Tag Archives: Aramco

And the news is where?

Well there was the news this morning ‘World leaders return to ‘Davos in desert’ a year after Khashoggi boycott‘, but I dealt with that 4 days ago during ‘When we say ‘Ney’ to an event‘ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2019/10/24/when-we-say-ney-to-an-event/), complete with the summit time frame, seems like such an interesting delay. Perhaps the entire Nikkei setting is rather more interesting than that. Nikkei review giving us “Mizuho and SMBC among 15 names planned for historic listing“, whilst also giving us “The roster of underwriters could change depending on where Saudi Aramco goes public“, that part will get more visibility in the stage where ‘Aramco proposes two-stage IPO, shunning London and Hong Kong‘, that partially made sense, especially as HSBC took a flounder in the last year, by itself it is not a explanation, yet the events that overlap Jamal Khashoggi and certain times events in that light have not been considered ‘fair play’ by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and in that light the events shunning London would make sense. And this is the direct consequence of certain tasks made by certain elements who thought that jerking off the market because the going was good some kind of thing. Well, yes, that is exactly how I would phrase it, especially over the year when we saw Saudi Arabia being hunted and nagged in three different ways; I think it is fair to call it that. I see no reason to call it any other way. Now that the initial plans for a petrochemical location in China is ready to be mapped out at $10 billion, China will have new options whilst Saudi Arabia is opening a new vat of tactics, the US is now up in arms to sooth their longtime partner and they better pucker up. The US made sure that the Khashoggi matter got light and then the lost track of their novelty, they were not prepared for the windfall others made of it and now we are given: “The crown prince denies involvement, but told US TV last month that he took “full responsibility as a leader in Saudi Arabia”” an issue that was out in the media, but did you not consider the cost involved? Did you think that this comes for free? Even as we were given “it triggered Saudi Arabia’s biggest diplomatic crisis since the 9/11 attacks as world leaders and business executives sought to distance themselves from Riyadh“, it does come at a cost and Aramco is the first to exact the cost of doing business, it is the first of several steps, the deals with India and China are too soon, too visible and it shows a Kingdom who was sick and tired of two faced options in oil, now that we see that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has options, now that the west is about to learn that you cannot play certain games, now they will all be about the ‘miscommunication’, they will be all about the freedom of the press even as we see that the freedom of the press is some convoluted story, some story that we tended to warn scholars about, like we see in Umberto Eco, the name of the Rose (post-glad infringed upon for this event) ““Until then I had thought each preacher spoke of the events, human or economical, that lie outside books not told of. Now I realized that not infrequently books speak of white papers: it is as if they spoke among themselves. In the light of this reflection, the gathering seemed all the more disturbing to me. It was then the place of a long, annual murmuring upon an imperceptible dialogue between one vision debated on and another ones paper, a living thing, a receptacle of powers not to be ruled by any human mind, but the cistern of wealth merely a treasure of ill spoken events emanated by many minds, surviving the death of those who had produced them or had been their conveyors.”

I recently had to revisit an abbey in northern Italy so it made sense as well and the years are actually in several ways applicable. The Divine Comedy (Dante Aliegieri) finishes at this stage, the era was founded by double entry bookkeeping, the Italian bankers who designed it had no idea what impact it would have on accountancy or that the practice would survive until today. Yet, Umberto Eco placed his novella in an interesting time, Yet that time 680 years later we see that the question of wealth is very much at the heart of the matter, yet not in hands of the Christian church, it is there that we see the actions of certain members of coinage to be handled from. Feel free to disagree with me, but when you place the events as they were played over the last year and who exactly started these accusations, with the preemptive part of evidence that cannot have any further meaning, including the UN Essay by A. Callamard, can we answer in any other way that something is apparently wrong?

We merely need to look at the impeachment of a Trump card, a mere clown in the entire financial orchestra, when we see the steps allocated by intelligence and civic groups, whilst a Crown Prince was indited on paper with no resulting evidence, do you really think that it is merely a farce? Now that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has met with two events, it is stronger than ever to settle Aramco, to settle oil disputes and America might not care, but now that their own surpluses and their own economic value is now under attack, its 21 trillion dollar noose will become more than just the chain around a junkyard dog seeking a larger yard to bark in. And now it is only just that I include the bank that was around in the beginning of Umberto Eco’s tale, in 1327, from brothers financing governments the Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena (BMPS) would grow and from its acquisitions in 2008, the hidden losses and the bailout in 2013 it never stopped being the BMPS, J.P. Morgan, Mediobanca, Banco Santander, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Citigroup, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank and Goldman Sachs had signed a pre-underwriting agreement with BMPS in July, with all kinds of assurances, several of them all now shunned in the Aramco deal.

There is part of it that I cannot prove, I am not stating that I found certain links that are personally as shallow as it gets, yet certain people made transfers to other avenues, and in those positions they would if that deal went through made huge waves, if nothing happened, then they would be in an interesting place, so we cannot go on anything that flimsy (I don’t work for the UN after all), but the time line is weirdly skewed in certain visibility graphs, one would consider that certain acts would have been ‘concidental’ top a fault if it would have happened and it would have been the savior of what would be the “the industrial plan of the bank was approved, which the bank would be re-capitalized for €8.1 billion, but only €3.9 billion would be underwritten by the Ministry of Economy and Finance (excluding additional shares that would be buyback from retail bondholders by the government), with the rest were the “bail-in” of bondholders, mandatorily converted the bond of the bank to shares” Some would ask questions on the grounds of Margrethe Vestager, yet they would be wrong, I believe that certain matters had been in the frying pan a lot longer than that. And the entire Saudi Arabia matter does not stop there, where it stops is up in the air, because both Wall Street and a wealth banker that is above all this would prefer it this way, so when some are stumping their chest giving you the goods on some deal, just be thankful that it is not your coinage that is depending on this deal.

That is the underlying sound of more than just an Aramco deal, it is all over the place and even if my view is not to be seen as the correct one, consider what evidence you are going from, I never told you the little evidence that I have based this on, for the mere reason that two or three memos could be seen as mere typo’s, but how could my story exist?

Consider that I gave visibility to certain parts weeks ago, and that I was ahead of the curve for some time, after which my interest merely grew in other directions, I had finished the puzzle, I had no real reason to watch it unfold until completion, it was merely an exercise at that moment and like all other people, I hate exercises.

Yet I left two parts out, it is not important, but it gives a larger play towards the entirety, consider Davos in the Desert 2015, who was there and who absconded, consider that this was BEFORE Khashoggi and who came out of the woodwork? That is one part; I let you figure out the second hint. Now consider what options the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has left when the table is spread the way it is, I wonder if you can see the irrefutable acts of discrimination.

 

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When we say ‘Ney’ to an event

We have all kinds of events going on, some we attend, some we show interest in, some are nice to be at. We have all kinds of events that require our attention. For example if there are 7 events to watch and you can only attend 4, how will you go about it? I for one distinguish it into a whole range of requirements, the first being ‘Have to attend‘, that is number one and in that cadaster 2 of the 7 will be found, then we get the ‘Nice to be at‘ and ‘Show interests in‘, they are of equal footing (in my case), now we have three more and we can settle our differences in to any of the three, it is more of a jumble, for those two out of three we get to watch the travel arrangements, the visitor spectacle and there we are off to the races.

That is how it goes into the normal realm of opportunity, so as I look at ‘Davos in the Desert‘ it would be one in the ‘Have to attend’ group. The heads of states are there, my Trademarks office could optionally score one large fish, the tranquility of having one corporate trademarks revenue is just too lard to pass up on. And that is before we consider the opportunity that trademarks in the Middle East and predominantly Saudi Arabia with companies like SAMA, SAMI, Aramco could have over a much larger setting, apart from the IP that I am holding on to. For Bloomberg this is what I call a ‘must attend’ kind of a show, so as we are given: “Axios reported earlier on Wednesday that Bloomberg reporters were scheduled to moderate nine of the panels in a draft of the program. Ty Trippet, a Bloomberg spokesman, told Axios that “Bloomberg is not sponsoring the event or participating in the program. We will be covering news from the conference, as we did last year.”” gives a stemming sound, a ‘we are there but we are not‘ kind of hustling in the woodwork. For a show like “Davos in the Desert“, seeing Bloomberg to remain absent is almost like a denial of the importance of “Davos in the Desert“. I see it in a larger frame, Bloomberg is doing the bidding of its corner office, Bloomberg called back like the little dog it is, the wonder of this chihuahua would be the Wall Street pound, they want the world to know that they are upset that Aramco went to the Japanese. A given 3.54% of every ticket sold that would be the income of most hedge funds managers who saw Aramco as a nice on the side grown food, now going towards the Nikkei, there is a larger game afoot and Bloomberg gets to be the messenger. I wonder how many US newspapers will hold some kind of a Khashoggi reverent during the October 28–31 window, I wonder how many newspapers will call upon the dead reporter, all whilst the events in Turkey will not call for any events, will they. Yes, the death of one journalist against the bombing of an entire group of people is so much more justified. Yet there is a large group of US people in attendance, we see Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Energy Secretary Rick Perry, and White House senior adviser Jared Kushner. Former Treasury undersecretary David Malpass, now the president of the World Bank, is also on the list, as is former White House communications chief Anthony Scaramucci. Then there are the top financiers  Michael Corbat, CEO of Citigroup, Tidjane Thiam, CEO of Credit Suisse, and Noel Quinn, CEO of HSBC. Fund managers include Ray Dalio of Bridgewater, Robert Smith of Vista, Stephen Schwarzman of Blackstone, Larry Fink of BlackRock, Daniel Loeb of Third Point, and Barry Sternlicht of Starwood. Even Masayoshi Son of Softbank is there and so is Will.i.am. The British entertainer and part of the Black Eyed Peas, beyond that he is a rapper, DJ, songwriter, record producer as well as a philantropist. He gets to be there, yet Bloomberg is calling ‘no show’?

I have no goal or esparations perse, but I would go there because one customer from that isle means that I would not have to go scrapping for customers for at least 8-12 years for 50% of the time. The rewards are that impressive, also the foundation of IP laws would be sought after in such a place, and being one of less than 20 attendance given IP lawyers, it would be interesting, even if a dozen of them end up with my business card, it will gradually mean that business comes my way, now for me it is not a given but for someone like Bloomberg it very much means that the larger corporations will be setting meetings with someone like Bloomberg, but now, we see “the State Department recently booked 45 rooms at Riyadh’s Burj Rafal Hotel in support of the two “VVIP visitors” taking part in the kingdom’s third annual Future Investment Initiative, as the event is officially known“, as well as “including representatives from Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, and BlackRock, according to a guest list” and some of these parties will get to grow to a rather large setting especially now that Bloomberg is not appearing.

And when you look at the event: PDF DavosintheDeseert2019

You’ll see that anyone with commercial aspirations would want to attend, which beckons the question why would Bloomberg not attend? More worrying is the setting of making this blaze about a week ahead of schedule. From the very beginning when H.E. Yasir O. Al-Rumayyan, Advisor to the General Secretariat of the Cabinet of Ministers, Governor of the Public Investment Fund, KSA opens the event, until the final event where H.E. Bassem Awadallah, CEO, Tomoh Advisory, UAE moderates the final event, namely the G20, a setting I would presume that Bloomberg has vested interest in, but they give way to absentee. 70 events over 3 days, with all kinds of interim discussion options, yet the absentee of Bloomberg make perfect sense, does it not?

 

 

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One step beyond

I waited for the news from more sources, the news that I got yesterday was too ridiculous. Even now, when I look at the ABC headline ‘Houthi rebels claim to have captured ‘thousands’ of Saudi troops in Yemen border fight‘ I am willing to ignore it. The force required to do that requires full and open cooperation of the IRGC, in addition, it would have required no less than 500 troops heavily armed. The news however kept on going and when I was treated to a video (at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WPa6HUxy11w) we see a lot of lose shoots, but there is no real evidence of the scope of the matter. That view is supported by the BBC, who gives us (at https://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-49866677) “The video shows an attack on armoured vehicles, but there is so far no verification of the Houthi claim of a major military success“, as well as “But the video broadcast on Sunday instead shows what appear to be rebels firing at vehicles on a road. This is followed by footage of several burnt-out vehicles, as well as assorted light weaponry laid out on the ground and a group of men not in military uniforms marching down a dirt road“. It is presentation, yet not confirmation, claims we have seen often enough from Iran and from players like Hezbollah. And in all the Houthi response: “He said the evidence of the attack could not be shown for security reasons” reads just like it should be regarded as, as a joke!

Yes, traps and ambushes will get you some result, however the true victory over 2,000 men like that would have required Saudi Arabia to ignore the wisdom of Julius Caesar, who stated 2,000 years ago: “The first rule, whether you are engaged in war or not is to install defences against enemy retaliation“, that essential first would never have allowed for such a victory without hundreds of well-trained Iranian troops to support the Houthi soldiers out there. There are basic settings no matter where you are on the planet where an ambush would not have been prevented, but overall the damage would have remained limited.

It seems to me that the Houthi forces have been briefed by Iran to wage open war into Saudi Arabia, so no matter what story Yehia Saree (spokesperson for Houthi forces) gives us, unless he has video of a lot better quality revealing a lot more factual evidence, the only thing we see was an optional strike against a few vehicles using 2-3 RPG-7’s.

That would fit into the brief of Houthi activity and for those 500 kills, until the names are verified and checked, it could have been a mere mass murder site of Yemeni civilians, and that too remains an option. It is however a new step and it does not matter whether the kills were Yemeni civilians or Saudi citizens, the actions by the Houthis would not have been possible without serious Iranian support, that part is too often muddied away behind the screens. If we would have hi-res images of the weapons, there is a likelihood that we will see weapons that Yemen never had, in addition the video (at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jZw5taiYMqw) shows us (at 3:25) an ambush by 4 soldiers on an armoured vehicle, whilst no RPG’s were fired, whilst no firefight was going on, at best a few machine guns firing at an armoured vehicle, impact that the armoured vehicle might not even have noticed. Even as the ‘expert’ seems to believe it is confirmation, the shoots I see are separate takes of different moments, it is propaganda editing, if this was successful, we would get the full uncut version complete with brain matter on the dashboard. That is not happening, one reason is that the Iranian troops are not to be shown, the other shoots shows one vehicle in one shot and three vehicles with clear scorch marks from RPG impact, the Russian RPG-7 is merely the most likely weapon used (decent availability all over the Middle East). In addition, the ‘troop’ movement at 4:18 gives no evidence of any level that there are Saudi troops, optionally Saudi citizens, most likely groups of Yemeni civilians trying to get away from it all. The same is to be said from the group shot at 4:27, the chaos makes it most likely to be civilians and we see merely 2-3 dozen, for thousands to be moved the need for a huge military force would have been essential and nothing of the sort is visible.

What is a given that no matter how this plays out, the Saudi Government has a clear premise and as I personally see it a right to strike hard. And on a personal note, I would advise Saudi marksman to switch to the Accuracy International AX .338, good bang for the buck and it allows the marksman to efficiently thin the Houthi herd between 500-800 meters. OK, that might have been uncalled for, but you have to consider that there is a difference between presentation and war and it is time to give those ground troops more than a ‘packaged present’ from a plane. And if I can push forward British commerce at the same time, I will (Australia has zero quality long range rifles made in Australia), so I feel good about that element too.

Yet this is still madness and as such using the hit song from the band with the same name One Step Beyond applies, all the actions after the attack on the two Aramco sites are a clear path to open war, I believe that this was not an accident, I personally believe that Iran is actually scared at present, but their fear is founded on how many allies would step to the side of Saudi Arabia, this is a serious attempt to find fact in a sea of facts and fiction and Iran is uncertain at present, it knows that it can only lose, but the size of losses increases dramatically with every ally that Saudi Arabia gains in this open conflict. As the opposition against Saudi actions dwindles, so does the confidence of Iran and as their Nuclear deal is now at an end with 99% certainty, Iran has no carrot to use against the EU, it now has a much larger problem, because the oil impact took whatever sympathy vote they had in the EU away and now they need to see the state of affairs, how to prolong their options and as they realise that the west in general has no further interest in catering to Iran in any way, shape or form, the entire matter becomes a hazard play for Iran, that is as I see it behind it all, and as the NATO navy (UK and US) are now in the Sea of Dammam (Persian Gulf), the Iranian fleet options are almost completely out of the window and any actions will now add the UK and the US on the side of Saudi Arabia and they are not ready for that, if the IDF adds to that (because they have had more than enough of the IRGC) the entire matter comes to blow and Iran ends up having to concede in every field, moreover they will only be in a place to publicly admit to defeat, and after so many years the population will demand a massive national overhaul, which suits most players, but not the Iranian clergy, or the Iranian defence forces.

One step beyond is also what we are willing to do on removing the risk that is Iran, the bulk of all instability has been due to Iran and one of several; tools they have wielded: Hezbollah, they too will have a larger problem, with Iran out of the picture their actions stop and right quick, they will cry loudly on TV to get any UN deal whilst the IDF is not really in a mood to give them any options at all. These actions will lead to a larger stability to the Middle East with Saudi Arabia at the head of that table (which has seemingly been the best course of action for forever). It is time to strap on momentum towards resolving issues, not to maintain some balance of instability, we have had too many years (read: decades) of that.

The issue of the attack on Saudi grounds is still out in the open. There are disputed lands and there are non-disputed lands. Until there is a clear map on where the attacks are, we will see a clear path on how Saudi Arabia could and should respond. The harsh reality is that talks with the Houthi forces is without any hope of success, there are millions of Yemeni who have suffered on that and how we see the actions is up to all of us, yet to see what comes next, there is an interesting video that gives a really good timeline (at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=veMFCFyOwFI). Yet we see an underline, it gives positive visibility to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia as it used its wealth to create a strong infrastructure via roads making the nation almost completely reachable, giving them a huge opportunity to let the population grow, a part that always seemed missing in Iran (beyond Tehran) as I personally saw it.

Now that the forces come to blow Iran is rightfully nervous (perhaps outright scared), no matter how brave a face they show, even now the outright support that Saudi Arabia is getting is making Iran even more nervous and to avert utter disaster they need to see if they get any real support (beyond Russia and Turkey), in this Russia might not be willing to get involved for the mere reason that its tactical position increases if this comes to blows, whilst the EU and US spend funds in this region, Russia could decide to stabilise their margin to a larger degree, and Russia is in it for the long game, a tactic that Iran no longer has at its disposal, as such it is my personal believe that Iran is trying to see how far it can go now and again they are reusing the tools at their disposal, which in this case are the Houthi forces in Yemen.

 

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Desert for breakfast

There are moments where you see the road unwind in front of you, I am not meaning in some imaginary way, but in the real sense. Consider Highway 40 from Riyadh to Dammam, and you are on the road getting there, for whatever reason. Now as a driver you see the road ahead of you, yet at some point you do not merely see a mile or two miles ahead, your focus increases and suddenly you see 10-15 miles ahead, you sense all that is coming your way and whatever is driving in front of you. Ask anyone who drives a lot; it happens to all of us. A similar stage is unfolding now and in a different way. The first article in the Arab News gives us: ‘King Salman calls Aramco attacks a ‘cowardly act’ aimed at destabilizing Saudi Arabia‘, it is an important piece in all this, because in very unexpected ways, I believe that his royal highness was incorrect, specifically the part of ‘destabilizing Saudi Arabia‘, as it seems Iran pushed the wrong buttons and achieved the opposite.

We see this in the second part (at https://www.arabnews.com/node/1558581/middle-east), where we see ‘Aramco attacks solidify Iran’s ‘enemy’ status among young Arabs‘, it is not only there, we see that as the media is showing us more on the evil that Iran is doing, we see a movement where consideration towards Iran is waning and the politicians trying to broker selfish deals are now in a stage where their careers are now in question whenever they are talking about finding some political deal. The voices are changing the clearest in France, Britain and Germany, and this implies that not only is the nuclear deal coming to a clear end, there is the additional impact that the Saudi opposition we have seen over the last 6 months are waning as well. I believe that the quote “According to the Arab Youth Survey, which was published in May by the PR consultancy ASDA’A BCW, 67 percent of the region’s youth saw Iran as an enemy, as opposed to 32 percent who saw it as an ally” will shift within the next two weeks, as the Saudi Arabian population is getting more and more of the acts that Iran has been involved in, especially abroad, gives rise that the group seeing Iran as an optional ally will degrade to a mere 25% (or even lower) soon enough, as Saudi International students give rise to the acts of Iran will also give rise to contemplation to other local students wherever they are.

As the stage unfolds towards perceiving Iran as an enemy and a threat to stability in the Middle East, we see a larger group of people advocating harder acts against Iran. I personally believe that the US putting boots on the ground will also help the Saudi population towards the understanding that there is much larger unity against Iran, even as I noted and reported in the last two months that Saudi Arabia had been deserted too often when they were attacked, the last attack had international repercussions and it seems that more and more eyes are looking at what Iran is doing to others, giving a much better view of Saudi Arabia after all the targeted bad events view that the media in the west had been giving Saudi Arabia since 2018 (well, it was since before that, but it became a lot more negative since 2018).

There is an additional reason for a larger unification. As we look at the news, we see CNN report 5 hours ago that “Iran’s foreign minister has raised the prospect of a new agreement with the United States that would see permanent sanctions relief exchanged for Tehran’s permanent denuclearization“, whilst Reuters gives us an hour ago “Iran ruled out the possibility of negotiating a new deal with major powers“, in this we see Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif as the two faced monster, merely seeking the limelight at every opportunity he gets. All whilst the Washington Post reports 9 hours ago ‘Iran’s foreign minister says diplomacy with the U.S. is over‘ with the leading quote “any prospect of direct interaction between U.S. and Iranian officials is now officially eliminated“, I personally believe that the people have had enough of the banter by this petulant toddler named Iran, in addition we see that the Media is taking a less positive stance towards Iran, all these elements are seemingly polarising at the same time. Not only is there stronger unison within the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, there is also a larger awareness that stronger ties with Saudi Arabia could also result a much larger play towards actual Middle Eastern stability.

Yet the battle is not over, only 25 minutes ago, the Financial Times reports (at https://www.ft.com/content/1e818d2e-de30-11e9-9743-db5a370481bc) that ‘France and Germany add backing to call for new Iran nuclear deal‘. Clearly there are mutters in the ranks all over Europe and making sure that everyone knows what games are played becomes essential in stopping Iran. The becomes a larger issue when we see “If it was a bad deal — and I’m willing to accept that, it had many, many defects — then let’s do a better deal,” UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said. The problem with that statement is that the EU will have to give in towards Iran to some degree and when we consider that Iran has violated conditions of the nuclear pact 4 times already, we see a larger failing. Even as we accept the larger view that the Financial Times gives with: “The time has come for Iran to accept negotiation on a long-term framework for its nuclear programme as well as on issues related to regional security, including its missiles programme and other means of delivery” (a part I do not deny or oppose) the issue is not the media, when you consider the timeline.

Mixing the message

It was interesting to see that the Arab News was on my side 3 weeks before I got here. Arab News (at https://www.arabnews.com/node/1548681) gives us in the article ‘Iran’s mixed messages on negotiations with US‘ several issues and is goes beyond the US, Iran is doing a similar tactic with the EU, the media in the last 24 hours ago are a decent indicator of that.

In the article Dr. Mohammed al-Sulami gives us: “It asserted that Zarif’s attendance provided further proof that it is actually the US president who is suffering diplomatic isolation, as it had previously claimed. Rouhani also announced that he too would not mind meeting with any foreign official, so long as this meeting would bring benefits to Iran and serve its national interests“, as well as “However, the supreme leader has found a possible way out of the current impasse by launching a new slogan, “heroic flexibility,” under the pretext that any negotiations that take place with the “Great Satan” within the framework of aiding Iran’s nuclear program could be allowed if they meet certain objectives“. These parts come to blow when we consider the final quote: “Arab countries should learn the lessons of the recent past and seek to play an effective role in any future negotiations to maintain their own interests, given the fact they are the ones most directly affected by the Iranian regime’s behavior in the region” there is a larger play and even as the limelight is on a nuclear deal and an optional deal with the US, the game that is unfolding is mixed messages that are on the second level aimed at the neighbours of Saudi Arabia.

How did I get there?

There are a few parts in this, first it is the speech by President Rouhani which is the given in the headline ‘Iran asks West to leave Persian Gulf amid heightened tensions‘ with added text “Rouhani separately promised to unveil a regional peace plan at this week’s upcoming high-level meetings at the United Nations“, with all due respect, asking a proxy war player like Iran to handle a peace plan is like asking Mr. Fox whether he could watch your chickens whilst you go out to have lunch, Mr Fox ends up getting a much better meal in the process. I believe that part of this scenario involves Bahrain and the UK Royal Navy base at Salman Port. With the British SAS now upping security, the IRGC would not be able to carry out any actions against targets, they are no match for the British SAS, it would not be a war or a skirmish, and it would merely end up being an exercise in IRGC troop extermination. It is merely one of a few handles that the mixed messages from Iran open. The mixed messages also increase pressures and stress levels in Qatar and the UAE, not to mention Oman.

How wrong am I?

That is up for debate, the entire matter is still moving along and in the end it depends on the moves and actual tactical moves that Iran will make, more important, they will not make a move until the final moment. In all this, as the Arab News reported less than an hour ago (at https://www.arabnews.com/node/1558801/business-economy) where King Hamad of Bahrain denounced the “serious escalation targeting the security and stability of the region”, I believe that this is still true, not in regards to the stability of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, yet it is my personal view that the mixed messages is about creating inactions against Iran. It is an intelligent move, with the number of opponents that Iran faces; it wants to keep Qatar, Bahrain and the UAE out of the mix for the longest of times, whilst using the non-aggression pact of Oman to keep waters as traversable as possible. All the indicators I see is that Iran is very much ready for hit and run attacks where it can and when they do take this journey they want local waters (Oman, UAE and Qatar) to be a hindrance for the non-Middle Eastern nations participating in the actions against Iran. It is my personal view and optionally in incorrect one, but I do remember my maritime training and when we take a look at the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS, Part III), we get to see in Article 41 we see that ships in transit to respect applicable sea lanes and traffic separation schemes. Such a scheme does exist in the Strait of Hormuz, adopted by the International Maritime Organization, which directs westbound traffic within the strait through Iranian territorial waters. It’s not clear where in relation to the outer limit of Iran’s territorial sea the Stena Impero was when the Iranian action took place, but Iran is not alleging the ship had no right to be where it was, and now we see that when article 41 is applied any military vessel obeying that would become a juicy target for Iran, if the bordering nations demand that sea lanes are respected and no transgressions in their local waters will be tolerated, that situation becomes very real; the NATO fleet and US fleet could optionally get stuck in the Gulf of Oman, as such, my view on trying to keep Bahrain, Qatar, Oman and the UAE on the fence would be a larger tactical problem soon enough and whilst Iran plays their mixed messages game and there is no state of war in play, Iran gets to have (for a limited time) a tactical advantage in the Sea of Dammam (aka Persian Gulf).

Basically we would all like desert for breakfast so that the day seems more sweet, however if it was up to Iran, porridge would be the only acceptable dish, salted porridge, served in the Gulf of Oman.

 

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It was foretold

So as I went into a howling rage of laughter when Iranian foreign minister Javad Zarif told the world that ‘it will destroy any aggressor‘, I almost called +98 2139931 to ask Mahmoud Alavi whether it was allowed for the Foreign Minister to pronounce National governmental acts of suicide. In all this Iran had been the greatest aggressor of all.

His response was due to the events we see in the BC article (at https://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-49781350), ‘Iran warns it will ‘Destroy aggressors’ after US troop announcement‘. Even Maj-Gen Hossein Salami said Iran was “ready for any scenario“, yet he too is mistaken, the issue is not merely the attacks on Saudi Oil (which finally has woken up the west to a larger degree), the idea that both the State of Israel as well as the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is ready to take the battle to Tehran is not something Iran has foreseen, it would be a challenge to deal with either, dealing with both and optional support by American troops is something they have not seen coming. It is seen in other ways as well. Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah has changed his tune, it is now all about “if Saudi and UAE stop their war on Yemen, they will not be in need of squandering more money to fund it and buying the costly defense systems against the drone attacks which, in turn, will inflict heavy losses upon both of them“, this person (read: tool) conveniently left out the part where Hezbollah members were part of the atrocities in Yemen themselves and we have not forgotten that, the forces will be overlooking whatever the state of Israel is about to give Hezbollah and its supporters, they can come cry and hide behind the UN skirt, but in the end, they created this mess themselves and now that Iran is pulling support more and more Hezbollah is suddenly in a place without the support they had 2 years ago, so Hezbollah is soon the crying child awaiting ammunition and whilst they await arrival crying for international help and offering talks, a game they have played for too long. I personally expect to see another flag for talks going up before the end of October, the sincerity of these talks are basically towards the timeline for fresh supplies and optionally until Iran backs them again with more. Yet the truth of the matter is that Iran is now engaging in a three pronged strategy that they cannot afford. Hezbollah, Houthi and Iranian attacks on Saudi interests is now striking back in almost every way, the Aramco hit made that possible. The spike was the rude wakeup call and even as the price has so far subsided by 1%, the engines of defence will require a lot of oil products soon enough, which could be another marker for increased fuel prices soon enough.

Yet it is the issue that we did not see that matters, it is the view on the precision of the attack that has intelligence analysts baffled to some degree. No matter how we slice the data, the numbers actually favour Iranian abilities, even as Iran remains in denial, the fact that this attack was more than merely successful leaves 5 players who could have done this: America, NATO, China, Russia and Iran.

It is perhaps the first time that Iran gets mentioned next to these other four on this scale. Iran cannot admit as this would be admitting to an act of war, yet this is centre stage in all this. I personally still believe that someone painted the targets, but beyond that, if that was not the case, it implies that an orchestrated drone missile attack is something that Iran has mastered to the degree that the other four have not shown ever. That is the baffling part, yet we know that the other 4 can do the same, yet that puts the Iranian drones on the same level as the General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper, which is a stretch on a few levels I might add, in addition, the drone operators that the US has are not to be underestimated, the fact that the attack was this successful grades Iranian pilots a scale higher than I ever have before. Let’s not forget, Iran is proud of its air force, and the fact that they delivered last week is rather unsettling. the truth is that there is no way that Houthi forces have anywhere near the skill, the materials and the setup to do this, that is what shows the Iranian forces to be the guilty ones and now they are calling the bluff of others to try and attack. I myself am all in favour to call out to them and merely ‘borrow’ a reaper to install free air-conditioning in that building using a GBU-12 Paveway II. Did you know that the GBU-12 Paveway II is awesome for immediate installation of air shafts and holes in buildings to facilitate for air conditioning? #JustSaying

A light situation?

Some people might think that I am making light of the situation, well, yes, but that has been the media for months, until Aramco was hit, over half a dozen attacks on Saudi Arabia, Saudi locations and its citizens was left unreported by the western media, only now, only when oil spikes, do we see action from those ignoring Iranian transgressions and acts of aggression, so in that, I am in full view of righteous when I laugh at the Iranian sentiment of ‘it will destroy any aggressor‘, as they have been the aggressor all along.

I agree with the BBC point of view giving us: “What seems clear is that this remains a game of brinkmanship, with all sides still hoping to be able to pull back from a direct military confrontation“, however on a personal note, I believe that it is too late for that, I believe that Iran will keep on playing this game for as long as they can wave the ‘nuclear deal’ carrot in front of the EU, delaying matters for as long as they can. I personally believe that it is a stage most overdue that a direct action against the Iranian military forces has become essential, they need to see direct and material damage in Iran (Tehran would be best) to show them that there is no more leeway for Iran. On other departments, I would happily offer my design to sink the Iranian fleet to SAMI, see if we can get it working, there is nothing like watching a minister of defence praising their new Sahand whilst it is appreciating the Horizon of Iran from the bottom of the Sea of Dammam (a reference to an earlier article), and to be honest, I want this design to work just so I can nose thumb DARPA, as stated before, I do have a sense of humour.

There is however another side, Iran is losing its ability to get things done soon enough (sooner would be better), even as their economic picture shifts, the Financial Tribune offered less than a day ago ‘Iran-EU Trade Tumbles 75%‘, whilst the quote “Iran exported €452.65 million worth of commodities to the European Union, indicating a 93.67% fall, and imported €2.55 billion in return to register a 52.13% year-on-year decline“, offers that Iran will have other setbacks in several fields, however the largest issue is not Iran, these numbers give out that Iran needs to focus all resources on Iran in a few fields, leaving nothing to Hezbollah and whatever they get now will be short term and would optionally deny them long term help. That is unless Iran finds a replacement supplier, it will have larger national resource problems soon enough.

There was more in the Arab News a few hours ago. As they give us ‘Only a united front will thwart Iran’s war games‘ (at https://www.arabnews.com/node/1557771), where we see: “Israeli sources continue to make it clear that they regard Iran’s proliferation of advanced missile technology to their allies in Lebanon, Syria and Iraq as a red line“, as well as “I largely believe Zarif when he says Iran doesn’t want war, but with one small addition — “on someone else’s terms.” If war comes, Iran would be happy to fight in a way that plays to its own strengths; asymmetrical, grey zone, widely dispersed, damaging to global energy flows, seeking to spread conflict uncontrollably and in particular dragging in Israel” and there we see the crux of the entire matter: ‘on someone else’s terms‘, when we take that away and make a direct statement against buildings and refineries, the hit and run tactics will no longer work and whilst Iran sets up for a massive defence the winds of support will be removed from the Houthi and Hezbollah sails to the largest degree, possibly completely removed for the long term. That was the largest need in Yemen for three years and now that this stage has arrived, actual progress will be possible in Yemen. The part here I do not agree with the writer Sir John Jenkins is the part where he gives us “We don’t have to play that game. But to impose our own, we need strategic patience, an enhanced defensive capacity against Iranian provocations, a much better communications strategy and, if necessary, a willingness to respond ourselves“, he makes a really good point and he does not shy away from ‘a willingness to respond‘. The problem I see is that the operative word is ‘willingness‘ and actual response is an essential part at present.

We cannot afford to let Iran keep on playing their hit and run guerrilla games whilst letting others take the credit/blame. this has worked for them as others need to set the stage of expenses, when a direct attack comes they lose the initiative and accept open war if needed, at that point Tehran will lose a lot more, infrastructure gone, essential needs cannot be met and international help would be their only option, allowing for the people to take a different position against their army and clergy control. there is the added need that their clergy has not seen actual losses for the longest of times and that keeps them in the delusional state that nothing bad can happen to Iran, that delusion needs to be popped like a balloon, and soon.

The issue is not merely Iran and Saudi Arabia, at some point someone (most likely Iran) will do something really stupid and get the UAE involved because of that, at that point there will be less chance of talks and less options for short term actions with a diplomatic solution at the end, it would turn into a long term event with no diplomatic options for the foreseeable future, that is a stage no one really wants, yet it would be an unavoidable danger for as long as Iran is playing the game it currently is.

Their guilt was foretold through evidence, their denial was a given by media inaction for the longest of times, now that the two meet, we see several options, but until any direct action is undertaken, I fear that the long and harsh theatre of war is the one we are in danger of staring at for now and that is a path we need to avoid, or as the American often state: ‘the best defence is a good offense‘, I would speculate that this is exactly what we need to do in this case, if only to wake Iran up to the notion that ‘on someone else’s terms‘ is no longer an acceptable strategy.

 

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When in doubt

It started 5 days ago when I wrote ‘Bitches on parade‘ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2019/08/26/bitches-on-parade/). The premise from my point of view is that you cannot heckle a country based on a lack of evidence (read: CEO Jamie Dimon), so whilst he pulled out of the Saudi Conference, he was eager and willing to take a chunk of a $2,000,000,000,000 pie at the drop of a hat (any hat). The man has no principles when it comes to money, which is fine. Yet now the entire event is exploding in several directions as the Guardian (at https://www.theguardian.com/business/2019/aug/29/political-uncertainty-puts-london-listing-in-doubt-for-saudi-aramco) informs us that “state oil company may rule out the London Stock Exchange amid Britain’s rising political uncertainty“, in one word brilliant! Two years of whining and lack of decision is not about to hit the British MP field in a massive way. It gets to be even better when we consider the impact for the EU as a larger field, the current favourite according to insiders will be the Japan’s Tokyo stock exchange. If that happens, I get to smile whilst a whole range of bonuses will not arrive with Wall Street, the ECB or London (I am least happy about London missing out). There is a price, there is a cost to doing business and it seems that this week Saudi Arabia is making the tally to that event.

And now we see that the field changes. With quote: “Saudi energy minister, Khalid al-Falih, reignited plans for the float earlier this summer after announcing that officials were working to list the company within the next two years. Aramco announced earlier this month, in its first investor call, that it is ready for the listing whenever its shareholders agreed market conditions were “optimal”” It is here that we need to see the profit, the sudden option for Tokyo, who was not in the race at all also implies the added risk that Tokyo says ‘yes’ (read: Hai!) too eager giving the Saudi Aramco executives a much larger bonus than they expected, making the wave on the market gives rise that there will be two waves and these executives get to enjoy the windfall of both waves. I reckon that Lürssen Yachts (optionally Damen Yachts and CRN) will get to look forward to at least 5 additional commissions for yachts over 90 meters before the end of the year.

There is a much larger issue; it is not merely who gets what, and where we buy in. Bloomberg gave us on Thursday: “It’s been a good week for those seeking to pare bets on a market that brokers including Morgan Stanley say has become too expensive, given weakening fundamentals. MSCI on Tuesday wrapped up the second phase of including Saudi shares in its developing nations index, prompting billions of dollars in inflows from passive funds. Some active managers took advantage of the increased liquidity to reduce their holdings“, there is no way for me to comment on the issue as stocks are not my trade EVER! Yet consider the quote ‘brokers including Morgan Stanley say has become too expensive‘, yet they too are rallying to get their fingers on Aramco. Business is hard and I am fine with the directness that the market needs to be. Yet Aramco is different, everyone wants in and as such Saudi Arabia gets to elect the offerings and as such some players are about to enter the new field, they are optionally becoming the next Ricky Fuld, who was the only person not offered a deal in 2008 whilst the others got one. I am not sure on how to see that, The Wall Street Journal gives us ‘Branded a Villain, Lehman’s Dick Fuld Chases Redemption‘, these people walked away with massive amounts whilst almost one in two households got foreclosed in the end, that is a massive amount of anger to deal with and I personally believe that the Saudi’s will do business with everyone, just a certain group of people will have to be willing to cut their margins by a fair bit. Certain actions have impact and will have a considerable impact of the option to do business, Saudi Arabia could afford to wait, of those people had only decided to wait factual evidence, that would have been nice, not?

I believe that their hypocrisy on Jamal Khashoggi now has a price (to some degree); in addition the economic turmoil gives Saudi Arabia the option to select the host, who will gain a lot. I never considered Japan before today on this, but the choice makes sense.

We could go with the option: ‘When in doubt select the ally that seems more sincere‘ or we can go with ‘Be careful who you wake up with presented and insincere morals‘ I reckon that Wall Street and Especially the ECB need to learn from the second option. No matter how things unfold, pretty much everyone will be keeping 100% attention on the Tokyo exchange, something that has not happened in a long time and Aramco made it happen. And all whilst this is going on, the UK is still in all kinds of childish banter, especially by opposition parties. So when we get the Jeremy Corbyn quote “avoiding a No Deal Brexit” my (absolutely less than diplomatic) response would be “If you weren’t such a stupid dick, you could have done something 2 years ago, but you all played the ‘it will blow over’ tactic ignoring the democracy when they majority decided to Brexit!“, and now the mess is becoming even larger as London lost the option for hosting the Aramco deal. We even see Dutch issues with: “Dutch Foreign Minister Stephen Blok said on Thursday that “serious talks” on Brexit had taken place in Brussels this week, but warned the two sides “are not there yet” on a deal“, there was never going to be a deal, all delays were set to try and overthrow Brexit, now you see that there will be a much larger impact and there will be trade deals in the end no company will walk away from the option to tap into a 69 million consumer base.

That was a clear setting from the very beginning, anyone ignoring that part is delusional. Let’s not forget that the need to exceed shareholder expectations also automatically imply that the EU customer base representing half a billion people also means that 13.5% of them will not ever be shunned, someone else will walk in and take over.

For some, the entire Aramco was icing on the cake and now that this falls away and falls away from Europe also means that the EU will have several grim numbers to report in January 2020, plenty of people are already scared whit less and ready to retire as soon as the October 2019 numbers are released.

When in doubt, never trust Status Quo to actually remain. It is the deadliest of traps and it just sprung.

 

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Bitches on parade

Yes, the time is now nearing. Bloomberg gives us (at https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-08-25/bankers-head-to-saudi-arabia-to-compete-for-world-s-biggest-ipo), and as it starts with “Global banks will this week start making their case on why they should be hired for what’s set to be the world’s biggest initial public offering“, we see an interesting shift. It is the initial public offering (IPO) towards Aramco and all the bankers are dressing up like they are the bitches on the Easter parade. The question is how will these American bankers be seen? Those who were eager to exploit their options; events emphasized via media friends these so called events of Jamal Khashoggi. Should they be allowed to make a bid? As Bloomberg informs us on “The oil producer was originally working with Evercore Inc. and Moelis, as well as HSBC Holdings Plc, JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Morgan Stanley“.

Now let’s walk a little time line, Morgan Stanley chairman and chief executive James Gorman gave the people on January 24th 2019 (several sources) ““The murder of Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul was utterly unacceptable,” Gorman said as he responded to questions on a panel“, yet actual and factual evidence was never presented, was it? Merely speculation on events and evidence that remains debatable. OK, I feel certain that Khashoggi is unlikely to be alive, but there is nothing pointing at ACTUAL evidence and the essay by Agnes Calamari never changed my position. Perhaps merely wrongly chosen words by James Gorman, which now implies he should not be part of this $100 billion+ windfall (I’ll take his place). Then we get to J.P. Morgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon, he pulled out of the conference on October 2018, so he should be disregarded as well (I’ll fill in for him too). Now, HSBC Holdings Plc held their ground, in light of innuendo, the active use of implied events that remained unproved, HSBC Holdings Plc kept a straight wave; this was business, not emotion, so I say welcome HSBC (if I had a say in the matter).

And the story on Evercore Inc. and Moelis is simple, they blew their chanced way before July 2019, as such it seems that they are out of the picture too. I am of course willing (for a modest fee) to take any of those three seats, business is business. I have no idea what I would be doing, yet uniting with HSBC whilst we share 50% and I get a really nice retirement bonus to unload my part to them is not out of the question. This is a market worth well over 100 billion, I’ll be really willing to take a 7.5% part and hand the rest over to HSBC, I reckon that I am the first person in their history to hand them close to $40 billion for them being supportive to my needs, the average hooker gets $50 at best, so there! Oh, and I do realise that there are Chinese banks eager to take place, so it might end up being a three way split.

And a man like me has dreams, with that amount a nice house in belle air and a super yacht becomes an actual reality (yes, I am typing this whilst I am not awake at present). The stage for me is simple and clear.

For the other players the case is less nice. I believe that those being sanctimonious and hypocrite need to be held to account. There is a consequence to play certain games and resetting the ledger so that they can courtesan themselves into a market worth will over 100 billion is not that acceptable to me and it should not be acceptable to you either.

The entrepreneur gave us yesterday ‘Why Saudi Arabia Is Being Increasingly Seen As The Place To Be To Start A Business In The Middle East‘ (at https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/338516), they are right, but they need to see the thorns that the roses bring. the article starts so nice with: “Alper Celen’s decision to trade his cushy job at the prestigious global management consulting firm’s Scandinavian offices for a move to Saudi Arabia to grow a start-up there didn’t make much sense to his colleagues“, yet these players need to realise that this is an Islamic nation, under Islamic law and etiquette. It is a lot more rigid than France is and I have seen a 6 figure Euro deal fall away because the salesperson accidentally used ‘pour toi‘ (informal) instead of ‘pour vous‘ (formal), the buyer walked away and went straight to the competitor. When it’s merely €100K most ‘big players’ will shrug, yet now the game comes in suitcases set to the billion dollar plus that game becomes a whole new dimension. The problem is that those you talk to are indifferent to the billions, it is their bread and butter for you it optionally is not. Those players in dime sized poker games are all willing to bluff like the cardinal for the large games, but a bluff is still a bluff, when you are found out, or seen as unworthy, you will lose a lot, you will lose it all and you might not have the means to get back from where you came.

Yes, you can win big, but the whole game is larger and there is every indication that the Saudi families have kept score on those rallying behind a journalist no one cared about, with a larger lack of evidence of any kind. Soon we see their move and their idea of the Easter Parade flaunting their dresses on Takhassusi St hoping that they are still regarded to be in the game and perhaps they are. I merely wonder if they should be allowed to be in there (HSBC excluded from this consideration).

Now that Vision 2030 is off to the races they all want in (as would I), yet in all this, after all they did and all that they connected to, should they be allowed to? We have to pick certain fights and that is fine, we have certain values which make us jump in certain directions and that is fine too, but to make a 180 degree turn when it is about the money, should we accept such a party in that event when there are hundreds who want to take a slice of that cake? I do not think so.

The events regarding the Saudi conference were larger, there was a distinct impact and as such those play that game should not be allowed to play when the large trophies become available. I lost my option to an apartment in Rotterdam because I did not have the right ‘friends’, OK, fine, but you cannot rely on me giving you a pass when you come knocking. It is then a tits for dad situation at that point and now that there are really serious gains, those people should always be disregarded.

I suddenly remember a quote from Age of Ultron; there we hear: “Keep your friends rich, your enemies rich and wait to see which is which“, well Saudi Arabia found that out, after they discovered that, they have no real need to keep the charade up, so as I personally see it, goodbye Evercore Inc. and Moelis, JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Morgan Stanley, it was nice knowing you. The nice part is that when they are evicted from the offer, they will have to reconsider the game they played, the media they embraced and the values that they gave to fattening the cow whilst ownership remained in the air. I actually love it when people get to learn a lesson by losing billions, it feels like that for one moment, one tiny moment the playing field was level for all of us.

The Aramco train is now officially on the road and we will hear a lot more in the coming month, I for the most will be most interested to see how much the Chinese banks end up with. And yes, I have woken up and I know that any chance for any of those billions were delusional at this point. Yet there is always tomorrow.

Hot News

In light of all this, Al Jazeera reported less than two hour ago ‘Houthis ‘fire 10 ballistic missiles’ at Saudi airport‘, at this moment, I see Arab News, Saudi Gazette and two more all having a version of that, yet nothing on the BBC, not the Guardian, not the Washington Post, not the LA Times and not Reuters. I got the news before all them and I have nowhere near their tools. So, are you still convinced that some people should be allowed at certain tables to fill their pockets whilst they shun the people whose money they want? And as we realise the quote “The rebels fired 10 Badr-1 ballistic missiles at Jizan airport, killing and wounding dozens, the group’s military spokesperson said in a statement on Sunday“, a quote made by Colonel Turki al-Malki, we need to see that US corporations are playing a convoluted game. Consider the impact that some have, do you think that when the newsgroups get wind that something really matters to the heads of these banks that they go to bed and sleep, not with 100 billion for grabs. The world media is all about fairness and then jinxes the game by taking balance away. From my point of view it is increasingly important that those players are denied a seat at the table (any table for that matter). Saudi Arabia needs to take a hard look at who they consider their friends. In light of all the unreported news of events by Houthi forces I feel more and more inclined to think that the US is turning into a player that no one should ever consider an ally, their only allegiance is to currency, I hope that the people who need actual allies realise that part before it is too late.

 

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