Tag Archives: Lebanon

A New Disney

There was an Italian, who has been famous for over 125 years, he is not the first or the only famous Italian. There was this guy who came up with Pizza, There was this other Italian who thought fast Ford cars were a joke and he created Ferrari, then there was this other Italian, who made tractors, disagreed with the previous Italian and created Lamborghini. It is actually none of those. It is Carlo Lorenzini who was born 190 years ago. You might not know the name, perhaps his alternative name? Carlo Collodi! If you are still in the dark, than remember the story of a wooden boy who wanted to become a real live boy. Steven Spielberg used the notion in AI, but the original remains the best, namely Pinocchio!

Yes, the story of a wooden boy going into the world, yet as a wooden boy he was not alone, there was a little Cricket accompanying him and he would be a lot more important than your average Cricket, Jiminy was his name. Today the story is even more relevant, you see, the name Yemini Cricket might be ringing bells, but the truth of the wooden boy is there. The question becomes, who is the wooden boy?

So when I read ‘US, Britain and UN demand Yemen ceasefire within days‘ (at http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/2016/10/16/us-britain-and-un-demand-yemen-ceasefire-within-days),

Yet when I read “The United Nations envoy, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, said: “We are here to call for an immediate cessation of hostilities, which will be declared in the next few hours.” Cheikh Ahmed said he had been in contact with the rebel Huthi militia’s lead negotiator and with Yemeni President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi’s government“, my recollection does not go towards the classical story, it goes to a reference a little closer to the present (at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZFZrKOCdHFs), the laughter applies to both the sketch and reality. Aleppo is a great example, how 5 years and 400,000-450,000 fatalities later, no solution is there, but they are still flying to places like Switzerland to talk. I wonder when we add up all the costs, how much did the taxpayer pay for this play?

A number of civilian casualties that have now surpassed the total US Military casualties, of those who died during WW2. Doesn’t that look like a clear message that massive change was required a few years ago? I reckon all the players know that, yet, having long conversations with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, whose only concern is to stall so that the population can be made extinct before the resolution passes, reads a lot more like the Friends edition of Pinocchio, than the original by Carlo Collodi, where we see the conscience that is Jiminy Cricket.

So as we see the beginning of the same slow train in Yemen, I have to wonder if creating a new version of Pinocchio with Yemini Cricket is the way to go. It educates politicians as well as bring some hard needed cash towards Hollywood (or Bollywood).

So why is this different?

To one degree it is not, towards the other degree it is very much so. The problem is that both Syria and Yemen could be on the same page, no degrees of separation. In this case there are two at least. You see, Yemen has limited ties to Russia, making it less complicated, what is the issue is that the Houthi’s are actively shooting missiles at the US Navy complicating matters a lot more. It only takes one direct hit, and Yemen would technically be in a state of war with the US. Now, normally, a bankrupt nation is not that much a bother, but Yemen is not an economic or military superpower, so going against America sounds like a PR approach to get them ‘involved’. What is an issue is that Yemen, the neighbour of Saudi Arabia could get lucky at some point, what happens after the hit will be an issue, because Americans tend to get cranky when you successfully blow up something American. Interesting is that there are now multiple sources claiming that Iran is now moving towards the Red sea. An interesting story as the Red sea is on the other side of the Persian Gulf and Iranian war ships have no actual business there (which could also apply to the Americans). The question becomes how is Saudi placed into all this? Here there are issues too. There is no stating if there is even any link but the changes and the Attention that members of the Saudi government are drawing attention to themselves become a factor (speculation from my side).

One part is from the Australian Financial Review (at http://www.afr.com/news/world/middle-east/saudi-prince-mohammed-bin-salmans-shatters-decades-of-tradition-20161017-gs3yt5), where we see the title ‘Saudi Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s shatters decades of tradition‘, is not giving us the ‘goods’. The first quote is “He has slashed the state budget, frozen government contracts and reduced the pay of civil employees, all part of drastic austerity measures as the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is buffeted by low oil prices“, which would be quite acceptable in one view, at least it appears that one government in this world is dealing with its budget issues, although not in the most ‘desirable’ way, when a nation is so dependent on oil, there might not be too many options. The second quote is “While vacationing in the south of France, Prince Mohammed spotted a 134-metre yacht. He dispatched an aide to buy the ship, the Serene, then owned by Russian vodka tycoon Yuri Shefler. The deal was done within hours, at a price of approximately €500 million (roughly $720 million today)“, which implies the opposite. The question is not the cut-backs or spending spree, the issue is neither quote, it is the quote I will give now “Many young Saudis admire him as an energetic representative of their generation who has addressed some of the country’s problems with uncommon bluntness. The kingdom’s media have built his image as a hardworking, businesslike leader less concerned than his predecessors with the trappings of royalty” as well as “Others see him as a power-hungry upstart who is risking instability by changing too much, too fast“. So is the prince a go-getter or power-hungry? I cannot tell as this is all based on third degree of information, what matters is how the view and the actions will reflect the counteractions of the US and Iran in regard to Yemen. The moment the conflict results in a direct attack on Saudi grounds, what then? Iranian warships in the Red Sea would only complicate that, making a harsh response from the Saudi Military even more destabilising.

In my view there are two sides within Saudi Arabia, yet how they should be seen is another matter. I do not claim to have a proper view. I have questions. You see Mecca is an Islamic Holy city (the most important one) and it is part of Saudi Arabia, so as Saudi Arabia is the caretaker of this holy site, the involvement if Iran is more than just a small issue. Whatever they decide to escalate could have large repercussions all over the Middle East. The Sovereign State of Saudi Arabia has every right to defend it in every way possible, so Saudi Prince Mohammed bin Salman is also Minister of Defence and the youngest one in the world, which as a stat sounds nice, yet it also means that in light of other decisions, he is ready to do that what the US has been unable to do, declare war on its enemy by actually acting against them! Not that the US needed to declare war, but in light of Syria, doing anything actively would have been nice, an absence of resolution that His Royal Highness Mohammad bin Salman Al Saud is less likely to show.

What is a problem is the fact that the complications are more and more likely as days go by and that is the one spark that this powder keg does not need. Iran cannot be denied access to international waters, which will not lessen the impact. One of the elements in all this is seen in the second quote regarding the ‘power hungry’ side of it. You see, the AFR article is also mentioning “Mohammed bin Nayef, the interior minister and longtime counter-terrorism czar“, which is now an element in all this. You see, whatever happens next is all surrounding the need for intelligence. So whatever issues there are between His Royal Highness Muhammad bin Nayef bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and His Royal Highness Mohammad bin Salman Al Saud gives wake to the Disney sequel, a tale of two princes. A new approach to the classic Dickens story where the plight of two members of the Royal family of Al Saud are protecting the Sovereign state of Saudi Arabia as well as the safety and security of all Muslims that are in and nearby Mecca. Even as the papers are expecting a ceasefire, the issue is that stalling is equally a tactic here. There is no way of telling why Iran is involving its warships in that region, other than trying to complicate matters and demanding a seat at the table of decision, which would only change the time table in the worst of ways. What the Deutsche Welle did give was the quote “the Saudi-led coalition has blamed an airstrike that killed over 140 people at a funeral ceremony in Yemen on “erroneous information” received from a “party” affiliated with the country’s embattled government“, it matters, because it gives light to the essential issue that the two princes need to rely on quality intelligence, sources that can be scrutinised. And in this matter, mentioning the yacht was to iterate that spending that money on a satellite over the area might not have been the worst personal idea I am having. And let’s face it, any prince that can claim that he has his own satellite wins the discussion with any other prince relying on yacht and status. So many have a yacht, but how many of these rich individuals (very wealthy people in general) would own their own satellite? Especially if it becomes a source of intelligence.

Of course there is a lot more to owning one’s own satellite, but I hope we can all agree that intelligence will be key in whatever escalates over the next week. My issue is that too many players have their own agenda, yet would those agenda’s be truly 100% be focussed on whatever is best for Yemen and/or Saudi Arabia? You see, oil prices are down now, but why and for how long? What happens when prices go through the roof again? What happens then? Suddenly all these political issues are all linked to the price of Oil and the profit it brings?

I do not claim to have these answers, but the fact that too many sources are not asking the questions that require asking is troubling, yet the AFR article gives us a lot more, even more than I bargained for, which is comforting to say the least. What becomes a matter of discussion is the one quote that shows the elements “People who have met Mohammed bin Salman said he insisted that Saudi Arabia must be more assertive in shaping events in the Middle East and confronting Iran’s influence in the region – whether in Yemen, Syria, Iraq or Lebanon“, giving the links that require addressing and the prince is not afraid to do just that, however it take two to dance rings around Iran and taking away its influence in the Middle East. As I see it, Riyadh will have to make changes to some degree. Counter-Intelligence will be key in dealing with Iran and the impression I get when I see a quote like “has deep ties to Washington and the support of many of the older royals” shows the speculative possibility of the older ‘let us see how this plays out‘ against the younger ‘let us get this party started through action‘. It is not about the balance, but about what works best. In that regard both princes might have to make changes a lot faster than they are comfortable with, because if the news is correct, the Iranian ships and submarines will soon be active in the Red Sea, but active to what extent is something that remains speculative, whatever they do, the fact that it includes Iranian submarine presence (as reported but not confirmed), will also raise tensions with Israel.

As I see it, the biggest issue is Iran and what they are trying to get out of it. Putting themselves in the middle of a conflict where they are now trying to imply that it is all about them (especially as they are in the Red Sea), yet is their presence less valid than that of the US? It seems to me that we are creating a new Vietnam, just not with the Russians involved (like Syria). So there are two solutions to consider. One is that the US is replaced by for example the Commonwealth, or France, which takes away the Iranian-US issues. That is, if Saudi Arabia would be willing to consider that move. No matter what, the navy that does that, could find themselves in an armed conflict with Iran, so it better be a competent and modern Navy which leaves not that many options. The Netherlands, the UK, France, South Korea and India. Giving the option to either South Korea or India would benefit, as Iran cannot spin some NATO link story. In addition Iran cannot afford to piss of too many additional nations as either could make short work of the ego of Iran as these navies decide to sink Iranian war vessels like rubber dinghies, because they pushed one button too many.

No matter what happens, Saudi Arabia must do what it can to keep safe and the Yemeni issue is one that tests many sides of those who see and witness it, because there is a dilemma in conscience. A revolution that got out of hand, a set government overthrown with its own agenda. When we see the Houthi’s slogan “God is great, death to the US, death to Israel, curse the Jews, and victory for Islam“, can we really show any kind of support or sympathy?

The most important part to realise is that we need to set aside our version of what is acceptable, we have seen the US and Europe at large impose their version of ‘civility’, whilst bending over, grabbing their ankles and let the financial industry quite literally get away with murder in many ways. We impose rules and expectations, whilst having no clue how to manage a budget or how to stem greed to the point of strangulation. In all this, we have given up the high ground in several fronts, so we are no lecturer with any level of confidence. It is my opinion, that the Middle East can only be decently governed by someone in the Middle East. I personally believe that Saudi Arabia should be at the centre of it, there is no doubt that it would beneficial that a coalition that would include Egypt, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates, but I am not knowledgeable enough to see whether it is just them, or that other players should be seriously considered. What does matter is that both General Intelligence Directorate (GID, aka Mukhabarat) and Jordanian General Intelligence Directorate would be important in ascertaining Iran’s hostile actions and if need be counter them. From my academic point of view is the challenge that the SIGNT of the three would pose to get one coherent reporting and analytical solution on Iranian intelligence. One that would definitely benefit all three nations. Yet perhaps that will evolve into a third Disney project, which could be the next big thing. It’s all just a thought, but think it over for yourself and ask yourself the question you did not hear voiced, this is important, because this stage could get ugly in a hurry and possibly before Christmas this year.

 

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Frexit Down Under (2nd attempt)

What is about to come was written several days ago. I stopped the article as there was too much speculation (read: claims by unreliable sources) and I prefer facts over scaremongering. Yet the initial views were not invalid, but must be taken in stride, taken with critical consideration. I am not stating that you should believe me, it is much better to see other newscasts and rank their views against the information I gained. Because over several national papers and sources, I see a pattern, but that pattern is subjective to the quality of the data that is linked to the issues. So the new parts are added within the original parts, see what you make of it.

11/5
Just as I was about to start reading Iran: Politics, Gulf Security, and U.S. Policy, by Kenneth Katzman, other news reaches me. We could Katzman do be the writer of suspense. Some see him as the new Kazuo Ishiguro, another version of ‘Remains of the State’. You see, the banks want to talk about Iran. The quote “There are now opportunities for foreign banks to do business with Iran” is one that Sky TV had. The story by Katzman gives us “Sanctions on Iran’s Central Bank. CISADA bans accounts with banks that do business with the Revolutionary Guard and sanctioned entities and the Department of the Treasury in November 2011 declared Iran’s financial system an entity of primary money laundering concern“, which is now an issue on more than one level. When I state story, I do not mean that Katzman fabricated anything. It is a good read, in light of a few issues, it is almost a mandatory read if you need to be aware of certain events. You see, the paper even though decently up to date remains absent of clear Hezbollah facts. The fact that the area near Baalbek is now Hezbollah grounds due to a municipality election is the smallest of the problems. You see, the Shahab-3 seems to have been made ‘available’ for Hezbollah, this gives them direct intervention capabilities for both Syria and Israel. This is not in the light of Katzman (it was not his focus), but Michael Rubin gives us the goods in Joint Hearing on “Israel Imperiled: Threats to the Jewish State”, which was meant to be for the Subcommittee on Terrorism, Non-proliferation, and Trade Subcommittee on the Middle East and North Africa. It is a mouthful, but so is the Shahab-3 (please do not swallow that load).

The issue is twofold!

In the first the direct powder keg is that the Shahab can now hit Israel (most important Eilat, which has rarely been a real target), Cairo as well as Amman. If the delivery becomes fact, the Hezbollah dynamic will change a lot of issues, all at the same time. These issues are not massive, they seem to be scaremongering for the most, even if that is a position that Israel cannot support, she does recognize the low reality of it happening initially, that is until there is a stronger Iranian presence, Hezbollah is unlikely to push this strategical issue.

15/5
In the previous parts I had considerable open sources of information, yet there was an issue that did not ring complete. I had access to other sources in the past and in combination this gets a lot more reliability. For this we need to take a step back and look at my article from September 2014 (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2014/09/19/to-be-deserted. Yes, that long ago!) Here we see “There are a little over 3 million Syrian refugees, they are placed all over Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, Iraq, Egypt, Algeria, Sweden, Bahrain, Germany, Libya and a few other nations. During all this time, these places had casualties too and they are not part of the 160,000 casualties, which is why I think the Syrian death toll is a lot higher. In all honesty, did you remember these refugees? I feel 100% certain ISIS has not forgotten them and if they are recruiting there we are in for one hell of a wake-up call soon enough. If there is any strength in number then these new ISIS members will be most likely in Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey“, which implies that I was correct to some extent. You see I expected ISIS to be he recruiter and perhaps they are. Yet when we consider the quote “Terje Roed-Larsen expressed serious concern that not only have Hezbollah and other militias continued their activities since the Security Council ordered them to disband in 2004, “but if anything they have expanded.” He also expressed concern at the reported expansion of extremist groups, mostly in Palestinian refugee camps“, Terje Roed-Larsen is a UN envoy, which now gives a lot of weight to these events (source: Ynetnews.com). This now gives additional weight to the issues that are playing. The smugglers in Turkey, the paths towards Europe and the now viable dangers that refugees are in Europe, especially France. Consider the issues that the Intelligence branch will end up with soon enough. Refugees that are radicalised, basically Lone Wolves with assistance from every bleeding humanitarian group on social media. The additional hardship will be that they will cry foul and failure when things blow up in their face.

11/5
In the second we have the Hezbollah and France issue. There is a storm brewing and the quote ““This is a problem that Israel is creating and it may spark a war,” a parliamentary source told Lebanese news site Naharnet” is only one part of it. The second part is “The meeting between Hollande and Lebanese MP Mohammad Ra’ad, which had been requested by Hezbollah, was cancelled over “conflicts” with the international community“, which is linked to all this. Now we have all kind of ‘statements’ by middle level people, usually for the realm of seeking the limelight and get some home front votes. This gives rise to the situation that Hezbollah is not a situation, yet that is not true either. The UK is starting to be a cesspool of approaching extremism. As security issues evolve in Europe and the UK, we will see conflicts and escalations. There is no way to predict the direction this is taking, tactically France will become a strategic target, the reality of how much of a target they could become cannot be predicted at present. Yet, it is not just Hezbollah by themselves, how far is Hezbollah willing to take their friendship with Iran?

15/5
The previous part was one that I was very willing to throw overboard. Yet in all this there is a snag, a snag that might have been used before. The Independent (at http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/after-splitting-with-al-qaeda-al-nusra-is-being-presented-to-the-west-as-a-moderate-force-it-s-a7022271.html) gave me this, which I did not attach for more than one reason initially “Al-Nusra is being presented to the West as a moderate force. It’s nothing of the sort” as well as “Nusra, according to Lister, is “rebuilding a military coalition and plans to soon initiate major offensive operations south of Aleppo” in order to spoil US and Russian efforts for a truce in the city. The best way of thwarting Al-Qaeda’s ambitions “is to dramatically scale up assistance to vetted [sic] military and civil components [sic, again] of the mainstream opposition inside Syria,”“, it becomes a part when we consider the quote from Terje Roed-Larsen (the UN envoy) “Hezbollah’s involvement in the conflicts in Syria and more recently Iraq risks a spill over of sectarian tensions into Lebanon where the Islamic State extremist group and the al-Qaida-linked Nusra Front are reported to be expanding“, this gives weight to an option I considered, but with other players. It is not too far a jump to consider that Al-Nusra is sending radicalised refugees in France and sour whatever Hezbollah has been trying to build. A tactic that would please Iran as it gives Hezbollah only one path and all at the back and call of certain Iranian players.

11/5
There are issues and France winning a billion plus deal for Australian submarines is where the plot thickens and where we see that no one is truly happy to be alive over the issues rising in the Middle East. Only now do we see in the news how Brexit will accelerate other nations leaving the EU. Something I clearly foretold months ago, actually, the better part of a year ago. These issues now call Australia into the game and that is where things tend to get complex fast. You see, this 40 billion dollar deal is one both sides want to maintain, so Australia is about to get involved in the Frexit mess, because when that goes and the French Franc returns, the price of those waterproof dinghies will go up by a fair bit, second, in this deal Australia becomes a stronger target for extremists, so now we get another petulant extremist child to deal with.

This is where I was on May 10th, one day later we get (20 minutes ago, at http://www.breakingisraelnews.com/67466/israel-reportedly-targets-hezbollah-weapons-convoy-along-lebanon-syria-border), the quote “Unconfirmed reports indicate that Israel has targeted Hezbollah terrorists and a weapons convoy along the Lebanese-Syrian border” has one specific word you must not forget, namely ‘unconfirmed‘. When we consider that Iran has been found engraving missiles with the phrase that translating as ‘Israel must be wiped out‘, it is clear that there is an issue. That part has been discussed at length in the past year. The issue is now not just what the missiles can hit, it is the distance that they can travel to and the shipment of the missiles. The airstrike is only an indication of a possible threat (small arms versus missiles), the continued escalation in Aleppo, that whilst America is now trying to rely on diplomacy (it is likely the only option they can afford), seems to be a not so great a choice. I am careful to phrase it in that way, because so far, there is no evidence that an abundance of American Troops in the Middle-East was ever a decent solution past World War 2, but that could be my wrongful insight.

Now we get to France. This is a hard one to sell, you see there are a few sides here, but there is also a negative implications in this place. From my point of view there is a stronger escalation because of two reasons. The first is the now growing demand that is founded on anti-Islam growth. At present 47 percent of France believes that Islam is cultural harmful to France and the French. That number is not making the immigrated Muslims into France feel any better. The fact that France arrested Lebanese money launderers for trying to up their visibilities remains an element, so we can easily conclude that this issue is far from over.

Now the final part, how does Australia fit? Consider the 40 billion involved and France is making them underwater dinghies. What would be a bigger target than a 40 billion product which could massively impact French industrialisation? Now let’s be clear, an issue as it exists is not a prelude to organised violence, I will be the first one to admit that. What is a given is that the escalations that involve the Arab League is still evolving, with the ties that Hezbollah has with Iran, that issue will not go away any day soon, not to mention the other players growing their line of support.

So, how does Australia fit in all this?

It does not fit into it as a nation, but if I was working for the other side, it would be the submarines (aka them underwater dinghies) that I would target. This is not a secret, it makes tactical sense, so for the time being France will have new levels of security requirements in Lorient, Brest, Nantes and Cherbourg. These places only seem isolated! With the growing concern of refugees comes the issue that 0.1% could be travelling with ulterior motives, now apply that issue with any ship yard or industrial site. Good luck with the idea of ‘security’ in such a place! That concern is not just a figment of my imagination. France is facing issues it never faced before and as such, no matter how well its security teams are trained, the environment is working against them. The openness of a shipyard has always been an issue on a global scale, the fact that the negative elements are in France and could be targeting the French economy was never an illusion. Whether such an attack can be solved is not the question. The question becomes can all attacks be stopped 100%, which taking the locations in Brest alone is already a trying exercise. It is not just the shipyard, it is what is across the ‘narrow’ stretch of water is an equal source of concern. Cherbourg has partial dangers and in addition the concerns of ferries to deal with. This has made it a target for refugees, so security now has the additional challenge of finding the difference of a person praying for humane treatment and an optional few looking to exploit the humane treatment by the local population. The other two has equally concerns on several levels.

In all this it is important to realise that Hezbollah denounced the Paris attacks, that Hezbollah was not part of the attacks on France in recent history, this makes the statement that we got from Naharnet not less real, this factor is still an ‘option’ as each party in the Middle-East has their own levels of extremist leaders and the fact that there is pressure on France is an absolute given, yet in what shape such attacks would/could take shape

These escalations are only increasing as France is now moving towards Frexit. If Brexit becomes fact the pressures in France will only sharply increase.

 

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And so it begins!

Even though Marine Le Pen still has to deal with her daddy, the one person who seems intent to drown the part his daughter was able to make a reality. His extreme approach was never going to work, now that she has shown this, his intention of making that future a non-possibility. Of course her opponents are happy as can be that Jean-Marie seems to go on tantrums making National Front seem too extreme, but the National Front members know better and soon Europe will know this too. What I predicted well over a year ago is still on course, and now, finally the press seems to take a little bit of notice. The quote in the French RFI is “French far-right leader Marine Le Pen has called for an end to all immigration to France, legal and illegal. In a speech aimed at rallying her Front National (FN) ahead of regional elections, she failed to mention her father’s expulsion from the party but did lay into immigrants, Islamists and President François Hollande” and “They don’t tell you this but the immigration situation in France is totally out of control,” Le Pen said at a meeting to mark the start of France’s new political season. “My aim is clear: to stop immigration both legal and illegal. The FN’s programme officially calls for immigration to be limited to 10,000 people per year but Le Pen went further, declaring, “We need national borders for France”“. Of course there is an issue getting this to move as Hollande is still president, but the clarity is a fact. National Front is now on the move, the data as given shows that the anger after the 21 August failed attack on a high-speed train from Belgium to France, France itself is becoming more and more extremely unaccepting regarding Islam extremists and foreign Islamists. Marine Le Pen called for “all foreigners on file for links with radical Islamist movements to be deported“, adding that ““radical mosques” should be closed and their imams be thrown out of the country if they are foreigners“. The French are realising that they got lucky, according to CNN “The three men — a member of the Air Force, an inactive National Guard member and a civilian” stopped what could have been a massacre. The French have had enough and so they should. This view, partially due to what seems to be President Hollande’s inaction. Whatever actions he undertakes now will only fuel the Le Pen campaign.

Now we have a problem, one that hits many others. If France remains on this course, England have no other option but to invoke Brexit. It needs to do so before Frexit becomes a reality. My reasoning is that whomever goes first will have the best options, not the worst options, after that the curve goes down fast. It is for that reason that I oppose the view from François Heisbourg in the Financial Times (at http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/20eb52bc-4cb1-11e5-9b5d-89a026fda5c9.html) the quote “It has a xenophobic and illiberal force all too keen to take advantage of popular fears about the impact of migration in the shape of the National Front (FN), Europe’s largest extreme right wing party, with a base representing some 25 per cent of the electorate. But, until now, Paris has not indicated that it has any clue how to cope“. You see, some might call it ‘xenophobic‘, yet this is the second attack within France and this one was almost successful. We should regard the circumstances a miracle, most will downplay the events into ‘the public can protect us‘ but in all, the governments failed and an open Europe is a dangerous situation, not all nations have the benefit of a tunnel and 5 ferries. Many other places are leaky as a sieve. France has entry points from many overly liberal nations, Belgium, Germany, Switzerland, Luxembourg and Italy. Belgium also gives access for the Netherlands and the boats are pouring into Italy. France no longer feels secure and yes, it is clear that National Front is pressing that issue as the Financial Times states, but is that fear incorrect or inaccurate? In addition the quote “Europe’s leaders need to live up to our responsibilities as humans and as neighbours, assume part of the burden, and talk straight to the electorate. Continued European and French fecklessness will only improve the far-right’s prospects of success, and will deepen what is already an unprecedented crisis“. This sounds very logical and ‘civil’, but Mr Heisbourg forgets that as the Chairman of the IISS and of the Geneva Centre for Security Policy he lives a nice sheltered life in the areas of far higher income then most others have. I will immediately agree that the bulk (let’s say 99%) are true refugees hoping for a better life, it is the 1% that is a problem, moreover, if we should learn anything it is the fact that most European nations do not have any level of infrastructure to take care of these refugees. That is the part many are ignoring. It is a direct consequence of bad budgeting. France and Italy are direct examples of evidence here. The UK and Greece are also in a place where funds are lacking. Together we are looking at close to 7 trillion in debt, in all that those governments are seeing an influx of thousands of refugees trying to find a future whilst support is no longer a financial option. Interesting how so many players ignore that part in all this. Yet the people of the UK, France, Italy and Greece see the immigrants for what they perceive them to be: “a direct threat to liveable income” any refugee who is sincere in his travel is also sincere in finding a job, a way to support their family. One in 10 in Europe does not have a job, any job given to them will be another job not going to their own citizens. This is a warped number as these people are often not equipped to do most of the jobs but the low schooled ones, bring a wave of fear to those in lowly paid jobs, fuelling places like UKIP and FN, which is why the French issue is escalating. What is not clearly shown is the effect that 270,000 refugees in Greece and Italy alone have on the EEC. I understand that people like François Heisbourg have an idealistic view. For the most people like him truly believe in that vision, but as governments cannot maintain their budgets, as large corporations are paying less and less taxation and as they fuel their own board of directors, governments at large no longer have any proper means to support such an influx. Whatever these people tell you, whatever fairy-tale you get told, realise that 270,000 people will cost us between 270 and 500 million each month. So this takes up to 6 billion a year and that is just from the present group, now add the 2014 group and in addition the people that will come in until December. Now explain to me how these nations who are already missing out on billions a year will add that to their invoice?

In all this, the people all over Europe see their cost of living rise, their past income is not coming back and the financial troubles for Europe are only just beginning. The Chinese market is a mess and it will influence the American market too. To what extent? I cannot tell, I actually do not know, but what I do know is that any change in the EEC will have a massive influence on the American bubble and the American way of life. Most of these facts have been ignored by many players of the media, there was always a whiff of ‘prosperous foresight‘, followed soon thereafter by ‘managed bad news’. Now as more and more people feel the pinch of non-sustainable cost of living, their Samaritan tolerance went straight out of the window.

With the Chinese market in turmoil, Germany, France, the US and the UK are now feeling the dangers that a collapsed Chinese market brings. The 0.7% growth in the UK could soon become a negative number, fuelling fears for the people who are not even close to move out of the valley of debt. With that fear in the UK, the fear in France will grow even faster and Germany will soon fill the ranks. We are so willing to be Samaritan when our lives are decently secure, but that is no longer the case and François Heisbourg should know this. Yes, they are correct that some places like Calais are incidental, but overall 270,000 people are not incidental and that number is only a small part of the entire collection.

These ignored facts and half-truths all moved under some rug is part of all the events that allow for groups like National Front to grow the way it does. This all falls into nothingness when we realise the millions, yes millions of refugees in Jordan and Lebanon. If you think the price from Europe is high, then what is the price that falls in those two nations? Even if we do not completely ridicule the statement in the Sydney Morning Herald, where we see “Alarmists overstate risk of deluge in West from refugee ‘flood’“, we see a flood of ’emotional’ statements like “Australia could relieve some of the pressure on Europe by taking in several thousand genuine refugees to resettle here” and “Everyone has the right to seek asylum, the hysteria over the tiny minority around the world who do so by sea is bewildering when we consider people have been sailing around the world for centuries” (at http://www.smh.com.au/comment/smh-letters/alarmists-overstate-risk-of-deluge-in-west-from-refugee-flood-20150828-gj9urp.html), all nicely ignoring the fact that this planet is not at 5.7 billion as it was in 1995. No, 20 years later when it is 7.3 billion. Nearly all the nations are deep in debt and their infrastructures can for the most not even contain its own population. If the people truly, really truly wants to be humanitarian, then get a majority to agree to a 10% rise in taxation. No, that will not do either, that money will have to come from the rich. 4,000-10,000 will have to pay for billions they do not have. A social structure that failed from the get go, because those so into support of that, have been unable to cull business by properly taxing them. Labour giving billions in subsidies, draining the treasury coffers. They did this in Australia, the UK, the Labour way and now as there is no money they all cry foul. Is that not weird?

The initial issue of budget, no one seems to be able to do it and now, as there is no money left, they all wonder where our humanity remains. Well, that went to the car factories so that they got to make a car $1900 cheaper and now they moved to Asia. The UK has the Flagship £1bn youth unemployment scheme, as well as the issue that Prime Minister David Cameron has failed to curb welfare spending. That is not an attack or a bad thing. It is a mere consequence of the economy in the UK that only appears to be growing but it is nowhere near where it was and the people in the UK are for the most down in their finances and will remain to be so for at least a decade. As such, the infrastructure suffers as loads of money basically go down a drain. In all this we hear about the need for humanitarian aid, but none of the treasuries has the funds to allow for this. It is the most basic of failings, perpetrated by governments on both sides of the isle for the better part of 2 decades. It is not about blame, it is about the reality that the bulk of people are ignoring. In the end most lives depend on what a spreadsheet allows and none of them have allowed for any substantial space for ‘the budgeting of refugees’ a massive failing. I wonder if the power players hoping for an Arabian spring had any idea the massive backlash their actions would have. Now well over 200,000 killed and millions displaced, with no end in sight. When the millions of refugees start dying of starvation, or disease, where will the humanity of our soul be budgeted?

 

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To be deserted

I have seen the term more than once. I’ve heard people cry, whinge, rage and other emotional forms as they felt they had been deserted. This is fair enough, we all feel like this at times, sometimes with good reason, sometimes with reasons less so. In this case I am referring to the Guardian article (at http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/sep/18/islamic-state-video-isis-uk-hostage-propaganda-message-gunpoint). Initially it is about the quote “Well it’s true I am a prisoner. That I cannot deny. But seeing as I’ve been abandoned by my government and my fate now lies in the hands of Islamic State I have nothing to lose. Maybe I will live and maybe I will die, but I want to take this opportunity to convey some facts that you can verify. Facts that if you contemplate might help preserving lives

Let’s not beat around the bush. This man is a journalist, a photo journalist to be more precise. John Cantlie seems to be by all measures a decent man, even courageous. He went into a warzone to get the images the people seem to want to see, perhaps to please his station. It does not matter what label I give here, because it is about HIS reasons, and why HE did this. In the end, he entered a war zone and as such he became a casualty of war, yet this is not the war we used to know and the war we seemed to know. The entire Syrian debacle went from a ‘simple’ civil war and became a mess involving several parties and no clear solution. A mess that has chemical warfare, it included mass bombings on civilians and other elements. The conservative death count stands at 160,000, but I think that this number is off by a decent margin.

Getting back to John Cantlie, where several other questions seem to rise. Why was it ever a good idea to go into Syria? Don’t get me wrong, I admire the brazen way of this, the courage to go into the darkness to capture the unique moment, yet this is a warzone, with Al Qaeda all over the place. The short of it is that we do not and should never deal with terrorists. Yet, let it be clear that I do not speak out against John Cantlie. He drove his passions where it took him and in this case not to a nice place. I also agree with the following quote in the Guardian “When Haines was first shown in an Isis video in September, the Foreign Office urged the media to show restraint, and not to report that two other British citizens – Cantlie and Henning – were also being held ‘because we assess that coverage will increase the threat to their lives‘”, I agree, we should do whatever we can to lower the threat to these people and if there is an option to extract them using Seals or SAS, we definitely should, because the world needs people like John Cantlie who are willing to step into the darkness, whether it is for good or for less good reasons. In the end I believe that people willing to walk into a battle line will always be a greater asset to the world then those hiding behind the memo or the procedural issues.

Syria is a particularly nasty mess, not just because it is in its foundations a civil war. When parties decide to execute priests, a 75 year old Jesuit named Frans van der Lugt, who had been in Syria, giving aid to the sick, the hungry and the mentally ill for decades, a person doesn’t get to become more harmless to extremists then he was. So when we see these executions by Jabhat al-Nusra (AQIS), we wonder how to stop this. I think we are 3 years too late, now we are adding oil to the fire, which could escalate issues even further. You see, I think that America is making a new mistake, but they are not acting wrong! Let me explain! Headlines all over the world, with this one in the LA Times which is crucial ‘House approves Obama’s plan to help Syrian rebels fight Islamic State‘ (at http://www.latimes.com/world/middleeast/la-fg-congress-isis-20140918-story.html). It is my personal believe that America should not have done this.

My reasoning is twofold. First of all, there is every chance that Russia will sooner, not later take an opposite stance, which means we get additional escalations, second to all of this, there is a massive issue to what constitutes a ‘Syrian Rebel‘. This mix is no longer just Syrians, it includes Hamas, who might then use these weapons against Israel as well as Syrian rebels who are Al-Qaeda sympathisers, which means that they will end up being armed and pick up weapons for the Islamic state, so we do not have a win-win here either. It is my personal firm believe that these escalations should have been done by the other NATO members, without America and without the Netherlands.

I should explain this reasoning.

  1. America is in a bad state, to get America back as a superpower, it needs to cull internal greed, get its budget right and work off the 18,000 billion debts. Without America, there is no free west and as such everyone loses out.
  2. The Dutch should be left out if possible, not because of any lack; they can rip through steel with their teeth with the best of them, even on a Monday morning. The issue is with the Dutch photographer who was with John Cantlie initially. His name is Jeroen Oerlemans and he was released. The issue is not the Islamic State; the issue is that the foundation of Syria is still the base of a civil war. If we are to have ANY chance of diplomatic talks with Bashar al-Assad, then keeping one player out of this seems essential to me. We could always ask the Swedes or Swiss to intervene in these talks, but the release of the Dutch might have a relaxed stance in those talks.

This is all conjecture from my side, so feel free to completely disagree, yet consider that the only way to deal with ISIS is that at some point, parties will need to deal with Bashar al-Assad in some way and we need to keep any tactical avenue open. This is at the foundations of my thoughts here.

There is another side to all of this. There is another group we seem to forget about. There are a little over 3 million Syrian refugees, they are placed all over Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, Iraq, Egypt, Algeria, Sweden, Bahrain, Germany, Libya and a few other nations. During all this time, these places had casualties too and they are not part of the 160,000 casualties, which is why I think the Syrian death toll is a lot higher. In all honesty, did you remember these refugees? I feel 100% certain ISIS has not forgotten them and if they are recruiting there we are in for one hell of a wake-up call soon enough. If there is any strength in number then these new ISIS members will be most likely in Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey, where they can up the ante of this entire theatre in the most expensive way imaginable, others might not be outspoken ISIS members, yet they are potential lone wolf terrorists. If some arrived in Sweden, France and Germany we already have a potential security problem on our hands.

Consider the following fact (at http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/04/24/us-libya-usa-security-idUSBREA3N0MW20140424), is Libya just dealing with Libyan extremism, or have some of the Syrian refugees taken up arms with ISIS? Now consider last week’s news ‘Egypt seeks broader alliance with U.S. over Libya‘ (at http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/egypt-seeks-broader-alliance-with-u-s-over-libya-1.2765468), again, is this just about Libya? Egypt has received well over 130,000 Syrian refugees and it is still dealing with the aftermath of the Muslim Brotherhood, who now has additional reasons to go extreme and with ISIS/ISIL willing to step into the limelight it can be safe to say we are not even close to the escalations we face.

Yet, here we see another version of ‘to be deserted‘, The Syrian people genuinely feel this way and some moved to ISIS, because when the Syrian mess started, they were not a factor. We face escalations in Jordan and we are seeing them in Libya and Egypt. The IB Times has additional info on this (at http://www.ibtimes.com/isis-training-egyptian-islamists-attack-security-forces-1680530), if this is truly true, then ISIS would have surrounded Israel to a massive degree, which could spark escalations sooner rather than later. The IB Times offers the following quote “A senior commander of the Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis, which has been active in the Sinai Peninsula of Egypt since 2011, told Reuters that Islamic State militants have been providing the group instructions and training on how to operate more effectively“. This means that the MFO could be in more direct danger. Less likely South camp, but the North camp near Al-Arish would give an open path to Rafah, which spells all kinds of escalations.

How true is all this?

I cannot tell as a fair deal is speculation based on second hand information, so it should be read with bias, yet if there is any value to it, it spells all kinds of trouble and keeping America out of it until we no longer can, seems essential. It is time for the other players (UK, Australia, Canada, Germany, France and Italy) to take the war to ISIS/ISIL now. Let’s not forget that America could still be a big help in setting up medical theatres for a still escalating Ebola havoc. The economist gives us a good view on the dangers on how it spreads and how America could be a true massive saviour (at http://www.economist.com/blogs/economist-explains/2014/08/economist-explains-10), not doing so, would the nations of Africa now feel that they were deserted?

In this blog we saw groups, all having reason to feel deserted and some definitely are not, yet some of those who were deserted for too long are now the most likely to switch sides to the dark side of insanity, is ISIS/ISIL anything less than that?

In the end there is one more view I need to offer. It comes from the Epic Times, more specifically the Jerry Doyle Show. I followed him on Facebook as a Babylon 5 fan, and only recently did I get to learn about his radio shows. He makes good points and he has a distinct view. I wonder how a televised debate between him and Bill O’Reilly would go, but this is not about any debate. In this case it is about a view Jerry aired (at http://www.epictimes.com/2014/09/congress-is-more-concerned-with-their-political-skins-than-the-lives-of-our-soldiers/), it was aired yesterday. In the article he states “Senator Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell are on the same page. The Senate is going to pick up the House government funding that authorizes arming the Syrian rebels and then head home for the election”, I think there is more to it than this. It is my personal believe that the agenda of Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell goes beyond that. Consider the other blogs, I have stated in several places how America’s freedom has been wasted away, giving power to large corporations and banks, to do as they will. Instead of acts that lower the actual debt, we have seen again and again how the debt kept on going up, this new ‘war’ and this pushes the American debt clearly over the edge of bankruptcy. My view is not wholly without merit. Consider the source Roll Call (at http://blogs.rollcall.com/218/continuing-resolution-isis-vote-breakdown), it gives a few views that many might not have considered. Is this truly about bi-partisanship, about polarisation or is it orchestration? I leave it to the people to make up their own mind, yet Matt Fullers view when he states “Neither vote was typical. Roughly equal numbers of Republicans and Democrats voted against both proposals. But there were some interesting trends hidden in both votes” make me wonder, was it just about trends?

So if this was about personal political gain, which other people got deserted in this process?

 

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What Syrian option is there?

It all started with the Tweet from Janet Royall, who is the current UK Labour leader in the House of Lords. The tweet was a link towards this article (at http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/no-room-at-the-inn-britain-says-no-to-syrias-refugees-9025265.html).

I do not agree!

We know that something must be done, but this is not the solution. Which of the 10,000 would the UK help when the numbers of refugees are up there in the 2 million at this point! A solution must be found. Yes, I do agree that it always looks good when politicians are seen with those few people (especially children), when those people are truly happy to get out of harm’s way. It looks at times like the impoverished approach in getting votes (sorry for the cynicism).

The issue is a lot larger and a lot more drastic then many realise. At UNHCR (at http://data.unhcr.org/syrianrefugees/regional.php) we see that the number is well over 2.2 million, so when we see that the Netherlands was not about accepting refugees, but to send aid in all forms, then they would be right and the UK should do the same thing.

The massive dangers at present are Jordan with 569K refugees and Lebanon with 851K refugees. You see, they are now danger places as resources are dwindling down over there. If something is to be done, then it will be imperative that as soon as possible an additional 20 containers measuring 40′ filled with food and medication goes tho these two places EACH DAY! (Not sure how much is send at this time) In addition, Jordan has always had a water shortage to some degree and another 569 thousand thirsty throats (which is an additional 10% of the population) are not helping any. This for the simple reason because if you think that things are bad now, wait until the local population notices the drop in fresh water. Then gooses will be cooked on several borders. So as the independent is happily voicing Shadow Home secretary Yvette Cooper, they did mention in a blasé one-liner “Ministers say the UK is helping more than one million of the estimated 2.4 million refugees in what the UN views as the biggest emergency in its history.” But it was all about the Labour side (as I read it).

The Conservative’s way is exactly the approach that is needed from several nations and the UK is seeing financial support from the Netherlands. More funds will be needed!

So this is not just about where refugees go, but where can support and aid be given the best? To move these people to Europe is not really a solution (perhaps just a short term one). We heard the US talking tough, but at present they seem to remain in the distance in regards to achieving anything to resolve the situation. It must however be said that they did send aid which seems to be well over $100 million at present, so they are doing their bit in this instance, but as the big power, a solution should have been found ending this bloody civil war a long time ago, which is not the case.

This is not the fault of the US, because Russia is part of this entire caper and as such, Russia has been less than forthcoming in any solution. I do not think any refugees made it to Russia to begin with (not the best climate to go to either).

Even the Israeli’s have been sending aid, support and medical assistance!

No matter how we turn the dice, a choice must be made, one that other nations can consider, or even accept. So what could we do? No matter what solution we choose, it should include moving people away from both Lebanon and Jordan before this all escalates further and we end up with not one, but three countries that will be in dire need of aid and support. My first choice would be Egypt, this because there is so much space beyond Cairo and Alexandria. If these refugees can start building something for themselves in the meantime, like farms and work them, they will have means and perhaps even options for a future. There are even optional possibilities when we see part of the Sinai desert, especially when we consider how Sharm-El-Sheik has grown into a tourist haven, perhaps it can grow into something more?

Perhaps that will not work, it might just be a real bad idea I am having, but in my mind, moving a population of this magnitude will not work, splitting them up over nations might seem like a short term solution, but in the end it will cost and cost and never be the solution it need to be, so finding a middle-eastern solution and making sure that essential resources make it there might work and it would help many more than just a few thousand getting placed in the UK.

What is the best option? Not sure, but the UNHCR currently seems to be at a loss as well and they are supposed to be the experts in this field.

 

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Shalom Syria!

There have been several issues in the last two years that give reasoning to ponder our collective futures as we see issues flame over the Middle East. It has been clear in several ways that Israel is constantly under attack, it has been under attack pretty much after the state of Israel was founded.

So in a highly pressurised area, the Civil War in Syria was not the additional pressure anyone was waiting for. This civil war has now passed the two year mark. So, we can honestly say that this is a ‘grievance’ that goes high with the entire population of Syria (no matter which side they are on).

Yet, there are still other sides. At present President Bashar al-Assad has seen an expected short term issue into a long term consequence. Even if (however unlikely), he would be victorious against the opposition, there will be a massive amount of repairs to be done all over Syria. In addition, with the currently shown evidence, which gives us enough evidence that Syria employed methods of chemical warfare against its own citizens, there is every chance that nations of the League of Arab states will not invite him to the negotiation table as an equal any day soon. This means that whatever support he hopes to have needs to come from other ways and means.

So, what about Hezbollah?

They proclaimed their support for the Syrian state and President Bashar al-Assad. Here is where the plot became confusing for many. Hezbollah currently seen and should remain to be regarded as a terrorist organisation. Yet, their open support for a sovereign state is a valid question mark for many.

This is where the issue of yesterday and the issue last January exploded quite literally. Israel finds it utterly unacceptable that advanced missile systems are delivered to Hezbollah via Beirut. This is the reason Syrian got to watch a bright orange sky as a ‘research-building’ (as the Syrian government calls it) was turned into the main component of a snow globe.

Israel is quite right to be concerned with advanced weaponry seemingly given to Hezbollah. The note here is the ‘advanced’ part as Israel seems to remain eager to stay out of the internal struggle of Syria as much as possible. There is the side that the press at present seems to lack ‘illuminating’ to all.

No matter what the Syrian statement is, as they complained validly that they lost a building, yet no one upgraded it to a hotel as the rules of the Monopoly game states. The issue I have is that a convoy of weapons, not once, but twice would make its way to Beirut. Take into consideration the following report by Reuters last year. ( at http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/10/19/us-lebanon-explosion-idUSBRE89I0N620121019)

So, slowly the question could become, is Israel not already in a war with ‘Syrian’ elements as such, considering that the new name of Lebanon might be “West Syria”, or what in the US might in future be known as West Side Syria. There had been issues all over the news in the last year that Syrian intelligence had the run of Lebanon. As such Israel’s strike makes even more sense. It also is given additional strength if we consider Reuters article at http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/04/05/us-israel-lebanon-hezbollah-un-idUSBRE93311920130405

 All this gives reason for worry. Should this escalate even further, an option that is at present unlikely but not impossible will change to “likely” if the Syrian government keeps on updating Hezbollah the way it currently seems. The consequence will seem far-fetched at present, yet uncomfortably logical.

Should the issues with Hezbollah/Syria escalate, then that would give Israel two new frontiers to worry about. First the people of Lebanon might enter their own moment of Civil war for the simple reason that one air-strike lit up the sky more brightly then the combined effort of an entire year of Syrian explosions. That and the fact that it’s citizens might even end up having to look at a levelled Beirut because Hezbollah violated UN Security council resolution 1701 for some time, as well as the issue that at present elements from Syrian Intelligence seems to be a ruling voice in Lebanon, might make the population angry enough to clean up their government.

These escalating issues will be a clear sign to Hamas to start their fireworks barrage (read S.C.U.D/Qassam/Fajr-5) on Israel. This will push Israel into a state of utter defence, which means that their attacks can no longer be proportionate. They would have little other option then to change both the West-Bank and Beirut into an ash pile. There are plenty of people claiming that Israel will not do this and how this should be resolved diplomatically. To them I say “Talk is cheap!” Syria crossed a red line according to the NATO Intelligence, yet at present nothing is done. Any talk is only a factor of delay. I do understand that the US is not happy, willing or able to just enter a new war zone. I am also not stating that they should consider it, yet if they do not, when (‘should’ is a better word) things escalate they will remain outside the zone discussing and not being able to direct the theatre of war, something they prefer as it will always be better to direct the game then just run with the other players.

For all who claim that THIS time (the Sarin evidence discussions) it is not a delaying tactic, I state “By whose standard?” Let me guess; only at some point AFTER missiles hit Tel Aviv, THEN they will agree to talk? Then there would be a suddenly (temporary) agreed seize fire? There is at present enough evidence for Israel to seize proportional responses and do whatever they can to secure the state of Israel.

For anyone thinking that this is an option Israel would never consider, and then consider that Lebanon is giving Hezbollah and Syrian Intelligence pretty much Carte Blanche in Beirut. Even though Lebanon does not currently have a dangerous striking force, and in addition, the Lebanese government has at present no intent of open hostile acts against Israel (as far as I know), then consider that when (not if) the Syrian establishment falls, a massive amount of military and intelligence personnel will move into Lebanon and Iran trying to escape prosecution from the people they prosecuted. As the victor of this encounter will be prosecuting (read hunting and lynching those who did the atrocities). I am not saying it did not happen on both sides, I am stating that the victorious side will end up giving blanket immunities to their people. Both Iran and Syria will be getting an added group of people happy to start open hostilities with Israel.

So a solution must be found. I personally believe it is not just about the Syrian Civil War. No matter what people shout, that ‘party’ is not going anywhere for many months after the civil war have been resolved. The issue on how Lebanon seems to have been compromised into a puppet state that is run by Terrorist and hostile Intelligence organisations seems to miss the news regularly, and that is a matter that has a much higher priority then people think, as that part has the ability to remain a destabilising factor long after the Civil War is done with. The reason should be obvious. Two groups that should reasonably be isolated, now end up having access to Banks, Media and a sizeable harbour. Two groups with too much access to all kinds of resources, both living with the premise that their values is based upon their ability to wage terrorist assaults on Israel.

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Ideology?

It was tempting to continue on my blog to have another go at those ‘Masters’ of finance, but a newscast by the NOS (Dutch News Broadcasting Service) opened my eyes to another issue that is playing at this precise moment. It also plays in other nations, even though most might not have given it much visibility and we might not be aware, but many people have met this situation whether they are aware of it or not.

For me this started in 1983/1984. I knew a man, just a loose acquaintance who I met in our days in the army. After his tour with UNIFIL, where he was placed in Lebanon for 6 months he was swayed and decided to join the PLO (after he returned home). At that time, I thought he was an utter idiot and I had only barely celebrated the point of no longer being a teenager. Those lovely days, everything was clear in black and white! Grey was for pussies!

Listening to the voice of Yassin El Forkani in regards to stopping Dutch citizens joining in their Jihad against Assad I find myself in a very different place. Ideology, how can we condemn it? This is not a group of people joining as terrorists (or perhaps they are). No, these people belief in what they think is right, and they are willing to put their lives in danger to fight for what they belief. They feel that they are fighting to depose a murdering tyrant. Who is correct? Who is right?

Yassin argues a valid and good point: “The youth does not see grey, they cannot relate to nuance“. How right he is. He is pleading. He wants these ‘kids’ to stay at home, to support their family, to finish their studies and to build a future. From my view now, he is correct. Yet, does that make the stance of those people who went to fight against Assad wrong?

Looking back to 1983 perhaps my Dutch comrade was not wrong, yet I would not have joined him. If I aligned with that train of thought I would have joined the IDF. We might have ended up facing one another. He was swayed by the charisma of Arafat. There is no doubt that Arafat had Charisma, only fools ignore that part. So how does this relate to Syria? It is clear that the people fighting Assad are in need of troops, materials, weapons and ammunition. For me to judge one side, or the other seems hollow and empty. Not because I care/not care, I believe that a sovereign nations must manage their own issues. This is not because of my level of care, but because these pivotal moments of a nation are written by the victors. The Netherlands took care of the Spanish, The Americans took care of the British and the list goes on and on and on.

Should we oppose any stance, by any reason, we must understand that for most of us, our nation, whichever it is came into existence one way or another, and belief me, most of those histories are a bloody mosaic of deaths and executions, the ones who fight fair usually die.

A view that was also shown in that newscast was a jihadist speaking out for going to the war, but he was not going, because he is a father and he is not strong (His words). Does anyone remember ‘the Patriot’ with Mel Gibson? He got a nice script ‘A parent does not have the luxury of choice’. Remembering my past, when I decided not to go either. I was not a parent, was I weak? I do not think so! I had a life to return to. I had some level of roots and it seemed to me, I had something to look forward to. Is that the threshold factor we are missing? It seems to me in these nations where unemployment levels are rising, any clarion call of ideology will be considered by those who listen.

So, how to see the situation in Syria? More important, will it end with Syria? This is the other side of social networking. Interests can grow, people can be swayed and troops could be gathered this way. This is what was feared the strongest by FBI, MI-5 and a few others. Not that these people went to fight for their beliefs. No, the fears are that they come back with a full arsenal of military trainings. This would be a massive win for Lone wolf recruiters and it would be a real concern to those having to deal with the returning people.

The fact that these groups are growing large in size, willing to go there at a moment’s notice and indeed take up arms is a new charter in war management we have not seen before to this size and extent. It is certain that it will go on, and many will start to ponder two issues. Where will they be swayed to next and what are the international ramifications? Today Damascus, tomorrow Doha, then what? Muslim, Jew, Hindu or Christian, when a citizen takes up arms against another nation it will become a diplomatic issue, non-combatant or not.

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