Tag Archives: Algiers

The French way

We all accept it, but at times we are blind to the setting. The French do things different, it is as basic as rain is wet. There are parts I do not agree with. French secularism is deeply overboard. We get it, there is history there. Hugh Jackman sang about it in the Incredibles 2 (the miserables). Centuries of deep cultural impact is not wiped away and I believe that is not needed. Yet the BBC gives us ‘Anger as ex-generals warn of civil war in France’. The article (at https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-56899765) also gives us “Two immutable principles guide the action of members of the military with regard to politics: neutrality and loyalty,” tweeted the minister in charge of the armed forces, Florence Parly”, yet the power players are forgetting that there is a problem and the military are not willing to stand by, you see these same power players will use the military as canon fodder just for them to look good, and which soldier ever signed up for the function of ‘cannon fodder’? France faced the Hedbo event, the November 2015 Paris attacks, and now ‘Killer of French Police Officer Was a Radicalised Islamist, Prosecutor Says’ (source: New York Times). There we see “The attacker watched videos ‘glorifying martyrs and jihad’ immediately before the stabbing, the official said”. France has a problem, one from the past (secularism) one from the present (political indifference and pussyfooting around the issues that are too serious). It results in a military system that is not willing to see their country to go to waste and in all this they are getting political support from Marine Le Pen. The situation for Emmanuel Macron is turning from not so good to deeply dire in in swipe and the political grounds are shifting. So as other newspapers give us “French President Emmanuel Macron’s government reacted furiously to an open letter from 20 retired generals warning of a possible military takeover and bloody civil war in response to what they characterised as the disintegration of a country under Islamist extremism”, you see we tend to wipe aside the soldiers complaining, because the political power players will make claims like ‘You do not understand this, or my favourite ‘This is a complex situations and we are walking the best path as the party sees it’, yet a general, or 20 generals in this case is a different matter, generals know what goes on in their nation and 20 of them is a powerful voice and now the dire part starts making sense. You see some will adhere to government created flames regarding ‘discrimination’, yet when we see “Members of the French military, whether actively serving or reservists, are forbidden from expressing public opinions on religion and politics, and Ms Parly has called for those who signed the letter to be punished” and we realise that these 20 are retired, we see a military consensus and that is bad breakfast, which will be followed by lamebrain lunch and dreaded diner. I am not judging the military, a consensus of 20 retired generals is a big thing. So when we get back to ‘Ms Parly has called for those who signed the letter to be punished’, Ms Parly needs to realise that the matter is a lot larger than she is making it out to be. The stabbed police officer might also draw in the police services, even as they will not openly revolt, they are in a stage where they feel that the present French government is no longer to be trusted. It opens all kinds of avenues for Marine Le Pen and in a setting that she did not have before, the larger parts of the police and military on HER side, how many votes is that? Do you think that these 20 generals stay quiet? That is 370,000 military votes, optionally taking family and friends with them and Emmanuel Macron was not in a safe political position in the first place. As such, when the police joins that group his retirement from the Élysée Palace will be close to certain.

So how will this end?
That is unclear. Ever since 1961 (Algiers) when President de Gaulle faced a coup d’état. It failed but that was 60 years ago, now it is not a civil war, 20 retired generals will have the ability to change the minds of millions of French people, which will start to favour the path of Marine Le Pen. From my point of view, the stage of secularism and islamic insults due to secularism is a stage that cannot be won, France will have to make choices and none of the paths are nice to observe, but is there an alternative? Emmanuel Macron will have to make choices and having a serious conversation with these retired generals might be the path of least resistance for now. head banging would result in Marine Le Pen becoming President of France and I am decently certain (roughly  99.54476%) that the path trodden then will be a lot less enjoyable. 

Can it be avoided?
I am not sure if this is possible, the power players sat on their hands for too long, the fact that 20 retired generals in a stage where they embraced neutrality and loyalty their entire life is not to be underestimated. How much did this political group let things waiver? That is the question, and it is not about 1 or 2 generals that have issues, 20 of them have issues and that is a group that represented the French defence forces for well over a decade, that matters, these people know things, they see things and they are objecting. Something that has not happened in 60 years and as I see it Florence Parly and Emmanuel Macron need to take this seriously, as I see it that signal is a sign that time has run out. As I see it having immediate consults with Directeur-Général Général d’Armée Christian Rodriguez (CEO of the French Gendarmerie) might be a first step, optionally seeing if he might be able to start a conversation with the 20 members. If the military in France is in distrust of politicians to the degree that this globally plays (exception Myanmar), it might be one of the few steps he has left, but at this point neither of these two can afford to sit on their hands. And the claim by Florence Parly to “those who signed the letter to be punished”, she could better forget about that part. If this goes any further she will have a mere one year until she is out of a job and you better believe that there is no place for her in a Le Pen cabinet. 

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It started already

Even as we had seen all the plans regarding the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and their ultra-modern city of Neom, it was only last week when the geological studies were reported to have started for all the construction sites (at https://aawsat.com/english/home/article/1390921/neom-begins-environmental-geological-surveys-construction-sites). Yet the placement of Neom goes a lot further than most realise. It will also be the gateway to the planned King Salman bin Abdulaziz Bridge, which will take 3 years, span a total distance of 10 miles and it will connect Saudi Arabia directly to the Sinai, to be more precise the bridge will connect to the Sinai a little north of Sharm-El-Sheik, opening up all kind of economic benefits for Egypt. Tourism and connectivity via Sharm-El-Sheik international airport will be boosted to well over 200%, it would also allow Saudi Arabia to delay its airport and use the bridge more effectively. It opens up a lot more when we consider that the setting now opens up directly to Kiev, Istanbul, Bratislava, Budapest, Brussels Talinn, Riga, Vilnius, Warsaw, Kuwait, Bagdad, Cairo, Algiers, Sofia, Minsk, and not to forget all the places that Air Cairo lines to, which is a much larger list. When you consider that the construction is about to start on a city well over 500 billion, how much unschooled labour will there be a need for? Did anyone that math in the equation? That is before projects are delayed and hit snags. Yes, Sharm-El-Sheik will prosper and gain a massive amount of value, because in a tourist place like that these people can get the entertainment they are unlikely to see in Saudi Arabia.

There is an addition part in all this. The bridge will go via Tiran Island, I feel certain that a ramp to that place will be booming tourism as well. No matter how that fares, the first steps are now underway and when building starts, we will quickly see the overexcited steps from all kinds of companies trying to get in, because that 500 billion has to go somewhere, does it not? That is before some realise that having concrete facilities near Sharm-El-Sheik might be equally worthy of consideration, because when Neom is there, the shortages in Sharm-El-Sheik will become abundantly clear soon thereafter. When you see the issues in Sharm-El-Sheik, going back to 2015 and before, we get confronted with stories like ‘British passengers reveal Sharm airport staff are STILL taking cash to help them skip busy security queues despite bomb threat‘ (Daily Mail, November 5th 2015), as well as a few other sources, so as the economic footprint increases, the Egyptian government has to either increase their diligence, hire outside expertise or risk losing a lot of money in that entire process. Mainly because adding a few hotels to Neom will be much easier to consider than most realise and Saudi Arabia will be interested in setting a much larger tourism stage. Having a high tech city is one thing, having a truckload of consumers wanting to take some off it back home to show off is another matter on that very same coin.

In this we must also realise the size of Neom, the Neom site is large, large then anything ever seen before, it will stretch the western coastline to the proximity of Jordan, around 50 Km south of it, keeping it 75Km away from Eilat, giving Israel optional opportunities as well, I remember a Dutch guy who opened an ice factory in Eilat 40 years ago, the cubes for drinks, not the gelato. So there are options all over the place, all infrastructure needs that will not initially be available. Opportunities that some have no yet realised, all open for the investors who see the need for thousands of builders needing a watering hole, needing food and needing entertainment. This will enable places like the small city of Haql to experience a Gold Rush growth momentum.

From Haql to Hamid (where the bridge is likely to start) the distance is a mere 125Km, not the greatest road as it adds 10% to the trip, but the 392 will directly link to Saudi highway 5 getting you to Haql and that setting is merely a starter for plenty of other options. You see, when we consider that part, the bridge itself, when the final point gets a 4G tower, it would effectively cover Sharm-El-Sheik as well, I cannot say what the 5G coverage is as I do not have any reliable data on the range of such a tower. The same could be achieved from Tiran Island, covering the tourist spot and the southern part of Neom (based on 4G numbers).

No matter how it is all pushed, it has started, well, it started some time ago, but with the geological surveys a new chapter is starting, I reckon that when the first studies have been completed and accepted, the setting of concrete will not be far off. It is in this stage where we saw just a month ago (at https://neomsaudicity.net/), “Italian construction company Salini has announced plans to join NEOM project and expand into the Middle East, which includes project contracts in the Gulf, especially Oman, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates“, and Salini is doing just fine. When we are given: “The company has also prequalified for the first phase of the $ 1 billion Avenues project, which is to be made up of two hotels, a shopping center, and an administrative building. It is part of 2,410 active projects in the Saudi Arabia since April, worth $ 190 billion“, we see that growth will be on the front bench of the board of directors of Salini Impregilo for years to come, which I expect will also come with additional growth projects in Sharm-El-Sheik. I reckon that this headway is the best news that Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte was seen in close to a decade, yet they are one of many, and all of them will be needing people, so as the billion dollar contracts are handed out, and when we consider the Business Insider headline: ‘a $500 billion mega-city that’s 33 times the size of New York City‘, how long will it take until these companies realise that there are deadlines and that they are understaffed? That’s not merely construction and engineering. How about all these Arkey systems, Autodesk and Autocad placements? What do you think will happen when the IT division shuts down for whatever reason and local IT support will be required? That is merely beyond the commonplace Office software, that part you can evade with cloud services and in a pinch rely on your Google account. CAD software and design software is another puppy and when the heat strikes the power falters and systems need ghosting and restoring, it will be all about local manpower and things will always go wrong at the wrong moment. So, when you score your billion dollar contract and the infrastructure takes a dive, how prepared are you? How strong are the infrastructure settings for replacing it all? So even as the Neom News site gave us in April “NEOM Announces first 6 Jobs“, we need to realise that they will need another 15,000 trained professionals in that location soon enough. I wonder where these people will go shopping for the shortage. There is every chance that some of them will rely on poaching soon thereafter, which optionally raise staff costing by 200%-500% (depending on expertise needed), at that point consider the other parts that every building, every mall and every infrastructure needs. Neom city will soon become one of the largest employer hotspots for the next decade.

 

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Fur ball?

OK, I thought I was done for the year, you know, the last article when I threw a little lob ball in a less serious approach to reporting events. However, that part threw me a little fur ball, almost like coughing up the Cheshire cat.

It all started with the Jerusalem Post today, at least that is when I noticed the message. The title states: ‘Israel expects world community to oppose Palestinian efforts at UN, Netanyahu says‘ (at http://www.jpost.com/Arab-Israeli-Conflict/Israel-expects-world-community-to-oppose-Palestinian-efforts-at-UN-Netanyahu-says-386058), true, there are issues with the entire UN debacle to some extent; my emphasis is regarding the use of ‘some’. You see, as much as I oppose the entire anti-Semitic approach towards Israel. Having a strong anti-Palestinian view seems equally wrong; however, Palestine has created this issue whilst condoning whatever Hamas did to the largest extent, which is completely unacceptable either, none of those actions make sense. The quote “Israel will oppose conditions that will endanger our future” is very much central into this. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is very correct in that statement. Hamas has always and remains ‘dedicated’ to wiping out Israel, which beckon the thought why the EEC courts would rule against giving Hamas the ‘terrorist’ label. We could argue and speculate on how this is even acceptable. Did this grow out of fear on the Islamic state presence in both Gaza and Sinai? The fact that they are growing in Libya and even in other parts of North Africa is a nightmare scenario coming true (at http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/nov/27/islamic-state-opening-front-in-north-africa/). There have been unconfirmed reports of Islamic State in Algeria, but if so, if they could start getting any level of hold in Morocco, then they are just a footstep away from Spain. That should scare the EEC plenty, they have no funds left to manage any event, and giving up Israel means that they get a little time to ‘clean up’ their border issues. This would be a step that is delusional in many ways. You see, Israel remains essential to balance in the Middle East. The Economic Judges took little notice of that part of the equation; just on the formality of what a terrorist is, (apparently blowing up Sbarro filled with civilians is not a terrorist act). By the way, did anyone notice how there dos not seem to be any paper explaining the formality in that legality? Just the fact that is was ‘a formality’.

The second quote is the one that seems to be a little debatable: “Netanyahu said that Israel and western civilization were under attack from Iran and Islamic radicals, and that this attack also included Palestinian efforts to impose a solution that would endanger Israel’s security and place its future in danger“, one part should be (as I see it): “under attack from extreme supporters within the Iranian government and Islamic radicals“, which would be more correct. I do not believe all Iranian (at present) are like that, yet open support from Iran towards Hamas has been seen, these military elements seem to get some political protection, which proves my point (to some extent), yet I am not certain (or there is at least a decent level of doubt) that it does not blanket all political Iran as I see it. The fact that President Obama announced the possibility of an American Embassy in Tehran is not a bad thing, but these developments should be closely watched, because there is an issue. It is not the fact that this meeting was with Indiana Governor Mike Pence. The act that he is a Republican and that this meeting was absent of Democratic heavy weights might be fuel for speculation were the current Democratic administration stands. Especially as the White house was unwilling to confirm or deny it stance towards Israel. This has all the makings of a political issue that should be a moral one. Israel remains under siege from rockets on a nearly daily basis, it seems that people forget how the US reacted when there was some demolition going on in New York close to the corner of West Street and Liberty street. Let us not forget that this was ONE event. Israel has remained under attack for decades. Israel now has two generations under attack from rocket fire. These events cannot be compared, but perhaps the Americans can remember their anger on September 12th, which is the feeling Israel has had for a long time. It wants to survive plain and simple. It’s neighbour will continue to attack Israel, whilst Israel wants to survive, yet, in fairness, I must look towards the other side too. I believe there can be a Palestine WITHOUT Hamas. That is an option, but Hamas does not want it, it wants to lead and to do that, it must remove Israel. It is not a puzzle, it is a simple equation, one denies the existence of the other solution, so I must side with Israel and as such, as long as there is Hamas, there can be no Palestine. A situation now worsened with the existence of Islamic state in that area.

There is another view that I must bring forth. I am not sure if I can agree with it as there are a few parts that touch on items I never looked at (it is not a small document at http://www.academia.edu/5145129/Gunning_-_The_Conflict_and_the_Question_of_Engaging_with_Hamas_in_EUISS_CP124_European_Involvement_in_the_Arab-Israeli_Conflict), but it has views that are not invalid. As such, I call to attention to the following part “They could, for example, spell out the rewards that would be forthcoming for a new unity government that would share responsibility for delivering basic services and the rule of law in both the West Bank and Gaza“, this is found on page 41. I am not stating that this is happening, but when we consider the events, it is not that far a stretch to see that this might be part of a path that the EEC is currently treading. If so, they will soon see the other side of a terrorist organisation. It remains nice and talkative as long as steps in their direction are made; when that stops when THEY need to show progress there will be delays, miss-communication and other events. Then those big business judges will see innuendo towards ‘give us the rest or else‘, then what? When THEIR ego is in play, what will they decide then? Let us not forget that they are gambling with the existence of the state of Israel. When they are told, there are 10 solutions to this and ‘no’ is not an option, whilst they contemplate what the other 8 options are, when they suddenly realise it was a binary question with a ‘no’ and a ‘yes’, the other 8 solutions never existed in the first place, then what? They might not have pulled the trigger, but they are skating towards the end of Israel for the simple comfort of mind that never existed. You see, terrorists are extremists, they only cater to the view of ‘self’, with no regard of any other view. Israel is trying to survive, plain and simple, a war that continued from 1945 onwards.

Yet, there was also a spark of visibility (in other areas), that gave me pause to consider other dimensions. Not in regarding to what goes boom, but in another direction. In the same way that we look at the EEC decision of Hamas, there is a Jewish issue that the Jerusalem post shows, which gives us another part of this cloak. It is seen at http://www.jpost.com/Israel-Elections/Rabbi-Meir-Mazuz-responds-to-Rabbi-Cohens-attack-on-Yishai-385989. As we see a needed separation of politics and Law, we see an equal need to separate state from church (as many have always seen it in the US and other places). The quotes were “Rabbi Shalom Cohen, he should be well, is a great Torah scholar, a righteous man and a great intellectual, but he does not come down to the people and, therefore, he does not understand the common people”, “He has never held public office and served most of his career as a rabbi in yeshiva and a yeshiva dean, not as a halachic arbiter dealing with the questions of Jewish law that are brought to senior rabbis for a ruling” and “Mazuz seemingly referenced one of Cohen’s recent outbursts in which he said during a prayer service at the Western Wall for the welfare of IDF soldiers during Operation Protective Edge that Israel did not need an army because “It is God almighty who fights for Israel.”“. Now I am not debating the issues as they are, I feel not qualified to do so, but there are issues as they have always been in almost any religion. I would not elect a Rabbi to political office, for the same reasons I would not vote for the election of a Catholic in that same category, each having a slight radical, absolute view. A woman’s ‘right to choose’ abortion would end pretty much immediately, also, there would be a diminished view for defence and an increase or humanitarian needs and diplomacy. Yet, Diplomacy without military power could be regarded as either pointless, or useless. Diplomacy requires a stick to fight with when ‘the’ word is ignored. It is counterproductive when we know that the stick remains ignored and the diplomatic view is ignored completely when we know that there is no stick in the first place. This is the damage that Julian Assange created, which too many ignored. The anti-American league had a field day when they saw WHERE the US had made commitments, knowing where the stick was, toppled many American diplomatic endeavour, whilst they remained in the dark where the other sticks were. That view is only emphasised when we see the Jewish elections. How can the people be served without their military need for defence? Is that not counter to the Torah? If we know that the IDF abides by what is seen as “The Torah establishes the boundaries of what is permitted and forbidden in war for both individual and for society“, which gives us how Hamas waged war, yet the ‘legalised’ view of the EEC disregarded that overall view and reacted to, what I regard to be an economic view of judgement, which gives us the escalating issues. The added incentive here is that no one has actually give any visibility on how the ruling was made, on what legal premise is was founded, is this not strange too?

So, as we consider on who makes rulings on how judiciary choices are made, we must consider that the players have their own agenda. Whether we should consider how the law is seen (by some) and when we see how economies ad terrorists make decisions, in a morally biased way how, is any of it regarded as legal? Is there a boundary between those who fell from a rocket and those who fell through economic ‘treason’? How does that reflect differently on the victim? There is a famous quote we see Lee Marvin make in the movie ‘The Big red one’ (one of my five all-time war movies). There he states “We don’t murder; we kill“, I am certain that it did not matter to the one whose live we end, only to our own morality to pull the trigger. A morality a terrorist or a stockbroker for that matter does not seem to have.

You see, the sniper kills (or murders) for the protection of others, the terrorist and stockbroker acts for the wealth (or survival) of self at the expense of (all) others, elements of the same sides of two different coins.

So as the fur ball coughs up a Cheshire Cat, we must worry for the future, we all seem to disregard certain values and adhere to choices of our own survival, even if that requires us to realign our morality, just the slightest. As Saruman the White becomes Saruman of many colours, we see the fading of white, the finding of what was actually right and we lose ourselves into a world where we remove the fences that were there to protect us all. What happens next? I do not know, or even pretend to know, but I do worry, because 2015 is likely to be a year of turmoil, a year where we had to focus on a better economy, a side that might be pushed aside for whatever escalation comes next.

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