Tag Archives: NATO

SW2, not WW2

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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A changing language

Europe is in several stages of unease; there is the spending of Mario Draghi, Brexit remains on the mind of many. Yet, the one change that is now more and more in the foreground of many is the problem that Turkey seems to be. There are those set on the stage to end Turkey as a NATO member and subsequent becoming part of the EU, there are things going forward and backward, but the language involved in all this is changing, so are the settings for the meetings yet to come. In all this the latest Turkish act to double down on the Russian S-400 purchases in 2020. There is, as I stated unease and as I see it the entire EU-Turkey mess is now a dance around unclear settings. Yet the settings are founded on what some would call, clear and blatant lies.

So to recap, on March 26th in the Bulgarian port city of Varna with the attendance of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, there will be a summit. The given setting is “to discuss EU-Turkey relations as well as regional and international issues“, this we got from the spokesperson for Donald Franciszek Tusk. The meeting held at the leaders’ level will be hosted as a working dinner, a statement signed by Tusk and Juncker said. Yet soon thereafter it begins. With: “Ankara has been stressing that the EU fails to understand the challenges that the county faces, and calls on all sides to take Turkey’s concerns into consideration, particularly against the PKK and the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ), which carried out the failed July 15 coup attempt“, yet how is that true when it has been clear for the longest time “Turkey witnessed the bloodiest coup attempt in its political history on July 15th, 2016, when a section of the Turkish military launched a coordinated operation in several major cities to topple the government and unseat President Recep Tayyip Erdogan“, this is the quote from Aljazeera, but they were not the only one giving this.

The Turkish government blames the failed coup attempt on Fethullah Gulen, a Turkish preacher and businessman who has lived in self-imposed exile in the United States since 1999. So as we accept that the Gülen movement is classified as a terrorist organization by Turkey under the assigned names Gülenist Terror Organisation (Fethullahçı Terör Örgütü, FETÖ) or Parallel State Organisation (Paralel Devlet Yapılanması, PDY), we see the link offered, yet another path in this is “MIT officials admitted that they received the very first intelligence report about a possible attack on July 15, only hours before their own headquarters was under heavy artillery fire“, as well as “As of today, more than 100,000 people have been sacked or suspended and 50,000 arrested in an unprecedented crackdown. The government has deemed the crackdown necessary to ‘root out all coup supporters from the state apparatus’“. When we consider those parts, we need to realise that the Millî İstihbarat Teşkilatı (MİT) was completely out of any loop, which makes Turkish Intelligence not just a flawed setting, it would implicate that it has limited counter terrorism options and no resources to speak of (in intelligence terms).

In opposition to this, there would be enough data to offer that it was an internal issue from within the Turkish military and whatever opposes Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in Turkey got a fat target painted on them. This fills and completes the view we need to have of Turkey much better. In support of this we need to consider that one exiled cleric could not have orchestrated the military support that would have been required and that was seen in action. The width of the Turkish military acting seems to be that of an internal star chamber than a clerical imprint on the military, the latter would have given more visibility to other ranking officers within the Turkish armed forces. As this becomes more and more visible and accepted, we are treated to the view on the unacceptable acts against the Kurds yet again, which followed the Turkish official view of the coup that they ‘survived’.

So in this light the setting for March will be one that is a puzzle. You see as Turkey keeps on playing this game, their credibility will only go down further. The European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR) (at http://www.ecfr.eu/article/essay_eu_turkey_relations_the_beginning_of_the_end_7226) gives us: “Both Turkey and the EU need the continuation of this partnership. It is a matter of definition whether this partnership will be in the form of full membership or in a different form. What is important is not to break the process and not to cause alienation. The need for sustainable EU-Turkey relations obliges both sides to take steps to honour their commitment to integration“, we can accept that, but at this point, is continuation feasible? We see the shifting language that shows that Germany is less and less taken with Turkey, now siding more and more with France on the anti-Turkey alliance. It gets worse for Turkey as we now hear: “A Turkish court on Wednesday denied entry to the German ambassador to Ankara to the hearing of Selahattin Demirtas, the former co-leader of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP)“, which we get from http://www.dw.com/en/turkish-court-denies-german-ambassador-entry-to-kurdish-politicians-trial/a-42579957, even as France is trying to work with Turkey regarding a ‘diplomatic road map‘ on Syria, the sounds of accusation of Turkey violating international law was not far behind it, so there is pressures on nearly every level. Only 12 hours ago, Deutsche Welle gave us “Even NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg wouldn’t hazard a guess ahead of this week’s defense ministers’ meeting. He said Turkey needs to clarify the status of the contract” (at http://www.dw.com/en/turkish-russian-missile-deal-puts-nato-on-edge/a-42572965), as I said earlier, the language is changing. As we see ‘Turkey needs to clarify the status of the contract‘ that it is about cancelling the contract? Yet in that respect, what would Turkey demand in return? How much is that going to cost and where does that invoice end up? You see, when you consider Reuters with ‘U.S. tells NATO allies spending plans still falling short‘ (at https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trump-nato/u-s-tells-nato-allies-spending-plans-still-falling-short-idUSKCN1FY013), where we see “Spain has said it will not meet the 2024 target. Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Italy, Portugal, Norway and Denmark are also lagging. Hungary expects to meet the goal only by 2026“, as well as “France will increase its defense spending by more than a third between 2017 and 2025, but Germany, is not expected to reach the 2 percent target by 2024“, this gives us that the three large economic anchors of the European Union cannot get there. It is these elements that make me wonder on the changing language involving Turkey. From a setting that would have given a clear rejection of Turkey becoming an EU member, we see the setting of new talks, new events and more ‘collaboration’ projects. I think that France is already learning the hard way that this path leads to nowhere, but the others need Turkey to be a spender here, and Erdogan is using that tactic to his own advantage, because once they are in, you cannot throw them out anymore (the EU that is), not even willingly as the UK is learning the hard way. Even as we accept that to some extent Turkey helps to reduce an influx of Syrian and other migrants and refugees into the EU bloc, the question is to what extent and for which purpose, because once these refugees make it into Turkey, Turkey is either stuck with them or they must ‘divert’ them to another place.

In this, in an earlier blog I mentioned the Visa Free EU travel for Turkey and that they had not met the demands. So as we see “Last week, Turkey manifested determination to restart a new chapter in its ailing relationship with the European bloc by submitting a paper detailing Turkey’s roadmap for the fulfilment of the remaining seven benchmarks of 72 criteria” we need to get worried on the non-committed acts from the EU on the matter which had not been met. It seems like Brussels is trying to find any way to either delay it all or give Turkey a pass, which would be disastrous for several players. This is seen in several articles, in this case the Irish Times gives us: “Instead of formally ending EU membership talks, Dr Merkel said she would look at imposing “real restrictions on economic contact” including through the European Investment Bank, EU aid, World Bank and by blocking talks on expanding Turkey’s customs union agreement with the EU, a move that could hit billions of euro in potential Turkish exports“, whilst the EU themselves was ‘dismissive of call for end to Turkey accession talks‘, stating that this is for the heads of government, European Commission says, so the EU revels in inaction and restrictions in other ways. This is a dangerous and explosive combination.

So even as one issue was the contention in the counter terrorism benchmark which has been the definition of terrorism in the counter-terrorism law that Turkey was called repeatedly to amend in order to comply with European democratic and judicial standards. Now, according to reports, a legal provision will be added soon to the current anti-terror law stating that “any critical expression that does not exceed the boundaries of journalism does not constitute a crime“, how is that enough? As we see the Kurdish issues as shown earlier as well as a new complete failure by the Millî İstihbarat Teşkilatı (MİT) should leave anyone a clear indication that not only is the counter-terrorism failing, there is an increased worry that Turkey does not really comprehends the term ‘counter-terrorism’, in support of that fact, or evidence to that, you should talk to the journalists Deniz Yücel, Huseyin Akyol, Ragip Duran, Ayse Duzkan, and Huseyin Bektas. Oh no, you can’t they are in jail! Turkey could have had a genuine excuse, but they lost that option when they denied the German ambassador to Turkey access to the court proceedings. That alone should be regarded as evidence to dismiss the ascension of Turkey to the EU.

And whilst the entire language on Turkey seems to be in a fluid state, the Brexit noise goes on, whilst some are relying on fear-mongering with noise like: “You could have a permanent Operation Stack for 20 miles” regarding shipping between the UK and the EU, ‘could‘ being the operative word. So how large was that ‘stack’ in the 70’s and 80’s? In addition we see the Financial Times (at https://www.ft.com/content/0a8799c6-1190-11e8-940e-08320fc2a277) give us: “Brussels is urging EU leaders to consider radical options such as raiding corporate tax receipts and money raised from selling carbon emission permits to fill a €15bn a year budget hole left by Brexit“, in addition it gives us: “the need to find more money for priorities such as border control and joint defence, mean negotiations are likely to be even more poisonous than previous EU tussles over money“, whilst we see “Some member states don’t want to pay more but they want to do more. Other member states want to receive more“, these elements show the desperate state the EU is in now, that whilst Mario Draghi has printed almost 2 trillion Euro in money for ‘Quantative Easing‘. This relates directly to Turkey, because it shows the desperate EU trying to open a many doors as possible, this is how I see the impact of not dismissing Turkey as an EU member at present. So when we see “impose tougher conditions on access to EU funds as a way to force the likes of Poland and Hungary to comply with EU policies on the rule of law and on asylum” as is a given view on the two needing more money, wanting a stronger voice but cannot contribute. Add to that the earlier pressure from the US for NATO member to do more gives a shifted view of the needed activities within the EU, Turkey is seen as the one floating elements that will allow a few players to keep their heads above water, but it is as I personally see it a desperate act from certain short term viewers, that whilst they also know that it will descent EU elements into chaos. As I (again merely a personal view) see it, it would cripple Strasbourg in getting issues resolved and as Turkey fails to comply with humanitarian sides, it could in equal measure become the puppet for Russia for dislodge other item in consideration, an option honoured by perhaps negating some invoices for S-400 systems, spare parts, training and consultancy? It is merely speculative thinking, but would I be wrong? It would work out very well for Turkey, for the other bloc members a lot less so.

A danger that could have been resolved almost 2 years ago, I will let you ponder on the reasons why the EU never negated this danger.

 

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From Qatar to the United Kingdom

The last few days have been all about the issues of elections and the gratifications some see with the Labour party. I am impressed on just how gullible people can be. It’s like the need for common sense has gone straight out of the window. The last time the Labour party pushed the UK into deep debt, now because of Austerity the people think that the Labour party will change this. So what do you think will happen when another trillion in debt is added? Its like politicians have gone crazy. Spending without accountability. When will it end? And if you think that the UK is so much better than Greece, than it is important for you to wake up fast, because the debt of the UK is well over 700% of Greece. For now, the UK is above the curve because of manufacturing, tourism, service related profits, but when that curve falls down it goes south in a hurry. Where will you be then? Most will think that it is for someone else to fix, but those short sighted people will be around when the cost of living is up by 20% whilst your income has a mere 3% correction. that is the reality of what is to come. On the other side, Theresa May has mace mistakes, she bungled the balls a few times and that is a flaw that did cost her a majority. Yet, the end is not yet in sight. If the Conservatives can set a correct dialogue with the Lib Dems, then Tim Farron will have 4 years to show he is a leader, to show that the Lib Dems matter. In 4 years whilst we get a clueless Jeremy Corbyn stating how he promises thousands of jobs whilst the treasury has no way to pay for it. Until the tax system will get a true overhaul and take care of the 0.1% tax bracket for the large corporations, there is no chance that anything will be fixed. It is a mere reality all those in the UK face. And Scotland, well they went foolish on a second referendum and 35% of Scotland decided to find another party. Yet there is also the other visibility, the game that should have never been played against the foolish move. Yes, the majority is gone, but 13 seats against the non stop media heist of the truth and playing whatever story would erupt in the most readers and emotions. That game could have given a much larger cost to the Tories by the end of the year. That is merely my view, I have no way of proving my view, which in equal measure means that I could be wrong.

So what is left? Time will tell, but the next events of the Brexit is about to be due. As we see places like the NY Times give us “It enhanced the possibility that a chastened government led by Mrs. May would now strike a less confrontational approach with Europe while seeking a way to keep Britain within the bloc’s large single marketplace“, we have to wonder who is facilitating who? With the additional quote “The European authorities have consistently emphasized that Britain’s continued inclusion in the single market requires that it abide by the bloc’s rules — not least, a provision that people be allowed to move freely within its confines“, this is part of the problem, because it is showing to be unrealistic and the other players, none of them want certain people. They are so happy that all those travellers believe that the UK is the golden dream. When those people end up somewhere else, we are confronted with over half a dozen members who see their own infrastructure collapse. There is Austria with new anti-migrant measures, with ‘protective zones‘ and a whole lot of other issues. The less said about Greece the better, what is a given is that they are under such stress that their reactions make sense, yet most of those illegals don’t even want to be in Greece, they are just passing through. The Albanians being one of the larger illegal immigrant groups is giving the impression that Albania is empty. Bulgaria is setting up barbed wired fences. Those people all howling for free movement are all trying to get rid of the problem. The open borders have failed, only for large corporations needing zero hour workers, they prosper. And those in ‘charge’ in the European Union play their game, their defiance in support of the gravy train. And then we see a new quote, one that gives rise to certain media playing the game they are. “In short, the election has complicated the assumption that Britain is headed irretrievably toward the exits, producing a moment in which seemingly everything may be up for reconsideration“, this was the game all along. those behind the screens, those deciding on the flow of trillions, they need their 34% profit annually, without the UK where it is now, that is no longer an option and the voice of Italy is still not a given at present. So when you read: “Those who have favoured Britain remaining within Europe, or at least softening the terms of its exit, now have “an expectation, or at least a hope, that cooler heads will prevail,” said Jeremy Cook, chief economist at World First, a company based in London that manages foreign exchange transactions.” Is it cooler heads, or greedy heads? There is cause for consideration that a hard Brexit was never a good idea, but as the EU cannot muzzle or chastise Mario Draghi, the EU is becoming too dangerous a place to remain in. It gives additional cause for concern as the deep web has a speaker who has been advocating the need for targeted killing of certain finance officials. I am not sure that this is a good idea, but prosecuting politicians who cannot maintain a neutral budget is not a bad first step. the problem is that Strasbourg is more about protecting terrorists and their rights than it is to protect victims of exploitation, because extremists hiding behind laws is often easier than doing the right thing for the victims they create.

The dark web has a good thing, it lets me see some elements completely unfiltered, yet you get it all, all the hypes, the rages, the ragers and the emotions, you need to learn to filter the values. Which is at times a lot harder than you think. So when you dig beyond grams and the easy access to drugs and weapons, you could find a few places that offer an option to those willing to be tools for a little while. the payoff is extremely large, yet that also beckons what the facilitators get. You see, getting a 7 figure number buys silence, yet in that view, what will the payer get, what is worth facilitating a 7 figure reward for? Some of these offers are getting louder and more frequent. This implies (highly speculative) that there is a hole in the net and certain entrepreneurial players are going whilst the going is good. Several addresses offered even more since the elections, implying that as there is a hung UK government the going is better. I am speculating that there is a finance hole that can be exploited for now, it is speculation, but it is all I have for now. These people are so paranoid that it makes Alexander Bortnikov a mere naive and trusting teenager, an interesting version of the director of the FSB, don’t you think?

We need large changes and throwing money at it will not yield the people anything, merely deeper debt. It is for that reason why I refuse to trust Jeremy Corbyn. Yet these issues are on one side, the other side is equally an issue and equally a problem, also for the UK. Qatar is now in a different place. It started yesterday with ”There is no trust’: Gulf states give up hope on Qatar’  (at https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/jun/09/qatar-united-arab-emirates-diplomacy). This is not that unexpected, but that we see actions by UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Egypt gives rise to more extreme measures. Qatar is now surrounded by people who have had enough of them. As we realise that the quote “Omar Saif Ghobas, the United Arab Emirates’ ambassador to Russia, one of the most eloquent exponents of UAE thinking, insisted the new anti-Qatar alliance was not planning a military invasion or externally enforced regime change. Instead, he said Qatar had a history of internal regime change, implying the UAE would welcome the removal of the emir” with in addition “It is Turkey that is militarising the position“, we now see a first move where Turkey has become a much stronger problem for Europe. And some of the EU players were so adamant in getting Turkey added, even as there were several cases clearly shown that Turkey should not have been allowed into the EU or NATO. So where are those advocating to add Turkey now? They should be placed into the limelight and be held publicly to account. The two key supporters were Poland and the UK. So here we see the issue with Boris Johnson. How could he have been so stupid to get on that unreliable horse? As we see Turkey go off base more and more, the higher the need for Boris Johnson to seek another job and get a haircut. Is that a fair assessment?

Qatar has been a problem for a while now and when you see 4 nations who at present prefer to do business with Israel instead of Qatar, we can honestly state that there is an escalating issue in the region and Turkey is making it worse. Now, wee look at the news we got 6 hours after the initial news (at https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/jun/09/qatar-crisis-grows-as-arab-nations-draw-up-terror-sanctions-list), where we now see: ‘Qatar crisis grows as Arab nations draw up terror sanctions list‘, it starts with “Saudi Arabia and its Gulf allies have sanctioned a dozen organisations and 59 people it accuses of links to Islamist militancy – a number of them Qataris or with links to Qatar – escalating the diplomatic crisis in the region“, which is a mere way to appease the neutrality of our palette. You see, the news is not just on “increased military cooperation with Qatar, including the potential deployment of Turkish troops“, I think that the ‘support’ has been going on a little longer than we think. It is my speculative believe that someone in Qatar has been facilitating Kurd intelligence to Turkey in some way. For a price Turkey got information and this has been a facilitating event. I cannot prove in any way the idea that the counts that Turkey offers is highly overstated and in fact, their attacks are not as successful. It is the way that we see some of these events reported, that is why I questions some of the numbers. Here I could easily be wrong, so don’t take my word on that.
The reason to mention it is because Turkey is following another pattern, Qatar is so out of the way, it makes no sense to get on the wrong side of Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Egypt, at present I cannot state whether the Turkish military are going insane or that there is another play in action. What is a given is that this will escalate further and it will impact Europe as well! To what degree remains an unknown for now.

So, as we go into a theatre mode, let’s go with ‘Pigs in Space’, we have to narrate towards the next episode with: ‘Tune in next week when we see Boris Johnson getting a haircut, and as the man behind health states, would you like to be in charge, does he have the £350m a week entrance fee? And when the head nurse needs some elevation, will The Lord Newby, also known as Baron Newby et a Saudi Nurse? That and more is answered next week in Piiiiiiiiigs in Spaaaace’ Yes, that was mildly entertaining, but it gives reference to a part many might have missed in the Guardian last week. The article ‘The Qatar spat exposes Britain’s game of thrones in the Gulf’ (at https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/jun/05/qatar-spat-exposes-britains-game-of-thrones-gulf-paul-mason). It has more information than you bargained for. We can all hide behind “Britain cannot solve the diplomatic crisis in the Gulf. But it can stop making it worse”. You see, it all sounds good and gravy, but over the decades’ nations made alliances, they made choices and some those are long term. In addition, is the UK better off staying out of it, or try to get a result that fits the needs of the United Kingdom? That is the question is it not? We either align or we let others dictate future global events. Saudi Arabia is a global player, Qatar is not. Some choices are hard and in this Labour is very valid in making a different choice, that cannot be held against them, what can be held against them is them thinking that there will not be long term consequences. That is just utter stupidity on a podium. That is the play, that is the game, so as we align with some and align wrongly with some, we cannot just move towards the others stating, lets play a game. We either commit or state openly that Turkey is a clear and present danger to Europe and the European way of life and let the chips fall where they may. I wonder how quickly some politicians (read Jeremy Corby) spin that in any direction away from them at the drop of a hat. So is one view hypocrite, the other view, or are we considering that electing hypocrites into office comes at a price we all have to pay for?

Just sit down and consider that one. That is after you contemplate the meaning of Mario Draghi’s ‘policy normalisation’ and what it is about to cost you. So have a lovely weekend and enjoy a nice slice of cake on Monday!

Long live the Queen!

 

 

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Silence in our hearts

There is no avoiding it. There was an incident in London and this is not some ‘I told you so‘ moment. This is the moment when we need to remember is the 1st of September 1939. That was the date that the war on Germany was pronounced by the act of invading Poland. This is the moment the people had enough. Neville Chamberlain mentioned on the 30th of September 1938 the phrase “Peace for our time“, that fateful day that he held a piece of paper that unlike Celeste value, no longer had value. Those pieces of toilet paper would later be known as ‘the Munich Agreement‘ and the ‘Anglo-German Declaration‘. It took another 11 months for the war to start; I am stating that we are now moments away to be in that same position. Not some dubious moment of diplomacy. This is where we go into any nation that has Islamic State fighters. We kindly tell these governments to get out of the way or be destroyed together with Islamic State. There will be no borders, no disputed ground. If it holds Islamic State, we will come and we will kill whoever is there. You can hide behind Human Shields; we will no longer stop, give consideration or give opportunity. We have come to kill you and your children. We are no longer waiting for the diplomats who failed us again and again; we will no longer await the need of politicians to give one final option. We seek war, because we want it now!

This is not just about the seven dead and the dozens that were injured. This is because this has been going on for too long in too many places. We kindly request, that the French armed forces join us in this upcoming endeavour. We hunt, we get to them. I feel certain that Legio Patria Nostra is every bit as ready as all the other legions and all the other branches. This is where we change the game from intelligence in just hunting and killing. I feel certain that Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte would welcome our arrival. According to Indonesia there are now 1200 IS militants in the Philippines. So let’s start to clean Marawi, and we will happily include Maute in the death toll. They have now resorted to using children; we will come like Hell’s winter to remove them from life. This is because the right of life no longer applies to anyone who is Islamic State. We see too much inactions as ISIL executed anyone who was unable to quote the Quran.

No worries, we will not require a reading test. In case of ISIL, the literate and dyslexic are both equally worthless. I do not care for the political excuse: “It’s Ramadan, it will be over soon“. No, I have several Muslim friends; they suffer (read: are fasting) through the Ramadan day and remain in peaceful loving union of their friends and family in the evening. This is shown in even more daring ways, if we can accept the news in the National today (at http://www.thenational.ae/world/southeast-asia/filipino-muslims-shield-their-christian-friends-in-bold-escape-from-extremists). Here we see: “More than 200 civilians walked out of the besieged Philippines city of Marawi in a daring escape from their Islamist captors, concealing dozens of Christians and saving them from almost certain murder“, that is an action that counts, which gives an annoying silence in our hearts when we contemplate the words by Jens Stoltenberg, secretary general of NATO. We get the quote “NATO allies are now, in many ways, contributing to a very important fight that will take time, to defeat ISIL and extremists“. ‘It takes time‘ because you aren’t going to war, you are trying containment. There is a tactical difference. There was once a tactical advantage to that, but that time is gone. If there is one clear revelation seen from the attacks on Paris, London and Baghdad. Is that containment no longer hacks it. It is time to go on an actual assault with the clear intent to decimate the numbers of ISIS/ISIL.

The third front in the Philippines is happening and it is time to show them what we are capable of. This is not some: ‘let’s not wake up some people‘. No, this is now the clear moment where we are awake and may whatever god you pray for show mercy, because we no longer will!

So, are you now in a state of: “What on earth is happening now?“, then consider this the clarion call for war! The locations in the Philippines, Syria, France, UK, Somalia, Libya and Egypt (Sinai) are an initial focal point. If we decimate their existence in these 6 places, we not only turn the tide, soon thereafter deaf ears will get pleads of mercy from ISIS/ISIL trying to strike a dialogue. At that point it is our side that gets to decimate a little longer, so that they will finally realise that terrorism will never ever work. At best you a get a little limelight, at worst you wake up a monster. Guess what! The second is now a reality. This is not just within me, not just some rage of anger (which is actually partially true). This is the call of people who have had enough of high paid politicians and executives giving long speeches with term like ‘it takes time‘, time that has been wasted since the beginning of the Syrian war where everyone did almost nothing and where the US suddenly had no way of telling who started the Chemical attack, even with all the satellites there, they just could not tell. Well, we know who attacked London and let’s actually do something about that, not just talk about it, not just arrest someone; we put the hurt on the other side.

I personally believe that cleaning the Philippines is a first need. If they get an actual foothold and get traction in Indonesia we would have to face a decade of war in South East Asia, with a realistic chance that ISIS/ISIL growth in Brunei becomes an actual danger. Now we get to part 2 of this, which is seen in ‘Donald Trump berates London mayor over response to terror attacks‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/jun/04/trump-berates-london-mayor-sadiq-khan-terror-attacks), the Lord mayor of London correctly replies with: “more important things to do than respond to Donald Trump’s ill-informed tweet that deliberately takes out of context his remarks“, which is correct. As stated, I am not in some rant; I am in a tactical mode, showing certain high paid players the error of their errors of inaction. If we add the responses by President Trump then I will need another 25,000 words and I just cannot be bothered with that. That is unless the Chancellor of my University will accept it as a thesis. The thesis ‘stupidity of a President‘ might find an appreciative audience in the social sciences, the drama department and the entertainment groups. It might not be of any use to those trying to get a master in Diplomacy, but that is at present not a requirement I reckon. You see, Sadiq Khan as the Lord Mayor has an organising responsibility and a political responsibility. That is why he was elected. I have been in a war mode, in military tactical analyses and looking at where to strike. OK, I am not getting paid for it, but those who are seem to be either silent or allegedly ignorant at what needs to be done. That last one might actually be a wrong assessment. It might be the situation that ‘they do what they are allowed to do as ordered by the political branch of government‘. Is that not the part we forget? The military cannot act against those who attack the UK, because the politicians are desperately seeking a non-military active solution. I believe that we passed that point by at least 5 years. I think we have hit rock bottom when it is the terrorist organisation Hezbollah that is telling Riyadh to seek dialogue and negotiations. I am willing to give a little leeway to Hamas trying to talk to the high officials in Egypt, yet if there is any continuation of rocket attacks by Hamas on Israel, their options will be removed. Yet here too we have issues as Palestinians (not confirmed members of Hamas) have been fighting alongside ISIS in the Sinai, yet the result might he as harsh as we need it to be. We can argue high and low, but in the end, we merely need to consider if we are willing to get our less militant way of life back. ISIS/ISIL will make that impossible. Anyone making any mention that there could be talks is merely deceiving themselves and those around them. We know that war is not a nice thing and that it is the beginning of a lot of ugly things, yet in all this, we did not start this. We might not be entirely innocent, yet we have forever been willing to talk, that path is no longer there because the attackers removed the option. The question becomes: ‘Can we submit to a war‘ that stops it, or will we be confronted by politicians and high brass that implies that ‘fucking around‘ is the better path. If they do, please tell them to submit evidence on when that approach ever worked. I am willing to bet that the number of successes can be counted on the fingers of a man who had his hands removed.

So yes, there is at present silence in my heart. Not because of what happened, but because what needs to be done. There is no validity to rejoice, because only the truly insane rejoice at a war where they have to pick up the weapons to act. That is a political fiasco of an entirely different nature. When your enemy has decided to use children to fight in this war, we can only feel a pain in jour heart to fight, but that is the part we have to do, because we need to be able to spare our children such actions.

 

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The Turkey shoot

There are these moments when we hear that term, especially in the US in October & November where the American dream for some is a father and son(s) trip get into the wild and shoot one of them Turkeys. It is nothing most of us are used to, but like the foxhunt, there is tradition. I am in favour of the Turkey hunt, because, for one, there are strict limits which usually tends to be 2-3 at the most. Meaning that in this case, the family has thanksgiving and Christmas covered. You see, in that case I am not against hunting.

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There is a wisdom to only shoot what you eat, which in my case is not an option because cannibalism is a crime under the NSW Crimes Act of 1900. Yet in this case it is not about such a Turkey shoot. Today is about Turkey as a nation. This turkey shoot started a few hours ago when (at http://www.businessinsider.com/40-turkish-nato-soldiers-have-requested-asylum-in-germany-2017-1), we saw the change with ‘40 Turkish NATO soldiers have requested asylum in Germany‘, with the quote “About 40 mostly high-ranking Turkish soldiers who worked at NATO facilities in Germany but were suspended after the failed coup in Turkey in July have requested asylum in Germany“, you see, this is a Turkey shoot of another calibre. One where President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is continuing the strangest of policies. It is hard to draw and make distinction between what happened and what is publicly stating in Turkey that happened. There is too much going back and forth and unless you are there in Turkey, there is little hope of anyone getting straight facts. The Independent gives us “to establish an all-powerful presidency while seemingly Islamising Turkish society to a degree not seen since the fall of the Ottomans“, yet in all this, the stated quote “the sacking of 8,000 police and 30 governors as well as 52 high ranking civil servants. This is in addition to 70 admirals and generals along with 3,000 soldiers and 2,700 members of the judiciary fired“. This is not just an overhaul this looks like a national change one that is not unlike the changes Saddam Hussein started in 1968, yet in this case it is anything but bloodless and like Sadam Hussein, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is also a Sunni Islam, giving us more issues down the line as the ties with Saudi Arabia will strengthen over time. This change will also impact Israel as there is every chance that cultural ties with Israel will dwindle more and more in the same way the cancelled military contracts in 2011 went the way of the Dodo. So as we realise within the quote “This coup may not have been as big as the Government now says it was in order to justify its crack down on all its opponents, but it was still impressively large and was not far from succeeding from seizing power for a few hours on 15 July” that the numbers were not there, yet success was inches away from getting the change made, we can sense the paranoid approach that President Erdogan is setting its mind to. Yet, will he undermine his own presidency? In a country with 79 million people. Its population is only slightly larger, yet land mass wise, it is 350% the size of the UK, giving additional issues over time. Turkey as a secular nation has had a freedom of religion in place, yet when we look at Saudi Arabia, where Muslim law is in place, these elements could fall away from Turkey down the road, which means that two events are likely to start over the next year. The first one will be a shift in investors as they see the investment waters turn muddy and none too friendly. This will in turn escalate a brain drain where the brighter Turkish minds will seek their fortune elsewhere and elsewhere in this case means nearly anywhere but Turkey.

Is this a given?

No, it is not, but overall they are the likely event that will come to places like Istanbul, impeding, if not stopping commerce and the Turkish economy. A massive slowdown will come and the Turkish borders are confronted with more and more radicalisation. On May 1st 2016, in my blog ‘Homerun by UKIP‘ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2016/05/01/homerun-by-ukip/) I gave a link to heavy.com where ISIS was making an appeal to Turkish sympathisers. Heavy.com is showing more and more extreme video’s where ISIS is giving a message of suicide attacks in Mosul, which is not that far from either Syria or Turkey. Three weeks later a similar video on actions in Sinai. There are indication that this level of radicalisation will deliver different flavours of Muslim faith to Turkey, the question becomes how realistic are these dangers? We can agree that there is a long way from Mosul to Istanbul, yet the people in the Istanbul nightclub who saw the attack on New Year’s Eve will not agree with that assessment. Even as many might agree that ISIS does not have the numbers in Istanbul, the 40 high ranking Turkish NATO soldiers are a first indication that as the top of the Turkish military falls away, there will be an increasing amount of chaos and more important a lack of military based support as the people are either not there, or the higher ranking troops require too much confirmation from too many locations before acting, giving ISIS a tactical advantage, in addition to the ones they already had. So as ISIS is inviting its followers to a Turkey shoot, it will be the bird population that will feel a sense of safety and security as they are not the target at that point. If you think I am trying to make a point, I am! The actions that ISIS is showing where people get casually decapitated by knife or by strapped on bomb, we have to wonder one element. You see, The Observer is showing ‘UK’s £100m weapons deal with Turkey ‘turns blind eye to rights abuse’‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/jan/28/100m-arms-deal-turkey-blind-eye-rights-abuse), what they are not mentioning is the ever increasing danger that business partner and NATO ‘ally’ will request (read: demand) assistance from its partners when it comes under more direct attack by ISIS. At that point what will happen? When NATO allies are thrown into that extreme mix? The French Legion Etrangere, the UK Marines/SAS and Dutch Marines might be trained up and ready for that fight, the rest of the Eurozone military is unlikely to be ready and partially too inexperienced. In addition, if some remember the January 2016 quote “Dutch police have arrested a former soldier suspected of killing Islamic State (Isis) jihadists while fighting alongside Kurdish forces in Syria last year, the prosecutor’s office said” (source: the Guardian). We need to consider how the law is impeding the fight on these Jihadists. We can all agree that the rule of law counts and as such it was legally the correct thing to do. Yet as ISIS becomes more aggressive in its inhumane actions, can we afford to remain this ‘legally minded‘ (read: politically correct in a legal way). I am not stating or inviting lawless acts, yet the law has ignored the fact that terrorists utterly ignore rule of law, in that regard, should they receive any consideration? In the view of some, the rights of non-combatants needs to cease in the eyes of prosecution, which in this view evolves as ‘if you go there to ‘hunt’ terrorists you might not be prosecuted, yet in equal measure you have no national protection to call on when things go south!‘, this is one approach and perhaps not the worst one, because when you consider that the Turkish diaspora in the top 5 nations, namely Germany, France, the Netherlands, the USA and Austria surpasses 4 million, most of them having ties of some sort to Turkey, the dangers of anti-Jihadi Turkey shoots in Turkey is not far-fetched. I am willing to go one step further, the amount of people signing up for that event would easily surpass the people who went to Syria to chip in, meaning that the Intelligence services will have an entirely new dimension of issues with radicalised returning veterans giving Europe at large more issues to deal with, that whilst certain logical systems are still not ready for the last three issues that plagued Europe and this too will drive nationalism and Eurozone rejection on larger scales.

In all this, we need to underline one issue in the entire alleged military plotter. the Quote “The German government has expressed alarm about the crackdown on alleged plotters linked to the coup while Turkey has criticised Berlin for failure to extradite alleged terror suspects“, is more than just a small issue (at https://www.thelocal.de/20170128/turkish-nato-soldiers-seek-asylum-in-germany-report), you see, this isn’t opening or closing doors between Germany and Turkey. It is merely handing opportunity to ISIS who will have options to cash in on the tactical advantages Turkey is handing to them. In that, the arrest of an ‘ISIS judge‘ around January 26th, implies that this judge remained around for 3 weeks after the attack, with possible more recruitment drives completed. The fact that his bum storage mobile was caught as well might assist the ISIS hunters (read: although it will be smelly data), the fact that ISIS has some level of organisation running on the European side of Istanbul should be seen as a worry and the current path President Erdogan is on might not be the best option, as it will very likely give way to more radicalisation, a path that ISIS has been exploiting a little too successful lately.

 

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This last day

This last day should be a day of reflection, a day of consideration. I feel none of these things as I am observing the mistakes that Marine Le Pen is now making. I get why she would get the referendum vamped up and get stronger waves towards Frexit, yet her call to leave NATO makes a lot less sense. For one, NATO still does mean the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, France is part of that North Atlantic, she has a duty of care there (a lot less so for the EC, the EEC or the Euro for that matter). She does make a point when we look at the expansion into Eastern Europe. Let’s face it, when we look into the original line, there was Germany which goes a lot to the south, then basically it is Italy. Getting into Eastern Europe makes a lot less sense. Let’s not forget, the Americans at present no longer have the means to play this game. A fact Lockheed needs to take into consideration, even if the price of the F-35 is given without an engine ($133 million, without engine), making it basically the most expensive paperweight in history. In addition, it came with a truckload of issues in 2014, whilst the 2015 report states “the majority of the fixes and for capability deficiencies being discovered are being deferred to later blocks rather than being resolved“, with new items of concern added. I found the additional quote form the 2015 report “inherent design problems that are only becoming more obvious and difficult to fix” most amusing, so if Marine Le Pen has in mind to not go anywhere near a Lockheed design, that would make sense. Now I do not want to brag, but with all my flying hours in the Microsoft Flight Simulator (2004), I might actually beat that latest flawed Lockheed F-35 with my experience in a Mikoyan MiG-35 (OK, I am bragging a little as I have never flown ANY jet in my life). What is the issue is that the politicians have not kept a good accord on the military abilities of the armed forces, not the people mind you, but the equipment they get stuck with. As such we see a 1.5 trillion dollar project showing more holes than an IKEA Pasta insert (named ‘Stabil’, which is hilarious as it is also means stable in Swedish). A project $160 billion over budget and 7 years behind schedule, and these were the numbers in 2014. A defence project that was too big to kill and that is what the NATO partners have to content with?

So why these topics? The world is changing, it is changing faster than ever before and the minders of the store have been so selfish in regards to their own personal needs (read: visibility of self via ego) and achievements that the duty they had was pushed under the rug. This is how I personally see the F-35 project.

The financial sector in the UK alone these financial boys (girls also) had the bulk of the £44bn in bonuses this year, so did your quality of life increase any (the topic jump will make sense in a few moments)? Now, even as wealth increased, it did not do so to that extent. It is not that fair to just have a go at the financial sector, apart from the fact that they ended up with bonuses of 1900% more than the amount all the others got, so balance is not that much in play. That view is shown stronger as we look at Forbes this week (at http://www.forbes.com/sites/francescoppola/2016/12/28/greece-the-game-is-on-again/#2585dbd946e5), the quotes that matter here are “Euclid Tsakalotos, the normally mild-mannered Finance Minister, accused the IMF writers of “economizing on the truth”. He pointed out that the main reason why so few Greeks pay income taxes is that their incomes have crashed, and that nearly half of Greek pensioners are living below the poverty line” and “The IMF’s case is that pension cost as a proportion of GDP is now unsustainable, and further, that the creditors are not going to agree to debt relief while pension cost remains so high. It is probably right on both counts. But once again, what really matters is the psychological framing“, in that regard I will be on the side of the Greeks, but not on the side of Greece. You see when their previous governments got loans and misrepresented their value, they had zero consideration on what pensions were in regards to the loans that they were getting under false pretense, in that regard, did any of those politicians go to jail? Did they refund 90% of their incomes? I am certain that the answer to both is ‘No!’, in addition those elected officials are sitting pretty and nowhere near the poverty line. Yet in all this the hardship is not over, in addition, the facts (as I personally see them) requires a little more digging, especially when I read “Attica Bank, the country’s fifth-largest lender, was poised to install a new management team he thought was capable of turning round the struggling lender” which were the thoughts of Yannis Stournaras, the governor of the central bank of Greece, which was followed by “While he was in the air, the government in Athens reversed the decision to award the job to Mr Pantalakis. It was his introduction to a web of allegedly related events, ranging from a raid on his wife’s business to an unsuccessful bid for TV rights backed by Attica loans“, this gives the implied issues on Yannis Stournaras, which gives more cause concern when we see “A confidential report on Attica carried out this year by the European Central Bank, the Eurozone’s top bank supervisor, and seen by the Financial Times, cited “severe findings” of poor governance and inadequate controls on lending. With some 70 per cent of its loans rated as non-performing, Mr Stournaras and others believed Attica urgently needed a professional banker at the helm. Government sources denied any intervention in the process to select Attica’s CEO” (at https://www.ft.com/content/aab0aaba-c6db-11e6-8f29-9445cac8966f). The implications are on a few levels especially in the light of ‘government sources denied‘, there is a mess on a few levels and the idea that personal needs were adamant in decisions is not without probable cause. The levels that are in question cannot be set because too much information is missing, but there are issues, make no mistake about that.

These issues connect, not directly but in the view of national voters, governments have made absolute shambles of their nations giving power to those with key wealth management options, in that need those who need to be at the helm are politicised and set to markers that are off the table and outside of the scope of visibility to scrutinise, whilst the presentations are showing markers that do not fit the person best suited for the job, in that Greece is not the only place with such issues. In the UK Mark Carney is facing similar issues, yet in the opposite direction. The best person for the job is the one the elected government seems to have an issue with. The independent (at http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/bank-of-england-mark-carney-theresa-may-attack-monetary-policy-tory-conference-speech-a7380016.html) gives us “Mr Carney argued that the monetary policy pursued by the Bank in recent years has had a positive impact that is “without parallel”, despite the Prime Minister using her speech to claim it had led to “bad side effects”“, in addition we see “Since quantitative easing was first introduced in the economy in 2009 … there’s been 2.6 million jobs created, GDP is up 16 per cent, per capita income is up 9 per cent and this is following a trauma in the economy“, we might see this as good news, but the good news is in the UK not dripping down to the other people just yet. In addition, the dangers will change if sharp budgets are not maintained. Getting the debt down is an absolute first, it will have additional benefits down the road, yet the initial benefit is that money could go to other destinations than paying for the interest of the debt, the interest of a debt amount that is currently in excess of 1.6 trillion. This was not the first attack, Michael Gove had a go at England’s Marky Mark in October. It is always nice when a person is called arrogant, especially when that person has proven to be amongst the very best in his field on the planet. I myself had had some issues in the past with Mark Carney, yet not against the man, but the economic issues that the UK faced because of actions (read objectives) pushed for by politicians, however his speech in the House of Lords showed him to be the expert he is and he nearly got me away from the Brexit team. Yet Mark Carney himself states it very well when he said: “Politicians have done a very good job of setting up the system. Where it can be difficult, sometimes, is if there are political comments on our policies as opposed to political comments on our objectives“, in this we see the issue that is part of the problem. as the politicians set up the objectives, they are then confronted with the policies from technocrats and those two groups do not see eye to eye, so friction goes back and forth, the Lockheed F-35 lightning is an excellent example here, in addition that part got an extra iteration as the military requirements were added by yet another group (read: the military). In all this the political objective is hampering the essential need against ‘it needs to be done by date X for no more than amount Y‘, which gives us the political joke that the NHS IT project was. A present from the Labour government which boiled down to a £11.2 billion wrapper around an empty box. Two projects set through objectives that ended up being off the wall and the back and forth friction that resulted in something unmanageable and non-functional. I reckon the political side of both events needs a new level of scrutiny, one that we have not considered before. In that regard having people like Mark Carney around is essential for the wheels of a state to remain functional, because if there is one clear thing, it is that America lost that oversight some time ago, before this Democratic Administration, the previous republican one lost sight of the needs and the accountability of the intelligence network and data processing side no later than 2006, we can all agree that the 2007-2012 total budget of $435 billion was money massively spent in all the wrong ways. This was shown in a Foreign office document that was quoted in an article stating “Army officials, though, said Palantir wasn’t up to the job. Now, a 57-page report by the Pentagon’s acquisitions arm basically says the Army was wrong to dismiss the Palantir system. The study instead gives Palantir high marks on most of the Army’s 20 key requirements for the intelligence system, including the ability to analyse large amounts of information, including critical data about terrorist networks and the locations of explosive devices, and synchronize it in a way that helps troops on the ground combat their enemies more effectively“, so there too billions were spent when millions could have sufficed. When the EGO of an individual with the power to decide is on the line, the results could be disastrous. In my personal view, if we accept the wrongful spending of 25 billion, how many extra troops could have been saved by adding fire support groups to those in IRAQ in those years? How many of the 4486 fatalities could have been prevented?

Politicians, advisors and ego are a really dangerous combination in many ways, even as we look at what is coming now, we need to be mindful of the changes that some are pushing for. Even if we are in favour of dropping the EC altogether, pushing NATO boundaries might not be the best solution. France might be privy to one of the better intelligence machines, that machine is also dependent on the intelligence it is fed from allies, an essential element that will fall away when NATO does, Marine Le Pen should be very mindful of that.

Yet this year and more important 2017 will go beyond Frexit. There is still a large debate on the Netherlands making any move away from the European Community, the numbers require people to be realistic on what will happen, yet those numbers are nowhere near the numbers Brexit had, so it is still unlikely that this will happen at present, no matter how certain Frexit will be. Italy might not have any manoeuvring space, it requires a massive infuse of funds, when we see the Reuters quote “An Italian government official told Reuters on Tuesday that €20bn earmarked for the rescue of the Italian banking system should suffice“, we need to wonder in how much trouble Italy is. This question is raised as we see Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena will issue €15 billion of debt next year (source: RTE). So we see another iteration where “The Treasury may have to put up around €6.6 billion to salvage the lender, including €2 billion to compensate around 40,000 retail bond holders“, so, how exactly is it acceptable that people ‘invest’ with a risk, yet when that risk comes calling, they still get compensated? How did any of us ever sign up for that?

Anyone who mentions that it is for the good of all is of their rocker plain and simple. Here too we see connection between France and Italy, mainly that the Natixis Global Asset Management (NGAM) thought it was a good idea to list Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena as a major purchase right next to Ubisoft. I reckon a little less ‘lack of nationalism’ and putting all of that cash in addition to the other amount into Ubisoft might have been a decently better idea. I feel certain that next year when we see the ‘Top Ten Holdings’ in the Natixis report will not make mention of Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena, which could just be me though.

So in this last day we see that we have quite the collection of choices to deal with, some good and many bad ones. Yet no matter what is happening, no matter what will fall, there is a decent indication that unless changes are made 2017 will not be a good year. I might be too negative to see some level of collapse in Q2 (no later than Q3) in the next year, yet the proper setting and if the key players are willing to forego ego and focus on cooperation, they would be setting the stage for a lucrative 2018, that is beside the initial technological presentations of the new age of G5. G5 will be the pushing power in IP, especially Trade Marks, yet that path is also loaded with new growth opportunities for IT and developers as they start setting the tone of what 5G could personalise, it will be the first firm push to switch providers to SaaS. That is almost without question, the degree to it happening is very much depending on actual cooperation. In that the Telco providers need to realise as per immediate that thinking SaaS whilst selling Paas and charging IaaS, which sounds nice on bonus day. Yet the boomerang effect is that clients will walk away a lot faster and they will also automatically entice 10 personal connection to not seek the services of the telecom provider being that stupid. Infrastructure as a Service is almost a thing of the past. It seems weird, because there should be space for it, yet in our new outfits we see that infrastructure is a long term commitment and with annual mobile purchase the people have learned to be as flexible as possible, so the limited mobiles that some sell (32Gb instead of 64Gb editions) is why people are realising to walk away from those offering limitations instead of solutions. It is at times harder with Platform as a Service. You see, PaaS might sound nice when we see Apple and SAP connecting, yet the bulk of the revenue will be the smaller fish in the pond, the small players will be 80% of the revenue, one can argue the actual taxable cake of government will be largely depending on those players and for them IaaS is a laughable solution when they are trying to get as much as possible in the first few years and those smaller players want as much flexibility as possible taking to some extent PaaS from the table. SaaS will be solution of choice and those now adhering to that need will fall short in 2018 and they are unlikely to be part of anything in 2019. In that we see the government need of objectives that cater to what the SME’s need. A mere application of supply and requirement. You might think that this is not connected to the previous parts, but it is. When we see the NHS, Banks and government, their needs to address their audience, they need to consider that no matter the infrastructure or platform for communications, they all need to see that their clientele is no longer rigid, no longer bound to certain paths for the simple reason that the infrastructure of places like the NHS can no longer deal with. It is by definition a mobile customer base that needs addressing, this means, or at least implies that the SaaS solutions require a wider setup, other paths of non-repudiation and a very different approach to data, its quality, its controls and the application of the results in any report or estimation towards costings and profit. It is a path of contribution, which is set as revenue minus costing.

For the better part an entirely new path in a setting that has for too long been about a rigid collection of data, which when compared to a setting in a flexible framework no longer holds a candle and will come with the implied death of data quality. in these places there will be a growing need for a data team that has the sole purpose of managing the quality of data, this path is one that IT has never worked on to the degree it had, because in the past systems were set in concrete and after the correct data pass had been made, the data usually would not require ‘resetting’ it in another framework, a change that will be almost evident in the systems we will see start in the next 4 years. There, for some the problem becomes that they have never contemplated the changes, which now also means that once they go into the deep of it all, the time required and the resources required will be a lot more draining than ever before. It is in that path that we see the danger of politicians and technocrats in the required path of objectives and policies. As there is plenty of evidence that so far this track record is not that great, we will see a squandering of funds and a dangerous curve of unprotected data whilst no one will be actually held accountable for the transgressions against those consumers aka victims.

So on this last day there is no way that any solution will be found, just take in the information and next week wonder what on earth is about to hit you, there is some speculation in this, yet I believe that the ‘objective callers’ (read: politicians) will rely on the word ‘glitch’ a lot more than ever before, it might just become the most popular word for 2017.

 

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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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