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One of the earliest and most effective strategies to emerge from the study of warfare was the application of diversionary tactics to misdirect or distract an enemy in order to achieve a tactical advantage.
That all sounds somewhat stuffy.
How about the magician who declares, “Nothing up my sleeve!” to distract his audience away from the real trick? America’s attention is focused on the presidential primaries, conventions, debates and the upcoming election. But while we’re not looking, our enemies are not resting.
They’re taking full advantage of the diversion.
While our attention was distracted, the Russians embarked on what appears to be an effort to rebuild its old empire, by force if necessary, beginning with the Republic of Georgia. The Russians have decided to ignore the terms of the cease-fire signed with Georgia’s government and have begun to occupy the country, in defiance of world opinion.
One of Moscow’s major complaints against the Georgian government is its close relationship with Israel – particularly its military relationship – and Israel’s defiance of Russia’s declared arms embargo against Tblisi.
While we weren’t paying that much attention, Vice President Dick Cheney traveled to Kiev to assure the Ukrainians that the U.S. would support them, should Moscow turn its attention to them. He made similar assurances to the Azerbaijanis while he was in the neighborhood.
While we were mesmerized by Barack Obama at his convention, the Russians threatened Poland with a nuclear strike against the U.S. missile shield Poland agreed to allow deployed along its borders – in defiance of the Kremlin.
The Iranians haven’t gone on vacation while America’s attention is distracted by the speeches and convention-goers and demonstrators and spin doctors, either.
Instead, the Iranians have been planting mines in the Persian Gulf in preparation for war. According to intelligence reports from the region, the U.S. is preparing to deploy at least one additional strike carrier group to the region some time around mid September.
While we listened to the candidates argue over whether or not we should remain in Iraq, the Iranian Republican Guard has stepped up its weapons and supply transfers to Iraq’s Mahdi Army.
A report authored by Anthony Cordesman of the Center for Strategic and International Studies said Iran has been supplying rockets, mortars, explosively formed projectiles and other weapons to Shiite militias. CSIS said the Mahdi Army, believed to have up to 40,000 fighters, contains Iranian advisers in an effort to model the militia after Iran’s other puppet army, Hezbollah.
The Mahdi Army was said to be equipped with AK-47 Kalashnikov assault rifles, sniper rifles, grenades, rocket-propelled grenades, bombs, mortars and Katyusha rockets. The report said Mahdi has increased the size of its bombs to overcome the military’s Mine Resistant Ambush Protected Vehicle.
And while we’re looking forward to November’s election, Israel is wondering if it will survive long enough to find out who wins.
Israel’s former “peace partner” Fatah has all but crumbled as Jordan, Egypt and other regional governments have started to open up new diplomatic channels with Hamas.
Twenty-five centuries ago, the Hebrew prophet Ezekiel predicted the rise of a vast, Russian-led Islamic alliance cryptically called “Gog and Magog.”
Ezekiel’s Gog corresponds with modern-day Russia. Ezekiel’s Magog corresponds to modern Georgia and parts of Ukraine, Azerbaijan and Armenia.
Leading the Islamic alliance under Gog-Magog’s direction, according to this 25 centuries old prophecy, will be “Persia” – the name by which Iran was known from Ezekiel’s day until 1925.
According to the prophet Ezekiel, the alliance will include stateless actors (“and many people with thee”) that will participate in an invasion effort against Israel. Iran is currently arming the Mahdi Army, Hamas and Hezbollah in preparation for a promised Islamic conflict against Israel, using nuclear weapons created via Russian-supplied reactors.
(If you want to find out how it turns out, read Ezekiel Chapter 38. Ezekiel hasn’t missed anything so far – there’s no reason to think he’ll suddenly start getting it wrong now.)
If there was ever a time when America should be paying attention, it’s now. But, that is why diversionary tactics work so well in the first place.