Chapter Thirteen


The Palestine Fiasco, as it was now called by the Israeli public, was accepted by them with mixed feelings, mostly negative. The temporary cessation of fighting was somewhat encouraging on the one hand, but on the other, the threat of a much larger army looming behind the front lines waiting to pounce on the little nation had injected a major dose of fear into the populace, bringing with it the vote of no confidence in the current Israeli administration that toppled its leadership and creating in its stead a government ready to bend like a willow in conformance with anything that looked like a path to a more permanent peace.

To make matters more critical for the would-be invaders, the Israelis were now exploiting the enormous cache of oil they had found in the Med and had claimed for their own. They now were the dominant oil exporter of the world, reaping the huge profits from that enterprise at the expense of their neighbors and the bankrupting of their enemies.

The Russian president sat on his opulent throne, his right hand propping up his cheek. Despite the majestic splendor of his station, he was despondent. He was fully aware of the propensity of the new Israeli government to cave at the slightest promise of a more lasting peace, which meant that the Israelis were willing to subject themselves to Western domination in exchange for the illusion of security.

He didn’t want that. He wanted the Israeli oil, and he wanted it now. His control over that oil would, at the minimum, cause the price to rise in the West.   The increase in wealth and control that he had anticipated out of his own oil revenues had not happened. The economic situation worldwide was so bleak that the demand for oil had dropped to the point where the cupboards in the Russian Motherland were rapidly becoming bare. The only way to turn that situation around would be to make oil more precious, and the only way to make that happen would be to intervene in the control of the oil available to the west. I have to have that Israeli oil, he thought.

The Russian combat troops ringing the Mideast weren’t helping. They’d remained in place, along with the Iranian and Turkish soldiers and now their wives and families. If their idleness was to be prolonged, it would drain Mother Russia dry as a bone. They needed to be clothed and warmed and fed, but as soldiers maintained in a high state of readiness they contributed nothing toward those needs. If I’m going to be hurting, he reasoned, my confederates will be hurting too, and sooner than me. Their combat readiness will suffer along with the cash flow.

He’d read the Hebrew prophets, more as a means of scoffing at their God than anything else. But he knew that in some quarters the words of their prophet Ezekiel had foretold of his invasion of Israel. Is God really putting a hook in my jaw? he asked in a brief moment of horror. He forcefully slapped it away from his mind, reminding himself of God’s irrelevance to the world. He doesn’t even exist, the leader said to himself. But I do. Me. He looked around the room, every item in it speaking of his own greatness. Comforted somewhat, he continued to think of the future, and of how he might still achieve the full greatness of his destiny.

The world of the Russian president’s contemplation was deeply polarized into three great political divisions: the West, with its five Regions, the North American, South American, Western European, Indo-Australian, and Pacific Far West, China and Israel standing alone with China as a giant monolith dwarfing the almost invisible little speck on maps that bothered to represent Israel as an independent nation. In opposition to the West was the Eastern Empire, consisting of the president’s own Russia and then Persia, Syrio-Turk, Arabo-African, and Southern Asia, five in all.   Of all of the motivating factors behind his eagerness to attack Israel, the manipulation of this political polarization to his own advantage was most prominent. The prospect of becoming indisputable master of the Eastern Empire through this war was so enticing that he had to suppress it to the subliminal level. But it was always there in the background, like the even greater prize of eventual domination of the entire world.

With Israel finally out of the picture, it would almost inevitably follow that the predominantly-Muslim Eastern Empire would become the stronger of the two five-toed branches of world government. China? Perhaps later, after the conquest of the West.

Take over the Israeli oil fields. Nobody’s going to complain, least of all the Arabs. America? What a laugh! Their State Department, presided over by a weak and self-indulgent White House, will scream like stuck pigs, but in the end they’ll do nothing to stop me. With a little show of strength in their direction, they’ll fall all over themselves to appease me. Put the troops to work earning their wages. Collect the oil money ourselves. Hand Israel over to the Arabs, that’ll make them happy. As if they had a choice anyway. It all makes sense. . .

He called in his top generals. “I want you to establish a definite timetable to get our troops moving and occupy Israel,” he told them. His stern demeanor presented the message more eloquently than his words: get off your rears and get moving.

“What kind of time frame are you thinking of?” asked one of the generals, a man whose portly physique suggested that his concept of rank included the indulgence in the comforts to which his position entitled him. “Perhaps a couple of months or so? The logistics of that time . . .“

The president decided to make the man an example of the urgency he felt. Signaling two of his ever-present personal security contingent to collar the man, he told them to handcuff him and hand him over to another detail who would then escort him to the prison in the palace basement, where he would enjoy the privileges of a treasonous private. “Have I made myself clear?” he spoke to the remaining generals. “In answer to his question of time, I’m looking at the end of the week. Get moving.”

By the end of the week, a multitude of convoys had departed the encampments, heading back north with the wives and families of the huge military machine, which now was feverishly in the process of fueling up and making last-minute provisions for moving out. At the same time, like insects spewing out eggs, the huge fleet of war ships parked in the northern Mediterranean were littering the waters with their spawn of little troop transport craft in preparation for a seaward assault to supplement the overland march of the main body of soldiers.

State departments of the Western nations “viewed this development with utmost concern”, as they approached the Russian consulates with timidity, frantically attempting to “calm the waters” by the dubious use of their negotiating tools with the vague promise of appeasing rewards. The Russian president demanded to be kept apprised of the several attempts along those lines, using them as a constant source of mirth. Every time he would receive a new snippet of such information, he gleefully would down a celebratory dollop of vodka.

Encouraged by the way his plans were coming together so satisfactorily, the Russian leader decided to give himself an extra cushion of support in his upcoming advance. Considering the fighting abilities of the fiercely anti-Israeli Taliban fighters that had brought Russia to her knees so recently in the Afghan war, he decided to open an additional front from the east with these Pashtuns in the vanguard. They were Sunnis, not his favorite sect, but then the Egyptians and Saudis were also of that persuasion. That might even be helpful in the future, the Russian mused. Perhaps once the Sunnis and Shi’ites take care of Israel, they’ll turn on each other and leave me with all the riches.







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