Israel

The Voluntary Exchange Podcast: Biblical Proporations

Sinai

This episode is focused mostly on the recent attack on a Sufi Islamic mosque in the Egyptian village of Biral-Abud. The village is located on the Sinai Peninsula, an area of Egypt that the central government in Cairo has little control over. What has grown in place of the military dictatorship Sinai has been Al Qeada, and more recently ISIS.

This attack was carried out by an regional ISIS cell which the newspapers call “Sinai Province”. Lead by Muhammad al-Iswai, this group has been expanding their control over the northern part of the Sinai. This is the area closest to the Gaza Strip, and of course Israel. An attack this one, or the more shocking downing of a Russian jetliner, definitely gets the attention of Israel, Saudi Arabia and the United States.

It is important to remember the Sinai Peninsula borders the Red Sea, which has a large tourism economy. The eastern coast of the Suez Canal also sits in on the Peninsula. An unstable Sinai is an international issue. Since Al Qeada began operating in the region in 2011, gas pipelines, the Canal and US troops have been in danger of attacks by Al Qeada and now ISIS.

Because of the disfranchisement of the Bedouin tribes of the Sinai, Cairo is dealing with a situation much like the tribal areas of Iraq or Afghanistan. Tribal leadership is the law of the land, and tribes either cooperate with the extremist groups or they fight them. The Sinai is no different. Stories of violence by Bedouin tribes against ISIS men in Sinai is not uncommon.

The reasons we can draw for the attack are many. Sufi Islam was founded in this small village, which groups like ISIS see as a crime against Islam. A more secular reason could be that that the Sufis have been working with the central authorities in Cairo to stop the growth of ISIS. This seems to me to make more sense, with religion has the cover. Further still, ISIS has been moving into tribal gang turf, as the Bedouins are in control of the smuggling of goods in Gaza. Attacks have taken place on both sides over these smuggling operations.

Israel has taken special interest in the Sinai, going back to the wars of the late 60s and 70s. The results of the Camp David Accords of 1979 still hold, as Egypt has to get Israeli approval for troop numbers within the Sinai. Israel has had talks about purchasing the Sinai Penensula from Egypt, helping to bring the right-wing in Israel it’s “fix” for the Gaza situation. The “Greater Gaza” idea is a real one, and includes moving the Arab population from Gaza to the Sinai, or at least expand the Strip south. By expanding Gaza, the hope is for the Palestinians in the West Bank and Jerusalem to relocate, giving Israel full open range to settle the West Bank.

The “Greater Gaza” plan has the blessing of the United States. As does closer cooperation with Egypt and Israel. Joining this group more publicly then previously has been Saudi Arabia. The Saudis have been working more closely with Israel, and with MSB at the head of the royal family, he is cracking down on the extremist element within his Kingdom. This has to be at the request of Washington and Tel Aviv.

The attack has been used by MSB to help sell his new counter-terrorism group, which includes 40 Muslim countries.

Quick Hits

  • The Pentagon has been caught trying to cover up child abuse by Afghan security forces. Troops had admitted in an Inspector General’s report that they had been ordered to “ignore” the sexual abuse of children by the security forces they train.
  • Also in Afghanistan, the Trump administration has decided to start bombing opium production in the country. Once a crop our troops protected, recently the Taliban has taken over the trade from US allies, making the Pentagon have to make a 180 on heroin production in Afghanistan. This does give the military another excuse to continue the occupation that has gone on for over a decade.
  • Peace talks in Geneva about the war in Syria went “nowhere” this week. With the West still pushing for Assad to step down, there is no chance for any agreement on terms while Assad holds a major upper hand on the ground in Syria.
  • News has surfaced confirming what most already knew, the Pentagon has been lying about the number of troops in Iraq & Syria. The “official” numbers showed 500 troops in Syria, with another 5000 in Iraq. In reality, the numbers in Syria total 1700, with over 9000 in Iraq. This should be bigger news, but with CNN busy “getting” Trump, this story won’t become a scandal.

Content

Episode can be found here…The full episode archive can be found here and on ITunes.

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The Voluntary Exchange Podcast: Arabian Nights

This is the story of a major shift in Saudi Arabian policy abroad. I think.

Background

The purge that took place last week has to be seen through the viewpoint of it’s geopolitical ramifications. Saudi Arabia is doubling-down on it’s “shadow” war with Iran, this time in a more public way. From blaming a missile strike from Yemen on Iran, or actively working with the Israelis to isolate Hezbollah in Lebanon (to cripple Iran).

The Saudi regime dates back to WWI, when the house was one of many clans that worked with the British is its fight against the Turks. Later on, FDR made a deal a the end of WWII to protect the Saudi Royal Family if the US had access to Saudi oil. This deal stands to this day.

The Crown Prince selected the “corruption” purge with a purpose. Beginning at a meeting in 2014, elements of the Royal Family planned to oust the current king, King Abdullah. At that meeting, Prince Bandar was relieved of his duties. This might not have been evident at the time, but this was the start of the Saudis separating even more from the radical, Islamist elements of the family. Prince Bandar was shown to have helped fund the 9/11 hijackers, and has been known as one of the links between the royal family and the jihadists they fund outside of The Kingdom.

The plan was for a power-sharing to take place between three power groups:

  • King Salman & Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman

King Salman took over after the death of King Abdullah. Earlier this year, the crown prince, Prince Nayef, was replaced by King Salman’s favorite son, Mohammed Bin Salman. Recently, King Salman created an “anti-corruption” committee and placed his son in charge. This purge is a result of this committee, with the Crown Prince focusing on the family of former King Abdullah and the former Crown Prince.

  • Prince Nayef

The previous Crown Prince, Prince Nayef and his son have become targets by Mohammed Bin Salman (MBS).

  • Prince Miteb

Prince Miteb is the favorite son of King Abdullah. The head of the National Guard, he is supported by the ultra-conservative, old guard of the family. The National Guard in Saudi Arabia is seen as a “parallel” force to the military. To some, the military is seen as a puppet force of the US puppet regime. This is the same element that supports Al Qeada and pushes Wahhabism. The National Guard itself was created by the fonder of the House of Saad. The original members were former tribal warriors or “Mujahedeen”.

Prince Miteb has been arrested in the current purge.

Outside of the “power-sharing” agreement that went to hell, another name you will see in the coverage is Prince Al-Waleed Bin Talal. Bin Talal has major stockholdings in Twitter, Lyft, Citi, 4 Seasons and previously Newscorp. He has been arrested along with other members of the media.

The Crown Prince has had the bank accounts of the arrested frozenprivate jets grounded, and in some cases physically assaulted. There has been two dead princes since the purge, one in a helicopter crash, another in a fire-fight.

Bin Salman has been busy outside of the Saudi Arabia also. His recent visit to Israel helped plan the recent breakdown of politics in Lebanon. The Prime Minister there stepped down live from Riyadh, stating that Hezbollah has taken over the country and “declared war on Saudi Arabia”. The president of Lebanon is seen has in Hezbollah’s pocket, so things in Lebanon will escalate.

The Prince also has been in charge of the war in Yemen, and his US overlords have made it clear that they want Iran isolated. This moves in Lebanon by Saudi & Israel and the double-down in Yemen are the two moves to keep in mind moving forward. The second part of this new policy is the attempt to marginalize the extremist elements within the family and the habit of funding terrorist groups. This was most likely asked of the new Crown Prince by Trump and Tel Aviv.

The upcoming tension in Lebanon and the blowback of any policy to crackdown on Wahhabism locally should be the storylines readers (and listeners) following in the months ahead.

Episode can be found here. The full episode archive can be found here and on ITunes.

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Episode Preview: The Voluntary Exchange Podcast – Week of 9/10/2017

Good morning!

Another week as past and that means a new episode of the podcast. Tomorrow’s episode will have some positive news, Rand Paul’s revolt on the Senate floor for example. I’ll also talk about looking back on 9/11, the current news regarding the courts and 9/11, and how we’ve seemed to have learned nothing.

I will also discuss the situation in Myanmar, Israeli’s very active week, Turkey’s deal with the Russians, and a big report providing evidence the Pentagon falsified documents about Syrian weapon transfers.

This week’s topics include:

Topic suggestions always welcomed.

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The Voluntary Exchange Podcast: The U.S.S. Liberty Gets a Win & Other News

In this week’s episode, I discuss a little-known story of murder on the high seas, the next stage in the Syrian conflictIsraeli continuing to go rougeMyanmar becomes the next geopolitical hot-spot, and how I believe the EU is going to break up.

Episode link here.

Full podcast archives can be found here. The podcast can also be downloaded from ITunes on any of the podcast apps you use.

I also want to take a minute to link to a few longer stories I think are worth your time:

Three Years After the War: Gaza Youth Speak Out – by Ramzy Baroud – Ramzy Baroud is editor of the Palestine Chronicle. His latest book is My Father was A Freedom Fighter: Gaza’s Untold Story (Pluto Press).

The USS Liberty Wins One! – by Philip Giraldi

Syria: Deir Ezzor Siege by Daesh Finally Broken by Syrian Army & Russian Airforce – by Sarah Abed/@sarahabed

I also want to point my listeners on Steemit over to VetsConnect by @stay-in-the-gray. It is an attempt to create a community/pipeline within Steemit for combat veterans to support their fellow vets.

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Episode Preview: The Voluntary Exchange Podcast – Week of 9/3/2017

Good morning!

Tonight (or tomorrow) I will be putting out the next episode of the podcast. A bunch of new stories to discuss this week, along with a major update out of Syria. I hope you will check it out!

This week’s topics include:

Please don’t be shy in leaving interesting topics for me to research in the comment section. Deep dives in geopolitical situations is my guilty pleasure.

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Episode Preview: The Voluntary Exchange Podcast – Week of 8/31/2017

Good morning!

Tomorrow I will be putting out the most recent episode of the podcast. This week had some major escalations in different areas, along with the uncovering of a huge gun-running scandal, and Trump’s Afghanistan policy starts taking shape.

This week’s topics include:

I will still be offering to take listener requests for topics to discuss on future episodes. Submit your suggestions in the comment section!

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Episode Preview: The Voluntary Exchange Podcast – Week of 8/20/2017

Good morning!

Tomorrow I will be recording and posting this weeks episode of The Voluntary Exchange Podcast. This week has been light in geopolitical stories. This episode will focus on much of the same stories from last week. Of course, the bulk of the episode will be my breakdown of Trump’s speech on Afghanistan from Monday. I posted my initial thoughts on the speech earlier this week, so I’ll hit on these points again.

This week’s topics include:

I will still be offering to take listener requests for topics to discuss on future episodes. Anything can be requested, but I do like to focus more on war and locking people in cages than transgender bathrooms. Submit your suggestions in the comment section!

I’d also like to give a shout out to Scott Horton. He has his first book out on Amazon, “Fool’s Errand: Time to End the War in Afghanistan”. If you don’t know Scott Horton, he is the editor of Antiwar.com, one of the founders of The Libertarian Institute, foreign policy Jedi, anarcho-capitalist, skateboard, and all around badass.

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Episode: A Game of Thrones

In this episode I update you on the situation between Turkey and it’s NATO allies, especially Germany. I cover the protests at the Temple Mount in Israel, and point out that India and China both have nukes and don’t like each other very much.

Episode Link

Photo credit

Sources

Mahmoud Abbas freezes contact with Israel over al-Aqsa
Six Killed, Hundreds Wounded as Violence Rages Across West Bank
US Urges All Nationals In North Korea To “Depart Immediately”, Bans Tourists From Visiting
Trump Ends Covert Aid to Syrian Rebels Trying to Topple Assad
Trump’s DOJ gears up for crackdown on marijuana
Germany overhauls Turkey policy
Germany continues war of words with Turkey, reviews arms sales
Turkey has over 680 German firms on terrorism black list: security source
Billions Of Lives At Stake As China Threatens India With War After “Blatant Sovereignty Infringement”

Episode: 20 Years in Prison for Boycotting a Foreign Government

I wasn’t planning on this episode. But an article over at The Intercept prompted me to drop everything and dive into this story: The US Congress has a bill, with support, to make it a felony to join any movements with the purpose of boycotting Israel. It carries a fine of 250k and up to 20 years in prison. Such a violation of the 1st Amendment.

So in this episode I break down this law, and the influence of the Israeli lobby behind it. I give some backstory of the Israel lobby in this country and how it’s interests are not Americans interest. No matter what DC tells you.

I also follow up on the Turkey-NATO split and the revenge killings in Mosul.

Episode link

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Content sources:

Revenge Attacks Grow in and Around ‘Liberated’ Mosul

A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm

AIPAC Still Our Biggest Foreign Agent

US Imperils Nuclear Deal With New Iran Sanctions

Why Isis Fighters Are Being Thrown Off Buildings in Mosul
Netanyahu: Israel Opposes Cease-fire Deal Reached by U.S. and Russia in Southern Syria

Pentagon Furious After Turkey Leaks U.S. Base Locations In Syria

Moral Opposition to the Occupation: It’s Stories From Israel Like This That Shape My Stance

Not much to say on this topic, that’s a lie. I have a lot to say, but my emotions get the best of me to be honest. The hypocrisy of an occupation, complete with racist settlers and ghettos, being perpetrated by members of THE traumatized ethnic group of the last century (and the militate support for their actions) on another population is really too much to discuss calmly. So, what I like to do is set the scene. There have been books written, documentaries made, whole websites dedicated to covering the unbelievable situation that has unfolded over the past 50 years.

Below is just a small section of an article I came across today from Haaretz, an left-leaning Israeli news organization. The article is about a group of conservative, American Rabbis, who took a trip to Hebron, West Bank, in the Occupied Territories to see for themselves what is taking place there. For some it was a return trip, for others it was their first time. The full article is worth a read, the section below describes what can be seen there:

Hebron is the only Palestinian city in the West Bank that has an Israeli settlement located within it. A total of about 850 Israelis (including about 200 yeshiva students, who are not full-time residents) live here among 200,000 Palestinians – among them, some of the most radical and violent settlers to have emerged during a half-century of occupation. To make sure that the city’s tiny Jewish population is protected, hundreds of Israeli soldiers patrol the streets here.

But even this very conspicuous military presence is not enough, as the rabbis on the tour soon learn. To avoid friction between the two hostile populations, Israel has imposed heavy restrictions on the movement of Palestinian residents in what used to be bustling downtown Hebron.

Bubis opens a map filled with a maze of different colored lines to illustrate her point. On roads delineated in purple, she points out, Palestinians cannot drive vehicles. On those marked with purple-and-gold stripes, not only are Palestinians prohibited from driving – they are not allowed to open businesses. On roads delineated in red, not only can they not drive or open businesses, they are not even permitted to walk. These red roads, the guide explains, are known in army jargon as “sterile.”

The situation for Palestinians has improved, Bubis acknowledges. Until just a few years ago, on streets where pedestrian movement was allowed, Palestinians were forced to walk down very narrow paths sealed off by barricades. Those barricades have since been removed. And until just a few years ago, along one of the city’s main streets, they were not allowed to exit their homes through the front door. Rather, they were forced to climb up onto their roofs and jump along the roofs of their neighbors to exit through a back way. Those restrictions are no longer enforced either.

This isn’t a political situation. This is a moral one. This is not a right or left issue or agenda, it is a human one. The groups involved make it a “third-rail” within polite political discussion. This I guess I understand, but I do not accept. The only thing rude is pretending this can be explained away.