Yves here. You are getting a Sunday extra on the conflict in Gaza and where it looks set to be headed, given Hamas’ apparent strategy, the dug in position of the US and Israel, and the so far on-track behavior of the Arab world.
John Helmer’s post clinically and persuasively draws conclusions that most commentators, including yours truly, have been loath to state clearly, perhaps because depicting the likelihood of bad outcomes somehow feels as if it increases the odds they come to pass (magical thinking cults and their lesser “intention” cousins illustrate this superstitious tendency).
Even though the earlier part of Helmer’s analysis is based on known facts (at least if you’ve been paying attention), he adds critical information about the implications of even a shortish war with Israel’s neighbors on Israel, and the apparently-not-heretofore-reported sighting that China has naval vessels in the Persian Gulf that have anti-sub and anti-missile capabilities.
It’s not hard to conclude from Helmer’s depiction that with the US and Israel unwilling to accept a loss and the lack of any adults on “our team” mean the odds of eventual nuclear war are way too high. And if you think Helmer is too pessimistic, listen to the section from Larry Johnson in the broadcast on Judge Napolitano with Ray McGovern. Starting at 11:40, Johnson describes how Pakistan has offered to send some of its nukes to Türkiye in case of a dustup with Israel.
By John Helmer, the longest continuously serving foreign correspondent in Russia, and the only western journalist to direct his own bureau independent of single national or commercial ties. Helmer has also been a professor of political science, and an advisor to government heads in Greece, the United States, and Asia. He is the first and only member of a US presidential administration (Jimmy Carter) to establish himself in Russia. Originally published at Dances with Bears
1. Since 1943 the US and its European allies, including Germany (Olaf Scholz’s government, not Adolf Hitler’s), have aimed to liquidate the secular nationalist Arab leadership capable of co-existence with the West and a state for the Jewish people.
2. In Palestine Hamas has studied seventy-five years of lessons on the impossibility of coordinating Arab state war in the defence of the Palestine part of the two-state solution.
3. For more than a year, therefore, Hamas has prepared in well-kept secret an offensive against Israel to achieve five objectives – the first to demonstrate how inferior the Israeli military is, how vulnerable, how incompetent their intelligence on the Arab world. This has been achieved by the initial attack of October 7.
4. The second Hamas objective has been to demonstrate the Israeli plan of ethnic cleansing of Gaza, genocide against the Arabs, and incorporation of all Israeli-occupied territories in a single theocratic Zionist state — Quod erat demonstrandum. The third objective is to hold out against the expected Israeli counterattack for long enough to activate the Hezbollah forces on the northern Lebanon front; Syrian and Iranian forces on the eastern Golan front; and the West Bank Palestinians, including the Jordanian Palestinians; the latter’s targets will be US air and armoured land force bases in Jordan. So far, so good.
5. The final Hamas objectives are to compel the vacillating sheikhdoms to resist US pressure; limit oil and gas supplies to the enemy markets; prevent regional land base and air transit rights being activated in support of Israel — so far, so good. And lastly, the fifth objective, to engage the friendly nuclear powers – Russia, China – to deter, and if necessary combat US forces in the region and Israel’s threat to fire its nuclear weapons.
Left: the new history of the 80-year US protectorate in the Arab world. Right: Ismail Haniyeh, head of Hamas. On October 8, he announced: “We say to all countries, including our Arab brothers, that this entity, which cannot protect itself in the face of resistors, cannot provide you with any protection.”
The rules of war
6. These aren’t in the code of secular international humanitarian law referred to in the western media and by UN officials in support of Israel. Those rules were eliminated by the destruction of two generations of Arab leaders willing to abide by them. The war doctrine of Hamas does not concede that international law may dictate to or supersede Islamic law. In parallel, the war doctrine of Israel is that Jewish and Israeli law supersedes every other.
This report is the most comprehensive record in English to date of the official Israel statements of genocide against the Gaza Palestinians in intention, policy and practice. Source: https://ccrjustice.org/
In 1948, the United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide expressly included in Article II “the intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group”. Forty years later, in 1988, the US Congress added two qualifiers to the provision in the US criminal code which defines genocide as a crime to be prosecuted if Americans commit it. This new US law declared genocide is “the specific intent to destroy, in whole or in substantial part, a national, ethnic, racial, or religious group”. “Substantial part,” the statute now said, meant “a part of a group of such numerical significance that the destruction or loss of that part would cause the destruction of the group as a viable entity within the nation of which such group is a part.” So long as the genocidal Arab killer isn’t “specific” in intention and the part of the people attacked isn’t “substantial”, the killer is off the hook in the US criminal code. This was a calculated US change to the crime of genocide. The US senator who drafted it and promoted it into law was Joseph Biden. For more, read The Jackals’ Wedding – page 14-18.
7. The Hamas offensive of October 7, OPERATION AL AQSA FLOOD ( عملية طوفان الأقصى, amaliyyat ṭūfān al-ʾAqṣā), is, as its code name indicates and in the interpretation of Islamic law, lawful self-defence, and the killing of Israelis, including civilians, lawful according to the retribution doctrine of Qisas. It’s clear there is a Koranic injunctionagainst killing non-combatants, particularly children, the infirm, the old, and women. When women are combatants, as they are in the kibbutzim, they lose their exemption; also children, if they are armed and trained. So, the evidence question is — how many children under the age of arms-bearing were killed at the border settlements on October 7? And how did they die – by Hamas directly, or in crossfire between Hamas and IDF? The Israelis say one thing; Hamas says nothing.
8. It is clear the Israeli rules of war allow indiscriminate killing of children in offensive and defensive operations, in retribution and in collective punishment. No Palestinian Arab or Iranian is in any doubt that this has been Israeli policy from the beginning; that it has always been US policy to support it; and that the destruction of Gaza is the current episode of the long laid plan.
The two-state solution
9. Zionist ideology and Israel’s constitution have ruled out the two-state solution.
10. The Arab state supporters of the two-state solution (including Fatah and the Palestine National Authority) cannot support it when Gaza is being liquidated by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), supplied by the Pentagon.
11. President Joseph Biden’s (lead image) recent public remarks endorse Israel’s one-state solution, adding his personal religious benediction — “may God protect our troops”. Until he said that, Biden had limited himself to invoking God’s protection of “our troops” in speeches on the Afghanistan War in April 2021 and on the war against Russia in the Ukraine in February 2023. Before Biden, it was President George Bush Jr. who claimed God on the US side when he meant self-defence – “we will defend our freedom. We will bring freedom to others and we will prevail. May God bless our country and all who defend her.” With Biden the Christian, and Secretary of State Antony Blinken declaring himself Jewish in Israel, the war of Israel against Gaza is a theocratic one, a crusade. This is how it is understood now throughout the Muslim world.
12. According to God, therefore, there is only a one-state solution – it is either Palestine or Israel.
The current battlefield situation
13. On the Gaza front, Hamas has fought the IDF to a standstill outside the Gaza border wall. The Israel Air Force has dropped about 4,000 tonnes of bombs per week, 8,000 tonnes to October 21; that is more than the US Air Force dropped on Afghanistan in the peak year of 2019. More than 3,500 Palestinians have been killed so far, including at least 1,030 children and hundreds of family units; more than 12,500 people have been injured, one million Palestinians displaced, and thousands of homes destroyed. About 1,200 are missing believed to be trapped under the rubble. The Israeli and US government record, reported by the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) in Washington, documents the continuing firing from Gaza into Israeli territory in what the ISW calls its “Iran updates”. A prolonged IDF siege threatens to kill several hundred thousand Palestinians by starvation, dehydration, disease, and a combination of artillery and aerial bombardment, while leaving the Hamas forces relatively unscathed and waiting to inflict a higher rate of casualties on the IDF than it has ever experienced.
14. On the northern front across the Lebanon border, there have been exchanges of missile, drone, anti-tank rocket, artillery, and mortar fire between the IDF and Hezbollah. There have been casualties on both sides. Border settlements on the Israeli side have been evacuated to the south. For a summary of the ISW reports favouring Israel, read this; For maps and summaries of military action as of October 20 on the Gaza and northern fronts, as well as the Golan and West Bank, click to open.
Incident map on the northern front between October 12 and 17; source: https://www.washingtonpost.com/
15. US forces on the Jordan front. The Israeli press has been reporting some details of USAF reinforcements at the Muwaffaq Salti Air Base in the northeastern corner of Jordan and possible Marine deployments in Jordan. Whether the Marines will be moved to defend the Al-Tanf base on the Syrian side of the border, 230 kilometres northeast of Muwaffaq Salti, isn’t known.
Top, right – the US airbase at Muwaffaq Salti; source: https://twitter.com/
According to an Israeli report, “a squadron of U.S. F-15E Strike Eagle bombers based in Britain was deployed over the weekend at the Muwaffaq Salti Air Base east of the Jordanian capital of Amman. Another squadron of A-10 attack aircraft has also been deployed there.” Bottom, the location of Al-Tanf in Syria across the Jordanian and Iraqi borders.
16. Russian and Chinese navy deployments. The Russian fleet based at Tartous, Syria, is at sea, as reported here. At the moment, there are as many, possibly more Chinese vessels of the 44th Naval Escort Task Force in the Persian Gulf. The anti-surface, anti-submarine, and anti-air missile capabilities of the Type-052D destroyer can be followed here, and of the Type-054A frigate here. For the time being, the significance of this Chinese screen to deter a US-Israeli missile and aircraft attack on Iran has been missed in the western press and by Russian military reporters.
17. US Afghanistan War veteran: “Suppose Israel and the US understand they are facing an existential survival future in which they must combat swarm attacks on three or four fronts — Gaza/Hamas, North/Hezbollah, Golan/Syria/Iran, and West Bank/Jordan, and they calculate the Arabs have at least a 30 to 60–day arms supply in stock, do they calculate they can withstand a multi-front offensive for enough time, resupplied by air from the US? If they calculate that they can withstand a 30-day multi-directional swarm, they must understand that, at a minimum, Israel’s infrastructure and economy will be ruined. In a scenario like that, even if they ‘win’, they lose. In terms of airlifting and shipping supplies, we’ve already seen that the Arabs can hit Israeli military and civilian airfields, airports and seaports. Defending Israeli infrastructure with their air defence capability is the main mission of the strike groups the US is deploying in the eastern Mediterranean and in the Red Sea.
According to the Pentagon on October 19, the USS Carney, a part of the USS Gerald Ford group, had transited into the Red Sea through the Suez Canal the day before and was in the northern Red Sea when it intercepted three land attack cruise missiles and several drones.
Western societies like Israel cannot function without solid, reliable, electrical power and communications services. We can be certain that power generation, transmission and distribution will be targeted by the Arabs non-stop. The cell towers and central communications centres will be too.”
18. Moscow source. “When does the threat to Israel become so dire, they go nuclear, and when they do, against what targets will they fire – Hamas, Beirut, Damascus, Teheran?* The US won’t accept a Palestinian state so the only option left for the Palestinians, Arabs, Iranians, possibly Turks is to fight with this new kind of warfare whose objective is to cut into the flesh and bones of the Israeli adversary, and make life in that state unviable. Without a Palestinian homeland, all of Israel and the Arab territories become a battlefield. The IDF options then shrink to two – carpet bombing and mass killing of the civilian population centres on all fronts at once. If that isn’t sustainable or effective for the Israeli-American purpose, then option 2 is to attack Lebanon, Syria and Iran to stop the flow of reinforcements. But that’s regional war, and it can only be conducted by the Israelis with full US military participation. This becomes nuclear very quickly because President Putin has already placed the Kinzhal missiles in range of the US carrier fleet in the eastern Mediterranean, and the Chinese have installed their screen to protect Iran. It’s obvious that the race hatred policies of Biden and Netanyahu, and their belief that God has chosen them both as destroyers for their people, lead to the final, nuclear weapons solution. The Russians and Chinese can maximise their limited military projection by deterring, or if need be pre-empting a nuclear attack on the Arab cities or Teheran. For this to work, the Russians and the Chinese need to say more – loudly so there’s no mistaking what they mean.”
[*] In 1983, in conversation with his General Staff, Iraq’s President Saddam Hussein said: “the Iraqis would be able to withstand three years of fighting in a war. However, the Israelis cannot withstand one year of fighting in a war.” In April 1990 Hussein was hosting Yasser Arafat of the PLO in Baghdad. “[Israel] has 240 nuclear warheads, 12 out of them for each Arab capital,” Arafat said. Saddam replied: “I say this and I am very calm and wearing a civilian suit [everyone laughs]. But I say this so that we can get ready at this level.” Quoted in The Jackals’ Wedding, page 16.