Friday, March 7, 2008

Predictions for 2008

2008 Predictions
MIDEAST 1: Israel at War

1- The Gaza Strip is the flashpoint.
Israel has already launched the first of many invasions into Gaza. After destroying the border wall, rockets have rained on Israel's south. The small inaccurate Qassams are terror enough, but the toll from sophisticated GRADs smuggled in from Syria and the Egyptian tunnels under the Egypt/Gaza border demand a savage response. Israel will strike again and strike deeper. Egypt's strong Fundamentalism movement, "The Brotherhood," will move across the Sinai to join the battles in Gaza. Sensitive to the rising Fundamentalism in Egypt, President Mubarrak fails to stop The Brotherhood. Israel uses satellite and night vision to enter Egyptian airspace to catch The Brotherhood out in the relative open, before they can get to Gaza. Mubarrak is pressured to respond. He might send troops and encourage the fundamentalists. He might do nothing and risk being overthrown or killed.
***But GAZA is a LONG SLOG, it has ALREADY STARTED, it will ESCALATE and MAY lead to war with EGYPT.

2- Lebanon is within weeks of erupting as flashpoint #2.
The Lebanese are FURIOUS at the USA for posting three warships off the coast. The USA is there to deter Syria from marching back into Lebanon. Syria is aching to jump back into the Lebanese lands they've already armed to the teeth. Israel is watching ALL of it and they will NOT make the mistake of the 2006 war, the long war that infuriated Israelis who now demand security. The tension has been growing since Israel killed major Lebanese terrorist Imad Mughniyeh. Hezbollah threatened massive retaliation and has the missiles to do it. Iran's Al-Qaeda forces have promised to join the fight. Iran's President Ahmadinejad has committed Iranian support.
***The ROCKETS will fly to test USA and Israeli resolve, ISRAEL invades IN FORCE, and it is a HUGE EXTENDED BATTLE.

3- The Third front for Israel- The West Bank.
The West Bank is the ideal launching point for Syria-based Palestinian militants, an inconvenient third front. As the more militant Hezbollah forces join with Iranian al-Qaida, Kassams and GRADs fly. ISRAEL counters with intense attacks into the West Bank.
***The WEST BANK fight will ultimately bring an eyeball-to-eyeball face-off between SYRIA and ISRAEL.

4- Israel is now fully-mobilized and they hunker down.
Gaza/Egypt in the South, Syrian-backed invader on the West Bank, and a mixed bag of militants driving in from the North. Israelis are routinely retreating to basement safety bunkers. The mighty Israeli military command AND political leadership is utterly frustrated by suicide bombers throughout the country. There are too many anti-Israel factions to even think of peace negotiations.
***Israel hunkers down in bomb they prepare to strike.

5- The Nuclear Genie is soon out of the bottle.
Israel makes the threat of retaliation to the nations who support the fighters in the streets- Egypt, Syria, Iran, Lawless Lebanon...they are all warned in public and private statements. The target selected will depend on which nation provides the biggest cache of weapons. With good target selection, political wisdom, and just plain luck...the one Israel attack will force an intimidated peace. At a cost. Maybe Egypt's Answan Dam. Maybe Iran's nuclear facility at Natanz. Concentrated Lebanese fighters might be hit in the Bekka Valley. Syria's underground missile facility at Aleppo would be a possible target. I guess Israeli will attack Itan's underground nuclear facilities at NATANZ as a strategic warning with a special attempt to avoid large civilian loss. BUT...if the warning fails, Damascus could be wiped off the map.

MIDEAST 2: Pakistan in Turmoil

6- The Election so intensely advocated by Bush is the beginning of a long civil war. With our puppet Perv the Big Loser, Hell breaks lose. All I can do is steal from a NYTimes op-editorial-
"NYT 2.1 OpEd- As matters stand, the Punjabi-dominated regime of Pervez Musharraf is headed for a bloody confrontation with the country’s Pashtun, Baluch and Sindhi minorities that could well lead to the breakup of Pakistan into three sovereign entities. In that event, the Pashtuns, concentrated in the northwestern tribal areas, would join with their ethnic brethren across the Afghan border (some 40 million of them combined) to form an independent “Pashtunistan.” The Sindhis in the southeast, numbering 23 million, would unite with the six million Baluch tribesmen in the southwest to establish a federation along the Arabian Sea from India to Iran. “Pakistan” would then be a nuclear-armed Punjabi rump state. The nuclear safeguards depend on the Pakistani Army as an institution, not on the president. They would not be affected by a break-up, since the nuclear weapons would remain under the control of the Punjabi rump state and its army. The Punjabi-Pashtun animosity helps explain why the United States is failing to get effective Pakistani cooperation in fighting terrorists. The Pashtuns living along the Afghan border are happy to give sanctuary from Punjabi forces to the Taliban, which is composed primarily of fellow Pashtuns, and to its Qaeda friends."
***NOT good for our forces In-Country.

7- The Pakistani Nukes are going to be kept safely under control.
The US will supply covert assistance to only one faction of the confusing battleground described in #6...most of which is over my head. What is NOT over my head is the fact that the Pakistani Army is a "faction" all it's own, with or without Musharraf. In fact, the man we will deal with is the man who has been our friend for while, Army General Kayani. General Kayani makes a deal with the two ruling parties-- The insurgents stop attacking the Pakistani military, and the military will sit quietly while the Pashtun majority work out a peaceful plan of...well, PACIFISM. Musharraf is out, live-and-let-live is in.
***NOT good for our forces In-Country.
MIDEAST 3: The Taliban retakes Afghanistan

8- Afghanistan in the post 9-11 era long ago...the last smart move by the US.
We pounded the Taliban within an inch of their lives. Taliban fighters were unprepared for our enormous power, especially from the air. MORE IMPORTANT, our attack was made with the support of the world. But Bush turned to Iraq, opinion turned against us, and the Taliban was saved. Without our troops, Taliban groups have proliferated and re-armed. Record-setting opium crops have financed their rearming, and country towns and villages quickly surrendered to Taliban rule because the Afghan Army can only control the city and protect President Karzai. When the snow is all melted, the Taliban forces will sweep across the country in a lightning assault. We know it's coming but Condi could not get NATO aboard because NATO knows it's a fight that can't be won. The Taliban takes Kabul, Karzai never leaves the city alive. I've got 4 references below... taken from MANY pages. These four pieces should be read by every American...and we'll then be as wise as NATO. There will be no "second front" in the mountains because Pakistani fighters have actually joined their old tribes. The snow melts, Taliban forces will sweep across the country in a lightning assault and Karzai flees or dies.
***NOT good for our forces In-Country.

MIDEAST 4: Iraq unravels, the Myth of The Surge

9- Iraq explodes and this time I mean it.
And you can and should see it coming a mile away...IF you know the Surge. The Surge was a DEAL we made with the minority SUNNI fighters. We asked the Sunnis to stop attacking our troops, and asked them to JOIN us in a broad battle against our COMMON foes- Al Qaeda and the Taliban. We promised to bring in more soldiers, we promised the Sunnis $300 a day per fighter, and we promised them the umbrella of our tactical air support and immense artillery power. But the FIREPOWER was only HALF of the bargain. What is less-well known is that we promised the SUNNIs would then CONTROL the pacified territory, that they would GOVERN themselves, and they would PROTECT themselves with SUNNI defense forces of the Great Nation of Greater Iran. That was KEY because not one SUNNI wants to trust his life to a SHIITE cop. BUT...we can not and will not be able to "seal the deal." Without self-rule, the Sunni forces will feel betrayed, rightfully so, and the Sunnis will be our enemy again. And on that day, we've got ourselves stuck in the middle of a civil war between the SHI'A and the SUNNIs.
***The Surge is exposed as the myth that it is.

10- Iraq explodes and this time I mean it.
The Shiite armies have agreed to a truce...which by ALL accounts have cut violence by about 60%. SIXTY FRIKKIN' PER CENT. Recently the top Shiite Militia guy al-Sadr decided to "extend" the peace until August of this year. Well...AIN'T GONNA' HAPPEN. The Shiites are trying to consolidate political power...but they are too trigger-happy for turf. The SHIITE peace will end...but I know NOT where. Maybe Basra in the South. Maybe on the outskirts of Baghdad. Maybe the "last-stand" at Mosul. Who knows. But Shiite-on-Shiite violence erupts and bodies fill the daily news. Americans are fair targets.
***The Surge is exposed as the myth that it is.

11- Iraq explodes and this time I mean it.
The Shiite armies hate ONE THING more than each other-- The Sunnis. And as USA forces hand over "pacified" areas to the Sunnis, the Sunnis will set up political and military institutions.
The Shiites in Baghdad will not tolerate ANY HINT of Sunni self-rule. So the Shiite militia ATTACK Sunni territory as soon as American forces walk away. Without the US AIR SUPPORT, the Sunnis die. And they feel betrayed. and they get mad.
***And the Surge is exposed as the myth that it is.

MIDEAST 5: How 'bout them Kurds?

12- The Kurds and the Turks are at war on the Northern border.
The Kurds are in a bind because they MUST move south to seize the oil fields of Kirkuk. EVERYBODY wants Kirkuk but the Kurds have the advantage of better military discipline. AND their enemies are fighting each other...those Shi'a and Sunnis. Even if the Kurds stop their terrorist attacks into Turkey, the Turks have an army of 100,000 on the border and they haven't come to play hopscotch. Kirkuk rages on. International pressure keeps the Turks from invading as the Kurds kick butt and seize the oil fields. And...gosh darn it...the Kurds are actually HAPPY to sell oil to us. LUCKY US!!!!

MIDEAST 6: American Iraq under attack

13- American forces haven't got a friend anywhere.
The Shi'a forces have been fairly quiet because we made deals with the key clergy and warlords. And they're just waiting...for the Sunnis to clear out the countryside, a countryside where the Shi'a will NOT allow ANY Sunni self-government. So the Shi'a militias come at us with all they've got. The Sunni troops are outraged that we could not guarantee the "self-rule" we promised as THE KEY to THE SURGE. So the Sunnis come at us with all they've got. The Kurds have always been our friends...but they are only up in the North, unable to help us hold Baghdad. The Shiite militias start fighting each other (see #10), then they start slamming the Sunnis (see #11), and it's time to drive America OUT. The Green Zone becomes a killing zone. Mortars and rockets and suicide bombers...we at home are as stunned as we were when TET erupted in Vietnam.
MIDEAST 7: America sees reality

14- American forces are utterly outnumbered on too many fronts.
THIS is where the ELECTION...and the HISTORY of THE WORLD will be decided. I have been a supporter of John McCain since WAY before the 2000 election. He is a good, honorable, decent, and utterly MILITARY man. He is not afraid to 'fess up when he is wrong. And as Baghdad becomes a killing field, with more enemies in Afghanistan and no help from Pakistan or NATO...the McCain I respect will do the RIGHT THING for his fellow veterans in Harm's Way. He will speak. McCain will make a historic speech in which he points out the political changes that remain beyond our control. Turning to Iraq, he will say we have fought bravely and nobly...

"BUT our Iraqi counterparts have FAILED to achieve their promised goals. They have not made political reconciliation. They have not come up with a plan to distribute oil revenues. They have failed to secure the Taliban sanctuary near Pakistan. THEREFORE, we Americans can do no more. We can no longer sacrifice our sons and daughters to a failed nation-state that has chosen war over peace. They have chosen ancient hatreds over a prosperous future. They have chosen not to establish a beacon of hope and light, but a return to the darker side of our nature.

"My friends, as of this day, I am consulting with our Commanders in the field to create the plans for an orderly and safe withdrawal of American forces from the Iraqi war zone. Our men and women will be coming home to their families and a grateful nation. And make no mistake- They will be coming home with pride and dignity.

"As your Commander in Chief, I accept responsibility for this strategic decision. Every battlefield general will tell you that every battle is a fluid thing. The situation changes and the responsible commander must react accordingly. There is not now, nor has there ever been a battle plan that survived intact until the last shot was fired. The recent changes in Israel, Syria, Lebanon, Pakistan and Afghanistan...they have not been of our making. But the threat to our sons and daughters now exceeds the abilities of our coalition forces.

"Know and understand this, my friends, that these warriors are not coming home in defeat.
They are coming home to a nation where the pursuit of peace beats in every heart. For all our differences and disagreements, the greatest of America's achievements has always been the greater good.

"God willing, families will be united again. American will continue to work with all nations in every corner of the world to see peace and prosperity thrive in what are now the deadly fields of fire. My friends, make no mistake- This is a proud nation, not a retreat for isolationists and defeatists. But instead we remain the shining beacon of hope for the people of this greatest of all God's creation, this beautiful earth, His home to us all. May God bless the United States."

IFFFF McCain makes that speech and brings our troops home, he will win the Election. The global danger will make America turn from semantics and sarcasm to honest-to-God leadership. Though it seems absolutely impossible, IF McCain brings us OUT, he will WIN in November.. If he "Stays the Course" he loses.

15- American people take a while to grasp the absolute FOLLY of "The Surge."
But they see the huge shift in power. And we are NOT winning. IFFF McCain stays with the Bush policy, the Democrats win the election by an ASTOUNDING margin. With so much at stake, the sexist soul of America rears its head and Hillary is defeated on the convention floor. Frankly, I believe she will be defeated by the Primary Process, however close. But IFFFF she is ahead, the nervous electorate will insist on a man. Obama. IFFFF McCain sticks with the Bush War Plan, Barak Obama is the next President of the United States.

AMERICA 8: The Homefront

16- The Economy will cling to shreds of hope until Spring thaw in Afghanistan.
And the simultaneous phenomenal spread of foreclosures and "recession." It is not a recession- When America stops buying, the WORLD is in trouble. As a few daring pundits dare speak the word "recession," America goes a wee bit bonkers. People see the home values around them falling...and so they turn to local government and demand "property re-assessments." In total ignorance, they say "My neighborhood homes are not worth $250,000, today they sell for $90,000. So I DESERVE a fair market re-assessment." So stupid. Fine...assume you "win." With all your local homes on the tax rolls for LESS, your City Council will simply increase the TAX RATE to create the same city budget. But the public goes a WEE BIT bonkers when their tax rate per/$1000 goes up by 200%.
***America falls into a Depression with or without re-assessment. Not a good thing.

17- The Terrorists know what we value most...and it ain't air travel.
It's PLAY. It's PEACEFUL FUN. It's SPORTS. And that's where they hit us. A few incredible acts of terrorism terrify America into staying away from the most simple acts of it Sports, Theme Parks, or Spring Break in Cancun.

I take no joy in any of this. I pray to God I'm wrong.
BUT...I have read the news without the AMERICAN spin.
Without the WASHINGTON spin. It's out there in black and white.
I'm sorry.
I'm either right or I'm wrong.
But if I had a wife and a family and a real job and no passion for history...

...I'd be watching the never-ending debate about what the future holds for
Hillary or Obama in Pennsylvania. It's the lead story on every newscast.

Central America?
Please. There's no oil. They don't matter.

And THE SURGE is working.

Oh yeah-
It might...just a Recession.

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