Tag Archives: President Putin

Stopping Slumber, Halting Hesitation

I woke up this morning at 03:30, you see I have messaged that Iran has an impeding missile strike on Israel. Now, in all fairness, ehhh, actually there is none. I got woken up with the prospect that Northern Israel would end up getting hit by missiles. Haaretz gives us some news, yet the validity and value are still in question. Even as we see “Israel has detected unusual involvement by Hezbollah in Iran’s preparations for retaliation, even though the organization has been trying to keep its activity low-profile so as not to affect its position within Lebanon“, as well as “operational planning, however, is being done by members of the Revolutionary Guards’ Quds force” and finally “Iran seeks to settle its open account with Israel, but wants to do so without sparking a war. One possible solution to this dilemma is trying to fire a limited barrage at military targets in northern Israel“. All valid and there is no real arguing on it, but the validity has been hard to confirm. I do understand that the start, which was the attack on April 9th, the airstrike on Syria’s T4 airbase, which killed seven Iranian military advisers and members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards.

This now opens up the second door. You see, these so called ‘advisors’, shall we call them ‘instructors’? Have been doing a lot more than most realise. I personally belief it to be one of 3-4 places where Hezbollah was being trained, one of them would be to train the Hezbollah and optionally Houthi’s in firing missiles towards Riyadh. Iran can shrug its shoulders at accusations of Iranian missiles being fired, should one of the Saudi bombings hit pay dirt and Iranians are found, then the game changes, Iran has been careful to play its cards, it is a game of plausible deniability which they probably got from an episode of the X-Files.

The Haaretz article (at https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-israel-braces-for-iran-missile-attack-from-syria-over-t4-airstrike-1.6060719) gives us a little more than that, especially at the end when we see “Netanyahu will reiterate Israel’s opposition to Iran’s continued military consolidation in Syria and ask Putin to work to prevent it“, that part really works for Russia as they are not happy on the growing influence Iran could get as President Bashar al-Assad needs every friend he can find, yet in Russia’s view they like their ‘friends’ to be singularly focussed on what those ‘friends’ can receive in the form of payable services towards Russia, not handing that cash to Iran. The question is what Russia would want in return. I have no idea. There is little I can offer on that side of Iran, there is no Iranian navy there and my solution was based on sinking their navy (a Saudi issue to be resolved), even as the deployment system is now coming to fruition, I see that there are increasing options to stop Iran in its track. That is the ball game, not on how Israel gets optionally hit (which would be regrettable), but the issue on stopping Iran from playing the game it is.

The India Times had an interesting piece yesterday (at https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/markets/commodities/views/slippery-slope-why-opec-may-struggle-with-new-iran-sanctions/articleshow/64051168.cms). Here we see the article ‘Slippery slope: Why Opec may struggle with new Iran sanctions‘. The quote “President Donald Trump has to decide by May 12 whether to extend waivers on Iranian sanctions, and all the indications are that he won’t. The drop in supply could easily exceed a million barrels a day, if the president decides to impose extra-territorial sanctions on anyone doing business with Iran — would-be buyers could decide that the safest course is to shun the country’s oil“, it sounds nice, yet in the end, Iran could still sell oil to Russia and when that happens, China will open up to receive their share (at premium discount that is), so even as Iran ends up selling at a discount to these two players, they will get the financial relief that they need and in that Iran can keep on playing its games and that is the part that needs to stop. We have seen the ‘regard’ President Putin has for President Trump, so there will be little to stop them there and when that happens and the oil market gets flooded with the optional 5 million barrels per day that Iran can produce, the oil prices would tumble again, which is nice for some, but the consumer tends to not see those benefits, so there will be a growing issue on the players who are pushed into a pressure setting. Even as we see “Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman told Bloomberg in April 2016 that his country could raise output to 11.5 million barrels a day immediately; lifting it to 12.5 million barrels would take six to nine months” and their willingness to produce more, especially in light of moving away from oil dependency, we much wonder how it will fare. You see as Russia, China, Turkey and optionally South Korea end up with the additional oil, oil that Iran will pump into the industry, the US ends up having no stick to work with and that is where Iran ends up in an partially optional win- win situation, one that both Israel and Saudi Arabia are not happy with. Yemen has no vote in this as the Houthi’s are watching that population die. So when we saw “Nearly a third of Yemen’s population – 8.4 million of its 29 million people – rely completely on food aid or else they would starve” last week, we seem to feel impervious to the needs there, we merely watch the news as it is one of the two most horrific settings of humanitarian disasters in history. The mere news of another ‘cholera epidemic’ hits us, but it somehow does not register. As we vaccinated our populations seeing cholera near extinction, we forget that it is still a global issue, the fact that it causes massive dehydration as a side effect makes it a lot worse anywhere in the Middle East. It is in that setting that the Iranian backing of the Houthi’s needs to be seen and even as they go all Italian with ‘I know nothing‘, the issues are growing and the games that Iran is playing will have repercussions, the moment one missile actually hits a populated part of Riyadh and the camera’s show the scores of casualties, that is when all bets are off and it will be a full scale war in the Middle East, whatever Iran states then will fall on empty ears and the bombing of someplace called Tehran will not be out of the question, the good news is that there are only 8 million Iranians there, so the number of casualties would be contained, the other 90% might not have anything to fear.

Apparently that is what Iran is hoping for, it is the price of playing the game via puppets.

All these sides matter, because one successful strike on Northern Israel will change the game, Iran forgot that the puppet game comes at a price and even as they are all in denial by calling instructors ‘military advisors’, the setting is that they were training terrorists to be more ‘effective’ in their job. The last part can only be argued to some part, the impact in the changing timelines and the thousands of Yemeni’s near dying constitutes as evidence here and that needs to be taken into account. The NY Times gave us a mere hour ago https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/06/world/middleeast/israel-iran-nuclear-deal.html. Here we see a few issues and most of it has been seen in other news, yet with “The country’s currency, the rial, has lost around 35 percent of its value since his re-election in May last year, and his popularity has slipped among the middle classes for having failed to achieve some of the economic and social changes he promised“, we do not see the failure of President Rouhani, we see the optional opportunity for the more extremely outspoken military leaders to take control and do exactly what we need to not happen. When we realise the US setting “Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has forbidden his diplomats from engaging with American officials on any subject outside of the nuclear talks, but at quarterly meetings on the deal’s status, U.S. and Iranian diplomats have used the opportunity to conduct sideline discussions on matters of shared concern. These meetings are currently the only points of direct and official contact between the governments” that the US needs, we need to understand that there are two versions in play. Al Jazeera (at https://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/military-coup-iran-180424144510759.html) gives one view with “It is amid these heightened tensions that the possibility of a coup against the current government, whose term expires in 2021, has arisen. There are already some signs that the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) could be moving in that direction if Ayatollah Khamenei orders them to do so“, I believe that part to be incomplete (read: inaccurate). The part I see is not merely the defensive based words that Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is speaking, which are valid for any politician to speak when they are speaking out in regards to their nation in defence. Al Arabiya gave us “A video surfaced of Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei’s top adviser for international affairs, Akbar Ali Velayati, in Syria’s Ghouta on Wednesday getting a report on the developments of the war-stricken area from an Assad military official” a month ago, yet in all this, there is a supporting view from the Tasnim News agency, the Iranian news agency that the quote “According to the Iranian Tasnim news agency, the Syrian foreign minister, Walid al-Muallem, received Velayati on Wednesday morning and they discussed the political developments in the country. Velayat confirmed Iran’s support for the Assad regime during the discussion, the news agency reported” is also linked to the impeding strikes on Syrian bases with Iranian Revolutionary Guard members. Even as the reference was towards the US at the time, I am certain that the discussion had been on how Iran would be retaliating at that time. So the setting of their actions, whilst they were knowingly preparing and training terrorists on the responses in both Israel and Yemen gives rise that the connection between Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and the Iranian military is closer and stronger than either of them ever had for President Rouhani, that is the setting and even as both ‘tolerated’ the elected president, they have been ready to go it alone (read: without the current president) and as such, whomever replaces that person will be either deeply religious or massively military, either path does not bode well or either Israel, Yemen and optionally Saudi Arabia. Now it is in that setting we return to the setting with former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. I actually warned on this danger a year ago, not a week or a month, no, a year ago (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2017/05/30/the-hard-line-path/) where the setting as stated in the article ‘The hard-line path‘, is now becoming a reality, even as the details might differ a little, it is exactly as Dr. Majid Rafizadeh, a leading expert on Iran and US foreign policy and president of the International American Council predicted. I saw that same danger. It is actually the same General Amir Ali Hajizadeh that I mentioned then who is now implied in all this by the Times of Israel with “Israel believes Iran’s retaliatory effort is being led by Major General Qassem Soleimani, the head of the IRGC’s Quds Force, which operates around the world, with assistance from the head of the IRGC air corps, Brig. Gen. Amir Ali Hajizadeh“, it reflects on last year with the quote “the commander Brigadier General Amir Ali Hajizadeh, is the very same person who boasted rocket aid to Hezbollah as well as the mention that the Iranian missiles can reach Israel“, so after a year it has all come to fruition, in all this was President Rouhani merely the accepted play toy of these two ‘extreme Iranian nationalists’? We cannot make the leap that this has been in preparation for over a year, but the model fits awkwardly well and as such we need to set the need of what to expect and how to counter that. That brings me to the issue I had, you see Iran feels safe because of its navy and air force, both are nothing to be sneered at, but if we remove their navy, they might just open the door for actual real talks and alleviate the pressure against both Israel and Saudi Arabia. It would even be better if Israel removes that threat called Hezbollah, even if merely for the reason that when a puppet is removed, we might actually achieve something in Yemen and get true humanitarian aid up and running, in that we are still confronted with the UAE presence, but there are too many question marks on the reasons there (read: I actually did not read up on that part of the equation).

We need to stop dozing off, the largest extent of the Middle East is that we idly stood by and did nothing, the Syrian people as well as the Yemeni ones are not happy, because they suffered needlessly for years. The EU all talk and no action has been regarded as one that merely acts on economic needs, that part can be accepted as gospel. Yet that will never be a suitable solution and that is why we need to change, we need to get awake and become hungry for solutions, a hunger we have not seen since 2004, when the bulk of greedy CEO’s saw their income/fortune diminish by 72.6%. Would it not be great if that hunger exists for humanitarian welfare?

So even as it is 7:45:32 later, there is still no strike at present, or it is perhaps in mid-flight, no matter what, we have mere hours to find an actual solution in all this, and it needs to start by stating beyond mere sanctions that Iran is in a stage where it is invoking anger through what should be regarded as clear acts of war. We have played the ‘diplomatic game‘ for far too long with some of the players, it is time to change the game and let people know that in the end when talks are proven to be useless, action must be taken, we merely have no options left, because when this escalates it will truly be an escalation that will end up far beyond Iranian and Middle Eastern borders, that is the greater evil we must now prevent.

Even as the Jerusalem Post is now giving us (a mere 30 minutes ago) that ‘PM Netanyahu Will Be Judged By How Israel Confronts Iran Militarily‘, yet that article also gives one light that is perhaps not the one we wanted to see. With “The spies (Mossad) in February 2016 reportedly discovered a warehouse located in the Shorabad district of the Iranian capital where the documentation was being stored; kept the building under surveillance for two years; and, recently, devised an operation to break into the structure and smuggle back to Israel half a ton of material in less than 24 hours“, in addition we see “This was perhaps the greatest intelligence operation in history, as I do not remember any instance when a complete archive was moved from one part of the world to another“, you see that is the one part that makes no sense, it gives rise to the Iranian defence when we see ““Anyone who says there is nothing new in the material we showed has not seen the material,” Mr. Netanyahu said, days after exposing Israel’s acquisition of a huge archive of stolen Iranian nuclear plans, mostly relating to a covert bomb-making project that was halted in 2003” (source: NY Times), which is still partially an issue, yet if it was halted in 2003, it makes sense to be in some archive after 15 years, so unless there is clear evidence in those documents that nuclear technology is still worked on covertly at the present, we need to give way in both directions. I do not oppose any actions against terrorists, yet going to war over 15 year old documents without proper intelligence on any clear and present danger from Iran, nuclear or not is also a fools path into the sleepy village of ‘no resolution ever‘, we need not become mayor to that place and even as we might lower dangers with firm actions against Iran, it needs to be proportionately or we are not asleep at the wheel, we are merely comatose re-actionists to a situation that does not actually exist, which might end up being more dangerous beyond the short term.

So as we are awake we need to take firm action, I am still in mind of removing Hezbollah permanently of the tactical board. It would be good for Lebanon to find its own way, not poised at the pointing of a gun, it would be good for Yemen and when Iran cannot use Hezbollah it needs to do things out in the open, something that they are very unwilling to do, so tactically that first move makes perfect sense. It lowers the national stresses in both Israel and Saudi Arabia, I see no down side at all (which is a fortunate rarity) from there we can see what happens next, because without the puppet in the game, Iran might actually consider true talks, not merely delays during a missile convoy, which would please the diplomats all over the region.

Am I correct in all this? I believe I am as I have supporting evidence going back a year, yet there remains the interactions of perception, principles and presentation. I merely show my side, and I have never claimed that I do not make mistakes and in light of the actions I illuminate that needs to remain at the very front of the line, in the end I might just be wrong.

 

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Slicing the Tiramisu

Perhaps you remember the old days, the days where France was ruled by Marie-Antoinette, as well as King Louis XVI. In days of hunger she stated “Qu’ils mangent de la brioche”, or for those who did not serve in Etrangere: “Let them eat cake”. Yes those were the good days. It was 1789 (it was April if I remember correctly). It was around the day when those bloody colonials (now known as Americans) inaugurated George Washington as the first President of the United States of America. You see, nowadays we fend of hunger by wallowing in greed, to set our stepping stones towards gaining a piece of the action, any action and what I predicted (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2018/02/24/losing-values-towards-insanity/) in ‘Losing values towards insanity‘, is now turning into a reality. You see, when I stated on February 24th “Both Yevgeniy Prigozhin and Dmitry Utkin are now perfectly placed to rake in billions” is now as we see in the Washington Post (at https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/iran-russia-and-turkey-meet-over-syrias-future-as-trump-mulls-troop-withdrawal/2018/04/04/c607e27c-3770-11e8-af3c-2123715f78df_story.html) becoming a reality. With the quote “The three presidents — including Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey, Iran’s Hassan Rouhani and Russia’s Vladimir Putin — gathered in the Turkish capital, Ankara, where they pledged to cooperate on reconstruction and aid” we see the present escalate for the facilitation towards President Assad, whilst they now are willing to state “The leaders called for more support from the international community and emphasized their opposition to “separatist agendas” in Syria“, you see now that they are at the table getting rich the rest of the Syrian oversight will be costly thing and now they are willing to let the US and the EU pick up the bill for those costs. It is the price of doing business with the wrong party, or basically staying out of it all.

In addition, with “It was the second time that Erdogan, Putin and Rouhani have met in recent months to discuss the conflict, underscoring those tensions and the extent to which U.S. power has waned in the region“, which is not news, it is a clear sign of making all the wrong choices and the US is about to make a few more. In regards of Syria, I do stand with President Trump. You see, the title ‘As Trump talks of leaving Syria, his top commander in the Middle East emphasizes the need to stay‘ (also the Washington Post) is deceptive, dangerous and not too bright. I do sympathise with General Joseph L. Votel, head of U.S. Central Command. His statement “A lot of very good military progress has been made over the last couple of years, but the hard part, I think, is in front of us,” is correct. Yet now that the Russians have delivered, the US is at the political mercy of the steps taken by President Rouhani, President Erdogan and President Putin. Each of these players with their own needs to play their games with the U.S. in any way they can and as much as possible. Turkey wants the EU membership, whilst knowingly endangering the EU values forever, Iran wants whatever Iran can lay their fingers on and Putin wants to screw with the Americans for all he can. So any US presence is like walking through a minefield day in day out for months, even years. In addition, there is no evidence that the rebels will ever stop, they will come back and by letting the Russians and Iranians and Turks take those reprisal blows is not the worst idea to have. The wise play is to move out of Syria altogether, the US can only lose here, it is almost the certainty of facing a ‘lose-lose’ situation whilst every blow delivered to the US will mean that the Russians and their Megaline LLC (or known as the delicious cake makers Prigozhin and Utkin).

It will rake in the massive wealth that they will most likely share with President Putin and a few of their friends on the inside. There is every chance that this is the year is the year where Yevgeniy Prigozhin becomes the second most important man in Russia for a very long time and with every contract that they score and deliver to the Syrian government means an additional ascension of his stardom. With the US gone they will actually have to deal with the matters themselves and as the EU stays out, their goose will be partially cooked with every act of retaliation the defeated rebels successfully make. The UK with the entire bungled Salisbury events are only the icing on the cake that Putin is lashing out with for all to see in the media. The fact that he is calling for the joint investigations on several levels whilst there is enough indications that his involvement might never be proven is one part that also works against the UK and the EU. There was never any doubt that Russia created and developed the Novichoks and as the world is seeing what a mess the OPCW and the SAB made of it all merely intensifies the need for other players to get their fingers on this technology and learn skills they never wanted earlier. That part was invigorated by the outspoken misses of the Porter Down and the bunny jumps by Gary Aitkenhead stating “we have provided the scientific information to the government, who have then used a number of other sources to piece together the conclusions that they have come to” only made matters worse. So the Russians are now slicing their Tiramisu which they will share (to some extent) with Iran and turkey, but the message is clear, the US lost massively here and staying behind is not a wise choice (as I personally see it). You see, I do respect the view of General Votel. Even as President Trump thinks short term (his ‘reign’) and General Votel has the right long term strategy view, It is the Trump action that is the wisest one. Syria is about to become cold war territory and the US military is not ready and even nowhere near trained to get into that field. The fallout of such strategic blunders would haunt anyone serving there for a very long time to come. In addition I think it is what the Syrians deserve, they wanted this, so let it be maintained in a ‘cleaned’ state by Russian troops. The US gearing up optionally against Iran by standing next to Saudi Arabia and gaining a better profile in that way is a much better option. It allows for a better humanitarian standing as they set their sights on Yemeni relief is a better option, it will set them against Iran, which is good, because at that point Iran will either back down against Saudi Arabia, or face the wrath of the Saudi, US and Israeli forces which would be quite the show, and I would love to test (for a fee of course) that solution I designed to sink the Iranian fleet (but that is merely my sense of humorous ego).

The second reason is that ISIS might have been dealt serious blows, but they are not out of the fight. The Sinai is merely one focal point, the fact that they are also in Yemen makes for a strategic need for the US to see if they can operate from Saudi Arabia. It would allow for other means to deal with ISIS and for the US to gain a much better foothold in the Middle East. With Saudi Arabia moving well over 500 billion towards a futuristic NOAM, the US have a lot more to gain, doing so before Russia gets options in NOAM is again the wise strategy to follow.

In the second view, it sickens me that ‘after the war‘ we are suddenly ‘allowed‘ to give what the Syrian four now regard as ‘aid’. That was a step they should have allowed 6 years ago. Let them solve it themselves now and live with the consequences of that aftermath and the costs that come with them.

They can have the cake, the crumbs and the table it stands on, that whilst we know that there are several players eager to set fire to that table whilst the 4 rulers are trying to eat the cake. Setting the US and the EU up as a decoy whilst they eat all the cake is a little too distasteful to my liking.

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A political triptych

Whenever I see a trilogy I remember my first introduction to something in three parts. They were the works of Hieronymus Bosch. My earliest recollection of them was seeing his work with my own eyes when I was around 12 years old, making ‘triptych’ the most expensive word in my vocabulary in those early years. The events that have been at the centre of our lives lately seem to reflect the chaos we see in these famous triptychs.

First there is the issue I described earlier this week in ‘Here come the Drums!’. Russia has had an opportunity to throw ‘its’ image in several ways. Not because of me or because of the image it needs to have, but because of the image that it could have regardless of what the US claimed it to be. I was wrong! Whether Putin is as stupid as the US makes him out to be, or whether his advisers are working on self-serving needs is something only historians can decide upon. The fact that we see massive amounts of evidence that the local Donetsk population is giving the internet, the initial view (at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7fjpB5gw3iM) was nothing compared towards the anger we see clips where people are going through the debris (at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XGzcHd118mM). There were additional clips on how people were cheering on downing a plane and other issues of utter disrespect, which seems to have been removed from YouTube and seem too outrageous to add to this blog.

I should also revisit the comparison that I made with the question: ‘A lawyer walks into an insane asylum and hands an inmate a gun, who then kills the Warden of that place. Who is to blame?‘, I still feel it is relevant. The question was who supplied the BUK system, was it Russian, or was it captured? You see, in BOTH cases the international authorities should have been alerted to the dangers the area brought. It was the leaked conversation that angered many (including me). “Nikolay Kozitsin: That means they were carrying spies. They shouldn’t be f_cking flying. There is a war going on“, this baboon, or better stated, this baboon on Lysergic acid diethylamide is an army commander?

The fact that it was at an altitude of 30,000 feet should have been an indication that it could have been non-military. The events that follow, to the massive acts of disrespect and legal transgressions should have been a clear indicator that Russia should have stepped away from all this seems abundantly clear. Head my words, I am not stating that Russia had done anything wrong, the mere fact that it did not speak out loudly towards this transgression tarnishes them on (an undeserved) equal footing as Commander Nikolay Kozitsin. President Putin should have seen that one coming a mile away. This is nothing compared to the stupidity by Sky News shown on the Guardian (at http://www.theguardian.com/media/2014/jul/20/sky-news-presenter-brazier-mh17-luggage-crash), where Colin Brazier shows himself to be more ignorant then a first year Journalism student. His actions were met with outrage by fellow presenters Jacqui Oatley and Shelagh Fogarty. There is one correction that must be made, the initial information I had, was that the Data Flight Recorders (black boxes) were on route to Russia, whilst the information I currently have is that they had only recently been taken to Donetsk (at http://www.smh.com.au/world/mh17-black-boxes-under-rebel-watch-in-donetsk-according-to-separatist-leader-20140721-zv4lg.html). It seems only correct that I alter that part here.

There is another side to all this, as we see (at http://www.smh.com.au/world/john-kerry-says-us-has-enormous-amounts-of-evidence-linking-russia-with-mh17-disaster-20140721-zv4mz.html) that the MH17 disaster is linked to Russia, there are still questions that give worry to this. Yes, I agree that in my view Russia bares definite responsibility, not just by the possible SAM delivery (as the original is still in question), but the fact that the pro-Russian separatists were not stricken down in a verbal lashing from the Kremlin to give full cooperation, which is a much heavier transgression. Consider that these ‘pro-Russians’ would not listen, accept, or heed the words from Moscow; does that not make them simple terrorists? If that would be the case, how could Russia consider not distancing themselves from this disaster from the very first moment the events took place? If Russia is in league with these terrorists, then was the downing of MH17 not a clear act of war?

Is at the centre of it all?

Consider the financial situation the USA is currently facing, it is broke, which means it has no way to feed the war industry, which gives Moscow a distinctive advantage, if we accept that neither wants to go nuclear any day soon, then the acts of ‘sanctions’ is pretty much the biggest artillery the west can muster at present, even as we continue to see the results of acts within Donetsk. It is harder to tell whether I am right or wrong (I could be either), yet the inactions in Syria and now Eastern Ukraine seems to show a lack of directive from all NATO parties (not just the US). This all gives shape to the art on the left side of the Triptych.

The next issue is the one I also briefly touched upon, it is the escalating issues in Gaza, where it seems more and more clear that Israel has had enough of the threat Hamas has made over the last few years and the loss of support that Hamas is enjoying, as well as the US no longer having a clear and powerful hold over the region on an economic base is also a cause for Hamas to wonder whether their approach to issues would ever have worked to begin with. Now that Egypt is distancing itself more and more from Hamas, they are now hoping for a resolution through Qatar, where they seem to hope that the UN will be able to find options with the help of Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani. The Sheik is a diplomatic force to be reckoned with, as a Sandhurst graduate, which is regarded as the finest military officer’s education in the world. The only issue that would remain is whether Hamas is in any way entitled to such distinctive representation. In one way, it might actually result in actual cease fire talks between Hamas and Israel; it is however also one of the final straws Hamas has left, if they decide to break that truce in any way, the results could not just end Hamas, it might actually end the options for any Palestinian Gaza. It could result in the biggest poker hand the Middle East has seen in a few decades. That and the option that progress could be in result will only emphasize the amounts of power lost to the US (who was utterly unable to make any headway here). It will also strengthen Qatarian influence over a larger portion of the Middle East, which could be exactly why Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani might consider to assist in the matter as well as the motto he trained under ‘Serve to Lead‘. Achieving that might just leave the Academy General’s bursting with pride (the General who was leading the academy when the Sheik was a student there). If we go back to the Triptych, then this would be right side of the Triptych. So what is at the centre?

These two sides are linked to a much larger painting in the middle. It is without a doubt the economic sides we have seen overwhelming the left and the right side. It is not the economy of missile systems (which might be an implied reference), but it is the economic powers that are too scared to lose it all in a war, which is of course the smallest of reasons to consider war over, but it is a factor none the less. More important, it is the diminished economic power of the US that is centre on all this. It would be unfair to just refer to the US here, but the bulk of the EEC is in a worse shape than the US currently is, so that is why the US is still the central element in all this. Their inability to get control of their overspending is a massive reason for the ‘blame’ towards the US. But let us not forget that the UK is not without blame either. In its current shape (especially the massive debt) the UK is also lacking in power to set for the ‘demanding’ (or better stated ‘intensely requesting’) image that should be given towards Eastern Ukraine and Israel/Hamas in these matters. Even if we give the proper weight to the Guardian article on the GDP of the United Kingdom (at http://www.theguardian.com/business/2014/jul/20/gdp-surpass-pre-financial-crisis-level), the headline ‘GDP to surpass pre-financial crisis levels‘ is just an indicator and even though I admit that the UK is still getting back on the horse, the issue ‘ignored’ for now is that Gross Domestic Product is no real indicator of better times, only for now that this seems to indicate good times for the ‘rich’. People in the UK are still on massive levels of debt and that is not likely to change any day soon. There is still a shortage on jobs and those who do have a job are inclined to go along with outrageous amounts of legalised slave labour. Freedom comes at a price, or better stated, when big business rules (or massively influences) the actions of government, we see an unbalanced view on life and every inch they do not claim will come at another cost.

Here we see the elements of a triptych by Hieronymus Bosch. Either of the famous three of his triptychs could apply to the chaotic mess we are all facing. In the end there is enough imagery to debate which one is the best depiction. The economic sector would argue that we are in the triptych ‘The Garden of Earthly Delights‘, whilst the people under the pressures of this economy will counter that their fate is shown by the triptych ‘The Last Judgment‘. The view also reinforces the views outsiders have towards the entire economy. Partaking in it will always be better than watching the result on the outside looking in, because those on the outside will never get to partake in the game at all.

2014 might end up being a very decisive year for many of us!

 

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Strongarm, Intimidate, Terrorise

As we see the news of sanctions hitting our eyes via the news on TV, the Newspapers and the internet, some will conclude that the third cold war is now officially starting. Yet, some might have the question within their minds ‘who has the moral high ground?’, or better yet, what brought these escalations about?

Now, I have missed the cold war, whether you stare through a sniper scope overlooking Lakhta air base in a video game, or those who needed to take another look at the Arkhangelsk naval base because they serviced the Typhoons (in 1983 a genuine bringer of nightmares to NATO). The Cold War was a war, but one with its own rules, regulations, needs and wants.

But is this the same as the first or the second cold war? The first cold war was in itself about a disagreements in Ideology, there was however another side to it all. This was basically a pissing contest between the Kremlin and the White House on who was trained better, tools were the best and who got away with the most. The 70’s as it was depicted by John Le Carre with ‘the Circus’ and the after the fact knowledge that several members at the top of MI-6 had a better knowledge of Russian then those living in Moscow. Even with that set back, I always felt that the NATO side was victorious! I missed most of it and did not get hit with events until 1982-1984.

This new cold war we are about to face is something different. This is a lot less about ideology and a lot more about the greed of a chosen few. Let us take a look at the Ukraine and the Crimea region. Most will not remember the original Crimean War, even though one of the most famous names in history had her origin there. It was Florence Nightingale; slightly less famous was Mary Seacole who also earned her a place in the history books. In those days the direct reason for the war that was there was all about religion, specifically on access of the holy places in what is now called Israel (an area that was in those days part of the Ottoman Empire). It is the one time that the Russian Navy got it hide tanned (not the best moment in Russian Naval History), even though it held out for a year, dealing with England, France and the Ottoman Empire was a cake that turned out to be slightly too large for them.

I think it is important to ‘trivialise’ that part. It should also be noted that Russia started this fight with the Ottoman Empire because Russia held that it had a right to protect the Orthodox Christians. These events are important, as those contained the darkest days for the Russian Navy.

Now when we go to today we have other issues to content with. Crimea has always been a cultural hot potato. It will take too long to explain the issues (and I am not an expert in that regard), there are several ties that were severed when Khrushchev placed it all within the border of the Ukraine; he never considered the idea that Ukraine would be anything but part of the ‘Russian brotherhood’.

It is the changes in the Ukraine that are at the centre of the Crimean escalation. As I see the Russian side, it seems to me that this would happen no matter what. The entire issue with the Black Sea navy has never been regarded positively by the Ukraine. The issues there have been going on for almost 7 years now, even though Ukraine has valid reasons for ‘demanding’ certain changes, it is a little far-fetched for Russia to accept the security of its Navy (the Black Sea Fleet) thought the Ukrainian security services. If America has any objections in that regard, then consider the issues several people had in the past with the ‘idiots’ patrolling and guarding at the US part of Soesterberg Air base, I had more than one issue with a few US guards, even though I was on the other side of the fence wearing a Dutch uniform.

So, we can agree that like the Americans, the Russians will not trust the guarding and protection of their defence forces by ‘outsiders’. This is one of the issues, which are at the very heart of this. The second one is one I discussed in an earlier blog named ‘Hot air for the Ukraine‘ on March 1st. The EEC is too much about adding new members and not about maintaining and setting a stable financial and economic platform. That part has been proven by many, but the issue goes wider (at http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/survey/so/2014/car030514a.htm). The IMF is still finalising the fact finding mission and the amount needed for the Ukraine substantial. Another issue in this regard can be found at Reuters where we see the following quote “If the West wants Ukraine to align with them rather than Russia they will have to offer a carrot and the carrot could be better terms on the debt” (at http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/03/17/us-ukraine-crisis-debt-idUSBREA2G0E020140317)

And why does the west want this, Economic prosperity? Ukraine has a massive amount of debt! The only consequence many will initially see is that Ukrainians will suddenly relocate by droves of thousands to get that better future in the west (which is fair enough). That pressure gets added to the issues already dragging many down in Western Europe which are still unstable at present, so adding nations with bad budgets whilst the rest remains in a bad shape is just bad politics and bad judgement. Another view from the IMF can be seen in the Reuters article (at http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/02/25/us-ukraine-crisis-imf-idUSBREA1O1DT20140225)

The IMF has consistently said that Ukraine’s economic policies would create unsustainable large external and fiscal imbalances. It has called on Kiev to cut its large fiscal deficit, phase out energy subsidies, strengthen the banking sector, and allow the exchange rate to fall. A freely floating hryvnia currency and higher domestic gas prices are unpopular steps previously rejected by the Kiev

So they want money, but are unwilling to do what needs to be done? How is this in any way a good deal in any shape or form? I will grant that energy prices will always be unpopular, but this is all about a change where the government does not want change to begin with.

Now we get to the good stuff, namely intimidate and terrorise. These are basically synonyms for strongarming, and now it is the west doing this. Sky News reported that more sanctions are in place (at http://news.sky.com/story/1227143/ukraine-sanctions-target-putin-aides)

So basically, individuals are now targeted for alleged involvement of government actions. Is this even legal? It is interesting that these events are calling for sanctions. Consider that in the US one in seven lives below the poverty line. Now also consider the events as we saw the hard working people at Wal-Mart getting hit financially, needing food stamps and needing government support, whilst the owners are multi billionaires. Unless the Honorable African American in charge in the White House (aka President Barack Obama) is a coward, I hereby officially demand and he should officially call for similar sanctions which are to be placed against the members of the Walton family! I understand that sanctions are a tactical choice, yet to ignore your home base, whilst going after a few individuals (whose guilt is still officially in question) is nothing less than a joke. The fact that the advisors are hit with sanctions, yet, the person in charge (President Putin) is not getting any sanctions makes the joke even more pathetic.

Another issue we should not ignore is that the bulk of the people in Crimea WANT to be part of Russia. Now, that would never be my personal choice and I believe it is the choice of many non-Crimean not to go that path, but the idea that their choice is not the choice of the USA and the EEC and therefor rejected is a laughing matter, where is THEIR freedom of choice? In opposition, I do have an issue with the legality of that part too. I do acknowledge that Crimea is part of the Ukraine, yet the Ukraine is ‘only’ 72 years old. The issues we now see in Belgium as that nations is likely to split into two parts, whilst that nations is a lot older then the Ukraine is not causing this level of concern (mainly because it hasn’t happened yet). In my view, it seems a lot more legal if Crimea became independent. Consider the immediate consequence of that act. If the referendum is regarded as illegal, what will happen and what will the reaction be as referendums are called over the next 3 years as parties decide to secede from the EEC/Euro, as these requests are called for by Nigel Farage (UKIP/UK), Geert Wilders (PVV/NL) and Marine Le Penn (FN/FR). Will we suddenly see calls for illegality by the USA and the IMF? Consider that, because these steps are likely to push the EEC and therefor the USA over the edge of bankruptcy.

As a ‘supporter’ of the cold wars, tactically the entire escalation works nicely for NATO. If Ukraine does enter the EEC, then it comes with a nice ‘free’ naval base in a perfectly placed tactical position, with direct striking capabilities on several Russian fronts (still surprised that Russia is so against it?).

My issue remains that the power players in this game are all motivated by greed. You do not give out 35 billion unless you get 70-135 billion in return. The Ukraine does not have such economic prospects in any near future. Consider in addition that once this happens, the cheap gas deal that the Ukraine currently has will then is also be null and void, which means that the people in the Ukraine will have to content with an energy price hike of at least 20%. Look at your own heating bills (especially in the UK). How does it feel to pay 20% more?

The last side to the Ukraine is one that will hit all Europeans (and Americans). Please do not take my word for that, the paper was written by Anna Yemelianova and is called ‘A Diagnosis of Corruption in Ukraine‘ (at http://www.againstcorruption.eu/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/WP-14-Diagnosis-of-Corruption-in-Ukraine-new.pdf). You see, the big business boffins currently whispering into the ears of government officials in the west tend to ignore issues that do not cause THEM any grief, but those who pay their taxes and small businesses alike will get to deal with this to some degree in one way or another. From the very beginning of that paper where we see “Ukraine is a country is with wide scale and systemic corruption which makes a crucial influence on the economic, political, social and other spheres of public life“, it will be clear that whatever you pump into their economy, a percentage will end up with a man like Semion Yudkovich Mogilevich, a man who should be regarded as one of the most powerful men (some state the most powerful man) in the history of the Russian Mafia. Consider the end of the report where it states “21% of respondents in Ukraine reported paying a bribe in the past 12 months according to Transparency International Global Corruption Barometer 2009“.

This gives a clear indication, I might even state, this is in my personal view clear evidence that the numbers reported towards the IMF in regards to the economic support is underestimated by at least 30%. I will be bold enough to take my view one step further. When the Russian powerbase walks away, the floodgates that minimised some of this form of damage will be gone completely. It is a side that so many ignore, yet, when people in the News in the UK and the Netherlands read about these ‘Romanian gangs’, take heed for what happens when the Ukraine is added to the mix. These events are easily ignored by the power players as they remain out of reach, but the rest of the people in those area’s (99.98443213% roughly) will become a target one way or another.

Am I against the Ukraine joining the EEC? No, as I stated, it is about the freedom of choice. I do however have several reservations on why certain elements want to Ukraine to become part of the EEC no matter the cost. They have certain intentions and the press seems to be taking extreme care not to go anywhere near that part of the equation.

So who is strongarming, who is intimidating and who is terrorising? Three answers that call for a name, an entity or an organisation. So who exactly are the players and why are we seeing way too little on certain sides in the press?

 

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The empty stage

That was the view I had at 05:00 when I woke up switching on Sky News. As I was still dealing with painkillers it was all there was to do. Until the painkillers kick in, whatever I try to focus on will not be successful. It is an anchor weighing me down and in my entire life I have never taken that much chemicals. I will go further in stating that the amount of painkillers used in the last two weeks outstrips the sum of all painkillers used in the past 50 year. My life sucks for now!

Now Secretary of State John Kerry enters the stage.

His speech is focussing on the fact that we all have our own opinions, yet we do not all have our own facts. It is about the evidence of Sarin. The UN report confirms that this was the case. We knew all that. His report is now on the view that it was all the fault of Assad. This is all an emotional speech on how it is all the fault of Assad.

I need another painkiller!

The UN report, as reported by others are all about the fact that Sarin was used, yet the UN report as stated by others did not state WHO was the one that fired these missiles. Am I watching another spin report, all about emotion and posturing? This should still be about removing the chemical weapons, which I agree with is a needed thing. Yet, the theatre unfolding now is about other things. It is about the binding resolution! Should I now see this as a secretary of state throwing the equivalent of a tantrum?

No it is not! Apparently the US side parties involved want to bind this under Chapter 7 so that the resolution is binding. And again China and Russia are possible standing as a barricade in these times that require solutions. It seems that Russia is still playing politics (as a politician would), but this is about a lot more than just the chemical weapons I reckon. Like a chess player President Putin is moving his pieces little by little. Is he keeping his ‘friend’ out of harm’s way, or is he trying to guarantee a multi-billion dollar deal with President Assad? If that is so, he could end up with a 3.75% commission (which is the average commission for a junior salesperson), adding up to an easy $5 million, which is not a bad day’s work. Can I please get a spokesperson position at $250,000 a year?
I need the income!

So we are looking at a play to set the binding resolution through application of enforcement measures under Chapter VII. This part contains Articles 39 to 51. This is the part that Assad would not like. The binding resolution means that President Assad could be taken towards a time line, if ignored, or if stall tactics are shown then a military option opens up as can be read in Article 45 ‘In order to enable the United Nations to take urgent military measures, Members shall hold immediately available national air-force contingents for combined international enforcement action. The strength and degree of readiness of these contingents and plans for their combined action shall be determined within the limits laid down in the special agreement or agreements referred to in Article 43, by the Security Council with the assistance of the Military Staff Committee.

Why am I on the fence? The simple truth is that the Russian claim that the attack was a provocation, fired by the opposition forces is not that unreal. There is supporting evidence of two kinds.

The first is that the locations of the chemical weapon stacks are not all known. For all we know the opposition have been by chemical location for some time. The second part is that I have had my reservations why Al-Qaeda would get involved in a situation where they are on the same side as America. That never made sense. What we know about AQ is that they are about them and their needs. Since when was their position ever on the side of ‘another’ population (read the Syrian people)? I cannot claim mastery of knowledge here, I could be wrong. Yet the tactical position they have to find weapons against Israel and America would be too appealing. The fact that AQ provoked an act that gets America in another war, possible drawing Israel in as well was not that bad a strategy. It seems to have worked. So is the Sarin the baton that is getting passed on and on? Let’s not forget that the AQ is a party of interest in all of this, so whatever we think is going on is less clear then most suspect.

If we know that the Syrian forces had certain equipment, is it a possibility that they had been captured? The part I have an issue with is that with all those satellites, no one is watching the events in Syria, if so, then where is that footage? John Kerry made the quote “There is no indication, none, that the opposition is in possession, or has launched a CW variant of these rockets” it seems to be a reflection on the 122mm improvised rocket. The fact that he speaks of ‘indication‘ means that either he has no INTEL on this (or was handed it), or no one was able to record this. With all those satellites in orbit, this is an issue that I have a problem with.

I reckon that the satellite views do exist, but there is likely not enough information proving which party instigated these fireworks. If so, then it would be out with the press and all to see and judge. It is nice to play this game, but you need evidence, and that is what is lacking on the US side. Yes, Sarin was used, but by who? It is the question that haunting us all and we see again a polarisation of views Russia on the side of their buddy President Assad and the US taking up the other side.

The only positive of all of this is that another nation is joining a non-chemical weapons group, although it is a little late to that party. The only issue remains is whether AQ got access to the CW missiles and if so were they able to syphon any of them to other locations? This is what has Russia spooked most of all. The reason is that there are links going back well over half a decade that AQ has links to Chechnya terror groups. If they end up with only one missile, then the cooking mixture for utter panic in the streets of Moscow will be not far behind. Chechnya fighters have several options for entering Russia and getting close to Moscow.

If there is validity in my approach to these events, then this could mean that Russia will only be ‘cooperative’ for as long as it takes to know whether AQ has access to the missiles and whether they are sending a few on to their ‘friends’. After that Russia is likely to return to a stance that the US would classify as ‘their un-cooperative selves’. These all link together as we the people have been numbed by spin, misdirection and stories of all kind by several sources, many with their own agenda. We are numbed like a patient on too many painkillers. The longer this lasts, the more emotional political presentations get, up to the moment that this approach becomes utterly counterproductive.

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