Tag Archives: Al Qaeda

Speculative reasoning

It is a stage we all entertain, OK, entertaining not the greatest word here, yet the stage is smitten with ‘What if’, ‘How could’ and ‘Who is’, it is an approach to critical thinking, postulating and no matter how academic we tend to make it, it remains speculation. So as CNBC gives us (at https://www.cnbc.com/2021/08/30/weapons-proliferation-risk-in-afghanistan-very-worrying-saudi-prince-turki.html) the article ‘Saudi Arabia’s former intel chief calls weapons proliferation risk in Afghanistan very worrying as terror threat grows’ the engine starts rolling. The first thing I did was take another look at the map. No matter how that corridor runs, it takes Iran to make it work. Yes, there is a one party of Pakistan, yet Pakistan fear to be taken out of nearly every international equation and siding with the Taliban sets them up to that stage. They’ll possibly still help in other ways, but Pakistan needs Saudi Arabia a lot more than the Taliban and the Taliban does not have any financial means to make it work. So we are speculatively set to the stage of Iran. So even as we accept “sparking fear in Saudi Arabia about the enduring threat of ISIS and Al Qaeda and where and with whom the equipment might end up”, ISIS and Al Qaeda still need a stage to operate on and the fear is not wrong, but it does require a path to Saudi Arabian borders and I see this as as a setting that requires Iran. 

We might take ‘solace’ from “The President also vowed to issue another retaliatory strike against the terrorists responsible for Thursday’s suicide bombing that killed 13 U.S. service members and more than 110 Afghans.” Yet in this the larger element is missed. You see the Taliban took over Afghanistan in less than 10 days, they got billions in hardware against an army that was well over 500% larger. In all this Al Qaeda could not operate unseen and there is a larger stage where someone is feeding Al Qaeda information and my speculative view is that the Taliban and Al Qaeda are in bed together, to what degree remains to be seen, but there is no way that Al Qaeda can avoid all parties by themselves. 

The larger problem is “NATO has been clear that it expected the Taliban to keep its “commitment” that it will not allow Afghanistan to become a haven for terrorists, Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg told CNBC in a recent interview, but it’s still unclear if the Taliban is capable of managing the possible contagion, or if the most recent attack in Kabul could embolden individuals or terror groups around the wider region” This implies that NATO is either dumb or clueless, optionally both. The Taliban will only keep commitments that serves them and that gives both ISIS and Al Qaeda a lot of manoeuvring space. And the leeway we see with ‘it’s still unclear if the Taliban is capable of managing the possible contagion’ I do not believe that is the right approach. The Taliban had a little over 10 years to set up their own network and I personally believe that it is in place and they now have an arms division that makes it more powerful than several middle easters nations, they could overrun Bahrain in a day and Oman within 4 days and that is a larger problem. Yes, I suddenly made an ‘error’ and mentioned the Taliban and not Al Qaeda, but I wonder how far they are in bed together, more importantly India Today told us yesterday ‘A pledge binds al-Qaeda to Taliban. Why is it a worry for Pakistan?’ I believe it to be more than a pledge. It is a personal view, but I think that the Taliban made long term arrangements and that is a problem, it is time for NATO and the media to wake up.

It speculatively puts the pressure in Saudi Arabia in too large a stage and that suits Iran just fine. So as I see it Iran is happy to help whomever goes for Saudi Arabia and that is the danger we all face, because if this escalates oil goes back to $120 a barrel, oil deliveries from the middle east will trickle down to a mere 7% and that is merely the starter in all this and all NATO players know this to be true. 

There is one part I disagree with. We see “Nevertheless, while global confidence in American leadership may have been shaken, Al-Faisal said the episode didn’t necessarily mean the end of American supremacy globally: “I think it’s still too early to judge whether America is in a watershed moment””, we all know that American supremacy is past the end, Afghanistan and how the US army tucked tail and ran is merely a symptom. Their failure in diversity, polarisation of its population, greed driven players that take chunks out of the US economy and the list goes on, one element could be fought, they face at least half a dozen of them and a few of them at the same time. Their weapon sales, even those to legitimate governments are stopped and pretty much handed to China (some to Russia as well), a stage that diminishes their revenue and they are not replacing it, they are merely handing it over. So for the most I share the fears that Prince Turki Al-Faisal is voicing here and the fact that other players are not anywhere near this is funny on a few levels. As I personally (and speculatively) see it, whomever (read: stakeholders) is mulling the view that Saudi Arabia is under attack, they are doing an excellent job, but the fallout will hit us all and then we need to ask the media, each of them, who stopped a story of a direct attack on Saudi Arabia (Houthi attacks) that included civilian targets. For TV the excuse of ‘no time’ can hold water, on the internet where the space is, where there is an abundance of space. Time and people, there it does not hold water. I think that there is one side that Prince Turki Al-Faisal was not contemplating (or he is and he isn’t talking about it). Saudi Arabia has a lot more enemies than they are aware of and they are all enabling Iran which is a concern, especially if any evidence is found that Iran is enabling a larger scenario that includes Al Qaeda. So even if you do not care about Saudi Arabia, which is understandable when you do not live there. Where do you think Al Qaeda goes next? You are all so against fossil fuels, which is fine, but when it falls away and the cost of living goes up by 75%, how will you feel then? Did you think that far ahead?

I accept and understand that my thinking is speculative, things could evolve differently but in chess we see moves ahead, we might not be able to set the string of moves made, but in the end one of the pieces will move exactly as predicted and the more moves are correctly seen the better the strategy. In all this it is time to stop beating about the bush and as the expression goes, call a spade a spade. Oh and if that is not possible (which might be true) it shows that the US is failing in yet another stage and in that one they are dragging NATO down with them.

Enjoy the weekend and consider that some time soon when fuel goes from $3.181 to $5.566 how will you afford any kind of lifestyle? And that is before the heating bill arrives and mst to the US (Canada and the UK too) will move into Winter, so consider that part too.

Have a great weekend.

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Markers of identity

There are several news articles out there. They are not related, not directly, not indirectly, but the underlying events are. The first one is (on the light side) ‘Tesla announces second $5bn share sale in three months’ (at https://www.aljazeera.com/economy/2020/12/8/tesla-announces-second-5bn-share-sale-in-3-months), it is the given quote “Tesla’s shares touched a record high on Monday, pushing the electric-car maker’s market value above $600bn”, he has, as one might say, almost reached the midpoint of his directly achievable wealth. The second part is seen in ‘Christchurch massacre: Inquiry finds failures ahead of attack’ (at https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-55211468), there we see “correcting these failures would not have stopped the Australian national, who was sentenced to life in prison without parole earlier this year, from carrying out the attack, it said”, as well as “the patchwork of clues discovered by police after the massacre – including his steroid abuse, a hospital admission after he accidentally shot himself, and visits to far-right websites – would not have proved enough to predict the attack”. These issues are unrelated. It is about the markers, whether they are markers of wealth, markers of rage, markers of alleged insanity, the list goes on, but we are driven and pushed by markers, all whilst there is a larger stage where these markers matter not, not now, not ever. It is there that we need to look and we need to identify the pushed markers, the driven markers and we need to hold them out to the light and openly debate them. 

You see, prevention was actually possible (as far as I can tell), now I am not debating the 6 guns, I am a gun person myself and if I had the means and a safe place to put them, I might have them, yet no one is debating ‘more than 7,000 rounds of ammunition’, why is that? Even a gun lover like me, having more then 100 bullets per rifle is a bit of a stretch, so why would he have needed the other 5,400 bullets for and to be honest, I tend not to miss, as such, the 51 people who died, would imply 2 magazines optionally 3 and my one FN FAL (the gun I started my training with in 1981), that is 90 bullets, oh and in the military, if there is not an active war theatre, having more than one magazine is pretty much frowned on, actually it is openly questioned. As such I wonder who looked into this inquiry? Especially as he acquired ‘ammunition online’, I might buy ammunition online, yet I also accept that someone is keeping track of what I buy, and the fact that one person was able to buy more ammunition than the average base has in stock calls for all kinds of questions. The fact that more than 1 box is shipped to one address is also reason for questions. So when I see ‘The commission found no failures within any government agencies that would have allowed the terrorist planning and preparation to be detected’, I have to stop and laugh for a couple of minutes. If one man can do that, what can several lone wolves accomplish? So as I took a look at the report (at https://christchurchattack.royalcommission.nz/the-report/), I get to the setting here, the 4 documents (or basically one large one in 4 parts) is actually quite good, it is a decent piece of work and even as some state no fault was due, issues of improvement are there. I see the failing in the second PDF where I see “not for the purpose of keeping records of these purchases”, it reflect on the ammunition bought. They were seen and approved, and they were allowed. So how many documents were seen? To get this much ammunition, you would need to make purchases several times. The math is not looking good here. We see a Marker of enabling, but the marker of questioning is absent. I see this as a clear failure on some part, especially on the system, it might not have prevented the event, but it would have lessened the damage and lowered the fatality list. Volume 3 of the report gives us on page 476 “To assist staff in prioritising leads, the New Zealand Security Intelligence Service has produced a table that sets out various security indicators and the priority associated with them. For example, “Skills/Knowledge – Research into basic weapons, firearms and ammunition” is identified as a critical indicator of security relevance for assessing whether a person has the capability to carry out a terrorist act”, yet keeping records on ammunition bought (for example 7000+) is not. Who would be the larger danger, the man being able and operate a rifle with a 100 bullets, or one with 7000 bullets? I mean, most man hate their mother in law (some passionately do), but ever we think 7000 pieces of ammo is a bit much. Volume 2 gives more (42.21) “We do not know how much ammunition the individual purchased in total as most sellers do not keep records of the ammunition sold in store. We do know that on 24 March 2018, he spent $1,358.00 at Gun City Dunedin on 2,000 rounds of .223 calibre Remington 55Gr SP.” This is the smoking gun (sort of), in one purchase we see 2,000 rounds at $1,358. I would have chimes every bell possible at this point, especially if this was not a gun-shop or a federal enforcement agency. You still think there was no failure there? A marker of investigation was required and none was found, merely a commercial need to enable a person to buy, buy, buy. He was not buying two Tesla’s, he was buying ammunition. We se even more at (42.22), there we get “we are aware of 11 ammunition purchases made online between 5 December 2017 and 12 July 2018. The details of these purchases are provided in the table below. The individual completed the required New Zealand Police mail order form for these purchases” In December he bought enough to outmatch the entire New Zealand Army, and no questions were asked, failure? I personally believe that is the case. Yes, I cannot disagree with the finding that the event could not be stopped, yet I believe that the casualty list would be a lot lower if more effort had been made. As we look at the markers of identity and the markers of enabling, I feel that we all failed, not just a New Zealand administration. Someone delivered these packages, 1,000 rounds is heavy. When we see delivery from Lock, Stock and Smoking Barrel, Gun City, Aoraki Ammunition Company, Ammo Direct NZ, Ordnance Developments, and Arsenal Limited someone should have sounded the bells of worry, the alarms of wondering and in all this no one seemingly did. Well over $5,000 and no one was seemingly the wiser. He could have rearmed the larger extent of Al Qaeda (or the KKK) and it would only be known after the shooting took place. There was a failure, a larger one. 

Let me be frank, I love guns, I am not a gun nut, but I do not have to be, even I think that this much ammo is just insane. And it was at the top of the pile, there are other parts that I found which were not part of the inquiry, yet I feel that it is important to let these issues lie down for a while, I feel that certain people are looking into matters and me ringing that bell whilst they are near the door is a stupid, silly and all kinds of irresponsible, and I tend not to be any of the three (most of the time).

So why the mention of Tesla in the beginning? Commerce is strong all over, it is essential in too many places and the marker of commerce is too eagerly accepted, all whilst questions are not being asked in too many places. No one is debating that Elon Musk is a genius, optionally a visionary and he is on route being the first trillionaire, yet no one is wondering whether that should be questioned. Consider that any person being the owner of well over 1000 billion has more power than most governments, Elon Musk is about to become that person and s an achievement I wish him well, he did it by building something, as did Mark Zuckerberg, as did the late Steve Jobs (well he set the Apple horse in motion). Yet this stage is supported by a marker that is questionable and we need to see this, or failures like the Christchurch shooting will happen again and again. What if the next time it is not ammunition, what if it is something else? Part of this tragedy was enabled by commerce, I will happily sell the Saudi Government $8,500,000,000 in weapons, yet this is a government, not a person. There is a difference and we need to set the systems up to identify certain markers, if we do not do that the next event will happen and no one is at fault then either, but scores of people will be dead, how does that sound? 

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