own financial problems; and Iran is not too far behind Syria in terms of financial ruin.  Assad could do something really stupid and launch a barrage of humanitarian crisis but I doubt it.  It would be short lived and he would not survive it.  Iran could do likewise but they would face retribution from 80% of the other Middle Eastern countries, Israel, the US and hopefully NATO.  

My Prediction? (As good as anyone’s on CNN or MSNBC)

So, my prediction is that within 1-3 years Syria will be under some type of “Marshall Plan” and that Assad will be all but gone or be a titular head only.  (Remember, Assad may be Shia but the majority of Syrians are Sunni)  President Trump will make sure that Syria is not subjected to a US enforced regime change but be allowed to transition into some form of local control monitored by regional nations.  The plan will be administered by a coalition of other Middle Eastern countries that are led by Saudi Arabia.  This is the main platform of Trump’s Middle East Foreign Policy. 

Iran will be or have been immersed in civil unrest that will lead to the Ayatollahs losing a grip on the country.  Their ability to wage proxy wars would have been eliminated by US sanctions.  Iran would have lost the support of China as China needs a stable Iran from which to buy oil.  (Oh yea, and Little President Macron would be in the same boat.)  The EU and China would join the US in backing anti-Ayatollah factions in Iran to stabilize their economy and remove the crippling US sanctions.

Pipedream?  Maybe.  But unless someone does something really dumb like use a nuclear weapon, Russia, Iran and Syria are not capable of any further prolonged conflicts; nor is Russia capable of investing in Syria’s or Iran’s pipedreams of regional or world dominance.  The EU would back our play only because it is in their interest.  Turkey will be delighted as their age old adversaries, Iran and Syria, were forced to bite the dust.  The Middle East transformation where the predominant Sunni nations take the lead in stabilizing the region would be complete.  

You should hope I am right!

RD Pierini

@RDPierini

 

Hat Tips:

https://www.rt.com/business/339703-world-bank-syria-costs/

https://dailycaller.com/2019/10/18/nato-kurds-jim-talent-james-carafano-syria/

2020-Lefty Democrat Party, Talk About the Wrong Stuff For America!

Dem 2020 Presidential Candidates-And These Are NOT the Nuttiest!

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Welcome to the New Democrat Party.  I have been writing for years that my old Democrat Party has been hijacked by the radical, globalist, anarchist Left, hell bent on destroying the greatness of the US as we are the last bastion of hope for freedom throughout the world.  Our European ancestors have already succumbed to Leftist ideology of open borders, government control of their economies, and an ever increasing erosion of personal freedom and personal property autonomy.

The current slate of Democrat Presidential candidates espouse (compilation of current promises):

  • Reversing the 2017 Tax and Regulatory cuts and even increasing taxes way beyond Pre-2017 levels
  • Abortion on demand including post birth abortion
  • Expanding the Supreme Court and adding more liberal justices
  • Eliminate the Electoral College and elect the President based on popular vote
  • The passing of the Green New Deal (GND) (highlights below)
    • Bans affordable energy via fossil fuel production and use
    • Eliminates Nuclear Energy even though it as green as anything they propose
    • Eliminate 99% of all combustion engine automobiles and replace them with “electric” cars
    • Gut and Rebuild every building in the US and make them “green” compliant
    • Eliminate air travel and replace it with rail transportation
    • Government Guarantee of a Job for Everyone!
    • Free Education for life for all Americans, and any other nationality who wishes to walk into America
    • Government will provide healthy food to every “person” in the US
    • Government provided safe, affordable, adequate housing for everyone (like the homeless in California?)  K. Harris wants to give money for housing to persons of color and recreate the 2008 Great Recession
    • Guaranteed income for everyone including those who are unable or unwilling to work
    • Ban meat to get rid of the farting cows
  • Open Borders; decriminalization of illegal border entry
  • Government run healthcare via “Medicare” for all
  • The weakening of our military
  • Wide expansion of gun-control
  • Federal legalization of Marijuana and other illicit drugs
  • Granting more control over the US by International organizations such as the UN and the WTO
  • Kill all of Trump’s Trade deals and allow the outsourcing of our industries and jobs
  • Slavery Reparations
  • Pardoning 50% of all federal prisoners
  • Forgive all student loan debt
  • More money for teachers and public schools
  • Eliminate charter school subsidies.
  • Forced Busing to achieve desegregation of our schools

None of the candidates have any clue how to pay for these programs and most of the programs have only marginal public support.  So what?  If they win, keep the House and take back the Senate, the Left will erase the gains made by the US under Trump and FastTrack these leftist anti-American programs.  ELECTIONS DO MATTER AND THIS ONE MORE THAN MOST.

The Left “A” Squad

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If the 2020 Democrat Presidential Candidates don’t scare you to death, just consider how whacky the “Big Four Squad” of Democrats are and these women have already been elected to Congress in the 2018 Mid-Terms!  Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib, and Ayanna Pressley make up the squad and their disdain for everything American doesn’t exclude the Democrat Party.  This group actively promotes anti-Semitism, utter disdain for anyone white, promotes overt hatred for Israel, totally dismisses our history and our heritage as deeply flawed and worthless, and believes our Constitution is worthless.  In short, they represent the anarchist left-wing of the now Democrat Party.  Is this too harsh of a characterization of the Squad?  Consider the definition of an anarchist:  “a person who rebels against any authority, established order, or ruling power.”  

This group is driving the far left-wing platform of the 2020 Democrat candidates to the point Joe Biden can’t keep up!  This group is trying to overtake and pass the leftist takeover of Europe in terms of left-wing globalist policy and national identity destruction. The Squad exhibits no love for America, its values, history, or its

European Model:

I have written about the fact that Europe capitulated to this Leftist movement when they formed the European Union (EU) and wiped out national borders throughout Europe and concentrated power in the EU’s Parliament, European Council, and other such bodies.  Local national autonomy has been replaced by a super-body of like-minded globalist bureaucrats in Brussels. 

The population of the EU is 500,000,000 people with a combined GDP of $18.75 Trillion, second only to the US and $6 Trillion higher than China.  I suggest that Europe is as big a danger to the US as China or Russia but in a different way.  Europe and the US used to be considered “the West”.  Europe has basically abandoned their Western values and national boundaries and supplanted their sovereignty with semi-open borders and erased capitalism with socialism in terms of centralized control over sovereign nations and their economies.   Basically, with Germany as the strongest nation in the EU, Germany was able to consoldiate Europe without firing a shot!  I am sure Hitler is looking up from hell shaking his head!

Their risk to the US is their propensity to seek peace at all cost; an unwillingness to defend itself; and a willingness to abandon free speech and other freedoms for the “common good”.  If Europe is attacked from within or without, the US has to defend them.  At that point in time it may or may not be in our national interest but we will not have a choice, as long as their is a Pro-America President in the White House.  If we have a Leftist President, he or she will preside over what will basically be a surrender to the invading forces.  After all, it is the “Wests” fault that they were empire building slave traders who have ruined our earthly utopia! 

World War III will be much different than the last world conflagration as nuclear weapons will be in the mix and our enemies ability to micro-target civilian populations will be a deciding factor.  With heavy populations of Islamist within each of the European nations, Europe will have to fight both an external and internal enemy!

Post 2020 Democrat Presidential Victory-The American Epilogue

You can take to the bank the fact that one of the left-leaning Democrat Presidential candidates will win the Democrat primary, and the winner will most likely be female.  This will ensure that the winner is an ultra-left-wing progressive that will probably make Bernie Sanders look normal.  Further, add in the possible expansion of the Squad with more radicals who hate America,  The result is not a pretty picture!

Impact of a Left Takeover of the Government: 

  • Increasing Corporate and personal tax rates for all Americans, yes the Middle-Class will get creamed as they are needed to fund the left-wing follies, and reinstituting business/job killing regulations will reverse all of our economic gains since 2017. 
  • Effectively killing the fossil fuel industry and reverting to green energy dominance will stifle any further economic growth. 
  • Medicare-for-all will destroy the healthcare sector and destroy the well-being of American citizens. 
  • Opening the borders will bankrupt States, Counties, Cities and School Districts as they will have to shoulder the bulk of the burden to support millions of new residents who are deficient in the English language and who have little or no education.  This, at a time, when robotics are being developed to eliminate low skilled jobs.  The mass influx of poorly educated residents will strangle STEM programs that are needed to maintain our international competitiveness as educational resources will have to focus on remedial education. 
  • The open borders will eliminate any possible control over the influx of illicit drugs and human trafficking.  Our Opioid crisis will explode again accompanied by other drugs of equal or greater lethality.  
  • The bankrupting of the cities will usher in an unprecedented level of homelessness that will make our ghettoes on par with the worst third world countries. 
  • The open borders will also reintroduce heretofore erradicated diseases and infect our populations with new strains of mutated illnesses. 
  • With government takeover of healthcare, our drug industry will have fewer resources to combat these new viral and bacterial enemies. 
  • Hospitals and clinics will close do to a lack of reimbursement from the government healthcare system as we witness under Obamacare.  But, under Obamacare, 170,000,000 Americans kept their employer provide healthcare.  Imagine if all of those Americans are suddenly dumped on to the government run system…

And that does not even touch the degradation of our military and our lack of reediness to combat foreign threats.  Am I exaggerating?  Not really.  Prior to Trump being elected, 70,000 manufacturing plants closed over the past 20 years.  Job participation rates fell as more and more US citizens left the workplace.  Our dependence on foreign oil tied our hands when dealing in the Middle East and kept us captive to our own need for energy.  

So, don’t laugh too much at the nutty rhetoric and programs that are hitting the airwaves from the Candidates or currently elected Democrats like from the Squad.  These people are 100% backed by the majority of the Main Stream Media who will spin bankruptcy into economic security and the killing of born alive babies into healthcare.  Oh, I forgot, they already do!

Better think hard about your vote in 2020…  A wrong vote and the die will be cast that cannot be reversed…

RD Pierini

@RDPierini

 

Hat Tips:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Institutions_of_the_European_Union

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_GDP_(nominal)

https://thefederalist.com/2019/02/07/ten-most-insane-requirements-green-new-deal

Trump’s G-20: Great Way to Get 19 Nations Together So He Can Negotiate With Them!

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During the G-20 that just concluded in Japan, President Trump used that forum to sit down with and meet with almost every leader of the G20 Nations.  Trump does not view G-20 meeting or its smaller counterparts as a way for the world to get together to solve problems.  He sees them as a way for him to have everyone he needs to meet with and negotiate with come to one place so he merely has to go from room to room to have one on one sessions.  The President learned early on that the “G” meetings were merely a forum to have large international meetings, most of which involved milking the US or criticizing the US, then issuing a document that basically said how great it was and that we shall do this again!  Trump does not meet for the sake of meeting!  Either you accomplish something or you don’t meet.  

Just prior to the G-20 meetings, the President was determined to try to jump-start the negotiations with North Korea that have been stalled since February 28th, 2019.  He and Kim had corresponded several times since the President walked-out in Hanoi.  The President sees this relationship as one that is critical to world peace and stability.  Trump used his Twitter-Diplomacy to send an “official” request to Kim to meet at the DMZ, Kim accepted!  So much for State Department Protocol!

So, starting with the meeting with Kim in North Korea, let’s look at a couple of other substantial accomplishments that took place over the past few days in Japan, South Korea, and North Korea. 

Trump-Kim Meeting in North Korea:

Every literate person by now has seen, heard or read that President Trump met North Korean Leader Kim Jong-un in South Korea then crossed over into North Korea.  This is the first time ever that an serving American President has visited North Korea, ever.  

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There is no doubt that the Secret Service had to replenish their toilet paper supply following this meeting!  The DMZ is protected by heavily armed snipers and security on both sides.  NK Security on the ground was armed and within feet of our President.  Their snipers were trained on our President and the US and South Korean contingency the entire time.  If a firecracker had gone off, this scene could have erupted into a firefight of disastrous proportions!  As it was, there was a few confrontations with our press and the President’s communications staff.  Tensions were high.

To appreciate the gutsiness of this move by the President, remember that Kim may be the leader of this dark nation, but his reign is precarious as many of the old line communist generals and members of his own family would like to seize power.  What better way to take down the Kim regime than to assassinate the President of the US on North Korean soil!  Given the openness of this meeting, there was literally no way to prevent this from happening!  In the end, The President and Chairman Kim met for an hour and agreed to resume disarmament negotiations.  A big prize for merely having the guts to walk across a 16″ wide curb that separates South and North Korea!  Will disarmament come about?  Who knows.  There are a lot of variables at play and Kim is not totally secure in his role as Chairman. 

But, it proves that Trump understands that whether you are negotiating for a high rise in NYC or negotiating to disarm a nuclear nation, TRUST has to be built before any deal will be reached.  I have written in the past that Trump’s short term goal is to convince Chairman Kim that he can trust President Trump and that the US will live up to any security agreement that is made to ensure Kim’s long term survival!  Kim is the third generation that has stood against the US.  He and his ancestors have convinced the North Korean people that the US is an existential threat to their survival.  Now, Trump has to convince Kim that this is not true, then Kim has to convince his inner circles, his military and his people that a good relationship with the US would be good for North Korea.  Remember, Kim was educated in Switzerland and knows how the other half lives.  North Korean GDP is only $18 Billion a year.  Amazon’s annual sales in 2018 was $233 Billion and its EBITA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization was $25.5B, $7.5 billion higher that the total GDP of North Korea!

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The G-20 Itself

Turkey:

President Trump very simply laid out for the American People a very difficult situation that has arisen between the US, Turkey and Russia.  Remember that Turkey is a member of NATO, an organization that was founded to guard against advances by the old Soviet Union, and now Russia.  Turkey was an ally of the US against ISIS and agreed not to attack the Kurds in Iraq following the defeat of ISIS.  The Kurds and Turkey have been long-time enemies and much of the original Kurdistan was absorbed into Turkey to the chagrin of the Kurds.  In short, Turkey considers the Kurds terrorists and the Kurds consider Turkey confiscatory scum!  

The President succinctly laid out that during the Obama administration, Turkey’s President Erdogan asked that he be allowed to purchase the US Patriot missile Defence system.  Turkey wanted this defensive system to protect itself from any incoming missile attack.  But, President Obama refused the sale as he did not want to alienate President Putin of Russia In fact, President Obama stopped Patriot system installations in Poland and other nations as well.  Erdogan also wanted to purchase 100 of the new stealth F-35 fighter planes to upgrade his air defenses and to meet his NATO commitment to spend 2% of their GDP on defense. 

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During the F-35 negotiations, Erdogan went to Russia to see if he could purchase the Russian counterpart to our Patriot system, the Russian S-400.   Erdogan and the Russians made the deal and Turkey paid Russia for the S-400 system.  Why not?  The US had refused to sell its system to Turkey!  The Obama administration was furious and eventually offered to give Turkey the Patriot System.  It was too late, Turkey had already paid for the S-400 system and Russia was in the process of manufacturing it and installing it.  

So, fast forward to present day and President Trump at the G-20.  President Trump is livid that the US first denied the sale of the Patriot System to Turkey; then sold 100 F-35s to Turkey; then said Turkey could not have the F-35s, since Turkey bought the Russian S-400 Missile Defense Systems, AFTER THE US REFUSED TO SELL THE PATRIOT SYSTEM TO THEM!  Aren’t you glad that Obama was so smart and not in the back pocket of President Putin!  

Why is this a problem?  The F-35 is the latest US stealth aircraft that obviously incorporates highly sensitive electronics and advances weapons systems, including anti-missile defense capabilities from systems such as the Russian S-400!  Wouldn’t the Russians love to get their hands on the F-35 technology during the installation of the S-400 system so they can program F-35 interception capabilities into not only the S-400 system, but in all offensive and defensive systems they deploy!  

The US had officially suspended any further shipments of the F-35s to Turkey.  To date, only two planes have been delivered to the Turks but they remain in the US at training facilities.  Pentagon spokesman Charles E. Summers Jr. recently stated:

“The United States has been clear that Turkey’s acquisition of the S-400 is unacceptable.” Our important dialogue on this matter will continue, however, until they forgo delivery of the S-400, the United States has suspended deliveries and activities associated with the stand-up of Turkey’s F-35 operational capability,”

Presidents Trump and Erdogan met at the G-20 at length to discuss and try to resolve this situation that should never have been allowed to transpire in the first place.  The lack of commitment to NATO, and the sucking up to Russia by the Obama Administration created this fiasco.  As of this writing, it is unclear how Trump will resolve this,  If I were a betting man, I would bet that Trump will try to offset any loses by Turkey as a result of their purchase of the S-400 systems.  Russia will scream bloody murder but in the end we, the tax payers, will have to pay for Obama’s incompetence.  It is not acceptable to have our F-35 technologies exposed to Russia and to Russian defense technology.

China:

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The North Korean Meeting between Trump and Kim all but overshadowed the meeting between President Trump and President Xi of China.  This meeting was critical to restart talks between the two nations regarding tariffs and trade relations.  The Chinese economy is in decline and further US sanctions could further exacerbate this decline.  In order to mitigate the US tariffs so far, China has had to devalue their currency and give their industries who have been the target of the tariffs deep subsidies so they could continue to produce their products.  In the US, inflation has been at historical lows indicating that China is absorbing most of the cost of the US tariffs.  

The biggest takeaway from the Trump/Xi meeting was that trade talks would resume.  Trump agreed not to increase tariffs or impose new tariffs on about $300 billion dollars in US imports from China.  The US also is allowing our tech companies to sell component parts to the Chinese tech giant Huawei.  TRUMP DID NOT LIFT THE EMBARGO AGAINST HUAWEI, as some are reporting.  Huawei cannot sell its products in the US and the administration is continuing to pressure our allies to follow suit.

President Trump reiterated that he is in now hurry to get a deal with China realizing that China is hoping that Trump will lose his bid for re-election and that China will have an easier path with an incoming Democrat!  So, a comprehensive trade deal with China may not happen until after Trump’s re-election.  If China thinks Trump is tough now, just wait until he is re-elected!  This is not a good bet for China to make.

Other Advances:

Trump also met with many other leaders including those from France, Germany, Great Britain, Brazil, India, Mexico, Japan, South Korea, and Russia. 

His meetings with France and Germany were to discuss further trade talks between the EU and the US, Brexit, the Trump Middle-East Peace Plan, and Iran.  Trump will tackle the EU trade talks following the passage of USMCA and possibly the conclusion of trade agreement with Japan.  They also discussed the ongoing devaluation of the EU currency that is forcing the dollar higher making it more difficult to sell into the EU.  Iran was particularly critical given the Iranian aggression and the potential for oil supplies being cut off to EU countries from the Gulf.  President Trump also sought to stop these countries from interfering or circumventing with his sanctions against Iran.  Iran is at a tipping point and any propping up by the EU now would only prolong any meaningful dialog with Iran relative to their nuclear weapon program.

Trump’s meeting with Teresa May of Great Britain was a continued reassurance that the US is ready and willing to offset any trade loses that Britain may suffer when exiting the EU, either hard or soft.  The Iranian and Middle-East Peace Plan were also front and center.  May is basically a Lame Duck Prime Minister as recent elections have set up the formation of a new government.

The other main event featured a meeting between President Trump and President Putin of Russia. 

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While both sides have been relatively quiet about the meetings,  included in their discussions were the situations in Iran, Syria, Venezuela, and Ukraine.  Putin has indicated that he is withdrawing his support for Maduro in Venezuela and is cooling to any real future involvement with Iran in Syria.  The Ukraine/Crimea situation is sticky and any real solution to the Ukraine/Crimea crisis will not happen soon.  Once Obama allowed Russia to invade Ukraine and Crimea and annex portions of these lands, only military intervention by the US would probably change the status on the ground.  Trump does not see this as his highest priority, nor as a winnable, problem.  Trump did agree to visit Russia on the 75th anniversary of V-Day to celebrate the defeat of Nazism with our then ally, Russia.

I will cover some of the other meetings as results from those meetings unfold and current events add to their story.  Let it suffice to say that President Trump is dominating the world stage and drawing lines in the sands of many topics with other world leaders.  Our media’s and the left’s constant domestic attacks on him do not help but he is undeterred in his seeking of world peace, and rebalancing US trade to be reciprocal and free.

RD Pierini

@RDPierini

Hat Tips

US suspends F-35 deliveries to Turkey over S-400 purchase from Russia

Iranian Aggression and War with the US-Alternate Theory

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Since Jimmy Carter gave Iran to the radical Shiite Ayatollahs in 1979, the US and the West has faced a constant threat from State (Iran) sponsored terrorism.  Why is this unique?  Most radical nations do not overtly sponsor terrorism as it would be “easy” for the world to take them out as they are easily identifiable with borders, government, and armies.  But, the West has ignored much of Iran’s aggression thinking it would be a counter balance against radical Sunni Muslims. 

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During the past 40 years, Iran has stood up its elite military and terrorism force called the Iranian Revolutionary Guard.  The IRG has created “proxies” such as Hamas, Hezbollah and others to “shield” Iran’s direct involvement in Syria, Jordan, Israel, Yemen, and in Iraq where hundreds of US soldiers were maimed by Iranian weaponry.

So, is the bombing of 6 oil tankers and the shooting down of US drones an act of war by the Islamic Republic of Iran or by its IRG, without the blessing of the Ayatollahs?  A key question is “why would the Ayatollahs attack a Japanesse tanker while the Japanese Prime Minister was sitting down with the Ayatollahs trying to negotiate a deescalation of tensions”?

Either way, the actions cannot and will not go without a response from the US and the Allies in the Middle East.  Russia may stand with the Iranians in the short term but this will be a hollow alliance.  Why, Russia knows that Iran would have no reluctance to stir up terrorism in southern Russia in areas where there are high concentrations of Muslims  

Assuming that the IRG is acting as its own proxy, does this change our response?  Would the US and its allies be allied with the Ayatollahs against the IRG or would we respond the same regardless?

If the Ayatollahs are not part of the current hostilities, it would prove that the leadership in the IRG is now a separate government within Iran.  Remember, the Trump sanctions against the Iranian Government as reduced its revenues by over 80%.  Many in the IRG have not been paid and have not received needed cash to keep their terrorism activities afloat!  The IRG is not a happy group and while they know that the threat to their existence is due to US sanctions, they may believe that they have no option but to strike at US allied interest in the region in order to survive.  If US Sanctions succeed in the overthrow of the Ayatollah regime, they are history!  They believe that military actions against the US and its allies in the region would serve to stalemate members of the EU into not support any US allied military action.  THINK AGAIN!

In either event, it is very possible that the US and the Allies coordinate a counter-strike against the IRG specifically and not attack Iranian infrastructure.   It is the belief of this author that the response will be multi-national with Saudi Arabia and Israel taking leading roles.  (Trump’s Middle East policy is to stand up Middle Eastern countries to police the Middle East themselves)  The US may even take logistic support role rather than a direct military role.  But, since our drones were targeted, it is doubtful that President Trump will allow this to go unanswered.  IRG targets in Syria, Yemen, Lebanon and in Iran itself will be strategically hit and hit hard.  The survival of the IRG itself is doubtful.

In the aftermath, it will remain to be seen if the Ayatollahs themselves were responsible for deploying the IRG against US allied targets.  Even if the Ayatollahs were not directy responsible, without the IRG, the hold on Iran by the Ayatollahs will have been seriously weakened and the potential for an internal overthrow of their regime may be eminent.  Stay Tuned!

RD Pierini

@RDPierini

Hat Tips

https://www.latimes.com/politics/la-na-pol-drone-shootdown-iran-20190620-story.html

https://www.newsweek.com/iran-shooting-down-u-s-drone-clear-message-irgc-commander-war-warns-1444929

State Sponsors of Terrorism

https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/trump-says-he-believes-drone-strike-by-iran-was-not-intentional/ar-AADaYat

https://www.breitbart.com/national-security/2019/05/14/saudi-arabia-claims-iran-backed-houthis-staged-drone-attack-on-oil-facilities/

 

 

Trump Showdown with RINO Senators, AGAIN!

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Republicans in Congress have been a COMPLETE failure when it comes to securing our Southern Border.  They cannot blame the Democrats for the Republican’s failure to secure our border.  From 2017-2018, Republicans held the House, Senate and the White House.  Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell promised President Trump over, and over, and over again!  But failed to deliver the President’s proposed immigration reforms and failed to substantially fund the President’s border wall requests.  Why, THE CONGRESSIONAL RINOS ARE BOUGHT AND PAID FOR BY THE US CHAMBER OF COMMERCE, THE BUSINESS ROUNDTABLE, AND THEIR BIG BUSINESS CONSTITUENTS.

Now, these same worthless, so-called pro-national security morons are railing against the President’s threat to impose tariffs on Mexico if that country does not step up, enforce its own immigration laws, and prevent thousands of illegal immigrants and bogus asylum seekers from flooding our Southern border.  These are the same morons that have failed the American People time and time again by not passing needed immigration reforms.  When the President declared a NATIONAL EMERGENCY at the Southern Border a month or so ago, THESE SAME MORONS FORCED THE PRESIDENT TO USE A VETO TO KEEP HIS DECLARATION IN FORCE!   

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Just to be MORONICALLY CONSISTANT, these same RINO Senators are opposing the President’s emergency declaration to allow the US to expedite arms shipments to Jordon, the UAE and Saudi Arabia in the face of eminent threats from Iran against our Middle East bases and our allies in the region.  

So, “our” RINO Senators and some House members are not only allowing the US to be INVADED by illegal aliens, from all over the world, at our Southern Border, they are also aiding and abetting Iran, who constantly chant “Death to America and Death to Israel”, by not allowing the President to complete arms sales to our regional allies, who oppose Iran, as he has proposed for the past two years. 

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These phony Senators, including Lindsay Graham, have no problem not doing their job time and time again in the Senate, but want to thwart our abilities to defend ourselves via our regional allies.  

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The President published his Middle East foreign policy months ago and it is based on having our Middle East Allies stand up and defend the Region themselves.  This policy called for arming our key allies, Egypt, the UAE, Jordon, Saudi Arabia and others.  The President believes that our spending $7+ Trillion dollars prosecuting wars in Afghanistan and Iraq not only drained our treasure, but needlessly cost the lives of thousands of our brave men and women in our military.  But equally as detrimental to the US, the President believes that these wars confirmed to Islamist that the US was hell bent on keeping our boot on the throat of the Muslim nations and their citizens.  These wars gave radical Islamist and Iranian Shia militants propaganda “bullets” to whip up hatred of the US and our ally Israel!  Now, the Left, their Media, and “our” RINOS in Congress are standing against rolling back decades of planting our Flag on Middle East soil and fueling anti-US sentiment!

2020 At Stake!

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The “Republican Party” better damn well wake up now!  Former House Speaker Paul Ryan held onto his speakership in 2018, convinced 40 Republicans to “retire” (read go to work for lobbyist for big bucks), and gave the House of Representatives back to Nancy Pelosi to make sure Trump could not advance his agenda legislatively!  Now, the Anti-Trump assault is being led by RINO Senate Leader Mitch McConnell and McCain’s acolyte Lindsay Graham!  

These Anti-Trump assaults by RINOs only serve to add fuel to the impeachment efforts led by the left and their media.  They think they will retain their own power and maybe knock President Trump out of office.  Trump is holding the RINOs accountable and have been forcing this lightweights to actually work!

McConnell and Graham are up for reelection in 2020 and need to hear from you now!  The “Republican Party” is now Trump’s Party and these reprobates will not take it back from Trump.  But, their efforts could give the Senate to the Dems and allow Pelosi to keep control of the House.  Don’t sit on your hands, STAND UP!

RD Pierini

@RDPierini

 

 

Hat Tips

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2019/06/05/saudi-arms-sale-bipartisan-senators-including-graham-rebuke-trump/1350645001/

US Military-Have We Forgotten How To Win?

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Trump is Military’s Staunchest Supporter, Why is Pentagon Pushing Against Him?

On January 20th of this month, President will have been Commander-In-Chief for two years.  Trump is first and foremost a businessman and a pragmatist.  He also does what he says he will do and it is amazing that after two years people are shocked when this happens!

President Trump has for years questioned whether we as a nation still know how to win a war.  We seem to be good at creating, then maintaining stalemates, or withdrawing, snatching defeat from the jaws of victory like as we did in Viet Nam, North Korea and elsewhere.  He often asked the question, as I have, could the US really fight a war like WWI and WWII again or do we lack the moral fiber and strength to commit and follow through with such a sacrifice?  The second follow-up question would logically be, are we fighting wars that are truly in our national self-interest vis-à-vis protecting the US against annihilation.  If a war is fought where the enemy or the cause DOES NOT pose an existential threat to us, can we be truly committed to using all of our military capabilities, perhaps short of nuclear, to defeat the enemy quickly and decisively?  The apparent answer is no!  If the answer was yes, then we would not have agreed to ridiculous international restrictions on our warfare capabilities or create rules of engagement that put our troops at risk.

Isn’t it a little nuts that we have 3 war heroes that are currently incarcerated or awaiting a court-martial just because they did their job while fighting for us?  All the while we have deserters and traitors who divulged national secrets, to the detriment of our nation, pardoned or set free!

Enter Pro-Military Trump

  In that time, he has secured almost $2 Trillion in military spending; cut ISIS held territory in Iraq and Syria to 1% of what it was when he took office; applied some the of the harshest sanctions ever against misdeeds by Russia;  retaliated against Syria’s use of chemical weapons twice, stepped up bombing and special forces attacks in Afghanistan; withdrew from the Iran Nuclear Deal; Stopped North Korea from continuing its testing of nuclear weapons and ICBMs; helped Saudi Arabia in Yemen against the Iran backed rebels; forced NATO allies to pony up some cash for their own defense forces to meet their commitments; and declared his intention to pursue a “Space Force” to checkmate China and Russia in the race to weaponize space.  But yet there are those who say Trump is not hawkish enough.  Most of these are left over Neo-Cons and Never-Trumpers who would like to see the US remain in current wars for “however long it takes”. 

The President, however, believes that you set a war objective, throw everything you can at the objective, then once the objective is met, or if there is no success in sight, then pull out!

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The latest backlash against Trump’s foreign policy is his announced withdrawal from Syria and drawdown in Afghanistan.  Democrats, Republicans, and military talking heads all went apoplectic!  But, look at it from Trump’s perspective:

  1. He gave the military brass clear objectives in Syria, obliterate ISIS, and, in Afghanistan, make the Afghans capable of self-defense while taking the fight to the Taliban, ISIS and Al Qaeda.
  2. He gave the military brass what they asked for in each theatre of battle, based on his objectives, every 6 months when he met with them for a theatre assessment.
  3. After 4, 6 month reviews, without any real change in the military’s recommendation and with ISIS all but wiped out, and, the Afghanistan scoreboard pretty much unchanged, Trump did what Trump does and pulled the plug and “shocked” the Pentagon and hawks! 
  4. If you tell Trump that if we do “X”, then we will achieve the objective, but then you don’t, he will cut his loses and reformulate his policy, and find someone who can!

Trump did not abandon the military nor did he minimize the prior sacrifices of thousands of our troop who have died or left maimed by years of conflict.  What he did was to tell everyone going in, that if we are going to ask our young men and women to stand up and fight, then we owe it to them to give them every advantage possible including a strategy to win or leave while minimizing the impact of either outcome.  Sending our finest into harms way for 18 years in one theatre and 16 in another defies credulity when you consider the military capabilities of the US against any of these foes.  The obvious conclusion has to be that we simply did not engage the enemy to win! 

Everyone says we have to have a coalition before we engage an enemy.  The coalitions we have put together so far include European soldiers who will not fight at night; hardly any, including the US, who will engage in a kill to win strategy; and all pussy foot around Islamic religious nonsense rather than treat them like a real enemy.  Maybe we should think of them as Catholic, Baptist, Buddhists, or whatever!

Can We Ever Fight To Win Again?

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Only if we change our Pentagon culture and silence the anti-war, read to mean they don’t care if our soldiers die, crowds who wring their hands when we actually kill the enemy or God forbid, incarcerate one of them in an off-shore prison!

War Strategy:  In the Middle-East, fighting ground wars like in Afghanistan and Iraq, is the epitome of the definition of insanity as stated: “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

Insanity

Our enemies, and our allies, both know that we will not take “shock and awe” into or close to civilian populations.  So we resort to clearing residential neighborhoods house by house which is the equivalent of sending our troops into a meat grinder.  This strategy creates safe zones from which our enemy can hide and regroup.

Our enemies, and our allies, both know that we will not impose strict enough sanctions, and sustain them, to starve out our enemies.  We have too many US and international businesses, and many of our “allied” governments, who will cheat on sanctions for their own benefit.  There are too many left-wing advocacy groups who will apply pressure by citing adverse affects to civilian populations due to the sanctions.

Our enemies, and our allies, both know that we will not engage in enhanced interrogation techniques designed to obtain strategic and tactical information with which to defeat our enemies.  Politically our politicians care more about “feelings” and perception than our own troops, and citizens’ well being.  Our enemies do not share our predilection for eschewing enhanced interrogation.

Our enemies, and our allies, both know that we will not set hard goals, objectives and timelines and stick to them.  The longer the war, the less likely we will stay the course.  If our military objective in Afghanistan was to annihilate the Taliban completely, don’t you think that by now we would have attacked them in Pakistan, cutting off their safe haven, and turned over every stone and found each and every member and eliminated them as a threat?

Trump Rules

In the Middle East, those of our allies in the region must actively police their own region.  We do not see Iran and the Palestinians as an existential threat to the US.   We will provide support but our footprint will be limited.  If a Nation threatens another Nation, Iran vs Saudi Arabia, Iran vs Israel, etc., we will provide strategic and tactical firepower but our allies must be the face of the offensive.  We fully expect all of our allies in the region to pay their way in terms of resources and man power to defend their region.  

In regards to China and to some degree Russia, Trump has set them both up strategic long-term “competitors” who can pose an existential threat to the US.  His strategy is to remove any economic advantages they may have vis-à-vis the US in trade and the seizing of key commodities around the world, especially within the Americas.  The US GDP per capita is $57,638 while the Chinese per capita GDP is only $8,123, with Russian GDP per capita coming in at $8,748!   Trump’s goal is to slow the growth of the Chinese and Russian economies vis-à-vis the US economy and allow us to maintain military and technological superiority over both.  Russia is especially vulnerable as 75% of their exports are energy related and with Trump unleashing our energy sector, we can seriously damage, if not bankrupt, the Russian economy.  Trump wants to throttle the Russian bear but not force him into a corner.  Russia still is the #2 nuclear power in the world.  China is reliant on imports of energy allowing Trump to use our energy strength to level our balance of trade.  He will also fight to safeguard our technologies and keep both adversaries from stealing US technology.  He will also pressure China to abandon their move to control the South China Sea through naval militarization of the region.  

Pentagon Challenge

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The Pentagon brass needs to take a step back and forget everything they have learned during the past 50 years of Neo-Conservative Foreign Policy and War StrategyYes we need strategic forces capable of setting a large footprint, if needed, in opposing China or Russia, backed by a strong naval, air and space force.  We need surgical forces capable of lethal isolated and targeted attacks against terrorist type enemies throughout the world.  We need to put the world on record that these attacks will not recognize borders if a host country permits terrorists to remain in their borders. 

We need to rethink and challenge our current alliances in recognition of the world we live in today. 

NATO must stand up and fully fund their commitments and be the tip of the spear in confronting Russian aggression with our staunch support.  These NATO allies must acquiesce to real, lethal rules of engagement. 

Our Asian-Pacific Allies must re-arm, in the case of Japan, and stand up for themselves as our ally.  They must make sure that North Korea and China know they are serious and are resolved to not being intimidated by either. 

We must rebuild strong alliances in South and Central America and stand against the socialist regimes that infect our southern hemisphere allies.  We must also rid this area of drug cartels and remove their political power from their host nations.  This is especially true of our neighbor Mexico.

We must redefine our relationship with allies as being mutually beneficial with balanced contributions.  While we have a large apron, we cannot allow allies to hide behind it and leave all of the hard lifting to us and our men and women.  Commitment can only be gained through a sense of self-esteem that comes from the pride in knowing that you are contributing.  

RD Pierini

@RDPierini

 

 

Trump is Right To Pull Out of Syria, Afghanistan then Iraq Next

See the source imagePresident Trump announced Wednesday that he will withdraw our military out of Syria as soon as possible.  Our total troop commitment in Syria is only 2,000 military personnel.  These assets have been mostly directing Kurds and Syrian opposition forces against ISIS rather than engaging ISIS directly.  The Iraqi troop deployment is not effected by this drawdown at this time.  You would have thought that it was 1945 and the President just surrendered to the Japanese on the USS Missouri!  (the Japanese actually surrendered to the US on this ship on September 2, 1945)  All of the Neo-Cons and foreign interventionist hair caught on fire and they could not wait to find a camera and a microphone.  First in line was “Bomb, Bomb Iran” Lindsay Graham followed by Little Marco!  The cry, “Trump did not even listen to the Pentagon and his national security advisor Bolton when making these decision. 

Hot Flash:  The Pentagon and the National Security advisors were not elected President, Trump was!

Brian Kilmeade on Fox and Friends led today’s early morning tirade against the President’s decision slamming the President for making an uninformed and basically ignorant decision.  Kilmeade is not alone.  The usual suspects on CNN, MSNBC, CBS, NBC ABC and other left-wing media outlets joined in condemning Trump.  None of these people, including Kilmeade, were elected to anything let alone to serve as our Commander-In-Chief!

Kilmeade went on in his rant about how the Kurdish military leader was saying that there were still 30,000 ISIS fighters in Syria, (which is almost the same number as before Trump bombed them back to the dark ages) and our leaving will allow ISIS to quickly reconstitute in Syria.  I guess Kilmeade and some of Trump’s actual advisors forgot about all of the Iraqi “exiles” who swamped the GW Bush administration and the networks with tales of why we should invade Iraq and take out Saddam Hussein and that the entire Iraqi population would be waiting for us to thank us for our sacrificing our troops and our treasure.  Oh yea, that was 15 long years ago and included 4,400 deaths of our military with another 32,000 of our military wounded.  But the Iraqi dissidents could be believed that this would be a short war and totally supported by Iraqi citizens.  I guess they forgot about the Sunni/Shia split in Iraq!

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Before we go on, it is critical for the reader to understand who some of the players are in Syria. The ISIS Caliphate is a SUNNI MUSLIM Salafi jihadist military group!  Assad’s Syria is ALAWITE SHIA MUSLIM even though the majority of the Syrian population is SUNNI.  ISIS is a NATURAL RELIGIOUS ENEMY OF THE ASSAD REGIME.  Keep this in mind.

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So, the Neo-Cons and other Trump detractors jumped on the bandwagon to denounce this move by our Command-In-Chief.  But lets take a look at Maps of Syria just before Trump initiated his ISIS eradication effort in March of 2017 and now, in October of 2018, after Trump’s ISIS eradication campaign.  The first early map is shown below.

March 2017 Map of Syria and ISIS Controlled Areas

ISIS in Gray controlled the majority of land mass in Syria and Western Iraq…

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Without virtually any resistance from the Obama administration, ISIS was well on its way to dominating the land mass of Syria and actually major portions of Iraq to the east.  As we stated above, ISIS is diametrically opposed to the Iranian back Syrian Assad regime.  The Syrian government forces had been pushed to the western edges of Syria.  The Syrian Assad Regime was in danger of being toppled, not by the US or the Syrian Rebels, but by ISIS!  This was in spite of military support from both Russia and Shia Iran.  

October 2018 Map Of Syria and ISIS Controlled Area

Today ISIS only controls the black sliver shown below and they are hemmed in by the Kurds and Syrian Army.


Look closely at the black sliver of land in the North West quadrant of Syria that is controlled by ISIS today.  If there are 30,000 ISIS fighters there, as parroted by Kilmeade quoting a Kurdish General, they must be stacked on top of each other!  The ISIS area is bordered to the Northeast by US back Kurdish forces and on the Southwest by Syrian and Iranian forces.  In short, they are in a vice.

Clamor Not to Abandon the Kurds

The Kurds and their US supporters are clamoring that any US pullout would allow ISIS to retake Syria and Iraq and allow Turkey to fight against the Kurds.  The first argument is unlikely and one that we could combat quickly with special forces and air strikes.  The latter concern regarding Turkish animosity against the Kurds is a historical fact.  Why, portions of the old Kurdistan are actually now within the country of Turkey and the Kurds are not too keen on Turkey having control of their ancient lands.  Further, the Iraqi Kurds have not exactly been “good neighbors” to Turkey and have sponsored armed raids, I won’t call them terrorist acts, into Turkey.  Turkey is no virgin either.  But, is this our fight and can we not exert pressure on both combatants to deal with their differences peacefully.  Beside, Iraq itself, has its own problems to deal with.  Do we need to place put men and women in harm’s way to settle an old dispute between the Kurds and the Turks?

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Remember the Trump Middle East Doctrine:  Local nations in the region must fight their own battles.  We will not nation build nor lead aggression in the region that has caused millions of Muslims in the world to hate the US as an anti-Muslim aggressor!

The Trump Doctrine also includes driving our international foes bankrupt and force them to be subject to regime change internally or change just to survive.  President Trump is squeezing every ounce of cash out of Putin’s Russia by killing his exports of natural gas to Europe!  This is seriously weakening Russia as the vast majority of its trade is energy,  President Trump not only pulled out of Obama’s idiotic Iran Nuclear deal, but his is squeezing every ounce of cash out of the Ayatollah’s Iran by reapplying sanctions that are crippling this regime.  Both of these countries, Russia and Iran are meddling in Syria at the expense of their own people’s well being and this is starting to take a toll on both at home.  Trump is killing two birds with one stone!

Clamor:  ISIS will Reconstitute and Spread

Maybe.  But more likely, Russia, Shia/Iran and Shia/Syria will destroy and remnants of ISIS in Syria themselves.  ISIS has already spread to other African nations and Afghanistan as we made it “uncomfortable” for them to remain in Syria!  President Trump’s Middle-East policy of Local Containment and Action has realigned much of the SUNNI Arab world in the region and they are Anti-ISIS as they are targeted as a terrorist group.  (Saudi Arabia leads this charge which is one reason President Trump is not taking too strong a stance against Saudi Arabia vis-à-vis the Khashoogi murder. )

Further, if ISIS tries to reconstitute in Syria, we can quickly deploy special forces and air strikes to contain any such action.  We can also enlist our enemy in Syria, Assad, Iran and Russia to quell any ISIS uprising.  “An Enemy of My Enemy is my Friend.”

But, If We Don’t Fight Them There, We Will Have to Fight Them At Home!

I don’t know about you but I am getting tired of hearing this soundbite!  We have a military made up of the most highly trained, best equipped, most capable of rapid deployment, backed by the strongest air offenses in the world, and backed by some of the most sophisticated intelligence capabilities in our country and within our cadre of allies to respond to any threats from abroad or capabilities being created abroad.  Have we really stopped terrorist in Afghanistan, Syria, or Iraq by deploying thousands of troops for decades?  Don’t you think that maybe, just maybe, we have been approaching this problem the wrong way?

Afghanistan and Iraq, What’s Next?

President Trump abhors our commitment of our women, men and treasure being stuck in the hell hole of these two nations.  He has spoken very straightforwardly against these wars and that they  and have gone on far too long,  17 and 15 years respectively, and the Trillions of dollars spent in these arenas was a waste.  Have these wars really stopped terrorism around the world.  Is Europe safer?  Is the US safer?  Would terrorist have come to America and killed over 6,772 Americans and wounded another 52,300 Americans in the past 17 years?  That is how many of our service men and women who have been killed in Iraq and Afghanistan since these wars began!  Maybe it is time to step back and look at alternative ways to fight terrorism.  I am all for ridding the globe of each and every one of these human cockroaches but I would like to know that we are not throwing the bodies of our youth at a problem that may have a better solution.  

Don’t look for President Trump to remain in either Afghanistan or Iraq indefinitely.  He is lifting up not only these countries to defend themselves, but his Middle-East Doctrine is lifting up those of our allies in the region to stand up and fight their own battles.  After all, wasn’t it the Progressive-Left who blamed America for creating Islamic Terrorism by our meddling in the Middle-East and killing Muslims in these protracted wars!  Where is the Washington Post and the New York Times when you need them?

RD Pierini

@RDPierini

 

Hat Tips

https://dod.defense.gov/News/Casualty-Status/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_military_casualties_in_the_War_in_Afghanistan

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_military_casualties_in_the_War_in_Afghanistan

https://www.almasdarnews.com/article/complete-map-of-syrian-war-november-2018/

https://www.bing.com/images/search?view=detailV2&ccid=MGQkvn%2b1&id=26BDDA5837F307A1EDA579394CD2FB3498A954B1&thid=OIP.MGQkvn-1eMAQIkiLi3hL-gHaGi&mediaurl=https%3a%2f%2fi0.wp.com%2fontheworldmap.com%2fsyria%2fwar%2fsyria-war-map.jpg&exph=1000&expw=1133&q=syrian+war+map&simid=608015583491982808&selectedIndex=0&ajaxhist=0

 

 

Khashoogi Death-Why Is The Left Hell Bent On Blasting Saudi Arabia?

Journalist or Activist?Trump Says Looks Like Khashoggi Dead, Threatens ConsequencesJamal Khashoogi, Muslim Brotherhood, Nephew of Multi-Billionaire Adnan Khashoogi, Largest 70’s Middle Eastern Arms Dealer

Note:  The author worked in the Middle East in the 1980’s working in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Iran, and Tunisia.  He was acquainted with members of the Muslim Brotherhood and understands their politics and objectives; met with Adnan Khashoogi and his advisors on investing in projects in Egypt; and was close to the Anwar al-Sadat regime in Egypt and the Bourguiba regime in Tunisia.  This blog contains 40 articles dealing directly with or discussing the Muslim Brotherhood.  Search this blog to find these articles.  This link will give you a quick review of the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt: https://wp.me/pY51c-fv

What is at Stake In the Jamal Khashoogi Homicide

The transformation of the Muslim Middle East from radicalization by the Muslim Brotherhood, Al-Qaeda, Hamas and their proxies to a more moderate form of Islam and an acceptance of the existence of Israel would be severely curtailed if the Khashoogi homicide drove a wedge between the US and Saudi Arabia.  In the near term, Saudi Arabia would be forced into the arms of China and perhaps even Russia to secure arms it needs to defend its nation against external and internal threats.  In the near term, the US coalition against the Iranian nuclear build-up would be fractured and our ability to pressure and isolate Iran would be in jeopardy.  If Saudi Arabia is forced to align with Russia, who is an ally with Iran, that would be the worst possible outcome for the US in the Middle East.  The Trump goal of having the Middle East police the Middle East would be severely damaged and Trump would be faced with direct US intervention and Syria, Yemen and other hot spots where we have no direct self-interests.  In short, the dissolution of US/Saudi relations over the Khashoogi homicide is not in the best interests of the United States, period!

President Trump’s first overseas visit was to Saudi Arabia to meet with 50 leaders of Muslim Nations to solidify their support against Islamist Terrorism and to begin to de-radicalize Muslim nations, including Saudi Arabia, and to seek a true Middle East Peace.  While there is a long way to go and the start-up was somewhat rocky, Trump’s efforts are working.  The Saudi’s (with MBS leadership) have denounced its Wahabi radicalism and terror support, and most of the signatories to the agreement have taken steps to withdraw support to terrorist organizations such as Hamas and the Palestinian radicals.  

President Trump has also succeeded in forming an alliance between many of the Muslim signatories and Israel against the Islamic Republic of Iran and Iran’s goal to spread international terror and dominate the Middle East through nuclear threats.  These same nations are working with the US in formulating a permanent peace agreement between Israel and Palestine.  Without support from these Muslim nations, the Palestinian authority cannot survive so the prospects for a peace agreement are closer to a reality than ever before.  The dissolution of US/Saudi relations over the Khashoogi homicide is not in the best interests of the United States and could derail any Israeli/Palestinian peace agreement and weaken our fight to denuclearize Iran and remove its threat from the region.

The Resolution to Khashoogi’s Homicide is an Existential Fight Over Peace in the Middle East 

Keep in mind 6 things when listening to the news regarding the death of Jamal Khashoogi and the media’s “hair-on-fire” coverage of this event.

  1. Saudi Arabia is aligned with the US, Israel, Egypt and others against Iran/Russia/Muslim Brotherhood in the Middle East.  This coalition is also working to formulate and install a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians.
  2. The Muslim Brotherhood is committed to converting all Muslim nations into Islamic Republics and to eliminate any attempts to moderate fundamentalist forms of Islam and opposes the existence of Israel and any Western influence in Muslim countries.  
  3. Jamal Khashoogi has been a sympathizer of the radical Muslim Brotherhood that opposes any moderating or modernization of Islam and in fact, supported the ISIS effort to create the Islamic Caliphate.   He has been touted as a “Journalist” but he is at least as much an “Activist for Terror organizations”.  At best, Khashoogi saw the democratization of the Middle East through the lens of the Arab Spring with the Muslim Brotherhood coming out as the dominant “choice of the people”.   Khashoogi was no fan of either the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia nor President Trump. 
  4. The President of Turkey, Tayyip Erdogan, is a fundamentalist Islamist aligned with and supports the Muslim Brotherhood and is buying arms from Russia even though Turkey is a member of NATO!  Turkey is also and advocate of the Obama Iran Nuclear deal and an opponent of the US policy to walk away from this agreement.
  5. The Muslim Brotherhood, Russia, Syria, and Turkey all support the Islamic radical, anti-west, Islamic Republic of Iran and its efforts to curtail any Islamic Reform whether Sunni or Shia initiated.  
  6. The Progressive-Left Media is staunchly opposed to the Trump Administration abandoning of the Iran “Nuclear Deal” and want to see Iran have a free rein in the Middle East to combat moderate Sunni or Shia attempts to control the Middle East.  The Left also support the Arab Spring movement to transform the Middle East into a Muslim Brotherhood brand if Islamic Republics like Iran.

Assume that Saudi Arabia ordered the murder of Jamal Khashoogi.  The Trump administration is faced with the difficulty of maintaining a working relationship with the kingdom while appearing to condemn the actions and also impose some form of “punishment” on the kingdom.  Not an easy task to say the least. 

  • If the Trump administration is too soft, then they will be condemned by the international community and the left.  No matter what Trump does, the “international community” and the Left will condemn any Trump action.
  • If the Trump Administration is too hard on Saudi Arabia and alienates the kingdom to the point where Saudi is driven to align with Russia and/or China, The US loses.
    • All trade with the kingdom would be lost to US businesses and Russia and China would benefit.
    • The Anti-Terror US/Muslim coalition would most likely dissolve.
    • Iran would be emboldened as they would see that at worst that Iran no longer faces opposition from Saudi Arabia and its allies and at best Saudi Arabia and its allies become “friendly” with Iran.
    • Any possibility for an Israeli/Palestinian peace would evaporate.

In short, all of the diplomatic successes of the Trump Administration to coalesce Muslim nations against Islamist terrorism could be erased; and the Middle East plunged into anther cycle of radicalism against the West.

Any Solutions?

To begin, there are probably no solutions that will be acceptable to the “international community/Left” and Trump will be condemned no matter what action he takes.

Assuming that the crown prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) ordered the assassination, and there is any proof of the order, Trump could work with the King to name an alternate crown prince from the King’s other 13 children.  Or, he could have the crown prince stand down pending further review by Saudi “courts”.  They could work out other actions that do not endanger the US/Saudi relations.   The bottom line is that Trump will not do anything to damage current US/Saudi relations and endanger Middle East peace, the stalemating of Iran, and keep Russia and China from furthering their power in the region.  

Keep in mind that Iran, Turkey, Russia, China, our Progressive-Left and its media, and others are all aligned to:

  • Reinstate the Iran Nuclear Deal
  • Weaken the US/Saudi relationship
  • Kill any possibility of Israeli/Palestinian peace accord
  • Isolate Israel from its neighbors
  • Embolden the Muslim Brotherhood
  • Bolster Islamist Terrorist and give them a pass to re-engage in their terror activities unfettered 

Then, ask yourself how many American and coalition soldiers have been killed in Iraq and Afghanistan by Iranian IEDs!

How many civilians have been slaughtered in Syria by Assad, Russians and Iranians!  Where was Obama’s action!

Where is the outrage when Iran executes gays for merely being gay!

Where is the outrage when al-Qaeda, Boko-Haram, and others literally slaughter innocents on a daily basis!

Where was the outrage by the Progressive-Left media, Obama and Clinton over the killing of our ambassador and three American contractors in Benghazi!

While the killing of a single person is reprehensible, the level of military, diplomatic and economic response must be tempered with US interests first, then the response must be consistent with other responses in similar situations.  

RD Pierini

@RDPierini

 

 

Hat Tips:

https://www.standard.co.uk/news/uk/who-is-jamal-khashoggi-the-saudi-journalist-tortured-and-murdered-a3964576.html

https://www.washingtoninstitute.org/policy-analysis/view/egypts-muslim-brotherhood-and-iran

https://www.breitbart.com/national-security/2018/10/18/seven-facts-about-jamal-khashoggis-life-writing-and-politics/

Palestinian Cause Irrelevant to Middle East Power Players!

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The Palestinian “government”, and its President Mahmoud Abbas, are increasingly being isolated by the Middle Eastern power brokers consisting of Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Oman, UAE, Qatar, Kuwait, Dubai, and others.  The isolation is primarily the result of the Iranian Nuclear Agreement debacle pitting Shia Iran against virtually the balance of the Muslim Sunni Middle East. 

  • Iran presents an existential threat to the Sunni existence.
  • Secondly, President Trump, during his meeting in Saudi Arabia with 50 Middle Eastern and African nations, refocused these nations into a coalition against terrorism, a nuclear Iran, and their own national economies by creating plans to convert their oil wealth into broader investment economies. 
  • Third, Iranian backed Palestinian Hamas terrorism and Iranian controlled terrorist organization Hezbollah carries out attacks against Sunni nations and supports anti-Sunni uprisings such as in Yemen.  

In the late 1900’s, the Middle Eastern power brokers subsidized the Palestinian uprisings against Israel and in the case of Egypt, directly fought against Israel on behalf of the Palestinians.  This was a significant source of revenue for Egypt but the Egyptian people eventually forgot why they were fighting against Israel!  President Sadat of Egypt eventually signed a peace agreement with Israel extricating Egypt from a no-win war!  Sadat’s bravery was rewarded in his assassination by the Muslim Brotherhood.

Shrinking Israeli Footprint:  Since 1967, Israel has negotiated with the Palestinians and the US resulting in a diminishing land mass controlled by the Israelis.  The map below shows the lands controlled by Israel in 1967 and the impact of agreements in 1993 and 2001.  

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Close Neighbor Support:  The Palestinian government has been using terrorism attacks against Israel to continue to harass Israel.  Jordan, Israel’s neighbor to the East, has provided lip service support to the Palestinians as have Syria and Lebanon.  Jordan is being drained trying to deal with Syrian refugees, Syria’s civil war has decimated that government, and Lebanon has its own internal problems and fight against Iran backed Hezbollah.  All three have other priorities now relegating the Palestinian cause moot.   the Palestinian government is now somewhat isolated in dealing with Israel and on receives support in the United Nations.  The UN Support is pretty much lip-service and has done little to change the conditions on the ground!

European Support:  The Palestinians have solicited the support of EU nations and have been pretty successful gaining their votes in the UN Security Council and General Assembly.  But, the EU does not want to get its hands dirty nor really give any real help to the Palestinians and risk the ire of the US under Trump.  

Status Today:  So, without the Middle East power player’s financial and military support, and only receiving tepid support from the EU, the Palestinians have been relegated to a paper tiger in the region.  Yes, they can lob Iran supplied rockets from the Gaza strip and parts of the West Bank, but they have no real economic infrastructure from which to build a nation nor care for their people.  Israel is committed to dealing with a recalcitrant Palestinian government and deal with their attacks on a case by case basis.  Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu is tightly aligned and supported by the Trump Administration.  Israel knows that President Trump has their back and the Palestinians know that President Trump will keep pressure on them to get to the table.

In short, the Palestinians prime support is coming from a Shia Iran who has become the prime enemy from the predominant Sunni Middle East.  Without external financial support, the Palestinians cannot support themselves!  President Trump just fired a shot across the Palestinian bow by recognizing Jerusalem as the Capital of Israel and that the US would be moving their embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv.  This was a huge wake-up call for the Palestinians and took a bargaining chip off of the Palestinian side.

Yes, many of the nations of the world railed against the Trump decision to move our embassy to Jerusalem but in the final analysis, none of these phony expressions of outrage will change the new status quo between Israel and the Palestinians.  The Palestinian government will have to decide if they want to become a real nation or merely exist as an irrelevant terrorist group.  The contrast between the economies of Israel versus the Palestinians is stark at best.  

  • GDP:  Israel’s GDP is US$138.5 Billion while the Palestinian GDP is a paltry  US$10.5 Billion
  • Exports:  Israel exports equal US$92.3 Billion while the Palestinian exports are only US$6.47 Billion.

Palestinian President Abbas has a real challenge in trying to  convince Palestinian Hamas to moderate and cut a deal. 

See the source image

Hamas is literally a terrorist organization is survive off of cash from other countries.  They have no interest in governing!  If their terrorist attacks escalate, Abbas risks the US directly supporting Israel.  I am not sure if there is a deal to be had, but for the first time since 1948, conditions in the Middle East may force the Palestinians to wake up and negotiate in good faith.  If not, they will remain an impoverished group without a real home.

RD Pierini

@RDPierini

 

 

Afghanistan/Pakistan/Indian/South Asia Challenge-The Trump Doctrine

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The Trump Afghanistan/Indian Sub Continent/South Asia Doctrine:

Last night, August 21/2017, President Trump outlined his Afghanistan foreign policy plan as part of his Afghanistan/Indian Subcontinent/South Asia foreign policy.  He has been asking his advisors for months “What does winning in Afghanistan look like”?  Trump drilled down on the result first, forcing his advisors to start with the conclusion then working a strategy to achieve that result…  He kept questioning their approaches until he was able to formulate a foreign policy that may achieve a result that benefits United States self-interest.  What has evolved is a doctrine that seeks to bring together a real diverse, and challenging “coalition” of disparate interest and nations.

Strategic Change:  Afghans Determine their Future

Inside of Trump’s address, was the notion that the US has no interest in defining the political self-governance structure of Afghanistan.  GW Bush and the Neo-Cons had the goal of establishing a western-style democracy over a country that is absolutely tribal in nature, with war lords as their overseers, with no experience in self-governing other than within the tribe.  This concept was doomed for failure at the outset especially when you add in the fact that these peoples were Muslim.  Islam has its own inherent governance structure.

Afghanistan is NOT a country made up of homogenous ethnic peoples with the same self-interests or even share any historical commonality.  There are 8 major ethnic groups within the current Afghan borders that were defined in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s by the British, Russia, and China.  The resulting “country” was basically a corral around a many peoples, most of which knew little or nothing about the other.  The map below will give you an idea of how disparate the ethnic make-up of Afghanistan is.

Image result for afghanistan pakistan taliban map 2016

Don’t make the mistake and try to draw a comparison to our republic that is made of 50 States.  The closest US analogy would be if the Christopher Columbus had drawn a line around the US and told all of the tribes of native peoples (Indians) and island dwellers, that they had to be subservient to Washington DC (I know it did not exist in 1492).  Further, that they had to vote for the central government leadership!  It is pretty amazing how clueless our own leadership is!

President Trump recognized that for the US to try to superimpose a central government over Afghanistan is a fool’s folly.  He stated point-blank that he has no interest in meddling in the Afghans governance.  While this one message is subtle, it is key to recognize that an Afghan western-style democracy cannot be a criteria for success!

Primary Success Criteria:  Eliminate Terrorist Haven in Afghanistan

President Trump stated that there are 20 separate terrorist groups in Afghanistan and in Pakistan.  His number one success criteria is the elimination of terrorist organizations from Afghanistan and allowing the terrorist organization from reconstituting in Pakistan.  Period!  

This is not simple and contains many tactical changes to give this a fighting chance.  Trump stated he will incorporate changes to achieve this goal:

  1. Rules of Engagement:  The President stated that he will take off the restraints on our commanders and soldiers and allow them to fight to win.  This will include the elimination of having embedded LAWYERS making the decision as to whether a soldier can fire on someone planting an IED!  How stupid is it to read a terrorist his “Miranda Rights”!  Further, that in-field tactical decision-making will not require approval from Washington and that the Military command will be empowered to take the fight to the criminals and terrorist, this is critical that we fight both, and eliminate them as a threat.  
  2. Focus on the Fight:  The US will no longer be in the business of nation building.  Our troops will no longer be building roads and buildings but focused on killing terrorist.  Period.
  3. Eliminate Cross-Border Safe  Havens:  The President also said that they will pressure Pakistan, apply real pressure and not just lip service, to not object to the US bombing terrorist havens inside of the Pakistan border with Afghanistan.  Today, the terrorist scurry across the border and we do not pursue them.  Trump will use our aid to Pakistan and other economic incentives to coerce the Pakistan Government to cooperate with the US.  He will also seek to isolate their nuclear weapons even more to ensure they do not fall into the hands of the terrorists.
  4. Stalemate China:  China has been a long-term player in both Afghanistan and Pakistan and are close neighbors with the former sharing a small border with China.  China has also been instrumental in the nuclearization of Pakistan!   The US will have to put pressure on China to keep them from interfering in our efforts to work with Pakistan to eliminate the terrorist from the region.
  5. Stalemate Russia:  The old Soviet Union bordered Afghanistan and had long sought to take over the Afghan mineral deposits.  Since the Progressive Left has interfered with Trump’s ability to work with Russia on Syria and other common issues, it will be difficult for the President to stalemate Russia.  That said, Trump will do everything he can to insure that Russian arming of the militants is minimized.  Russia shares many of our concerns for militant Islam and hopefully Trump will be able to overcome the “Russia Fever” that the left has created in our country.
  6. All Out War:  Trump will also wage a war to win and focus less on pressures to fight a “gentlemen’s war”.  He has already increased bombings by over 182% since taking office.  He will use special forces, air power, cyber, and increase commitments from NATO and other allies.  He may run into some resistance from some NATO allies as he talks the gloves off.  The French, for example, don’t like to fight at night!  Amazing.  Trump will also push the envelope in terms of pure fire power using even more MOABs to get the attention of the Terrorists.
  7. Engage the War Lords:  Trump’s team recognizes the role the regional war lords play in running Afghanistan.  Trump will have to prevail on them to cease sheltering and aiding any of the terrorists.  If he can persuade them that the US is not supporting a centralization of an Afghan government and allow the war lords to have a larger role in Afghanistan’s future, he may win most of them over.

Second Success Criteria:  Reduce the US Financial Commitment

Trump was subtle in his speech to enlist more financial support from Afghanistan, NATO and even India!  He is focused on $$$ and the US need to get others to help foot the bills that benefit others as well as the US.  He will probably tell Tillerson that he will take care of this part of the diplomatic effort!

  1. Afghanistan Financial Support:  Remember Trump talking about the Iraq war and that we should have “taken” some of the oil as repayment for our economic commitment to “liberating” Iraq?  Well, Afghanistan’s mineral and gemstone wealth is estimated at 1-3 Trillion dollars and include: barite, chromite, coal, copper, gold, iron ore, lead, natural gas, petroleum, precious and semi-precious stones, salt, sulfur, talc, zinc, emerald, lapis lazuli, red garnet and ruby.  Trump will probably seek to bring in international companies to help Afghanistan develop these resources and use part of the proceeds to offset our costs in the war effort.  Trump will also have to replace Afghanistan’s largest cash crop, poppies for opioid sales, with other sources of income for the war lords.   This change is needed to help rid the world markets of cheap opioids.  
  2. NATO:  Trump will ask NATO to increase their financial and military commitment to the Afghan Terrorist War as well.  NATO has already stated that they approve of the Trump Doctrine in South Asia and are open to discussions moving forward.
  3. India:  India is an interesting inclusion into the increased economic support for fighting terrorist in Afghanistan.  First of all, India is not a Muslim majority country and is in fact the home of the Sikhs who are enemies of the Muslims.  India would love to see the US exert more pressure on Pakistan as the two are also enemies in both religion and politics.  A more stable South Asia would benefit India and allow it to focus even more on its economic development and somewhat less on national defense.  The President seeks to pressure India, via its trade advantage with the US, to have India supply economic aid in Afghanistan in various forms.  At best, this will challenge even Trump’s “Art of the Deal” skills.  The overall alliance will include Muslims (both Sunni and Shia), Hindu, Sikhs, and a handful of others!  The alliance does, however, form a solid base for a true South Asia policy that includes Afghanistan, Pakistan, and the Indian sub continent.  (May be easier than repealing Obamacare in Congress though)

The goals of the strategic change in Afghan self-determination, the defeat of terrorism in Afghanistan and to some degree Pakistan, and the Cost-Sharing goals to reduce US economic commitment to Afghanistan, define Trump’s success in Afghanistan.  If this succeeds with this “odd” alliance of players, it will have long-standing benefits in South Asia and help to stabilize a Post-Soviet South Asia.  If we do not succeed according to a time-table only Trump knows, we may pull out of Afghanistan sometime in the future.

There are many other facets of this doctrine that will be fleshed out in the coming months.  Trump will let the Generals and the troops do their jobs but will keep pressure on Mattis and his staff to keep their eye on the ball.  He will also make sure the Treasury is doing all they can to cut off the supply of funding to the terrorist and keep other cabinet members contributing in any way they can to assist the fight.  Rex Tillerson has a difficult job of keeping the coalition together while maintaining stability in Pakistan and elsewhere.  No small task.

Observation:  One thing to look for that will differentiate this campaign from our past feeble efforts to rid Afghanistan from Terrorist is a cessation of warfare during the winter months.  I would hazard a guess that Trump will seek to keep the terrorist from relaxing during the winter months with a series of asymmetrical attacks by land and air.  Sleep deprivation can be a demoralizing factor for sure…

RD Pierini

@RDPierini

 

Hat Tips:

http://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/boundaries-iii

http://afghanag.ucdavis.edu/country-info/culture-and-working-locally/Man_Afghan_Culture_CWTI.pdf

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religion_in_Pakistan