Tag Archives: Israel

In continuation of views

Today is the third and possibly the last part in the Florida shooting articles. This part got here because of an article in the Washington Post. I reckon that those who did not read it should (at https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/why-school-shootings-are-so-rare-in-israel-where-guns-are-such-a-common-sight/2018/02/22/1fce546a-17e3-11e8-930c-45838ad0d77a_story.html). It gave me info that did not surprise me, but it was still nice to read. Did you know that shootings in schools in Israel are unheard of? In a place where you see guns and armed uniformed men on the streets, that this is the place where things go wrong. Yet, you would be incorrect. So when I reviewed some of the views I illustrated yesterday. It was a nice relief that some of my thoughts and speculations were proven correct. With: ““The guards are there for other reasons, mainly terrorism,” said Amos Shavit, spokesman for the Ministry of Education. He said the guards stationed at schools are under the authority of the police. In large cities, he said, the police and the local authority carry out security patrols around the educational institutions throughout the school day. There are no metal detectors or special door locks on classrooms. And, by policy, teachers are not armed“, it is all dealt with by professionals, as it should.

So as we see: “According to data from Israel’s Ministry of Internal Security, which registers all gun owners, about 260,000 Israelis, or about 3.5 percent of the population, have permits to carry firearms. Half of the permit holders are private citizens, and the others work for security firms” we see an optional clear case for better gun control, Israel is only slightly larger than New Jersey, the US being 450 times the size of Israel needs to be taken into account. Israel is close to the size of the Netherlands, another place not smitten with large space. Israel has 8.5 million people versus 325 million in the US. You think that this does not matter, but it does, especially when we consider people per square mile which is 320 people, a density 10 times higher than the US, you see people density has often been identified with crowd stresses and quick rising agitation levels. In all this, there are more factors, but these were the main ones and in that environment, school shootings are an event the Israeli children do not have to deal with. Then we see something that should wake us up. The Israeli population pretty much all get some form of military training and with “They are taught how to handle a weapon and how to respect a weapon,” Perry said. And, he said, “it is very, very hard to obtain a weapon in Israel.”” we see the part that matters. As I stated it in different ways here we see ‘how to respect a weapon‘. A weapon is for the most a tool, it serves a purpose, now some use it for shooting pieces of carton (targets), yet it is in its foundation a tool to end lives. It does not matter whether it is an animal or a person, when we use it; we are enabled to end the life of a target. A sword, a bayonet and a canon, all tools designed to kill; we need to respect that part. Now, we might use if for sport or for competition, but the foundation of the skill was to be able to end lives, in that it does not matter whether it was to stay alive, to protect your family or to protect others. We tend to walk around that part too often. We trivialise police officers at times as they carry their guns. But they were trained to kill dangers, to the lives of themselves and the lives of the civilians around them. Now, this does not mean that they shoot to kill, it merely means that they have the tool to do that, so the skill of aiming, the skill to properly use a firearm is increasingly important. They were trained with the purpose to protect lives, not to take them away. The article adds its views with “Residents of Tel Aviv, for example, are unlikely to receive gun licenses, whereas Israelis living in border areas or in the Jewish settlements in the West Bank, places where they could be targets for Palestinian militants, are more likely to be approved for gun licenses“. The final part is the bacon on the sandwich, but not part of the causes we see, or so I believe. With “her research showed that Israel ranks 81st in the world for per capita firearm ownership, with less than 1 in 10 Israelis owning firearms. The United States, with one firearm for every person, ranks first“, in this Janet Rosenbaum, an assistant professor of epidemiology at the School of Public Health at the State University of New York Downstate in Brooklyn was looking at the difference in homicide, but here we see the strain where I start to disagree. You see in social science views the USA has a flaw, a massive one and that is as I personally see the larger cause of it all. I have seen and witnessed Americans in action (and in non-action) in several walks of life. The entire problem starts in school, almost in primary school. The USA has had a forever growing stigma towards being first, being the best. Now, I am all for a competitive view and those winners are at times heralded, admired and idolised. I have no issue with that part, so as we see the movies and the news on how those ‘great’ football players get to have sex with whomever they want, whether the woman likes it of concedes to it, or not. This is seen in the Arizona Central and several other sources with: “Hamilton High School administrators knew of multiple allegations of sexual assault involving the Chandler school’s football players and repeatedly failed to notify authorities, according to information found in hundreds of pages of police documents released Thursday“. Not only does it happen, we see police reports that the authorities in school are condoning that behaviour. With the quote “Some students aware of the alleged sexual assaults did not appear to grasp the seriousness of the incidents, often using a joking tone about what they saw as a team initiation“, we see the unbelievable truth in how far the USA s failing its children. On the other side, we see those who fail to some extent those requirements of excellence, like any population will, but in the US those in the lowest 30%, especially if they are not athletes become legitimate targets, pariahs and outcasts. It does not matter how clever they are, they fail the social threshold and the athletic threshold and they become targets. This is the setting where the issue comes and it becomes even worse when these children are already receive some form of counselling or are on medication. The Columbine High School massacre, the Virginia Tech massacre, the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, and the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting all fit the bill to some extent. The last one is important, because it is the one odd duck out. We are shown degrees of isolation from and/or towards the perpetrators in the other ones, within the Stoneman Douglas High School, there is evidence that people had gone out of their way to include Nikolas Jacob Cruz within their community. The second adoptive parents after he lost his adoptive parents, shows that this community was pretty strong on inclusion. That is why the setting is weird.

I am not blaming mental health or medication on issues. Even if that was the case to the larger extent, I believe that the environmental pressures of being the best, being number one are causing way more damage than we are aware of. Actually, that is not correctly phrased. I believe that the stigma against those who cannot make the top levels is a lot more damaging. Now, in the end the perpetrators are the ones to blame, they decided to take the lives of others, yet there is a part in me that wonders whether social changes in the US would enable a much lower stressful and less combustible setting. I know that other nations have much stronger gun laws, yet Norway had to deal with the acts of Anders Behring Breivik in 2011. This does not compare to the school shootings, but the setting is that if Norway can get the unfathomable acts of a lone wolf to this degree, how much danger is the US in? You see, that is a long term issue and to resolve those dangers, we cannot merely point at the police department, the FBI and other players. It is becoming more and more important to change the board of the game and allow for larger changes that can be implemented. Both the shootings and the sex romps that are occurring in US High Schools and universities show evidence of this highly need change. And if that is not enough there are football coaches who dip their feet in the sexual waters and if they do not, in at least two cases their wives did.

We see more and more events like that make it to the courtrooms, there is still from various sources the alleged and likely issue that at least three times the known amount of victims, issues and events remain unreported. I believe these issues are directly linked to this all and even as the people want stricter gun control, there is no way of telling how long that takes, or how successful it will be in the US over the longer term. There is currently enough aftermath evidence that an environment where the pressure bar is lowered, a lot more people will not be in the stressful stage where their personality literally explodes in the faces of others not unlike a shotgun, in that I am personally close to absolutely certain. You see, during my law studies, I got to see loads of footage of the Columbine shooting, the Zero Hour Massacre at Columbine High (2004) gives a lot of facts and information that supports my view, in addition, further materials on YouTube (not the most reliable source) gives additional information that pushes the idea that social changes in US schools become more and more important. In this there are two additional views (read: movies) that count towards Columbine.  The two movies are Bowling for Columbine, the anti-gun movie by Michael Moore, and weirdly enough I’m not ashamed. In both we see the expected views on gun control and in I’m not ashamed we see the confirmation of bullying (not the central point of the movie though). Yet they both show something different in support. We see how Michael Moore gets the limelight in every way imaginable, whilst even Google allowed itself to be used in blocking the trailer for no less than 11 months, which gives added view that only some views in regards to these events are ‘tolerated‘. The papers gave the movie for various reasons mixed reviews. It is of course in the eyes of the beholder how a movie is seen and in that I am fine with that. There the LA Times gives us “a refreshing lack of moralizing here, and a welcome emphasis on accepting people for who they are“, it is an interesting view, especially in the view of social changes that the US desperately needs. Forbes also had good things to say and that is nice, some negativity was seen from the Guardian with “To use the senseless death of a school shooting victim to promote one’s warped political agenda is, to use a trendy term, deplorable“, I do not disagree that it is a valid view, yet as we can see, that is the actionable life of politicians as we have seen them in pretty much EVERY school shooting, so the Guardian was catering to the obvious here. The BBC gives us (at http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20180219-toxic-perfectionism-is-on-the-rise) that the age of Perfectionism has very dangerous downsides. They rightfully state “the thing about perfectionism. It takes no prisoners“, it merely enforces 1% success and 99% failure, which is a very dangerous setting and the US schooling system (actually most schooling systems in that regard) show how dangerous it is. In this it is the footballer Cristiano Ronaldo who gives us something much better. He strives for excellence, not perfection: ‘I am not a perfectionist, but I like to feel that things are done well‘, as stated in the BBC article. They also give us: “research shows that maladaptive attributes like beating yourself up for mistakes or feeling like you can’t live up to parental expectations make you more vulnerable to depression, some other studies have shown that ‘adaptive’ aspects like striving for achievement have no effect at all or may even protect you.” that part is actually the key in this. In my view, I refer to the Lord Baden Powell setting. Apart from him being the creator of the boy scouts. He gave us a setting to work with. He gave us “Leave this world a little better than when you found it”. It is a line that has been in my inner core for all of my life. I live by it because it does not require you to fix everything; it does not require you to reach for the unreachable. It merely tells you to do something realistic and in that it opposes perfectionism as perfectionism is utterly unrealistic. In that the US Army has always had a great line. With ‘Be all you can be!’ it opens the door for you to move forward in ways you can and it challenges you to never stop moving forward. That is a great setting for anyone to be in. Learn your entire life, learn more and more skills, and create your own abilities moving forward. It pushes a person, but pushes that person in a realistic achievable way.

It is education tempered through realism, some will go further than others, yet that is the reality of life. The dangers of perfectionism go way beyond normal standards and they are seen even more clearly in Japan where going back to school makes suicide statistics spike, there we see the dangers of perfectionism. Not doing your exam well and bullying when they perform poorly gives another view, not those lashing out decapitating students and teachers. No, they see it as a failure of self and a shame to their family and end their own lives. Some studies show that the suicide of those between 10-19 years is on the rise and the suicide rate in Japan is 60% higher than the global average, with one source stating 70 suicides a day. That gives additional rise to the dire need of changes, both the US and Japan shows the need for a different approach to education. Pressures and social needs are in the wrong segment of importance, whilst the need to score better and better is set unrealistically high in both nations and they are not alone. In the UK it seems that unrealistically high pass grades are needed to get into the better universities and the better faculties like Law and Medicine. The question becomes more pressing as getting to these places is almost too unrealistic on a young age, how can the youth ever be better prepared for a realistic contributing life if they are written off as not good enough long before the brain is at peak performance? To some extent we can see that athletic abilities can be seen earlier, yet the focus to train is gained often much later in life. Now, that does not mean that you can start to get into shape to become a quarterback at 25, whilst entering the NFL at 34. Yet oddly enough the brain has the ability to do just that for more than merely academic fields. In addition, this only happens in a positive environment, both elements are increasingly rarely seen in both Japanese and US schools, making the issue a growing one.

It is in those setting that it is equally important to dim the stresses that we see in schools and universities, especially as it is seen in the US. I am absolutely convinced that at least two of the four mentioned school massacres could have been prevented in a different social setting. I absolutely refuse to give any of the perpetrators a ‘free pass’ on what they did, they are accountable for their choices, but I do believe that an optional other path open to them could have resulted in a non-fatalities path. In equal measure the information as I have been able to read it gives little to no faith that more could have been done in the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting, too much ‘evidence’ had been shown from several sources that this would have happened no matter what, making the dropping of the ball squarely in the FBI corner (to some extent).

In the end there is one additional need to look at the NY Times. you see (at https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/22/us/politics/trump-atf-nra.html) we see ‘In describing its own shortages, the A.T.F. says it remains unable to fulfil even basic regulatory responsibilities, including inspections of firearms dealers’, so apart from the loophole that I discussed yesterday, none of the administrations (the last four at the very least) have done ANYTHING AT ALL to give the ATF the teeth they needed to do something. So as all the media is crying like little bitches on how we need gun control, the German source yesterday and today the NY Times are the only ones giving us the spotlight that the ATF needs a budget twice the size it has now to start getting things done. So as an official at the Justice Department said “the administration was interviewing potential A.T.F. directors but did not know when that might result in a nomination”, which is nice to hear next to the additional fact that the ATF has been without permanent leadership 8 of the last 12 years. So when you see that, how hollow were the promises by former President Barack Obama? You do realise that ATF stands for Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. At present we might just call it the AT (Apsens Temperatio), formerly ATF. So even as they are, as stated by themselves under the jurisdiction of the Gun Control Act, National Firearms Act, Arms Export Control Act, Organized Crime Control Act of 1970 and other Federal firearms and explosives laws and regulations, they don’t have the resources to actually do that. Perhaps I should apply for a job there, you never know, with the shortages they have, I might just replace Byron Todd Jones as Director of the ATF by the time he retires in 2022.

Weirder things have happened!

 

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They had been warned

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

So is that true?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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View from a balcony

On one side I feel like I am missing out on certain matters. On the other side there is the view that is not comprehended by me in light of certain revelations. Now, this is not a new feeling, I have always had certain issues with certain dilemma’s. Mostly they do not make common sense, so I write about them and let you decide. In a western world we get to see the illuminated part and as such we give light to the BS matters that politicians and media cling to. Yet, it is not always that simple. I would like to state that this is always the case in every matter, but that is stretching several levels of truth.

Now, I get shown a Reuters story on CNBC that gives equal doubt. Not on CNBC or Reuters mind you. The setting that is given to us is somewhat of an issue and it needs to be exposed.

With ‘Saudi Arabia, Arab allies in Cairo talks on Iran, Hezbollah’ (at https://www.cnbc.com/2017/11/19/saudi-arabia-arab-allies-in-cairo-talks-on-iran-hezbollah.html), we might consider certain matters, but it is the quote “Discussions will focus on confronting Iran and its Lebanese Shi’ite ally Hezbollah, who the Arab allies say are interfering in their internal affairs” that sets the matter. The second quote makes sense and is equally important the quote “Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Adel Jubeir told Reuters last week the kingdom’s actions in the Middle East were only a response to what he called the “aggression” of Iran“. We can agree that Iran might be an issue, yet when looking at the first part. How does Hezbollah have the pull to get any decent level of interference up and running in places like Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Kuwait? Iran yes, there is no denying that part. But in all this Hezbollah seems to be a facilitating annoyance at best, with their power-base remaining North of Israel. Now, some might wonder why it matters, why we need to look into this. You see, it does matter, if we cannot properly categorise and analyse the actions of Iran and the more extreme parts of the Iranian military, clergy and VAJA, we cannot paint the opponents in the right colour and classes they need to be in. Do you think for one moment that the youthful Gadi Eisenkot is unaware of not merely who the actual players are, and to what degree they are active? Now, we can argue that we do not need to know (and that might be very valid), but as others are painting the image differently, we are being misled. Not misled in the way that we are sold the wrong package, but misled that we are not told just how dangerous the situation is. As I forgot where I saw the original image, lets take the example. There is a 40×60 portrait that shows an estate by the fields, the actual image is 60×60 and shows that the ocean on the right side was cut off for ‘aesthetic’ reasons, but the tragedy is that this shows that the person living there has no escape, if the fields catch fire, he is literally with his back to the water, he might live but the water will not safe his house, there will be no aid coming from there.

Iran is painted in the same way now. Iran is shown to be moderate and that view cannot be dis-proven by the views the media gives on President Rouhani. You see, there is a slowly growing hill of evidence implying that Rouhani has less power than we think he has and behind the curtains the less moderate generals in Iran are beefing Hezbollah and other elements up to be more and more aggressive against the state of Israel as well as the Arabian Nations that are not willing to sing the song of extremism that they want to hear. This is becoming more and more an issue. And as Iran is willing to use the PKK as cannon Fodder they are getting more and more support from Turkey, which now makes Iranian extremism a European issue as well. We might now ‘suddenly’ decide to hide behind the UK Telegraph ‘truths’ (at http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/11/19/irans-growing-military-threat-blind-spot-british-politicians/), yet that is equally simplifying an image that has been pushed and tweaked for the longest of times by all kinds of parties (and the UK intelligence branch is not innocent in that part either, most notably GCHQ and MI6). You see they might come out with guns blazing stating: “British MPs have a “blind spot” when analysing Iran’s growing military powers and destabilising influence through it support for terrorism in the Middle East, a senior Conservative politician has warned“, but that is short sighted as some layers of filtering will always be there, some for essential security reasons, some for other reasons and only the second one should bear scrutiny and the media themselves have been part of the second layering for the longest of times, so there!

Yet the issue remains, the painting we see and the one that is a viewing of framed reality are exceedingly different. As we tend to expect something like a ‘Edouard Cortès Pont Au Change Au Crepscule‘ to give a certain view of reality of what we see, it becomes more of a worry when the image shown is something resembling the works of Albert Gleizes and that is what we are starting to face more and more. As Hezbollah is shown as a lot more than a facilitator because Iran played it that way and we are not shown the evidence as such, we tend to get pushed into a mindset that is starting to question a few more items than we should and that is how I saw myself trying to see the light in the Reuters article. Now, the article is not wrong and not inaccurate. Yet the view pushed by the parties in these Cairo talks are making a similar mistake by not colouring the opposing parties in the right light, at the right size representing them as the annoyance they actually are. It is almost like there is a play where Iran is the bogeyman and as soon as the facilitators have been taken care of, we can focus on the real evil, yet there is the issue! As the players have been shown as less evil, too many other players who want to try and sit at the grown up table will suddenly come with political options that will only make things worse. Even as we are wiling to see Iran as not evil, we need to acknowledge that the moderates have a vacuum where others dictate strategies and tactics, and there is the danger. The danger for Saudi Arabia, the danger to a much larger extent to the state of Israel and as the European players are unwilling to face up to the dangers we see, they end up facilitating for Iran through Turkey sooner rather than later which will be disastrous for a few more reasons than most are willing to face the reality of and that is a much larger danger. It is a much larger danger not just to the PKK (regardless of their validity and political play wherever they are). The danger is seen in the Sunday Times with ‘President Erdogan: Let Turkey join to save EU’s reputation‘, so when we see: “President Erdogan has told the EU that allowing Turkey to become a member could save its reputation in the Muslim world“, so is that the story, or should they have stated “Europe ready to embrace the Iranian tool into the EEC for Europe“. The Times of all places might report one side, but the dangers that we are not seeing printed at present are still up for debate, because as I see it, at present, if we need to see a decent approach towards Turkey, we might best call the Butterball hotline, you know, as Thanksgiving is an upcoming event after all.

In all this we still see the same old polarisation. As newspapers report on the Arab nations uniting calling Hezbollah a threat and a terrorist organisation, we see the same response we expected. With “Kuwaiti daily Al Rai reports that terror group Hezbollah has raised its alert level in all of Lebanon for fear that Israel will start a war” we see the sad reality of what is happening in the Middle East, players like Hezbollah can always blame the state of Israel, that whilst we have it on good authority that this youthful young chief of the Israeli Defense Forces (read: Gadi Eizenkot) has not even flexed his muscles at present. How easily and ill prepared can Hezbollah get? in that I will avoid going deep in on the the Dahiya Doctrine that shows how to deal with terrorist organisations in an asymmetrical war. What is important is that there is a conflict between Gadi Eizenkot and Richard A. Falk, the American professor emeritus of international law at Princeton University. I take Gadi’s side when we see Professor Falk’s side of “the civilian infrastructure of adversaries such as Hamas or Hezbollah are treated as permissible military targets“, which he opposes, yet the truth is that a terrorist organisation has no ‘civilian infrastructure‘, it is a plain occupied target that can be destroyed if need be, collaborators and all. In this by colouring ‘parts’ of any terrorist organisation as out of bounds is just not on. If an organisation can indiscriminately fire hundreds of missiles on civilian targets, all bets are off and as such whatever infrastructure they have becomes part of the terrorist organisation and a valid option for targeted killing and/or demolition.

So as we are looking at the view from whatever balcony we think we are on, we need to consider what we think we see, what we are told to see and what the actual size of the frame is supposed to be, three elements, all of them in flux through media, our own perception of what we think we see and the mirror image of what we comprehend we are shown. It is a biased view and we are all (me inclusive) part of what we perceive to see. That is often more troubling than we realise, but as long as we are aware that we cannot see the whole picture, we would be able to set our minds to consider what an actual represented danger is, which is a good first step.

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A second view, what can we see?

Some might have wondered how last Friday’s blog was weird (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2017/11/10/two-streams-one-view/). That is not a bad thing; it is not with the reader. The writer (read: that would be me) watched too many data sources and too much information on several sides from several fronts, I merely illuminated one path, one journey ever streams of data. More important, even as the Story was published (read finalised) on Friday morning, we see that Reuters reported (at http://www.businessinsider.com/frances-macron-flies-to-saudi-arabia-to-discuss-lebanon-crisis/?r=AU&IR=T) the mention “French President Emmanuel Macron booked a last-minute flight to Riyadh as tensions between Saudi Arabia, Iran and Lebanon heat up“. I am not so sure how ‘last minute’ it was. You see, I already reported on “Credit Agricole SA is selling half its stake in Banque Saudi Fransi to billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal at a discount“, you see, I reported on part of this and I mentioned the Forbes part which had given me “International banks are grappling with how to approach the Middle East’s biggest economy, which blocks foreign control of local lenders. Some are positioning themselves for what’s expected to be a free bonanza as the kingdom overhauls its economy and plans to list Saudi Arabian Oil Co. in what could be the largest-ever initial public offering” already. This free bonanza is part why some of the most eager people trying to become a wave of new billionaires are there. If they have the Gaul, the vastly above average intelligence and the backers, those three will allow for the next few years to make another 300-500 new billionaires. In that light the move of Credit Agricole to leave did not make sense to me. You see, they are greed driven like pretty much any other bank, walking away from a profit bonanza makes no sense at all. The fact that these parties are trying to unload what they have to Prince Alwaleed bin Talal makes little sense. That is until you realise that these people might have been in business with the 200 arrested individual. Yet in this we see that the entire issue goes further when we see that ‘Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Arrested in Saudi Crackdown‘, so was the event set up for tactical reasons? Do you think that if he had seen his arrest he would have bothered with the sale as it is? The fact that his links with JP Morgan and their facilitation of the sale means that there is a lot more going on behind the screen. You see that share is well over £372 billion; do you think that the media is showing us all? There might be a crackdown, but is it a crackdown? Is it royal annexing of squandered goods or is its trial and a showdown where the other members of the Saudi Royal family are shown that disruption within the ranks are no longer tolerated. In all this what is next? You see, from the view we are given, the existence of these international banks are essential to creating a non-oil depending economy. A new economy set towards services, technology and pharmaceuticals. There is plenty of value in all this for Saudi Arabia to move forward, yet the track will be a lot longer if there is disruption in the ranks. France might have been hard on Hezbollah and as such they are a pleasing presence towards the Royal family of Saudi Arabia, but more important, Banque Saudi Fransi is merely one of several players with trillions in value available. In military terms France is a better beachhead for Saudi Arabia to enter the new fields of economic growth in several ways. The moment the growth in France is seen the other nations will jump like hungry rabbits to the fields of vegetables in a mere instant. France is leading the way because it is figuring out that the present course is not working.

Yet, is any solution so polarised?

No, it never is. Yet again the situation changed. Iran has not been seen in a good light and their nuclear options have been met with large waves of distrust. Not in light of Hassan Rouhani and the path he is on, but the realisation that there was a Mahmoud Ahmadinejad before him and that level of extremism is a danger to most of the world, and the clear danger and additional risk we see that when another Mahmoud Ahmadinejad comes after President Rouhani. It is not merely a risk, it is closer to an actual likelihood and whilst their nuclear knowledge grows, the danger becomes a lot larger. France and Saudi Arabia see that danger too and they are beyond concerned. They are not alone. At https://www.businessinsider.com.au/saudi-arabia-iran-tensions-2017-11 we see the tweet from Israel’s defence minister, Avigdor Lieberman:

  Lebanon=Hezbollah.
Hezbollah=Iran.
Iran=Lebanon.
Iran endangers the world.
Saad Hariri has proved that today. Period.
 

It is the view we have always seen and as such that truth is pretty much undeniable, so now the moment is primed to get this sorted and to get the changes made earlier, there is seemingly no downside to any of this, political Europe merely preferred to sit on their hands when it came to this terrorist organisation (Hezbollah that is). I believe that Saudi forces are considering that Iran will be more and more limited to create turmoil when there is no Hezbollah. As they can no longer facilitate through others, Iran must openly act and turn the world against them or fall in line with the Arabian Leagues and behave according to those voices. At that point Qatar must also adjust many of their policies, and the impact might not be predictable, there would be enough evidence out there to show that they need to adjust in many ways. I believe that this would end up with Saudi Arabia wielding the only voice of power, dissent in the Middle East would end to a much larger degree. As I personally see it, there would be clear benefits for the state of Israel as well. As the threat to Israel ends, it can focus on growth in a way they have not been able to do for decades. There will be clear impacts for the UK, Russia and the USA too. Their diplomatic games will likely fall on ears much less eager to please them. It will be about growth for the Middle East. I believe that this shift will continue into Europe and several Commonwealth nations as well. India might be a frontrunner to grow the generalised pharmaceutical markets. The US will have to water down their wine to a much larger extent and there are options for the US, but no longer at the vulture driven profit margins they used to have. A shift that will take several years and that is where those ‘free bonanza runners‘ currently in Riyadh could make their billion(s) over the next decade. It will be risky to some extent, but art present you run large risks and end up making nothing in Europe at present. So why stay there?

How right am I?

I could be wrong but there is enough evidence out that that I am more likely than not correct. Business Insider, Forbes and the Financial Times have shown these paths over the last 6 months more than once. There is one premise that needs to be pointed out. The direction that this path opens is based on two elements. The first being how the drill-down on corruption in Saudi Arabia is playing out and their true intent on shifting their economy away from their petrochemical side. The more correct those paths are, the more reliable the outcome is that I predict. The corruption crackdown remains a factor as this has never happened before to this degree. I applaud it but I also realise that as this becomes a success a new Saudi Arabia will rise up in the global markets, one that is not in internal strife and one that is breaking out all borders to grow their economic footprint. It is not the status quo the current powers in charge have ever considered and it will make a lot of ‘old’ billionaires very nervous.

This might not be a bad thing either!

 

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Two streams, one view

As I see the news pass by, events shown on separate media, I notice myself wondering if my life had any meaning at all. I was young and I went to the Middle East in 1982, I would return in 83 and 84 only to learn that there was change. Terrorists like Hezbollah and Hamas were only small and Hamas rose as I would see in 1984, yet I thought that change would be inevitable. I saw Hezbollah as nothing more than pesky small minded terrorists, a tool to be used by Iran and Syria. Yet even as Lebanon was trying to move forward, there were signs in media and some places that the US needed Syria too much, in their case dealing with Saddam Hussein and as such many of us thinking we would fight for peace, we only fought for the borderlines that the US decided needed to be in place. It must have been the late 80’s, I was not longer in the Middle East and not all clued in towards the events of the day there. You see DARPA had not rolled out the internet at that point; ARPANET was not available for the audience at large. So today I see that the more things change, the more they stay the same. Now we see another push against Hezbollah. You see Saudi Arabia has had enough of those terrorists and is pushing back hard, it is also willing to push against Iran. I see two issues. One is that this issue will be bloody and even as we hope for the victory of Saudi Arabia there, there are more than just a few markers showing us that the three largest players (US, Russia and UK) are not completely in agreement whether the Middle East should have one clear dominant party. The issues in Iran, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Libya and Kuwait that have been going on for half a century should show that. If that had not been the case Hezbollah and Hamas would have been little more than an inconvenience and they would have been dealt with a long time ago. So even as I see certain steps being taken I need to wonder if Saudi Arabia is pushing for a resolution, what will the larger picture show as it shifts. As that unfolds where will the US and Russia stand? What actions, or inactions will they use to leave the Status Quo in the middle east in a place called ‘as is’? The evidence for the longest time has shown that they pronounce whatever allies they have, but in the end, they only care for their needs and options. Now, this is not wrong or immoral, it is merely the way any nation plays its game. It is not a new game, it goes back even before Nicola Machiavelli thought it was a god idea to write down certain options for politicians to be.

As per Friday morning, we see: ““Due to the circumstances in the Lebanese Republic, the kingdom asks its citizens who are visiting or residing there to leave immediately,” a Foreign Ministry source quoted by the news agency said, adding that Saudis were advised not to travel to Lebanon from any country“, so even as we can merely speculate on what comes next, the onus is now pushed on Iran and what it is going to do with its terrorist ally Hezbollah. There is one opposing side which was shown by Reuters (at http://www.reuters.com/article/us-yemen-security-saudi-insight/deep-in-yemen-war-saudi-fight-against-iran-falters-idUSKBN1D91UR). With: “The dysfunction is a reminder to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman that his campaign to counter arch-enemy Iran in the Middle East, including threats against Tehran’s ally Hezbollah, may be hard to implement” we acknowledge that Iran has resources and skills and they are driven, both sides clearly are. In my mind, is the additional theatre (read: change of scenery) a workable factor? It does put larger pressures on Iran to get the logistics and goods underway, which will be their weakness to some extent. It is equally an issue how Russia will react. They might not openly act in this placement, yet the clear support to Hezbollah and as the times of Israel states: “the truth is that since Russia began its open military activities in Syria, Hezbollah fighters are also learning Russian methods of war, becoming familiar with advanced Russian weaponry, coming to understand the latest Russian technologies, and in some cases, actually fighting alongside Russian special forces“, we might comprehend the skills and training of the Spetsnaz Malcheks, or the ‘Войска специального назначения’ as they call themselves. In one part Avi Issacharoff omitted or decided not to implement one view in his story. In the end when the Spads are not holding their hands, Hezbollah remains what they were trained enthusiastic terrorists, they are only an army in the smallest sense of the total concept, this also means that as logistics falters, as support dwindles the armed Saudi forces will be more than a match and should gain the upper hand. Now, this can only play out if there is a stalemate between Russia and USA, because if the USA backs down and Hezbollah gets open on the ground Russian support, it becomes an entirely different slice of cake and all bets are off at that point. Only the Russians could push Hezbollah in way that the Iranians could never do. You see, if Iran enters the theatre the game changes as they become a clear and present danger to the state of Israel, their vocal insinuations made that so, so as Iran is trying to get a foothold whilst Israel has a few ways to counter them, we will see a more underground event of escalations where Iran is unable to counter a war they never have faced. You see their words (Iran that is) might look good on the news and on PowerPoint presentations, yet in the true data parks there is no setting, because in the end, this generation of Iranians have never faced anyone like Israel before and their faith in their own internal governmental presentations will make them even less prepared. So at that point it is merely a scuffle between Hezbollah and Saudi armed forces and in that equation there is no option of even a remote stalemate for Hezbollah. Is that the goal? I believe that Russia saw Hezbollah as a tool for what they needed, the US has always been hostile and Europe requires high earnings, so the ECB is very much not in favour of any outspoken hostilities against anything that can downgrade their earnings, so they are seemingly steering away from these events as much as they can, yet I will admit that is just me speculating on European events in this case. Even as London is more and more outspoken anti-Hezbollah. Amsterdam and Stockholm are not taking that path. In my mind it is the liberal multicultural flag that they embrace, in that atmosphere a group like Hezbollah can easily hide under this ‘veil’ whilst hating multicultural events as much as possible.

This again has speculative sides, but it is based on solid data and events. You might think that it does not matter, but it does. As more and more nations in their liberal mindset hold off on an actual war on terror, being it for economic or philosophical reasons. Not being part of it is equally a problem down the track. So as we move back towards Lebanon and Hezbollah, we need to realise that not only will this become ugly to a larger degree, there is every chance that unless certain actions are taken the issues seen in Aleppo will be seen in Aleppo too, there is just no way to tell to what extent. In this we can look at Survival Analyses (or listen to the song ‘as time goes by’), where the point in time and the prolongation of all this is the setting on just how much Beirut will look like Aleppo in the end, time is the only factor required here and the people in Europe know this. So as we see the news prepare on how there should be talks and there should be armistices, they all better remember that it was their need for status quo that is pushing the consideration for a terrorist organisation.

Who in Europe would have ever thought that support of a terrorist organisation would be the cool thing to do on September 12th 2001? So consider that and now wonder why Europe is, for now, again sitting on their hands or even contemplating siding to the larger extent with Hexbollah? Yet there is also good news because with the actions by JP Morgan to push into large chunks of the Middle East and more notably the push towards the Kingdom Holding Company. You might think it is not related, but it is. It gives the view that JP Morgan is a facilitator for setting maximised profits and these profits are not to go towards France. There has been a thought that the US is not commitment, but as there is profit in war, the clear fallout of any war is opportunity. It seems to me that the US wants to get as much profit out of that as possible, so as the dominoes are pushed into place, we see a situation where the media proclaims JP Morgan to be a mere financial advisor. I believe that to be incorrect. Even as Reuters reported “JPMorgan is in early talks with Saudi Arabian companies about overseas listings“, that might be true, but JP Morgan has been pushing itself and its ‘friends’ into powerful places where lucrative revenues are not set in millions, but in billions. I cannot answer whether Credit Agricole did the right or wrong thing, they are pretty clever all by themselves. I think that the Saudi issues in play now are pushing for polarising fields of options and opportunity on a global scale. In this case my view will be proven over the next 2 years as we follow the money. They question is where the source will be set and who gets to fill their bucket list from that well. when the options are returned in billions there will be plenty of players, although in this instance I believe that the outside opportunities (non-Saudi based companies) are offered to the friends of JP Morgan and them only, which is again a speculation. Whether I am right or wrong will be initially shown in the next 20 weeks.

There are however facts available to see that there is a direction in place. Reuters show on part (at http://www.reuters.com/article/us-jpmorgan-saudi/jpmorgan-sees-more-saudi-firms-looking-at-overseas-listings-after-aramco-idUSKBN1D7107), some might think that “He said listings in New York, London, Hong Kong or Singapore might help increase the liquidity of these companies and make them attractive for international investors, he said” is the part that gives the goods, yet it is the part not seen and more interestingly not implied that gives power to it all. The implied part is seen with “Commenting on the anti-corruption drive, Pinto said: “If it is done in the right way and for the right reasons it is good to do for the future of the kingdom.”” It is however only the first part. The news given with ‘Saudi Arabia detains 201 princes, businessmen in $100 billion corruption probe’ (at http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-11-10/saudi-anti-corruption-probe-finds-$100-billion-embezzled/9136608). This was not a sudden part, this had been in play for some time. It was not merely the fact that at present 201 people are now in custody. Even as we see mention of Iran and the Lebanon pressures, we see that there is a larger play. His Royal Highness King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman Al Saud have been on a path to get the nation reformed and moved away from oil dependency. In this the pool of plenty does not last too long when 100 billion get lost one handshake at a time as more and more people are connected to unlimited resources and wealth. As the press seems to be focussing on the crown prince and the ‘wild ride’ he created, there is a larger issue that is not too much in focus. No matter what the sceptics state, There is a clarity that Saudi Arabia is seriously considering that the age of oil is dwindling, as this happens they need to be able to push into other directions and they do have the wealth to create vested interests in pharmaceuticals, consumer goods, consultancy services and educational advantages. Forbes has had its share of articles on the matter, and whilst some look at ‘Saudi Arabia Looks To The Private Sector To Meet Growing Healthcare Demands’ it seems to me that 5G facilitation has much larger and more profitable sides as other providers are considering what to do, Saudi Arabia has the option to facilitate to the largest 4 cities and exceed in opportunity what Sweden has for its entire nation. When there is such a population (9.5 million) in 4 cities, there is an option to grow and grow fast. Now we know that there is a lively market already, but the idea that other services could be added grows the Saudi options to add markets and manufacturing opportunities through investment. I all this JP Morgan is potentially the spider in the centre of the web, growing in value and wealth from all sides at the same time. There is no way to state why Crédit Agricole walked away from those opportunities, but I feel certain that they did not walk away, the merely moved to a place around the corner. Even as the Financial Times (at https://www.ft.com/content/0e629bab-494c-34d0-8fe0-f71c8b089118) show mixed results, yet I believe that this French bank is moving into different fields, acquiring other banks and setting new goals. I have no way to tell on the why of it but I feel that moving away was only one as the clever people in this bank have agreed on a strategy that allows to grow faster and on larger fields. How?

We will learn this over the next 20 weeks. Yet no matter what is done and how the banks react is not a given, the direct dangers on how things escalate in Lebanon and with Iran seems to be crucial in all of this and I reckon that we will see the shifts quite soon. These shifts will not be through armed conflict, but will rely on the pressures and stresses that exist at present. In this Europe seems to take a ‘diplomatic’ stance (at http://www.ecfr.eu/article/commentary_destabilising_lebanon_will_only_strengthen_hezbollah_7235), yet with “Europeans should veer the other way, taking measures that aim to preserve Lebanon’s stability and governance structures, and to prevent wider conflagration. Iran is clearly a key source of regional instability, and Hezbollah has become increasingly assertive in Lebanon” it seems to advocate a path of inaction, 3 decades of inaction have shown that there is no solution on that path, a stream of casualties, of non-actions and broken promises. Saudi Arabia (and the USA) both had enough, and as Iran seems to be an annoying thorn in the side of Saudi Arabia, they have seemingly decided to take Hezbollah out of the equation. This will be interesting, because the moment Hamas and Iran realise that the gig is finally up, I wonder how must tearful pleads of ‘negotiations’ will be shown on nearly every soft hearted news channel on the planet. Perhaps a recollection of March 2016 is needed. With: “Hamas on Sunday sent a delegation to Egypt in an effort to beseech Egyptian security officials to stop destroying its tunnels out of Gaza. These terror tunnels, employed by the terrorist group for nearly a decade, are used to store weapons, smuggle supplies, and infiltrate enemy territory – Israel – as well as carry out surprise attacks in which people are killed and soldiers abducted.” (source: Breaking Israel News). It reads like “please let us be terrorists a little longer, we need the tunnels to do naughty things”. There is every chance that this falls on deaf ears, because as Israel is optionally no longer pressured in possible two front wars, they can fully focus on Hamas whilst Saudi Arabia will only have to deal with Iran after that. It will truly change the Balance of Power in the Middle East with Saudi Arabia as the only true power in that region, all because to a larger extent, Europe decided to remain in a self-imposed state of inaction. After three decades they still haven’t learned that inaction against terrorists will never ever lead to any solution.

Yes, there are a few elements of speculation from my side, but it is based on gathered facts and it I do not believe it is less likely on the balance of probabilities, it is merely one optional setting in a larger game that has been played for much too long.

 

 

 

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On the first day

On Friday Jonathan Freedland published an article on the Guardian (at https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/sep/01/disaster-texas-america-britain-yemen), the article is excellent. He is speaking his mind and rightly so. All the facts are correct and he is not playing some word game. Like other stuff he wrote top notch. Yet, I oppose him. Why?

Well, we can go from “it surely represents the most fundamental form of discrimination one can imagine: deeming the lives of one group of people to be worth less than those of another – worth less coverage, less attention, less sympathy, less sorrow“, he is right and it would be easy to just blame the media, like I have done on several occasions in the past. Yet the quote “The scale of the suffering in the Arab world’s poorest country is clear. Since it became the site of a proxy war in March 2015, 10,000 people have been killed, with 7 million made homeless. The UN is especially anxious about cholera, which has already killed 2,000 people and infected more than 540,000. It threatens to become an epidemic. That’s no surprise, given that sewage plants have been among the infrastructure bombed from the sky“. This is followed by “On the contrary, the Saudi government is armed to the hilt with weapons supplied by the UK and the US: £3.3bn worth of British firepower in the first year of this vicious war alone. And yet Yemen has barely registered in the western consciousness, let alone stirred the western conscience“. These two matters are merely the top of the iceberg. When we go back to 1957, we get the attempted assassination by MI6 and what was then laughingly known as the CIA. They fail. All British and French assets are nationalised. The UK intervention in early peace processes between Israel and Egypt. Iran 1953, we might see two sides in the story, one side is that US interventions caused the creation of the Islamic revolution and the blood baths that came afterwards. Is this the correct version? There are too many events involved, but it is a given certain that the events followed. It is merely a factor in a sea of events. Sudan 1998, here the Clinton Administration justified the attack by falsely claiming that it was a chemical weapons factory controlled by Osama bin Laden. Though the United States blocked the United Nations from investigating, independent reports leave little doubt that the plant was solely used for civilian medical items and there was no connection with the exiled Saudi terrorist. All speculations go out of the window; I find it interesting how it was the US that stopped the investigation. Equally the Obama administration refused to properly investigate the chemical attacks in Syria, willing to accept half-baked excuses, unwilling to get to the bottom of it all. This all is now starting to give us a pattern that related to the story.

So when we see “warnings that Yemen risks becoming the next Syria: its soil soaked in blood, rendered fertile for the next generation of violent jihadists” as well as “the children of Yemen are dying cruel deaths, while the rest of the world ignores them. They are not drowning in Texas or Mumbai. They are dying under a hot desert sun, killed by our allies – and by our inattention“, Jonathan is speaking the truth, yet I oppose!

You see, when we see in addition to the previous parts: “The collapse of leftist and nationalist Lebanese forces as a result of the U.S. intervention and the U.S.-backed Israeli invasion led to a power vacuum filled by extremist Islamic groups from below and an overbearing presence of the anti-American Syrian government from above. Combined with resentment at the enormous human costs of these interventions, Lebanon has turned from a staunchly pro-Western country to a center of anti-American sentiments“. Now, we must be honest in that when a glass is half full, it is equally half empty, so we can focus on one side or the other side. Yet the overbearing knowledge from the past is that the UK and US have been in a war for control. Either they were or no one else was. This is the setting we have seen for decades. As such we need to be aware of the ‘other’ side of the equation, but in my view the interventions of decades have been nothing but a failure and soon we will see that US and UK public opinion will shift against Saudi Arabia, merely because any long term success they book now will be counterproductive to anything these two players are trying to achieve. The UN has been privy and part of it to some extent. We could focus on resolution 425, when Israel invaded Lebanon in 1978, later it did it again in 1982, I personally remember those days, I was in Israel when it happened. The interesting part was that the acts of the terrorist organisation and their movements were largely ignored by the UN and certain other officials, as well as the press. The report from Director Nahum Admoni of Mossad in 1983, who was seen as the ‘bad boy’ as the British press got a whiff of the Israeli nuclear plan, yet the fact that the Jonathan Pollard debacle where “Pollard was the only American who has received a life sentence for passing classified information to an ally of the U.S. In defense of his actions, Pollard declared that he committed espionage only because “the American intelligence establishment collectively endangered Israel’s security by withholding crucial information”. Israeli officials, American-Israeli activist groups, and some American politicians who saw his punishment as unfair lobbied continually for reduction or commutation of his sentence. The Israeli government acknowledged a portion of its role in Pollard’s espionage in 1987, and issued a formal apology to the U.S., but did not admit to paying him until 1998“, He was eventually released on Released November 20, 2015, after 28 years. Beyond that he had been denied basic rights between 19:00 and 07:00 every day since. In this we can draw two conclusions, not only that this involved a case with what the US calls ‘an ally’, it gives rise that on one side actual traitors have way more rights and that those actually in assault of the US like Bradley Manning, served less than 4 years and Edward Snowden who is still not in prison, not prosecuted or convicted. So either we can go all out and see how weird the US system is, or we can accept that the US (and UK) have been playing a very dangerous game in the middle east and anyone interfering there is locked up for life. So this is not about espionage, it is not about terrorism, it is about holding part of the power of the middle east, and so far the USA and the UK have shown just how illusionary it is to be involved in matters in the Middle East. Even if we start to consider the damage caused and inflicted, the game goes on there.

So on the first day of September Jonathan correctly shows us how little the media and all others care about Yemen, whilst in the same air partially ignores that Yemen is not even a player for the power plays on who has the right to speak at the power table of the Middle East. Both the USA and the UK want to have a permanent seat at that table and anything opposing that will be dealt with or ignored. By the way, when we look back at the 1983 Beirut barracks bombings and the optional Mossad report, who in the end had been dealt with for that? Perhaps one of them became the current Minister of Defence for Iran (Hossein Dehghani Poudeh)? Yes, when it comes to terrorism and Hezbollah, we need to make certain that we have all the facts, so as we are told how bad things are in Yemen, we concur and do not disagree, but the 241 U.S. and 58 French peacekeepers who got blown up are perhaps sitting on a cloud wondering why France, the UK and the USA are talking to the current Defence minister of Iran. In addition, why a certain report from their ally Mossad director Nahum Admoni was just as easily cast aside and forgotten a little over 33 years ago.

I am merely speculating here!

So as we see certain changes in the alliance between Iran and Qatar, we see also that the game played there is becoming slowly but certainly a more hazardous situation, not just locally there, as Qatarians (or: stake holders from Qatar) seems pushed to sign over bank stakes to China (read: Chinese investors) we see that one wave is feeding another one, in what way? That I cannot really predict, the data is presently missing to make any speculation or assumption in that direction. What is a given is that the people with a seat at the table will be part of the profits when the Saudi privatisation waves hit and that is where actual power and wealth is handed out. An event that both the USA and UK are desperate to attend as it will dwarf what happened in Russia, the hundreds of billionaires created in Russia were nothing compared what Saudi Arabia will bring and the power players in the west hopes that those hundreds are friends of the west, not those embracing a strict Islamic way of life.

Greed is the eternal opponent of opportunity, never more so than at present.

So on that first day, who do you think will be trying to advise others on where to place their privatisation bets, it won’t be in Yemen, that’s for sure!

 

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A new congregation

I was utterly surprise to see an article in the Guardian that slightly boggled my mind initially. The article comes from Dr Judith Hawley, professor of 18th century literature at Royal Holloway, University of London. There are a few sides to it and the title was more than just an eye catcher. With ‘I didn’t ‘ban’ Fanny Hill because of trigger warnings – I don’t teach it at all‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/books/2017/aug/15/fanny-hill-ban-university-trigger-warnings-judith-hawley), I initially wondered if it was politically motivated (as I had never read the book in the first place), so I decided to take a look at it. Consider being a professor and making the headline in a magazine like Vogue because of ““Eyebrows were raised when the first erotic novel in the English language, Fanny Hill, was dropped from a 18th-century literature course ‘for fear of offending students’“, you see, that makes perfect sense in America, a nation where the state of Georgia will reward a blowjob with one year imprisonment, apparently being married to the woman who performs this on you is apparently no defence, so go figure. Nope, this issue (the Fanny Hill one) is happening in the Kingdom of the United. So the mail on Sunday, even the Times had the follow up after the Radio 4 message “In the 1980s I both protested against the opening of a sex shop in Cambridge and taught Fanny Hill. Nowadays I would be worried about causing offence to my students” was given by the professor. In addition, we see “I was accused in the papers, remove Fanny Hill from the university course reading list for The Age of Oppositions, 1660-1780 “following a consultation with students” as the Times reported. It was never on the course, therefore it could not have been withdrawn“, so the media got it wrong on more than one count. There is a reference in the Evening Standard that is was Banned, where the writer Lucy Cleland (who fails English comprehension at this point) with “University of London, has apparently banned the book from her reading list 54 years after it was legally allowed to be published and more than 270 years after it was first written” (at https://www.standard.co.uk/comment/comment/don-t-sanitise-books-such-as-fanny-hill-they-teach-us-so-much-a3611191.html). The professor moves onto the main event with “Yet this isn’t just a story about misrepresentation in the press. There are wider issues at stake, about what is being taught and talked about in universities“, this is actually a lot more important (as I personally see it) than the mere choice of a book being a ‘Yay’ or ‘Nae’ thing. With “The Times article implicitly linked my self-censorship to recent cases of students “no-platforming” public speakers they deemed offensive“. The issue as I see it is “I admit I have been frustrated by students requesting “trigger warnings”, usually about texts which include representations of violence against women. These requests imply that the texts or the teachers of them endorse the violence they represent and that students might be harmed by them. They can, however, provide an opportunity to analyse and respond sensitively to difficult issues“, consider the implication, ‘harm by academic consideration or investigation‘. How are these people even in University? We could consider the words of David Haig (as D.I Grim) with ‘How do such Fooly Woollie Hoiti Toiti academics exist?‘ Not the professor mind you! The professor is being kind by stating it like “But it would be wrong to represent all current students as refusing to listen to views they don’t want to hear. Rather, we could think about this in terms of an evolution in free speech. Students are raising questions about who has the right to speak, the right to determine the agenda, and calling for a diversity of writers to be taught“, the agenda is the education, the degree they signed on for and the teacher has the responsibility to educate them and prepare them for real life as best as possible. you see, when I see ‘Students are raising questions about who has the right to speak‘ as this is getting dangerously close to the judging event of Kristallnacht where Germans decided to burning Jewish goods, like books and paintings. It was not the first time; in 1497 Giralmo Savonarola did something similar in Florence. Here we saw ‘thousands of objects all going up in smoke in front of the Florentine public‘, art that would now be regarded as priceless, books, literary works, all on the whim of censorship by pointing out to the guilty as fornicators and deceivers of the devil, only to propel himself as a prophet and a messiah. So when did this ever go right? We see Ray Bradbury give us the dangers to some extent in Fahrenheit 451. The simplicity of it is within ourselves is by ignoring the side we find uncomfortable, we find it dangerous. There could be some wisdom in banning ‘Mein Kampf’, yet critically analysing it and showing the dangers and teaching the people how dangerous certain approaches are would have been much more powerful. In this it is like making Darrell Huff’s ‘How to lie with statistics‘ a mandatory secondary school subject. when the people at large realise how they are deceived (read misinformed) by the media more often than we realise, that is the first step in making sure that critical facts are displayed to all, giving less rise to innuendo and making all people ask: ‘What are the actual facts?‘ The professor is right that a situation like “they should attend to the power relations implicit in the pedagogic relationship and be aware that students can feel coerced” is a cautious issue to approach. Coercion is dangerous and there should be safety valves to prevent this from getting hold on anyone. In addition, we need to make certain that a critical analysis is available to empower the student with the ability to diffuse situations as they master the trade, the art and their environment. I believe that could in part revoke the issue from growing, which she touches on at the very end. With “A climate of suspicion may be growing on our campuses – but it is fostered in sensational headlines about banning books” If there is a climate of suspicion that it needs to be taken on head on as soon as possible, as visible and as loud as possible. You see, ‘a climate of suspicion‘ can only grow in the shadows, so setting the lights high and bright so that anyone can see everything is the only way to push suspicion in the sewers like the cockroach it is. Open, clear and precise is the only way for the critical mind to move forward and that is the only actual solution. So as the students learn (or would have if the book was on the reading list) is that “The problem with teaching Fanny Hill is not to do with sex, but power“, which in the cold light of day loses power over others as the students learn about the power it emphasises on (or apparently seems to do). It is the media that is the second part and as it implies that something was banned, whilst it was as the professor stated never on the list, is also a needed consideration to see. You see as we know that Mein Kampf is still banned in many places, as such, how can people protect themselves against the message it holds? And we do not need to go that extreme, how about ‘Love comes later‘ in 2014 banned in Qatar, or Lysistrata in Greece, written in 411BC and was banned in 1967 in Greece because it held anti-War message (something about a military junta and feeling anti-empowered by a pussy for peace option). In this where does Fanny Hill fit (perhaps it does not fit)? You see, it is not merely about the fact that books were presuming to be banned, or actually were banned. It was often the empowering reasoning that made them banned. When we see that a 411BC book gave fear to a Greek Junta of 1967, how powerful would the critical analyses be, to empower those opposing an ultra-right military Junta?

So how is the misrepresentation of banning now the message?

It is not, it merely illustrates the dangers why it is important for the students of now, to ignore (to some degree), the elements of opposition. I personally believe that ‘students might be harmed by them‘ is nothing compared by the actual harm that the ignorance of any fact represents. This especially as the harm is speculative and in the end, the academic mind itself is lessened by not knowing. I am not ignorant of the part of “the student body is larger, more diverse, less privileged and more uncertain about the future, and the ubiquity of pornography has changed the terms of the debate“, yet the premise is within ourselves and the university to alter ‘less privileged‘ to some extent. We can tackle ‘uncertain about the future‘ by giving all the parts we can so that uncertainty is partially lessened, by knowing what was, we see that what might be, and prepare ourselves for the larger extent of the eventuality that will present in actuality. ‘Ubiquity of pornography‘ is a much harder issue. By learning that the common place part of sex and desire is at the core of exploitative profit, we can comprehend that inner drive in exploitation is one we can alter and channel (although most likely impossible in any teenager), the fact is that the true illustration on ‘How sex sells‘ is also a first drive towards your money and as such as it is about the price of what is sold, it merely makes the advertiser a pimp of products we ultimately do not need anyway and as such the consumer is more empowered to see how they are exploited, especially through glossy magazines. And these players are all about ‘trigger warnings‘ because the harassment through the message of incoming harm is one that works too often, too well.

In the end I loved the article as it made me contemplate a few things I never really sat for, I was aware of my actions towards ignoring the messages offered to me, yet the realisation that we can voice a certain reflex is also a way to guide it to act (read: react) better. I personally thought that students who undertook ‘The Age of Oppositions‘ would be eminently equipped to utterly ignore (read: counter, or deal with) ‘trigger warnings#JustSaying

The question becomes where to draw the line. Now, that is all up to the professor and the University, and I am not looking at that part, also I make absolutely no implication in any direction on the need for Fanny Hill to be part of that curriculum. The questions that are shaped in my mind are not merely the comprehension of the event, or how the media covered it, it is also the setting of the stage. Consider the 2011 work of ‘The Promise’. One might want to consider the sides, the acts of the British army and how Israel is depicted there, yet in all this, the work that is the dominating part in creating the drama was “Kosminsky says that his overriding aim was to present the experience of the 100,000 British soldiers who served in Palestine“, the view is very unsympathetic to Israel and the Jews, yet the one part not touched on (perhaps validly), is that one religious group got exterminated for 32% of its totality, in the years that would follow, for Europe the numbers were grim beyond comprehension, 63% of the Jewish population was exterminated, so in every Jewish family 2 out of 3 would be dead, the anger, the rage and disbelieve was only catching on in 1947/1948. That part was missed, or perhaps more accurately stated was not the aim of the story, and as such barely covered. It is however the fuel that underlies in the events we see dramatized in the story. We can argue that this is what the Allies wanted all along for the mere reason that 3.7 enrages Jews running free in Europe would not allow for any reparations to commence for decades to come (personal speculation). It does not lessen the TV series, it does not tell you a lie, it merely shows you a side of Palestine 1946-1948 and the experience of the British soldiers in Palestine remains very real. So should we run at the sight of any ‘trigger warnings‘, that is the question we need to look at as well, that is the underlying issue I see in the guardian article. The mere two words ‘trigger warning‘, we should never ignore them, yet are they dealt with correctly? I do not proclaim to have the answer; I am merely voicing the question. Perhaps there is an answer out there that shows me to be wrong. I cannot tell, yet if education and learnings are impeded with ‘trigger warnings’ what do we end up learning? That is as I see it the most dangerous part in what some call ‘the secular society‘. You see, I am not against secularism, I merely seem to see a larger move where it is not merely about separation of church and state any more. It is more and more about halting, censoring and diminishing religion as a whole, to some degree even countering levels of spirituality. The dangers as we might consider people like Charles Bradlaugh, seemingly grows clusters of anti-socialists, not those who are not social, a form of liberalism where there is an implied growth of working against economic self-management. I wonder if it can be proven, some of the works we see imply it, but do not state is as factual (it might not be the case). If ‘trigger warnings’ push the education into learning of ‘we must not cause offence‘ how far is the sheep catechism of our own inner morality to go? Merely follow any flock and let the loudest secular decide? Yet that is the extent of the dangers the next generation face. I have always believed that empowering any person through educating all the sides of the coin (all three sides) is the only way we can see that the coin that falls on the ledge is not magic, just merely a probability closest to zero. Yet is that true? Some sources state that the chance is 1 in 6000. So in a population of billions, how many radicals landed on their edge? Should we be blinded against them by the alerting message of a ‘trigger warning’?

That is not the merely the premise, in some vocations that becomes the name of the game. So the next congregation better be ready for what comes, because the more you know, the better you can solve whatever comes your way, in my personal view, ‘trigger warnings’ be damned.

 

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