Tag Archives: Lebanon

A second view, what can we see?

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

Yet, is any solution so polarised?

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

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

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

How right am I?

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

This might not be a bad thing either!

 

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Two streams, one view

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

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On the first day

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

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

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

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

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

I am merely speculating here!

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

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

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

 

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A New 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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