Tag Archives: Kurdistan

Oven for (a) Turkey

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

This we see in several settings.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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Yemen, weapons or water lemons?

We see two streams of news; the first is Unicef asking for 250 million to feed the starving children. It is a good cause, a right cause and as they look towards President Trump and his arms sale we see the reference “The comments by Geert Cappelaere, Middle East and North Africa director at the UN children’s fund UNICEF, on Sunday, appeared to mock US President Donald Trump, who last week described billions of dollars in Saudi arms purchases as “peanuts”“. He is right to make the comment as would anyone trying to feed starving children. So as we see “According to the United Nations, the ongoing war has killed more than 10,000 people and wounded more than 40,000. The UN describes Yemen as the “worst humanitarian crisis in the world”“, we can conclude that the UN has completely forgotten the mess in Syria and Kurdistan, but leave it to politicians to have a short term memory linked to remember only what they directly and immediately care for. The fact that Yemen is in a bad state is not denied, the fact that this happened as Iran is stopping any resolution to move forward is also a fact.

In addition, we see ‘Saudi air defense forces shoot down Houthi missile over Riyadh‘ (at http://www.arabnews.com/node/1273566/saudi-arabia), which is one of several sources. So as we see “Saudi air defenses intercepted a ballistic missile over Riyadh late on Sunday, in an apparent Iran-backed Houthi militia attack“, I can definitely predict that things are about to get a hell of a lot worse for Yemen. The additional fact is that this missile as three other ones were manufactured in Iran, so not only is Iran directly involved, the fact that things are escalating remains. You see, it only has to go wrong once. The moment one missile makes it to Riyadh, the moment even one part damages one of the grand mosques, the King Khalid grand mosque or the King Abdullah grand mosque. Do you think that after that any diplomacy will remain? After that they Saudi’s en mass will bomb Yemen into extinction, you better take that part for granted (personal speculation)! After that there will be no diplomacy and all the diplomats will have to reconsider on why there had been no stronger actions against the involvement of Iran.

So even as we were ‘treated’ to ‘Iran urges US, Europe to discontinue support for aggressors in Yemen‘ (at http://www.presstv.com/Detail/2018/03/25/556503/Foreign-Ministry-Iran-Yemen-statement), we see very little about Iran’s involvement in all this. Moreover, the mere issue that the UN was ‘mulling things over’ in February, whilst no results are in play shows the inactions of too many politicians. So when we get “The Iranian Foreign Ministry described as “very deplorable” the ongoing humanitarian situation in Yemen and said the aggressors have failed to achieve any of their objectives and have only ravaged the impoverished country and committed inhumane crimes there“, my response will be ‘So why don’t you stop shipping missiles to Yemen?‘, that conclusion did not require that much rocket science to begin with. In addition the quote “It emphasized that the Saudi-led coalition’s use of famine and hunger as a tool to exert pressure on the Yemeni people is an inhuman move, which runs counter to international humanitarian law”, can be countered with: ‘teaching the Houthi to target Saudi civilian populations like Riyadh might not have been the best idea either‘, but Iran will not make mention of that part, will they?

Now we get from Al Arabia ‘Iran’s use of Hezbollah Unit 3800 to create a new Hezbollah in Yemen‘ (at http://english.alarabiya.net/en/perspective/features/2018/03/25/Iran-s-use-of-Hezbollah-Unit-3800-to-create-a-new-Hezbollah-in-Yemen.html). The source here is Tony Duheaume, who has been around for a few decades, although his LinkedIn does not give us any Journalistic degrees, he has been a middle east analyst for close to 4 decades (self-proclaimed), so I’ll let you decide on the weight of his writing. You see, I cannot tell whether he is right or wrong. the two paragraphs I cared about is “The missiles used in these attacks, were believed to have been smuggled into Yemen in parts, and on arrival, operatives of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards and Hezbollah had reassembled them, in readiness to launch at Saudi targets. More proof came to light November 7, 2017, when US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley, specifically referenced a missile fired by the Houthis in July of the same year to have contained Iranian markings, which were also found on missiles fired in the November attacks. Then once again, on December 19, the Yemeni rebel group targeted the Al-Yamamah Palace in the Saudi capital, and just like the others, the missile was unsuccessful in reaching its target, after being intercepted and shot down by air defences operated by the Royal Saudi Air Defence Forces“, I made similar conclusions late December last year (or was it early this year?). In my view it indicated that Iran has ‘boots on the ground’ in Yemen, also because the Yemeni do not really have the skill levels to target Riyadh (my personal assumption). This is however a far stretch from ‘create a new Hezbollah in Yemen‘, as well as the involvement of ‘use of Hezbollah Unit 3800‘, I would need to see much better evidence confirming that and the article does not bring it out in my conviction. Nobody denies Iran’s involvement and the mere fact that Hezbollah would allow them to be used as a tool is not a stretch, but this accusation is much deeper and the Intel I see does not support it. In support is that when you search ‘Hezbollah 3800‘ Google has merely one hit (the article) and open source intelligence doesn’t give us a whole lot more to go on. This is why I mention the matter, not because it is false or true, but the fact that a lot more exposure is missing gives rise that even if Hezbollah is involved, it is nowhere near the level we saw in that one article, but that might be merely my view on the matter.

What is a given is that as missiles are now shot down close to Riyadh means that this situation will escalate, I am not sure if I feel that it should be opposed. The Houthi decided to target civilian populations, whilst there is supporting evidence that the Houthi hid among populations to continue their spread of terror, their total absence of setting safe zones for civilians, and set the pace for humanitarian support to be given to the Yemeni civilians, especially the children is further evidence still.

The additional need to end it all in Yemen sooner rather than later was seen last Friday when we were introduced to ‘Houthi leader vows to fight with Hezbollah in future war with Israel‘ (at http://www.middleeasteye.net/news/houthis-leader-say-they-will-ally-hezbollah-against-israel-future-war-1044362159). I set that part aside initially as there was an opportunity to slap PwC around (one that failed as they had done nothing wrong on that one instance). Yet the given Houthi language is clear. With “Abdul Malik al-Houthi told the Lebanese newspaper Al-Akhbar on Friday that “our announcement that we are prepared to send fighters in any Israeli war against Lebanon or Palestine, is based on our principles”“, we see their need to escalate on a much larger scale. Now with ‘based on our principles‘, we see enough issues as they have hindered humanitarian aid to children and babies (and their mothers). What is now a given is that their principles were never about resolving anything, it was about their ‘glorious war’ and their hatred of the state of Israel. So even as we see: “Israelis had participated alongside UAE officers in planning some military activities in Yemen“, yet they offer no evidence whatsoever, meaning that they are more like Iran on growing the theatre of war. It is my personal belief that they see the stabilising effect of Saudi Arabia as a threat and that is one of the pinnacles to drive this war further forward because it shows that Iran is not a party that could be trusted, not a party that would genuinely offer true peace and stability. The second lie (or perhaps better stated ‘non-truth’) is “Houthi said that his movement is developing its missiles capacity to enable it to reach long-distance targets “in the deep territories of the enemy. [Our missiles] reached Riyadh and the area of Abu Dhabi… and Volcano-2 missiles reached Yamama Palace in Riyadh, and this was confirmed by the Americans“, so the moment someone can explain to me how any level of research can be done in an active warzone (apart from the lack of development engineers) where there is plenty of evidence that no one there holds the knowledge to even ‘develop’ mere fireworks, it is at that point that we realise that Iran is deeper involved than anyone is reporting and more importantly, the dangers of letting Iran continue this could destabilise the Middle East to a much larger degree, which would end up being a loss for every nation in the Middle East.

the fact that this was concluded with: “Death to America, Death to Israel, Curse on the Jews, Victory to Islam” should be regarded as evidence that the Houthi’s were always about progressing war and destabilisation, but feel free not to take my word on that, there are plenty of sources confirming my view and the longer these so called diplomats remain in ‘conversation ‘ on all this, the worse it will get for Yemen and the Middle East in general.

 

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SW2, not WW2

Is there a Syrian War 2 brewing? That was the initial thought I had when I got exposed to the ridiculous claims from Turkey this morning. There are two parts. the first comes from the Guardian (at https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/feb/19/turkey-warns-assad-not-intervene-kurdish-enclave-afrin), the quote is “Turkey warned the Syrian government of Bashar al-Assad that it risked a military confrontation with Ankara if it intervened in an ongoing war in the Kurdish enclave of Afrin, in a further escalation of tensions that hint at the possible widening of an already complex conflict“, now, just to make sure you get this. Turkey invaded Syria for the alleged reason of coming to aid towards Assad, or perhaps merely to ‘fight ISIS‘ in a presentation attempt to silently start the second genocide, the genocide of the Kurdish people. So Turkey goes invades Syria and now states: “Turkey warned the Syrian government of Bashar al-Assad that it risked a military confrontation with Ankara if it intervened“, so how is optionally opposing an invader ‘intervening‘?

The second part comes from the BBC (at http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-43107013), where we see basically the same with ‘Afrin offensive: Turkey warns Syria against helping Kurds‘. So when we read “Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag said Turkey’s operations were going ahead as planned and it would be a “disaster” if Syrian troops were to intervene“, should we deduce that a failed introduction to genocide is a ‘disaster‘?

Even as we see the similarities, we see that the issue is larger than merely a scuffle between the Turks and the Kurds, the way we see the quotes and the way that they are reported give rise to the fact that there are other issues below the waterline. It is not merely semantics, it is the interaction that Turkey has been having with several nations gives that rise and the optional viewing of that should make plenty of people worried at the very least and decently nervous in the nominal setting of international relationships.

The BBC article ends with “President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told Russia’s Vladimir Putin that Damascus would face “consequences” if it struck a deal with the Kurds, CNN Turk reported on Monday“. So, Erdogan, President of Turkey, a person with not much diplomatic skills or powers outside of Turkey for that matter, is telling Putin….? Oh, sorry, I nearly lost my breakfast laughing myself into several layers of bellyaches. It is almost as impactful and powerful as me calling Alexander Bortnikov, telling him to give me access to all his data, or he is going to hear ‘stuff he will not like‘ (most likely me calling him a pussy). Yes, people like the President of the Russian Federation, or the director of the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation (Федеральная служба безопасности Российской Федерации (ФСБ)) getting told by the likes of President Erdogan (or me for that matter) is something they should take extremely serious (sorry, second laughing attack, I will be back shortly). So, after I had my second laughing attack that lasted close to 611 seconds, I got back into my seat and decided to take another gander at a few parts. You see, the nice part of such short sighted actions is that it alienates the players Turkey actually desperately needs. Which in turn is making Iran more and more nervous, which is good news for several countries in the Middle East. The interesting part in all this that he BBC reported “During the course of the Syrian war, pro-government forces have largely avoided direct conflict with the YPG, but they have had sporadic clashes“, which now gives the optional food for thought that Syria might actually set some resources that way with the optional thought that they will not be targeting the YPG, because if we agree that direct conflict was never a real necessity, the Turkish forces changing that by sticking their short stick in a hornets nest, that part would be the greater threat to Syria, which now gets them into hot water is a few places and on several ways. In addition, it will also change the conversation that is going to happen in Kazakhstan in two weeks, giving more questions if there is still going to be a summit in Istanbul on Syria. The changing pressures are by no means a way to get things talked about and smoothed over. Even as Reuters gives us: “The three countries are working together to try to push the troubled Syrian peace process forward“, we need to also consider the mandate that Tehran gave to Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif as the outbursts from President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is pushing its own agenda whilst at the same time causing chaos towards the plans that Iran seemed to be having in all this, his self-serving hatred of Kurdistan is making the creation of coalitions next to impossible. With the Netherlands adding fuel to the fire of Turkish non-diplomacy, as they have now voted to recognise the Armenian genocide of 1915, pressures are growing there too, at a time when Turkey needed every European nation to be on his side regarding the non-realistic approach to becoming an EU nation, we see that the gap is increasing beyond the chance of that ever becoming a reality. The Turkish parties kicking every hornets nest in the Middle East is not very useful. On the other hand, Turkey could decide after Kicking both the US and Russia, to see if this level of craziness is useful in Beijing, which it is unlikely to be unless they open up all kinds of open trade paths which might actually be a lot less interesting to Turkey, especially at a time when Turkey is trying to get increased Cherry exports to China in time for the next harvest, the need to grow their export which according to some is in excess of 80,000 tons, they are now in a stage where they can no longer afford to get on anyone else’s wrong side, which must be a novel experience for the Turkish Diplomatic Corps.

All this whilst the issues in Greece and Cyprus are at present still unresolved, with the Ekathimerini making a connection between the report published on March 28, 1897 in Empros newspaper where we get: “referred to a foreign diplomat who described Greeks’ behaviour in relation to Turkey as that of a dog that barks, but does not bite. We all know what followed, but we still tend to forget how bad it is in international affairs when you bark, but no one really feels any threat“, and the escalations on gas resources at present, that whilst there is a certain logic to make the statement, especially when we consider Europe, NATO and the UN is seen in relation to: “where tensions broke out between Greece and Turkey, these organizations never really offered anything more than carefully worded statements“, that is the situation when we rely on the paper tiger to get things done. So when we read: “Athens must be very careful in weighing its next moves. It’s a balance of terror. If it shows compliancy, one can’t be certain where the other side will stop“, whilst we all know perfectly well that Ankara will not stop until forcefully halted. As the article ends with the absence of emotion in the Turkish-Greek debates, the issue is that the theatre is getting prepared to get very emotional from more than one side. Turkey almost has no options left after kicking all the wrong shins. In my view, when Syria escalates and escalates in one wrong direction we will get a flood of orchestrated news (whilst journalists have been sentenced to life in prison) and from there onwards it becomes a long winded marketing campaign, because Turkey seems to be realising that the US, the UN and Europe are all about statements and statements alone. Which is a dangerous game as it could press towards a second Syrian war where the Syrian Kurdish area could get annexed into Turkey and its population would optionally somehow mysteriously vanish.

So, how should we see the optional threat of a second Syrian war? that is hard to see, with too many high level meetings, with the latest addition being one with the Russian President Vladimir Putin, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani to meet in April in Turkey, there is no telling what it will actually be about. Even as we have seen from enough sources that it will be about Syria, there is in my personal view absolutely no way that it will just be about Syria, especially as the meetings are going to be behind closed doors. That view is made stronger when we consider the news merely a few days ago when Kirill Dmitriev, the chief executive of the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), told CNBC “We’re at the breaking point in positive territory of this relationship … We really embarked on an amazing positive journey“, that in light of Iranian issues and the fact that President Putin’s face is on the homepage of the RFID gives enough indication that nothing happens there without the explicit approval from more than one key member of the Kremlin and there lies the complication, The meeting around Syria is set in a stage where all three have separate agenda’s. Turkey has the Kurdistan region, Russia has a truckload of billions it can win with Saudi Arabia and Iran is extremely opposing anything pro-Saudi Arabia, as well as having a few additional issues regarding Yemen, who would really like Russia to become a mediator here, so the Syrian talks will come with close to half a dozen unscheduled stress points. So, when we see these issues in the lights that can be confirmed, will Syria see more or less stability?

Less stability is not a given, but the premise of it happening is actually more realistic than I would have foreseen less than a year ago.

 

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Prospecting black gold

There has been news all over the world, some news is good, some less so and at times we cannot see whether news is good, bad or irrelevant. To see the dangers, or perhaps the opportunity of what is what we need to look back to 2014, and start that issue with a quote from the Marvel Movie: Age of Ultron. The quote originally from Tony Stark was: “As I always say, keep your friends rich, and your enemies rich, and then find out which is which“, it is a reference to the arms industry and the benefit of mutual escalation. Keep this in mind when you consider the article in the Independent (at http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/royal-mail-float-scandal-how-hedge-funds-cleaned-up-9303674.html), the title gives us the immediate threat with ‘Royal Mail float scandal: how hedge funds cleaned up‘, and “Speculators were allowed to buy £150m of shares despite Vince Cable’s pledge to favour long-term investors“, I omitted the claim that it was all due to the postman. That person usually rings twice, especially when Jessica Lange is around. Yet the heart of the matter, like in the movie, is not in the ‘boner’ or the ‘bonee’, it is the aftermath that matters. You see, the gem is seen in the local prosecutor and his ploy to get to the truth by going after one side, yet it is Cora’s Lawyer Katz who stops the evidence to get to the prosecutor, which nullifies whatever was attempted. So consider the part we see in the Independent: “around 20 per cent of the shares it had allocated to 16 preferred investors had gone to hedge funds and other short-term investors. This would equate to around £150m of Royal Mail shares – 13 per cent of the entire stock sold by the Government. The companies bought in at the float price of 330p a share. The shares shot up within seconds of trading, eventually peaking within weeks at more than 600p, allowing the hedge funds to bank vast profits at the taxpayers’ expense“, now consider also that this is a reflection of ‘£150m of Royal Mail shares‘. A system that has issues and allows for ‘deal sweeteners‘, now when you see this, and knowing that the bulk of hedge funds managers seem to get away with murder, consider the arrival of Aramco, better stated, the Financial Times headline ‘The $2tn Saudi Aramco question‘, which is now squarely an issue of titanic proportions (intentional pun towards the sinking dinghy). First things first, you see, this is not a fuel vendor like Shell, or a social media company like Facebook, this is the Privatised Saudi oil company that is larger than the sum of Shell, Facebook, Apple and Google. It is a 2 trillion dollar company, now consider the danger of the floating dangers of something like that, hedge funds managers can clean up and those who do will be set for a decadent life, for the rest of their lives. The dangers of something this big is pretty astounding and the fact that it could happen is not that small. You see, the dangers increases as we consider certain facts. NASDAQ gives us: “OPEC agreed in November last year to curb its output by about 1.2 million barrels per day between January and June“, that is because the stocks are a little higher than expected. This happens, oil will always fluctuate, now consider in the US alone there are 32 oil fired power plants. Production is down (for now) and the moment the first heatwave gets to the US, we see a massive spike in power requirements and 32 of those power makers require fossil fuel. In this I am only mentioning the USA, there has been power issues on a global scale, which is always going to be the case, but one of the largest providers towards the demand is going public and that is what speculators really like, because if the supply & demand need is not properly managed, we see an increase option towards fluctuation. Those speculators only need to get lucky once and the mess would be unrepairable.

The Financial Times gives us some of the goods with: “Privatising Aramco is the first step in rebalancing the economy. By disentangling the company, which accounts for more than two-thirds of government revenues, from the state, Prince Mohammed hopes to make Riyadh less oil-reliant, while providing capital for investment in new industries, ranging from technology, where it is pumping $45bn into the SoftBank Vision Fund, to mining. The privatisation of its national champion is crucial to this process” (at https://www.ft.com/content/7ed59bee-163b-11e7-b0c1-37e417ee6c76), but the heart is seen in: “That is even without looking at the question of how much oil actually lies beneath the desert kingdom’s sands“, when we consider that the oil gains in the North sea is slowing down and this is a signal seen in several places, the fact that at some point (in past, present or future) that something similar will happen to the Aramco goods is a certain fact, it is the when that cannot be anticipated. In addition, going public means that you need to be commercial, when it is government no one really cares, but in the public sector the trend must forever be upwards, so when will we see a similar float in Aramco when the numbers are not as great? It has been an utter certainty that nearly all companies go through, some did it calculated knowing they would kill the numbers within a quarter, some hoping they would kill the numbers and some did it whilst they were desperate for a miracle. Yet floating they went. How much of a $2 trillion dollar company in stock value will tumble when that happens?

And these are the circumstances where the acts were valid and not criminal at all (see UK Mail), I am not making any Tesco assumptions here, because the damage in that case will be devastating to the London Stock Exchange. One firm representing close to 70% of its entire market, there would be no London Stock Exchange after such a disaster. Bloomberg gives us the second tier of risks and dangers with ‘Saudi Aramco Cuts Oil Pricing for Europe Where Russia Dominates‘ (at https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-04-05/saudi-aramco-lowers-some-crude-pricing-for-asia-raises-for-u-s), a market that Russia already dominates. What would happen if let’s say 3 days after going public, Russia decides to slash their prices for a short time? How would the market react? Not just to Aramco having to follow, but the forecasted annual numbers then take a dive, at who’s expense? Consider that the European market is ‘ruled’ by Russia and Norway, together they make up for 50% of that market and the Saudi part is smaller than Norway and 80% of that 50% market is just Russia. So they can influence the market a fair bit. You see, Bloomberg gives us “There is a risk price wars may resume in Europe, raising the possibility the output cut agreement won’t be extended to the second half of this year“, meaning that in the second half Russia could flood the markets and the streets with black gold. That impact would be felt all over the stock market. There is one part that I am uncertain on. You see, it reads like a small and insignificant part. The quote: “Aramco will tweak the benchmark it uses in the region to make it easier for crude buyers to hedge their purchases” seems small, but consider that hedging is done by a few hundred buyers for up to 25,000 barrels. It seems like nothing, but with 179 buyers it is almost a week worth of crude oil, now the ‘stock is full‘ issue becomes a larger one, because this is a level of fluctuation on stock levels that would impact on the stock prices, the mere stock is full a few weeks ago had a $3 impact (or 4.6%), that becomes a little more than insignificant. Now, I could be wrong here as I am not in the oil, yet you see that this is a concern when it impacts a $2T invested interest by more than just hedge funds managers.

The last part comes from the Guardian. In Jan 2016 they stated “Saudi Aramco is likely to be worth well over $1tn (£685bn)“, this is important as we do not see 1.2 or 1.5 trillion, so this given number implies that in a year Saudi Aramco grow by more than 40%, the exact number cannot be determined. Other media stated that Aramco had grown to 2 trillion last year, but none have given enough evidence to state which number is the reliable one. That too impacts this new market, especially the initial dangers of floating a stock. Yesterday (at https://www.theguardian.com/business/2017/apr/05/theresa-may-lse-saudi-aramco-uk-london-stock-exchange-oil) we see: ‘May and LSE chief woo Saudi ministers for $2tn Aramco listing‘, here we see: “Xavier Rolet, has launched a charm offensive in Riyadh to woo Saudi ministers with the prospect of London hosting the upcoming flotation of Saudi state oil company Aramco, which is likely to be the largest of all time“, the word ‘flotation‘ is given and the danger is now out and about, in clear view of all. So as the UK government is trying to appease Khalid Al-Falih, energy minister of Saudi Arabia (and CEO of Aramco), as well as Yasir al-Rumayyan, the director of the Saudi public investment fund – a sovereign wealth fund, I have to wonder where the Rothschild’s are, because there is no way in heaven or hell that the Rothschild family would be absent of a 5% of a $2T company option and not be a player in something with the ROI of billions, especially after the losses they had with Kurdistan and Africa. They have skin in the game now, and they need a victory in this field, their ego demands it from themselves!

In all this the final part given in the Guardian must not be overlooked, because the quote “Downing Street announced on Monday it had drawn up plans with Riyadh to boost support for Saudi’s much-vaunted Vision 2030 strategic plan for diversifying the Saudi economy to decrease its over-reliance on oil, spearheaded by the deputy crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, who met May on Tuesday“, as this now offers the level of revenue to fund the ability to become the largest 5G player in the middle east, with options to diversify into Europe, the far East and America. It is perhaps the first time in history that a public company would shoot to a top position in mobile communication, ready to set the market and their values in a few ways on a global scale. For the simple reason that moving into technology and not go for the new tech that will determine the fate of the large mobile and telecom players between 2019 and 2027 seems extremely short-sighted.

 

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Fuelling a Fire that fools no one

Today we watch again how escalations in the political field are moving in separate directions. It is SBS (at http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/2015/11/28/turkeys-erdogan-warns-russia-not-play-fire), that gives us a few items for concern.

  1. At 1:32 we hear that cooperation between Russian and Turkish forces have been suspended. In light that a Russian plane was downed, I kind of think that cooperation was never a big thing here in the first place.
  2. At 1:42 we hear (what I regard to be an outspoken lie) that if the Turkey had known it was a Russian plane, it would have warned it differently.

The title ‘Turkey’s Erdogan warns Russia not to ‘play with fire’’ adds to the entire article. the added quote “Moscow said it would suspend visa-free travel with Turkey” should read like sunshine in Greece, because with all the hardship, whomever from Russia can afford a vacation would usually desire the Mediterranean, which now means that they could end up visiting Greece by the boatload, which would be OK with the Economically stricken Greek population.

All this because some power players did not think things through. Turkey wanted to play games and now they are realising that they woke up an angry bear, all whilst the protection Turkey expects from USA might not come. No one wants to come to the aid of a partner as stupid as Turkey.

No one denies that the Russian flight might have taken it over Turkish soil, yet the response of a transgression of 17 seconds is beyond ridiculous, especially in light of the fact that Turkey or its citizens were not under attack. I will be the first to give way to downing any actual opponent, yet in all this, Turkey was never an objective or target. In all this, the lie (as I see it) shown on French TV gives us another side. As stated in my earlier blog (‘The additional price of War‘, November 25th at https://lawlordtobe.com/2015/11/25/the-additional-price-of-war/), where we got the data from the Guardian that the Russian plane had transgressed over Turkish space for 17 seconds. Now understand that it should take a plane in the vicinity 5 seconds to get into position and fire the kill shot, with an additional 2-3 seconds for the missile to hit the plane. This gives the minimum required time of almost 8 seconds. Which means that in 9 seconds, the planes had to be there, information through the chain of command had to be given for the Russian plane to be shot down, which give us only one option, the planes were send out with a definite kill order from the start. This invalidates what I consider to be a massive public lie by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in addition, it also disposes the ‘thread’ that there was any communication between Turkey and Russia, so that red phone was massively useless. Turkey has been a joke for the longest time. They showed that when they expected a 30 billion pay off in 2003, now we see that the times Turkey became active, we can doubt whether this was against Syria or against Kurdistan. Which now take us to the introduction of the debate on the demons of idiocy that we seem to find behind some of the European charters.  The first one was shown a year ago when Greece did not keep any of its promises and weaselled itself away from any agreement. It was only months later, after papers of innuendo and false rattling. I dealt with that part on July 6th 2015 in ‘The mere legality’ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2015/07/06/the-mere-legality/), basically the lawmakers as stupid as they were seem to forget the cancellation clause, no matter how bad Greece behaved, Danuta Hübner, Chair of the Committee on Constitutional Affairs, European Parliament, with the added paper by Phoebus Athanassiou ‘Withdrawal and expulsion from the EU and EMU‘ gave clear view that a nation cannot get expulsed from the EEC, no matter how bad they behave. Now we see with Turkey in regards to this overreaction that expelling them from NATO seems to be equally impossible. Which makes me question the stupidity of any politician who was connected to the request. How stupid will people get?

You and I cannot answer that question, we can only watch the fallout and see what happens next.

Yet, this is only the beginning. The NY Times (at http://www.nytimes.com/2015/11/28/world/europe/russia-turkey-tensions.html), gives us ““I would like to meet Putin face to face in Paris,” President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in a speech on Friday, referring to President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia. “I would like to bring the issue to a reasonable point. We are disturbed that the issue has been escalated”“, I am not that surprised, you see, the total lunacy of shooting down a Russian plane whilst Turkey was not under attack, or even under any form of threat made the downing of the Jet an act of utter stupidity. It is not unlikely that President Obama told him that he would be on his own against Russia, so Turkey gets the play the submissive joke it should have been regarded as from day one. It is the final ‘statement’ that makes it all hilarious. He stated: “He warned Russia “not to play with fire” in reacting to the downing of the plane, adding, “We really attach a lot of importance to our relations with Russia, and we don’t want our relations to suffer in any way”“. First of all it was Turkey playing with fire, this close before Thanksgiving, now we see the added part “Turkish prime minister, Ahmet Davutoglu, said that Ankara would “work with Russia and our allies to calm tensions”“, so what tensions are they Mr Davutoglu? Apart from Turkey, NATO members are not in any dangers, as you started hostilities NATO has no need and no interest in getting involved. In the worst case scenario, Turkey will get a different flag, they will just replace the crescent moon and replace it with a hammer and sickle. The one bright spot could be that Constantinople will get its original name again and it will have its original Cathedral once more (a Coptic version I reckon). None of that should read as disastrously bad news.

Turkey2016

Will this become the new flag of Turkey in 2016? That is the question, because no matter how we seem to stand on ego, you don’t just shoot down any plane like that, not in the frame of 17 seconds, not when there is no threat of any kind against that sovereign nation. In addition, there would not be enough time to warn the plane against transgressing on Turkish airspace and then fire on the plane. 17 seconds is not enough time and warning a plane whilst still over Syrian air seems pointless. Yet, like Greece, Turkey might bank on the fact that he can’t get thrown out of NATO, just like Greece could not get thrown out of the EEC. This makes for a much larger issue, because if the smaller players are suddenly resorting to ego based activities whilst they indiscriminately continue to target their own political ‘opponents’ we have to start asking the serious questions no one tends to ask at present.

 

How could this have been allowed in the first place?

That answer is a little too complex to answer, yet I feel certain that part of this is linked to the fact that not governments but large corporations are in growing command of the nations involved does have something to do with this. The entire financial debacle is at the centre of this, as Turkey would never have don that if the US would have been in a much stronger economic position, but it is not and as I see it, which is part of the problem.

In addition there is an article from April 2015 which was in the Business insider. The title ‘Turkey is ‘making NATO very uncomfortable’’ (at http://www.businessinsider.com.au/turkey-is-making-nato-very-uncomfortable-2015-4). the issue here is “Turkey’s push to carve out an independent foreign policy and purchase arms from countries outside of NATO is raising concerns among members of the defensive military alliance, Emre Peker reports for the Wall Street Journal“, so even as there are certain rules to this game, turkey has been ignoring them for well over 7 months, so why should Turkey be regarded as a NATO nation? It’s not like they are connected to the Atlantic Ocean is it? The additional “a military deal with a Chinese company could open NATO’s door to espionage, especially given that the company is on the US proliferation list“, which might not account for much, but China has been regarded as a ready wielder of industrial espionage on many levels and not just by the US, so we have more than one issue with Turkey and as such, the question becomes why allow Turkey in NATO? I wonder if NATO might be better off with Russia and not Turkey in NATO (yes, just allow for the idea for a second, the hidden gem might just pop up). It is not even the worst of the transgressions according more sources than just the Business Insider. There is the sponsoring of Hamas, the support to hunt down Kurds and ignore ISIS altogether. All of these facts bring into question the reasoning of keeping Turkey as a NATO ally. As far as I can tell, should this come to blows, once Turkey loses its EEC and NATO privileges, once it realises that ISIS oil is not reliable and as it realises that other funds mainly came from Moscow, whatever is left will not sustain the Turkish Nation, that part might become food for thought soon enough, even as winter is coming, next summer will show the consequence on irrationally and irresponsibly downing the Russian jet. Consider that the Turkish Deficit is partially contained by tourism, with the 25% of its tourism in danger (Russian tourists) how will Turkey get by in 2016, because that deficit would grow beyond expected percentages. The Russians have always been very nationalistic, which would drive them towards Greek shores with the greatest of ease. So a loss of 3.3 billion is only the beginning. If Russia employs a Turkish border ban and those trucks end up having to go via Iran or Armenia/Azerbaijan, the profit margins will evaporate giving additional blows to the Turkish economy (source: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-11-26/turkey-without-russian-tourists-strikes-economy-where-it-s-weak). In addition we see the speculation that Russian suitcase trade (tourism purchases) exceeds 6 billion, which is 0.8% of their current GDP, which will push debts even further. So as we get to 2017, the Turkish economy might not be close to breaking even. All this for mere ego? That remains the question because there was no tactical reason to down the Russian plane, there was no defence reason for downing the plane, in that light only ego seems to remain. In final addition to this, it is of course only the beginning. As Germany and the US removed their patriot systems from the Turkish borders, those Chinese defence systems will become very essential to the defence of Turkey and they are not that cheap. The Chinese HQ-9 (if that is the one they ordered) has a price tag that is around 3.4 billion for Turkey, which is according to the latest gossip 3 billion for the missiles and hardware and roughly 370 million for an English/Turkish translation of the operating manuals. So even in the world of weapons, knowing additional languages pays off nicely.

So how are we fuelling events? That question becomes a lot more pressing when we consider the original ‘The North Atlantic Treaty (1949)‘. Here we see in article 4 “The Parties will consult together whenever, in the opinion of any of them, the territorial integrity, political independence or security of any of the Parties is threatened” and article 5 “The Parties agree that an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all and consequently they agree that, if such an armed attack occurs, each of them, in exercise of the right of individual or collective self-defence recognised by Article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations, will assist the Party or Parties so attacked by taking forthwith, individually and in concert with the other Parties, such action as it deems necessary, including the use of armed force, to restore and maintain the security of the North Atlantic area” (at http://www.nato.int/nato_static/assets/pdf/stock_publications/20120822_nato_treaty_en_light_2009.pdf). Now consider article 5, no armed attack occurred, at no point was Turkey even under attack or under the impression of attack, a 17 second border transgression is not an attack. That remains in the core of this. This means that if Russia retaliates now, Turkey might stand alone, which is not what they hoped for and gives rise to the question “How could Turkey have been this stupid?

That is for you the reader to ponder on, so enjoy your thanksgiving as the Russian are. They are apparently having Turkey, both deep fried and roasted!

 

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