Tag Archives: Israel

Seeking security whilst growing anarchy

We all want national security; it does not matter whether you are American, Australian, British, Dutch, French, German or Swedish. National security is a matter that is not just set in laws; it is set in morality, in justice and in perception. Most of us are set in a stage where we are willing to give out many perks so that national security can be maintained. Many liberals grasp back at Benjamin Franklin who once said: “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety“, I would have agreed when he allegedly wrote it in 1755. In those days the biggest fear they had was England, the Dutch trade wars (the VOC) and apparently the French to the north. It was a very different age, in a setting where a naval was not done in minutes, but hours, battle settings took a while and there was clarity on who the enemy actually was (usually the one speaking your language and not firing on you, wearing the same uniform was also a nice indicator).

In this day and age it is not given, nowadays all the wolves have onesies looking like Shaun the sheep and often we cannot tell them apart. This is the setting where oversight, surveillance, data gathering and analyses can help, in equal setting there are a few players that still cannot get their algorithms correct and they are making the same mistake that I caught a few players on in the late 80’s.

There is however a new setting, a line that has been crossed and the Washington Post gives us that setting (at https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/there-have-to-be-limits-lawyers-for-guantanamo-inmates-challenge-lifetime-imprisonment-without-charge/2018/07/11/f3933faa-8533-11e8-9e80-403a221946a7_story.html). the title ‘‘There have to be limits’: Lawyers for Guantanamo inmates challenge lifetime imprisonment without charge‘ gives us that part and it is one that cannot be ignored, with ‘lifetime imprisonment without charge‘, we see not the first step, but an early setting that the law is changing into ‘Guilty until proven innocent‘ and I am not sure if that is merely a wrongful step, or a desire step for large corporations to give the setting a new life in other directions as well. There can be a setting where it is easier for the courts to work on that level. You see, when a corporation has failed their SLA’s, there will not be the documentation where they can prove it, yet when we see the application to ‘lifetime imprisonment without charge‘ the setting is very much inverted from what we find acceptable. We see the Post giving us “A handful of commission cases have inched along in pre-trial proceedings for years, many of them plagued by irregularities” and it is the ‘irregularities’ where we need to seek first, you see an abused system will rely on irregularities to remain in the shadows and active, whilst it almost never has bearing on National security and it will have even less a bearing on justice or lawful settings. The question becomes where it failed. There is a second side to the Post when we realise that the quote “Justice Department lawyer Ronald Wiltsie said authorities had a responsibility to detain suspects who could pose a future threat, even if it wasn’t clear they would actually take any action against the United States” is incomplete. The fact that we are faced with ‘it wasn’t clear they would actually take any intentional action against the United States‘. You see it comes with the setting that there is no proof that they had actually taken any action against the US, if so there would be a charge and that failure falls not merely on the FBI, it falls on the CIA, the NSA (data gathering agency) and most of all the investigator looking into the matter. We can illustrate this with the weirdest of examples.

In a spreadsheet we can use a random number, so we create 5 groups, each in one column, and each having 100 random observations. Now we will test for them stating that “IF(A2<0.2,1,0)“, I am setting the stage where 80% was guilty (so basically 20% was innocent). If the number is smaller then 0.2, they are presumed innocent. We do this for the 5 groups. Then we count the groups, in the initial test no one was innocent overall, but 3 were innocent on 3 counts and 20 were innocent on two counts. Now remember, this is merely 100 ‘persons’ tested on 5 elements. When we change the setting to “IF(A2<0.25,1,0)” (a joke on the premise that 3 out of 4 all people are guilty of something) we get a different setting. Now we see that two were innocent on 4 counts, yet 10 are innocent on 3 counts and 23 are innocent on 2 counts. Intelligence software works on facts not on random numbers, but the principle is partially the same, how many flags were raised by that one person, yet now not on 5 tests, but on dozens of tests, against people, places, actions and locations at specific times and as we consider that thousands are tested, in the random setting when the number of people are large enough we will get respectfully get a group that was innocent (less than 0.2 or 0.25) on all counts, that is the impact of random.

Yet on the flags raised in real live, we either have them guilty of something, which means that there can be a trial and a charge can be made, when you see the examples next to one another and we realise that the group of all people where no flags is raised did not occur (it will with a larger test group), we need to consider the flaws we are faced with and more importantly, the setting that we open ourselves to in legislation and in law when we allow for ‘lifetime imprisonment without charge‘. So in this setting, no matter how much we want actual national security Missy Ryan makes an interesting case. We get to see the larger issue when we look at Baher Azmy, legal director for the Center for Constitutional Rights, a group representing some of the detainees. With “Baher said the government had distorted a 2001 law authorizing U.S. military operations against al-Qaeda and affiliated forces by using it as a basis for indefinite imprisonment. He said insurgent wars, waged against small, clandestine and evolving bands of militants, could go on forever. But laws governing wars were devised with conflicts between states in mind, he said“, we are treated to the setting that we face in the upcoming decades. We are not waging was on nations, we are waging war on groups and tools. As Hezbollah is still the tool of Iran, the setting of a larger problem becomes apparent. In the first source (at https://www.terrorism-info.org.il/en/hezbollah-iran-handled-shiite-militias-integrated-syrian-army-campaign-take-control-south-syria/) we see “Shi’ite forces, handled by Iran, are being integrated into the campaign currently waged by the Syrian army in south Syria. There are at least two Iraqi-Shi’ite forces (the Dhu al-Fiqar Brigade and the Abu F–al-Abbas Brigade). There are also Afghan Shi’ite fighters in the Fatemiyoun Brigade. In addition, it was reported that Hezbollah operatives also participate in the fighting, including operatives from its elite al-Radwan unit, who were sent from Lebanon“, yet when we see “According to ITIC information, Hezbollah and the Shi’ite militias (some or all) have been integrated into the various Syrian army units and do not operate as independent forces. Pictures show Shi’ite militiamen wearing Syrian army uniforms, and it is difficult to distinguish them from Syrian soldiers“, we get the danger with ‘Pictures show Shi’ite militiamen wearing Syrian army uniforms‘. So now we get the setting of ‘who is exactly waging war on who’, or is that whom?

Not being able to identify the setting gives rise that Baher Azmy has a larger issue to deal with, because any denial from the Syrian army that these people were army units, and they get identified as militia who dressed ‘wrongly’, sets the stage that the defence ‘laws governing wars were devised with conflicts between states in mind‘ can no longer be upheld and that escalates the need for a much larger Guantanamo and indeed it continues and even fortifies the setting of ‘guilty until proven innocent‘.

the second source is a week old and gives us ““Hezbollah is a fundamental participant in planning and directing this battle,” a commander in the regional alliance that backs Damascus told Reuters. “Everyone knows this – the Israeli enemy, friends, and even the Russians.”“, it is given to us by Reuters (at https://www.reuters.com/article/us-mideast-crisis-syria-iran/hezbollah-role-in-syrian-south-exposes-limits-of-us-policy-idUSKBN1JV19U), so as the enemy changes its onesie (yup that was funny) we see a whole league of Shaun the sheep and we have no idea how to deal with them in life (the other alternative is solved through hiring people with the actual ability to aim).

Now change that setting away from the current ‘debacles’ in Yemen and Syria and consider the impact when we look at the Indian view of Pakistan (at http://www.dnaindia.com/analysis/column-terrorism-is-pak-s-business-2627746), it is not a hollow part, and there have been accusations from India and Afghanistan for the longest of times. In this setting we are given the quote: “India and Pakistan are not caught in some existential Punjabiyat love-hate relationship. Pakistan is a state sponsor of terrorism. No other nation has used terror so ruthlessly as an instrument of state policy as Pakistan has done for decades — principally against India but also against Afghanistan” is only the beginning. There are other headlines, even as they should be seen as no more than to illustrate that the issue exist, we cannot tell to what extent. So when we consider “The Islamic State’s flag emerges in Pakistan’s capital. How serious is the threat?” Is there a threat or is it merely a freedom of expression? So when we see the second headline ‘The terrorist group is increasingly present in Pakistan’s southern province‘, we are confronted with how to proceed, yet Reuters gives us 3 months ago “Islamic State claims attack on Christian family in Pakistan“, we see that the game changes. If state sponsored terrorism is the new ‘Letter of marque and reprisal‘, how can we proceed? Is there an actual option other than guilty until proven innocent?

What is clear is that the data crunchers will have their hands full because none of these algorithms and data gathering systems are ready for this leap. And it is not a small setting as Pakistan is a nuclear power who for the most is happy to push the button on India if need be, so the game is not merely changing, the players (Hamas, Hezbollah, Islamic State et al) are aware that hiding under the roof of any government gives them options and they accept being the tool for those governments, yet the systems and our mandates are less equipped to act. Yemen has so far been an excellent example on how to not act and it will escalate beyond this. Now consider that I do agree that ‘lifetime imprisonment without charge‘ is wrong, but what options do we have? Until 2016 I believe that the data and the evidence was the weak link. Now we are in a situation where we need to wage war on three fronts, an overt one, a covert one, and a data intelligence war and we need to find a way to intertwine them and use them to find the right checks and balances. We need to evolve what we can do so that we can determine how to do things correctly, or perhaps better stated efficiently to the right opponent.

You might think that this is ludicrous, yet have you considered the actions in Yemen? They were firing missiles into Saudi Arabia, on civilian targets, yet the only thing we see is messages like ‘Yemeni security officials claimed that cluster bombs were dropped in a civilian area of the Western suburbs of the Yemeni capital Sanaa‘, whilst we see ‘after Houthi rebels fired a missile at Riyadh‘ any justification reduced to an 8 word response. The media at large does not give us: ‘Houthi rebels fired a missile on Riyadh, the Saudi Capital with over 5 million people, the fired missile could have caused the death of hundreds of people if struck correctly, Saudi Arabia reacted in the attack against its citizens‘, we do not get that do we? Yet that is the game that is the danger some face. In light of the missiles getting fired under the noses of Yemeni security officials, they need to realise that not stopping the missiles does have repercussions and innocent people will always be caught in the middle.

The change of conflict is large and it will be growing over the next decade. I am on the side of Missy Ryan in this, lifetime imprisonment without charge must be challenged and everyone needs to know about the setting we have here, but when it comes to the defence of that setting, I wonder if we have any actual option to oppose it, those who are send to that place are willing to (allegedly) support people who hide in other uniforms knowingly firing methods of termination on civilians merely because they can and because it makes them continue the fight that they believe is just for much longer. It is a dangerous setting that strips the veneer of civilisation in nearly all nations, look at France and Germany, they went through this several times. We need to set a different stage and we need to do this before we set a legal lawful setting of targeted killing and the wrong people are shot, because that will be the point of no return for all of us.

You see ‘Guilty until proven innocent‘ (forced or not) is merely a first step, when that setting is entered in stone we get the second danger, when cyber-attacks removes the option to prove innocence, what do you think happens next? It is what I personally believe to be the setting stage for chaos leading to anarchy and there the game changes again, because most governments have cut on so many parts in infrastructure that most cannot overcome anarchy for a much longer time forcing the hands of many governments, especially in Europe and I feel certain that some of the players behind the screens realise that too and they might just be banking on it.

 

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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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Oven for (a) Turkey

Yes, normally the life of a turkey is not good, not in the week preceding November 22nd. Yet, that is not the only case, if you are not covered in feathers and let’s say a nation in Europe, at present; your chances are not that much better.

This we see in several settings.

We have all seen the news, the issues around Turkey, their hatred of Kurdistan and the acts that followed through that hatred. Not just the Erdogan setting where one president has been playing any end against the middle in Europe, Yemen and Syria. The simple setting where Saide Inac, 47, who goes by the artistic name Hozan Cane has been detained on June 22 in the western province of Edirne while attending campaign events of the pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP) leading up to Sunday’s parliamentary and presidential elections. Yet, that is not enough, yes this comedy (or is that tragedy) is set where this German-Kurdish singer has been remanded in custody in Turkey on terrorism-related charges. Normally, we would await more info. Yet the Deutsche Welle gives us in addition: “The terror charges against her reportedly relate to scenes she plays in a movie about genocide against Yazidis in Iraq”. That reads as hilarious as optionally reading in the Washington Post that: ‘Emily Blunt was arrested today on suspicion of Manslaughter against her husband and famous movie director John Krasinski, she had reportedly taken him to ‘A Quiet Place’; the man has not been seen for some time‘, so yes, when we compare the issues, where a 35 year young-ling a mere 171 cm tall, took out 191 cm John Krasinsky, who, if I need to remind you looked so gung-ho in the movie 13 hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi that he made Dwayne Johnson look like a pussy. That is the reflective truth of what Saide Inac is going through. Arrested for terrorism and because she played scenes in a movie. So as the Deutsche Welle gives us the goods (at https://www.dw.com/en/kurdish-german-singer-hozan-cane-arrested-in-turkey-on-terrorism-charges/a-44420346), we are wondering whether this is an act of pure stupidity, or is it the Turkish way of saber rattling making Germany give in on some other point of argument they couldn’t win in any other way.

So that is what Turkey has become. Instilling xenophobia, which might be another way to instill the Turkish need for racism and discrimination. It goes even further when we consider the Al Jazeera, where we see: ‘Jordan, Palestine and Saudi Arabia warn Israel against Turkey‘, the influence is apparently growing in Eastern Jerusalem. We can argue that this is merely Turkey seeking the limelight in any way they can, or we can go with the presumption that this is Turkey showing itself to be the tool of Iran.

So when we are treated to: “The report notes that senior officials from the three Arab countries told Israel that Turkey was “extending its influence in Arab neighbourhoods of Jerusalem” which they said was “part of an attempt by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to “claim ownership over the Jerusalem issue.”“, we need to see that there are different issues in play here. As the Jerusalem Post reported 3 weeks ago, the economic part of “They were at about $2.5 billion in 2016, and in the first 10 months of 2017, Turkish exports to Israel went up another 14%. Turkey’s state air carrier, Turkish Airlines, is also the second most popular airline out of Tel Aviv after El Al, Joseph Dana reported in an opinion piece written for The National.“, it seems strange that such levels of export are endangered as there are plenty of European nations willing to take over such a lucrative contract and as European facilitators replace Turkish Airlines, the state coffers would get an additional hit in a time that they cannot afford to report additional economic bad news, so what gives?

On one side it seems far-fetched that Turkey would make a rash move on such fronts. We can accept to some degree that the setting of opening an embassy is one setting, yet the quote we see is: “Turkey intends to open an embassy in east Jerusalem, President Tayyip Erdogan said on Sunday, days after leading calls at a summit of Muslim leaders for the world to recognize it as the capital of Palestine“, an interesting setting, as history gives us: “Jerusalem is an ancient city located in ancient Judah that is now the capital of Israel. The city has a history that goes back to the 4th millennium BCE, making it one of the oldest cities in the world“, so not only does President Erdogan not have a case, we could equally offer the setting that after that it was property of Italy (and the people of Rome), so there is a second claim, then we get Caliph Umar who decided to travel to Jerusalem in person to receive the submission of the city in April 637, he came from a family that originally controlled Mecca. The Quraysh opposed Muhammad until converting to Islam, giving Saudi Arabia the next claim. After that Pope Urban II at the Council of Clermont in 1095 decided that it was Christian holy land and began the first Crusades. In all this, Turkey has no right of proclamation in any way, so why set the stage for economic segregation? If we are to give any value to George Antonius, founder of modern Arab nationalist history, who wrote in his 1938 publication The Arab Awakening: “the term ‘Arab’ in Palestine denotes nowadays not merely the incomers from the Arabian Peninsula who occupied the country in the seventh century, but also the older populations who intermarried with their conquerors, acquired their speech, customs and ways of thought and became permanently arabised“, so a blend of other identities. Whilst Bernard Lewis gives us: “the original inhabitants were never entirely obliterated, but in the course of time they were successively Judaized, Christianized, and Islamized. Their language was transformed to Hebrew, then to Aramaic, then to Arabic“, so an adjusted population, we cannot fault these people to that a pragmatic approach to the situation, yet the given in the centuries before does not give the statement that President Erdogan give any value at all, merely an impressed point of view, which he is welcome to have in Turkey.

So form the setting, this is not about Palestine, their cause, their choices or their belief; it is the Turkish setting we see here. Even as we see changes, we see positive ones and dangerous ones. Reuters gave us this week ‘Erdogan says Turkey will continue advancing in Syria’, with the setting “Turkey will continue to “liberate Syrian lands” so that refugees can return to Syria safely, President Tayyip Erdogan said in an election victory speech on Monday“, so how does the Syrian President ‘feel’ about the Turkish version of ‘liberation’?

As Reuters gave us: “Assad, who said in the same interview he would not accept Western funds to rebuild his country, was speaking after Damascus said it rejected the presence of Turkish and U.S. forces around the northern town of Manbij, a day after soldiers of the two countries began patrolling the area” last Sunday, the question becomes why is Turkey still there. If they are there to accept President Assad, is not his word the one that counts? My views are supported by Newsweek as we see their part from yesterday (at http://www.newsweek.com/why-wont-us-stop-russia-iran-syria-asks-opposition-leader-government-moves-1000312). The quote is “Nasr al-Hariri, the secretary-general of the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces, told reporters Thursday in the Saudi capital of Riyadh that it was “shameful” for the U.S. not to act as a ceasefire brokered last year between Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s top military ally Russia and opposition supporters the U.S. and Jordan collapsed, the Associated Press reported“, the US actions are not in question, the issue becomes that Iran is the transgressor here, as is optionally Russia. Yet the setting is that Turkey was singled out as not welcome, Iran and Russia were not, that sets a different stage and even as we accept that Iran is the greater threat. Syrian forces have not proclaimed them to be not welcome.

In addition, Turkey makes even more waves in Israel as see (at https://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/246156), where we are given “Jerusalem City Councilman Aryeh King tells Arutz Sheva correspondent how Turkey is posting illegal signs in and around Old City“, in addition we see ““The Turkish government that daily attacks Israel and collaborates with the terrorists in Gaza – they are putting signs around the walls of the Old City, and the Israeli government and the municipality of Jerusalem … are not taking care of these Illegal signs,” King said“, so we hear the video state that there are allegation against Turkey, yet is this truly a Turkish act, or is it an act from Hezbollah to start a military flame that cannot be stopped too easily.

So there is caution that needs to be set, a sign in Turkish with a Turkish government proclamation does not make it so and we need to realise that it is equally likely that Iran is playing the ‘tool’ card here and if the reactions are not careful the outfall may be a lot larger than we can correct for.

The entire month we have been treated to the interactions and it is important to play the game with caution, because at present, we must recognise that Turkey is merely planning to open an embassy in eastern Jerusalem, whilst on the same front they are stating ‘the capital of Palestine’, a wrongful opinion, that is still their right to make (whether correct or not), the Embassy play is possible because the US opened one there, so that puts the state of Israel in an awkward light if the Turkish embassy is suddenly rejected. The rest is a different kind of ginger. Who are the actual players? Is it Turkey, Iran or Hezbollah? That part is not easily answered and until the evidence is brought to light, no actual finding can be regarded as absolute.

Another place where Turkey is active is off course anything related to Iran. The setting is that Turkey refuses to stop importing Iranian crude oil and we might side one way or another yet is there any legal recourse? With India stopping the Iranian import, the Iranian economic outlook is even worse than the worst settings we saw earlier, in this is Turkey playing too dangerously? In the setting where we see Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekci giving us: ““The decisions taken by the United States on this issue are not binding for us. Of course, we will follow the United Nations on its decision. Other than this, we will only follow our own national interests,” Turkey’s Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekci said as quoted by daily Hurriyet, adding that “we will pay attention so our friend Iran will not face any unfair actions.”“, the academic question becomes ‘Does Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekci have a point?

The UN removed the trade restriction, even as the US and EU are enforcing them, what legal foundation is there? You see, at the heart of the matter is that United Nations Security Council Resolution 2231 where the removal of UN sanctions against Iran were removed. Even when we consider the Deutsche Welle 2 years ago with ‘Iran missile tests defied UN resolution, say US and European allies‘, the setting is that this was not illegal, the quotes “Council diplomats said the case for new UN sanctions on Iran was weak. Moreover, Western officials said that although the launches went against 2231, they were not a violation of the core nuclear agreement between Iran, Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States” and “The letter from the four powers stopped short of calling the Iranian launches a “violation” of the resolution, which calls for Iran to refrain for up to eight years from activity, including launches, related to nuclear-capable ballistic missiles. Diplomats say key powers agree the resolution’s language is not legally binding and cannot be enforced through the use of sanctions or military force” these two are directly the setting. We cannot state as evidence as it is or is not nuclear advancements and as elected legal minds more experienced than me state that the setting is not legally binding, Turkey has a case that it can continue. That is the setting we see ourselves in and even as we see more and more flak coming from the US and the EU, there is no given that Turkey is actually out of bounds on this one setting. It seems that the setting is to some extent hypocrite in actions against Turkey and that too must be stated. The reasoning is that the quotes given by Turkey are also confirmed with “At the same time, oil importers including Japan, South Korea, and India, as well as European countries have said they will continue buying Iranian crude“, even as India is turning that setting back, Japan is not and exactly how many sanctions is America now imposing on Japan?

In all fairness, that too must be stated and even as I think that Turkey has been playing a much too dangerous game involving themselves with Iran on other fronts, we need to scale back some of the dialogues and find the accepted legal frames that are in play, if we do not do that, then we are merely catering to the EU and US to what refer to as their bully tactics and we should be better than that.

The complications seen on the political arena are expanding and as such whatever chance there was for EU ascension, the cold legal light should have clearly communicated that there was no chance for EU membership for Turkey, they undid the small chances they had long before the previous election s were held, so the French ‘special status’ remarks were all hot air with no direction and even less substance. It is seen through Reuters as they gave us “In a statement, the EU General Affairs Council said Brussels could not open any more ‘chapters’ or policy areas in accession talks or modernise the EU-Turkey customs union due to Ankara’s failure to meet European standards in various areas” yesterday, yet that setting had been clear for well over a year, so the end signal is merely a small light of cowardice from several political players.

In all this, part if the hardship that Turkey s facing is due to their own reactions, over reactions, as well as some non-actions in too many political fields. Turkey has every right to do them, yet they are held to account and the balance at this point is not good. Just how bad things will get is depending on some of the events playing out in Jerusalem right now. Whatever happens next, they will also see red lights coming from the US and not merely on their oil activities, even as that might be the one most media will be loudly referring to.

 

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Telstra, NATO and the USA

There are three events happening, three events that made the limelight. Only two seem to have a clear connection, yet that is not true, they all link, although not in the way you might think.

Telstra Calling

The Guardian (at https://www.theguardian.com/business/2018/jun/20/telstra-to-cut-8000-jobs-in-major-restructure) starts with ‘Telstra to cut 8,000 jobs in major restructure‘. Larger players will restructure in one way or another at some point, and it seems that Telstra is going through the same phase my old company went through 20 years ago. The reason is simple and even as it is not stated as such, it boils down to a simple ‘too many captains on one ship‘. So cut the chaff and go on. It also means that Telstra would be able to hire a much stronger customer service and customer support division. Basically, it can cut the overhead and they can proclaim that they worked on the ‘costing’ side of the corporation. It is one way to think. Yet when we see: “It plans to split its infrastructure assets into a new wholly owned business unit in preparation for a potential demerger, or the entry of a strategic investor, in a post-national broadband network rollout world. The new business unit will be called InfraCo“. That is not a reorganisation that is pushing the bad debts and bad mortgages out of the corporation and let it (optionally) collapse. The congestion of the NBN alone warrants such a move, but in reality, the entire NBN mess was delayed for half a decade, whilst relying on technology from the previous generation. With 5G coming closer and closer Telstra needs to make moves and set new goals, it cannot do that without a much better customer service and a decently sized customer support division, from there on the consultants will be highly needed, so the new hiring spree will come at some stage. The ARNnet quote from last month: “Shares of Australia’s largest telco operator Telstra (ASX:TLS) tumbled to their lowest in nearly seven years on 22 May, after the firm was hit by a second major mobile network service outage in the space of a month“, does not come close to the havoc they face, it is not often where one party pisses off the shareholders, the stakeholders and the advertisers in one go, but Telstra pulled it off!

A mere software fault was blamed. This implies that the testing and Q&A stage has issues too, if there is going to be a Telstra 5G, that is not a message you want to broadcast. The problem is that even as some say that Telstra is beginning to roll out 5G now, we am afraid that those people are about to be less happy soon thereafter. You see, Telstra did this before with 4G, which was basically 3.5G, now we see the Business Insider give us ‘Telstra will roll out 2Gbps speeds across Australian CBDs within months‘, but 2Gbps and 10Gbps are not the same, one is merely 20%, so there! Oh, and in case you forgot the previous part. It was news in 2011 when ABC gave us (at http://www.abc.net.au/technology/articles/2011/09/28/3327530.htm) “It’s worth pointing out that that what Telstra is calling 4G isn’t 4G at all. What Telstra has deployed is 1800MHz LTE or 3GPP LTE that at a specification level should cap out at a download speed of 100Mb/s and upload speed of 50Mbps [ed: and the public wonders why we can’t just call it 4G?]. Telstra’s sensibly not even claiming those figures, but a properly-certified solution that can actually lay claim to a 4G label should be capable of downloads at 1 gigabit per second; that’s the official 4G variant known as LTE-A. Telstra’s equipment should be upgradeable to LTE-A at a later date, but for now what it’s actually selling under a ‘4G’ label is more like 3.7-3.8G. “3.7ish G” doesn’t sound anywhere near as impressive on an advertising billboard, though, so Telstra 4G it is“, which reflects the words of Jeremy Irons in Margin Call when he states: “You can be the best, you can be first or you can cheat“. I personally think that Telstra is basically doing what they did as reported in 2011 and they will market it as ‘5G’, giving premise to two of the elements that Jeremy Irons mentioned.

This now gives a different visibility to the SMH article last week (at https://www.smh.com.au/business/companies/how-a-huawei-5g-ban-is-about-more-than-espionage-20180614-p4zlhf.html), where we see “The expected ban of controversial Chinese equipment maker Huawei from 5G mobile networks in Australia on fears of espionage reads like a plot point from a John le Carre novel. But the decision will have an impact on Australia’s $40 billion a year telecoms market – potentially hurting Telstra’s rivals“, as well as “The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age reported in March that there were serious concerns within the Turnbull government about Huawei’s potential role in 5G – a new wireless standard that could be up to 10 times as powerful as existing mobile services, and used to power internet connections for a range of consumer devices beyond phones“, you see I do not read it like that. From my point of view I see “There are fears within the inner circle of Telstra friends that Huawei who is expected to offer actual 5G capability will hurt Telstra as they are not ready to offer anything near those capabilities. The interconnectivity that 5G offers cannot be done in the currently upgradable Telstra setting of a mere 2bps, which is 20% of what is required. Leaving the Telstra customers outside of the full range of options in the IoT in the near future, which will cost them loads of bonus and income opportunities“. This gives two parts, apart from Optus getting a much larger slice of the cake, the setting is not merely that the consumers and 5G oriented business is missing out, private firms can only move forward to the speed that Telstra dictates. So who elected Telstra as techno rulers? As for the entire Huawei being “accused of spying by lawmakers in the US“, is still unfounded as up to now no actual evidence has been provided by anyone, whilst at the same speed only a week ago, the Guardian gave us ‘Apple to close iPhone security gap police use to collect evidence‘, giving a clear notion that in the US, the police and FBI were in a stage where they were “allowed to obtain personal information from locked iPhones without a password, a change that will thwart law enforcement agencies that have been exploiting the vulnerability to collect evidence in criminal investigations“, which basically states that the US were spying on US citizens and people with an iPhone all along (or at least for the longest of times). It is a smudgy setting of the pot calling the kettle a tea muffler.

The fact that we are faced with this and we prefer to be spied on through a phone 50% cheaper is not the worst idea. In the end, data will be collected, it is merely adhering to the US fears that there is a stronger setting that all the collected data is no longer in the US, but in places where the US no longer has access. That seems to be the setting we are confronted with and it has always been the setting of Malcolm Turnbull to cater to the Americans as much as possible, yet in this case, how exactly does Australia profit? I am not talking about the 37 high and mighty Telstra ‘friends’. I am talking about the 24,132,557 other Australians on this Island, what about their needs? If only to allow them than to merely get by on paying bills and buying food.

Short term and short sighted

This gets us to something only thinly related, when we see the US situation in ‘Nato chief warns over future of transatlantic relationship‘. The news (at https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/jun/19/transatlantic-relationship-at-risk-says-nato-chief) has actually two sides, the US side and the side of NATO. NATO is worried on being able to function at all. It is levied up to the forehead in debts and if they come to fruition, and it will they all drown and that requires the 27 block nation to drastically reduce defence spending. It is already trying to tailor a European defence force which is a logistical nightmare 6 ways from Sunday and that is before many realise that the communication standards tend to be a taste of ‘very nationally’ standard and not much beyond that point. In that regard the US was clever with some of their ITT solutions in 1978-1983. Their corn flaky phones (a Kellogg joke) worked quite well and they lasted a decent amount of time. In Europe, most nations were bound to the local provider act and as such there were all kinds of issues and they all had their own little issues. So even as we read: “Since the alliance was created almost 70 years ago, the people of Europe and North America have enjoyed an unprecedented period of peace and prosperity. But, at the political level, the ties which bind us are under strain“, yup that sounds nice, but the alliances are under strain by how Wall Street thinks the funding needs to go and Defence is not their first priority, greed is in charge, plain and simple. Now, to be fair, on the US side, their long term commitment to defence spending has been over the top and the decade following September 11 2001 did not help. The spending went from 10% of GDP up to almost 20% of GDP between 2001 and 2010. It is currently at about 12%, yet this number is dangerous as the economy collapsed in 2008, so it basically went from $60 billion to $150 billion, which hampered the infrastructure to no end. In addition we get the splashing towards intelligence consultants (former employees, who got 350% more when they turned private), so that expenditure became also an issue, after that we see a whole range of data gathering solutions from the verbose (and not too user friendly) MIIDS/IDB.

In CONUS (or as you might understand more clearly the contiguous United 48 States; without Alaska and Hawaii), the US Army Forces Command (FORSCOM) Automated Intelligence Support Activity (FAISA) at Fort Bragg, NC, has access to the MIIDS and IDB by tactical users of the ASAS, and they maintain a complete copy of DIA’s MIIDS and IDB and update file transactions in order to support the tactical user. So there are two systems (actually there are more) and when we realise that the initial ASAS Block I software does not allow for direct access from ASAS to the FAISA System. So, to accomplish file transfer of MIIDS and IDB files, we are introduced to a whole range of resources to get to the data, the unit will need an intermediate host(s) on the LAN that will do the job. In most cases, support personnel will accomplish all the file transfers for the unit requesting that intel. Now consider 27 national defence forces, one European one and none of them has a clue how to get one to the other. I am willing to wager $50 that it will take less than 10 updates for data to mismatch and turn the FAISA system into a FAUDA (Arabic for chaos) storage system, with every update taking more and more time until the update surpasses the operational timeframe. That is ample and to the point as there is a growing concern to have better ties with both Israel and Saudi Arabia, what a lovely nightmare for the NSA as it receives (optionally on a daily basis) 9 updates all containing partially the same data (Army-Navy, Army-Air force, Army-Marines, Navy-Air force, Navy-Marines, Air force-Marines, DIA, DHS and Faisa HQ). Yes, that is one way to keep loads of people employed, the cleaning and vetting of data could require an additional 350 hours a day in people to get the vetting done between updates and packages. In all this we might see how it is about needing each other, yet the clarity for the US is mostly “Of the 29 Nato members, only eight, including the US and the UK, spend more than 2% of their GDP on defence, a threshold that the alliance agreed should be met by all the countries by 2024. Germany spent €37bn (£32.5bn), or 1.2% of GDP, on defence last year“, it amounts to the US dumping billions in an area where 28 members seem to have lost the ability to agree to standards and talk straight to one another (a France vs Germany pun). In all this there is a larger issue, but we will now see that in part three

Sometimes a cigar is an opportunity

you see, some saw the “‘Commie cadet’ who wore Che Guevara T-shirt kicked out of US army” as an issue instead of an opportunity. The article (at https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/jun/19/west-point-commie-cadet-us-army-socialist-views-red-flags) gives light to some sides, but not to the option that the US basically threw out of the window. You see the Bill of rights, a mere piece of parchment that got doodled in 1789 offering things like ‘freedom to join a political party‘, as we see the setting at present. The issue as I see it is the overwhelming hatred of Russia that is in play. Instead of sacking the man, the US had an opportunity to use him to see if a dialogue with Cuba could grow into something stronger and better over time. It might work, it might not, but at least there is one person who had the option to be the messenger between Cuba and the US and that went out of the window in a heartbeat. So when we see: “Spenser Rapone said an investigation found he went online to advocate for a socialist revolution and disparage high-ranking officers and US officials. The army said in a statement only that it conducted a full investigation and “appropriate action was taken”“. Was there a full investigation? To set this in a proper light, we need to look at NBC (at https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/sexual-assault-reports-u-s-military-reach-record-high-pentagon-n753566), where we see: “Service members reported 6,172 cases of sexual assault in 2016 compared to 6,082 last year, an annual military report showed. This was a sharp jump from 2012 when 3,604 cases were reported“, we all should realise that the US defence forces have issues, a few a hell of a lot bigger than a person with a Che Guevara T-Shirt. So when we ask for the full investigations reports of 6172 cases, how many have been really investigated, or prosecuted on? NBC reported that “58 percent of victims experienced reprisals or retaliation for reporting sexual assault“, so how exactly were issues resolved?

Here we see the three events come together. There is a flawed mindset at work, it is flawed through what some might call deceptive conduct. We seem to labels and when it backfires we tend to see messages like ‘there were miscommunications hampering the issues at hand‘, standards that cannot be agreed on, or after there was an agreement the individual players decide to upgrade their national documents and hinder progress. How is that ever going to resolve issues? In all this greed and political needs seem to hinder other avenues though players that should not even be allowed to have a choice in the matter. It is the setting where for close to decades the politicians have painted themselves into a corner and are no longer able to function until a complete overhaul is made and that is the problem, a solution like that costs a serious amount of funds, funds that are not available, not in the US and not in Europe. The defence spending that cannot happen, the technology that is not what is specified and marketing will merely label it into something that it is not, because it is easier to sell that way. A failing on more than one level and by the time we are all up to speed, the others (read: Huawei) passed us by because they remained on the ball towards the required goal.

So as we are treated to: “A parliamentary hearing in Sydney got an extra touch of spice yesterday, after the chief executive of NBN Co appeared to finger one group of users supposedly responsible for congestion on NBN’s fixed wireless network: gamers“, whilst the direct setting given is “Online gaming requires hardly any bandwidth ~10+ megabytes per hour. A 720p video file requires ~ 500+ megabytes per hour. One user watching a YouTube video occupies the same bandwidth as ~50 video gamers“, we can argue who is correct, yet we forgot about option 3. As was stated last week we see that the largest two users of online games were Counterstrike (250MB/hour) add Destiny 2 (300 MB/hour), whilst the smallest TV watcher ABC iView used the same as Destiny 2, the rest a multitude of that, with Netflix 4K using up to 1000% of what gamers used (in addition to the fact that there are now well over 7.5 million Netflix users, whilst the usage implies that to be on par, we need 75 million gamers, three times the Australian population). Perhaps it is not the gamers, but a system that was badly designed from the start. Political interference in technology has been a detrimental setting in the US, Europe and Australia as well, the fact that politicians decide on ‘what is safe‘ is a larger issue when you put the issues next to one another. If we openly demand that the US reveal the security danger that Huawei is according to them, will they remain silent and let a ‘prominent friend‘ of Telstra speak?

When we look one tier deeper into NATO, they themselves become the source (at https://www.nato-pa.int/document/2018-defence-innovation-capitalising-natos-science-and-technology-base-draft-report) with: ‘Capitalising on Nato’s Science and Technology Base‘. Here we see on page 5: “In an Alliance of sovereign states, the primary responsibility to maintain a robust defence S&T base and to discover, develop and adopt cutting-edge defence technologies lies with NATO member states themselves. Part of the answer lies in sufficient defence S&T and R&D budgets“. It is the part where we see: ‘adopt cutting-edge defence technologies lies with NATO member states themselves‘ as well as ‘sufficient defence S&T and R&D budgets‘. You introduce me to a person that shows a clear partnership between the needs of Philips (Netherlands) and Siemens (Germany) and I will introduce you to a person who is knowingly miscommunicating the hell out of the issue. You only need to see the 2016 financial assessment: “After divesting most of its former businesses, Philips today has a unique portfolio around healthy lifestyle and hospital solutions. Unlike competitors like GE Healthcare and Siemens Healthineers, the company covers the entire health continuum” and that is merely one field.

Rubber Duck closing in on small Destroyer.

In that consider a military equivalent. The 5th best registered CIWS solution called MK15 Phalanx (US), the 3rd position is for the Dutch Goalkeeper (Thales Netherlands) and the 2nd best CIWS solution comes from the US with the Raytheon SeaRAM. Now we would expect every nationality would have its own solution, yet we see the SeaRAM was only adopted by Germany, why is it not found in the French, Italian, Spanish and Canadian navy? Belgium has the valid excuse that the system is too large for their RIB and Dinghy fleet, but they are alone there. If there is to be true connectivity and shared values, why is this not a much better and better set partnership? Now, I get that the Dutch are a proud of their solution, yet in that entire top list of CIWS systems, a larger group of NATO members have nothing to that degree at all. So is capitalising in the title of the NATO paper actually set to ‘gain advantage from‘, or is it ‘provide (someone) with capital‘? Both are options and the outcome as well as the viability of the situation depending on which path you take. So are the Australians losing advantage from Telstra over Huawei, or are some people gaining huge lifestyle upgrades as Huawei is directed to no longer be an option?

I will let you decide, but the settings are pushing all boundaries and overall the people tend to not benefit, unless you work for the right part of Palantir inc, at which point your income could double between now and 2021.

 

2018 – DEFENCE INNOVATION – ALLESLEV DRAFT REPORT – 078 STC 18 E

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Humble Pie

Merely a few hours ago, Bloomberg gave us ‘Iran Is Ready to Discuss Yemen Conflict with European Nations‘ (at https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-05-28/iran-says-ready-to-discuss-yemen-conflict-with-european-nations). You might think that this is a good thing, but it is not. Iran is caught in a two side war, just like I predicted in the previous 3 weeks. Just like that, they are willing to talk. They have suddenly realised that time was up and now they are grasping at any side that will be willing to facilitate for them at a price. It is linked to a few escalations on more than one side. Even as we read here: “Iran will be holding a new round of talks with Europe on the Yemen conflict, negotiations that have taken on greater significance as the sides try to salvage a nuclear agreement“, the start gives the goods, Iran wants to protect the nuclear agreement at all cost. Their high farting like sounds of political boasting is coming to an end, there was never any option and now they must concede on several sides. Even as one side is taken from them, they are willing to concede on the Yemen side as it was never going to be a realistic option and as Hezbollah has failed again and again in their pursuit of successful strikes on Saudi Arabia, none happened and now they need to find the one war they might actually have a chance of winning, it is the Nuclear agreement and even that will backfire soon enough. So when we read: ““Iran, like the EU, is unlikely to want to mix fate of the nuclear deal with that of talks on other issues,” said Aniseh Bassiri Tabrizi, a research fellow at the Royal United Services Institute in London. “At the same time, it is important for them to keep a channel of communication open with the EU, whatever happens on the nuclear deal, and the best dossier to do so is Yemen for them.”“, I tend not to be in agreement. You might think that it is all the same, but it is not. It is not about ‘whatever happens on the nuclear deal‘, it is about making sure that this agreement is salvaged, Iran overplayed its hand and now that there will be hell to pay, they need to find a way out, if only they can find the right greed and ego driven Europeans to make a quick deal, at that point the media can reflect on some victory, whilst there is no actual victory. You see, there is a second side that is part of this. Iran has figured out that the only interests that Russia has in Syria are Russian ones and in that picture there is no space for Iran, Israel has made that abundantly clear and as such Iran stands alone and with the hits that Israel has been making in Syria on Iranian troops and the strike last Thursday as well as the silence (or better stated lack of loud boasting) by the Syrian governments indicates that the absence of Iran is well liked, even though they are not willing to state it out loud. Syria wants to get the most out of the Russians and Iranians as it can get, which is perfectly fine, yet Iran is too much of an issue for Israel, after years of boasting and threatening, Israel decided to act; the political field was ripe for that. With both America and Saudi Arabia opposing Iran and Russia not really caring about Iran, Iran is in an unwinnable situation, the Iranian coffers drained by enabling Hezbollah as well as the actions in Syria have drained a large chunk of their reserves, Iran need to cut its losses and it is doing so with the gesture we see in the Bloomberg article, one of many to follow I reckon. That truth becomes a lot harsher when we see: “Chagai Tzuriel, director general of the Israeli ministry of intelligence, said he believed that Moscow realised that fighting between Iran and Israel could undermine gains made by Russia during the Syrian civil war“, we know that there is no hiding for Iran, they played the game as far as they could, now that option after option falls away, they are determined to hold on to the Nuclear agreement. This also opens the second stage for Israel; they can now more effectively take care of Hezbollah, now that there is an open season on Iran, Hezbollah can (hopefully permanently) be dealt with. In that regard there is no lack of either Israel or Saudi Arabia to hunt them down and without Iran that might well happen. For Russia it is not over, you see, the Jerusalem Post gives us “Lavrov’s comments are part of an understanding reached between Israel and Russia to keep Iranian and Hezbollah forces away from Syria’s border with Israel on the Golan Heights“, that sounds nice in theory, yet over the years Hezbollah has shown never to keep any agreement (when they were not out of ammunition), so there is a setting where it is very realistic that Hezbollah will do whatever it wants and puts Russia in a pickle, as such both sides agreeing to get rid of Hezbollah makes perfect sense as such Iran is really not willing to stay there as a piggy in the middle. In addition Russia stands to make a lot of plus points in the Saudi Arabia side of things, not just by pushing Iran away from where they are, but to push Hezbollah away from Syrian and Jordanian borders which gets them nice points at the Jordanian royal court as well. In all this there is actually not one part of Hezbollah that has any redeeming value at all, and the worst part is that Hezbollah knows this too (yet they do not care).

There is one additional side that Iran needs to worry about. As Saudi Arabia has given to Germany to be the aggrieved party in Germany’s support in favour of the nuclear deal for Iran is already costing Germany a lot, the German giants who were tenders on several projects for the Saudi government are seeing them being cut from consideration, with Neom and Vision 2030, both projects totaling in value at well over 800 billion, the German economy will take larger hits, other EU nations might find themselves in a setting where they have to choose to go for a really bad nuclear deal, whilst there is no evidence that it will result in a better position and good economic settings in the longer run (more then 3-5 years) whilst Saudi Arabia is growing a setting that is getting closer to a trillion dollars over 12 years, there is no way that Iran can rely on any level of serious support, not after all the stunts they played. Their actions made it impossible and their boasting made it close to intolerable. In addition with Iran cut in every way, Turkey will now need to realise that they played the game wrong in other ways as well. Even as some might cry over the Russians not getting the F-35 due to getting culled from the program, Russia sees a second option to not just sell Turkey missiles, they could optionally sell them the SU-57 as well, which will get Turkey a new loan agreement for a few billions and let’s face it America needs to test the F-35 anyway, whether they test their F-35 against a Sukhoi, does it matter whether a Russian or a Turk is flying it? (Howls of deriving laughter in the background)

You see, they are doing this whilst their currency is at an all-time low, some might think that it is a great time to buy, yet with their economy in shambles and there should be no chance of them ascending into the EU in the next few years, the setting of spending billions on a new Sukhoi squadron (perhaps even two) seems to be folly to me. Even as there is some good news (read: numbers) coming from Turkey, its unemployment rate is still a little over 10.5% and seems to be rising over the next quarter, surpassing Italy in unemployment statistics. It is there where we see another issue. This matters as there has been a link between Iran and Turkey, so as the pressure on several sides is on Turkey, the economic pressures might force Turkey to make any deal they can, even if they have to break connections to Iran, which would for the most isolate Iran at that point, an option that both Israel and Saudi Arabia would enjoy. Israel especially as Turkey was threatening Israel with all kinds of sanctions (source: Haaretz).

So as Turkey is imposing sanctions on those deciding to recognise the Armenian Holocaust, we see the active economic impact that Turkey faces by being in denial, not the worst day in many lives.

In this there is a reflection that must be noticed, In Al Arabiya, there was an article (at http://english.alarabiya.net/en/views/news/middle-east/2018/05/25/Bitterness-confusion-among-Saudi-Arabia-s-foes.html), an opinion piece that matters. You see, the writer Abdullah bin Bijad Al-Otaibi (Twitter: @abdullahbjad) gives us “Enemies are upset and confused and the world is recalibrating its power equations so that each knows its place and capabilities. Also, so that each country can reflect on its policies and alliances through the power of politics, diplomacy, boycott and sanctions, as well as with the power of armies and weapons“, he is correct, President Donald Trump might have kicked it off with “America First“, it is a truth we have been forced to face for well over 5 years. It does not matter whether you are in the US, UK, Saudi Arabia, Sweden, Australia, Canada or New Zealand. As citizens and politicians we have a duty to protect our national interests and set that as a first essential need. When we look from that angle we get to reflect on how bad Iran is, we cannot fault Turkey for taking its national interests first, yet they did it by not honouring the allies they had for decades and that sets the sliding acceptance (towards rejection) of Turkey in all this when you consider the events from 2001 onwards.

In this his view: “Big European companies are fleeing Iran at a fast pace and everyone who has dealt with Iran, whether banks or companies, are looking for a safe way out of any ties they have with Iran, its parties, militias and ideology. Everyone now accepts the facts about Iran’s crimes such as its sponsoring of terrorism, drug dealing and money laundering in the region and the world” is not incorrect, yet the issue is that this sets the stage on greed influencing the national interest in the stage of big business versus government, a setting that Europe, the US and the Commonwealth have had for the longest time. In addition there is now a small opposition from my side. I agree with part of his statement “They have done so through the Palestinian cause which they have, from Iran, Turkey, Qatar and the Muslim Brotherhood, managed to exploit to serve their interests and fulfil their ambitions“, there is a side I cannot completely agree with (actually there is more than one side here). Not because I think he is wrong, but because there is data missing, data I never had access to, or was given by a reputable media source to the degree that there is enough shown to see it as an actual issue.

This is seen in the parties Iran and Qatar. Now, we accept the puppet game that Iran has played, we do not deny that in any way, but in the end Iran was merely playing the hand it had to show Iranian interest. We can agree that it was done badly, yet they did do this for mere national interest (or so they say). In the second part there is Qatar. I agree that there are questions, yet overall, I have not seen the evidence, the allegations going back to 2014 have been loud, yet the media and others have not given a clear path of evidence that gives light to the wrongful opposition by the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, we can agree that there are some terrorist financiers, that was never in question, yet Qatar seems to have tried all legal ways and did not get anywhere, in addition the US state document (at https://www.state.gov/documents/organization/258249.pdf) does not give the goods either, we are confronted with “Qatar is a partner in the Global Coalition to Counter the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and has provided significant support in facilitating critical U.S. military operations in the region. Terrorist activity historically has been low in Qatar“, this does not make Qatar innocent; it merely shows that without better and more data, they remain ‘not guilty‘, which is not the same. The document is 3 years old, yet there is no new information that truly sets Qatar in a bad light (for now). In addition we see that Qatar State Security is aggressive when it comes to monitoring internal extremist or terrorism-related activities. Interestingly enough, the players from ‘team’ Qatar State Security seem to have a much better handle on internal extremism and terrorism-related activities than most European countries, so there is that to consider as well. The second issue I had with the statement by Abdullah bin Bijad al-Otaibi is the reference to ‘the Palestinian cause‘, which is not wrong to make, yet for many of us, especially those outside of Saudi Arabia, Palestine or the Middle East, we no longer know what ‘the Palestinian cause‘ actually is. You see in its origin it is directly linked to the 1948 Palestinian exodus, yet the entire Palestinian cause seemed to have been presented, projected and covered by the media in almost any setting that covered news in Lebanon, Israel, the West Bank and the Gaza strip. The entire definition has shown to have shifted over the decades and I still believe that it is shifting, even today. In addition the fact that western media over the years seemed to have made ‘the Palestinian cause‘ and ‘hatred of Jews and the State of Israel‘ close to interchangeable does not help matters either.

All these issues matter as they are connected. that connection is also part of the problem and reason why I am partially in opposition, now, I am fully aware that my opposition is wrong, or better stated incorrect, yet I am like most sensible people, I rely on data, and data is either reliable or not and I tend to regard shifted data as not that reliable, which is why I had the cause for opposition.

So as we see that Iran is facing humble pie on several fronts, we need to realise that our views and more important the views we get from information we accept as reliable is also filtering the view we have, it might be correct, or wrong. In the end we do not know and restoring our filters by attending our national interests first is not the worst place to start, as a citizen we need to do that, because when we look to our nation, our national needs and attend to that, we ground ourselves and perhaps as the economic settings have shifted, so will the national need and that is OK, as long as we do not tend towards corporate greed and consider the needs of our neighbours, we might get through the bad times in a much better way than we thought. In the end it is not about serving Iran Humble Pie, which would be the right thing to do, we need to consider when we are rightfully served Humble Pie, will we eat it when we realise that we were wrong?

That includes us all and it includes me, I have never shied away from optionally being wrong. I merely reacted to the verifiable data that I was served and I made the best of it and tried to remain true to the data based views offered and I reflected on those insights, it is the best we can do in this modern world.

 

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Price of freedom

What is exactly the price of freedom? We hear it all the time. Certain things must be done so that we can remain free. You can hear it in the US, the UK, France, the Netherlands, Australia even in New Zealand it can be heard (not just from the sheep). No, it is that currency, freedom that is the question. You see, what exactly is that price and what does every nation have to pay, so that they can be free. When was the last time you considered that part?

When was the last time you got a clear instruction on how to launch a missile so that it lands EXACTLY in what the Houthi’s call “Two ballistic missiles were fired on Saturday evening from Yemen into Saudi Arabia, allegedly targeting Khamis Mushait, a city in the south-west of the country, the coalition forces announced“, whilst in the Saudi Gazette we see: “the other failed to target any populated areas of the city after landing in a desert area“. Now consider the claims we have seen in the past weeks on how they were targeting specific places in Riyadh, which is several times the distance that we saw approached now and the Houthi’s cannot get that right 50% of the time. So when we see “Missile launched at Saudi capital, Houthis claim responsibility“, what are they actually targeting, are they targeting anything? I believe that there are two kind of teams working in Yemen, an Iranian and a Houthi; the better shots were clearly Iranian and with the quote ““This hostile act carried out by the Iranian Houthi militia proves that the Iranian regime is still providing the terrorist Houthi armed militia with qualitative capabilities…with the main objective of threatening the Saudi Arabian, regional and international security,” Al-Malki stressed in the statement.”, the statement is not wrong, but it is not correct either a I personally see it. I think that the Iranians are actively training Houthi troops, so when we realise that they are intentionally firing into dense populated civilian areas. Why is there not a much stronger response from Europe? It was only yesterday that the independent reported (at https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/iran-nuclear-deal-latest-eu-donald-trump-sanctions-miguel-arias-canete-a8359126.html), that ‘it remains committed to accord despite Trump’s withdrawal‘, so that is the price of freedom, a nuclear deal with a nation committed to act in terrorist ways via puppets. The question becomes, what is this so called freedom worth to you, because when you are called on the accountability of what your politicians are doing, are you ready to pay that bill?

In this regard, the Conversation (at http://theconversation.com/trumps-high-stakes-gamble-on-the-iran-nuclear-deal-could-work-96449), offered an interesting thought. With “Though Israel provided a great deal of proof that Iran had lied about its nuclear program in the past, no evidence was offered that Iran was continuing the past record of deceit. The vast majority of experts agree that there is a greater likelihood of an arms race in the Middle East without the agreement than with it“. The statement is more important than you think. You see in the first we get ‘Iran had lied in the past‘, we also get ‘with a nuclear deal there is a smaller chance of nuclear arms acceleration‘ and ‘there is currently no evidence that Iran is currently acting in falsehood‘. They are important because if they lied then, what is stopping them from lying now? There is evidence of Iran acting in falsehood when we look at Yemen, now we have a ballgame, because any evidence of any level of nuclear advancement is a signal for Saudi Arabia to do the same thing, they clearly stated that. The conversation is in the belief that a nuclear deal is better, yet they call this not on the setting it is in, they are now about: ‘There is a chance the re-imposition of sanctions could work. However, it is a high-risk gamble‘, it is set as ‘a possible defence of withdrawal’, it was not about the withdrawal, it is about the nuclear setting where Iran will do what it pleases as it has done so in the past, allowing Uranium into Iran, whilst all players agree that monitoring precise Uranium numbers is not an actual reality, and with both Saudi Arabia and Israel on the firing line, it is not a high stakes gamble that they are willing to make. And leaving the decision of such a gamble with people who are not on the firing line is folly, because they pretty much have nothing to lose, in the worst case, their ego’s get to take on for the team. Explain to me how that was ever going to be a good idea? It gets even worse when we consider that President Rouhani is only in charge as long as the clergy and military agree on his actions, how exactly is that called being in charge? We get this from the NY Times on May 9th, where we see “Iran’s supreme leader on Wednesday hinted that his country might step up its nuclear program, signalling a possible escalation in an already volatile relationship with Washington after President Trump announced he was pulling the United States out of the 2015 nuclear deal”. So that is an outcome that the clergy decided on (apart from their advanced degrees on nuclear physics)? The stated issue by Ayatollah Khamenei is a dangerous one, in light of other materials, there is an increased issue that this deal was not a good idea from the very start.

I still believe that removing the Iranian navy is a first move, not only does it hurt their morale, it sets the Iranian clergy directly in opposition against the military, merely because the clergy thought their side to be invulnerable, there is nothing as uncommunicating as a clergy that knows that they are a direct target. They become the axial in a blame game, a good place for Iran to be in internally (for us). The biggest Issue I saw was not on some Iranians, merely on that a future president could end up being another Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and as such the escalations begin again, yet now that person has nuclear options not a thought you would ever be willing to give any extreme Iranian president.

The issue is not merely the nuclear deal, it is Europe as a whole. When we see “Miguel Arias Canete, the European commissioner for energy and climate, said the 28-nation bloc, once the biggest importer of Iranian oil, also hoped to boost trade with Tehran“, they are ‘hoping‘ to boost trade. This is merely an economic necessity, the European economy is reported to be good, but now consider, it is 1941 and you are willing to deal with Nazi Germany, just to look economically better. Make sure you see the 1941 reference; this is no reflection on today’s Germany. Boosting trade with Iran comes at a price. Now consider that this has been going on for a year and now Iran states: “I would love to do this another three years, yet my good friend Turkey should be allowed in the EU“, now what will happen? A nation that should by the EU’s own standard never be admitted is now optionally a new EU nation. In that part when we consider the quote: “Mr Salehi said Iran had several options, including resuming its 20 per cent uranium enrichment if the European countries failed to keep the pact alive. He said the EU had only a few weeks to deliver on their promises“, this alone is an issue, because it is feasible that Russia has been delivering the hardware needed to an undisclosed location, now setting a different stage. In all this the EU is so willing to set the price of freedom in the basement, whilst knowingly endangering both Saudi Arabia and Israel.

The nightmare scenario

The nightmare scenario is not that Iran becomes nuclear; no it is the same issue when we look back to the era of Nazi Germany. I still personally believe that the State If Israel got created in an effort to get the blood rage that would have haunted Europe for decades off the streets, that danger was very real in 1945-1948. The Dutch NSB members, the Germans in general, we also get the quote “This was a time of often enthusiastic collaboration with the Third Reich, as French police and paramilitary organisations were among the many who rounded up ‘enemies of the state’ and sent them to Germany for extermination.” (I think that this was merely part of occupied France), or what we get from historian Jan Grabowski “‘Orgy of Murder’: The Poles Who ‘Hunted’ Jews and Turned Them Over to the Nazis“, at this point we have 4 countries where a people in utter rage could have persecuted Europeans for decades, that ugly reality alone and not even considering Belgium, Denmark, Italy and a few other places, on how long restorations would have additionally lasted. I am close to 100% certain that it would still be going on by the time I was born, so that image is part of all this.

The reason is that once this goes wrong, when we are optionally going to be a witness to a lynching unlike we have seen for 350 years. When this goes pear shaped and it is close to a certainty that it will go wrong, those who politicised this to happen, might in person feel what it was to be like Cornelis and Johan de Witt, who both got lynched and mutilated by the angry mob on August 20th 1672. These politicians will hide behind complications and mere uncertainties, but so did those who opposed the house of Orange, it did not end well for them.

When that happens, Europe will fall into anarchy, it will happen not because it is destined to do so, but because too many politicians have been trying to sell a bill of goods and there will be escalating levels of mistrust and anger. In this it will not matter whether Saudi Arabia or Israel will get hit, the hit will be enough to make every European politician a valid target for hunting and lynching. Their entire approach to keep every deal going whilst there is too much overwhelming evidence of the unacceptable acts by both Turkey and Iran will be the fuelling cause for it all.

After that I have no way to make any predictions, some politicians will take a long vacation in a nation without extradition the moment things go massively wrong, or try refugee status in America, but those who do not get out in time, will not have any options, they will, due to their own stupidity get hunted down.

Why?

That question is actually a lot more important than you might think. There has been an interaction of politics and media, that has never been a secret, yet in the past there was a level of balance, now, in the age where it is all about commerce and circulation, we see a different setting, the media at large are for the lack of a better term no more than a concubine, who splits her attention between the advertiser, the shareholder and the stakeholder. None of those three are the reader by the way; they merely get introduced to what we now call ‘stories of eventuality‘, which is different from actual news. Most papers merely use what Reuters offer and work with that foundation in any way that they can. This is not a national issue; it is a global one, so when something is not actually nationally set (apart from big events), we do not get the news we get some paraphrased context. Now consider that we have had that for 3-4 days and suddenly there is a nuclear explosion in Riyadh, Jeddah, Tel Aviv or Eilat. When that happens, do you think that the people will remain calm? No, they will be scared out of their minds and all the pretty stories that the news gave, and all the politicians who hid behind ‘we do not expect this to happen’ or ‘it could be so good for us all if it works out’ will not stop a group of people who will add up to many millions, their fear will catch on and they will hunt down anyone related to the Iran Nuclear deal and the messages that they handed out. Like Johan de Witt, they will be trying to get away, but an enraged crowd of that many people cannot be avoided, the only issue is, can those who signed it see that danger in time?

Is there real danger?

That is the part no one, especially me can predict. There is too much not known and even more at times misrepresented, so it is not likely but that merely is set to the foundation of facts, and we are often not given facts, merely speculations (even I am to some degree speculating), I am trying to stay as real as possible, but in light of what I just gave, based on the founding facts that we all have been able to see around us for a few years now. When the fears of nuclear events become reality, which person will not go into fear driven panic? All that, because the politicians of today are set in a battle arena where it is all about the economy and anything that can contribute to that economy must be embraced no matter how the political setting is. That is the setting and even as there is no real stability in that setting, as we see pressure on more than one currency, we will also see the need for intense economic growth and some will give representation that Turkey give options in this, that is the first moment where failure will translate to pressure, when that happens all bets are off and in light of those sliding values, should Iran (yes, I stated ‘should’) do one stupid move in any nuclear setting we will see a different kind of fallout, we will see the kind where the bulk of 740 million Europeans will all pretty much lose it on the spot, that is the moment where we will see on how ‘speech making’ will be a hangable offense to those people, no courts, no judges, millions of hysterically enraged (enraged through fear) who will seek people to hold accountable (the blame game), that is the wrong day to be a politicians, let me tell you that much.

Now, I do not think the danger is that big, although it is directly linked to the acts of Iran, so it is not zero. The real danger is grown with the moral setting of both Iran and Turkey, the fact that some want to keep the discussion going, whilst it should have been discontinued a long time ago will also count. We are heading into murky shallow waters and the end game cannot be predicted, merely because of the amount of players and they all have their own needs. Yet the one part that I do not fathom is that some are willing to add the ‘price of freedom‘ as a currency to calm both political and economic waters with people who have no regard for either element in that setting, a dangerous precedent I think, but that might merely be me.

 

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It is done!

There are a few issues today and the first one is not really an issue, unless you are a movie producer and you are up against Infinity war. I just learned that it smashed the Chinese box office on Friday with an additional $76 million, which makes it surpass both Black Panther and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows part 2. It is now the 8th most successful movie on the planet in the All Time Box Office and that is before the global Saturday revenues are known. I expect it to crush the first Avengers Movie and settle (during the week) on the 5th position. It is the fastest ascension of any movie ever. That is big news, so as per ‘today’ 40% of the top 10 movies ever worldwide are Marvel Productions. I think that the Legacy of Stan Lee is very safe for all time; in addition, I reckon that the Russo brothers will be walking around with that feeling of pride and accomplishment for some time to come. This will not be some DC Marvel comparing; this is a comic book victory that spans 3 generations, and perhaps the setting of an old truth that a dreamer with only $0.25 can conquer the world (small reference to Walt Disney there).

We watched for all kinds of reasons and none of us were disappointed, not even those who went to see it with the silent promise that they could see that Chris Hemsworth is merely slightly less than half the size of Peter Dinklage. We are not even at the halfway point yet! The pressure on part 2 will be overwhelming with every weekend we get towards that point of release, especially those who recognised the message in the teaser at the very end.

But our worlds do not merely revolve on Marvel Production (some need chocolates too), and if it was only so good, it is not, The independent gives us mere hours ago (updated) that in Iran the Clerics are shown to be as simple as one could expect. With the quote “Iranian senior cleric Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami said during Friday prayers that Western pressure will backfire, threatening that Israel will pay the price.” The holy system of Islamic Republic will step up its missile capabilities day by day so that Israel, this occupying regime, will become sleepless and the nightmare will constantly haunt it that if it does anything foolish, we will raze Tel Aviv and Haifa to the ground,” the hard-line cleric said. The warshippers chanted: “Death to America,” and “Death to Israel“.”, it is their invitation to War, they thought they were clever with their ‘Syrian‘ missile attack, but they now have the impeding wrath of the State of Israel, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia who has had their fill of the Yemeni Issues, as well as Iran’s commitment to terrorism and Hezbollah and now that both parties know that the rest of the world is willing to united behind Saudi Arabia and Israel, now they need to cry and scream like little children. It is in that setting that I see the mention of “Antonio Guterres, the UN secretary-general, asked for the halt to avoid “a new conflagration” in the region following the most extensive military exchange between Israel and Iran“, Iran did not listen for the longest of times, during the entire Syrian slaughter the UN was merely a lame duck, an expensive voice that was not listened to at all. So why should anyone listen now? So when we see “we will raze Tel Aviv and Haifa to the ground,” the hard-line cleric said. The worshippers chanted: “Death to America,” and “Death to Israel”“, we see a part that they are still in denial of the Houthi situation. Yet now, after the years of their chants, many are sick of the Iranian debacle, option upon option were given, but the two players in charge of Iran, the clerics and the military are soon to be called to put their money where their mouths are and now, the game changes for them, because as far as I see it, they cannot deliver. The fact that I saw the flaw that ends their navy, they will be on an unbalanced setting, they still have plenty of air force and army, but that too falls against the naval settings of what non-Iranians remains in the Persian Gulf and in that setting they have a much larger disadvantage. Iran must rely on the puppets and tools they had and these players are no longer sure of Iran at all. Iran overplayed their hand!

Sinem Cengiz the Turkish political analyst in Arab News gives us: “Turkey will not be taking sides in the crisis as it is already dealing with the effects of the turbulence affecting its other neighbors, Syria and Iraq. So a third neighbor under sanctions will not serve Turkish interests in the region. A nuclear-armed Iran is not in the interest of Turkey either as it would challenge Ankara’s own regional-power position in the Middle East“, she is not wrong, but I personally do not completely agree. You see, Turkey moved itself into a much higher echelon for its own reasons on Kurds and Kurdistan and the setting in Syria remains provocative. Russia wants the middle mediation spot and Iran thinks that they could still push some for certain agreements. Turkey’s actions could push itself into either directly opposing Iran as it wants to soften the setting with European players, or try approach, which was to make Europe more lenient. I do not think either will work, yet with the US in play, they could be pushed into denying certain settings with Iran. Turkey might not want to take sides and for the short term (4-8 weeks) that could be possible, yet both US and the EU want commitments from the Turkish government, but one that is set against Iran (or at least withdraw completely form that setting), it might be one of the few paths remaining to avoid a direct war and in all that, the others want commitments. The path could be delayed when open hostilities against Hezbollah are chosen, because at this point, such actions need to go without any Iranian support, and in that Turkey would be willing to sacrifice Hezbollah for their own needs. Iran will at some point use them as martyrs, which is fine for some as martyrs can no longer hold guns that is the reality of war!

In this we see support from the Courier Mail, who makes mention of ‘Russia reeling in Iran’, which might prevent worse, which is partially true. The issue is not any of the outside players; the issue is that the Iranian clergy and military have been prepping for the longest time. Now they want to move in and look good, yet the starting signal was not given at the right time, so now their entire strategy is falling upon the floor with no one wanting the visibility of picking that trash up. In this CNBC has its own view (at https://www.cnbc.com/2018/05/09/trump-iran-sanctions-give-saudi-arabia-and-russia-more-clout.html). With “Saudi Arabia said it will help meet world oil demand if President Donald Trump’s Iran sanctions create shortfalls, but analysts say it will do so only in conjunction with Russia, and the world may have to get used to higher prices as a result” they are correct, that is indeed the midterm play that we all face, increasing oil prices and the energy companies will try to cash in on this as soon as possible, even as they have been enjoying cheap oil for years. This strategy works for both Saudi Arabia and Russia on several fronts, there will be no opposing party ready or able to pick up that slack. Their only way to prevent worse is the action offered by Israel, If the Syrian president tells Iran to go home, it would relieve tensions. The question becomes if Syria willing to do just that? There are still scores of Russians there and perhaps Turkey has an option to show willingness to increase troops, which works for them on all but one front, Iran will see this as an act of desertion against the Iranian settings. Iran’s actions or responses cannot be predicted as present. Even a Syria has had issues with the Turkish ties towards the Muslim Brotherhood and as such, it might be the best option, but not one President Assad is willing to consider (personal speculation). It is a Gordian knot of complications at best, cutting it might be the best, but that too might not be seen as a solution for any of those players.

So where is the option to remove the pressures? I am not certain if there are any left, the issue is the pressures are coming from Iran and they are not willing to change for the time being.

For desert

The end of this should be something light and frothy, there is nothing lighter and frothy than a good game and in light of the upcoming war, is that such a bad deal? We have seen all kinds of allegations and leaks. Now that we see a few announcements, and now that we have seen a few things that Sony will be bringing, I am now at a loss how Microsoft will get anywhere with the uphill battle they face this year. It seems to me that the upcoming Book of the dead is doing to PS4 what the initial the Last of Us did to the PS3. It was overwhelming. In addition when we see the Last of Us 2, Ghost of Tsushima, Spiderman, Death Stranding and Book of the dead, realising that at least three of these titles will be released in 2018, one is extremely unlikely to come before 2019 (Death Stranding) and one remains an unknown at present, and that is merely the exclusives. Sony has remastered the Spyro trilogy which will entice a new generation and satisfy the ones who played it on the original PlayStation. There are loads more coming, but this is at present what Nintendo and Microsoft are up against, which in light of the results of God of War is not a good thing to be up against. Now that the Sony gamers have heard that the release of Subnautica on PS4 is more and more imminent; an unknown title (to many) that is merely one of the best survival adventures I ever played and original from beginning to end. So in that view, we see that the other brand has a diminishing level of unique games left and that was never a good thing for any console. In my personal view, there is now only one reason why I still have the Xbox One. It is the one game, the game that I revered ever since I got my fingers on the demo that was added to the PC Format disc, al little over 20 years ago. Take a look at the update of the remastered and remade System Shock (at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lKfnTnZuC5E) where you can see the game in progress and even as it is announced to come to PS4, it is for the time being a lot earlier on Xbox One and PC.

The advantage Microsoft once had is now pretty much gone.

Even as some are all about the gifting a game hype, from my personal experience most people have never given me anything correct when it comes to gaming. Now, in some cases it is indeed nice, but most people prefer to go to shop and get a physical copy of the game. We acknowledge that backward compatibility is a nice setting; there is no denying that, yet over the next year do you want to replay a few good games, or play amazing new games? Backward compatibility is nice to have and an asset, no one denies that, yet the setting of no amazing new games is not something you want to rely on. The Verge actually almost nails it with “The Xbox One is the best console if you don’t care about exclusive new games“, I do agree with the setting, but those exclusives that Sony has is just beyond amazing and Microsoft has nothing to counter that, that is the setting that does matter. Nintendo upped the setting even more with the leak of Pokémon Switch coming this year; this will get millions of 3DS players now update to Switch much faster than initially expected. It gets to be interesting when you consider that Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon sold in excess of 7 million copies. With Pokken on Switch (originally a WiiU title) already out and now the new Pokémon’s coming (I expect at least two), we see that Nintendo is upping the score and the pressure on both Microsoft and Sony.

So even as Verge was almost correct, they missed it that the gamers love exclusive titles and the fact that the Sony players are getting the Switch on the side matters as well, apart from them not getting the XB1 on the side. With 26 titles announced by August 2018, the games list is also impacting the other two. Bethesda is giving Wolfenstein 2 a ‘switch’ over in 7 weeks, The Crash Bandicoot fans get to do it all over again on Switch as well and Capcom is breathing life to Streetfighter with a 30th anniversary edition this month on Switch, yes, my prediction that I made a mere two weeks ago is coming to pass, the worst nightmare for Microsoft is coming, Nintendo and Sony have upped their game and as it is less likely that Microsoft can equal that during the E3; by no more than late August will we see the setting whether the total Nintendo Switch sales will surpass Xbox One total sales by Christmas 2018, it is now becoming increasingly likely that Microsoft Xbox One will grace third position in the console race before December 31st 2018. Microsoft will have to produce a miracle by the end of the year and it better be a lot better than there marketing department hiding behind “All Xbox One games and Microsoft Store PC games are now eligible for digital gifting“, because when I look at AC Origin Gold (AU$145) and Shadow of War Gold (AU$158), I wonder if the people know that these games are around 40Gb to download and a 100% larger if you have 4K capabilities. So not only is it a massive download, the fact that these XB1 consoles have no more than 1TB is also a consideration. Nothing on any of this is a ‘pro’ gamer setting, merely a maximum exploitation setting from Microsoft. And that is even before you realise that a new Shadow of War Gold edition (with Steelbook) is a mere AU$99.95 at EB Games, so, do you still think I am kidding when it comes to Microsoft dropping the ball three times over? Are you kidding with downloading a game at a price that is 50% higher than a physical version in the shops?

Like Iran, Microsoft overplayed their hand way too soon and they are also in the venue of not being able to counter what comes. A setting that they should have avoided, in that light we can compare the Microsoft marketeers with the Iranian clerics, they shout from the highest peaks, but without the support of actual product you end up merely irritating people, which is how I personally see this all.

A desert that was a little less light on the bowels, but in all this we see that some games over the next month will be shown to be not up to the fight against reality and consumerism. Because both rely on smooth sailing and those who have never been hit by internet congestion have for the most never ever used the full setting of it. Until very recently, Sydney NBN users had 4 hours a week of congestion, now consider having to fetch your Sex in the city, the latest movie, download games, watch reality (kitchen) TV and focus on the big footy games. So how welcome was that digital download game to the internet welfare of the family in the end?

 

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