Tag Archives: Persian Gulf

One step beyond

I waited for the news from more sources, the news that I got yesterday was too ridiculous. Even now, when I look at the ABC headline ‘Houthi rebels claim to have captured ‘thousands’ of Saudi troops in Yemen border fight‘ I am willing to ignore it. The force required to do that requires full and open cooperation of the IRGC, in addition, it would have required no less than 500 troops heavily armed. The news however kept on going and when I was treated to a video (at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WPa6HUxy11w) we see a lot of lose shoots, but there is no real evidence of the scope of the matter. That view is supported by the BBC, who gives us (at https://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-49866677) “The video shows an attack on armoured vehicles, but there is so far no verification of the Houthi claim of a major military success“, as well as “But the video broadcast on Sunday instead shows what appear to be rebels firing at vehicles on a road. This is followed by footage of several burnt-out vehicles, as well as assorted light weaponry laid out on the ground and a group of men not in military uniforms marching down a dirt road“. It is presentation, yet not confirmation, claims we have seen often enough from Iran and from players like Hezbollah. And in all the Houthi response: “He said the evidence of the attack could not be shown for security reasons” reads just like it should be regarded as, as a joke!

Yes, traps and ambushes will get you some result, however the true victory over 2,000 men like that would have required Saudi Arabia to ignore the wisdom of Julius Caesar, who stated 2,000 years ago: “The first rule, whether you are engaged in war or not is to install defences against enemy retaliation“, that essential first would never have allowed for such a victory without hundreds of well-trained Iranian troops to support the Houthi soldiers out there. There are basic settings no matter where you are on the planet where an ambush would not have been prevented, but overall the damage would have remained limited.

It seems to me that the Houthi forces have been briefed by Iran to wage open war into Saudi Arabia, so no matter what story Yehia Saree (spokesperson for Houthi forces) gives us, unless he has video of a lot better quality revealing a lot more factual evidence, the only thing we see was an optional strike against a few vehicles using 2-3 RPG-7’s.

That would fit into the brief of Houthi activity and for those 500 kills, until the names are verified and checked, it could have been a mere mass murder site of Yemeni civilians, and that too remains an option. It is however a new step and it does not matter whether the kills were Yemeni civilians or Saudi citizens, the actions by the Houthis would not have been possible without serious Iranian support, that part is too often muddied away behind the screens. If we would have hi-res images of the weapons, there is a likelihood that we will see weapons that Yemen never had, in addition the video (at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jZw5taiYMqw) shows us (at 3:25) an ambush by 4 soldiers on an armoured vehicle, whilst no RPG’s were fired, whilst no firefight was going on, at best a few machine guns firing at an armoured vehicle, impact that the armoured vehicle might not even have noticed. Even as the ‘expert’ seems to believe it is confirmation, the shoots I see are separate takes of different moments, it is propaganda editing, if this was successful, we would get the full uncut version complete with brain matter on the dashboard. That is not happening, one reason is that the Iranian troops are not to be shown, the other shoots shows one vehicle in one shot and three vehicles with clear scorch marks from RPG impact, the Russian RPG-7 is merely the most likely weapon used (decent availability all over the Middle East). In addition, the ‘troop’ movement at 4:18 gives no evidence of any level that there are Saudi troops, optionally Saudi citizens, most likely groups of Yemeni civilians trying to get away from it all. The same is to be said from the group shot at 4:27, the chaos makes it most likely to be civilians and we see merely 2-3 dozen, for thousands to be moved the need for a huge military force would have been essential and nothing of the sort is visible.

What is a given that no matter how this plays out, the Saudi Government has a clear premise and as I personally see it a right to strike hard. And on a personal note, I would advise Saudi marksman to switch to the Accuracy International AX .338, good bang for the buck and it allows the marksman to efficiently thin the Houthi herd between 500-800 meters. OK, that might have been uncalled for, but you have to consider that there is a difference between presentation and war and it is time to give those ground troops more than a ‘packaged present’ from a plane. And if I can push forward British commerce at the same time, I will (Australia has zero quality long range rifles made in Australia), so I feel good about that element too.

Yet this is still madness and as such using the hit song from the band with the same name One Step Beyond applies, all the actions after the attack on the two Aramco sites are a clear path to open war, I believe that this was not an accident, I personally believe that Iran is actually scared at present, but their fear is founded on how many allies would step to the side of Saudi Arabia, this is a serious attempt to find fact in a sea of facts and fiction and Iran is uncertain at present, it knows that it can only lose, but the size of losses increases dramatically with every ally that Saudi Arabia gains in this open conflict. As the opposition against Saudi actions dwindles, so does the confidence of Iran and as their Nuclear deal is now at an end with 99% certainty, Iran has no carrot to use against the EU, it now has a much larger problem, because the oil impact took whatever sympathy vote they had in the EU away and now they need to see the state of affairs, how to prolong their options and as they realise that the west in general has no further interest in catering to Iran in any way, shape or form, the entire matter becomes a hazard play for Iran, that is as I see it behind it all, and as the NATO navy (UK and US) are now in the Sea of Dammam (Persian Gulf), the Iranian fleet options are almost completely out of the window and any actions will now add the UK and the US on the side of Saudi Arabia and they are not ready for that, if the IDF adds to that (because they have had more than enough of the IRGC) the entire matter comes to blow and Iran ends up having to concede in every field, moreover they will only be in a place to publicly admit to defeat, and after so many years the population will demand a massive national overhaul, which suits most players, but not the Iranian clergy, or the Iranian defence forces.

One step beyond is also what we are willing to do on removing the risk that is Iran, the bulk of all instability has been due to Iran and one of several; tools they have wielded: Hezbollah, they too will have a larger problem, with Iran out of the picture their actions stop and right quick, they will cry loudly on TV to get any UN deal whilst the IDF is not really in a mood to give them any options at all. These actions will lead to a larger stability to the Middle East with Saudi Arabia at the head of that table (which has seemingly been the best course of action for forever). It is time to strap on momentum towards resolving issues, not to maintain some balance of instability, we have had too many years (read: decades) of that.

The issue of the attack on Saudi grounds is still out in the open. There are disputed lands and there are non-disputed lands. Until there is a clear map on where the attacks are, we will see a clear path on how Saudi Arabia could and should respond. The harsh reality is that talks with the Houthi forces is without any hope of success, there are millions of Yemeni who have suffered on that and how we see the actions is up to all of us, yet to see what comes next, there is an interesting video that gives a really good timeline (at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=veMFCFyOwFI). Yet we see an underline, it gives positive visibility to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia as it used its wealth to create a strong infrastructure via roads making the nation almost completely reachable, giving them a huge opportunity to let the population grow, a part that always seemed missing in Iran (beyond Tehran) as I personally saw it.

Now that the forces come to blow Iran is rightfully nervous (perhaps outright scared), no matter how brave a face they show, even now the outright support that Saudi Arabia is getting is making Iran even more nervous and to avert utter disaster they need to see if they get any real support (beyond Russia and Turkey), in this Russia might not be willing to get involved for the mere reason that its tactical position increases if this comes to blows, whilst the EU and US spend funds in this region, Russia could decide to stabilise their margin to a larger degree, and Russia is in it for the long game, a tactic that Iran no longer has at its disposal, as such it is my personal believe that Iran is trying to see how far it can go now and again they are reusing the tools at their disposal, which in this case are the Houthi forces in Yemen.

 

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Desert for breakfast

There are moments where you see the road unwind in front of you, I am not meaning in some imaginary way, but in the real sense. Consider Highway 40 from Riyadh to Dammam, and you are on the road getting there, for whatever reason. Now as a driver you see the road ahead of you, yet at some point you do not merely see a mile or two miles ahead, your focus increases and suddenly you see 10-15 miles ahead, you sense all that is coming your way and whatever is driving in front of you. Ask anyone who drives a lot; it happens to all of us. A similar stage is unfolding now and in a different way. The first article in the Arab News gives us: ‘King Salman calls Aramco attacks a ‘cowardly act’ aimed at destabilizing Saudi Arabia‘, it is an important piece in all this, because in very unexpected ways, I believe that his royal highness was incorrect, specifically the part of ‘destabilizing Saudi Arabia‘, as it seems Iran pushed the wrong buttons and achieved the opposite.

We see this in the second part (at https://www.arabnews.com/node/1558581/middle-east), where we see ‘Aramco attacks solidify Iran’s ‘enemy’ status among young Arabs‘, it is not only there, we see that as the media is showing us more on the evil that Iran is doing, we see a movement where consideration towards Iran is waning and the politicians trying to broker selfish deals are now in a stage where their careers are now in question whenever they are talking about finding some political deal. The voices are changing the clearest in France, Britain and Germany, and this implies that not only is the nuclear deal coming to a clear end, there is the additional impact that the Saudi opposition we have seen over the last 6 months are waning as well. I believe that the quote “According to the Arab Youth Survey, which was published in May by the PR consultancy ASDA’A BCW, 67 percent of the region’s youth saw Iran as an enemy, as opposed to 32 percent who saw it as an ally” will shift within the next two weeks, as the Saudi Arabian population is getting more and more of the acts that Iran has been involved in, especially abroad, gives rise that the group seeing Iran as an optional ally will degrade to a mere 25% (or even lower) soon enough, as Saudi International students give rise to the acts of Iran will also give rise to contemplation to other local students wherever they are.

As the stage unfolds towards perceiving Iran as an enemy and a threat to stability in the Middle East, we see a larger group of people advocating harder acts against Iran. I personally believe that the US putting boots on the ground will also help the Saudi population towards the understanding that there is much larger unity against Iran, even as I noted and reported in the last two months that Saudi Arabia had been deserted too often when they were attacked, the last attack had international repercussions and it seems that more and more eyes are looking at what Iran is doing to others, giving a much better view of Saudi Arabia after all the targeted bad events view that the media in the west had been giving Saudi Arabia since 2018 (well, it was since before that, but it became a lot more negative since 2018).

There is an additional reason for a larger unification. As we look at the news, we see CNN report 5 hours ago that “Iran’s foreign minister has raised the prospect of a new agreement with the United States that would see permanent sanctions relief exchanged for Tehran’s permanent denuclearization“, whilst Reuters gives us an hour ago “Iran ruled out the possibility of negotiating a new deal with major powers“, in this we see Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif as the two faced monster, merely seeking the limelight at every opportunity he gets. All whilst the Washington Post reports 9 hours ago ‘Iran’s foreign minister says diplomacy with the U.S. is over‘ with the leading quote “any prospect of direct interaction between U.S. and Iranian officials is now officially eliminated“, I personally believe that the people have had enough of the banter by this petulant toddler named Iran, in addition we see that the Media is taking a less positive stance towards Iran, all these elements are seemingly polarising at the same time. Not only is there stronger unison within the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, there is also a larger awareness that stronger ties with Saudi Arabia could also result a much larger play towards actual Middle Eastern stability.

Yet the battle is not over, only 25 minutes ago, the Financial Times reports (at https://www.ft.com/content/1e818d2e-de30-11e9-9743-db5a370481bc) that ‘France and Germany add backing to call for new Iran nuclear deal‘. Clearly there are mutters in the ranks all over Europe and making sure that everyone knows what games are played becomes essential in stopping Iran. The becomes a larger issue when we see “If it was a bad deal — and I’m willing to accept that, it had many, many defects — then let’s do a better deal,” UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said. The problem with that statement is that the EU will have to give in towards Iran to some degree and when we consider that Iran has violated conditions of the nuclear pact 4 times already, we see a larger failing. Even as we accept the larger view that the Financial Times gives with: “The time has come for Iran to accept negotiation on a long-term framework for its nuclear programme as well as on issues related to regional security, including its missiles programme and other means of delivery” (a part I do not deny or oppose) the issue is not the media, when you consider the timeline.

Mixing the message

It was interesting to see that the Arab News was on my side 3 weeks before I got here. Arab News (at https://www.arabnews.com/node/1548681) gives us in the article ‘Iran’s mixed messages on negotiations with US‘ several issues and is goes beyond the US, Iran is doing a similar tactic with the EU, the media in the last 24 hours ago are a decent indicator of that.

In the article Dr. Mohammed al-Sulami gives us: “It asserted that Zarif’s attendance provided further proof that it is actually the US president who is suffering diplomatic isolation, as it had previously claimed. Rouhani also announced that he too would not mind meeting with any foreign official, so long as this meeting would bring benefits to Iran and serve its national interests“, as well as “However, the supreme leader has found a possible way out of the current impasse by launching a new slogan, “heroic flexibility,” under the pretext that any negotiations that take place with the “Great Satan” within the framework of aiding Iran’s nuclear program could be allowed if they meet certain objectives“. These parts come to blow when we consider the final quote: “Arab countries should learn the lessons of the recent past and seek to play an effective role in any future negotiations to maintain their own interests, given the fact they are the ones most directly affected by the Iranian regime’s behavior in the region” there is a larger play and even as the limelight is on a nuclear deal and an optional deal with the US, the game that is unfolding is mixed messages that are on the second level aimed at the neighbours of Saudi Arabia.

How did I get there?

There are a few parts in this, first it is the speech by President Rouhani which is the given in the headline ‘Iran asks West to leave Persian Gulf amid heightened tensions‘ with added text “Rouhani separately promised to unveil a regional peace plan at this week’s upcoming high-level meetings at the United Nations“, with all due respect, asking a proxy war player like Iran to handle a peace plan is like asking Mr. Fox whether he could watch your chickens whilst you go out to have lunch, Mr Fox ends up getting a much better meal in the process. I believe that part of this scenario involves Bahrain and the UK Royal Navy base at Salman Port. With the British SAS now upping security, the IRGC would not be able to carry out any actions against targets, they are no match for the British SAS, it would not be a war or a skirmish, and it would merely end up being an exercise in IRGC troop extermination. It is merely one of a few handles that the mixed messages from Iran open. The mixed messages also increase pressures and stress levels in Qatar and the UAE, not to mention Oman.

How wrong am I?

That is up for debate, the entire matter is still moving along and in the end it depends on the moves and actual tactical moves that Iran will make, more important, they will not make a move until the final moment. In all this, as the Arab News reported less than an hour ago (at https://www.arabnews.com/node/1558801/business-economy) where King Hamad of Bahrain denounced the “serious escalation targeting the security and stability of the region”, I believe that this is still true, not in regards to the stability of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, yet it is my personal view that the mixed messages is about creating inactions against Iran. It is an intelligent move, with the number of opponents that Iran faces; it wants to keep Qatar, Bahrain and the UAE out of the mix for the longest of times, whilst using the non-aggression pact of Oman to keep waters as traversable as possible. All the indicators I see is that Iran is very much ready for hit and run attacks where it can and when they do take this journey they want local waters (Oman, UAE and Qatar) to be a hindrance for the non-Middle Eastern nations participating in the actions against Iran. It is my personal view and optionally in incorrect one, but I do remember my maritime training and when we take a look at the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS, Part III), we get to see in Article 41 we see that ships in transit to respect applicable sea lanes and traffic separation schemes. Such a scheme does exist in the Strait of Hormuz, adopted by the International Maritime Organization, which directs westbound traffic within the strait through Iranian territorial waters. It’s not clear where in relation to the outer limit of Iran’s territorial sea the Stena Impero was when the Iranian action took place, but Iran is not alleging the ship had no right to be where it was, and now we see that when article 41 is applied any military vessel obeying that would become a juicy target for Iran, if the bordering nations demand that sea lanes are respected and no transgressions in their local waters will be tolerated, that situation becomes very real; the NATO fleet and US fleet could optionally get stuck in the Gulf of Oman, as such, my view on trying to keep Bahrain, Qatar, Oman and the UAE on the fence would be a larger tactical problem soon enough and whilst Iran plays their mixed messages game and there is no state of war in play, Iran gets to have (for a limited time) a tactical advantage in the Sea of Dammam (aka Persian Gulf).

Basically we would all like desert for breakfast so that the day seems more sweet, however if it was up to Iran, porridge would be the only acceptable dish, salted porridge, served in the Gulf of Oman.

 

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Game of labels

Yes, we all have games on the mind, mind games, video games, war games, and not to forget political games and economic games. These are not games that we see on the console or computer. Games do not usually rename waters from Persian Gulf to the Saudi Straight, or perhaps we will name it the Sea of Dammam. When we see that the US is changing the stage at which they can operate, mind games is all that they are left with. They failed to political game, they bungled the economic game, they are blocking their ability to play War Games so what is left? Yup, you got it mind games is all they have left.

So see this stage we need to visit USA Today (at https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2019/07/12/house-passes-bill-bar-trump-from-launching-iran-strike-and-end-us-support-saudi-arabia-war-in-yemen/1708612001/) where we are told ‘House approves measure to block Trump from launching military strike against Iran‘, so not only are politicians weak weasels they have now blocked their own commander in chief to do the responsible thing against Iran, it has dwindled to this. OK, let’s face it war is not a good thing, there needs to be a really good reason to start one, as wars are expensive and the house does seemingly need approval to spend large amounts of cash that is not directed at Wall Street.

And in fairness the text: “bar the Trump administration from using any federal funds for military force “in or against” the Islamic Republic, unless the president receives explicit congressional approval for a strike. It would not bar the president from responding to an attack on the U.S.“, yet it is also interesting that this is the cowardly act (as I personally see it) to cross swords with expectation and a lack of determination. Is it not funny that I quoted in ‘Be the bitch‘ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2019/07/07/be-the-bitch/) on July 7th: “when we see: “that nuclear agreement prevented war“, it never stopped it, it merely delayed it so that Iran could get ready and that part has been shown in several ways over the last three years alone, now that the pressure is growing we need to consider that no one wants a war, but Iran made it impossible to avoid and as they make tally of all who are willing to become the bitch by not acting, that is how we might lose this upcoming war, not merely by inaction of them, but the mere fact that these politicians are willing to grab their ankles and let happen what would happen next. They will call it: “We have reached an immediate cease fire so that a diplomatic agreement can be drawn” that will be the second sign that the war was won by Iran“, we now see this very scenario unfold. It is seen with the additional text: “It would not bar the president from responding to an attack on the U.S.” We all know that a direct attack on America is most unlikely, but this also means that America will only come to the aid of the State of Israel and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia AFTER Congress approves it and there is absolutely no guarantee that Wall Street will give approval at that point.

It is no longer a mere expectation, less than 12 hours ago Newsweek got us: ‘Iran launches strikes in Iraq and responds to Israel;s threat as it vows to defend itself against any attack‘, and here we see: “The Revolutionary Guards announced Friday that they conducted strikes against anti-Iranian government insurgents operating along the Iraqi border in the Kurdistan region“, Iran is lashing out, in this particular case to appease their Turkish ally (they always enjoy Kurdish slaughter). When we add the pressure of the Iranian tanker, as well as the threats between Iran and Israel, we see a much larger stage evolving, and the US, just like the stage of the Syrian war was unable to accomplish anything; they merely pulled support from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, a nation that they call an ally. The question is that we do not know who states it, who means it and who ignores it. That is the stage that the US Senate, the House of Representatives, the presidential administration and Wall Street are in, like it is an episode of Musical Chairs, and we cannot tell which party takes on which pose, they merely refer to it as: ‘an extremely complex situation‘.

Then we get to the Washington Post, who gives us: ‘Iran’s nuclear program seems to be accelerating. Will Saudi Arabia take a similar path?‘ (at https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2019/07/12/irans-nuclear-weapons-program-seems-be-accelerating-will-saudi-arabia-take-similar-path), here we see the escalation in another way. With the direct headline ‘In a multipolar world, curbing nuclear transfers becomes more difficult‘, we merely see one side. So even as we see: “Riyadh has vowed to match Iran’s nuclear capabilities, including the ability to enrich uranium and acquire nuclear weapons if Tehran gets the bomb. My research, recently published in International Security, explains how Riyadh’s ability to play nuclear suppliers off against one another can increase its chances of securing nuclear technology.” There is no denying this, and that is only when we look at that side. You merely have to look back towards 2004 and remember “Pakistani scientist Abdul Qadeer (A.Q.) Khan, then famous for his role in developing Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal, confessed on live television to having illegally proliferated nuclear weapons technology to Iran, Libya, and North Korea over the course of decades. Today Khan is enjoying a resurrection at home, where he is again touted as the “Mohsin e-Pakistan,” or the savior of Pakistan” to consider that this might already have happened. Pakistan has ties to Saudi Arabia. The fact that this is largely in a stage where we see: “Wouldn’t the United States and other countries interested in stopping proliferation block Riyadh’s access to sensitive nuclear transfers, such as enrichment technology?” We see the wrong question, the stage is that America is no longer a significant super power, it is too broke, it is too much bankrupt. That gave Russia an edge and more important, other players are no longer heeding America’s word, it becomes simple for them when the infighting in America is doing most of the work for them, so seemingly America has become really good at trivialising itself as a world power. In all this (from recent events) America failed twice, it did not act when the Syrian issues were playing, so as the world saw the Ghouta chemical attack unfold on 21st August 2013, the world saw the Obama Administration sit by and do nothing, even as there had been decades of messages that a chemical attack is a red line that was not to be passed, Someone in Syria passed it and nothing was done. Again we see failure now under the Trump administration that when the calls for Yemen were needed, the US pulled away and the media set the stage for this war to continue for at least 3 years more costing the lives of hundreds of thousands. Two direct failures in the last 7 years and when someone is asking others on why the USA is not taken seriously, did you actually expect a serious response?

So when the Washington Post gives us: “As Matthew Fuhrmann explained here in the Monkey Cage, there remains debate over whether peaceful nuclear technology transfers lead to proliferation — but the risk of proliferation is high in the Saudi case“, again the stage is miscommunicated. It is not about the Saudi case, it is about the not stopping Iran case. For over 2 years we have seen and heard spokespeople from the KSA state that they have no interest in nuclear technology as long as Iran does not move forward on where they are. So now that the nuclear pact has collapsed and as Europe and America do not do anything after 2+ violations by Iran, Saudi Arabia does not really have any options left.

In all these events Iran was clearly the powder keg and the two larger players are unwilling to act. As I personally see it, the US has benefit to a lack of stability in the Middle East (outside of Iran) and is now courting Qatar to keep in the game, we see all the threats by Iran and the media is always good to make sure that we all hear the threats made (but little else) and that is now pushing for a very different stage. With the UK sending a second warship into the Sea of Dammam, escalation risks go up, not down.

The third problem is not merely the players that are out and about, when this goes south the UAE, Qatar and Bahrain will have little options left, they will be caught in the middle, all because certain players are unwilling (or disallowed) to make the hard calls. Finally there is the last piece, there is Hezbollah. We see all kinds of statement in the last few hours and they are merely that, mere statements. Yet, when Iran does make a move how will Hezbollah act? The statement that they gave 6 hours ago with ‘Hezbollah can target all of Israel with it’s missiles‘, might be true, but is it Hezbollah or Iran doing the work? The missiles are all Iranian, the knowledge to strike more precise came from IRGC instructors, the (upgraded) hardware is also covered in Iranian fingerprints. So when Hezbollah does make a move, there will be consequences and at that point the US and Europe will have no cause, no call and no right to make some lame humanitarian statement. They left this mess unattended for too long, so whatever Israel decides should be regarded as acceptable.

I still believe that the strikes that come will be 79.5% against Israel, 19.5% against Saudi Arabia and 1% against both. The Houthis are losing more and more options, Hezbollah is nowhere near ready to face two armies and Iran needs to play the game very carefully, because even as the US and Europe are not acting, there is every chance that Israel and Saudi Arabia can make short work of Iran, the Iranian threats that we have seen over the last few hours (the usual) as well as mention of a special weapon give rise that they took a little too much on their for and striking now might be the only way to defuse a nasty situation.

It is time to push back to Iran and if the politicians can’t make it work then we must make it work, so my first action to diffuse the situation is not to strike with weapons (I only have a steak slicer and a cricket bat at home at present), is to make war through mind games. I call for a change on the map; we rename the Persian Gulf to the Sea of Dammam.

It trivialises Persia and therefor Iran, when we take away the old naming mistakes, we get to trivialise Iran to a lager degree, when they cannot counter they will need to push harder or fold the hand. I saw that they were only holding a two and a seven in this poker match and there is not a lot you can do with that, to win you need to get really lucky or bluff like a god and they are unable to do the second.

So I scored an easy victory over Iran with the greatest of ease and without firing a bullet in real life, but we can keep that option for later. So take a look at the city of Dammam, with the Sea of Dammam to the right, or consider my second option below, I did made a mention of video games in the beginning and we can all bluff, we can optionally argue that bluffing is all that Iran has left, but that is a story for another day. In my case of bluff I went up against my cold war adversary the Russians (always a decent opponent to cross, and we can’t have Alexander Bortnikov feeling too relaxed in all this, can we?)

 

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Wouldn’t it be nice?

Yesterday I merely focussed on the Mining incident, now as we see a lot more damage, it is time to consolidate certain levels of knowledge. Gulf News (at https://gulfnews.com/opinion/editorials/world-should-help-stop-tanker-attacks-1.64638787) gives us: “Shaikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, on Saturday has called upon allies to help confront regional threats through peaceful means“, it is an important view, especially as I disagree with it. Yet the quote: “The attacks on four oil tankers in the UAE’s territorial waters are evidence that we have identified as underwater explosions, utilising sophisticated technologies. These capabilities are not present in illegal non-state groups. These are disciplined processes carried out by a state” is a lot more correct, yet still wrong. So let’s go over it, starting with the second quote. The one adjustment that needs to be seen here is: ‘carried out by a state player‘, it is one word, but it carries a lot of weight. The weight we saw before as we consider the actions available to proxy wars. It is there because Houthi forces were eager to take ownership of previous actions; as such the current solution is a lot less likely to work.

In that same phase, I am happy on the approach that Shaikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan takes, yet I believe that it is too late for Iran here. They will never stop playing their games, so we should play ours. In the first stage is a canal from somewhere between Al Aqah and Al Bidya to somewhere around Al Jazirah. It would be a construction achievement that has seldom been achieved.

A stretch that allows two tankers to pass each other and also be a route for the super yachts, making the solution interesting for dozens of marinas down the coast as well. In addition to that should Iran misbehave, the straight could be to a larger degree be blocked, making the Iranian troubles rise, more important, if that part gets shut, Iran will have no options and the city of Bandar Abbas becomes the most expensive worthless piece of real estate soon thereafter, that city and its airport relies on international commerce, so let’s take that off the table shall we?

Iran only has itself to blame here and even as there are still valid questions on how guilty they actually are, they enabled their ‘allies’ through proxy warfare and as such they have no clean hands and should not rely on any equitable solution coming their way. It becomes a money game, considering the fact that the 9K32 Strela-2 was used and these puppies go for $93,000 each. Someone is funding them as the Houthi forces have no real assets to work with, so someone is paying for all that bacon, the question becomes who is the banker? Iran is the most likely candidate, however, a more likely play is to work with an in-between like Hezbollah, Lebanon or Turkey that is the first ring of cash to deal with. When we path is clear, the actions become clear too and over time we can see results, however whilst Iran keeps on having options, getting a canal in place that takes the straight out of the options is a first part. Optionally, a blockade could then set further pressures, especially if there is an alternative canal route available.

We should agree that the canal is a step towards war and not towards peace, yet Iran has no interests in any peaceful settling of their affairs, 4 tankers are enough evidence for me, and even as I myself want to see better evidence proving that it was Iran, I have close to zero doubt that they were involved indirectly, it is the direct actions that matter, especially in the Iranian situation. You see the doubt comes from a few years ago when we saw statements that two Iranian officers had decided to arm Hezbollah, seemingly without permissions from their superiors. Now, I have no doubt that it got their blessing, but not on paper that is the pretended ghost we fight, it is what we can prove that matters and at present we are lacking in that department.

Wouldn’t it be nice?

Yes, we all are hoping for some peaceful solution, a solution with a state that has so far never ever honoured one (as far as I can tell). Even as we saw last week: ‘Iran has followed through on a threat to accelerate its production of enriched uranium‘, the fact that all the equipment was already in place suggests that preparations to braking the agreements were started many months before that, so all the rattling of some agreement with Europe was never ever going to be honoured, that is what we are up against. Now we need to find a way to keep Saudi Arabia on top of this as well, the moment they fall behind Iran will indiscriminately attack both Saudi Arabia and via proxies Israel as well. When that happens, we will see all politicians run for cover, pleading for some peace summit as the radiation is in the air and they will force the military to oblige, it will be too late then. Even now that game is in action as we see: (at https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2019/06/15/world/iran-far-hitting-cap-enriched-uranium-diplomats-say/) ‘Iran is far from hitting cap on enriched uranium, diplomats say

Based on what evidence is that?

There is close to no reliability to either quote. The first: “Iran is likely to hit the deal’s 202.8 kg limit on its enriched uranium stock in around two months. Its stock was 174.1 kg on May 20, the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency’s last quarterly report said“, this report is debatable on several sides; there is no way that Iran would have given an actual look into the cards they hold, so the chance that they have surpassed 200Kg is not that far-fetched, implying that the agreed limit is at best days away, more likely merely hours.

The second quote “Diplomats in Vienna who monitor its progress closely say Iran is capable of hitting the uranium ceiling in as little as 10 days” is based on equally shoddy intelligence, an issue that has plagued the anti-Iran intelligence community for far too long and now there is a long lasting danger. My issue is that the players who are trying to find a dialogue are not the targets, so they have little to lose, if they lose they merely point at Iran for being ‘naughty’, Israel and Saudi Arabia have direct losses to deal with and they should not be in these levels of danger for any reason and now we see why Iranian actions are months overdue. The fact that this stage is now in play is optionally evidence that the economic sanctions were never going to work. Iran merely needs to get the first explosion in for all those bitches to fall in line pleading for a summit. Neither the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, nor the State of Israel signed up for this. In the end a nuclear explosion would not be essential; a dirty bomb in either large enough city will pretty much achieve the same goal.

The problem with saber rattling is not that it is done, the politicians who start that often cannot wield a saber and want to parlay the moment it backfires, and at that point the initial damage is accepted as the cost of doing business, yet for the victim? You know the place that was used for the demonstration? Yes, those politicians will want to wield a large carrot, but we have come to the stage where a carrot will no longer suffice and the players are in denial that is why we can no longer play to the tune of Iran and we need to turn the tables on them, we actually do not have a choice anymore. We saw for over 4 years how Iran was playing the cards anyway they saw fit and for too long everyone shrugged their shoulders stating that it would be fixed down the line, well this is down the line and nothing was fixed, so we either alter the game or pronounce Iran winner (which is utterly unacceptable to me).

So the game where we see that Iran is accused, yet actual evidence cannot be presented is a dangerous stage and former CIA director, now US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo knows this. Even as we get via NPR: “The intelligence community has lots of data, lots of evidence. The world will come to see much of it, but the American people should rest assured we have high confidence with respect to who conducted these attacks as well as half a dozen other attacks throughout the world“, yet until that evidence is scrutinised the US remains to have a problem, their track record on handling evidence is just as shoddy (a silver briefcase with WMD evidence anyone?) Even as we saw the over optimistic ten days stretch for enriched Uranium, I am not convinced that either Israel or Saudi Arabia have that time span. Should Iran decide to play the proxy game again, what will be done when Hezbollah or Houthi start a dirty bomb tactic? Will we state caution or state the demand for War?

Knowing politicians especially the spineless ones, yet here the strong ones too, they will all shout: ‘One more summit please!‘ Will we then give in? Can Israel or Saudi Arabia afford to give in, or do we make sure that Tehran is bombed until the Iranian population is at least 22% lower?

Can we even afford to consider a peace talks with someone like Iran at that point? You tell me, because I am convinced that talks are no longer an option at that point and I am 99% certain that whoever gets hit will agree with me. This has seemingly become a game where Iran requires a win and we cannot afford for them to have any victories, the realisation that there should never be any gain on a proxy war almost demand that setting. The fact that the drone went down in Yemen is no evidence, the fact that Houthi force did it is accepted, yet can Iranian action be proven whilst there is a decent chance that the instructors and support groups are send by Hezbollah. The fact that there is no proof which team supported the Houthi forces is part of the problem and even though we accept that Iran supports Hezbollah that in itself does not make Iran guilty of this act and that is exactly the complication we face at present.

 

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The Persian Gulf match

We are on the edge of what we know, mostly of what we are infromed about and it seems that it is n the interest of the US to focus on Saudi Arabia. Al Jazeera starts with ‘US senators seek to block Trump arms sales to Saudi Arabia‘ (at https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/06/senators-seek-block-trump-arms-sales-saudi-arabia-190605154958283.html). The sub line gives us “Senators to try to pass 22 resolutions that’d halt Trump’s plan to bypass Congress to complete arms sales to Saudi, UAE“, it seems that with the effort of getting 22 resolutions passed, there is cause for concern, not merely for the one side where the US is seemingly a lesser ally than they are claiming to be. The problem is that there is actual sense in play. when we see the quote by Senator Todd Young giving us: “Congress has an essential oversight role in the decision to sell weapons and we must ensure proper procedures are in place in any weapons transfer“, I would counter that with the notion that proper procedures should have been in place for decades, in addition, the fact that Saudi Arabia has never been the enemy of the United states (as far as I know), makes it weirder. It is at that point where Senator Todd Young goes from simplistic to stupid bordering on moronic. With: “In light of the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Yemen, we have an obligation to ensure the adequate guardrails are in place and that weapons transfers to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates do not exacerbate the conflict“, so how about taking Hezbollah and Iran out of the equation? Had the Senator for Pennsylvania considered that part? The issues around Senator Young do not improve when his lack into Yemen is shown. With: “Selling more bombs to the Saudis simply means that the famine and cholera outbreak in Yemen will get worse, Iran will get stronger, and al-Qaeda and ISIS will continue to flourish amidst the chaos of the civil war” he shows just how little he is aware, the fact that there is no mention of Hezbollah is one part, the additional stage given to us less than 24 hours ago (at https://www.reuters.com/article/us-yemen-security-wfp/yemens-houthis-and-wfp-dispute-aid-control-as-millions-starve-idUSKCN1T51YO) with ‘Yemen’s Houthis and WFP dispute aid control as millions starve‘ is not because there is no resolution, it is because the Houthi forces do not want a resolution, they are awaiting Iranian hardware and Hezbollah troops. So as we see: “the U.N. agency, which feeds more than 10 million people a month across the Arabian Peninsula’s poorest nation, said last month it is considering suspending deliveries due to fighting, insecurity and interference in its work“, we see just how dumbfound the status of Saudi Arabia is in the US Congress. The issue of the international press going out of their way not reporting on Hezbollah activities in Yemen is just a little too weird, and seemingly no one takes notice.

Saudi Arabia will have to consider other options soon enough (more to follow at the end).

In the second part of one side we see the report from CNN (at https://edition.cnn.com/2019/06/05/politics/us-intelligence-saudi-arabia-ballistic-missile-china/index.html) the headline: ‘US intel shows Saudi Arabia escalated its missile program with help from China‘, we need to realise two elements, the first is that Saudi Arabia is a monarchy, a sovereign nation with the rights to defend itself. It has been in a proxy war with Iran for years and Saudi Arabia must prepare any way it can, apparently the United States is not there for the nation they call an ally, and as such China would easily step in to facilitate (Russia seems to have lost out on it). With Saudi Arabia in a stage of 5G thanks to Huawei, the Chinese government is (according to CNN) in the article. Even as we are given: “While the Saudis’ ultimate goal has not been conclusively assessed by US intelligence, the sources said, the missile advancement could mark another step in potential Saudi efforts to one day deliver a nuclear warhead were it ever to obtain one” implying that they actually do not know, the vague ‘were it ever to obtain one‘ should be seen as an article presently dipped in speculation. And as the one truth is given through “the Saudis have consistently taken the position that they need to match Iran’s missile capability and have at times sought help on the side from other countries, including China, which is not a signatory to the pact“, so the actual issue is that Saudi Arabia is in a stage where they will not accept being under defended when Iran is on a clear path to increase its ballistic missile setting. A clear setting that has been known for years and no one does anything valid or actual about Iran, that part is not set in the lime light is it. In all this I found the premise of Tom Udall senator from New Mexico the most hilarious one. With “citing the Washington Post report on the satellite images, asked what the US was doing to prevent foreign sales of ballistic missile technology to Saudi Arabia“, the direct and not too diplomatic answer would be: ‘It is none of your bloody business what Saudi Arabia buys from whomever they want to‘ (there is some diplomacy as I avoided using the F*** word). The truth is that they no longer matter; US Congress seems to be forgetting that they are no longer a superpower. 21 trillion dollar debt did that to them. Their utter inactivity in Syria and Yemen shows that they no longer really matter and the actions by both Turkey and Iran shows that they no longer have the balls to actually interfere and act. Their actions are now limited to economic sanctions and that tactic is becoming less and less efficient.

The additional fact that this is still connected to a dead journalist no one cares about is further evidence still. You see if it was actually about that than the US government and Global media would have illuminated the actions of Turkey and its incarcerated and murdered journalists every single day and that has not been happening at all, again more evidence that this is all about posturing and imagery but nothing on creating actual lasting results.

In all this I am happy that Democrat Senator Bob Menendez from New Jersey gave us: “Failing that, I am prepared to move forward with any and all options to nullify the licenses at issue for both Saudi Arabia and [the] UAE and eliminate any ability for the administration to bypass Congress in future arms sales“, I will use that shortly, thank you.

On the other side

The other side of the Persian Gulf has other issues. Less than 14 hours ago, the Japan News (and several others) gave us: “Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Tuesday that Tehran would not be “deceived” by U.S. President Donald Trump’s offer of negotiations and would not give up its missile program” the entire stage of peace, or some way of moving forward was dependent on that part, the fact that it was never adhered to and the only part we get is US saber rattling gives light that the US has no actual solution here. Even as some Senators made the claim that any war with Iran would be a short one can no longer be proven, the engineering joke that is now known as USS Zumwalt is one part, the fact that Congress never approved a budget for its cannons to be fully armed is a second part and the failings that is this $21 billion project and is showing to be close to disastrous is further evidence that the US has no real modern navy to fight Iran with, it is at best at par with Iran and in an actual war setting without the ability to ‘hide’ within Saudi waters gives rise to the fact that a direct war (which Iran would lose) will not be a quick one and the casualty list would be massive. A nation that is basically bankrupt is now limited to saber rattling, it is sad.

A similar quote was seen in TV7 Israel News where we get: “Ali Khamenei said: “We can see that today, in the defense and military arena, we have reached a point of being able to deter our enemies. And the fact that you see they insist on (curtailing) our missile program, is because of this (deterrence). And they want to deprive us of this capability. And of course, they will never succeed.”” the stage is accepted but the premise is not. The Iranian missile program has never been one of defence, it is an offense stage with possible nuclear ramifications and there are indicators that there is more, one unconfirmed source (reliability unknown, language implied it to be American) gives us: “Iran in mid-May presented the IAEA with a comprehensive report on all aspects of its nuclear program, which comprised over one thousand pages. The D-T procurement was not mentioned in the. “comprehensive” report. It is not alone in this regard: since June, a large number of Iranian nuclear activities not admitted to by Tehran, have been reported, notably the attempts to sanitize a suspected nuclear facility in the neighborhood of Tehran” another dark web source gave mention of deuterium-tritium gas earlier this year crossing into Iran at Bājgirān. I partially took notice but ignored it as I had no real idea what it was used for (I am not a chemist), in light of the two it is not an indicator or any actual evidence where Iran is at, but it does give reason for Saudi Arabia to increase its capabilities regarding ballistic missiles. The fact that Iran has the muscle to move options here implies that it has access to funds it should not have, for the mere reason that whoever is doing it will not be doing it for anything less than an 8 figure number. I am decently certain that Russia (and most other nuclear players) would never be willing to give a Trump card like that into the hands of Iran, not when they have other needs to milk Iran for as long as they can. That is merely my personal view on the matter.

Iran does have other options, as Janes reported yesterday: “Iran launched a Khorramshahr medium-range ballistic missile (MRBM) in December 2018, the Israeli representative to the UN told the Security Council in a letter released on 5 June“. My issue is not Jane, they are established as a reliable and accepted military source of information, the fact that this issue has been known for 6 months and the fact that at present there is no real exposure of the Khorramshahr with its range of 2,000 km with a 1,800 kg warhead, we see that no part of Saudi Arabia cannot be reached, giving a much larger pressure on Saudi Arabia and that is before you realise that the news included: “Iran has transferred technological knowledge to enable Iraq’s Technical Directorate for Military Production (TDMP) to produce the Mohajem-92 unmanned aerial vehicle“, that so called UAV is one of the drones that have been deployed against U.S. and coalition targets (Source: Al Jazeera June 21st).

These drones are optionally also in the hands of Hezbollah, a terrorist organisation, as such the pressure is on in several ways and there is more than one indicator that the US remains where it is, sitting on its hands merely because it seemingly ran out of budget.

Image of a Paper Tiger

In conclusion: I believe that the media and the US government have been hiding behind excuses and counter acting actions as it cannot afford to be in anything for any price. It has no ability to enforce any actual rules and when we see the egocentric call: ‘what the US was doing to prevent foreign sales of ballistic missile technology to Saudi Arabia‘, we see what was once a superpower is now optionally nothing more than a Paper Tiger.

If I have to give any official advice to the House of Saud then it would be:

Your Royal Highness and members of the royal family,

I believe that it is now more and more important to seek unity and actual commerce with providers that will enable you to properly defend yourself against the unacceptable danger that Iran has become. I believe that trade with the United Kingdom, France, Germany and China should replace your American portfolio. Each of these four have technologies and military solutions that would equal the solutions that America has offered. I believe that there is no one solution, by gaining the hardware from all three (each their own field) it would be optionally quicker to get the essential defence materials that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia needs to keep its nation safe. The American position after the attacks by Hezbollah through Houthi forces give rise to the additional dangers that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia faces by not seeking a more powerful defence. The actions of the American US Congress have shown that what they regard as being an ally is not what an ally is; it is not even what a wannabe ally would consider to be.

As such apart from your advancement in technology and infrastructure a much larger foundation for your national defence is seemingly essential in the immediate future. The shown delays that the European Union have shown to be regarding Iran, Turkey and terrorist organisations like Hezbollah give rise to the essential need of China to become part of that solution.

With highest regards,

Lawrence van Rijn

Finale

I believe that the inaction’s have gone on for way too long, even as some state that there are diplomatic options, the realisation that Iran hid themselves through the terrorist organisation Hezbollah and the fact that this has been known in intelligence circles for years is clear evidence that there is no push for a solution, merely a need for a standstill, or stalemate at best. It never resolves anything, it merely decimates the Yemeni population through Houthi blockades a small issue killing thousands and Reuters gave us that news, but no, plenty of media ignore that fact and keep on pointing the finger at Saudi Arabia and shouting ‘Jamal Khashoggi’ whilst no one cared about him to begin with (exception of Washington Post people noted).

The idea of politics through inaction an stalemate has created more damage than anyone realises and the inaction on matters has the dangers of creating cogs of war that will ruffle both sides of the Persian gulf to the largest degree is now too dangerous. The inaction on Hezbollah, the inaction by the US and Europe now have a lasting impact on the Middle East. When this comes to blow, there is no doubt that Iran will lose, and anyone pushing for stalemate tactics will be recognised and removed from consideration for what could be the largest impulse to a global economy in history, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Qatar are part of that economic pulse and those not part of that will end up going through 2-3 iterations of recession lasting 20+ years. The others will find themselves on an improving economy track and enable themselves on a larger economic scale than before. There is now ample view on the matter to consider that America is steering away from that option for no good reason. When that happens, those who get to be enabled will end up being in a much stronger position. I personally prefer the United Kingdom to be part of that, yet in the end that is a decision they will need to make for themselves.

 

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It is done!

There are a few issues today and the first one is not really an issue, unless you are a movie producer and you are up against Infinity war. I just learned that it smashed the Chinese box office on Friday with an additional $76 million, which makes it surpass both Black Panther and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows part 2. It is now the 8th most successful movie on the planet in the All Time Box Office and that is before the global Saturday revenues are known. I expect it to crush the first Avengers Movie and settle (during the week) on the 5th position. It is the fastest ascension of any movie ever. That is big news, so as per ‘today’ 40% of the top 10 movies ever worldwide are Marvel Productions. I think that the Legacy of Stan Lee is very safe for all time; in addition, I reckon that the Russo brothers will be walking around with that feeling of pride and accomplishment for some time to come. This will not be some DC Marvel comparing; this is a comic book victory that spans 3 generations, and perhaps the setting of an old truth that a dreamer with only $0.25 can conquer the world (small reference to Walt Disney there).

We watched for all kinds of reasons and none of us were disappointed, not even those who went to see it with the silent promise that they could see that Chris Hemsworth is merely slightly less than half the size of Peter Dinklage. We are not even at the halfway point yet! The pressure on part 2 will be overwhelming with every weekend we get towards that point of release, especially those who recognised the message in the teaser at the very end.

But our worlds do not merely revolve on Marvel Production (some need chocolates too), and if it was only so good, it is not, The independent gives us mere hours ago (updated) that in Iran the Clerics are shown to be as simple as one could expect. With the quote “Iranian senior cleric Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami said during Friday prayers that Western pressure will backfire, threatening that Israel will pay the price.” The holy system of Islamic Republic will step up its missile capabilities day by day so that Israel, this occupying regime, will become sleepless and the nightmare will constantly haunt it that if it does anything foolish, we will raze Tel Aviv and Haifa to the ground,” the hard-line cleric said. The warshippers chanted: “Death to America,” and “Death to Israel“.”, it is their invitation to War, they thought they were clever with their ‘Syrian‘ missile attack, but they now have the impeding wrath of the State of Israel, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia who has had their fill of the Yemeni Issues, as well as Iran’s commitment to terrorism and Hezbollah and now that both parties know that the rest of the world is willing to united behind Saudi Arabia and Israel, now they need to cry and scream like little children. It is in that setting that I see the mention of “Antonio Guterres, the UN secretary-general, asked for the halt to avoid “a new conflagration” in the region following the most extensive military exchange between Israel and Iran“, Iran did not listen for the longest of times, during the entire Syrian slaughter the UN was merely a lame duck, an expensive voice that was not listened to at all. So why should anyone listen now? So when we see “we will raze Tel Aviv and Haifa to the ground,” the hard-line cleric said. The worshippers chanted: “Death to America,” and “Death to Israel”“, we see a part that they are still in denial of the Houthi situation. Yet now, after the years of their chants, many are sick of the Iranian debacle, option upon option were given, but the two players in charge of Iran, the clerics and the military are soon to be called to put their money where their mouths are and now, the game changes for them, because as far as I see it, they cannot deliver. The fact that I saw the flaw that ends their navy, they will be on an unbalanced setting, they still have plenty of air force and army, but that too falls against the naval settings of what non-Iranians remains in the Persian Gulf and in that setting they have a much larger disadvantage. Iran must rely on the puppets and tools they had and these players are no longer sure of Iran at all. Iran overplayed their hand!

Sinem Cengiz the Turkish political analyst in Arab News gives us: “Turkey will not be taking sides in the crisis as it is already dealing with the effects of the turbulence affecting its other neighbors, Syria and Iraq. So a third neighbor under sanctions will not serve Turkish interests in the region. A nuclear-armed Iran is not in the interest of Turkey either as it would challenge Ankara’s own regional-power position in the Middle East“, she is not wrong, but I personally do not completely agree. You see, Turkey moved itself into a much higher echelon for its own reasons on Kurds and Kurdistan and the setting in Syria remains provocative. Russia wants the middle mediation spot and Iran thinks that they could still push some for certain agreements. Turkey’s actions could push itself into either directly opposing Iran as it wants to soften the setting with European players, or try approach, which was to make Europe more lenient. I do not think either will work, yet with the US in play, they could be pushed into denying certain settings with Iran. Turkey might not want to take sides and for the short term (4-8 weeks) that could be possible, yet both US and the EU want commitments from the Turkish government, but one that is set against Iran (or at least withdraw completely form that setting), it might be one of the few paths remaining to avoid a direct war and in all that, the others want commitments. The path could be delayed when open hostilities against Hezbollah are chosen, because at this point, such actions need to go without any Iranian support, and in that Turkey would be willing to sacrifice Hezbollah for their own needs. Iran will at some point use them as martyrs, which is fine for some as martyrs can no longer hold guns that is the reality of war!

In this we see support from the Courier Mail, who makes mention of ‘Russia reeling in Iran’, which might prevent worse, which is partially true. The issue is not any of the outside players; the issue is that the Iranian clergy and military have been prepping for the longest time. Now they want to move in and look good, yet the starting signal was not given at the right time, so now their entire strategy is falling upon the floor with no one wanting the visibility of picking that trash up. In this CNBC has its own view (at https://www.cnbc.com/2018/05/09/trump-iran-sanctions-give-saudi-arabia-and-russia-more-clout.html). With “Saudi Arabia said it will help meet world oil demand if President Donald Trump’s Iran sanctions create shortfalls, but analysts say it will do so only in conjunction with Russia, and the world may have to get used to higher prices as a result” they are correct, that is indeed the midterm play that we all face, increasing oil prices and the energy companies will try to cash in on this as soon as possible, even as they have been enjoying cheap oil for years. This strategy works for both Saudi Arabia and Russia on several fronts, there will be no opposing party ready or able to pick up that slack. Their only way to prevent worse is the action offered by Israel, If the Syrian president tells Iran to go home, it would relieve tensions. The question becomes if Syria willing to do just that? There are still scores of Russians there and perhaps Turkey has an option to show willingness to increase troops, which works for them on all but one front, Iran will see this as an act of desertion against the Iranian settings. Iran’s actions or responses cannot be predicted as present. Even a Syria has had issues with the Turkish ties towards the Muslim Brotherhood and as such, it might be the best option, but not one President Assad is willing to consider (personal speculation). It is a Gordian knot of complications at best, cutting it might be the best, but that too might not be seen as a solution for any of those players.

So where is the option to remove the pressures? I am not certain if there are any left, the issue is the pressures are coming from Iran and they are not willing to change for the time being.

For desert

The end of this should be something light and frothy, there is nothing lighter and frothy than a good game and in light of the upcoming war, is that such a bad deal? We have seen all kinds of allegations and leaks. Now that we see a few announcements, and now that we have seen a few things that Sony will be bringing, I am now at a loss how Microsoft will get anywhere with the uphill battle they face this year. It seems to me that the upcoming Book of the dead is doing to PS4 what the initial the Last of Us did to the PS3. It was overwhelming. In addition when we see the Last of Us 2, Ghost of Tsushima, Spiderman, Death Stranding and Book of the dead, realising that at least three of these titles will be released in 2018, one is extremely unlikely to come before 2019 (Death Stranding) and one remains an unknown at present, and that is merely the exclusives. Sony has remastered the Spyro trilogy which will entice a new generation and satisfy the ones who played it on the original PlayStation. There are loads more coming, but this is at present what Nintendo and Microsoft are up against, which in light of the results of God of War is not a good thing to be up against. Now that the Sony gamers have heard that the release of Subnautica on PS4 is more and more imminent; an unknown title (to many) that is merely one of the best survival adventures I ever played and original from beginning to end. So in that view, we see that the other brand has a diminishing level of unique games left and that was never a good thing for any console. In my personal view, there is now only one reason why I still have the Xbox One. It is the one game, the game that I revered ever since I got my fingers on the demo that was added to the PC Format disc, al little over 20 years ago. Take a look at the update of the remastered and remade System Shock (at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lKfnTnZuC5E) where you can see the game in progress and even as it is announced to come to PS4, it is for the time being a lot earlier on Xbox One and PC.

The advantage Microsoft once had is now pretty much gone.

Even as some are all about the gifting a game hype, from my personal experience most people have never given me anything correct when it comes to gaming. Now, in some cases it is indeed nice, but most people prefer to go to shop and get a physical copy of the game. We acknowledge that backward compatibility is a nice setting; there is no denying that, yet over the next year do you want to replay a few good games, or play amazing new games? Backward compatibility is nice to have and an asset, no one denies that, yet the setting of no amazing new games is not something you want to rely on. The Verge actually almost nails it with “The Xbox One is the best console if you don’t care about exclusive new games“, I do agree with the setting, but those exclusives that Sony has is just beyond amazing and Microsoft has nothing to counter that, that is the setting that does matter. Nintendo upped the setting even more with the leak of Pokémon Switch coming this year; this will get millions of 3DS players now update to Switch much faster than initially expected. It gets to be interesting when you consider that Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon sold in excess of 7 million copies. With Pokken on Switch (originally a WiiU title) already out and now the new Pokémon’s coming (I expect at least two), we see that Nintendo is upping the score and the pressure on both Microsoft and Sony.

So even as Verge was almost correct, they missed it that the gamers love exclusive titles and the fact that the Sony players are getting the Switch on the side matters as well, apart from them not getting the XB1 on the side. With 26 titles announced by August 2018, the games list is also impacting the other two. Bethesda is giving Wolfenstein 2 a ‘switch’ over in 7 weeks, The Crash Bandicoot fans get to do it all over again on Switch as well and Capcom is breathing life to Streetfighter with a 30th anniversary edition this month on Switch, yes, my prediction that I made a mere two weeks ago is coming to pass, the worst nightmare for Microsoft is coming, Nintendo and Sony have upped their game and as it is less likely that Microsoft can equal that during the E3; by no more than late August will we see the setting whether the total Nintendo Switch sales will surpass Xbox One total sales by Christmas 2018, it is now becoming increasingly likely that Microsoft Xbox One will grace third position in the console race before December 31st 2018. Microsoft will have to produce a miracle by the end of the year and it better be a lot better than there marketing department hiding behind “All Xbox One games and Microsoft Store PC games are now eligible for digital gifting“, because when I look at AC Origin Gold (AU$145) and Shadow of War Gold (AU$158), I wonder if the people know that these games are around 40Gb to download and a 100% larger if you have 4K capabilities. So not only is it a massive download, the fact that these XB1 consoles have no more than 1TB is also a consideration. Nothing on any of this is a ‘pro’ gamer setting, merely a maximum exploitation setting from Microsoft. And that is even before you realise that a new Shadow of War Gold edition (with Steelbook) is a mere AU$99.95 at EB Games, so, do you still think I am kidding when it comes to Microsoft dropping the ball three times over? Are you kidding with downloading a game at a price that is 50% higher than a physical version in the shops?

Like Iran, Microsoft overplayed their hand way too soon and they are also in the venue of not being able to counter what comes. A setting that they should have avoided, in that light we can compare the Microsoft marketeers with the Iranian clerics, they shout from the highest peaks, but without the support of actual product you end up merely irritating people, which is how I personally see this all.

A desert that was a little less light on the bowels, but in all this we see that some games over the next month will be shown to be not up to the fight against reality and consumerism. Because both rely on smooth sailing and those who have never been hit by internet congestion have for the most never ever used the full setting of it. Until very recently, Sydney NBN users had 4 hours a week of congestion, now consider having to fetch your Sex in the city, the latest movie, download games, watch reality (kitchen) TV and focus on the big footy games. So how welcome was that digital download game to the internet welfare of the family in the end?

 

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