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Let's unpack the complex, barbaric attack on Israel and those to blame.
There is plenty of blame to go around
Those primarily to blame for the HAMAS atrocities:
My best to all on this dark, depressing Thursday,
My usual overflowing of optimism is struggling this week. There are so many thugs, despots and barbaric movements and like global leaders, that at the moment, are doing their best to show off the most barbaric side of human nature. The HAMAS attack on Israeli civilians along with other nationalities visiting or living there, is but the tip of the iceberg and has several people, organizations and nation-states worthy of taking their share of the blame. As they say, “this onion has lots of layers.”
In order to lay things out for everyone as clearly as possible, this piece will require a fair amount of “screen-time.” Although I’m making decent progress, post-concussion, I still will need several breaks to accommodate my lagging focus and headaches. Thank you all, for bearing with me. Considering the mis/ disinfo campaigns by the guiltiest parties and erroneous portrayals in even the most credible of news media, it’s critical to develop a more accurate and nuanced, overview.
There is a very long list of players to blame but only a few, that need to be understood at this moment. These are: HAMAS, Iran, Hizbollah, Russia, China, Bibi and his extreme, right-wing governing coalition, along with other lesser players that will be mentioned underneath the aforementioned threats.
A recent Reuters article published maps and graphics to the current conflict and is quite valuable for those trying to better understand. This article is in the embedded link.
Properly explained, this tragedy would require at least a book or series of books, to understand completely. Today… a thumbnail sketch to use as a scorecard of sorts for those less familiar with all of the threats-actors, should be helpful and can be found below.
First, an overview to the chart above:
Israel in this chart is at the center and the focus of the threats, numbered 1 - 5.
These five threats, are hierarchical from the top being China and progressively down to number 5, representing HAMAS.
The red arrows indicate who threatens who.
Again, 1 -5 are linked in a hierarchical fashion.
Block 6 is Israel’s own, extreme-right-wing government and not linked by a red arrow to the others.
As I go through today’s piece, I will refer mostly to numbers rather than always using names.
Next, a succinct overview of each of the six threats and in which I will begin with number 6 and work up, rather than down. You will better understand why this is helpful, as you go. I will mostly use numbered points so as to make the mountain of necessary information, easier to digest.
Off we go:
Israel’s democracy is different from ours and requires a governing coalition of very different political parties. This means that any combination of the dozens of Israel’s political parties, must be scraped together to acquire a majority in their Knesset or as in multiple similar systems, a “parliament.”
Israel’s governing coalition is made up of the same far-right ideology that we see in the US MAGA movement, Putin’s Russia, Modi’s BJP Party, Orban’s Hungary and Marine le Pen’s party in France, etc. In Israel though, Bibi’s coalition has made some dramatically uglier threats, than we see even from the likes of Jordan, Gaetz, Boebert and MTG/ Marjorie Taylor Greene, etc.
Bibi’s extreme-right government is but one piece of a global far-right/ authoritarian/ fascist trend that peaked around 2020 but is waning far too slowly for my comfort.
Bibi’s cabinet and most critical government positions are filled now, by far-right bomb-throwers whose publics comments often surpass HAMA’s barbarity. For example, his Minister of National Security, Itamar Ben-Gvir, is a self-proclaimed, far-right, violent extremist.
Ben-Gvir never served his mandatory service in the IDF/ Israeli Defence Forces because the Army deemed him too much of an extremist. He is known for making the vilest of statements about Arabs, and kept a portrait in his living room, of a US born extremist convicted of murdering 29 Arabs in prayer and wounding of another 150, in Israel.
Finance Minister, Bezalel Smotrich, is well known in Israel for his racist and homophobic pursuits and yes, as a man arrested in 2005 for suspicion of terrorist activities, He was accused of being involved in a plot, to blow up a highway as a protest against Israel’s disengagement from actual Gaza occupation. He was arrested in the possession of 700 liters of gasoline.
There is a long list of others in his coalition with the same or similar ideologies.
The summary of this particular domestic threat is that Netanyahu’s racist, far-right governing coalition, perpetually pokes those living in the West Bank and Gaza with cruel, dishonest and violent oppression against all Arabs, not just HAMAS and Hizbollah. Even Netanyahu’s increasingly favorable relationship with Russia, is now going downhill, at an ever-increasing speed.
For the record, I’m as sick of these racist, violent extremists as are most Israeli citizens. Both of the two above are merely representative of the parties they represent. It would take an entire book to properly describe the now controlling coalition of far-right extremists, in positions of power within the Cabinet and government.
HAMAS, a Sunni violent extremist movement and terrorist organization
HAMAS, like Hizbollah, are proxy armies for Iran. To be as, to-the-point as possible, I see HAMAS as an extremely dangerous, violent extremist army, devoid of any real religious interests but like Hizbollah, using an aberrant version of Islam as the ideology to further their racist, power-hungry brutality. Let’s not allow ourselves to go down the religious rabbit-hole, because this offers zero to the resolution of the now, full-blown war. Also, the Palestinian people in Gaza, not aligned with HAMAS are stuck being the human shields for HAMAS’ evil.
Credible media like the BBC, REUTERS and the Associated Press have also run very good summaries of HAMAS, since Saturday’s attack. I will add a couple of links below:
First, from, National Counterterrorism Center | Groups (dni.gov)
Iran, Iran and more Iran
What Is Iran’s Role in the Hamas Attack on Israel? (foreignpolicy.com)
HAMAS and their obsession with using their own people, the innocent Palestinians, as human shields, represent a whole other side to their barbarity.
Hizbollah, a Shia, violent extremist, movement, headquartered in Lebanon, is also supported by Iran.
Like HAMAS in the last section, below are links to excellent and accurate analysis of the sophistication of the Iranian and Hizbollah and HAMAS relationships.
Hizbollah, a long-time attack dog of Iran against Israel and other western interests unlike HAMAS has a very distinct ideology. HAMAS, on the other hand is less religious in ideology and far more focused on typical Sunni extremist violence, by groups like ISIS, Al Shabbab and countless others. Neither take the aberrant religion portions of their ideology very seriously unless it suits their needs. Some of their ideology, especially in their grooming of youth, is beyond vile, dishonest and barbaric in nature. In this respect, both Hizbollah and HAMAS are the same and both would be irrelevant were it not for those immoral theocrats in Iran.
Little more needs to be said of the violent extremist theocracy of the Iranian Ayatollahs. Still, some of the more recent insights will be helpful, especially since both HAMAS and Hizbollah receive their training, equipping and resupply from Iran, via their Quds force. As many may recall, it was the Quds Force iconic leader, Qasem Soleimani who was killed by the US at the Baghdad airport in 2020, enraging Iran.
Iran’s oppressive and religiously distorted Shia Islam is close to what White Christian Nationalism is in the US and other far-right governments. In India, Modi uses Hindutva and the violent extremist ideology, of his BJP party. Iran’s extremist, religious ideology is just as oppressive to their own citizens as to their targets, outside of Iran. The difference is, when it comes to their external operations, executed by the Quds thugs, they affect global stability in a critical region.
Once, there was a thriving Jewish community in today’s Iran but like other religious minorities, the oppression of the Ayatollahs, has diminished the former population of 80,000 at the beginning of the Islamic Revolution in 1979, to the last count of 9,200 very cautious Jewish citizens.
Iran’s thugs, given to executing operations in their neighborhood, have now become Putin’s primary attack dog in the Levant, or to most, the Middle East. Iran provides a great deal to Putin; assistance with sanctions violations, contributing to Putin’s influence operations in many parts of the world and shares vital intelligence with others in the now expanding BRICS bloc of nations and in competition with the G20 nations.
To go along with the visceral hate of Israel common to the Ayatollahs, they have been willing over the decades to murder Jewish residents of other countries. The 1994 bombing in Buenas Aires, Argentina of a packed Jewish Community Center, the AMIA, left 85 dead and another 300 badly injured. The Hizbollah suicide bomber from the Buenas Aires attack, has a plaque honoring him in Southern Lebanon, not far from the Israeli border. Two years prior to the AMIA bombing, Hizbollah had bombed the Israeli Embassy in Buenas Aires, claiming 29 lives. Both bombings killed men, women, and children. Sheer barbarity.
The bottom line is that Hizbollah is designated an FTO/ Foreign Terrorist Organization by the US State Department. In fact, both HAMAS and Hizbollah were designated FTOs in 1997. They have not stopped their reign of terror. The more sophisticated that Quds Force members became, the more sophisticated both Hizbollah and HAMAS have become.
Putin is in a real bad situation due to his massive military failures in Ukraine. From about the second week of his genocidal invasion of Ukraine, he has known just how bad. This meant that a nation built on a foundation of oligarchical nepotism, could not keep pace with arms production any more than he could provide uniforms, food and fuel to the troops being slaughtered in Ukraine. This is very much, the historical norm in Russian and Soviet militaries. In 1917, this was a strong, contributing factor in the fall of the last Tsar, leading a short time later to the murder of Nicholas II and his entire family.
Putin has tried of variety of clumsy, entry level tactics to dissuade the West from supporting Ukraine and among those tactics, are diversions of focus. This leads to a great many false narratives, even here in the US. The entire fake narrative of the MAGA dominated GOP, is to slow or stop aid to Ukraine, because it is too expensive. In actuality, supplying Ukraine what they need is a bargain considering what we would have spent anyway, in our recurring Pentagon budget to constrain Russian aggression. Fired Speaker of the House, Kevin McCarthy has been near bipolar about this aid, one day pledging to deny funding and then the next promise he wouldn’t.
Now that MAGA extremists have ousted the last Speaker of the House, their ability to govern is at a complete standstill. It’s most likely, that there will be no new Speaker for at least another week. MAGA media regularly echoes Russian talking points and the movement itself, is somehow sheepishly following along like lemmings over the proverbial cliff. This is the furthest thing from supporting the US or Israel. Israel and the US are now conclusive proof that the extreme right, cannot and will not govern.
One of Putin’s latest tactics is to create diversions globally in order to siphon off focus and support to Ukraine. Somehow, in his failure to acknowledge his loss in Ukraine, he still believes that his global centrality to most of the extreme-right-wing narratives being synchronized around the world, will save him. In India, the US, Brazil, most of Europe, he’s partially still right due to the inability of US and NATO forces to understand how to combat false narratives. I’m actually not quite sure that either really even understands their deficit in knowledge. This is a critical vulnerability to both the US and NATO.
Finally, just this morning I found this video of Senior HAMAS leader, Ali Baraki using Russian TV for the “big reveal” of how, why and the depth of planning into last Saturday’s massacre. Let’s stop pretending that there is no connection between HAMAS, all the way up to Russia. In the interview, he acknowledges his support from Hizballah, Iran and other Islamic, violent extremist movements in the region.
Also let’s recall that the two years of planning is also around the time Putin was putting together his genocidal invasion of Ukraine. In the next part, we will discuss China.
All that you need to know is that Xi has a strategy and obsession to rule the world. The best description that I can give of his intent, was the use of about half of three years research time to do a narrative analysis of China/ Xi’s threat to the world. It is linked here in a paper I put together based on the analysis. In this paper, I explain how predictable that Xi will behave to achieve his regional dominance by 2035 and global by 2049. I certainly don’t want my children and grandchildren to become China’s work force, nor should you.
China's ascension through a narrative lens - Asia Power Watch
It is from this paper that my recently posted discussions with Polish National news at TVP were hatched.
US restricting US investments in sensitive technology in China | Paul Cobaugh | TVP World - YouTube
Xi’s role in the graphic at the beginning is far less directing specific attacks like HAMAS and I am in no way suggesting such. What I am specifically saying is:
Putin desperately needs Chinese support as both a cash cow and to meet Xi’s expectations in this relationship. Putin, who operates on the Russian Mafia/ Oligarchical power system, doesn’t need to be told what Xi’s expectations are. He already knows.
His most prominent expectations to fulfil for Xi are to remain in power and come out of his Ukraine war as a surviving but far less significant global power. Still, Xi’s China Dream strategy, relying largely on the BRI, the Belt and Road Initiative, needs Russia for a long list of reasons, mostly oil, commercial shipping routes in Southern Arctic waters all along Russia’s Northern coast and as an ally, that “owes” Xi, huge favors. The BRI was formerly called OBOR, One Belt, One Road.
Iran, being Putin’s attack dog in the region also clearly understands that their willingness to protect Putin’s viability is their obligation.
Over the past few months, Putin is behind multiple similar diversions in other nations around the globe. As examples:
the coup in Niger,
unrest in much of Central Africa where there is a significant Wagner Group presence.
Unrest again in the Balkans where Putin’s influence over Serbs is common knowledge.
Expanded interaction with and solicitation of all manner of support from BRICS and other BRICS expansion nations.
To wrap this up, there are a few takeaways for readers. Everything above lays most of the important pieces on the table so that they are recognizable. In the summary, I will try to arrange the pieces into a picture of the overall threats. Altogether, this is a pretty solid knowledge base. It’s a picture of the vilest evil at the tactical/ local level in Israel, Gaza and Southern Lebanon. Above that, there is a hierarchy of evil that benefits the major players like Putin and Xi.
When HAMAS has success, the entire evil enterprise also enjoys success on some level. The terrorists will end up being the losers here but in order to reinforce stability and security, the entire enterprise must be destroyed as an entity capable of disrupting global security and commerce. Considering how many conflicts and major potential conflicts could erupt from the dominos falling, from China down to HAMAS, it’s not only in the RBIO/ Rules based International Order’s favor to apply pressure to just HAMAS, but to the entire network of evil.
We can no longer allow the world of thuggery to be treated as if they are rational nations. We don’t have to go to war to settle the entire lot, but we must all remain unified against all extremism and its evil twin, terrorism but keep our eye on the elite thugs like Xi, Putin and a couple more. Anything less, invites an endless procession of conflicts, destabilization or even worse, subservience to global powers, working together to control the globe. This is not hyperbole and much of what I am saying here, can be found in different sections of our NSS/ National Security Strategy.
It’s long overdue that we start looking at comprehensive solutions that impact all different levels of threats, holistically. As this article illustrates, those threats are already interwoven anyway. The tighter the weave, the worse for us all. As we used to say in the CT/ counterterrorism world, “it takes a network to defeat a network.” The evil in the chain of extremists and nation-states in the introductory graphic, is a network.
Stable nations who reinforce the RBIO, must become the network that restores values back into the global paradigm. If we don’t, the thugs like Putin and Xi, among others, including HAMAS and Hizbollah evil movements, will prevail. No one should wish for the world China has instore for the rest of us. To tame China, in what is called, Great Power Competition, we must approach the tragedy in Israel as the first step in a strategy of eliminating those above them and refuse to stop applying pressure, until we do.
As a committed optimist, I believe this can be accomplished. It can’t though if we don’t do it together and until its finished.
I hope that this little walk through this neighborhood of evil helps to see why and at this moment, we start by putting an end to HAMAS, and Hizbollah. They always say that the first step is the hardest. No time like the present for that first step.
My very best for the rest of the week and upcoming weekend,