Tag Archives: Jerusalem Post

Are there versions of truth?

It is a question that has haunted plenty of people, you see there is just one truth, although, is that ‘there is your side, my side and the truth’; it comes from Robert Evans ‘The kid stays in the picture‘, a 2002 documentary. We have seen the quote is several works including the famous Sci-fi series Babylon 5. The fun part of this is that the three parts are all based on honesty, yet it is more than just a matter of perspective. I have always known that, although the interaction of perception and observations is something that needs to be in a book, not on a blog. So when I was confronted with the site ‘Seeking Alpha‘, which was described by the Wall Street journal in 2014 as “SeekingAlpha.com predicted stock returns, as well as earnings surprises, above and beyond what was evident from Wall Street analyst reports and financial news articles” is from the article more than just that. The article (at https://seekingalpha.com/article/4168001-investors-face-moral-dilemmas-investments-saudi-arabia) gives us ‘Investors Face Moral Dilemmas with Investments in Saudi Arabia‘, can be countered with ‘every investment has a moral dilemma’, so that is not much to go by. Yet the setting of a 500 billion market where we see the foundation with “A component of the Saudis’ Vision 2030 is to create an indigenous defense industry one that will promote volatility, not stability, in a region on perpetual warfooting“, gives me not the shivers, but the contemplation of what game is played. You see there is no doubt that Saudi Arabia wants to create an indigenous defence industry; every nation wants that, especially when it has been under threat for many years. I would have told Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman if he would respectfully consider buying Remington as it is bankrupt and going cheap. The excellence of its weaponry, weaponry that have made it to the most elite parts of the global national defence forces is not just a matter for defence, hunters and others revere the weapon for its standard of excellence and it is not a bad place to start. You see, that is merely one path, in all this the setting of ‘one that will promote volatility‘, is not only not a given, I wonder where Seeking Alpha got the data in the first place to make that assumption. When we accept that there is an optional truth, there should be a look at the antagonising party, namely Iran as well, in that regard we see (at https://seekingalpha.com/instablog/776842-investorideas-com/5152941-cryptocorner-iran-developing-cryptocurrency-japan-s-sbi-launch-exchange-australia-cracks-icos), “Iran is progressing with its own crypto currency project despite having banned crypto trading in local banks according to a report at Reuters. Information and Communications Technology Minister Javad Azari-Jahromi said the ban from Iran’s state bank would not apply to development of a domestic crypto currency“, as well as “Equally, if not more importantly, investments by Russia’s oil and gas companies in the development of oil fields in Iran may exceed $50 billion, presidential aide Yuri Ushakov told reporters in early April” (at https://seekingalpha.com/article/4167229-effect-unilateral-u-s-sanctions-irans-crude-oil-production?page=3) and in finality we see “On Sunday, pro-Iranian Shiite rebels in Yemen launched a missile attack on Saudi Arabia targeting four cities. The Saudi air defense intercepted the missiles, however, one person died and two others were hurt by shrapnel. Saudi Colonel Turki al-Malki made it clear who Saudi Arabia thought was to blame: “This aggressive and random act by the Iran-backed Houthi group proves that the Iranian regime continues to support the armed Houthi group with qualitative capabilities…”“, which we get from the article (at https://seekingalpha.com/article/4159016-7-missiles-closer-iran-war-100-oil) called ‘7 Missiles Closer To Iran War And $100 Oil‘. So now we see two parts, we see Saudi Arabia accused of volatility and ion all this the aggressor Iran is not painted in any way in any of these mentioned articles merely defined as ‘Pro-Iranian rebels‘, the fact that those rebels cannot afford any missiles and for the most they lack the ballistic skills as well as deployment and knowledge of GOLIS firing solution systems, issues like deployment, missile calibration and beyond that there is setting the precision of the missile by making sure that the electronic settings are correctly tweaked and calibrated to interact with the information that the targeting hardware offers. All that requires skills, skills that the Yemeni do not have, but Seeking Alpha is all over that and, oh, actually they are not!

So in the $500 billion setting of growing the Saudi industry, one valid component is now the stuff of moral discussions and the setting of unproven volatility, can anyone explain why Seeking Alpha has released 7 articles in the last 24 hours on Iran, where one shows opposition between the Iranian judiciary and the President on ‘disrupt national unity‘ in the setting of ‘Rouhani opposing banning social media networks, as he attempts to open up the country to the outside world‘, there is not a moral dilemma here? Or perhaps it is not a setting for volatility whilst the growing of Iranian civil unrest is currently seen as a given. So how do we not see in more articles that for the speculative person investing into Iran is facing all kinds of risks from Iranian civil unrest?

Yet it is that setting that we can all easily check on how certain paths are played. We can see this in another way as well, when we see the French visit; we see “Macron had come to Washington in a bid to convince Trump to remain in the deal. He proposed “pillars” for adding to the existing deal, including extending it for the long term, limiting Iran’s ballistic missiles, and dealing with Iran’s involvement throughout the region“, whilst in the article regarding Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman we see “Regardless of his charm, offensive MBS will continue his extreme ruthlessness, admittedly a de rigueur requirement in a tough country and even tougher neighborhood especially because his radical changes have created many internal enemies“, we also saw “Saudi crown prince Mohammad bin Salman (MBS) wrapped up his well-orchestrated and unprecedented “meet & greet”, “press the flesh” two-week April tour of the US with the icons and titans of three primary industries in his effort to diversify the Saudi economy as part of the ambitious Vision 2030 plan“, yet nowhere do we read an optional: “Success can only come from a vision, brought by a visionary. We are a nation with resources, with options and opportunities. We are more than the oil that is acquired from our soil, we can and will harness resources as well as investment opportunities to stimulate our economy and diversify our revenues. Our nation sitting central between Africa, Asia and Europe should have been more about growing that advantage and now we will, we have the foundation to grown in technology, in minerals and in services to be a global player, we must take that opportunity before it is lost to us forever. It’s not a fast path, and to do this properly we must grow over the next 12 years to be able to become that global powerhouse“. Well, there is one place where something like that can be read, it is the introduction (at http://vision2030.gov.sa/en/foreword), where we also see a lot more on the Islamic part on Saudi Arabia, which is perfectly valid. So when we go to http://vision2030.gov.sa/en/node/125 we see a massive amount of programs all set to push Vision 2030 forward and the interesting part in that is that there is not one mention of the words ‘defence’, ‘Army’, ‘Navy’ or ‘Air force’. Even as I am convinced that growing national defence is part of that, my wonder is that with all these options and opportunities, Seeking Alpha resorted to the Moral part of a defence structure that is nowhere near a central part of the Vision 2030 brief. We know that Saudi Arabia has the option to go full G5 from day one and the investment options there are massive opportunities not to pick up millions, but billions. Yet the issue becomes larger when we see that the writer Albert Goldson has plenty of experience and should be well aware of commodities (read: he is a bit of an expert according to sources), so when we set this against the view of Bengt Nordström, CEO of consultancy Northstream who gave us last year “growth in the industry has disguised not only the fact the telco industry is largely a commodity, but also that it has not been hugely innovative for a number of years“, that in light of the upcoming 5G, where ‘first in, soaring profits’ could surely be a given, none of that is shown, merely the fact that Saudi Arabia is allegedly about ‘volatility‘, so whose buttering the bread and who is that sandwich being made for?

Another part not shown was ‘Advancing pharmaceuticals and patient safety in Saudi Arabia: A 2030 vision initiative‘ (at https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1319016417301780). Here we see “A recent conference in Riyadh, sponsored by King Saud University, sought to discuss these issues and develop specific policy recommendations for the Saudi 2030 Vision plan. This and other efforts will require more and more creative educational programs for physicians, pharmacists, hospitals, and patients, and, most importantly evolving regulations on quality standards and oversight by Saudi health authorities“, let’s not forget that we are in the beginning of all this, there is 12 years, which will go quickly I’ll grant you that, yet in all this the opportunity to grow Patent Law, Law firms, and set proper markers in place would be an essential step before such a level of patent bearing change comes. The option for Pharmaceutical investment was not shown in the article, or the mention of the issues shown at https://ncusar.org/programs/17-transcripts/2017-06-20-burton.pdf (attached). So, I am not opposing that there is optionally a need to grow the national defence industry, but is that set in the right light? In the light he gives the investors (which is his right to do), we see “However, for the moral implications mentioned with respect to the development of an indigenous defense industry, check your moral compass. From my perspective, it’s a financially profitable but morally bankrupt undertaking“, yet what morally bankrupt idea is there on growing the pharmaceutical and mobile network industry? they are highly profitable if it is achieved and there is moral question, my moral compass is setting on the field asking Albert Goldson, a member of the Association of Former Intelligence Officers (AFIO) and an Associate Member of the Foreign Policy Association (FPA) why he missed on those options. Also in the view of two dozen projects that are openly stated, why would he focus on a part that represents merely 10% and focus on those two dozen programs, where the investors would find the gems that the investors would want to find in a $500 billion layered cake called ‘Vision 2030‘. Oh, as for that military part, the attached Burton presentation ‘Opportunities in Saudi Arabia – Vision 2030 and Beyond‘ spends two slides on it and the most important part shown is “Vision 2030 calls for 50 percent of military equipment purchases from domestic suppliers instead of imports“, whilst also mentioning that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) “spent a total of over $63 billion on defense and security in 2016, including off-budget spending“, so when we see that, we see that for the smart investor there is an optional $30 billion a year available for those who might not have a moral issue working on a government set national defence program. That in light of Iran delivering missiles hardware and support to non-combatants, which are rebels at best, yet terrorists might be more apt when we consider “Nasrallah’s letter is proven evidence of Iran’s involvement in the Yemeni civil war, since it shows that Hezbollah, which is financed by Iran, is taking part in the fighting in Yemen” (source: Jerusalem Post). So where exactly does Seeking Alpha stand? Let’s be fair, they can be in any place they like as they are merely advisors towards their investors in all this, yet even with my high moral (or is that outspokenly oral) I would not turn away from a $32 billion market, especially if I had that level of cash. Oh, and whilst you consider on where morality needs to be, Boeing, Lockheed and Raytheon have already signed up, so the delay you took made that cake a hell of a lot smaller, but even if there is still $2 billion up for grabs, would you walk away? Let’s not forget that next month’s rent is due!

So in all this, I never stated or implied that Albert Goldson lied to anyone. Yet when we consider there is your side, my side and the truth, what did we see? You see, I get back to perception versus observation. Through perception he is focussed on the defence part, but why? The shifted setting towards Saudi Arabia will impact something else, but what else is impacted? That is the question, is it the Iranian setting (when considering the other articles), is it something else entirely, or is Albert Goldson focussed on something beyond all this? It is a speculation from my side, yet the absence of the Pharmaceutical and Mobile Industry absence implies just that, yet in equal measure I will state that this would merely be my perception, based on all my observations. That is part of the setting. In the realm of ‘there is your side, my side and the truth’, it becomes more and more about observation versus perception. In a case like this, when there is $500 billion on the table, is the perception the amount on the table, or the observation of whom else is at that table that matters. Is that merely an observation or does the perception become: where is MY opportunity? Because in the end that is what the investor cares about, and moreover, where and what size their slice of the cake becomes.

In addition, my observation will be that the changes mean that there are new players and some of the old players have been so well fed for such a long time, in this ‘parting might be such sweet sorrow’ (Romeo and Juliet Act 2, Scene 2), yet for the previous players it will be over their dead bodies, that tends to be the gist of it. The change needs to be observed because it shown also where the pressures of the players will be and that pressure can be seen as cost and risk. It is the wiser player that makes it through and gets the slice of the $500 billion layered cake; it is merely the question on the size of the slice and the perception of the profit it allegedly holds.

 

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A big tree in the desert

It started a little while ago, 4 nations got angry at Qatar, I wrote about it earlier. There were issues on both sides and there were intelligence considerations as well. In this Germany intelligence decided to shed light on the matter by investigating certain sources. A path I reckon that until now has not been too successful. A path that was equally a given not to be too successful, yet what was not expected was the issue shown a few days later when on July 16th The Washington Post (at https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/uae-hacked-qatari-government-sites-sparking-regional-upheaval-according-to-us-intelligence-officials/2017/07/16/00c46e54-698f-11e7-8eb5-cbccc2e7bfbf_story.html), the issue shown with “The United Arab Emirates orchestrated the hacking of Qatari government news and social media sites in order to post incendiary false quotes attributed to Qatar’s emir, Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad al-Thani, in late May that sparked the ongoing upheaval between Qatar and its neighbors, according to U.S. intelligence officials“, in addition there is “In a statement released in Washington by its ambassador, Yousef al-Otaiba, the UAE said the Post article was “false.”“, which is to be expected. Finally we get “Qatar has repeatedly charged that its sites were hacked, but it has not released the results of its investigation. Intelligence officials said their working theory since the Qatar hacks has been that Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt or some combination of those countries were involved. It remains unclear whether the others also participated in the plan“, which is an equal truth. In addition, we need to realise that this is not some fake news site, this is the Washington Post, America’s answer to The Times, and its high ethics in journalism have been established for the longest of times, so when we see a mere 2 hours ago (at http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/06/qatar-diplomatic-crisis-latest-updates-170605105550769.html) the update “Foreign ministers of Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain and Egypt say they are ready for dialogue with Qatar if it shows willingness to fight ‘terrorism’” a quote given after we see the headline ‘The latest news after some of the Gulf states and Egypt cut ties with Qatar and imposed a land, sea and air blockade‘, yet in light of the found hack(s), how valid are these blockades? In addition we see in regarding the Hajj pilgrimage that Qatar and Saudi Arabia are in a he said versus he said situation, a side we would not have expected from these two evolved nations. There is a larger drawback in all this, as Turkey is trying to ‘ingratiate’ their own agenda, they are now becoming a stronger middleman for anything Iran has in mind, whilst not being connected to the action and in addition to that, the pressures at present are also enabling abilities in Palestine. There is no clear intelligence that is in the open that should be regarded as reliable, yet the ‘watercooler chats‘ seem to imply that calls between the PSS and Hezbollah wave allegedly been happening with some ‘regularity’ in the last 4 weeks, if that is so, than additional pressures on Israel cannot be far away.

Back to Qatar, the latest news gives that according to Rex Tillerson, the US Secretary of State that Qatar has met with the commitments that they were promising, there is a given that when Saudi Arabia, in conjunction with three allies that are not the smallest, any nation under pressure would be willing to comply with any reasonable demand that does not impede national pride to get in the way. Yet, what has the opposition offered at present? In my view the German promise seems unlikely to result to be any form of a working tactic to get some kind of resolution in play. You see, if there was any actual support being given, it would not be registered. I hope that the Americans learned that part when they found Osama Bin Laden a mere one mile from an elite Pakistani military academy. In my view there is no way that those involved with the security there had no knowledge of EVERY building within two miles of the academy. In that same air, you might think that Qatar is aware of any terrorist involvement, that is not the case, but there is ample proof on a few levels that it is utterly impossible that no one knew. The issue becomes how high does it go?

In that same light we need to look at another source. In this case I am looking at a piece by Sami Moubayed. The title ‘Qatar PR blitz is fooling no one‘ (at http://gulfnews.com/opinion/thinkers/qatar-pr-blitz-is-fooling-no-one-1.2067427) is not the part that matters. We might wonder why he focusses on the amounts like $150,000 a month for ‘research, government relations, and strategic consulting services‘, which might also include ‘communications with members of Congress and Congressional staff, executive branch officials, the media, and other individuals‘, the second cost at $2.5 million for former US Attorney General John Ashcroft who would be auditing Qatari efforts at halting terrorism funding. It is interesting how he is going to achieve that as the scope of monitoring and verification is close to impossible when we consider the rogue spears we have seen in Iran in the past, a mere general was able to give the largest level of materials and support towards the enemies of Israel. In this I saw that over that they missed out on options to increase visibility of close to 75% for a mere $10,000 a month (excluding my commission mind you), in light of the mentioned $138,000 not the greatest expense. Yet the important truth is given soon thereafter in “This is where the problem started and where serious work needs to be done to rebrand the country’s political orientation. No PR firm can do the job — it can be done by one person only, being Shaikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani“, which is only partially true. They still need a facilitator to give a wider voice, or better spoken a channel to transfer the words of Shaikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani to a much wider audience.

Sami is right when he states “Only he has the power to change his country’s image in the eyes of its neighbours“, and in this I am not even mentioning his valid reason of “All Qatar needs to do is walk away from Hamas and Yousuf Al Qaradawi“, which would have been a good idea any day of the week. Qatar has a few more options, options that they did not even realise that they had. There is a case to be made to revamp Al Jazeera TV’s editorial policy. Yet as it is speaking to the hearts and minds of Muslims (to a larger extent), I would not be able to give proper advice in that place, what does matter is that non-Muslims know what Al-Jazeera is, yet in reality those people do not know what EXACTLY Al-Jazeera is and that could be a small task, easier rectified and it starts on their own website. Not the flaccid minute under the heading of ‘about us‘. That current part of 200 words with the ‘Who we are‘ is so minute, so none telling that is overlooked with the mere blink of an eye. The words there “Launched in 1996, Al Jazeera Arabic was the first independent news channel in the Arab world dedicated to providing comprehensive news and live debate“, is laughter incarnate in my personal opinion! I am willing to bet a building on the fact that their 1996 was a challenge worthy of a small novel to say the least, so why not properly introduce Al-Jazeera to Muslims and non-Muslims alike? If Al-Jazeera is truly in 100 countries, the cheapest of solutions (read: SAP Dashboard) could add visibility to what is being offered, the network could grow through offering visibility using a mere BI consultant, which in all likelihood is already walking around in at least one of their 100 offices. In similar visibility they are presently (as their website indicates) not in France or the Netherlands, and perhaps at least in one office in one of the Scandinavian countries with the ability to offer local language support to thousands of Muslims. To the extent that this is PR that is massively cheaper than some PR offices offer and that is something Qatar would have in their own hands, working a social network with localisation. Interesting that that was not mentioned anywhere.

My ideas are directly reflective of the words of Sami Moubayed as he states “Somebody needs to whisper in the ear of the emir — and senior management at Al Jazeera — that they need to do a better job to polish their image; rather than spend millions on agencies in London and Washington, it’s far more urgent — and less costly — to do the job at home“, yet he does it in absence of directness or direct ideas on how to do it. I reckon that is fair enough, the man is a historian; he mostly lives in the past, not in the tomorrow. That is not an accusation; it is merely a factual realisation.

In this, the strongest point he makes is seen with “After a wave of agony swept the Arab World since 2011, this doesn’t sell any longer throughout the region. In fact, it sounds and reads as cheap, cliché, and very outdated“, this is exactly why the entire dashboard is such a step forward, I noticed a few more issues. There would be a fair debate whether this is laziness, or mere editorial policy. A case could be made for either side, yet the issue remains.

As we say goodbye to the Al-Jazeera side, we need to embrace one more part in the article by Sami. When we revisit the title ‘Qatar PR blitz is fooling no one‘, I will argue that there is no fooling going on, the article reads nice, but it is not an ‘or’ situation, Qatar is in a ‘and’ situation, where they need to visit issues on inclusion and finding more options to visit, not choosing from some selection and there is a need to be clever about it because the cost and effect of $150,000 a month needs to be examined as how it was spend and what was gained. The question on rebranding politics is also up for grabs, is it about branding or making sure that the visibility is correctly vetted? These elements are not the same and the cause and effect here is also implicitly seen as we see the reactions from the 4 neighbours currently not happy with Qatar. In this, there is an additional part for me set in the issues from Saudi Arabia. I have not read the original reports (and my knowledge of the Arabian language can be rounded upwards towards 0%), yet the press on a near global scale have never given proper item by item view of all the elements, more important towards the evidence as the other 3 (minus the hacking UAE) have offered them with shown source intelligence. It would be so embarrassing if the other three plaintiffs are all depending on one and the same source (an unknown part and speculative from my side). I believe that open clear communication is a first step to resolve it. the fact that my glasses got initially tainted because Al-Jazeera was kind enough to start that day with voicing anti-Semitism through  broadcasting sermons by the spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, Yusuf al-Qaradawi, that was not a good day for Al-Jazeera in light of the stresses in Doha that day. This is exactly why reforming, or better stated editing the ‘powers to be’ within Al-Jazeera sooner rather than later.

For me, I have always been a fan of oversimplifying any issue, so when I look at the grievances now in play, if there could be talks and the three nations can name one item that would show the good intentions of Qatar, what would it be and could Qatar comply with these three items? You see, it might sound oversimplified, but the reality is that all large achievements start small, one step at a time. In that way, we are not enabling either Iran or Turkey (there are issues with some of their decisions), there is an open view of the matter at hand and there is movement in a stress reducing direction. If those three items would stop the blockades, there would be a first step in resolution and more important, as I personally see it, the risk of escalation, as two nations miscommunicate between two optional dinghies and send missiles in the wrong direction is definitely a good element to prevent. Consider the implications, if we see the choice from King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud. Would the biggest issue of his kingdom be with the dissidents or with the Iranian connections?

I believe that certain actions are becoming increasingly important, not merely because of the pressures and stresses, the short term issue is seen as we read “The boycotting countries have previously told the WTO that they would cite national security to justify their actions against Qatar, using a controversial and almost unprecedented exemption allowed under the WTO rules” (at http://www.trtworld.com/mea/qatar-crisis-latest-developments-413572), the problem here is that if this element is accepted, the WTO is not merely a cannel of facilitation, it would leave Qatar with very little to work with, it would in addition leave Turkey with holding the bag as the shops are showing in big signs ‘From Turkey by air – New products‘, if those remain Turkey itself ends up in deep hot waters with all the repercussions that follow. As my Law classes included all matters Wise, Terrible and Obvious, the words as given in Forbes (at https://www.forbes.com/sites/timworstall/2017/03/01/trump-admins-yugely-terrible-trade-idea-to-ignore-wto-rulings-america-doesnt-like/#7edfa5103a9f)

With: “Not obeying WTO rules allows countries to close their markets to your exports, it doesn’t force them to open them up“, that would be a stage with issues on several levels we really don’t want to end up at.

This also gets me to the article for another reason. The March 1st article shows more than you expected. You see with “The Trump administration sent shockwaves through the world of trade yesterday when the Financial Times reported that it was looking for ways to bypass the World Trade Organization, the 22-year-old oversight body that adjudicates trade disputes, and which Trump has called a “disaster.”” we now get a second consideration, is the Trump administration using the Qatar strategy to try to thwart the WTO in another way, trying to take away the equality and fairness that the WTO had in the past to set a different set of rules. Did the White House legal team brief the four non-Qatari minded players to use this to put more pressure on Qatar? It might be a valid tactic, yet the US could have had other reasons for pushing the WTO, the question is whether that is equally in play here, if that is so (speculative from my side) than it is the US that has done more than increase pressures on Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain and the UAE. It is trying to change the global setting of trade in what I expect to be the most selfish of reasons, under those conditions, we might soon see that being a member of the EU is no longer a benefit, as it would become the anchor holding the other EU nations back in trade, merely for the reason that they cannot simply change trade rules for the EU.

So if Doha means Big Tree, we have to wonder what the board looks like at present, it seems that certain actions have been put into motion to set a season of drought for this big tree. We can argue that they did part of it to themselves, yet when we see that other players have had certain personal needs, who is actually trying to resolve the situation with a total absence of personal selfish needs? As I see it not the PR firms, in equal measure there are certain steps that Al-Jazeera could have put into place months ago, yet that too has not been achieved, so who on the side of Qatar is actually thinking of Qatar? I know it is not Turkey or Iran. I do not know who is, but as we see other sources state that “In a study by David Andrew Weinberg that was published in January by the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD) titled “Qatar and Terror Finance: Part II: Private Funders of [al-Qaida] in Syria,” he wrote: “Based on these cases, there is no persuasive proof that Qatar has stopped letting certain terror financiers off the hook.”” (source: Jerusalem Post), we see that Qatar needs to start considering what is important to Qatar, because in the end Hamas will not care, they merely continue with their path of hatred against that state of Israel with whatever funds they can lay their fingers on. With all the considerations we would want to give to Qatar, it is the actions of Qatar, shown by too many sources that they themselves are becoming (read: have become) their own worst enemy. The one question that Sami Moubayed leaves us with is any of this done (read: facilitated) with the clear approval of His Highness Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, Emir of the State of Qatar? That is the part that matters the most and that path also shows the path of least resistance in hopefully finding a solution to the matter for all the players involved.

 

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Not allowed to refuse

Yesterday the Guardian showed us a side that has avoided visibility to some extent. Part of the title is ‘recognise Palestinian state if new peace effort fails‘, the missing part is ‘France says it will‘ (at http://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/jan/30/france-recognise-palestinian-state-if-peace-effort-fails-ultimatum). So what is going on? You see, the Guardian gives us many of the goods, but not all of them, which will lead to speculations (even, or is that especially by me?).

Let’s look at the parts the Guardian does give us, which is “France has issued an ultimatum to Israel, saying it will recognise a Palestinian state if a renewed push for a two-state solution fails“, it is not an unseen strategy that the larger player (sometimes called ‘the bully’) will resort to the ‘do this or else approach’, which we are used to see through American politicians, not to mention those large American corporation. So when France resorts to such a tactic we might be taken aback a little. You see, when we hear the growl from a Staffordshire terrier we look nervous and wonder what happens next, but do we have that same feeling when a Poodle growls at us? I would say no, but there we have part of the conceptual problem, because France is no Poodle, the time of Brigit Bardot with Poodles looking young, sexy and helpless was an illusion that was never the real France to begin with. If we look at the economic power of France, we should regard France to be nothing less than a Dogue de Bordeaux, it seems large and silent, but it is powerful and deadly to its opponents. To give an indication of size: Banque Martin Maurel, Société Générale, Natixis and Crédit Agricole. These are just four financial institutions, but they have the cloud to underwrite the total American public debt of 18 trillion. So you better believe that France has massive cloud here, even as America no longer has it.

Perhaps just like France gave the US Lady Liberty, perhaps the US should give France a statue honouring Monsieur Souscripteur? I am digressing!

You see, the quote “The Palestinians have welcomed France’s renewed efforts to negotiate a two-state solution at talks that are expected to include leaders from the US, Europe and Arab nations“. That quote sounds nice, but it is not in the heart of the matter, for the longest of times Palestine has done nothing to contribute to any peace solution. Part of the information that is missing is shown in the Jerusalem Post. At http://www.jpost.com/Arab-Israeli-Conflict/Analysis-Is-Abbas-losing-control-443117 we see: “Abbas has been facing increasing criticism in the past weeks from senior Fatah officials in both the West Bank and Gaza Strip. It seems that they have tired of his autocratic-style rule. Some of them, including Jibril Rajoub and Tawfik Tirawi, have even come out in public against the PA president, demanding that he share power enough at least to appoint a deputy president“. What would be a better solution for what is ‘regarded’ as Palestine authority to push other players in trying to push Israel in budging. America (at present) is no longer seriously considered a player in the Middle East.

Turkey_strut_small

Reasoning here is that it cannot deal with Russian events and in addition, there is a ‘minor’ in our midst called Turkey who is making new claims regarding ‘air violations’ on Turkish airspace, hoping someone holds their hands (just me guessing).

 

 

 

 

‘My airspace has been invaded!’

Getting back to the Post, we see “Fatah seems to be in even worse shape in the Gaza Strip. Fatah leaders and activists there have accused Abbas of ‘marginalizing’ the faction, and are making unmistakable break-away noises“, which is all about politics, but the fact that Abbas and Hamas are at odds is not a good development, in addition, Hamas ‘pledged’ on January 7th that they were considering resuming suicide attacks against Israel, so whatever acts France has on its mind, it plays towards Hamas, not the Palestinian people and in addition the continued ISIS action in Gaza are fuel for even more concerns, so ‘recognising’ any part of Palestine is a really bad idea. Let’s not forget that they are at the core of a mess that many parties wanted to solve (or at least seriously try to solve for over 2 decades). Now we get to the good stuff! The quote “Fatah leaders in Gaza are furious with Abbas. They have a substantial list of grievances. First, Abbas has not paid the salaries of thousands of their members there, including policemen and security officers who have been sitting at home since Hamas seized control over the Strip in 2007“, so now we see what Abbas needs, he needs money, stability and a large player at his back and that player better brings money and loads of it. Something America cannot achieve. So now we see the links that France is ‘opted for’ to bring to the table. The Jerusalem Post brings even more issues, which are linked but less direct when regarding the French Connection Abbas seems to hope for (apparently through Laurent Fabius), I could go on that it is a socialist situation, but that seems slightly too petty, because believe it or not he is a good and intelligent politician who was in 1984 the youngest Prime minister of the fifth Republic of France to be elected. In addition, I personally believe that a man like that is about French Interests (the price for being born in the Arrondissement de Passy).

Yet, I feel certain that I am not the only one who sees this for what it is, it is an economic play, yet to what extent? That will remain pure speculation. You see, the quote gave us “talks that are expected to include leaders from the US, Europe and Arab nations“, it is the part ‘Arab nations’. I feel certain that whatever deal is struck that can be ‘presented’ as ‘short changing’ Israel, whomever pulls that off will get loads of leeway in the Middle east. As America dropped the ball more than once, France seems to be going into ‘Mastiff’ mode and is taking the game to a new level. There is additional consideration that this play would take loads of Muslim pressures away from France, which is a tactical consideration. Whether that part is at all in play is not certain, as stated, I am also speculating here. The steps make sense, but the facts are not out in the open.  The BBC has hinted in the past months in that direction, but they have not given any specifics in the last two weeks. The Washington Post did confirm in more than one article that Palestinians consider the reign of Abbas an utter failure, which gives us the second side. How can any state be recognised that has been unable to keep its own ducks in a row, it has no real economy to mention and the last numbers that have any reliability have been a decade old. One source (http://www.tradingeconomics.com/palestine/gdp) gives us 6.9 billion in 2013, yet I personally believe that these numbers are inflated. My reasoning? Well, when we consider that they have the following ‘ranks’, Palestine Corruption Index at 26.00 Points, Palestine Food Inflation at 3.72%, and Palestine Unemployment Rate at 27.40%. When we consider (http://www.tradingeconomics.com/palestine/gdp-growth-annual), we see GDP growth, in 2014 per quarter set at 7.1%, 3.9%, -10.1% and -1.1%, that is in my view adjusted overly positive speculation. As per July 2015 it is suddenly set at +9.6% for Q3 2015. Is no one catching on here? The numbers do not add up, it is (as I personally see it) an interaction of overly positively weighted expectations with a massive downdraft when inspected, in addition, with 25% corruption and 27% unemployment GDP can never rise to that extent. The Doghmush clan (now known as Jaysh al-Islām) might be the only growing GDP player. Perhaps the PNA could report whether their economy comes (partially at least) from Jaysh al-Islām?

As I stated, speculation, but if Palestine has no economic footprint, how can any headway be made if the numbers don’t add up? I accept that any nation will forever be more than its economy, yet when we see that too many questions exist on BOTH the political and economic field, how can any agreement be kept or be pushed in any direction? A peace process requires both sides to keep to any agreement and there is too much evidence that any agreement will not be honoured by the next player and Mahmoud Abbas is already on the way out, making the efforts of France a mere waste of time to say the least.

 

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In the lull of news

As people brace themselves for the outcome of another Greek deadline, the US army will find itself cut by 40,000 troops and there seems to be ongoing talks between Iran and interested parties. The last one is the one that feels like it is largely ignored. There is nothing sexy on nuclear talks and unless you are Israel, most people do not care. Yet, is that the clear truth?

This is what the BBC gives us (at http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-33424502), “The so-called P5+1 – the US, UK, France, China and Russia plus Germany – want Iran to scale back its sensitive nuclear activities to ensure that it cannot build a nuclear weapon“, which sounds of course really nice on paper (and in theory). Yet, when we look at the quote “The sticking points are said to include the duration of limits on Iranian nuclear research and development, guidelines for international inspections and how sanctions will be lifted. Tehran is also demanding that the UN ban on the import and export of conventional arms and ballistic missiles be lifted as part of any deal

We have to wonder for how long this ‘agreement’ will last and why we see ‘export of conventional arms and ballistic missiles‘, why is that? Perhaps certain Middle Eastern parties have been waiting on a Misagh-2 delivery? It might just be another model, so as we might understand that Iran would want to open options for import, the reasons for export are a little fuzzier as well as who would buy them? Russia? They have excellent missiles themselves and they supply them to nations all over the world too. So the question becomes, why allow for export? Especially when a captured stockpile of IS showed “26 of the recovered shells were made in Iran, an ally of Assad’s, and 18 were made in Syria itself, the report states” (at http://foreignpolicy.com/2014/10/06/where-does-the-islamic-state-get-its-weapons/). So certain parties are already getting arms somehow under an embargo, when the floodgate opens, the balance of power will shift in the Middle East, especially as certain parties are getting funded somehow (reference to Hamas). So even as we might not like, but could not openly object to Iran improving its defences (from Russian Stockpiles) there should remain a strong vigilant approach to not letting them export weapons of any kind.

In the Jerusalem Post we see the headline ‘Iranian official: US will remain our enemy despite emerging nuclear deal’, which is fair enough, and the quote “”Our enmity with them is over the principles and is rooted because we are after the truth and nations’ freedom, but they seek exploiting nations and putting them in chains” he explained further” is fair enough, we can’t all be friends, yet the problem is that its military commander stated ““This is the duty of the Muslim world to obey the order of the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution (Khamenei) and arm the Palestinian people so that a powerful response will be given to the Zionist regime,” said Brig. Gen. Ahmad Reza Pourdastan, commander of the Army Ground Force” not too long ago (august 2014), which beckons the dangers of letting Iran export weapons. Consider that a mere lieutenant or a master sergeant can lose certain items in his depot at times, so how much can get ‘lost’ in a depot when a General is calling the shots?

Is that so far-fetched?

This is at the core if the issue, the heart of the matter is quite a different thing here.

You see, the core is about the enrichment. LiveScience had an interesting quote “Separating that type of uranium from the more common variety requires a great deal of engineering skill, despite the fact that the technology needed to do it is decades old. The challenge lies not in figuring out how to separate uranium, but in constructing and running the equipment needed for the task“, so if we accept “The key to their separation is that atoms of uranium-235 weigh slightly less than atoms of uranium-238” so if the approach of a centrifuge gives us “Each centrifuge pulls out a little bit of uranium-238, and then passes the slightly refined gas mixture onto the next tube, and so on, until many hundreds of thousands of spins later, the gas remaining in the tube is almost entirely composed of uranium-235” a clear explanation by Jeff Binder, the isotope production program manager at Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

Yet is that the only way? Stanford University has a course called Physics 241, where we see Uranium Enrichment by Misam Jaffer, who also gives us “Laser separation: The use of laser separation for uranium enrichment is based on the principle of differential photoexicitation of isotopes of uranium by the use of monochromatic radiation. One such process is the Atomic Vapor Laser Isotope Separation (AVLIS) in which the laser light used photo ionizes a particular isotope while not affecting the others and changes its physical or chemical properties which are then utilized to separate the desired isotope, which in uranium enrichment is U-235. In doing so, the U-235 ions are positively charged and hence are attracted to a negatively charged plate and collected“, we will get all kinds of ‘experts’ telling us how this is not as efficient, or other words added into telling us on how this is not good enough. Yet, with Brig. Gen. Ahmad Reza Pourdastan in charge in Iran, ‘good enough’ is not the issue, the issue becomes, is it good enough to make a dirty bomb?

That is the fear Israel has been dealing with, because when missiles start flying from around Rafah, they will not need a hit, it just needs to get close enough to Beer Shiva, Ashkelon and Tel Aviv to make the issue evolve into something truly terrifying for the middle east, because at that point the US has absolutely no chance of getting a hold of the situation. the fact that some of the negotiating players have no clue (or do not care) regarding that danger is seen in the quote “Foreign ministers of the other powers started to return to Vienna on Sunday to help push for a swift deal“, please give me one example where a nuclear ‘swift deal‘ was ever a good idea, and in light of the glow in the dark consequences, should the word ‘swift’ be allowed to be used?

You see, the end quote “US Secretary of State John Kerry said on Sunday that reaching an agreement is possible this week if Iran makes the ‘hard choices’ necessary, but if not, the United States stands ready to walk away from the negotiations” sounds nice, yet the reality is, is that the US has not had any clear defining diplomatic victories for a long time, in that light, the word ‘swift’ is not that reassuring and I feel 99.53324% certain (roughly) that it leaves Israel with not such a good feeling either, especially that any lifting of the embargo means that their Iron Domes might have to work overtime soon thereafter.

The last part is not just an assumption, with many newsreels on missile attacks on Israel in 2015 alone.

So how did we get from Iran to Israel? Simple, Iran is an open supporter of Hamas. In addition, the top leaders of the Iranian military are eager to carve their names in history in anti-Israel acts and Hamas is eager to oblige. The fact that ISIS is all over Gaza and the Sinai only makes matters worse. So as some might strip away parts of any embargo on Iran, they should also keep a keen eye on what they give away, because it seems that the issue is not just ‘what could aid Iran’, but these people are also contemplating (on a daily basis) ‘what could hurt the US and its ally Israel’, there is not too much on that side of the equation, which makes any ‘swift deal’ a worry for several players (read victims) involved.

 

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Fur ball?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Dangers of clarity

There is a level of danger when you see with too much clarity. This is a statement in the subjective, if we look at what we examine the statements we make ourselves, but it is seen in the objective we judge those same statements when stated by others. The initial crux is that both are of course subjective, as our views are set towards our judgement of whomever the other is who is making the statement.

Even in my case, no matter what evidence I add as a link, it is a link of a newspaper, online news presence or even online newscasts. As the reader regards that entity as a valid one, it remains objective or subjective and is rejected as we do not agree with it. That view does not change whether we use the Guardian, Sky News, the Jerusalem Post or the Haaretz.

One of the issues in play is the Arms deal that Russia seems to have completed with Egypt, whilst the funding is coming from Saudi Arabia. (at http://www.jpost.com/Middle-East/Report-Egypt-seeks-Russian-arms-that-could-undermine-treat-with-Israel-344465 as well as http://www.jpost.com/Middle-East/In-sign-of-warming-ties-Russian-military-delegation-visits-Egypt-348150)

Having too much clarity is at times just as dangerous as being too honest. If you consider that there is no such thing as being too honest, then mention to your wife that her behind is way big in that dress. Good luck getting diner or getting ‘some’ in general. No matter how good the connection is between people, being too honest tends to sour the milk, so to speak. Trust me, I have applied it as a deterrent to remain single and it has worked like a charm these last two decades.

The issues that is connected to this all is whether one of US ‘greatest’ allies in all this is now footing the bill for Egypt on Russian arms. The quote “Egypt completed a $2 billion arms deal with Russia, financed by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, an Egyptian newspaper reported last month” is at the heart of this.

So, what is linked to this? Why not a US arms deal? If we look at this, then this is just the economic boost America needs. My worry is that this is another signal that America is showing us how ‘great’ there economy is growing, but is that truly the case? Is this about something else? Perhaps this is payback for the frozen aid from the US, which was supposed to get lifted this year. The article has however two quotes that are also in play. The first one is “Egyptians see the US as an unreliable ally, stated the report, which led Egyptian army chief Field Marshal Abdel Fattah al-Sisi ‘to seek Moscow’s help in diversifying the country’s sources of military procurement’”, the second one is “Despite reassurances from Egyptian officials, the Russian weapons deal – if concluded – portends a gradual reduction in Washington’s ability to control the quality and quantity of weapons that Cairo receives, and to maintain Israel’s qualitative military edge in the region“.

This gives us two new issues that will give pressure in the Middle East. As the US state department is implied to have dropped the ball, the issue that US currency does not hold the value it held only 3 years ago gives us also two fears (which I will get back to in a moment). The second issue is that Egypt is feeling played and as such; Saudi Arabia is now stepping in to give leadership to the Middle East (or so is implied).

In the first part, the two fears are that as the Dollar is degraded in the mind of the oil producing nations, the fallout I expected to see later, might come a lot faster than even I imagined. The second fear is that if the influence of the US dwindles in the Middle East, the parties that remained ‘neutral’ in the Middle East are now likely to instigate terror attacks on the state of Israel and even on each other.

Now for the kicker in all this, there is information in the Israeli papers, but no one else seems to be onto this. Not the Guardian, not CNN, not Sky News, so is this arms deal real or not? According to the Canadians (at http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/general-dynamics-canada-wins-10b-deal-with-saudi-arabia-1.2537934), we see that Saudi Arabia has set up shop for themselves for a little over 10 billion spanning the next 14 years, so this gives another view. What is real and what is actually happening? I get that some papers will ‘drop’ a story, but will they ALL drop it? This is at the center of all of this.

So in the subjective we read “Israel is in danger“, in the objective it becomes “is Israel in danger“. A movie comparison might be Beetlejuice versus Candyman. From the Israeli papers we see a Wes Craven story play out, yet the absence of these news stories in pretty much all the large newspapers implies that we are watching a less frightening version by Tim Burton.

The larger issue here is that these events also contribute to the integrity of Israel. Both Israeli politics as well as Mossad, both have a responsibility here. It cannot be about allegations and unsubstantiated information on arms deals. This only intensifies the pressures that are already close to a breaking point. As the Ukrainian issues are evolving, the last thing we need are wild wild west stories on arms deals that do not exist (or do they?).

That part becomes question when we see the BBC news (at http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-26177792). The article was from Feb 13th, not the worst runner up gift discussion when we consider that pesky cherub Valentine (Feb 14th for the non-romantics under us). So the news was there, what is interesting that it gives credibility that this arms deal could be in a finalising stage, but then, why is no one looking at this? This is the deal I had not mentioned in my article ‘Setting the stage‘ on March 27th, which means that if this is true, then the ‘financial pressure‘ posturing is even less sincere from the US and Europe in regards to the Crimean events.

Still, the actual truth is for now an unknown, which gets us back to the title. Clarity in these events will force us to view possible outstanding dangers, the only question remains is ‘who faces clarity and who is in real danger?’; consider how the truth of one event can change this around on several players.

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Academic Discrimination?

The night was still young when my faithful iPad 1 was beeping me about an issue that had hit the Jerusalem Post (at http://www.jpost.com/International/92-universities-reject-academic-boycott-of-Israel-336771). I could not believe my eyes! A bucket of icy cold water could not have woken me any faster. I had to do some digging (not all sources are of the highest quality), so here is the rundown.

The Guardian had this headline “Why a boycott of Israeli academics is fully justified” (at http://www.theguardian.com/science/blog/2012/sep/12/boycott-israeli-academics-justified). And they call themselves academics?

Now, as a non-academic act, here is a wiki page (at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Palestinian_suicide_attacks), showing a few issues with the entire endeavour. In addition, these are just the bombings. The list of Hamas ‘actions’ on other fronts are a lot longer and several governments would be very unwilling to confirm several of those acts on their soil. In addition, since 2010 close to 2500 rocket attacks had been made from Gaza by Hamas against Israel.

So, do these academics have ANY clue what they are doing, supporting or talking about? The fact that well over a 100 universities at this time all slammed the boycott brought by the ASA, might be an indication that the ASA could be in for a massive structural reshuffle. The fact that such an act of utter opposition to academic freedom even made it to a vote is already cause for concern in my view.

A quote from Dartmouth College by Paul Mirengoff stated “The ASA consists of approximately 5,000 members. 1,265 of them voted on the resolution, with 66 percent of them supporting it.

So 66% of the 25% members that voted got this all carried?

The second quote “Among them are Harvard, Columbia, Princeton, New York University, Yale, and Dartmouth College.” (at www.powerlineblog.com) I reckon that under these circumstances, Mr Mirengoff should proudly mention his college next to those Ivy league big boys. Some of the names that Mr Mirengoff did not mention were Stanford, Brown, Duke and Georgetown, but he might not have had those names in any official way at that time. The list (as complete as can be) can be found here http://legalinsurrection.com/2013/12/list-of-universities-rejecting-academic-boycott-of-israel/

It is quite possible that at the time of my writing even more Universities and Colleges joined those ranks.

The issue that is even more paramount is the entire boycotting affair. Yes against Israel, but no opposition to Iranian or Russian Universities? How about Cuban Universities, like the University of Havana?

Now for my own ‘academic’ mistake! Should I have compared Palestinian Academics with Hamas? Is that just not as grievous an error? If we accept Reuters article of last June (at http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/06/02/us-palestinians-idUSBRE9510BK20130602) as a given, then there is a distance between some academics and Hamas and its goals, this does not mean that Hamas does not have within its ranks a fair number of distinguished academics (an assumption on my side). Any war has sides and an academic will just like others choose a side. His views and reasoning could be valid, sane and logical. So, when there is an alleged issue in Israeli Universities in regards to Palestinian scholars, then we need to see what actually is happening. The quote “the massive restrictions on academic freedom for Palestinian scholars” is misleading. Is there any restriction against scholars, or are there restrictions on those supporting Hamas? I do not claim to know the answer, or to even have a clue how that equation is in place (if it amounts to some equation that is in place). We do however have decades of acts by Hamas against Israel, most of it nicely mapped. The quote “Hamas and other Palestinian militant organizations contend that they will settle for nothing less than the dissolution of the entire Jewish state.” has reverberated over the media and the internet for almost half a century. It is interesting that the ASA has had little time to illuminate such a level of prosecution against Israel and its Jewish population.

In my view, academics need to remain outside of that entire political debacle for the simple reason that as long as there is one group that remains talking to each other, the option for any peaceful solution will remain a possible reality.

 

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