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A mined pathway

There is news out there. It is coming from several sides making it slightly more reliable, yet the path that some seem to shine on is actually a very dangerous one. Now, let’s be straight, I am no fan of Iran, they overstepped the mark again and again and as such they are a genuine danger. Yet, the steps that we see contemplated is one that is slightly too dodgy as I see it. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of sanctions in place, there is all kinds of pressures on Iran and the direct threat that they pose to both the state of Israel and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is more than enough to make us all act against Iran, yet when we look at i24 News (at https://www.i24news.tv/en/news/international/179007-180708-mossad-chief-secretly-visited-washington-to-coordinate-on-iran-report), it is not the travel plans of Yossi Cohen, the El Jefe of Mossad that is an issue, it is the quote “held meetings with senior White House officials to discuss Iran” that needs more light. You see, a man like Yossi Cohen does not leave his operational bunker unless there is something that needs to be communicated directly. There have been all kinds of water-cooler chats on active operations (as some put it) in Iran to create more destabilisation. The Middle East Eye gives us “Is it the government’s policy to pursue regime change in Iran? Do they think the MEK actually have popular legitimacy in Iran?“, “This prospect moves the US and Iran closer to a direct military confrontation” from Forbes and “some segments of the economically driven protests are likely driven by Iran’s factional infighting over the direction of Iran’s policy, particularly within the context of elite disagreement on how to manage and mitigate the impact of US sanctions” from Nazanin Soroush at IHS Jane’s Intelligence Weekly. Now, realise that these three quotes are not on the same topic, yet the word of the week regarding Iran is ‘destabilisation‘. This is actually a lot more dangerous, it has the distinct danger of setting the people optionally against its own structures and the military tends to act rather negatively on that setting. Iran lost a lot of face and options with the Nuclear deal when the US backed out of it and even as the EU seems to be driven to keep it alive at the expense of every risk, the dangers are putting pressure in the wrong places and the visit from Yossi Cohen towards the US leaves us with the thought that more is coming. In this, the news that was given yesterday with the French shipping company CMA CGM pulling out of Iran is only increasing pressures. So even as Iran says it needs more help from Europe to keep alive the 2015 deal it worked out with world powers to curb its nuclear program, we need to consider that the Nuclear deal is unlikely to be salvaged unless the EU makes very large concessions making things even harder on the US-EU front. In this the prospect of being banned in the United States appears to have been enough to persuade some European companies to keep out and several others are now reconsidering the options that they have.

In all this, the news of internal actions remains on the table, yet I feel that this is not the best move to make. Part of the drive here is likely the news that had been around, in this former CIA officer Phil Giraldi gives us “what happens when Washington tries to sanction the Central Bank of China over business dealings with Iran — utter chaos on top of the already existing trade war!” This is a dangerous development and it is the most likely of settings that the US will want to avoid it, and some of the players are eager for a swift victory (yea right!), so here we have the dangers that the US will be pushing, or asking Mossad to contemplate to act directly in Iran, optionally in conjunction with CIA teams. If destabilisation is the operative word, there will be the implied dangers to all kinds of infrastructures (highly speculated by me here), and that is not the best of ideas. You see, even as there is Iranian opposition to both the clergy and military. A direct intervention in Iran, if proven could unite the people with the military and that is a dangerous step for both Israel, the US and Saudi Arabia. As there are internal conflicts Iran cannot and will not completely commit to the open setting of actions against the three nations. If the people unite the picture changes drastically almost immediate and that will most likely impact Saudi Arabia and Israel in the first instance, in addition to that Saudi Arabia would become a more visible target for Hezbollah overnight (with all the direct actions that follow), all issues that need to be avoided.

So how wrong am I?

I could be wrong, I honestly gave to some of the parts the setting that it was speculative, yet the quotes are from a collection of newscasts and news publications, the fact that some of it is not supported on an international setting needs scrutiny, yet the direct facts of additional pressures on Iran are clearly published making it much reliable. The additional fact that Haaretz released information that the IDF made their donations to an Iranian Air Force Base Near Homs, giving it loads of rubble is also clear indications that Israel is more and more active against Iran, yet there we must still consider that their actions remain still focussed on the Iranian presence in Syria (for now). Yet in all this, the setting is still not complete, there is evidence (a slight exaggeration) is pointing that Qatar is increasing its ties with US and Iran. Even as Haaretz gives us: “Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin sat next to the minister, Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani. “You have been a great friend to the United States,” Mnuchin told Thani, praising Qatar for its cooperation on counter-terrorism financing efforts“, it must be looked into who instigated the Qatar-Iran ‘warming up’ party recently. If it is Iran then it is merely a tactic to increase policy gaps all over the Middle East, if it is Qatar, the issue becomes a larger problem. You see, just over a week ago, we saw the continuation (source: Arab News) through ‘Qatar will pay a price for its financial links with Iran‘, this is not news as it was going on for close to a year, yet if the previous setting was opened by Qatar, it implies that Saudi Arabia has a larger problem and even as the initial target might not be Saudi Arabia as the quote “Traditionally reliant on Dubai as a financial bridge to the outside world, Tehran is now looking to find new safe harbors to protect its financial interests, and Qatar is in its crosshairs. If Iran succeeds in building such a relationship with Qatar, it will be in a far stronger position to endure and evade US sanctions” implies, which makes operational and tactical sense, the secondary setting is that Iran could gain a more direct path of access to Saudi Arabia. This opens up Iranian settings towards Al Hofuf, Al Kharj and from there interference directly into Riyadh becomes (even though a far-fetched one) to Riyadh, all this at a time that Saudi Arabia should be focussing on Yemen and Hezbollah. It would force itself to instigate stronger internal security measures, all costing resources.

In the end

As some of this requires better access to data that goes beyond open source we need to learn (over time) if we are confronted with Iran playing a game of Fox and Rabbit, or is there more going on? Let’s not forget that Qatar has its own issues in the game, with Turkey in the mix on that level as well, the game is becoming much harder to read, especially when the intelligence setting of data is set to a much higher level than yours truly has access to. That part is not just seen in the January setting that Al Jazeera gave with ‘Qatar’s investment in Turkey exceeds $20bn, the second highest by any country‘ (at https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/10/turkey-qatar-strategic-alliance-171024133518768.html), the time lines and the weighting of the official and unofficial settings, these two matter as one does not merely invest $20 billion in a nation that has no real economic investment values, and when we consider that a large chunk of that party pie is about opening paths of facilitation the considerations we need to have tends to change by a fair bit. Even as the news was given in January, the setting of such an amount of money goes into a timeline of at least two years, so there is more to take notice of, especially now. So even as Al Jazeera makes a big thing on the import of milk and beef, the amount given could feed every Syrian refugee for close to three years, the math does not add up. there is however no telling what the actual settings are as the open books and the second balance need not be the same, and might not be set in covert needs, merely in non-taxable, or 100% deductibility reasoning, the mere legal application of tax avoidance could make all the difference.

Sometimes clarity of data tends to become murky, intentionally done for the mere reason as to avoid that supervillian (taxman) to gain access to the intended funds. If you doubt that reason, feel free to ask Ruth Porat (CFO Google) and Luca Maestri (CFO Apple) on the hardships that this supervillian (taxman) gives them.

 

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Iranian decisions

At 00:10 Tel Aviv Time, roughly 07:10 here, the time of waiting was over, Iran has fired its missiles on Israel making the outstanding option of an impending war a lot more realistic. In this the Guardian gives us (at https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/may/09/iran-fires-20-rockets-syria-golan-heights-israel) “Iranian forces stationed in Syria fired approximately 20 projectiles at Israeli military positions in the Golan Heights just after midnight on Thursday, Israel’s defence forces (IDF) said“, in addition we see “Several but not all rockets were intercepted by Israeli air defences, an IDF spokesman, Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus, told reporters“, whatever happens, will happen soon, because if sch a barrage cannot completely be stopped, we can deduce that it will not take long for Iran to take a more targeted notion, yes, my version is speculative, yet the warmongering words from the last weeks gives rise to take it all a lot more serious than it has been taken in the past. So when we see ““The IDF views this Iranian attack very severely,” Conricus said. “This event is not over”“, we better believe that more is to come. There is an additional setting, this attack could only have been done with the approval of President Bashar al-Assad, so he is feeling secure enough with Iran and Russia backing him, so the picture changes on a few fronts, this is no longer merely settling whatever Iran thought it was settling, this could have much larger repercussions. Turkey is already voicing support for Iran and siding with Russia (they are playing their hand cautiously, yet Turkey is all in with their anti-Israel views. It gets to be worse, because as the US pulled out of the nuclear Iran accord, we now see ‘EU rushes to arrange crisis meeting with Iran over nuclear deal‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/may/09/eu-moves-to-protect-european-firms-from-us-sanctions-on-iran), so even as we know that there are several things wrong, even as Iran meddled in other business and now is responsible for direct missile attacks on Israel, we see that Europe is still trying to make some level of a deal with Iran. It goes even further when we see “Work on the package being coordinated by the European Union is at an early stage, but the EU is being urged to warn the US it will impose countersanctions if the US attempts unjustifiably to cripple EU firms trading with Iran“, yet the foundation is that there has been more and more overwhelming evidence that Iran has not been dealing in good faith. When we consider the earlier settings that I mentioned 3 days ago in ‘Stopping Slumber, Halting Hesitation‘ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2018/05/07/stopping-slumber-halting-hesitation/), we can just quickly decide that they were prepping for all this, which would be incorrect, yet the fact that 20 missiles got there so quickly to be fired on the Golan heights also indicates that there was Iranian willingness to go that distance in several political branches and on pretty much all military levels, which is equally unsettling. The issue is that the EU remains a lot quieter when it comes to the involvement of Turkey. It is a personal view of mine, yet I believe that there will be diminished needs soon enough and there is a Turkey EU membership play coming. The beginning of ‘compliance delay messages‘ is merely an indicator, I believe that the fear mongering will get worse and too many parties are playing that game, that whilst the denial of Turkey into the EU should have been clearly made well over a year ago.  So when we are treated to “The European Union is scrambling to arrange a crisis meeting with Iran after Donald Trump pulled out of the nuclear agreement, as the Iranian president Hassan Rouhani said Europe had a “very limited opportunity” to save the deal“, we also need to keep in mind that terms like ‘could’ connected to ‘shut down UK’ on EU laws, this level of fear mongering is just beyond acceptable and we might all be better off in a direct war and whomever survives will suddenly demand near draconian treatment of the media, even as Leveson 2 is (for now) off the rails, the next crises will not go that smooth for whomever is demanding greater accountability of the media. That is not the only part, the entire Turkish economy and the S&P decision to regard Turkey. As it junkified its currency rating from ‘BB/B’ to ‘BB-/B’, we see a larger impact and when we consider that the Turkish lira (TRY) has fallen 7.4% this year and in that setting, including the corporate debt problems that Turkey is facing, the entire blow hard whilst they are not producing any music is more than merely wind in the air, as Turkish economic growth has been fueled by cheap international credit, we still see the need to pay for all that and now as we see (actually it was last month) with “Yildiz Holding—owner of the brands Godiva chocolate and McVitie’s biscuits requires a complete restructure of $6.5bn of its total $8.5bn of debt by the end of this week“, a cookie factory having an eight billion dollar debt? What else is in such disrepair? That shows just how desperate Turkey is at present to get into bed with almost anyone, that is what we are allowing in our midst and there is no level of fear that seems to be reflecting off the sides of EU Brussels and Strasbourg, which is also unsettling, now as they are optional diplomats in a really bad case of reconsideration by merely the EU to get the nuclear deal going, now we see the rise of mentions and soft press tapping on Turkish doors.

That alone should scare us beyond measure!

There is no case against it all and whilst Turkey is at a stage what some call ‘Hostage Diplomacy‘ whilst they are now upgrading their arsenal with the Russian S-400, the game switches and none of this will end up having a happy ending. For now we can leave Russia out of this as its focus is merely the US, or intermittent board hugging to make the US look bad via the EU, yet overall the setting here is not too negative (for now), the issue merely becomes hoe friendly it needs to remain with Iran in the mix, because there is the game on a different level. From my point of view there is a certain level of polarisation, even as Europe should stand next to Israel, it seems intent on standing ‘diplomatically‘ alone so that they need not stand opposing Turkey, that is merely one view, yet in light of its financial hardships and Turkish needs to be seen positive towards becoming an EU nation is not a good combination. So when we see the EU with “As long as Iran continues to implement its nuclear related commitments, as it has been doing so far and has been confirmed by the International Atomic Energy Agency in 10 consecutive reports, the EU will remain committed to the continued full and effective implementation of the nuclear deal“, which all might be very true, yet Iran has shown different colours in Syria and against Israel, so that stance is not merely wrong it promotes polarisation. On the one hand, the EU is not doing anything wrong from that one treaty point of view, yet in light of what we have seen in Syria, there are a lot more issues in play, not all are on Iran, some are allegedly issues for Iran to answer, but I wish to not use that in the examples, merely because they are allegedly part of anything, meaning they are part of nothing until confirmed and when we consider the utter uselessness on the last chemical attack reports, certain Syrian issues cannot be labelled to anyone but Syria itself. So as things in Syria escalates and as Iran is escalating them, or at least actively part of the escalation, the EU will need to take a stance sooner rather than later, they prefer later, yet when they are forced onto a corner and they select Turkey and Iran over Israel, the game will quickly change and not only is Europe feeling that drain, the impact that will happen in the middle East, is one that Europe will suffer for a much longer time than they bargained for and there is no quick solution for the wrong decision. That will be evident pretty soon at this stage.

So as we see one side evolve, we see in similar news from the Wall Street Journal (at https://www.wsj.com/articles/missiles-fired-at-saudi-arabia-signal-support-for-iran-by-its-proxies-1525886469) the mention “Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen fired a barrage of missiles into Saudi Arabia on Wednesday, an early indication that Iran’s allies in the Middle East are likely to flex their muscles in a show of support for their patron—risking a wider conflict“, I think that these events which were apart by merely a few hours had some levels of coordination. So when we see “Yemeni army forces, supported by allied fighters from Popular Committees, have fired a salvo of domestically-designed and -developed ballistic missiles at “economic targets” in the Saudi capital city of Riyadh in retaliation to the Al Saud’s devastating military aggression against their impoverished country“, we need to keep a clear mind. The missiles are said to be Yemeni (Borkan H-2 missiles), yet the information on the H2 is that it is said to be a short range ballistic missile with normally a range of about 1,000 kilometres (620 mi) or less. Even as we see it is almost capable of making the 1,036 km to Riyadh, the setting that we see with ‘economic targets‘, whilst at the maximum distance, the chance of actually hitting what is aimed for at the maximum range is a lot less likely or possible, not without and ace rocket and ballistic expert at the missile site; the Houthi’s are a little short on both, so we have, in my personal opinion, either Houthi’s that want to hit any part (mainly civilian parts) of Riyadh and they merely claim to be aiming for a bank, or the optional more likely setting is that Iran has been directly involved in training the Houthi’s or firing the missiles themselves. Now, we can opt for option one, yet the training curve would be a little devastating on all minds involved (even if you use targeting computers and software, yet they have had the time to train the Houthi’s for months, so it is possible, yet I personally see it as less likely (again merely speculation from my side), so when we consider that Iran is waging war on two fronts, so far (as far as I can recall) only Napoleon and Adolf Hitler were that stupid and how did it end for them? There is an optional thought that Iran will be hiding behind European coat tails in the end, but that is still speculation without evidence (at present), perhaps that is why Turkey is in a desperate state to become part of the EU?

I am merely asking, because the Iranian decisions we are seeing over the last 24 hours give rise not to the US, but to other players hoping to wage ‘extreme’ solutions to make things go forward for them, whilst the opposing player has no intention of playing nice, the US can’t start another war and Iran might be hoping that the EU is too unwilling to see its economic setting dissolved through armed conflict. It would be a decent tactic to play, but for now it merely remains a setting of speculation. Yet, in all this, there is more than just saber rattling. When we look at Reuters we see “Turkey will continue its trade with Iran as much as possible and will not be answerable to anyone else, Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekci said on Tuesday, as U.S. President Donald Trump said the United States was withdrawing from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal“, so we see Turkey with an utter lack of accepting accountability for the economic paths that they are trying to get on (aka the EU gravy train). How can anyone expect Turkey to have any level of civility in the setting of economic partnerships? Because in the EU setting, we have seen more than one play where such acts would not have been allowed, yet Turkey is setting the pace to do just that. It is an important setting as it gives Iran a green light they should not have had, it is merely the outspoken voice to set the colour of options, and that colour is the one of explosive red. That is shown by others as the setting that is not to be allowed. Even as we understand that there is a setting that Italy, Germany and France do not want these sanctions to happen, we see that their voice gives “Patrick Pouyanné, the chief executive of the French energy firm Total, has already called for the EU to pass a blocking statute“, which makes perfect sense, and it is likely to happen, yet when we see the Turkish response with “Turkey will continue its trade with Iran as much as possible and will not be answerable to anyone else“, it merely shows that they are nowhere near ready to be allowed into the EU as a member state, because when they do something like this after they are admitted, the game changes by a lot and from that moment onward Turkey becomes merely the liability of the EU, not a member of the EU and there is a large distinct difference, even as we see them in the current setting for now, there is absolutely no guarantee that they will not continue on the undermining path that they are on, we have seen too many instances of Turkey acting that way that way in the last few years.

When we return to Iran we seem to be in deep water, not healthy waters by the way, the Riyadh/Golan actions are debatable at the very least and the fact that they are being mixed gives light to the dangers that are upcoming. Can they be avoided is the larger question, I am unsure of an answer, the fact that Yemen and Syria happened at almost the same time is a larger issue to contemplate and I have no factual useful response. Waiting for now is pretty much all we can do. I don’t think that we have to wait for too long as Israel has already announced retaliatory strikes a mere 15 minutes ago (source: Haaretz). So this cookie will not merely escalate, it is certainly the setting where other cookies get crumbled as well, the mere question is: “What are our options as per tomorrow, or the day after?

I do not know, when it comes to Yemen, we all (mainly the EU, NATO and USA) sat on our hands for far too long and they have made it part of the package deal. So the first act (at present) might just depend on how much Saudi Arabia feels threatened.

 

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They had been warned

Only hours ago, the NY Times gives us a part that wants to makes me want to go ‘I told you so!‘, but I will not. With ‘The U.N.’s Uncomfortable Truths About Iran‘, Nikki Haley gives us the goods from a report published a week ago (at https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/17/opinion/nikki-haley-united-nations-iran.html). The quote: “A panel of experts found that Iran is violating a United Nations weapons embargo — specifically, that missiles fired by Yemen’s Houthi rebels into Saudi Arabia last year were made in Iran“, part of these issues I raised in ‘Disney’s Yemeni Cricket‘ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2018/02/04/disneys-yemeni-cricket/) two weeks ago. The part I had not looked at is seen in Nikki’s article. She captures it perfectly in: “The mullahs in Iran don’t want to hear this news, because it proves Iran is violating its international agreement. Die-hard defenders of the Iran nuclear deal don’t want to hear it because it proves, once again, that the Iranian regime can’t be trusted. And some members of the United Nations don’t want to hear it because it is further proof that Iran is defying Security Council resolutions, and the pressure will be on the U.N. to do something about it“. Yet, the UN is not acting, is it? The Guardian on Jan 11th gives rise to the ‘need’ that the US is not tearing up the Iranian nuclear deal. With “the three EU signatories to the deal insisted that Iran was respecting the agreement signed in 2015” they are making a reference to the UK, France and Germany. The fact that we see: “Federica Mogherini, said the deal, denounced by Trump as the worst ever made, had in reality “made the world safer and prevented a potential nuclear arms race in the region”“, which might hold some truth in regards to the fact that it was the worst deal, but that is pretty much it. In addition she gives us “any doubts the EU harboured over Iran’s development of ballistic missiles, or its overall policy of interference across the Middle East, were separate from the nuclear deal – also known as the JCPOA“. Now the part in the Guardian happened a week after the actual attack. I think that the entire event is a sham. I think that the three nations had been clearly briefed on the entire Houthi matter, as well as the fact that the three parts that Nikki Haley gives us is on par, the EU is merely in denial, because after all the wasteful blunders and failures they had signed up for, another failure is a lot more than any of the three could handle. The intelligence services did what they needed to do, but here it is again short-sighted side in all this, whilst they remain nationally protective, for now that is.

So is that true?

Well that is the issue. Apart from e not having the original texts, there are a few issues that Nikki is completely correct in, yet in the end she is not (not completely at least). When we look at United Nations Security Council Resolution 1929, we see “The resolution updates and adds to the list of technical items related to nuclear and missile proliferation that are banned for transfer to and from Iran“, which makes the view of Nikki Haley correct, then there is “Iran is subject to a new regime for inspection of suspicious cargo to detect and stop Iran’s smuggling. States should inspect any vessel on their territory suspected of carrying prohibited cargo, including banned conventional arms or sensitive nuclear or missile items. States are also expected to cooperate in such inspections on the high seas“, so is this enough, can we state that the arming of Houthi’s in Yemen is a ‘smuggling operation’, or ‘a classified shipment’ in support of Houthi’s? You see, the classification is everything in this limelight.

The resolution holds a lot more, yet most of that is directed at shipments to Iran and/or nuclear materials. Yet now we get to United Nations Security Council Resolution 2231, which makes the view of Nikki Haley wrong. Here we see: “Resolution 2231 calls for Iran to refrain from activity related to nuclear-capable missiles (“Iran is called upon not to undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons, including launches using such ballistic missile technology“, however, the Deutsche Welle give us: “according to diplomats the language is not legally binding and cannot be enforced with punitive measures“, so basically, Nikki is in spirit very correct, yet in black letter law, there is no clarity and more important, no punitive option. In all this, we see that top EU diplomat, Federica Mogherini was correct.

In the spirit of it all, Iran seems to become a bigger player and a much larger danger to any level of Middle Eastern stability. Nikki ends the article with “Today, armed with this evidence, we have the chance to rein in Iran’s behavior and demand that it live up to its international agreements that discourage conflict. But if action is not taken, then someday soon, when innocent Saudi civilians are killed by Iranian weapons, the chance for peace will be lost.

I am not sure of that, you see, just like Turkey, Iran will do whatever it pleases and the US knows that, as did the three players (UK, France and Germany), who are desperately trying to hold on the JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) like it is the golden fleece.

However, only 4 hours ago Reuters treats us to: “Britain, the United States and France want the United Nations Security Council to condemn Iran for failing to stop its ballistic missiles from falling into the hands of Yemen’s Houthi group and commit to take action over the sanctions violations, according to a draft resolution seen by Reuters“, with “The U.N. Security Council has banned the supply of weapons to Houthi leaders and “those acting on their behalf or at their direction.” It can also blacklist individuals and entities for threatening the peace and stability of Yemen or hindering aid access” we see the other part the Nikki mentioned and here she is proven right. Even as Iran claims that it is fabricated, there is enough evidence, that the parts are indeed from Iranian missiles, which invalidates their side in all this. The most striking part is the part that both Nikki Haley and Reuters are giving us and that part seems to be ignored by too many. The mention of: “Some members of the United Nations don’t want to hear it because it is further proof that Iran is defying Security Council resolutions, and the pressure will be on the U.N. to do something about it” is a much larger issue. Is it because they are unwilling to act, or has the coin toppled in the many outstanding issues in play and the UN is now unable to do anything?

That part is more important, because that means that the UN has no longer options to set issues against rogue nations like Iran, it could be a renewed signal for North Korea to do whatever it pleases as well and that could give more worries regarding stability in Far East Asia as well.

The question becomes can the situation be diffused? Should Iran comply and seize all missile shipments, it will change the Houthi field. They will not win (they never could) but a larger consideration to remove Houthi forces and start larger humanitarian aid would become increasingly more realistic. The bad side is that the Houthi’s would go underground so the humanitarian aid groups would have to deal with sabotage and armed strikes on a daily basis if no green zone can be established. That part is also no longer a real issue as we got only a few days ago that civilian life in Aden is safe, stable and calm, with all signs of life returning to normal, almost three years after diplomats and UN staff fled Aden. Saudi Ambassador to Yemen Mohammad Al Jabir also mentioned that recent demands made by a single social strait, which later led to clashes, have been calmed and resolved. We get this from the Asharq Al-Awsat Newspaper (at https://aawsat.com/english/home/article/1170916/saudi-ambassador-yemen-says-arab-coalition-proved-efficiency-resolving-aden), the issue now becomes, will Iran back off, or continue in its actions to remove stability from the Middle East, that alone gives support to Nikki Haley and her view regarding Iran, If she is proving correct and Iran remains on the path they are now, we should consider that soon enough, the JCPOA will not be worth the paper it was printed on, because if Iran can play games to this extent, there will be absolutely no guarantee that Iran will not break word and move on their path to enrich Uranium, I have no doubt in that regard, the issue has been diminished to a mere when they will start, there is no longer an ‘if’ in the matter.

In my view, these matters are only increasing stresses and pressures between Israel and Iran, they were never cordial, but now they are at an all-time high on the volatility aggressive response scale and that is mainly due to the Syrian issues in play. This now gives more and more rise to the dangers of escalations and the moment this happens all bets are off. The Guardian gives us: “Emboldened by a belief that Assad is winning, Iran is turning its eyes, and guns, on Israel – or so Israeli leaders believe. Their “red lines” – forbidding a permanent Iranian military presence in Syria and the transfer of advanced weapons to Hezbollah – are being ignored”, Another source gave us much earlier (November 2016) that “the Chief of Staff of the Iranian armed forces announced to commanders of the Iranian fleet that Iran may establish naval bases in the future far from its shores”, which was Major general Mohammad Bagheri at that point, in that address both Syria and Yemen were raised as options. Now, if this is happens in Syria the IDF would reacts and Iran will plunge the Middle East in another war, if it is in Yemen, there is every indication that this will set off the legitimate Yemeni government as well as Saudi Arabia optionally starting a war with those players, giving again full support to the views Nikki Haley gave earlier, more important, at that point any UN representative avoiding that discussion better give up their seat quick and proper as the fallout of that discussion will impact the confidence levels of the UN on an almost global scale and it again would open the door for North Korea to do whatever it pleases. A scenario that roughly 98.4% of the UN nations who are currently part of the UN will not be too happy about either.

As I personally see it, too many issues have become interconnected, it has become a mess that several nations want to steer clear off, they want to ignore it and/or they remain in denial. It would make for an excellent front page though, when the moment comes and we get to read ‘UN in denial of Iranian actions’, how will you react?

 

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Ignorance is not an option

Moments of scandal within the IDF are rare, but oh boy, when they do happen, they don’t seem to be light ones. That was the first thought I had when I updated my news brief last night and the news ‘Israel’s armed forces shocked at dismissal of missile defence chief‘ (at http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/dec/28/israel-armed-forces-shocked-dismissal-missile-defence-chief-yair-ramati) caressed my pupils. Yair Ramati an Israeli veteran was sacked for a “grave breach of information security”, the added quote “Israeli media reports said Ramati had broken protocol when he transferred documents to his computer, making them easier to steal” was an additional reason for concern. Israel, a nation that has been under attack for decades, where Muslim fanatics will seek any way to get a hold of information that can further any anti-Israeli cause got a little help when Yair Ramati transferred documents to his personal computer. Now the issue is not that simple, because I myself tend to hold much higher levels of protection on my own computer than the corporate networks tend to have, as such it would be safe, but infrastructure and the rules on them are clear in most networks, even more so in the slightly less trusting environment of the IDF, so what gives?

In the world of cyber, ignorance is no longer an option, ignorance can quite literally get you and your friends killed. Socially, Financially or actually killed in a death certificate kind of way, the IDF (read: Mossad Cyber division) is very aware of that and for a person like Yair Ramati to make a mistake like that, is it complacency or just plain stupidity?

Well, I am less on the side of stupidity, because stupid people do not head the Iron Dome project, they just remain janitors; so should we ‘over-analyse’ this? Yes we should, mainly because complacency is a massive issue. We all do this at times. Any person who states no is either lying to you or will soon be lying to you. We all drop the ball at times, the error might be small and it will not be to the extent of copying files to a personal computer, but those moments will happen. Phishers, hackers and others are all awaiting you to make that basic flaw one day. The only excuse where such a flaw might be excused (to some extent) is burnout. We get to be too exhausted and in one moment we think ‘oh whatever’ the moment you endanger it all.

That is the moment we need to worry about, because it will always happen.

ABC had an interesting quote “Three people familiar with Mr Ramati said, on condition of anonymity, that he had improperly handled classified documents but was not accused of criminal misconduct like espionage“(at http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-12-28/israeli-missile-defence-director-dismissed-over-security-breach/7056400). From the data I have on Yair Ramati I feel like I should explicitly agree (not that my view can be expertly vetted), but a man like Yair Ramati with decades of loyal service does not commit espionage as I see it, the state of Israel will use his services again and again and with the last three years of missile attacks, I reckon burn out set in and Yair Ramati had his ‘oh whatever‘ moment. This event is a wakeup call for the Israeli security services in more than one way, because this situation could have more than one person in such a predicament. Some of the boffins at the IDF are in dire need of some mental health support, not in the way that they are unbalanced, they actually are, as some of them are exhausted!

A side Hamas and Hezbollah might be hoping for at present, you see when the really good ones are too tired mistakes are made and those mistakes will be exploited. And these exploitation might be on an additional side too. You see, as ABC reported “Israel has received hundreds of millions of dollars in US funding for the three missile defence systems, whose private contractors include Boeing Co, Raytheon, and Elbit Systems“, what happens when its main conductor is no longer creating the symphony? What will that mean for the product at large? We might focus on Iron dome, but the stretch goes a lot further than this. Consider places like Ashot Ashkelon Industries Ltd. People like Haim Defrin and Julian Cohen, unlike the board with people like Avi Felder, Yoram Shechter, Yehuda Gai et al. Haim and Julian are in the thick of things. With additional military pressures and of course the responsibility to get the highest quality, they are under constant need (read: pressure) to deliver, when were they taken aside, to unwind, educate them on common cyber sense and when were their stress levels reduced? Not to mention their parent company IMI (Israel Military Industries). For every organisation, there tends to be an In Bitching Mode overall whining umbrella corporation, nes paz?

So in that light, it is not entirely impossible that Udi Adam and Avi Felder at IMI could be facing dilemmas of a similar kind within their infrastructure, the question becomes, is it happening, is it containable and unlike the step made now by sacking Yair Ramati, can a solution be found to reinvigorate the soul of the loyal population that has been pushed and pushed again and again?

You see, some might see the transgression by Yair Ramati as a part of legal and security (not debating that), but we all forget that Common Cyber Sense is equally Operations, Strategy and HR. HR has a much bigger role to play, because if this is stress and burnout, than it is clear in my view that HR failed the people who have been loyal to their infrastructure, success all the time is an illusion, a person will fail to some extent, the issue is to make sure that the damage is averted. I cannot state whether this was an option for Yair Ramati due to the size of the transgression, but certain questions are asked to the lesser extent. It is the Guardian quote “The former director of the Israeli atomic energy commission, Uzi Eilam, told Israel Radio he had known Ramati for 30 years and found the news hard to believe“, in a place like Israel, when a person with 3 decades of knowledge has an issue, my view is that the dismissal might not be an overreaction, but the issues leading to this are a lot more important than we realise and another set of proper investigations (by the right people) is an essential next step.

Ignorance is not an option and the question becomes was that ignorance just in the court of Yair Ramati, or had that ball been dropped by his superiors in another field at an earlier stage?

It is not a question I can answer with the information I have, but there are enough indicators to ask that question out loud, now it is up to the right people over there to ask a similar question and it is up to them to do some proper investigations.

 

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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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Puppet on a string

It is 1967; Sandie Shaw wins the Eurovision Song festival with a happy go lucky song that even today could stay in the mind of those who hear the song. It is one of these timeless songs that can echo in our minds. She wins the day after Israel shows that Russian design requires an update, the final score, Russian MIG 0 versus Israeli Mirage 7 (a design they would later borrow to make the Mirage 5). Gaza gets occupied, Moshe Dayan becomes minister of defence and shows his opponents that one good eye is all one needs to have, which is a lesson his opponents would learn the hard way. It is the year that Benjamin Netanyahu joins the IDF (he currently has a non-IDF desk job).

Just who’s pulling the strings
I’m all tied up to you
But where’s it leading me to?

Elements of the song have become a reality!

The more you read about the issues in that year, the more the clear impression is that the pre-1967 borders were not just dangerous, returning to them might ‘inspire’ elements from neighbouring countries to take advantage of these borderlines to truly start a horror offensive against the state of Israel. How can we allow this with our eyes wide open? Was one failed attempt (Germany’s European tour 1939-1945) not enough?

If we take a look at the promise, stated to have been made by the USA (at http://news.nationalpost.com/2013/07/20/u-s-promised-israels-pre-1967-borders-as-basis-for-peace-negotiations-palestinian-officials-say/) to have been anything but unrealistic? How we saw the news last year on the ‘promise‘ of a peaceful tomorrow by State Secretary John Kerry. How could such a thought be entertained? The quote “Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas agreed to resume peace talks with Israel only after U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry gave him a letter guaranteeing that the basis of the negotiations will be Israel’s pre-1967 borders, two senior Palestinian officials said Saturday“, it makes perfect sense that President Abbas wanted to talk, but with Palestine having absolutely ZERO control over Hamas, how could Israel see this in any way then the intent of them becoming the proverbial lamb that is getting guided to the slaughter table? In hindsight, we all see and many admit that Israel made mistakes in 1967, yet overall, if you have read my blogs, where I actually suggested that Sinai returns to Israeli hands, returning the Sinai to Egypt, was perhaps a mistake.

Please understand that this is NOT against Egypt, taking them out of the equation as Sinai escalates might actually be good for Egypt in the long run. Egypt is dealing with the Muslim Brotherhood, Al Qaeda (or ISIS as this extreme Islamic arm tends to call themselves at present) is growing its presence in the Sinai, becoming a possible threat, not just against Israel, but it will also leave both Jordan and Egypt more vulnerable. This would allow for the Al Qaeda/ISIS trench, giving them a direct route of Iraq, Syria, Jordan, Sinai and Egypt. Such a route would enable Hamas in ways nobody wants and the threat to both Qatar as well as Saudi Arabia would become direct and perhaps even imminent to some extent.

So, why is this scenario ignored? I am not stating that there should not be a cease fire in Gaza, but the elements in play, as well as several refusals from Hamas, the constant attacks into Israel with well over 1300 missiles in 2013 (I keep on mentioning this as the cost goes into the many millions), which also seems ignored. Consider this incomplete quote “Out of the 1.7 million Palestinians living in Gaza, 54% are food insecure including 428,000 children. Israel’s illegal blockade has led to a massive shortage of building materials….” really? So how are they paying for all these missiles? If there was only food going through them tunnels, Israel would not be all up in arms, would they?

So when we look at the CNN interview where we read this “CNN’s ‘New Day’ asked chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat what the purpose of the tunnels were. ‘I know the situation is so much complex — I am not saying I know the picture as a whole,’ he responded. But, he said, ‘Gaza is now like a burning building. We need to get the people out, and then we need to extinguish the fire, and then we sit down and talk’” (at http://edition.cnn.com/2014/07/28/world/meast/mideast-crisis/index.html?hpt=hp_inthenews)

So the question did not get answered. In my view, Hamas has never honoured a ceasefire and any ceasefire ‘agreed’ upon seems to have been to overcome moments of low amounts of ammunition. Many of the players connected to this game have had enough and the US seems to be running out of coin and economic options, as well as increasing threats from a village east of Munich (Moscow, in case you were wondering).

I have been making light of certain moments, it is not stress or fear. I am just hoping that meeting with Benjamin Netanyahu and Vladimir Putin where I tell them “pull my finger“, they will laugh and perhaps consider solutions out of the box, because as we all bicker over issues that are truly real, we seem to ignore the quickly growing sphere of influence ISIS seems to have, the events of the last two weeks clearly prove this. If we are to continue on any path where the State of Israel remains as a nation of commerce, as well as a future truce in that region, then we alas must accept that this cannot happen as long as Hamas remains. It is here where I personally disagree with the views of Lt. General Michael Flynn (Director of the DIA, at http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/07/27/us-mideast-gaza-usa-hamas-idUSKBN0FW01F20140727).

There is enough information that the People in Gaza are tired of Hamas, Hamas who indiscriminately executed innocent Palestinians, because they weren’t shouting anti-Israel slogans loud enough. If Hamas is gone, providing Israel is then willing to sit down with the Palestinians in Gaza, there is enough information to stop the growth of ISIS in that region, providing Egypt can stop the Muslim Brotherhood members from converting to ISIS members, because that would not be good for the people of Egypt, not for its economy or the leaders of Egypt for now. Flynn’s remarks were published and stated seem incomplete to me. It is unlikely that he would spill the beans in public, but we should consider not just the ISIS visibility as it has been happening, but the speed it happened at, with the materials they seem to control. There is enough information to consider additional dangerous extremism as they become the fuse for Jordan. After that Israel will be adjacent to two ISIS strongholds, forcing Israel clearly into a corner. This is why the approach to Hamas as the General states it seems wrong to me, if they wait, Israel will be caught in a virtual vice between Hamas and ISIS. The better course of action in my book is to deal with Hamas now, and allow the Palestinians in Gaza stop the growth of ISIS, which would be more than a great bargaining chip for Gaza, it might be a first piece of evidence that Gaza is no longer the threat it was in 1967. That might be a true first step in creating a lasting peace.
Too bad Hamas was not willing to consider peace.

Tik Tok!

 

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More than just Syria

The news has started to illustrate the issue I expected. I stated in my blog on September 20th “What we know about AQ is that they are about them and their needs“. That part is now coming to fruition. As ISIL they are now the third party in a civil war between two parties. My initial personal view is for President Assad and his opposition to come to an agreement and unite in a hunt for the members of ISIL/AQ, paving the way to some form of a seize fire.

Not doing so, will escalate this civil war in a plain hunt for lives who did not agree with the sharia convictions of ISIL/AQ. As Sky News now broadcasts how the victims of Syrian events are smuggled into Israeli Military Hospital where these victims are receiving lifesaving first aid and operations. A Samaritan act that will never be voiced by the victims they saved in fear of deadly reprisals. (At: http://news.sky.com/story/1147748/wounded-syrians-left-bleeding-with-the-enemy).

Isn’t it interesting that these so called Muslim ‘warriors’ are there just to ‘support’ one very specific version of Muslim faith. More important, the acts give weight to actually start open military intervention. In response to the article by the BBC (at http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-23925037), which stand point I do support. We are now faced with their tactical blunder which we should exploit. This does however require the support of President Assad. My initial assessment is gaining weight, which was more on the side of the Russian stance that Assad was not the one firing the chemical weapons. As I had stated in my earlier blog, it would make sense that an AQ attack to draw America and Israel into this conflict was the fuse to a powder keg. As the initial attack did not happen, ISIL is now actively attacking ‘their’ enemies. When we consider the September 19th report by Reuters (at http://www.reuters.com/article/2013_/09/19/us-syria-crisis-turkey-idUSBRE98I0C120130919)

This ‘game’ had been about de-stabilisation from the very start. As stated by me “AQ only cares for AQ” and as such, any diplomatic option towards AQ should be classified as null and void.

Yet this will take orchestration of some size, yet as AQ made the mistake of getting too close to the Turkish border, the issues could change if any attack on Turkey commences. At that point the NATO members have no option but to come to the aid of Turkey, also, the Turkish President Abdullah Gul would gain massive support and popularity should it get forced into a direct conflict with AQ forces, now trying to overrun Syrian areas. These events also change the game in other ways. AQ has zero support from Russia (in light of their Chechnyan ‘friends’) and at this point the turning table exists for Iran. If they decide not to get involved, which would be fair enough, the end result remains the same; AQ would have to go it alone, with their former temporary friends as well as the Government forces of President Assad at their throats. The bottle neck comes as NATO/Turkey slam down the box in the final side. AQ will cause massive amounts of damage. That is unlikely to be prevented. This is also where I do not completely support the Guardian article by Sarah Margon (at http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/sep/20/sarin-gas-syria-icc). The quote “Opposition forces have also committed serious abuses, increasingly resorting to executions and indiscriminate shelling of government-held areas.” might not be incorrect, but it might be incomplete. If AQ is part of the opposition, then we must see whether this was an actual act by what is called the ‘moderate’ opposition forces, or are these events the work of AQ and AQ minded opposition forces. So Syria is now clearly less clear cut. It is a civil war with three parties, each with their own agenda.

As such the question grows, why should we get involved? No matter how the Syrian civil war goes. If AQ is not dealt with, they will flame out wreaking havoc on both Jordan and Israel. In addition, AQ is pushing forward with pressures against Egyptian forces as well as attacks on Israel. Reuters reported yesterday the Sinai attack (at http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/09/28/us-egypt-sinai-idUSBRE98R09220130928). It will take massive amounts of discipline for Israel to keep their cool for now. Should the IDF face these attacks on the north side, as well as attacks on the Sinai Eilat side, then we, successful or not, will have to face the consequences. There are also financial repercussions. In a BBC newscast, from last November “This still means that as of Saturday night Israel had spent roughly $29m on interceptor missiles in three days.” The IDF has an Iron Dome presence, yet how much financial pressure is it under at present?

There is a linked view, which comes from the Heritage foundation, an American Think-tank. The article was by Baker Spring and Michaela Dodge. Baker is a Research Fellow in National Security Policy and Michaela is a Research Assistant for Missile Defense and Foreign Policy, so they do know their missiles. Their quote “Each Iron Dome Tamir interceptor costs more than $100,000 to produce. This is many times the cost of a Grad, Qassam, Katyusha-style rockets. But there is more to assessing the cost effectiveness of a defensive system such as Iron Dome than a simple calculation of the cost of an additional defensive interceptor compared to the cost of an additional offensive rockets.” is on target. Their assessment makes the issues not as clear cut, but what is clear is no matter which approach AQ is taking, Israel will feel tremendous pressures as these events drag on and they are not the only one.

Jordan is facing massive pressures through the Syrian refugees. The Guardian reported some of this (at http://www.theguardian.com/news/datablog/2013/jul/25/syrian-refugee-crisis-in-numbers-updated). This article is focussed on the numbers. It does mention the fact that Syria is short on roughly $2B to get anything done. What is less shown is that Jordan was never known for an abundance of resources, especially water. With an additional 3 million mouths to fill those resources will dwindle down to nil quite quickly. Consider that it will need an additional 2 million gallons of water a day, an amount that will run Jordan dry really fast. You can see how Jordan’s goose gets dry cooked. If these numbers mean little, then consider that with a water scarcity in place, their population due to refugees has grown by 50%, all because of the Syrian civil war. A possible solution would be if we could find some solution in Aqaba. It is not a quick solution, yet the option of running a pipeline from the Sinai through Eilat to Aqaba, giving all parties relief might be an option. As that part of the Sinai is in MFO buffer zone C, and if both Egypt and Israel would agree on it, then there would be an accessible place that is in ‘neutral’ space for now, allowing relief to both Israel and Jordan as they are trying to deal with water shortages for the Syrian refugees. This option might also allow for some agricultural solutions, which would deal with the long term issues that will pop up. The AQ would have to be hunted out of the Sinai, but in that regard both Israel and Egypt agree.

Why there? If that region is to have any future, then anything we start now; any action that allows for a growth of tourism in that region, like a second Sharm-El-Sheik, but next to (or close to) Eilat, could in time be the financial infuse that could grow that region to some level of prosperity. Europe and America are now in a low curve, but it will not stay that way. In addition, as tourism grows business. This option has all the makings for finding a long term peaceful solution. It could become an option which will always be a better one than non-stop flooding the region with money and goods.

In my mind (oversimplified, I admit), I see this as a solution. The Dutch are massive experts in Greenhouses. Consider that these are build close to a water plant in the Sinai, Around Eilat, Israel and close to Aqaba, Jordan. So if we can get the water there, in some form, but likely via tankers, there could be an actual push for peaceful reform. We need to get food there in several ways. Finding a way to grow some of it will down the track be the cheapest and it would start real change.

Even though this Powder keg known as the Middle East has been lit and AQ is the fuse, would it not be the master of all Ironies if Al-Qaeda becomes the glue that actually sets in place some lasting form of peace? As, whoever is running Al Qaeda, faces a possible future where a peaceful Middle Eastern alliance develops with Israel as an accepted partner by all and it was thanks to AQ. Would the howling laughter of people not drive him (or her) insane?

Graveyards and politicians both love irony in equal measure, let’s make it so!

 

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