About poli7399

Terence Rosenthal resides in South Florida, and has worked on five political campaign teams. He is a member of the Broward Republican Executive Committee, and is currently attending school for an MBA in Marketing. Terence teaches Tennis and is a personal trainer as well.

“Republican Senate Leaders: India and a New Trans-Arabian Pipeline” By: Terence Rosenthal

India, the largest accessible power to the Middle East, with a Muslim population outnumbering all nations in the Arab world, may play a role in undermining the economic strength of Iran. Republican leaders in the Senate should deliberately foster stronger ties between Israel, moderate Arab countries, and India. Partial Indian backing of new trans-Arabian oil and irrigation pipelines from Egypt to central Oman will signal to Iran that even if it wins current negotiations, it will face severe economic contraction. Fortunately, moderate Arab countries who are either neutral or de facto allies with Israel have good standing with India, as does Israel.

The creation of new trans-Arabian oil and irrigation pipelines that bypass territories influenced by ISIS or Iran will benefit all countries through which they travel. Egypt and Israel will have an unobstructed means of trading fuels and other goods to and from Europe and Asia. Jordan will have greater access to fuel and irrigation that passes through these pipelines. Saudi Arabia will have greater ease of transport with regard to trade of its oil. In addition, desert communities in Saudi Arabia will become more hospitable to growth among its young population. Oman will benefit as well, becoming the choice port for the transport of oil from the GCC to Europe and Asia. With new trans-Arabian water and oil pipelines, countries like Qatar, may stop supporting of organizations like Hamas and Muslim Brotherhood if they can benefit from contribution of trade that avoids conflict areas like the Strait of Hormuz.

If oil produced by Saudi Arabia and other members in the GCC remains low in price, it is possible that Iran will be unable to compete, and will diminish economically. For the Iranian economy to profit, oil must sell at over $120 per barrel. Currently, oil costs less than $70 per barrel. The assurance of low Saudi oil prices will be high if speculators learn that trans-Arabian oil and irrigation pipelines are being discussed. Geopolitically, it pays for the price of Saudi oil to stay low, as it entices European markets away from Russian oil. Russia is one of the prime backers of Iran and Syria.

India already has solid relationships with peaceful countries in the Middle East. Saudi Arabia is one of India’s largest trading partners. It is estimated that trade between both countries is $40 billion annually. Oil and petrochemicals consist of most of Saudi Arabia’s exports to India. Israel is also one of India’s strategic trading partners, exporting defense, technologies, irrigation and agricultural products. Jordan and India have recently celebrated renewed diplomatic ties. Egypt and India have recently agreed to double trade between both countries. Oman and India are strategic trading partners, as Indians are the largest expatriate group in Oman. In addition, in 2013, joint trade between Oman and India exceeded $5.5 billion. Oman and India have also considered building a natural gas pipeline linking both countries.

Israel and moderate Arab nations are entering a new age of stability and strategic diplomacy. For example, Jordan and Israel have been fortifying their alliance through the trade of Israeli natural gas to Jordan. They will also be starting the Red-Dead project, designed to build up the Jordan River, and the Red Sea. In addition, the Red-Dead project will bring greater supply of fresh water to Jordan. This project is peacefully being pursued in waters bordering Saudi Arabia, in the Gulf of Aqaba. Currently Israel also trades natural gas with Egypt and is one of their most important intelligence sharing partners with regard to counter terrorism.

Although a boycott exists regarding trade between Israel and the GCC, it is suspected that annual trade between both is approximately $500 million dollars per year. In addition, certain elements with regard to the Arab boycott of Israeli products are becoming less enforced. Israel even has a “virtual embassy” online with other countries in the Middle East. However, Iran is also a major strategic trading partner with India. Eventually India will have to make a choice whether to side with Israel and the Arab world, or Iran, who also happens to be one of their largest trading partners. Perhaps opportunities that new trans-Arabian oil and irrigation pipelines present will entice India to invest more in Israel and its moderate Arab neighbors. It is incumbent that Republican leaders in the Senate make this a reality.

“Message to Conservatives: Meet Publicly with Leaders of Israel and Moderate Arab Neighbors” By: Terence Rosenthal

Militant Islam, a rising superpower threatening the West, has the potential of dividing the world both militarily and economically. In addition to a strong military stance with regard to the Middle East, conservative politicians must conceive of a diplomatic strategy among leaders of Israel and its moderate Arab neighbors. In a bold political move, Congressman John Boehner has allowed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to speak to address Congress on March 3rd. This should be duplicated with Israel’s neighbors, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Oman. Although these countries are not always agreeable those of western powers, they stand against militant Islam in the Middle East.

Not long ago, few would have imagined that the Iranian Revolutionary Guard would challenge leadership in four Middle Eastern/North African capitols in addition to Tehran. The Syrian civil war before the rise of ISIS is easy to recall. Only a couple of decades have passed since the inception of Al Qaida. A mere thirty-six years have passed since Ayatollah Khomeini rose to power in Iran, the first nation to be governed by militant Islam. Combined, Iran, Al Qaida, and ISIS now command roughly half of the Middle East and North Africa, an area roughly the size of Western Europe. If Iran, ISIS, and Al Qaida do not infringe on each other’s territory, it is likely that they will coexist and gain regional control.

Israel’s moderate neighbors must provide opportunities that militant Islam cannot match. These countries have a very high percentage of unemployed youth. The combined median age in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Oman is approximately twenty-five years old. The reported unemployment rate is approximately thirteen percent, and much higher among youth. With assistance from conservative leaders in the U.S., Israel must reach out to these countries. Israel, the only true market economy in the Middle East will able to provide direction regarding how to transform oil and infrastructure based economies of its neighbors into market economies. The potential labor force of Israel’s moderate neighbors is a perfect match with regard to what Israel offers with regard to farming, irrigation, medical, and defense technologies.

Without an alliance of comparable power standing against ISIS, Al Qaida, and Iran, militant Islam will conquer the Middle East. Western influence in the region will become irrelevant. Passivity with regard to the growth of Sunni and Shia militant Islamic states will result in global trade routes being walled off to Western influence, negatively effecting the price of food, fuel, and other goods. Some countries will look to China and Russia in terms of military and diplomacy. Depending on Moscow for most of its fuel supply, Western Europe will continue decreasing in power. Many nations in Asia will capitulate to Chinese economic supremacy. Global terrorism will rise exponentially if Western powers including the U.S. remain passive.

It is time for conservative politicians in the U.S. to take an active, public role in uniting leaders of Israel and its Middle East neighbors. If Israel and moderate Arab countries are unified by military, infrastructure, and business development, militant Islam will be neutralized in the Middle East. However, if Israel and its moderate neighbors are ignored, not only will the U.S. and other economic powers will suffer increased risk of terrorism, they will lose regional economic, military, and diplomatic control. Without a comparable opponent in the Middle East, a militant Islamic superpower will fully emerge.

U.S. Abandonment in Egypt Leads to Russian and Chinese Ascendancy By: Terence Rosenthal

Now is the time for the U.S. to renew its affiliation with Egypt. Good things have happened since the ousting of the Muslim Brotherhood. Due in part to the freeze in U.S. presence with regard to Egypt, relations between Al Sisi and Netanyahu are vigorous. Egypt plans on purchasing five billion cubic meters of natural gas from Israel’s Tamar reserves.

For the past year, Israeli and Egyptian forces have been working side by side to counter agitation in the Sinai, especially near the border with Gaza. Al Sisi has made distinct overtures that he wants an end to militant Islam in Egypt and world-wide, exclaiming that jihad among Islamists must be reevaluated moving forward. The reality, however, is that Egypt is currently fighting for its economic survival.

Egypt has accepted proposals from both Russia and China. Last year, Moscow and Cairo agreed on an arms deal worth $2billion, superseding the U.S. as Egypt’s prime weapons supplier. China is negotiating with Al Sisi about a prospective New Suez Canal project. For China, this is part of their “Silk Road” expansionist diplomatic strategy.

Russia and China stand behind Iran, and thus support Iranian Islamic militant operations in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen, Sudan and the Sinai. China has doubled its investment in Iranian oil. Russia actively supports the Syrian regime. Because of Russian and Chinese backing of Iran, the presence of Hamas in the Sinai is stronger than ever. It is quite ironic that China seeks to fund the New Suez Canal since Sudan is quite capable obstructing trade in the Red Sea. If the U.S. does not resume influence in Egypt, it will virtually fall under the control of Moscow, Beijing, and possibly Tehran.

It is conceivable that Iran and Russia will temporarily tone down their development in the Middle East, including Egypt due to drastic increase in Saudi oil production. Current Saudi production has caused a major fall in oil prices. As a result, the ruble has also nosedived. The Russian economy is 60% dependent on oil. Moscow was planning on oil costing between $90 and $95 per barrel. At present, the average cost per barrel of oil is at $82.

Saudi Arabia has made clear its feelings of vulnerability in recent years because of waning U.S. influence in the Middle East, and new détente between Washington and Tehran. Coupled with the growing alliance between Russia, Iran, and China, and it is logical to understand why the Saudis are making this tactical move. With regard to Egypt, this increase in Saudi production has set up the perfect opportunity for the U.S. to resume presence in Egypt.

The present window of opportunity afforded by plummeting oil global prices will not last long. If the U.S. remains passive with regard to Egypt, eventually Russia, China, and Iran will control its terms of access. It is arguable that the Strait of Hormuz is already primarily under their control. If Egypt is lost to Russia and China, U.S. power in the Middle East will become irrelevant. From the middle of North Africa to the Persian Gulf, Russia and China will be seen as the dominant global powers. This transition will have negative consequences with regard to the world economy, and global terrorism.

Dismantling Global Iranian Revolutionary Guard: Key to U.S. Victory in Nuclear Negotiations, 2015 By: Terence Rosenthal

To gain leverage against Iran by the summer of 2015, action must to be taken in addition to the prevailing sanctions. Currently, countries negotiating with Iran regarding its nuclear program seem flummoxed. In addition, none are willing to use force as a means of persuasion. Movement capable of reducing Iran’s ability to bargain must be explored.

 

It is possible that the Iranians will be allowed to keep 4,500 active centrifuges, up from originally 500. Suspected of having 19,000 centrifuges, 9,000 of which are active, Iran has more than enough to create a nuclear device. With its present technology, the Iran is capable of producing nuclear explosives in three to six months, and manufacturing a full-fledged bomb in a year and a half. If current Iranian nuclear technology is updated, or if covert development continues, nukes may be produced in a time frame much shorter than eighteen months.

 

Sanctions have had a dire effect on the Iranian economy, causing leadership to soften their tone with regard to the international community. However, in recent negotiations, the Iran appears to have gained the upper hand. Perhaps action should be directed toward marginalizing Iran’s most divisive militant organization, the IRGC, or Iranian Revolutionary Guard. In short, a global sting operation directed toward illicit activities conducted by the IRGC may be what is necessary to deter the confidence of Iranian negotiators in 2015.

 

When people think of current terrorist agencies sponsored by Iran, it is likely that Hezbollah, the Houthis in Yemen, or Iran’s strategic military partnership in Sudan come to mind. These, however, pale in comparison with Iran’s own Revolutionary Guard (IRGC). The IRGC yields over $12 Billion per year, and is connected with over one hundred companies involved in petrochemicals, fuels, and construction.

Due to emphasis on asymmetrical warfare, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard and elite Quds Forces differ from Western military in that their operations outside of Iran are permitted to function independently from a central command. As a result, IRGC will often connect with terrorist agencies, drug cartels, and armed forces of allied countries. The IRGC even links with religious and civic organizations in other countries to pursue fundraising and recruitment initiatives.

 

Iran is alive and well in the Americas. Its presence in Venezuela is alarming. The IRGC has served with the Venezuelan Army, while the Quds Forces have helped supervise transport of drugs from illicit Venezuelan crime syndicates. Conceivably, the most well-known partnership of the global IRGC is with Hezbollah, Iran’s most recognizable terrorist sponsor. The presence of Hezbollah and Quds forces in neighboring Mexico present the United States with a major threat at its southern border.

 

Since 2005, Iran and Hezbollah have developed a presence in Latin America, opening 17 cultural centers, and forming relations with the Mexican drug cartels. 200,000 immigrants from Lebanon and Syria, many of whom are illegal residents, live in Mexico, and have established residence with the help of drug cartels like Los Zetas, the most technically advanced of Mexico’s illegal crime organizations.

 

Doubtless, the most overt terrorist plot against American security took place in 2011 when Quds forces were accused of planning to assassinate the Saudi Ambassador to the U.S. The Quds force was also suspected of collaborating with Los Zetas in a plot to bomb the Saudi Arabian and Israeli Embassies in Argentina, and the Israeli Embassy in Washington D.C.

 

Any approach to breaking Iran’s will in the next round of negotiations comes with great risk. However, if U.S. negotiators capitulate in 2015, Iran may become a nuclear power. This is detrimental to the interests of the U.S. and its allies. It is quite possible that a regional nuclear arms race, or war for dominance in the Middle East will follow. Stopping illegal activity on the part of the IRGC may provide a way for John Kerry to mandate terms of negotiation with Iran this summer.

 

Addressing the Sinai: First Step for Israeli/ Moderate Arab Alliance By: Terence Rosenthal

There has been much talk of partnership between Israel and moderate Arab states, Saudi Arabia Jordan and Egypt. Addressing radicalism in the Sinai Peninsula, the land bridge connecting Africa with the Middle East, presents these countries with a golden opportunity to unify. Development of an enhanced buffer zone at the Sinai/Gaza border, bomb resistant pipelines, and reinforced ports in Egypt and Israel provides additional opportunity for this union.

ISIS and the Syrian civil war dominate headlines in the Middle East. Through aggressive PR, ISIS has been attracting followers worldwide. Victory for moderate, pro-Western nations in the in the Sinai would undermine the confidence and charisma of ISIS, directing potential followers away from its radical path.

Egypt, Israel, Saudi Arabia, and Jordan all have much to gain in fortifying the Gaza border, providing better protection of pipelines, and greater fortification of ports in Israel and Egypt. The effectiveness of the Suez Canal, through which 8 percent of global trade travels, is undercut because of radicalism in Yemen and Somalia. Safety of Israeli and Egyptian ports, from which goods to the West are shipped, are challenged by Hamas, Al Qaida, and the ISIS conflict in Syria. Saudi Arabia, struggling with radical groups like Al Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula must counter obstruction from Yemen to its South and the Strait of Hormuz to its North. The Saudis depend on passage of fuels to safe ports in the Mediterranean as well. Jordan, having very little of its own natural resources, contends with Hamas and Muslim Brotherhood, and relies heavily on safe transport of fuels from Israel and Egypt.

Ansar Beit al-Maqdis, Hamas, and the local Bedouin population are the most important actors involved in the Sinai conflict. After the fall of Mohammad Morsi in 2011, many radical Islamists in Egypt, particularly in the Sinai Peninsula, see violence as their only means of gaining power. This was highlighted by the return of Ayman Al Zawahiri to Egypt, as well reinvigorated Al Qaida presence in the peninsula.
Ansar Beit al-Maqdis, rising to prominence in 2013, is a local branch of Al Qaida, recently affiliated with ISIS. ABM gained support from radical Islamists after the fall of the Muslim Brotherhood. Some in the Sinai say they have seen Muhammad Al Zawahiri, Ayman’s brother, working with ABM. On a positive note, if ABM becomes too closely linked with ISIS, it may lose credibility as specifically representing Egyptian Islamists disheartened by the fall of Morsi, and the Muslim Brotherhood. Victory against ABM would further hasten this.

Recently, ABM used rockets smuggled from the Palestinian border through Hamas tunnels. It attempted an assassination on Egyptian Interior Minister Mohamed Ibrahim in Cairo in September, 2013. On October 24th, ABM also attacked a security checkpoint in the Sinai, killing 33 Egyptian security personnel.

Hamas, an offshoot of Muslim Brotherhood based in Gaza, helped enable the car bombing in the October 24th attack conducted by ABM. Black market tunnel trade and logistics at the Gaza border is one tangible way that it can be linked to Al Qaida and ISIS in the Sinai. Hamas may have an agreement with the Palestinian group Jaish al-Islam to train people to fight in Yemen, Syria, and the Sinai. Since its leadership began in 2007, tunnels from the Sinai into Gaza have contributed $230 million in monthly revenue. Radical allegiances are not as simple as Sunni versus Shia. Although Hamas is a radical Sunni group, it has been linked with Iran for funding, weaponry, strategy, and training.

When stakes against Western targets are high, groups funding Sunni and Shia radicalism unite. In the past, the military wing of Hamas has imported Iranian-made long range Fajr-5 rockets. It has been suspected recently that Iranians linked to Hamas were working with ABM to strategize deadly attacks on the peninsula. Recently, the discovery of a Klos-C missile, as well as 40 rockets and 400,000 bullets were intercepted in the region and thought to be in transit to Gaza.

Last, and perhaps most important in the Sinai conflict is the local Bedouin population. The Bedouins are ripe targets for Jihadi groups in the Sinai because of their status as marginalized outsiders in Egyptian society. They are often refused local jobs to those of Egyptian heritage. Many Bedouin families are tied to the Levant and Saudi Arabia, and still maintain close cultural and familial ties to those lands.
Sinai Bedouins often endure many hardships including no running water or property rights. They were able to find employment opportunity in resorts in south Sinai. However, tourism in the south has taken a huge hit due to ongoing conflict. As a result, Bedouins find opportunity in the transport of drugs, weapons, and people. Many have become radicalized, joining local groups like ABM. Some help transport contraband through tunnels into Gaza.

Currently, the status of the Bedouin population in the Sinai is a black eye on the human rights record of the Al Sissi government. If Egypt offered Bedouins greater legitimacy, its current relationship with global trading partners would improve dramatically. Reinforcement of Sinai ports, and pipelines, as well as an enhanced buffer isolating Gaza can provide employment to the Bedouins, vastly improving their current status in Egypt.

Defeat of militant Islam in the Sinai, and development of infrastructure on the part of a moderate Arab/ Israel alliance addresses two goals: first, integration of Bedouins into Egyptian society, second, military and economic victory against ISIS and Hamas. Victory for a moderate, pro-Western alliance in this region also helps diminish the strength of the successful PR war being launched by ISIS. Winning the war against radicalism in the Middle East comes down to global public perception that a successful outcome is possible. Perhaps victory and economic progress in the Sinai is the first step.

2014 Midterms: A Call to Unite Israel and Moderate Arab States Against Isis and Beyond By: Terence Rosenthal

As the November 24th Iranian nuclear agreement emerges, those in the newly empowered Republican Senate must reach out to consolidate the growing union between Israel and moderate Arab nations. It is time to consider future value of new alliances unified in the war of defeating ISIS. Although the U.S. may gain important intelligence by arming and tracking movements of moderate rebels in Syria, a partnership consisting of Israel, Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and other Gulf State moderates should provide the basis for which trust U.S. trust in the Middle East emerges.

Although countries like Israel, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia originally unified against a nuclear armed Iran, at present, they are finding common ground with regard to ISIS and militant Islam. In the past, no Arab nation wanted to be seen partnering with Israel regarding balance of power in the Middle East. However, moderate Arab nations realize that Israel has the most developed army in the region. Today, Saudi Arabia, and Jordan, as well as Egypt are likely to work with Israel because of its access to the Mediterranean, and its ability to guard against ISIS at the northern borders of both Jordan and Saudi Arabia. ISIS has often exclaimed that once they take over Iraq, their next target is the holy city of Mecca.

Israel, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Jordan know how destructive radical Sunni Islamic militant organizations are. Israel endures ongoing war with Hamas. Jordan is wary of threats of insurgency from ISIS, Hamas, and the Muslim Brotherhood. Saudi Arabia struggles with Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. Egypt, where the Muslim Brotherhood was recently overthrown, battles anarchy in the Sinai Peninsula, home to Al Qaeda, Hamas, and Al-Baghdadi loyalist, Ansar Al Jerusalem.  In addition to internal threats, U.S. allies like Turkey and Qatar do not help when they actively provide support for Hamas and Muslim Brotherhood, and confront ISIS with ambivalence.

Solidifying a union of Israel and moderate Arab states has numerous benefits with regard to defeating ISIS. First, pro-West, pro-business Arab countries working together will be better able to fortify their northern borders from an ISIS onslaught. Second, they will be better able to detect threats like Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas, and Al Qaeda, due to better integration of intelligence. Third, they will have a base with which to reach out to moderate secular groups like the Kurds within the ISIS conflict.

Both moderate Arab nations and Israel desire regional stability and future economic development. Currently, pipeline and infrastructure projects reinforcing the future of the alliance between Israel, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Egypt are underway. For example, Israel is set embark on natural gas projects with Egypt for $30 billion, and Jordan for $15 billion. Providing a ready supply of fuels will help considerably in alleviating threats of militant Islam in both of these countries.  In recent years, the U.S. has neglected Arab nations in the Middle East after its pivot to Asia. Economic challenges in countries like Jordan and Egypt urgently require answers. In addition, the new Senate must also quickly begin the task of coalescing Israel and moderate Arab nations around common goals like future economic value.

As ISIS seeks to exploit civil war in Syria and Iraq, Hamas and Al Qaeda seek to gin up radicalism and violence in Israel, Egypt, the Sinai, and the Arabian Peninsula. If the U.S. is going to maintain a passive or surgical strategy in the war against ISIS, then more effort on the diplomatic front should be made with regard to the Middle East. This can be done by meeting with leaders in Israel and moderate Arab states in the pursuit of establishing an ideal partnership on the basis of present and future value.

November 24th Iranian Nuclear Agreement: Call to Action for Newly Empowered Republican Senate – by: Terence Rosenthal

As the November 24th Iranian nuclear agreement emerges, those in the newly empowered Republican Senate must voice their concern with relaxed terms regarding Iranians nuclear program. Once it reaches the threshold of weapons grade nuclear enrichment, there is no telling when Iran will develop a missile. So far, details regarding production and development of nuclear centrifuges in Iran are vague at best.

It is possible that U.S. caution with regard to intervention in the ISIS conflict is an attempt on the part of the Obama administration to place Iran, Israel, and the Arab States into a scenario where they are forced to ally in defeating ISIS.  Recently, Iran has been attempting to use the ISIS conflict as a means for demonstrating that it is capable with working with the West, and moderate Arab coalitions.

Foreign policy experts, Thomas Pickering, Brent Scowcroft, Daniel Kurtzer, Nicholas Platt, and Zbigniew Brzezinski helped draft the Wilson Center think tank document entitled “The Iran Project. Iran and its Neighbors. Regional Implications for US Policy of a Nuclear Agreement.” This document encourages an Arab-Iranian-Israeli alliance as a means for defeating ISIS. It employs a strategy that provides license for passivity on the part of the U.S., and may allow Iran to enrich uranium just short of the point limit of becoming weapons-grade.

Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Iran all wish to emerge as the dominant power in the Middle East too much for an Arab-Iranian-Israeli alliance to be a realistic option. In fact, the opposite may be true. It is not far-fetched to imagine Saudi Arabia wanting the ISIS conflict to spill over into Iran, or the Iranians wishing that the caliphate spurs civil war in neighboring Turkey.

It is rumored that Iran has nuclear devices capable of being inserted into conventional missiles with the potential of reaching Israel if launched. Recently, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Zarif told the Washington Post that Iran, for all intents and purposes, is already a nuclear power. Perhaps Zarif is merely bluffing. However, the ramifications if this is true should be taken seriously. Iran seeks two goals, first, for global economic sanctions lifted so revolution can be avoided from within their country, second, to become the dominant country in OPEC and the Middle East.

If terms regarding Iranian nukes are too lax, the U.S. could be providing an open invitation to Iran to defy international law, regarding the creation of nukes. Iran emerging as the strongman in the Middle East after negotiations with Obama will result in smaller pro-Western Arabic states falling with them for fear of reprisal. This will result in a completely anti-Western, anti-Israeli Middle East.

Already, Iran and its proxies, Hezbollah and the Houthis have established satellites in Lebanon, Iraq, Syria, and Yemen.  Since the rise of the Ayatollah, Iran has consistently promoted global terror, threatening the West with violence, and political takeover. To paraphrase Benjamin Netanyahu, agreeing on further Iranian nuclear enrichment and potential weaponry as a way to unite the Middle East to defeat ISIS, is like winning the battle and losing the war with regard to militant Islam.

Global Benefit of Better Arms for the Kurds By: Terence Rosenthal

On October 13th, pro-Western Kurdish fighters, while staving off ISIS in the village of Kobani, were attacked by none other than Turkey, a longstanding member of NATO. Maybe there is an informal alliance between Turkey and ISIS. The Turks have been purchasing oil hijacked by ISIS in recent months. Perhaps this explains why Turkey is playing both sides of the ISIS conflict, bombing Kurdish forces in Kobani, while providing aid to Kurdish refugees.

Simply stated, the two main regional powers surrounding the ISIS conflict, Turkey and Iran, stand to gain from a partial ISIS victory. If ISIS galvanizes territory in Syria and takes over parts of western Iraq, Turkey will profit by having a pro-Sunni neighbor selling hijacked oil at reduced prices. Iran will also benefit, attaining a weakened, compliant, pro-Shia government in neighboring eastern Iraq. In addition, it is likely that a pro-Assad Hezbollah stronghold in Syria will still remain.

If the U.S. is really interested in defeating ISIS, they should provide better ammunition for the Kurds. In all of the fragmentation the war on ISIS presents, a unified force like the Kurds are worth investing in. If the U.S. is going to spend valuable time and resources assuring regional boots on the ground, it should do so in a way that provides safeguards if outcomes are less than optimal. Perhaps the unification of Kurdish forces and the Syrian rebels provides assured stability.

One of the prime goals of ISIS is to exploit fragmented enemies. Groups lacking unity, like the rebel forces in Syria, are easy targets for ISIS. Placing faith squarely in the hands of Syrian rebels to serve as U.S. boots on the ground is a wild card. Currently, the U.S. is asking the rebels to fight a war on two fronts- first against Assad, second against ISIS. Where will Syrian fighters turn if they lose? The prime goal of Kurdish forces, however, is to contain and defeat ISIS.

After the ISIS conflict, the only possible friend pro-Western Syrian rebels will be able to turn to in the region will be the Kurds. It does not serve world interests for valuable portions of fuel and resources to fall into the hands of ISIS and Iran. It is also a regional benefit for secular Muslims to have a resource, trade-driven territory in which they can freely live and work. Arming the Kurds with better weaponry is a wise humanitarian choice that serves the global economy.

U.S./Oman Alliance: Pragmatism, Peace and Pipelines By: Terence Rosenthal

The U.S., and Saudi Arabia must have greater economic and diplomatic relations with Oman. This is possible by assisting in the construction of a pipeline with Oman to India from the port of Duqm, Oman on the Arabian Sea. Oman is vital to the West because it connects Saudi Arabia, and the Gulf nations to the Indian Ocean. Its coastline extends hundreds of miles south of tension in the Persian Gulf.

Oman holds great potential with regard to Asia and the West because of its possible role in passage from the Mediterranean and Middle East to the Indian Ocean. Oman is unobstructed by conflict. This is extremely vital considering the lack of stability in the Suez Canal, Gulf of Aden, and the Persian Gulf.

As the U.S. becomes more self-sufficient with regard to domestic energy supply, it must aid peaceful nations in the Gulf in discovering markets of future value to assure freedom of conflict as well as Islamic radicalism. Fortunately, Oman and other countries in the GCC are seeking projects that will further their wealth. Prosperity, economic production, and transparent leadership are what is needed to draw youth, and those tired of political stagnation away from support for ISIS, Al Qaeda, and other terrorist organizations.

In past decades, Oman has struck a diplomatic balance between Saudi Arabia, the West, and Iran. It has been wary of Saudi Arabia because of past conflict over regional hegemony. However, Iran’s recent treatment of countries in the Persian Gulf, especially Bahrain, has mirrored that of China in the South China Sea. If Oman can have greater relations with the West, they will be less enticed to rely on Iran for economic partnerships. Both Oman and Iran have discussed the possibility of an India-Iran-Oman triangle. The U.S. and Saudi Arabia should pose the benefits of constructing an underwater pipeline from the central port of Duqm instead.

A Saudi-U.S.-Oman partnership is politically stable, solidifies a pro-Western stance among Gulf nations, and forges greater connection to India, the largest democracy in the world. In addition, the construction of an Oman-Indian pipeline would assure Oman would greater security and protection by the West, and better relations with their neighbors, Saudi Arabia.

Existing infrastructure from the Trans-Arabian and Arab pipelines can help accommodate for a new transport route from the Mediterranean to the Indian Ocean. Oman is a necessary element in cementing this route. Since 1980, Oman has been an ally of the U.S., and allows military access to its bases and ports. Currently, it has worked with the U.S. in creating a defense shield against Iran. There is also the potential of a U.S. constructed defense program capable of intercepting Iranian missiles in and out of the earth’s atmosphere designed specifically for the Gulf nations, including Oman.

As with other countries in the Middle East, radicalism poses a major internal threat. One can argue that due to its support of the Assad regime, Iran is to blame for the rebellion of the Sunni majority in Syria, resulting in ISIS. Oman should be wary of Iran’s military and economic support in proxy wars.

The Houthis, a radical Shiite group, has just coopted power with President Abed Mansour Hadi in neighboring Yemen. They have acquired a state within a state, similar to Hezbollah in Lebanon. The Houthis are a prime example of how Iran maintains proxy wars. The Houthi conflict could potentially “boil over” into Oman. Yemen, already a hotbed of insurgency, as well Somalia, its neighbor across the Red Sea, have effectively closed off trade in this region, making the Suez Canal ineffective as a transport route. It is likely that Iran may close off the Strait of Hormuz as well, cutting off diplomatic ties with Oman in the process.

Although Oman has recently partnered with Iran regarding new diplomatic and economic projects, they have done so with the Saudi Arabia as well. Bank Muscat of Oman recently hosted a conference featuring infrastructure and small business projects with Saudi Arabia. Bank Muscat also seeks to strengthen its economic investment among other Gulf nations as well.

The largest joint infrastructure project currently underway between Oman and Saudi Arabia is the Oman-Saudi Arabia highway project. This $5.3 billion dollar project is aimed at promotion of trade and tourism and transfer of petrol products between Oman and Saudi Arabia. It bypasses the expansive Empty Quarter desert, cutting the distance from cities in western Saudi Arabia to Oman’s coast nearly in half.

Although vital to the region, Oman’s regional influence has its limits. Tension regarding Iranian nukes, and the ISIS conflict challenges Oman’s ability to maintain its current alliances. The West, Saudi Arabia and other Gulf nations will have to find alternatives in gaining access to the Indian Ocean. In 2012, U.A.E. in preparation of this possibility, constructed a pipeline to the Gulf of Oman in order to bypass tensions in the Persian Gulf.

Although Western involvement in the Omani port of Duqm poses potential limits, its benefits outweigh its setbacks.Oman, wary of the possibility of conflict to its north, is developing infrastructure and pipelines at the port of Duqm, hundreds of miles south of the Persian Gulf, and the ISIS conflict. Oman is talking to U.A.E. and Saudi Arabia about construction of connecting pipelines to Duqm. Now is the time for the U.S. and Saudi Arabia to optimize relations with Oman. For the sake of a better, more conflict-free global economy, a pipeline connecting Oman with Saudi Arabia and India presents the perfect opportunity.

Significance of Jordan Regarding ISIS By: Terence Rosenthal – 9/21/2014

If Jordan falls to ISIS, Israel or Saudi Arabia will be next in its crosshairs. Conflict the magnitude of World War II will ensue. Hundreds of thousands of lives will be lost, and global trade severely hindered. The price of food and oil will skyrocket in the U.S. and worldwide.

Because of its proximity to Israel and Saudi Arabia, a victory for ISIS in that region may give it the power of an emerging rogue empire, as opposed to an isolated threat. Jordan is challenged with the responsibility of being next to war zones of Iraq and Syria. ISIS presents clear and present danger. In fact, they have recently taken over Iraqi border crossings into Jordan.

Jordan, located next to major oil producers, Saudi Arabia and the GCC, is the only true Middle Eastern ally of Israel, its prosperous, western neighbor. To maintain a pro-western coalition of Middle Eastern countries willing to take stand, containing groups like Hamas, Al Nusra, Al Qaida, and ISIS, fortification of Jordanian borders, and enhanced intelligence are essential.

Jordan is challenged with having limited natural resources. Its tourism and trade have suffered due to future unpredictability as a result of regional strife. This has resulted in high unemployment, making Jordan more susceptible to Jihad than ever.

In light of the Arab Spring, Jordan has been challenged with the task of gradual reform with regard to its monarchy. Its leadership contends with local Palestinian and Islamist groups. While austerity measures help keep Jordan’s economy afloat, they also have the potential of rousing rebellion among those living in desperation. There are approximately 7,000 ISIS supporters in Jordan. Some of these supporters may be sleeper cells.

Salafists, Muslim Brotherhood, and ISIS supporters within Jordan must be prevented from convincing people that they can provide a fairer and more just system than current leadership. It is important that corruption, red tape, and excessive bureaucracy be reduced. After all, there is no greater target of Islamism than ruling class and monarchy tied to corruption.

In the midst of current challenges, there is hope. Perhaps the U.S., Saudi Arabia and Israel could promote the use of Jordanian work force with projects in the region. Jordan has burgeoning industries in information technology, and offers comparatively cheap labor regionally. Gulf News called it “the Silicon Valley of the Middle East.”

The U.S. has sent aid to Jordan to aid in the shelter of its estimated 600,000 refugees from Syria and Iraq. This is a positive step. Luckily, Jordan’s neighbors, Saudi Arabia and Israel have a large supply of oil and natural gas. In fact, Israel has just arranged a deal to sell $15 billion in natural gas to Jordan.

Along with internal reforms, Jordan should update its economic alliances with its Arab neighbors not contributing to the ISIS conflict. The Jordanians would benefit by improving trade relations set under GAFTA, The Greater Arab Free Trade Agreement. Better integration of trade between Jordan and other peaceful Arab countries in the region will help strengthen economic interdependency in the region.

Cautious, incremental political changes regarding personal and business freedoms should be encouraged, promoting change and still maintaining the stability of Jordan’s pro-western monarchy. There should be gradual, yet noticeable reforms as well a crackdown on corruption in Jordanian cities of where the main supply of recruits to armed forces and security reside.

It will help if money is delegated to local needs in East Bank communities, where most Palestinian and pro-Islamists reside, especially with regard to schools and military hospitals. These steps will help alleviate the possibility of a power grab on the part of Muslim Brotherhood or Hamas.

Last, and perhaps most vital, it is beneficial, in light of current events, for the U.S. to help Jordan strengthen its conventional ground forces and fortify its borders with Iraq and Syria. The U.S. should also work with Jordan, Israel, and Saudi Arabia as a coalition, devising strategy regarding enhanced intelligence at their borders, and within their own countries.