Tag Archives: Mecca

In light of faith

We all have faith to some degree, the atheist believes in himself (or herself) and believes in science, the agnostic accepts that there is something more, optionally there is a god (the dyslexic one totally believes in the existence of ‘dog’) and the believers, where do they stand?

I grew up being a Catholic, when the news from the Boston Globe reached the world, we became confused, the matter did not help when we watched the movie Spotlight and got a better view on a global scale just how corrupt the world facilitating to the Catholic Church had become. The 2005 movie Kingdom of Heaven by Ridley Scott did not help the Catholic case either.

Now, we accept that the premise of the movie is not real, but the background is and there is plenty of supporting evidence. The Council of Clermont (November 1095) gives a lot to consider, the words by Pope Urban “a barbaric fury has deplorably afflicted and laid waste the churches of God in the regions of the Orient” has been accepted as a undisputed truth and for the longest of time (almost a 1000 years), we have been taught from primary school that the Saracens (Arabs) were the great evil, yet after the entire cold war and the Vietnam war, the word by government is no longer readily accepted and as the entire Catholic abuse stage has been evolving over the last decade those believing in something larger are in a internal fight of faith. Even in historic ways our place in the world is debatable. It is shown going back to the Treaty of Clermont 1095, when Georg Strack from the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, Munich gives us in his article ‘The Sermon of Urban II in Clermont and the Tradition of Papal Oratory‘ the larger issue: “Since we only have the reports of chroniclers and not the manuscript of the pope himself, each analysis of this address faces a fundamental problem: even the three writers who attended the Council of Clermont recorded three different versions, quite distinctive both in content and style, even there the scribes were all about paraphrasing giving us no clear report, a failing to be sure. Even beyond the Crusades, the Catholic Church has been the driven power to lay waste to dozens of civilisations, eradicating them all.

Fulcher of Chartres

When we look at the very first crusade we see: “a cleric who took part in the First Crusade and was probably present at the council itself. At least he asserts in his prologue that he has recorded only those events which he saw with his own eyes. Even though it has been argued that personal experience was of less importance in crusading chronicles, it is noteworthy that Fulcher explicitly mentions this topos and other sources do not“, in addition to this, we are given “he reports not only a call for the crusade but two speeches by the pope. According to this source, Pope Urban first admonished the clergy and declared the official causae of the council in an opening sermon. Probably on the first day, he addressed the gathered ecclesiastical dignitaries with an ‘eloquent address’ (adlocutio dulciflua) about the necessity of Church reform. Firstly, the pope exhorted the assembled bishops and abbots to meet their responsibilities. He explained that they were called shepherds and should, therefore, ‘guard on every side of the flock entrusted to them (John 10. 12–13)’” A stage that could be seen in a few ways, but there is a call for the stage where we see the need of ‘the assembled bishops and abbots to meet their responsibilities‘ and there we see the problem, the nobles pillaged the realm of Saracens to the maximum, there are indications, but no witness reports to the degree we would accept. Yet the stage between 1095 and when Jerusalem was handed to Saladin (An-Nasir Salah ad-Din Yusuf ibn Ayyub) in October 1187 (after a siege that lasted two weeks), was only the beginning, even as the Kingdom of Jerusalem shifted its capital, in the end Saladin took control of Acre, Nablus, Jaffa, Toron, Sidon, Beirut, and Ascalon, with only Tyre remaining because of the arrival of Conrad of Montferrat. In all cases those fleeing the cities took whatever of worth they could carry. It also gives more on the status of Balian of Ibelin (played by Orlando Bloom in Kingdom of Heaven), even as he was nobility, the Muslims regarded him as a king.

The movie gives a background, yet remains highly fictional, what does come to the foreground is that the pillaging by Christian nobility was almost a given, and the quote: “Crusaders often pillaged as they travelled, and their leaders generally retained control of captured territory rejecting and removing Byzantine control whenever possible. Intolerance of other faiths and traditions increased, particularly with Jews and those considered heretics. Muslims were murdered in their thousands on several occasions, as were non Catholic Christians” all this is now coming to blows in a different way.

Hajj

As we witness the Muslim Pilgrimage (at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N2HTiOUY8Mc), we become witness to well over 2 million pilgrims, Shia and Sunni Muslims next to one another, one Quran identical for all. One source gives: “Saudi Arabia announced Saturday that the total number of pilgrims reached 2,489,406, increased 117,731 individuals than last year“, it seems to me that we should take a closer look into Islam, not to attack it, but to learn from it. Earlier this year we were able to see the Eid al-Fitr (Festival of Breaking the Fast), you can see the event in Mecca (at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cs8obP4uRa0), showing me more religiously connected people than the Vatican (read Christians) ever showed.

This does not make me a Muslim, but learning more about Islam and Muslims is an essential first. When we can no longer trust the Catholic Church, when we see now over the last two years alone on how the abuse by the clergy was seemingly tolerated up to the highest level, we need to find a balance, we need to learn what faith is, and we need to learn what it is. Even as people like Charles Stanley make speeches like ‘The Stages of Our Faith‘, where we are shown what faith is, but does Charles actually know what it is? When we hear ‘It is clear in the scripture‘, yet it is not, and more precisely, which version? The Catholic and Protestant versions are not the same. When it is followed by ‘Jesus honours faith‘, we wonder if that is true. Even if some person named Jesus of Nazareth stated somewhere between 25AD- 30AD that he honours faith, I wonder how much value it has to the sexual abuse victims his preachers created (in the US way above 100,000) it does not seem to voice and show any level of honouring faith, In Europe these numbers are a lot higher giving us a mountain of victims, in all this how can any person who accepts that the protection of children is a first remain a Christian?

I do not have all the answers; I never claimed to have them. Yet it seems to me that those in doubt of faith need to find their faith. Whilst the Christian documentation has several versions and several relations in a stage of not knowing, it seems to me that a nation like Saudi Arabia, where the Hajj is visited by all Muslims nations, including Iran has something that many cannot ignore, even this year in light of the Iranian – Saudi issues we are given that ‘Iran opens mechanized catering center in Mecca‘, it is seemingly without issues, there is a clear indications that there are no acts against people who are there for their faith, something that we have not seen in the western world ever!

These steps are now more than ever essential, as we have been sold a bag of goods again and again, and as our need for the actual truth increases, we need to start showing which sources are trustworthy and which ones are not.

Two Days Later

Today, several sources give us: ‘Muslim pilgrims pray in Mecca as hajj winds down without incident‘, the quote “Senior officials said there had been no major incidents and the logistical, security and health plans had been successful, even with some heavy rainfall. Saudi Arabia stakes its reputation on its guardianship of Islam’s holiest sites, Mecca and Medina, and its organisation of the pilgrimage. It hopes to continue expanding attendance to help to build its tourism industry“, during this event that ends after a week, we find that 88,000 Iranians attended the event. A stage where Saudi Arabia and Iran are in a proxy war, a stage where the mistrust between two nations is great, the 88,000 were able to perform their Hajj without incident. There is something wrong, it is not with them, or with Islam, it is with us and it is time that we start recognising it.

The heretic burnings in the UK (1532), the Protestant & Catholic wars in Ireland (up to the late 70’s) are two of the most visible ones, then there was the Spanish Inquisition (not the Monty Python edition) and the list goes on, versions of the same faith trying to remove the other ones, this in opposition with the versions of Islam where they all use the same Quran and as we see that they all pray side by side, no fighting. We need to take example from this, in a stage where Christians are more and more regarded as the violent ones, where we see how the Catholic church was given reprieve again and again, protecting a quoted 7% of all Catholic priests being involved in the act of sexual abuse, we need to start accepting that not only can we no longer tolerate Islam phobia, we need to start learning the simple truth that the Islam is not the evil here. We see all the humanitarian shouting is out of balance, the equal silence form these people as loud outrage is absent whilst thousands of children were sodomised is equally astounding. That evidence was shown on August 8th 2019 with the headline: ‘Paul Muschick: One year after explosive Catholic Church investigation in Pennsylvania: 300 priests, 1,000 victims, no state action‘, what do you do when you wake up in the morning, only to realise that we are the evil supporters? How would an American react when he/she is woken up in 1947, only to be told that they actively supported Nazi Germany? Is that offensive? It better be, because this is worse. We have instigated and supported a form of government and jurisprudence that refuses to prosecute a criminal clergy, whilst a homosexual population in America is prosecuted and vilified without evidence.

We as a people, we as Christians have failed humanity and we need to accept that and live with the evil that we created. Yet do not take my word on this, find out yourself and consider one source (from TEDx) which discusses ‘What I Learned by Converting from Christianity to Islam‘ (at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X1yKKGchRcc), a small 11 minute video that might open your eyes.

 

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Sexual abuse is apparently fine

The Washington Post gives us the news one hour ago. The article (at https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/private-letters-indicate-the-vatican-imposed-but-didnt-enforce-restrictions-on-former-cardinal-mccarrick/2019/05/28/dc3ca440-814f-11e9-b585-e36b16a531aa_story.html) gives us: ‘Private letters indicate the Vatican imposed, but didn’t enforce, restrictions on former cardinal McCarrick‘, the setting here is that “an aide to former cardinal Theodore McCarrick released excerpts from emails and letters laying out how the Vatican tried to quietly sanction McCarrick years before he was defrocked for sexual abuse“, so this was not in the short run, this is not a small matter, the Washington Post has additional articles on this in 2018, and it gets to be worse when we consider that clerical abuse expert Richard Sipe published excerpts from the 2005 and 2007 settlement documents in 2010. Yet I am still in another phase. You see most of us got the wakeup call through the movie Spotlight (2016), we had heard rumours left, right and chapels, but the fact on just how big and large the problem is has not made it to mainstream media to the degree that it should had. How can I as a Catholic, remain Catholic when I am confronted with: “send reported abusers for mental health counseling; reassign them to pastoral work regardless of what a professional recommends (i.e. restriction of access to minors); allow them to work again unsupervised; wait for another report of offence; repeat the cycle; cover it all up“, which we got from Richard Sipe in May 2010. And it gets worse when you consider: “The trouble is that it is sealed within the system. Few of the seminarian/priest victims will talk on record. They have everything to lose. Sexually active priests who have no intention of being celibate do everything to cover their tracks“, so according to the release evidence (excerpts from court cases) and the amounts settled was a lot; basically, all the funds that the people hand over for charity, for the church, for the needy. From that amount around $4 billion regarding cases that go back up to 35 years, the largest amount $600 million regarding 221 priests to dress the wounds of well over 500 victims. Whilst none of these clerics are in prison, these people give us lectures on humanitarian aid and the suffering in places like Saudi Arabia? How hypocrite can we get?

So as Newsweek, who was the source gave us one part, they also gave us BishopAccountability, who is actively ‘documenting the abuse crisis in the Roman Catholic Church‘ give us the additional “We document settlements involving 5,679 persons who allege sexual abuse by Catholic clergy. These survivors are only one-third of the 15,235 allegations that the bishops say they have received through 2009, and they are only 5% of the 100,000 U.S. victims“, the realisation that this is from the last 10 years and that it involves over 15,000 allegations, as i see it a large prison holding up to 25,000 priests called ‘Concilium Vaticanum locum seorsum‘ (Vatican Isolation Location) is required, build at the expense of, as well as funded by the Vatican. I reckon that in the end it is a cheaper way to resolve the issue, when we set these beasts in prison for 5-15 years, things might look up. How acceptable do you find the notion of: “wait for another report of offence; repeat the cycle; cover it all up“? How will you see this when it involves your child or a relative you were close to?

In all this the lamest of all reasons is seen with: Adult men make less instantly sympathetic victims than children, and the alleged incidents involving McCarrick are less headline-grabbingly horrifying“, so why is the DA not doing his/her job? Crimes were committed, hundreds of times, over and over again, yet we see no convictions, we see no culling of the acts by these priest. When you see all the evidence stack up with a failing to convict and as I see it: “before the 88-year-old simply passes away in seclusion“, is not a verdict or punishment, it is merely a stage of house arrest with optional benefits.

The only thing it does is leave us with the clarity that ‘abuse is fine‘, which is weird, because I know it to be 100% wrong, so why are people sitting on their hands? Why are people trivialising the fact that globally thousands of victims were created and the Catholic Church did next to nothing? At present there are 22 US senators who are Catholic, and how many of them have been active towards the prosecution of these clerics?

Even as lawmakers have passed a bill that would force priests to disclose information about child sexual abuse that they hear in the sacrament of Confession, we see in the Catholic sun that Archbishop José H. Gómez, vice president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, said he was “deeply disappointed”, which we cannot accept, that feeling of disappointment is a mere 15,235 allegations too late, a stage where we see that there are up to 15,235 victims in the US alone and for the longest time priests would cover for one another and more upsetting higher elements in the Church were part of the cover-up. It is when we consider the CruxNow (at https://cruxnow.com/church-in-the-usa/2018/08/24/what-new-jersey-bishops-now-retired-knew-about-mccarrick-settlements/) and we take notice of “The Metuchen Diocese made settlements of $53,333 and $100,000, where one (2006) was regarding a former priest who said he had been abused by McCarrick and others. This priest submitted the first known written complaint about McCarrick“, this puts Bishop Paul Gregory Bootkoski in the firing line, yet we also acknowledge that he also reported the offenses to law enforcement, yet what actions were taken are not known to me at present. Yet this indicates that at least a Cardinal or higher had to be aware of it as early as 2006, giving us 13 years of danger to more victims. However, to get back to Bishop Paul Gregory Bootkoski, you see Cardinal Donald Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington was never informed of the settlements according to the Catholic News agency. It gives questions when we read: “Cardinal Wuerl said last week that he was never informed that those settlements had been reached“, it leaves the actions of Bishop Paul Gregory Bootkoski open for debate and investigation. The fact that Richard Sipe personally wrote a letter to Benedict XVI in 2008 stating the hazard that is Theodore Edgar McCarrick (source: New York times, 2018) supports the view that the events were known in the very top of the Vatican, and as such, how can we remain comfortable as Catholics? I certainly do not feel comfortable at all.

When we realise that the Vatican was informed again in 2000 and 2006, yet in the end nothing was done for decades, that is the larger evil in all this and it is right there within the Vatican. The fact that according to news that McCarrick lives currently at St. Fidelis Friary in Victoria, Kansas and not in prison is really beyond me, the fact that the Washington Post gave us three hours ago that the Vatican imposed restrictions, but did not enforce them (at https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/private-letters-indicate-the-vatican-imposed-but-didnt-enforce-restrictions-on-former-cardinal-mccarrick/2019/05/28/dc3ca440-814f-11e9-b585-e36b16a531aa_story.html), gives rise to additional issues on several levels, yet if there is hope to be seen it does not come from the very top, but from the other side as Rev. Anthony Figueiredo, it is also in that article that we are made aware of “Cardinal Wuerl has previously stated — and he reiterates again — that he was not aware of any imposition of sanctions or restrictions related to any claim of abuse or inappropriate activity by Theodore McCarrick“, this ‘revelation’ is not about Cardinal Wuerl but on Bishop Paul Gregory Bootkoski, consider where McCarrick went, what kind of a danger he would optionally be to the people there; it is my personal view that the bishop created a dangerous place of intentional harm by keeping quiet, how Christian is that? How Christian are we when we merely accept that there is no prosecution to a lot more members of the clergy?

When we see: ‘Why ‘moderate’ Muslims need to speak loudly against terror‘, yet we also see that we do nothing against the Vatican on these transgressions, where is the greater evil, in the Vatican or in Mecca? Most Christians would consider Mecca to be ‘evil’ yet as we allow for the Vatican transgressions, can we even tell what evil is and what it looks like?

In the 80’s I knew what evil was and what it looked like. I felt like a proud Catholic going up against the likes of Hamas and Hezbollah. Today I am still against the likes of Hamas and Hezbollah, yet from those days I am not certain that my mind was playing for the right team, as such my mind wanders all over the place. What do you do when you learn after half a century that would have played for the wrong team? I know that Christians were never innocent, there is plenty of evidence that they wiped at least 17 civilisations from existence, the fact that Catholics are optionally to be seen as an internal cancer that is destroying itself from within is far more dangerous. If we are here to give rise to a better soul and the messenger cannot be trusted to protect our soul, where are we left?

If sexual abuse is fine, and we are no longer able to tell the falsehood of that, how doomed are we really? It is at this point that I recollect (in reality I searched for this) the Quran, specifically Taha 20:102: “The Day when the trumpet shall be blown, and on that day we shall gather the sinners together, blue-eyed (- the spiritually blind ones)“, to be honest ever since I saw Spotlight (2016) I have felt like a blind man, when you fear the people you would easily trust, how deep is the trouble that Christians face and how utterly wrongful has the Vatican reacted to all this, and how many more mistakes will they willingly make to let it all go away under cover of denial, settlement and ignorance towards the victims that they created?

I wonder if we learn the truth of that in time, all of us.

 

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The aid package

People on a global scale, no matter what religion they preach, they have an inherent need for humanitarian action. It shows that people remain people, they have feelings and emotion. Especially now, in the Muslim month of Ramadan, which according to the Britannica is “a time for Muslims to practice self-restraint, in keeping with ṣawm (Arabic: “to refrain”), one of the pillars of Islam (the five basic tenets of the Muslim religion). Although ṣawm is most commonly understood as the obligation to fast during Ramadan, it is more broadly interpreted as the obligation to refrain between dawn and dusk from food, drink, sexual activity, and all forms of immoral behaviour, including impure or unkind thoughts.” Yet Time.com (as well as other sources give us: “Muslims believe that following these practices during Ramadan will lead to self-purification, self-control and bring them closer to Allah. Many Muslims also attend special prayer services, read verses of the Quran and engage in charity“, these are words I read before in other places. Yet it is here that we see the questions rise. First is Qatar with ‘Qatar to send $480m to help Palestinians in West Bank and Gaza‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/may/07/qatar-send-480m-help-palestinians-west-bank-gaza-israel-ceasefire), this sounds all on the up and up, and I have no reason to give doubt here, and with “Qatar’s foreign ministry said $300m would go towards supporting health and education programmes of the Palestinian Authority, while $180m would go toward urgent humanitarian relief, UN programmes and providing electricity” we see this reinforced. Yet the article also gives us: “Although Qatar does not give money directly to Hamas, its support since 2012, totalling $755m, has been a vital lifeline for the cash-strapped group, relieving it from having to fund civilian and infrastructure projects“, which now brings to bare the issue of other funding as Hamas was able to afford missile barrage after missile barrage. I am not placing blame on Qatar, or other Islamic charities, but I am left with the thought. If you give any junkie money for food, and he then uses his other funds to buy drugs because the junkie knows that he will get the charity for food, are we as a people inflicting harm and additional hardship on the junkie? It makes me reflect on the act through ‘refrain from all forms of immoral behaviour, including impure or unkind thoughts‘. It also gives rise to the BBC article (at https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-48147066) where we see: ‘Taliban rejects calls for Ramadan truce in Afghanistan‘, and as we are given: “President Ashraf Ghani agreed to a truce provided it was not “one-sided”. But the Taliban rejected the call and accused members of being government allies.” does the month of Ramadan allow for this? If not, does that make them bad Muslims? I am not stating it, I am asking this.

Why is this so important?

To comprehend certain parts of Islam we need to dive deeper in what we do not know and even if there is no direct requirement to know what the Taliban does (most of us do not care), the news has been giving us other versions. The Express (at https://www.express.co.uk/news/world/1122649/isis-news-latest-terror-france-jihadist-police-elysee-palace) gives us that the French stopped an ISIS attack. With ‘ISIS planned ‘violent’ attack on French palace say police‘ we see “According to AFP, the suspects had several targets, the unnamed source said, but their overall objective was to launch an attack on security forces, namely those “standing guard outside the Elysée Palace”. The men, arrested last Friday on suspicion of acquiring weapons “with a view to committing a terrorist act” are currently in provisional detention and awaiting trial. The would-be terrorists, who had been under police surveillance since early February, were spotted outside the Elysée Palace in central Paris on a reconnaissance mission shortly before their arrest“, whilst the Malayan version of the Daily Express (at http://www.dailyexpress.com.my/news/134811/no-hate-speech-during-ramadan-mosques-told/) gives us ‘No hate speech during Ramadan, mosques told‘, as well as “We will act firmly the actions of labelling a person as deviant and calling others infidels because mosques must be free from political party ideologies. “We must guard our mouths from uttering slander during Ramadan because it can create numerous problems which can break up families,’’ he told a media conference after launching a Let’s Celebrate Ramadan programme in the compound of the Kerian district mosque, here, Saturday.” An American might trivialise it as seeing someone from ISIS as a fake Muslim, I merely wonder on the application to Islam and Muslim faith in this case.

It is also increased pressure on the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. We read (at http://www.arabnews.com/node/1494481/saudi-arabia) ‘Saudi Civil Defense announces Ramadan security measures‘, these people under the guidance of Brig. Abdullah Al-Qurashi, director of Civil Defence in Makkah are prepared through 38 fixed civil defence centres, supported by 24 seasonal centres, in addition to 27 intervention points and 30 civil defence posts stationed in The Grand Mosque in Makkah to provide aid and assistance to pilgrims. And when you think that this is a lot, consider that the mataf area would accommodate more than 107,000 people per hour, there will be 500,000 headsets for worshippers getting access to 10 languages of the 679 lessons and lectures that are to be delivered during Ramadan. I have seen a few Christian places, I have been to Lourdes, yet I have a problem trying to comprehend the concept of 100,000 people an hour. It amounts to the entire population of Adelaide (Australia), Birmingham (UK), Dallas (US) or Calgary (CA) EVERY day for a month. For the pilgrims this has not gone unnoticed, as there was high praise for the king, government and local authorities from pilgrims from as far away as Indonesia, Pakistan and Sudan, with many thousands of Muslims traveling from across the world to Saudi Arabia to attend prayers at the mosque during Ramadan. Yet a lot of this is merely seen in the Arab News and Gulf News, even as plenty of respectable papers give light to this, we see a movement as the number of respectable papers is winding down, so is the amount of information given to non-Muslims. The Sydney Morning Herald also gives us: “just as Christian holy seasons such as Christmas and Easter have become commercialised, Ramadan is increasingly associated with night-time festivities and binge eating. While, traditionally, the fasting day ends with a feast, in modern times people often attend Ramadan events at hotels and restaurants and, combined with the lower activity of fasting days, can even find themselves gaining weight during the holy month“, which is fair enough and not to be seen in a negative light, I found the images from the Four Seasons hotel lightly overwhelming, almost like a Victorian Christmas diner setup. For me, the entire issue is not an issue, although I see (read: expect additional) danger of not drinking water during the day a health issue (from my non-medical view), the Sydney Morning Herald reinforced that with: “In the Gulf states, a spike in attendances at hospitals has been reported, with problems ranging from dehydration to uncontrolled diabetes, as well as injuries from traffic accidents attributed to drowsiness“.

Errors in thinking

The first thing I accept is that I am looking at Muslim matters with a Christian eye, that is my background and I know that if I wonder about things plenty of others got at that point long before me, it is the educational part that remains lagging for me, I am not a Muslim, yet at the same moment, the image and message from one, whilst we see issues handed to us in opposition. One such view was given to me from Kuwait by Al Waqyan, in a nation that is 99% Muslim. There I was given ‘Kuwaiti journalist criticizes ban on ‘public eating’ during Ramadan‘. Now, from a Christian point I would agree, yet knowing that 99% of that nation is either fasting or trying to fast, would his view not allow for a larger pressure on those fasting? Perhaps the old movie example where a prisoner in the age of the crusades are watching the jailer just outside of reach have a large feast whilst the prisoners are begging for food. Would it not be cruel and unusual punishment to be faced with a large meal when a person should be fasting? I understand that there are conditions when a person cannot fast, yet is it too much to ask for that person to do it in private or not in view of other people?

I found the fact that there is a level of polarisation interesting, not because of what I believe, but the fact that it is in a stage where all the contestants are seemingly Muslim. I would personally be on the side of: “some believe it’s appropriate to apply it in Muslim majority countries“, there are plenty of moments when no one can see anything and having a quick sip of water then would be acceptable. It is perhaps the only part that I see happen, there is absolutely no situation where a person should be able to eat in public view anywhere, not when a person could be at home to have a bite to eat.

The opportunity

This is where we see the opportunity, when we are given ‘Saudi Arabia’s Hajj Ministry launches new interactive portal‘, we see the place that gives us (at present) “The new portal will provide more than 30 services for pilgrims, available in Arabic, English and French, with an average of 55 pages per language. Four more languages will be added in the near future.” Most people, especially 100% of the pilgrims will see this as an excellent idea and it is. What it allows for is a much larger option; it could become a start for non-Muslims to learn more about Islam, to learn more on what is unknown. When we consider that optionally in western languages there are ‘the 679 lessons and lectures‘ that shows the spirit of Islam in the stage where it is all about the season of inner reflection, forgiveness and spiritual renewal. As such the sacred month of Ramadan might open a moment to introduce to those unaware of Islam the resources that allow us to oppose Islamophobia as well as diminish the options that anti Islamist groups like pagida and others are growing all over Western Europe, the US and the Commonwealth nations. I personally believe that education is a first step in diminishing the powers that they have. It does not requires us to become Muslim, it does not require us to agree, but at least we will be properly educated and informed and history has shown that this is a first step in slowing down and stopping the haters, and that is never ever a bad thing. Knowledge can be an exemplary aid package, it is time we all used that option to the fullest.

 

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Moby’s Dick

5G is the phrase and the bad part is that the media is shouting what others say and they are not very informative, they are all about bashing Huawei. What is interesting is how bad the situation is in the USA. If 5G is a huge white sperm whale, we need to realise that most people in the telecom retail field are no more than a subversion of some Ahabraham and they are not even holding a spear, merely sucking its dick.

Lifewire however (at https://www.lifewire.com/5g-availability-us-4155914) gives us two elemental parts that most cannot see through all given BS online. I made mention of this setting before (last week at https://lawlordtobe.com/2019/02/03/facebook-folly-and-5g/) in the article called ‘Facebook Folly and 5G‘ where I mentioned the news by VentureBeat: “So as we are given: “As reported by VentureBeat, Verizon has detailed that it won’t have true 5G hardware for its 5G Home service ready until later this year. That means expansion to more markets beyond Indianapolis, Los Angeles, Sacramento, and Houston won’t be likely until the second half of 2019“, how many people have figured out that ‘expansion to more markets beyond Indianapolis, Los Angeles, Sacramento, and Houston‘ implies the largest part of the USA and they are not up for anything before 2020 (and that is me being optimistic)” We see Lifewire giving us both: “It’s also possible that other larger cities like New York City and Chicago will have access to Verizon’s 5G service in 2019“, as well as “However, because the company won’t have standards-based 5G hardware until late 2019, 5G service might stay within the four cities mentioned above — at least for now“. So it is not exactly news, but it is more revealing than most are giving us. Australia added to all with the article in the WA Today. There we see (at https://www.watoday.com.au/politics/western-australia/it-was-a-strange-approach-ex-navy-admiral-opens-up-over-huawei-job-20190208-p50wja.html) ““The purpose within Huawei is to oversight the way that we manage our people, look after them, etc., that’s the role it plays with Huawei,” Mr Lord said. “Everything in Huawei is done for the benefit of the people and the shareholders.” Mr Lord said he referred allegations about Huawei to the parent company in China. “Most of the allegations just don’t come with any proof,” he said. “Whenever there’s a doubt, an allegation made, I query it, I get a solid response. “I don’t from the people making the allegations. I don’t get any proof.”” With this we see a real solid response from former rear admiral John Lord, an actual person with established credibility.

In the last 2 years none of the American claims held any water, yet the press has been too reluctant to assault that part. The truth of the matter is that all media for the most merely adheres to the needs of the shareholders, the stake holders and the advertisers. America is still big business when it comes to advertisement.

So when it comes to dubious people like Rob Strayer (the US State Department’s top cyber official), when we see: “allowing Huawei and other Chinese companies into their next-generation telecommunications networks would allow Beijing to expand its surveillance state around much of the globe“, it comes lacking evidence, lacking up to the amount of 97.5% of evidence. America has become about fear, fear because they played the iterative game or a decade and when a true step forward was required the US could no longer keep up, they were lazy and complacent for too long. In addition to the previous statement we see in addition “A country that uses data in the way China has – to surveil its citizens, to set up credit scores and to imprison more than 1 million people for their ethnic and religious background – should give us pause about the way that country might use data in the future,” this is given to us whilst the US has been doing something similar to its citizens? They do not call it ‘imprisonment’, they merely set unbearable premiums to essential services and cost of living, they hand over data to third parties and let the mess run itself, limiting people and what they have access to more and more and that has been seen for a decade. Bloomberg gave us merely two days ago: “Trade should be free. The gold standard is archaic. Antitrust should protect consumers rather than punish bigness. Tax rates should be (modestly) higher for the rich. Government should run big deficits during recessions to support growth but get frugal during good times to reduce debt.” It sounds nice in theory, yet this requires commitment and Americans have no clue what commitment is, unless it is linked to the need for greed. This America is so polarised we see the protectionism of President Trump versus the socialism of Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and neither path is a great one, they both have flaws and neither will consent to the golden path in the middle, because the gold in that path needs to be sold to pay for the outstanding interest payment due on the American debt for June 2019, and every month it takes 5 weeks to acquire enough just to make the monthly interest payment, so the entire 5G part is essential for America to stay afloat, a plan that is set to fail. It is the plan behind what some call ‘fixing American capitalism‘ because the capitalists are calling the shots and they who made it into that club do not give a hoot for those outside of that club.

This is an important element, because even now, as America is on their ‘European Tour’ for the 5G anti-Huawei wave, we saw only yesterday the Bloomberg News ‘German Government Rules Out Huawei Ban in 5G Expansion, Official Says‘, you see when it is about BS (read: cow manure) versus results, results always win and Huawei has the goods, they have the result advantage and that is where the USA gets themselves into trouble. There is of course the example 2 decades ago of some Colin Powell with a silver briefcase giving us the ‘WMD presence presentation in Iraq‘, you all remember how that ended, right?

As Germany and others adapt the “subjecting all potential service providers to stringent security standards”, America sees that they are in another presentation war and they are about to lose that one. If they had only stopped being complacent about their technology remaining in an iterative field! So when I am all about selling my IP to either Google or Huawei, I am no longer in a place where I am certain that Google is the best solution of the two, it is after all in America. Even as a global company that will optionally bite for them down the road. In addition we see: “Telecommunication companies have warned about costs that would arise if Huawei were cut out of supplying 5G equipment. Germany’s Deutsche Telekom AG has warned that Europe would fall behind the U.S. and China in 5G with such a move” a stage that the Australians are already watching becoming a reality, there only Telstra wins and that is fine by too many people who are seat holders in the capitalist game, for them the playing field is never allowed to be plain and level.

And there we get to the true issue, the issue that Bloomberg (one of the few) gave proper light to (at https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-01-24/huawei-stokes-u-s-fear-with-low-cost-networking-gear-that-works)  : ‘Another Reason U.S. Fears Huawei: Its Gear Works and It’s Cheap‘, marketing can hide behind levels of deception the AT&T issue) relabelling 4G LTE ‘5G Evolution’ an event that is gaining momentum in the news, especially as Sprint is suing AT&T now over deceptive conduct. Lifewire and others are showing that outside of a few cities there will be no actual functional 5G until at least 2020 and that whilst we now see that Zain Saudi is using Nokia for their: ‘Zain Saudi, Nokia conduct 4.9G pilot to boost capacity and customer experience with 5G-ready massive MIMO active antenna on 2.6 GHz‘, they are clear it is not 5G, it is 4.9G, yet the infrastructure is set now to run the pilot, it gives users above 700 Mbps, which is extreme broadband whilst the hardware will need replacement to make it true 5G, we see that parts of the infrastructure are now actively being tested. They are merely one step away from the stat that was given last year august, the then given claim “Saudi Arabia’s Communications and Information Technology Commission (CITC) is expected to commercially launch the fifth generation (5G) network by mid-2019” is now almost there, on time and with the 3GGPS specs. America is not merely falling behind; it is starting to trail the entire stage at best. With their non-actions on AT&T for too long, for their claims on national security that have not been met with ANY evidence on all this. They are all hiding behind the claim makers with pretty degrees and actual evidence did not present itself in any way, shape or form.

When the Saudi even is the success, we will see the EU making a very sharp turn in another direction, they cannot afford another American fuck up. After the Iraq WMD, 2004 and 2008 collapses, America is playing with a strike three against them. And it gets to be worse. Reuters confirmed only a few hours ago (at https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-hungary-pompeo/pompeo-visit-to-focus-on-us-concerns-over-huawei-in-central-europe-idUSKCN1PX1RS): ‘Pompeo visit to focus on U.S. concerns over Huawei in central Europe‘ with “U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will voice concerns about the growing presence of China’s Huawei Technologies in central Europe when he visits Hungary, Slovakia and Poland next week, a senior U.S. official said on Friday as Washington tries to bolster ties with a region it acknowledges it has neglected“, America has resorted to playing its political game. Going to places with beads and baubles trying to impress the people they can still impress with a suit, another silver case presentation, yet this time around without the silver briefcase. They hope to get discord in the EU by playing the individual members against one another, from my personal point of view it will be because the US is soon out of options to pay their interest on the 21 trillion debt they have no way of dealing with. Their greatest option would have been to dispose of their iterative play, but the capitalists in charge decided that it would cost them too much, now it will optionally cost them everything.

So even as Moby’s dick is out in front, the players know that is expected, they do not need to grab their ankles, they merely have to swallow whatever comes next, there will be an aftertaste, but that is what they signed up for, if that is not what they wanted, they should have embraced innovation a lot more than they did. So, now we will (optionally) get to watch the people in Riyadh, Jeddah, Mecca, Medina and Dammam watch their 5G connection, making it one third of the Saudi population with optional mobile access to 5G, consider that stage where Huawei, Samsung and Nokia being the only three options in 5G mobiles, now see that in the earlier light where the US will only have partial 5G in less than a dozen cities. They can cry ‘we are larger’ for all they want, yet the stage is not that they are larger, they were surpassed by what Americans describe as ‘a third world nation’, so how is that as an achievement?

So as Americans hide behind “The United States was particularly worried about Huawei’s influence in small eastern and central European countries where it was easy for China to penetrate state systems, the U.S. official said” without any supporting evidence, we are merely watching that nation lose footing, a nation that merely embraced greed and the need for greed without the consideration that a greed game is one sided and never ever goes the way of anyone but a small group that merely cares about self above everything else.

It fits the bill rather nicely, Ahab and his obsession, willing to sacrifice everyone else, willing to set reason aside in all this. That is what we see with the 5G whale, we see accusations without proof, without proper vetting of evidence, and the media to a larger extent is just as guilty, eager to get the goods from all without properly vetting the stage, and as papers basically repeated what they were given, like the T-Mobile case, whilst it is out in the open that “In a 2017 civil lawsuit, Huawei was ordered to pay T-Mobile $4.8 million in damages. The two companies later reached a private settlement. In a statement, Huawei, which denies wrongdoing, says allegations in the Tappy case were “already the subject of a civil suit that was settled by the parties after a Seattle jury found neither damages nor willful and malicious conduct on the trade secret claim.”” America has become that desperate. So how does it help anyone to feed that machine of desperate stupidity, even as it was decided that: ‘a Seattle jury found neither damages nor willful and malicious conduct on the trade secret claim‘.

When we give weight to the elements, how obsessed has America become in regards to their White Whale? Why is the media not properly looking at that part or the equation?

 

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Oven for (a) Turkey

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

This we see in several settings.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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Mining the Ocean

We might look at how Dow dropped 1175 points; we might in equal measure react to the act that Yemeni Houthi’s have decided to perform another attempt to send missiles into the Saudi civilian populations, all factual events of the last day alone. Yet that is not the initial issue that I am looking at. These are short term events and the media loves them because they get to report on the event, the proclaimed solution and the actual solutions. All follow up stories and the media loves them for the coin they tend to bring to their personal pockets. So it was nice to get a look at Saturday’s article by Jonathan Watts who gave us a look at an upcoming disaster (at https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2018/feb/03/day-zero-cape-town-turns-off-taps), not in Saudi Arabia, but in Cape Town no less. Yet it must be said that what is good for the one, could potentially hit the other as well.

So when you initially read the caption, you might think that the quote “In 10 weeks engineers will turn off water for a million homes as this South African city reacts to a one-in-384-year drought” is no big deal. Let’s face it, an event that hits once every 7 to 8 generations is not really a big deal is it. Yet that is not really the part that matters. You see, when you see the pictures, not on merely the empty swimming pool, but the image on the Theewaterskloof dam and how we see on what was and what now is. When we realise that ‘Day Zero, the apocalyptically named point when water in the six-dam reservoir system falls to 13.5% of capacity‘, is upon them just as autumn is ending, is in my view a much larger issue. When we see the people in queues with as many jerry cans as they can carry, that same point of befuddlement is reached when you consider why alarms have not been ringing a lot earlier, or were they ignored? They were not! The official Cape Town page (at http://www.capetown.gov.za/Family%20and%20home/residential-utility-services/residential-water-and-sanitation-services/Residential-water-restrictions-explained) gives us a lot. So as we see “A daily limit of 50 litres or less per person whether at home, work, school or elsewhere” we need to realise that 433 thousand people will still potentially drill down on 21.6 million litres of water every day. I am not putting any doubt on the 10 weeks until day zero, I merely wonder what else could be done to bring that number down and not to forget, that the WWF reported merely 4 days ago that only 39% of the Cape Town residents are adhering to these restrictions. The question becomes, when these restrictions began. For how long was there some plan of no-water, because the article gives us: “Greg Pillay: “We had to go back to the drawing board. We were prepared for disruption of supply, but not a no-water scenario. In my 40 years in emergency services, this is the biggest crisis.”“, it is fair that there was no plan and the fact that this happens once every 384 years makes the non-plan acceptable part, but the fact is that the empty dam pics should have been an alert stage when it had gone down to 50%, the restrictions to the degree as now might have been less severe pushing the reserves forward to a longer time. Now we see that the oddest thing will happen in 10 weeks, the taps will be turned off, no water from the taps. As seen the current 10%, who own up to 95% of all assets can likely afford, that each person buys a 20 ft. container filled with mineral water and ship it to their home, yet the other 90% will not have such an option setting a very dangerous situation, a very flammable and oddly fluid one to say the least.

the one good part is that Cape Town will start getting more rain by the time Day Zero approaches, so with April getting on average 300% more rain than the quarter before, and the steady incline in the months thereafter implies that the worst might be over, the dangers are that mother nature is a bitch on the best of days, so if they end up with a soft and warm winter the Cape Town goose ends up being most literally dry-cooked. There is just one other element. It is the one that they got to live with in Australia, these water catchments have no real purpose if the rain falls in the wrong place, so there is still that risk to look forward to.

So, why mention Saudi Arabia?

Well, Saudi Arabia has a similar drought pressures, yet they have additional issues as well. In Saudi Arabia, according to some sources groundwater extraction far exceed the level of natural recharge. The Al-Asha aquifer in the Eastern Province experienced a drop of 150 meters over the past 25 years. the National Geographic reported in 2015 that by 2012 80% of the aquifers had been depleted. That is one large setting whilst on taps the vein to find out in the first just how reliable those numbers are, but in the second degree as to how the impact on larger cities will become when the news brings them the story that ‘the fore mentioned source of water has been drained‘, because at that point the breakdown will be a lot larger when you consider 433 thousand in Cape Town versus 5.1 million in Riyadh. When that happens in one place, who long until Jeddah, Mecca and Medina follow? The problem is that there is no way to tell because there is no transparent oversight (an issue in many countries), there is no way to reliably forecast the issue and in all this the long terms impact of places that want to upgrade and maximise their economic potential sounds nice, but when the water level hits zero, everything stops, and right quick.

This might be the one long term danger that some are not looking hard enough at. so with: “Under the slogan “Bounties of our land,” Saudi Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih inaugurated the 12th International Geological Conference on Sunday and an accompanying exhibition at a local hotel in Jeddah“, is nice to propagate the Vision 2030, but it is still 12 years away and at present, the water mining issues as well as the water disruptions that are currently still happening (as stated by more than one source) would impact it all. The growth of infrastructures, the middle eastern heat that is about to hit Saudi Arabia for the next 6 months, whilst the rain will again decide to remain absent until December (speculated forecast), that alone would require a much higher priority to resolve water issues in Saudi Arabia, or at least give it additional priority. The fact that there are 27 plants in Saudi Arabia, creating millions of litres of water every day implies that perhaps it is time to see if this process can be improved upon and more important 9 more plants will be added to the need of Saudi Arabia. Now we can agree that Saudi Arabia has made massive strides here and the fact that they have upped it to 5 million cubic metres a day should not be underestimated. I am merely speculating that if someone finds a way to improve this process by 1%-5%, the impact for the water quality of life for Saudi’s would go straight through the roof, the impact is that large at present. In addition, the fact that for now the 36 plants would suffice in the short term, the long term is still not a given, that is because the need cannot be predicted. Here too it is about the data captured and to learn where the losses to the water cycles are found and how they can be prevented. More important, if mining is an initial issue now, how much of an issue will it be in 10 years, because depleted places could have other implications too, implication mind you! There is a lot that is not known, but it seems to me that both Saudi Arabia and South Africa will have issue to deal with over the coming year. Not just the water as needed for consumption, whatever else relies on water will also impact structural changes and even more drastic show an optional impact on infrastructure. Part of this was also seen last month (at http://meconstructionnews.com/27099/emerson-opens-new-tech-lab-in-saudi-arabia), where Emerson is set to a “new $25 million new technology and innovation centre at Dhahran Techno Valley, in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia enables the company to host Saudi students, entrepreneurs, researchers and industry stakeholders to collaborate with its technical experts to develop process automation technologies and design products and solutions that, “meet the country’s goals.”“. Yet how much priority is given to design new ways to give rise to measuring and monitoring production, distribution and delivery of water solutions towards data collection, designed to contribute to longer term forecasting of water needs. You see, most of these systems tend to be short term, or when they are longer term they lose reliability because of a number of factors, so what happens when we can map and monitor the factors themselves? It is one of the powers that 5G could bring to an automation system, automated drone technologies that monitor and feed. This reminds me of a 2006 paper called ‘Modular learning models in forecasting natural phenomena‘ by Solomontine and Siek. Now in the paper we see in the abstract: “Comparison of the algorithms based on modular local modelling to the more traditional ‘global’ learning models on a number of benchmark tests and river flow forecasting problems shows their higher accuracy and transparency of the resulting models“, now what if the plant is the source of the river and the pipes are the river themselves. What if losses and therefor risks of these pipe systems could be mapped and correctly categorised? Only last year the Saudi Gazette reported (at http://saudigazette.com.sa/article/500157/SAUDI-ARABIA/Water-supply-disrupted-in-five-Jeddah-districts), “Residents of five districts in southeast Jeddah have complained about disruption of water supply to their homes after the National Water Company (NWC) changed its supply schedule. The residents of Al-Musaed, Quwaiza, Al-Nakheel, Al-Raghama and Al-Obaid districts in southeast Jeddah were mainly affected by the supply disruption“, now there can be all kinds of valid reasons why this happens, yet the official response was: “it was beyond their control as the quantity of water they receive from Shuaiba plants was less than what they received before“, the question is not whether, why or the issues of delivery, it is whether quantity of water changes can be measured and set into data models that give better forecasting, this is seen as that nations will soon face provision from 36 plants and any plan to rely on full production and let things run will have longer term problems. Knowing where water is going and what losses are measured will also give rise to initial better information and longer term better water measurement. In my view it is the same with almost every port in the world. It is not how much you ship and how many vessels you service, it is the one place where idle time is not monitored, that is the place where the cost of it all spins out of control really fast.

As I see it, both South Africa and optionally Saudi Arabia have a flaw in the long term view of water, from the articles South Africa is already past the initial point of worry from what I have read and I am speculating that Saudi Arabia has an optional issue growing as it is working towards Vision 2030, because when those tech firms start rolling in in 2031, Riyadh with all its growth could potentially grow by at least 10% in the short term, the question becomes whether Riyadh would be ready to service a jump that is twice the size of Cape Town? I have no way of knowing and it is not yet the point where it is out there, but Vision 2030 is only 12 years away and desalinisation plants do not grow overnight, which would be awesome if someone could design one that did so.

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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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