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The Qatarian debacle

There is no denying it, we sometimes take the most stupid steps, even though it was for the best intentions. Yet when we are confronted with the reality, it becomes a different thing, especially when corruption and corporations intervene. First we were confronted with the prospect of Qatar 2022, I was actually pretty happy about it. To bring the enthousiasm of Soccer into the Middle East is a good thing, it opens all kinds of dialogues between Middle Eastern nations and as Europe has one universal event in common, soccer could have become the bridge between the nations in Europe and the Middle East. That’s how I naively saw it. But it took merely a week or two until suddenly the accusations of corruption came out of the woodwork. More and more news outlets have become the ‘whores’ of shareholders and stake holders, all in fear because it wasn’t merely about Qatar, it was the fact that it would be held in winter overlapping the normal soccer season, leaving us with the clear set that clubs could not play with their stars representing the national teams. With all that advertisement opportunity gone, they are all screaming like bitches. The biggest of them (Martin Ivens) is part of this (at https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/plot-to-buy-the-world-cup-lvxdg2v7l7w), and when we see “revealed for the first time this weekend in a bombshell cache of millions of documents leaked to The Sunday Times“, the editorial has a clear duty to inform the public showing the evidence. The fact that ‘millions of documents‘ were parsed is close to impossible, but that’s going to be another story. Yet since June 1st 2014, we keep in getting more and more speculations, yet no evidence was presented. In the end, the FIFA corruption was merely parsed aside, no clear imprisonment, merely ‘a six-year ban from participating in FIFA activities‘, the corruption and the facilitation to the stake holders and shareholders have gone that far, yet no one presented clear evidence at any level to the public, partially my setting for demanding Martin Ivens that he gets the hell out of journalism.

In all this, Qatar has remained the battered victim (in this instance) and I thought it was good for those shareholders and stakeholders to feel the consequences of diminished value for a change. Yet that is not happening. Still, we see is some olive branch towards soccer by setting the news as we saw it in the Washington Post with ‘FIFA could expand World Cup to 48 teams in 2022, ahead of schedule‘, either it is a 50% bigger strain for Qatar to keep up with the changes or it collapses and the torch quickly gets handed over to another soccer nation pleasing all stake holders involved.

Yet the issue is now escalating and not in a good way, it is also not on the soccer side that things are becoming a mess. In this case it is not about the article (at https://www.thenational.ae/world/britain-warned-over-qatar-s-london-intelligence-network-1.749819), where we see the quote “A group of Arab countries demanded action from the British government to restrict an expansion of Qatar’s intelligence activities in London, including surveillance operations as well as political and propaganda activity“, I am not sure if this is actually happening, but it is one part that increases the pressures going on. The actual dangers are coming from two siders, the first is seen in Haaretz (at https://www.haaretz.com/us-news/how-qatar-is-warming-ties-with-both-trump-and-iran-at-the-same-time-1.6247714), where we get ‘How Qatar Is Warming Ties with Both Trump and Iran – at the Same Time‘, it is the Iran side that is a worry. We might take notice of an old fact given in “Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt severed ties with Qatar in June 2017, accusing it of fomenting regional unrest, supporting terrorism and getting too close to Iran, all of which Doha denies“, yet that is not the danger (at present). In addition we see the actions (the clever actions) from Qatar with “A review on Monday of Foreign Agent Registration Act records show that since May 31, six U.S. companies or individuals have registered new Qatari lobbying contracts with the Department of Justice. That number includes the major firms Ogilvy (which is being paid $10,000 per month) and Portland PR ($20,000 per month)“, in addition, Ogilvy gives them full access to the Commonwealth, so London (as mentioned earlier), Canada and Australia are part of the setting to change public opinion, a task Ogilvy is very good at. The second part is different, when we look (at https://en.mehrnews.com/news/135396/Iran-1st-quarter-export-to-Qatar-quadrupled-year-on-year), we see something that seems harmless enough, yet the fact that “In the first quarter of the current year of 1397 (March 21, 2018- June 21, 2018), 74 million and 61 thousand dollars of goods were shipped from Iran to Qatar, which has increased by 214 percent year-on-year“, seems innocent enough, yet it also gives us that with over $300 million of trade goods before the end of the year, a large amount of people go back and forth, which also optionally offers military advisors as well as people of the Hezbollah persuasion opportunities and now it becomes a very different game, now we have a setting that allows for the settling of units and their sole reason for playing possum the next three years is to go out with a bang in November 2022. Consider this setting against the Washington Post of April (at https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/hacked-messages-show-qatar-appearing-to-pay-hundreds-of-millions-to-free-hostages/2018/04/27/46759ce2-3f41-11e8-974f-aacd97698cef_story.html) where we see ‘Hacked messages show Qatar appearing to pay hundreds of millions to free hostages’, the operative word is ‘appearing’. When we see both: “with a half-dozen militias and foreign governments jostling to squeeze cash from the wealthy Persian Gulf state. “The Syrians, Hezbollah-Lebanon, Kata’ib Hezbollah, Iraq — all want money, and this is their chance,” Zayed bin Saeed al-Khayareen, Qatar’s ambassador to Iraq and chief negotiator in the hostage affair, wrote in the message. “All of them are thieves.” And yet, the Qataris were willing to pay, and pay they did, confidential documents confirm“, as well as “they appear to consent to payments totalling at least $275 million to free nine members of the royal family and 16 other Qatari nationals kidnapped during a hunting trip in southern Iraq“, there are issues that do not add up. Now consider that such a large group of dignitaries was too unprotected as well as the fact that this event did not become world news on every level!

Now we have a series of players like Kata’ib Hezbollah and Hezbollah-Lebanon ready for the next event. This they will play really clever, with $150 million ready, they have the time to prepare and truly make the beginning of Qatar 2022 go badaboom (big badaboom); Qatar gets to play the wounded victim and whatever happens will be in the news for years to come after that. The fact that this threat is actually growing and no longer unrealistic is also part of the issue now for considering the relocation of Qatar 2022 to somewhere else. That setting was not there in 2014, or not as far as I would be able to tell. What is now a given is that not only is there an actual danger here, the fact that this setting exists, is an additional threat to Saudi Arabia, if they will be able to attack the stadium as well as fire missiles on Riyadh, the stage changes as Riyadh is now a mere 449.23 Km, very much within range of several missile solutions. Tactically speaking they would come into Qatar into parts, like as spare parts for engineering equipment, most could be hidden in several ways and with $300 million in goods, the chance of finding even one part is close to impossible. They will have 3 years to assemble it all. Saudi Arabia is not alone, as this situation unfolds, we need to realise that the UAE and Abu Dhabi is a mere 200 Km away, an equally appealing target for Iran. You might think that it is not an option, yet the ‘goodwill’ that Iran bought with missiles for Hezbollah is exactly why it is an optional reality to face; it is the cost of doing business.

So, as we consider the cost of doing business we can only hope for the places like Ogilvy that if this happens that they have all the right paperwork ready for their presentations on what they facilitated for. It’s not like it might actually impact its parent company WPP plc, is it? We can only watch (and smile) from the sidelines when its £55.56 billion value starts fading like snowflakes in the summer sunshine. Should you think that I am kidding and my view is far-fetched? Consider what happens when 200 countries filled with an estimated 3.5 billion devoted soccer fans go berserk. I will be selling tickets and popcorn to that event and make a killing (figuratively speaking).

The Qatarian debacle was poorly set from the very start, it was a non-issue and whilst people filled their pockets we saw close to no concise actions against FIFA for decades. Now that the world stage, especially in the Middle East is polarising and escalating on several fields, we see that the allowed setting is becoming more than merely ‘optionally hazardous‘. The actions on several sides give a clear danger that no matter how you slice it Qatar 2022 is a clear tactical target, not only for the players, but the amount of dignitaries attending are now are set in a stage where the tiger gets offered a pound of flesh and everyone on the sidelines is considering that the tiger might be a vegetarian whilst it all gets aired in prime-time to every part of the world, you tell me who the short sighted player in that stage is.

 

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A mined pathway

There is news out there. It is coming from several sides making it slightly more reliable, yet the path that some seem to shine on is actually a very dangerous one. Now, let’s be straight, I am no fan of Iran, they overstepped the mark again and again and as such they are a genuine danger. Yet, the steps that we see contemplated is one that is slightly too dodgy as I see it. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of sanctions in place, there is all kinds of pressures on Iran and the direct threat that they pose to both the state of Israel and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is more than enough to make us all act against Iran, yet when we look at i24 News (at https://www.i24news.tv/en/news/international/179007-180708-mossad-chief-secretly-visited-washington-to-coordinate-on-iran-report), it is not the travel plans of Yossi Cohen, the El Jefe of Mossad that is an issue, it is the quote “held meetings with senior White House officials to discuss Iran” that needs more light. You see, a man like Yossi Cohen does not leave his operational bunker unless there is something that needs to be communicated directly. There have been all kinds of water-cooler chats on active operations (as some put it) in Iran to create more destabilisation. The Middle East Eye gives us “Is it the government’s policy to pursue regime change in Iran? Do they think the MEK actually have popular legitimacy in Iran?“, “This prospect moves the US and Iran closer to a direct military confrontation” from Forbes and “some segments of the economically driven protests are likely driven by Iran’s factional infighting over the direction of Iran’s policy, particularly within the context of elite disagreement on how to manage and mitigate the impact of US sanctions” from Nazanin Soroush at IHS Jane’s Intelligence Weekly. Now, realise that these three quotes are not on the same topic, yet the word of the week regarding Iran is ‘destabilisation‘. This is actually a lot more dangerous, it has the distinct danger of setting the people optionally against its own structures and the military tends to act rather negatively on that setting. Iran lost a lot of face and options with the Nuclear deal when the US backed out of it and even as the EU seems to be driven to keep it alive at the expense of every risk, the dangers are putting pressure in the wrong places and the visit from Yossi Cohen towards the US leaves us with the thought that more is coming. In this, the news that was given yesterday with the French shipping company CMA CGM pulling out of Iran is only increasing pressures. So even as Iran says it needs more help from Europe to keep alive the 2015 deal it worked out with world powers to curb its nuclear program, we need to consider that the Nuclear deal is unlikely to be salvaged unless the EU makes very large concessions making things even harder on the US-EU front. In this the prospect of being banned in the United States appears to have been enough to persuade some European companies to keep out and several others are now reconsidering the options that they have.

In all this, the news of internal actions remains on the table, yet I feel that this is not the best move to make. Part of the drive here is likely the news that had been around, in this former CIA officer Phil Giraldi gives us “what happens when Washington tries to sanction the Central Bank of China over business dealings with Iran — utter chaos on top of the already existing trade war!” This is a dangerous development and it is the most likely of settings that the US will want to avoid it, and some of the players are eager for a swift victory (yea right!), so here we have the dangers that the US will be pushing, or asking Mossad to contemplate to act directly in Iran, optionally in conjunction with CIA teams. If destabilisation is the operative word, there will be the implied dangers to all kinds of infrastructures (highly speculated by me here), and that is not the best of ideas. You see, even as there is Iranian opposition to both the clergy and military. A direct intervention in Iran, if proven could unite the people with the military and that is a dangerous step for both Israel, the US and Saudi Arabia. As there are internal conflicts Iran cannot and will not completely commit to the open setting of actions against the three nations. If the people unite the picture changes drastically almost immediate and that will most likely impact Saudi Arabia and Israel in the first instance, in addition to that Saudi Arabia would become a more visible target for Hezbollah overnight (with all the direct actions that follow), all issues that need to be avoided.

So how wrong am I?

I could be wrong, I honestly gave to some of the parts the setting that it was speculative, yet the quotes are from a collection of newscasts and news publications, the fact that some of it is not supported on an international setting needs scrutiny, yet the direct facts of additional pressures on Iran are clearly published making it much reliable. The additional fact that Haaretz released information that the IDF made their donations to an Iranian Air Force Base Near Homs, giving it loads of rubble is also clear indications that Israel is more and more active against Iran, yet there we must still consider that their actions remain still focussed on the Iranian presence in Syria (for now). Yet in all this, the setting is still not complete, there is evidence (a slight exaggeration) is pointing that Qatar is increasing its ties with US and Iran. Even as Haaretz gives us: “Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin sat next to the minister, Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani. “You have been a great friend to the United States,” Mnuchin told Thani, praising Qatar for its cooperation on counter-terrorism financing efforts“, it must be looked into who instigated the Qatar-Iran ‘warming up’ party recently. If it is Iran then it is merely a tactic to increase policy gaps all over the Middle East, if it is Qatar, the issue becomes a larger problem. You see, just over a week ago, we saw the continuation (source: Arab News) through ‘Qatar will pay a price for its financial links with Iran‘, this is not news as it was going on for close to a year, yet if the previous setting was opened by Qatar, it implies that Saudi Arabia has a larger problem and even as the initial target might not be Saudi Arabia as the quote “Traditionally reliant on Dubai as a financial bridge to the outside world, Tehran is now looking to find new safe harbors to protect its financial interests, and Qatar is in its crosshairs. If Iran succeeds in building such a relationship with Qatar, it will be in a far stronger position to endure and evade US sanctions” implies, which makes operational and tactical sense, the secondary setting is that Iran could gain a more direct path of access to Saudi Arabia. This opens up Iranian settings towards Al Hofuf, Al Kharj and from there interference directly into Riyadh becomes (even though a far-fetched one) to Riyadh, all this at a time that Saudi Arabia should be focussing on Yemen and Hezbollah. It would force itself to instigate stronger internal security measures, all costing resources.

In the end

As some of this requires better access to data that goes beyond open source we need to learn (over time) if we are confronted with Iran playing a game of Fox and Rabbit, or is there more going on? Let’s not forget that Qatar has its own issues in the game, with Turkey in the mix on that level as well, the game is becoming much harder to read, especially when the intelligence setting of data is set to a much higher level than yours truly has access to. That part is not just seen in the January setting that Al Jazeera gave with ‘Qatar’s investment in Turkey exceeds $20bn, the second highest by any country‘ (at https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/10/turkey-qatar-strategic-alliance-171024133518768.html), the time lines and the weighting of the official and unofficial settings, these two matter as one does not merely invest $20 billion in a nation that has no real economic investment values, and when we consider that a large chunk of that party pie is about opening paths of facilitation the considerations we need to have tends to change by a fair bit. Even as the news was given in January, the setting of such an amount of money goes into a timeline of at least two years, so there is more to take notice of, especially now. So even as Al Jazeera makes a big thing on the import of milk and beef, the amount given could feed every Syrian refugee for close to three years, the math does not add up. there is however no telling what the actual settings are as the open books and the second balance need not be the same, and might not be set in covert needs, merely in non-taxable, or 100% deductibility reasoning, the mere legal application of tax avoidance could make all the difference.

Sometimes clarity of data tends to become murky, intentionally done for the mere reason as to avoid that supervillian (taxman) to gain access to the intended funds. If you doubt that reason, feel free to ask Ruth Porat (CFO Google) and Luca Maestri (CFO Apple) on the hardships that this supervillian (taxman) gives them.

 

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Humble Pie

Merely a few hours ago, Bloomberg gave us ‘Iran Is Ready to Discuss Yemen Conflict with European Nations‘ (at https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-05-28/iran-says-ready-to-discuss-yemen-conflict-with-european-nations). You might think that this is a good thing, but it is not. Iran is caught in a two side war, just like I predicted in the previous 3 weeks. Just like that, they are willing to talk. They have suddenly realised that time was up and now they are grasping at any side that will be willing to facilitate for them at a price. It is linked to a few escalations on more than one side. Even as we read here: “Iran will be holding a new round of talks with Europe on the Yemen conflict, negotiations that have taken on greater significance as the sides try to salvage a nuclear agreement“, the start gives the goods, Iran wants to protect the nuclear agreement at all cost. Their high farting like sounds of political boasting is coming to an end, there was never any option and now they must concede on several sides. Even as one side is taken from them, they are willing to concede on the Yemen side as it was never going to be a realistic option and as Hezbollah has failed again and again in their pursuit of successful strikes on Saudi Arabia, none happened and now they need to find the one war they might actually have a chance of winning, it is the Nuclear agreement and even that will backfire soon enough. So when we read: ““Iran, like the EU, is unlikely to want to mix fate of the nuclear deal with that of talks on other issues,” said Aniseh Bassiri Tabrizi, a research fellow at the Royal United Services Institute in London. “At the same time, it is important for them to keep a channel of communication open with the EU, whatever happens on the nuclear deal, and the best dossier to do so is Yemen for them.”“, I tend not to be in agreement. You might think that it is all the same, but it is not. It is not about ‘whatever happens on the nuclear deal‘, it is about making sure that this agreement is salvaged, Iran overplayed its hand and now that there will be hell to pay, they need to find a way out, if only they can find the right greed and ego driven Europeans to make a quick deal, at that point the media can reflect on some victory, whilst there is no actual victory. You see, there is a second side that is part of this. Iran has figured out that the only interests that Russia has in Syria are Russian ones and in that picture there is no space for Iran, Israel has made that abundantly clear and as such Iran stands alone and with the hits that Israel has been making in Syria on Iranian troops and the strike last Thursday as well as the silence (or better stated lack of loud boasting) by the Syrian governments indicates that the absence of Iran is well liked, even though they are not willing to state it out loud. Syria wants to get the most out of the Russians and Iranians as it can get, which is perfectly fine, yet Iran is too much of an issue for Israel, after years of boasting and threatening, Israel decided to act; the political field was ripe for that. With both America and Saudi Arabia opposing Iran and Russia not really caring about Iran, Iran is in an unwinnable situation, the Iranian coffers drained by enabling Hezbollah as well as the actions in Syria have drained a large chunk of their reserves, Iran need to cut its losses and it is doing so with the gesture we see in the Bloomberg article, one of many to follow I reckon. That truth becomes a lot harsher when we see: “Chagai Tzuriel, director general of the Israeli ministry of intelligence, said he believed that Moscow realised that fighting between Iran and Israel could undermine gains made by Russia during the Syrian civil war“, we know that there is no hiding for Iran, they played the game as far as they could, now that option after option falls away, they are determined to hold on to the Nuclear agreement. This also opens the second stage for Israel; they can now more effectively take care of Hezbollah, now that there is an open season on Iran, Hezbollah can (hopefully permanently) be dealt with. In that regard there is no lack of either Israel or Saudi Arabia to hunt them down and without Iran that might well happen. For Russia it is not over, you see, the Jerusalem Post gives us “Lavrov’s comments are part of an understanding reached between Israel and Russia to keep Iranian and Hezbollah forces away from Syria’s border with Israel on the Golan Heights“, that sounds nice in theory, yet over the years Hezbollah has shown never to keep any agreement (when they were not out of ammunition), so there is a setting where it is very realistic that Hezbollah will do whatever it wants and puts Russia in a pickle, as such both sides agreeing to get rid of Hezbollah makes perfect sense as such Iran is really not willing to stay there as a piggy in the middle. In addition Russia stands to make a lot of plus points in the Saudi Arabia side of things, not just by pushing Iran away from where they are, but to push Hezbollah away from Syrian and Jordanian borders which gets them nice points at the Jordanian royal court as well. In all this there is actually not one part of Hezbollah that has any redeeming value at all, and the worst part is that Hezbollah knows this too (yet they do not care).

There is one additional side that Iran needs to worry about. As Saudi Arabia has given to Germany to be the aggrieved party in Germany’s support in favour of the nuclear deal for Iran is already costing Germany a lot, the German giants who were tenders on several projects for the Saudi government are seeing them being cut from consideration, with Neom and Vision 2030, both projects totaling in value at well over 800 billion, the German economy will take larger hits, other EU nations might find themselves in a setting where they have to choose to go for a really bad nuclear deal, whilst there is no evidence that it will result in a better position and good economic settings in the longer run (more then 3-5 years) whilst Saudi Arabia is growing a setting that is getting closer to a trillion dollars over 12 years, there is no way that Iran can rely on any level of serious support, not after all the stunts they played. Their actions made it impossible and their boasting made it close to intolerable. In addition with Iran cut in every way, Turkey will now need to realise that they played the game wrong in other ways as well. Even as some might cry over the Russians not getting the F-35 due to getting culled from the program, Russia sees a second option to not just sell Turkey missiles, they could optionally sell them the SU-57 as well, which will get Turkey a new loan agreement for a few billions and let’s face it America needs to test the F-35 anyway, whether they test their F-35 against a Sukhoi, does it matter whether a Russian or a Turk is flying it? (Howls of deriving laughter in the background)

You see, they are doing this whilst their currency is at an all-time low, some might think that it is a great time to buy, yet with their economy in shambles and there should be no chance of them ascending into the EU in the next few years, the setting of spending billions on a new Sukhoi squadron (perhaps even two) seems to be folly to me. Even as there is some good news (read: numbers) coming from Turkey, its unemployment rate is still a little over 10.5% and seems to be rising over the next quarter, surpassing Italy in unemployment statistics. It is there where we see another issue. This matters as there has been a link between Iran and Turkey, so as the pressure on several sides is on Turkey, the economic pressures might force Turkey to make any deal they can, even if they have to break connections to Iran, which would for the most isolate Iran at that point, an option that both Israel and Saudi Arabia would enjoy. Israel especially as Turkey was threatening Israel with all kinds of sanctions (source: Haaretz).

So as Turkey is imposing sanctions on those deciding to recognise the Armenian Holocaust, we see the active economic impact that Turkey faces by being in denial, not the worst day in many lives.

In this there is a reflection that must be noticed, In Al Arabiya, there was an article (at http://english.alarabiya.net/en/views/news/middle-east/2018/05/25/Bitterness-confusion-among-Saudi-Arabia-s-foes.html), an opinion piece that matters. You see, the writer Abdullah bin Bijad Al-Otaibi (Twitter: @abdullahbjad) gives us “Enemies are upset and confused and the world is recalibrating its power equations so that each knows its place and capabilities. Also, so that each country can reflect on its policies and alliances through the power of politics, diplomacy, boycott and sanctions, as well as with the power of armies and weapons“, he is correct, President Donald Trump might have kicked it off with “America First“, it is a truth we have been forced to face for well over 5 years. It does not matter whether you are in the US, UK, Saudi Arabia, Sweden, Australia, Canada or New Zealand. As citizens and politicians we have a duty to protect our national interests and set that as a first essential need. When we look from that angle we get to reflect on how bad Iran is, we cannot fault Turkey for taking its national interests first, yet they did it by not honouring the allies they had for decades and that sets the sliding acceptance (towards rejection) of Turkey in all this when you consider the events from 2001 onwards.

In this his view: “Big European companies are fleeing Iran at a fast pace and everyone who has dealt with Iran, whether banks or companies, are looking for a safe way out of any ties they have with Iran, its parties, militias and ideology. Everyone now accepts the facts about Iran’s crimes such as its sponsoring of terrorism, drug dealing and money laundering in the region and the world” is not incorrect, yet the issue is that this sets the stage on greed influencing the national interest in the stage of big business versus government, a setting that Europe, the US and the Commonwealth have had for the longest time. In addition there is now a small opposition from my side. I agree with part of his statement “They have done so through the Palestinian cause which they have, from Iran, Turkey, Qatar and the Muslim Brotherhood, managed to exploit to serve their interests and fulfil their ambitions“, there is a side I cannot completely agree with (actually there is more than one side here). Not because I think he is wrong, but because there is data missing, data I never had access to, or was given by a reputable media source to the degree that there is enough shown to see it as an actual issue.

This is seen in the parties Iran and Qatar. Now, we accept the puppet game that Iran has played, we do not deny that in any way, but in the end Iran was merely playing the hand it had to show Iranian interest. We can agree that it was done badly, yet they did do this for mere national interest (or so they say). In the second part there is Qatar. I agree that there are questions, yet overall, I have not seen the evidence, the allegations going back to 2014 have been loud, yet the media and others have not given a clear path of evidence that gives light to the wrongful opposition by the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, we can agree that there are some terrorist financiers, that was never in question, yet Qatar seems to have tried all legal ways and did not get anywhere, in addition the US state document (at https://www.state.gov/documents/organization/258249.pdf) does not give the goods either, we are confronted with “Qatar is a partner in the Global Coalition to Counter the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and has provided significant support in facilitating critical U.S. military operations in the region. Terrorist activity historically has been low in Qatar“, this does not make Qatar innocent; it merely shows that without better and more data, they remain ‘not guilty‘, which is not the same. The document is 3 years old, yet there is no new information that truly sets Qatar in a bad light (for now). In addition we see that Qatar State Security is aggressive when it comes to monitoring internal extremist or terrorism-related activities. Interestingly enough, the players from ‘team’ Qatar State Security seem to have a much better handle on internal extremism and terrorism-related activities than most European countries, so there is that to consider as well. The second issue I had with the statement by Abdullah bin Bijad al-Otaibi is the reference to ‘the Palestinian cause‘, which is not wrong to make, yet for many of us, especially those outside of Saudi Arabia, Palestine or the Middle East, we no longer know what ‘the Palestinian cause‘ actually is. You see in its origin it is directly linked to the 1948 Palestinian exodus, yet the entire Palestinian cause seemed to have been presented, projected and covered by the media in almost any setting that covered news in Lebanon, Israel, the West Bank and the Gaza strip. The entire definition has shown to have shifted over the decades and I still believe that it is shifting, even today. In addition the fact that western media over the years seemed to have made ‘the Palestinian cause‘ and ‘hatred of Jews and the State of Israel‘ close to interchangeable does not help matters either.

All these issues matter as they are connected. that connection is also part of the problem and reason why I am partially in opposition, now, I am fully aware that my opposition is wrong, or better stated incorrect, yet I am like most sensible people, I rely on data, and data is either reliable or not and I tend to regard shifted data as not that reliable, which is why I had the cause for opposition.

So as we see that Iran is facing humble pie on several fronts, we need to realise that our views and more important the views we get from information we accept as reliable is also filtering the view we have, it might be correct, or wrong. In the end we do not know and restoring our filters by attending our national interests first is not the worst place to start, as a citizen we need to do that, because when we look to our nation, our national needs and attend to that, we ground ourselves and perhaps as the economic settings have shifted, so will the national need and that is OK, as long as we do not tend towards corporate greed and consider the needs of our neighbours, we might get through the bad times in a much better way than we thought. In the end it is not about serving Iran Humble Pie, which would be the right thing to do, we need to consider when we are rightfully served Humble Pie, will we eat it when we realise that we were wrong?

That includes us all and it includes me, I have never shied away from optionally being wrong. I merely reacted to the verifiable data that I was served and I made the best of it and tried to remain true to the data based views offered and I reflected on those insights, it is the best we can do in this modern world.

 

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Go with a smile

OK, I will be honest, this morning, I saw news pass by and it made me giggle. It was the title, I swear, the title was enough, because below the surface it is actually a serious matter, yet the writer/editor of Arab News gives us “‘Spy cell’ in Saudi Arabia sought foreign financing“. In my mind, I saw the image of two freshman at Berkeley University in California, walk into a wealth managing corporation like Rothschild’s and tell the CEO, that they found a way to overthrow the government and if they could please get some funding (at http://www.arabnews.com/node/1306306/saudi-arabia).

I know, you are giggling now too, but that is what they title left me with, yet it is actually a lot more serious. You see, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is a monarchy. Like all monarchies there are set rules and regulations on what to do and more important what not to do. Anyone with a primary school education knows this, no rocket science involved.

Yet, below the title, under the image we see a caption that is very much a serious matter. With: “Saudi Arabia’s Presidency of the State Security arrested seven people for suspicious communication with foreign entities and actions against the state“, you see there are two elements in this the first is ‘suspicious communications‘, which is optionally an element, yet ‘actions against the state‘ is actually quite clear. The question is how it all fits together, and make no mistake, there is a clear setting that it applies to a hell of a lot more people than merely those in the KSA, so you better wake up fast.

The elements of worry are seen in the first paragraph. Here we see “sought to “incite strife by communicating with foreign entities hostile to the Kingdom and to establish a false legal organization, according to information received by Asharq Al-Awsat from informed sources“, it could impact a lot more people than you think. In light of the escalations of Vision 2030 as well as the setting in Neom, we are bound to get a few cowboys trying to strike it rich (I am definitely one of them), in a setting of a total amount of close to $800 billion, or $800,000,000,000, I too will happily try to pick up a few coins, I will as the non-greedy person that I am happily settle for 0.001% or $8,000,000. I have a weapon system, an idea to make an Iranian nuclear reactor do the runaway on its own operators (by using the principle of a snow globe), which is my way of telling Steven Walker from DARPA that his behavioural sciences degree is not that useful in a nuclear physicist setting (nyuk, nyuk, nyuk), no negativity on Steven Walker though, he is slightly smarter than most smart cookies, and in addition to the earlier two ‘solutions’, I also considered a solution that I thought up to solve the UK NHS issue, which actually has a lot more applications under 5G.

I am not digressing, you see, these idea’s all need funding, now there are a few players with ideas that are all good and proper and in the 11th hour one of the backers walks away (reason is irrelevant), so now this (young) upstart needs to fix things fast to get its fingers in the Saudi Arabian treasury till of Vision 2030/Neom. In this he reaches out and he finds an interesting backer and meets with an entrepreneur in Qatar, now we have close to the same setting as we just read. Qatar and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia are not really on good terms. Now add a few emails that skates around the funding and we have a setting that might be seen by Saudi Arabia as a worry, when we consider that Qatar has its own ‘Smart Digital plan‘ for 2030 we get a setting that some people might consider selling their idea twice. It is not far-fetched and it is definitely on the minds of close to a dozen growth driven people in Silicon Valley. Now we have a very different ballgame and that is not even considering those people who have been working as 3rd party developers for places like Palantir; anyone of those developers when they approach both Saudi Arabia and Qatar might be seen as just such a transgressor.

We forget that each nation has its own set of rules and even as some think that they are ‘shielded’ as they are American or perhaps Commonwealth citizen, they better wake up fast and realise that in national interests, it is the nation where you are where you need to adhere to settings. This works in both directions. We see this with “Dr. Ibrahim Al-Nahas, member of Shoura Committee Council on Foreign Affairs, told Asharq Al-Awsat on Saturday that the Kingdom is capable of overcoming many security challenges due to the vigilance of its security apparatus“, I do not for one moment disagree with Dr. Ibrahim Al-Nahas, for the most merely due to a lack of data, yet what he optionally forgets is that this system is going to get tested more and more over the next 5 years from all the parties who are trying to get an option to what we should consider is the largest technological jackpot in the last 25 years. We have not seen the option to such opportunities since the beginning of Windows 95, so there will be a massive flock of cowboys trying to land a deal with numbers optionally up to 9 zeroes behind a number, so you better believe that thousands of ‘innovators’ will come with their idea of a lifetime, which could potentially swamp the security apparatus.

In case of the article, it is about seven people who have been active to facilitate by acts that are considered “hostile to Saudi Arabia, to receive financial support in exchange for continuing to incite trouble”, which seems to be a decently clear setting. Yet it will not always be that clear when we see “It said authorities detected coordinated activities by a group of people, who carried out organized work to violate the religious and national principles of the Kingdom“, in the setting as quoted, there are a number of issues, religious principles being the first one that carries weight, because most cowboys seem to forget that Saudi Arabia is a Muslim state, as such it acts on religious settings. That is also the case in America where they have the pledge of allegiance, which gives us “I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God“, this is important, because many nations have something similar. So when someone noticed that McDonalds in Saudi Arabia advertised “We renew our allegiance and obedience for his royal highness, the servant of the two holy mosques, King Salman the son of Abdul Aziz Al Saud, and we support Amir Mohammed bin Salman, his son, to become Minister of Defence and Prime Minister and to be nominated as successor.  God give him wisdom and equip him to rule his kingdom. With peace and prosperity, McDonald’s“, in this the response by someone who appears to be a Canadian, we see “Ads in Saudi Arabia placed by @McDonalds pledging allegiance to the new crown prince….am I the only one that finds this totally bizarre?“, I think that he did nothing wrong, even as he thinks it is weird, but when you are so far removed from a true monarchy setting, you forget small things. I too when I was in my military time had to make the pledge of allegiance, which in my case was to pledge allegiance to the monarch, obedience to the law and subject to martial law  with: “Ik zweer trouw aan de Koningin, gehoorzaamheid aan de wetten en onderwerping aan de krijgstucht. Zo waarlijk helpe mij God Almachtig“. Even as martial law no longer applies to me, I still feel that my oath obliges me to come to the aid and protection of the Dutch royal family until my dying day. It is something we accept, it matters to us, to any monarchist. So it is the same in Saudi Arabia and you better believe that (roughly) 99.99992% of these citizens will comply and enforce that oath on all those (citizens) who think they need not do that.

I feel that global businesses forget about such settings and they are optionally shooting themselves in the foot by not educating their staff members when having to go to such places. It matters because we all make mistakes and there are transgressions which are usually forgiven (unless you make an error under paragraph 322(5) under UK immigration law, then you are truly screwed), yet when you make mistake after mistake, even unintentional, merely because you come from a very different environment, you could end up burning the brand you represent permanently in that nation, which might be a nice little challenge for Apple, Google and IBM to survive. Although IBM is more business strict, but the Apple and Google mindset might find it increasingly hard to adjust and that is where losses are made, really large losses I might add.

So even if you are laughing now on the ridiculous setting I am offering, you better realise that the law in not a funny matter in Saudi Arabia. It is set to be written as “Saudi Arabia is a state built on the foundations of justice and it enshrines the principal of equality for all before the law”, you better realise that within many nations there is a consideration on what defines ‘foundations of justice‘. According to some sources Saudi law in theory allows that the ruling of a death sentence is a real setting, now we can understand that we know not to commit murder, yet in that same setting Espionage and Treason also gets your head separated from your body just like in: ‘off with their heads!‘ (Quoting the Queen of Hearts from Alice in Wonderland), now in the technological setting that is happening at present in the beginning of the article, the involvement of Qatar (fictive example), treason and espionage are actual options now coming to the surface? Now we all know that being well prepared stops such things from happening, yet who knew that Adultery and Waging war on God are equally punishable? So when you think that you have a nice option for Saturday night in your hotel room, did you realise that if you live by ‘it doesn’t count in you are in another country‘, your future might end up a little more grim than when you got out of bed that morning? And that is even before we get to Waging war on God, which is an issue on several levels. You see unless you have a clerical mind, the dangers of waging war on God is an open field, you can be transgressing this unknowingly if you are a Christian and that is something one must be prepared for so that it can be avoided.

If I understood it correctly the ḥirabah is seen as ‘enemy of God‘. The reference is seen in verse 33 of Surah al-Ma’ida of the Qur’an. It sets punishment for “those who wage war against Allah and His Prophet and strive to spread disorder in the land“, yet ‘disorder in the land‘ is a much wider concept nowadays then when what it was in those ancient days. We see that wisdom when we look back to those days as ‘banditry in open country: a uniquely destabilizing threat to civil order in a pre-modern society’. You might think of it as folly, yet in those days when towns relied on commerce and traders, banditry could have far-fetching consequences for the entire town, perhaps even the region. You only have to look at the movie ‘Kingdom of Heaven‘ a Ridley Scott masterpiece to see what a massive destabilising factor the Christian knights and people tended to be in those days. They were basically whoring and pillaging whenever possible (basically every waking hour), and no one considers the impact that left the Muslim Arabic nations?

This all matters because when you are trying to tap into the wealth that Arabia as a whole is offering, you better know what you are in for, you better be prepared and you also better leave some of your values (or lack thereof) at home. The setting of this stage seems all too appealing, yet many nations have a clear legal directive and as I have been hearing some of the conversations around me, it seems to me that some have not considered the impact they are setting their perception, what they think is happening and what is perceived. So when I heard someone say “go there, smile a lot and make a fortune. It works in japan“. Now, I am not certain whether that would work in Japan to that degree, I am decently certain that they will lose a lot more than they bargained for when they are totally unprepared going to Saudi Arabia thinking that they strike gold with a mere presentation and a smile. Because the wrong presentation can easily be perceived and what you thought was a nice idea in the end brought chaos in the land, good luck setting up your defence at that point.

I believe that good business is always available in every nation; the wisdom is to comprehend the rules of that game in that nation and abide by them, not as best as you can, but completely. In the age of compromise I think the current generation is oblivious to that danger, they have been so used to go by ‘let’s compromise’, not everyone is willing to do that. In this considering John Braithwaite’s excellent work ‘Corporate Crime in the Pharmaceutical Industry‘, it is not about the pharmaceutical part, the issue is the setting of corporations. By the time that you have gotten to chapter 4 (fraud in the safety testing of drugs) or chapter 5 (criminal negligence in unsafe manufacturing of drugs), by that setting you will have seen close to a dozen issues that could perceive you as the party responsible for creating ‘disorder in the land‘. This is merely a academic setting, I am not an Saudi Attorney, I have no experience in practicing Muslim Law, but these were the questions that formed in my mind and In all this I see a clear element missing in all the presentations that passed my eyes, seeing them scrutinised in a setting of Islamic Law seems to be important, because the law in Saudi Arabia is not set in the Crimes Act, the Data Protection Act, the Human Rights Act or the Mental Capacity Act. It is set through the Quran and that is a very important distinction.

For the most, when people are going for the jackpot, they tend to be as prepared as possible, yet in all this, more than just a few have forgotten that it is not merely a presentation, they better be aware of the legal lay of the land, as well as the social and personal norms that are required in Saudi Arabia (as with every nation you want to do business), we seem to look at the EU where almost anything is valid and not illegal, as such they forget that there are places where that approach will not work.

Did I get all this from a mere reference to a Spy Cell in the Arab News? Well, not exactly! I had been looking at parts of this for a little while, merely because some settings require investigation on any level, and the more I had to dig into certain messages the more I was confronted with people quoting the Quran, which came to a focal point when I was confronted with ‘French Proposal to Change the Quran’, which was from early may this year in the Atlantic. Apart from the blasphemy that it represents, which passages from the Bible regarding slavery or women as servants of their husbands have been removed in the last 50 years?

Opposition of such views was given by Tareq Oubrou, the prominent French imam who oversees the Grand Mosque of Bordeaux. Here we see “the notion that anti-Semitism is built into Islam is “theologically false,” he added. As monotheistic “People of the Book,” Jews and Christians enjoy a special status in Islamic law. Historically, they were considered protected dhimmi communities, which meant they were allowed to practice their own religions, although they were subject to a tax and various indignities that symbolized their subordination to Muslims”, by the way, this was an act that Christians did to the Saracens in Italy (also seen in ‘Kingdom of Heaven’), so let’s not throw mud when we know that we have done the same thing.

In the end, wherever you go, feel free to go with a smile and be prepared for what you face, knowing the legal and religious lay of the land is a rather important step that most seem to ignore, it might not matter in all places, but not preparing in places where issues like that do matter is merely the greater folly.

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Seeing correctly and that view’s danger

The title makes no sense to some, if you see something correctly, why is there danger? You see at present we have what some call a fluidic situation in regards to Iran, Israel, Russia, Saudi Arabia and Turkey. They are all connected and as such, certain parts I stated yesterday have been proven correctly. Now, the longer game cannot be predicted, because when they are moves and countermoves in a setting that changes, we cannot always predict certain moves, they are based on intelligence out there and internal intelligence available. For example, in the gaming industry, we see ‘leaked’ information from both Microsoft and Nintendo, yet is it actually leaked as we see it, or did their marketing/corporate department leak information to get the feelers out, to test the audience, in the month preceding the biggest gaming event of the year in the world, it does matter, there are 200 million gamers up for grab and Microsoft felt directly how negative that can get in 2013; what it feels like to piss all them gamers off; it took 3 years to stop the damage, now consider that this is not a video game, but a political arena where it is about billions, about lives and about setting the world stage, the stakes get to be higher. So as I said “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” (on May 7th in ‘Stopping Slumber, Halting Hesitation‘). Reuters gave less than a day ago (at https://www.reuters.com/article/us-iran-nuclear-rouhani/irans-rouhani-seen-as-lame-duck-after-trump-ditches-deal-idUSKBN1IA287), where we see ““Khamenei prefers a weak president. Rouhani will serve his term, but as a lame duck,” the diplomat said“, so not only am I correct, the dangers of a hardliner replacement like Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is not just likely, it is now almost a given that whoever comes next is not a puppet, it is a person completely in line with the hard-line position of Ali Khamenei. Now we don’t get to have a ballgame, now we have a hard-line setting that will impact the entire Middle East. Reuters got this from ‘an Iranian diplomat, who declined to be named‘, just like Nintendo and Microsoft, Iran is now testing the waters on who stands where. Iran’s larger issue is not on how it attacks Saudi Arabia, it is on how the others react and at present it seems like there will be forceful defence of Saudi Arabia and Israel, their position and what they feel is justified. The US and Europe are in their corners. That is the issue Iran is dealing with, because there is a clear support against Iran, whilst at the same time we see ‘Putin Is Giving Israel a Free Hand against Iran in Syria. But He May Soon Have to Pick a Side‘ (source: Haaretz), as well as ‘Russia seeks to take mediator role between Israel and Iran‘ (at http://www.arabnews.com/node/1300286/world), this is more important; as we see “Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Thursday that “all issues should be solved through dialogue.”“. There is the crux of the matter where we see that Russia will most certainly not back Iran, but will at times come to their supportive aid (at a price of course), especially when they can have a go at the USA. That last part is speculative from my side, but we have seen enough evidence over the last year to see that be a partial gospel truth, or we could water it down with: ‘it is the crutch of the matter as Israel ends up having Iran by the balls at present

Even as we accept “Russia has become a major player in the Middle East since intervening in the Syrian war on the side of the Damascus regime in September 2015. Analysts also highlight its role as mediator in other conflicts in the area“, as a lot of it is true, depending on the coloured lenses you wear in your glasses, but the foundation has a setting. In this Russian analyst Fyodor Lukyanov is correct. Alexander Krylov, a foreign policy expert at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations gives us “The role of Russia as a mediator is strongly appreciated in the region. This role will be reinforced if the crisis between Israel and Iran worsens,” that too is true, because bluntly stated at present America has no real credibility left outside of the actual support given to Saudi Arabia and Israel. The Middle East is a lot larger than merely Saudi Arabia, even as they are not seen as large players, the still pack a punch and as such the UAE and Qatar will have a voice. The setting at present does not give the UAE a pro Saudi view (speculative) but in equal measure they will not side with Iran as I see it, not on this scale. Even as there is a link between Qatar and Iran, it will not hold, when hostilities grow, Qatar will isolate themselves away from both parties because the largest fear for Qatar is that they become the beachhead for Iran or the entrenchment for Saudi Arabia. When either of the two happens, do you think that after that Doha will look like this?

Just google: ‘Images of Ghouta‘, that is how Doha ends up looking like with a FIFA event merely 3 years away, so that would be instantly cancelled at that point, oh,. FIFA is already on that, not merely because it is Qatar, the anti-Qatar slurs of the media has been long and lasting, a (let’s just be blunt) fucked up situation caused by stupid greedy people who have been taking the longest gravy train ride. When we are all treated to “The British press continues to be hostile towards Qatar because the tournament will be held during winter, to avoid the searing heat in the Gulf“, because they want a 100% exploitative coverage, and Qatar with its weather got in the way of that and large sponsoring corporations like Coca Cola and every other FIFA sponsor now get a 40% reduced bang for their exploitative buck, now they are suddenly willing to go all out, and it links to all this, it matters!

In that setting we are treated to half-truths, especially by the media who willingly looked the other way on all allegations regarding Sepp Blatter, or is that ‘step bladder’ as he was pissing all over everyone for the longest time? When was the last time when you looked at all the work from BBC reporter Andrew Jennings? He was ignored and partially shunned as I see it, and as we saw the escalations regarding all this with “In 2012 the Sunday Times revelations sparked a genuinely independent inquiry by a former US attorney general, Michael Garcia. This report was delivered to Blatter, but he has refused to publish it in full“, the full report was never shown (at that time), merely an example of evidence on how large corporation are in charge and the law is just a nasty side effect that can be ignored when certain people call the shots. So when we see ESPN give us “While the mystery of what details are contained in the full 430-page dossier has been revealed, it does not contain any additional proof of major acts of corruption. However, Garcia said some bidders tested rules of conduct to the limit“, that is ESPN, a sports channel, not the Times, the Guardian or any other newspaper that should have taken it to the front page. The article started with “FIFA released the full contents of the Garcia report that examined alleged corruption in 2018 and 2022 World Cup bidding on Tuesday, one day after it was leaked to German newspaper Bild“, so there is clarity, FIFA only released it when they learned someone else had it already. That is the game played by the press who are ALL afraid for another Leveson inquiry for them to be held to account. In this we see people like James Quincey (CEO of Coca Cola) get to tell the media and others what to do, we see that politicians are no longer in charge, they are merely caretakers, janitors of the high and mighty and the press remains around as mere facilitators of the lot. In this there is another matter that I can feel happy about to message towards Martin Ivens, editor of The Sunday Times to get the fuck out of his office and never return to media (period)! Remember the claim of “obtained millions of secret documents – emails, letters and bank transfers – which it alleges are proof that the disgraced Qatari football official Mohamed Bin Hammam made payments totalling US$5m (£3m) to football officials in return for their support for the Qatar bid“. In all this he is allowed one defence, by publishing all the evidence he claimed to have had. But that will not happen will it?

How is this related?

The entire setting of the Middle East is set for our eyes in misrepresentation by newspapers all over the world. They tell the stories that they are told to tell. I call it at times, writing with blinders, like a horse so they do not get scared by all the events around them. it is one thing to not inform us of everything, another to give us a pack of lies, to stack the deck against us and in all this the media is still at it, facilitating for all the Satya Narayana Nadella’s and James Quincey’s in the world, they are not alone and there are a few. In this these two named people are not evil; they are merely representing the best interest of their shareholders, which is their function is it not?

That is what is in play, Qatar will soon be optionally in the thick of it and their only safe move is not to play the game, to isolate them from their opposition (Saudi Arabia) and their non-friend Iran, they basically have no moves available and that is fine, but we need to make sure that the people realise and understand that no matter how they got to a certain stage, they need to remove themselves from the game, no longer be the pawn in this, the Iranian setting has shown to be adversarial and committed to a long term game to become an active enemy, delusional imagining themselves as conqueror of Saudi Arabia and the exterminator of the state of Israel, but not at the same time, that was never going to work, this is why it is my personal view on the matter that Iran resorted to ‘puppets’. Turkey and Hezbollah are the main ones, they were trying to be as thick as thieves with Russia, but they are no fools and they took the middle path at the earliest setting of them getting into warmer waters. Now the other players see certain matters evolve and whilst Mossad was kind enough to give the people something to read about, it was not enough, yet when we aggregate 15 months of news cycles, we see a path that shows a long term commitment of Iran taking a different path, the path I feared when people were trying to get cosy to President Rouhani to alleviate Middle Eastern tensions (in perfectly valid ways), the truth (as I personally see it) was that Iran had no one to replace Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, a committed hardliner, a politician that does the bidding of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and Major general Mohammad Bagheri. They needed one that accepted both and I expect that one is in the works, but President Rouhani (the lame duck as voiced by one Iranian diplomat) is not that person and the other two are too powerful for President Rouhani, there will be no moderation in Iran. They are set to destroy their opponents no matter what, their one view is the only one that counts and as such, we might prefer to not be part of it at all, especially as non-Muslims, but they have given us no option, none that are diplomatic that is, we have to side with Saudi Arabia in that setting. Qatar is standing in a shallow spot with too many requiring water, and as solutions dry up, there is every option that Saudi diplomats, together with the GIP (Ri’āsat Al-Istikhbārāt Al-‘Āmah) can change that setting. I personally believe that Iran overplayed its hand a little too soon; perhaps they thought that the timing was right? It remains speculative yet the setting is now that the Iranian Qatar links can be (permanently) broken, in addition to all that the setting offers an option to ‘rekindle’ certain connections with the UAE which now puts the entire Yemen/Houthi situation in play where with the removal of Iran things could be resolved and actual humanitarian aid could commence, which would be a relief for millions of people all over the world. In both matters Iran ends up holding the wrong cards and an additional crack in the Iran/Hezbollah veneer could be created, in this setting, no one will care about the survival of the terrorist organisation Hezbollah and their only path is to hide in the deepest hole, hoping that some of them might survive at best.

I am certain that the matters are seen correctly, we are in an almost hostile setting where we limited options by misrepresenting nations and their views for the need of corporate greed (Qatar), we have been facilitating through all kinds of means to get a fictive deal in place, one that is shown more and more to never have been realistic (Iran), we have alienated other nations by demanding that they adjust to our way of thinking (Saudi Arabia) and in all this we went out of our ways to not hold others accountable because of other needs that the EU had for their personal little deals (Turkey), it is in all this that we should be creating a solution path, yet some have limited moves through previous acts and now that there is a time limit in place to prevent serious escalations, we suddenly see that we are in a place where Russia of all players ends up being the best placed for mediation in this, which will of course delay the second cold war for a fair bit, so we have that to look forward to as well.

In all this we see another reflective part towards this situation and the entire unacceptable mess within FIFA. With ‘Swiss prosecutor appeals for cooperation on FIFA case file‘, we see: “Switzerland’s attorney general has a message for his foreign counterparts as his office pores over reams of seized documents and dozens of criminal cases linked to FIFA: “Come to us.” Michael Lauber said Friday the investigations require both quick action and patience, and noted “good developments” like how growing cooperation has led to 45 requests for legal assistance from Switzerland with regard to soccer“, as well as “One of the complexities, Lauber said, is that Swiss law has no clause for cases of private corruption, meaning that his team has to find creative ways of going after suspected wrongdoing at times — as with the disloyal management allegations against Blatter“. This is interesting as most of the media left us in the dark, but moreover, we see that this was given to us on April 20th 2018. The question becomes regarding FIFA, what other options were never looked at or actively engaged in, and if this escalates and explodes, do we have any recourse left?

Are we in a place where corporate corruption in facilitating towards media and big business in all this is tolerated, what is left for us? If the sports can no longer be trusted, can we merely claw back to the old days that there are no licenses and sports can be freely covered by any media, remove all exclusivity whilst banning advertisements on EVERY sport event. So how many heart attacks could I cause in these higher corporate echelons by demanding this move to be made by the UN on a global scale?  #IDoHaveASenseOfHumour

When you see the media outrage on freedom of the press and the right to know, should that not include coverage of events? In that regard, when the media screams at that point, who will they be representing, the shareholders, the stakeholders, the advertisers or those watching the event, the actual audience? Now take that view towards the Middle East and the escalations and limitations we see, and especially the innuendo not backed by facts or evidence. The Middle East situation is indeed more complex, yet in part we made it that way, so when we see Amnesty International (at https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/campaigns/2017/02/free-turkey-media/) with ‘Turkey: Journalism Is Not A Crime‘, and we realise the quote “Since the failed coup attempt in July 2016, academics, journalists and writers who criticise the government risk criminal investigation and prosecution, intimidation, harassment and censorship. Coupled with the closure of at least 180 media outlets by executive decree under the state of emergency, the message – and the resulting effect on press freedom – is clear and disturbing. The severity of the Turkish government’s repression of the media is such that it has been described by some as the “death of journalism”“, so when we see this and also realise that this is not the leading story in EVERY newspaper in the free world, why is that? Now consider last January we got: “Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was in Paris for talks with Macron, part of efforts to improve his government’s strained relationship with Europe. Macron confirmed that Turkey’s wait for EU membership was far from over and suggested a partnership instead in the meantime“, the use of ‘meantime‘, an implied setting of facilitation and the fact that Europe is bending over backwards allowing Turkey to get the sweet spots and not being held accountable for not one, but optionally two genocides (Armenia and Kurds). Can anyone explain where the press is in all this, because it remained ambiguous for the longest of time!

So in the end, how should we see that endangered view, is it merely projection versus perception? I do not belief that this is the case, but that might be merely my view on the matter.

And he game is not over, the issues we will see next week will be impacting on several issues at present and not only for the nations separately, some of the links will be influenced by several events and high end meetings, so next week I might end up looking entirely wrong, as we see some state it in a certain way, like for example: “it was in everyone’s best interest to make certain changes to the agreement as it was currently set”. That is the mere reality of the matter. Yet they will not change the answer, they will end up changing the question so that it matches the answer, which in the end is not the same.

 

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Tubing it along

There is news, news that has been about a few weeks and I have kept an iLook on it. In one part it is as techofreak as it gets, so I should be on board the moment it launches, it is so versatile that it has no other option than to change lives on a global scale, yet there is the issue that it is so new that it is a little scary. That is the reality of all new technology; consider the first 10,000 Facebook accounts, the first 100,000 internet users. It all starts in a small geeky way and this will be no difference. It had more presence in the Saudi Arabia Vision 2030, so that is why I took another look. You see, the entire matter is not merely where it is, but it is how the technology is adapted, that is the first part in all this. To set this in the proper light, we need to take a step back. In the UK they have the HS2. So when we see the BBC (at http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-16473296), we see “The initial plan is for a new railway line between London and the West Midlands carrying 400m-long (1,300ft) trains with as many as 1,100 seats per train. They would operate at speeds of up to 250mph – faster than any current operating speed in Europe – and would run as often as 14 times per hour in each direction“, so when we consider London – Birmingham we see ‘1 h 25 min’, as their fast option at present, which at 117 miles, makes the HS2 a 45 minute saving, so how many billions is that going to cost? Now consider that each one technical glitch will cut the 45 minutes. Now, I am all for progress, now when we go by two numbers we see “a projected cost of £56 billion, up from the initial cost of £32.7 billion in 2010“, we see that 8 years ago, they had it wrong by close to 100%, so we see a waste of £56 billion plain and simple. The UK could fix its schools for that amount of money and overall, there is absolutely no reason to go that distance, it is just too short. Now we get to the next stage of travel.

Welcome to Hyperloop!

Now as we see this in the Saudi Arabian setting it changes, you see when we look (at https://www.tahawultech.com/news/virgin-hyperloop-one-unveils-vision-2030-pod/) we see ‘Traveling from Riyadh to Jeddah would take 76 minutes (currently over 10 hours) utilising the land bridge for both passenger and freight movement, positioning KSA as the gateway to 3 continents‘ as well as ‘Traveling from Riyadh to Abu Dhabi would take 48 minutes (currently over 8.5 hours)‘, so here we see a clear forward momentum. Not merely 45 minutes gain, but gains that take away 90% of the travel time, now we are talking improvements! I never quite understood the HS movement, not in the UK (where there is some benefit) and even less in the Netherlands where the improvements are as shallow as it gets, all this ‘good for the economy‘ whilst I think it greased the careers of certain people, and in the end nothing for the citizens, and the less stated on the Dutch government joke called Fyra at a mere €11 billion loss, it is not a lot if you say the amount fast!

So even as we are burning ourselves all over Europe on high speed trains Hyperloop technology is different, you go by tube (as literally as it gets) and within that tube you have the option to truly accelerate, the nice setting that this will reflect on cargo and passengers alike, so it is also versatile. So when we read “The hyperloop-enabled transportation sector in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia will stimulate economic growth and diversification of Saudi industries, according to Virgin Hyperloop One. It will also nurture the manufacturing and innovation sectors, and spur job growth in support of the country’s Vision 2030 plan increasing the GDP 1-2 percent across the Kingdom“, we are not seeing the whole picture. You see it is almost a lot bigger than that. The currently planned £380 billion mega city Neom would be an optional first as well, so Riyadh would be linked to Neom, which now is set to connect Egypt and Jordan, it also opens the doors almost directly to Sharm-El-Sheik as well as the Israeli city of Eilat, all golden opportunities which allows Saudi Arabia to grow the economy in Riyadh on a much larger foundation than ever before. In all this Cargo and passengers are set to near exponential growth, especially in the short term. So we have near direct connections between Bahrain, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Oman, Qatar and Saudi Arabia in the centre of all this. It will not take long for these nations to grow all kinds of alliances and commerce will flourish like nothing we have seen before and Virgin, with its Hyperloop One is in the centre of this growth. Even as Europe is trying to get something similar rolling, we see that France is alas out of cash for such an endeavour (at present) ‘Hyperloop gives cash-strapped French cities hope‘ (at https://www.thenational.ae/business/economy/hyperloop-gives-cash-strapped-french-cities-hope-1.726967), it is a stretch, but it makes a lot of sense for France to get involved in all this, in their setting Hyperloop makes sense, especially regarding cargo (cheese and wine settings anyone). So when I see “TransPod’s technology is based on magnetic propulsion and electrified tracks, moving pods through a vacuum tunnel designed to reduce friction. As with most Hyperloop projects, the bulk of the estimated costs are for deploying infrastructure. Co-founder Sebastien Gendron estimates his company needs €20 million (Dh88.1m) in financing to complete the Limoges project at the current stage, and says he’ll raise half of that from private investors“, in all this, I am surprised that no one there called Ubisoft (more specifically Christian Guillemot, Claude Guillemot, Gérard Guillemot, Michel Guillemot or Yves Guillemot), they have the cash and more important, to be the founders of something this futuristic that will be moving through France with the Ubisoft symbol would be worth its weight of a train in gold I’d imagine.

So back to Saudi Arabia, the one part I do disagree with is ‘in support of the country’s Vision 2030 plan increasing the GDP 1-2 percent across the Kingdom‘, you see, once the line is in place, it will spur the economy in more ways, beyond tourism and beyond cargo, for close to double that prediction. A system that far ahead will also spur infrastructures growth as the rest of the world will be lagging behind, especially where engineering is concerned. They all claim they have ‘the technology‘ yet at present there is a lot more reliability that under these settings it will only be running in the KSA in a more serious setting in the foreseeable future and that is where the advantage grows, in addition, when the travel times are shifted to those degrees, emergency surgeries, medical disasters when Hyperloop technologies transfers and adjusts in more than one perk, we will see both the King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Centres in Riyadh and Jeddah grow abilities to attain options because they are now less than 2 hours apart. That transfers to all manner of services, when they are no longer separated by time to that degree, it will drive a lot more than the ones we see at present. and let’s not forget, this is merely the first degree of Hyperloop, as the engineers figure out a lot more than is currently possible, the growth will blossom further, and as we see forward momentum on this scale, we understand that there are risks, you when the gain is not 45 minutes, but 90% travel time is reduced the picture shifts a lot further on a larger scale. Even as we were introduced to ‘tube’ transport in Logan’s Run in 1976, we never imagined that it would be an actual solution, not until now do we see that there are places where it is more than a solution, it is the drive to move forward on nearly every field.

So even as I accept that we are not there yet and there are all kinds of issues down the line, movement is now a given, and even a some used the London underground map and added some Hyperloop fun to it, the setting is not that impossible on some part of those tracks. It is a part where all technology can move forward, we merely have to adapt parts of it. Consider that change as new venues of technology open will up, and there is serious cash to be made for all the players in this field, you merely have to find the niche where your solution fits.

That is where Vision 2030 is now becoming a driving force, not merely because there is $500 billion to be found, but because those who do get their working solution in place, for those there is a lot more to be made over time, Saudi Arabia is merely the pilot, it is the global setting where profit becomes a very serious opportunity, it will drive the now nearly born new Nouveau Riche generation to a very new level with amounts the previous generation never ever dreamed of.

When you sit down and consider the map, we do not merely see Africa, Asia, and the Middle East, we see that Saudi Arabia has the opportunity become the axial for those three continents, an option we never would considered as realistic when Vision 2030 launched 10 years ago, now that picture is shifting and with the growing technologies as Saudi Arabia is embracing these new opportunities we see a shifting picture, even as oil might be funding this, the reliance on it is fading a lot faster than we thought possible, not merely through Hyperloop, but through the changes all the technologies enable one another with and that also gives new directions, because it is no longer about volatility  (as Saudi Arabia was accused of by others in a previous blog), it is about stability and the enabled stability that these solutions bring.

For in the end making money will always win over waging war, that has been proven for the longest of times.

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The rocky road of Congress

There are issues all over the Middle East, and whilst saying that, we see that the UK and the US are now ‘caught’ with their fingers in the big pork pie.

The setting is best seen when we start with the Israeli Haaretz. The article (at https://www.haaretz.com/middle-east-news/top-three-stunning-admissions-from-the-top-u-s-general-in-the-region-1.5910066) gives an initial view.

The title ‘Iran, Syria and Saudi Arabia: Top Three Stunning Admissions from the Top U.S. General in the Middle East‘ sets the pace to the smallest degree and sets the topics to a much larger degree. So let’s take a look.

  1. Assad has won
  2. Iran deal should stand
  3. Saudis use American weapons without accountability in Yemen

Each of these three settings are partially a given. In the first we see that as Lt. Col. Dmitry Utkin has been successful in setting the pace and the plays that are about to follow. Yevgeny Prigozhin, who is linked in all this gives the push for Concord Management and Consulting as well as its subsidiary LLC Megaline, a large push for optional multi-billion dollar contracts. It is yet unconfirmed what exactly will happen, but the setting of the end of the Syrian war will have long lasting repercussions in the Middle East. It is also the first setting where there is a very clear indication that the influence of the US is declining. It will quite literally need to cater to the needs of Saudi Arabia for a much longer time to undo the damage that inaction has brought to the US. So whilst the world is getting torpedoed by news, fake news and gossip regarding to the US and the Internet Research Agency (IRA), there are more and more indications that LLC Megaline is moving beneath the radar to start setting up their infrastructures to grow close to 500% and become the construction facilitator primarily for Syria and after that who knows. Let’s not forget that the $500 billion required for NOAM will go a lot further than Saudi Arabia by its self can currently facilitate for. So as America has been making gruesome steps towards optionally fumbling the collaboration it had created and grown over 75 years. As we were treated earlier this week (at http://thehill.com/opinion/national-security/378132-us-must-push-saudi-arabia-away-from-the-chinese-model-of-governance), so when we see “The widespread concerns are that Saudi Arabia simply won’t meet the stated targets set by Vision 2030. Facing a demographic tidal wave — nearly 45 percent of the population is under the age of 25 — Saudi Arabia needs to generate millions of new jobs to absorb a growing workforce it can no longer afford to subsidize through generous government handouts“, that whilst the US has been unable to even closely set its own agenda for, at times, no more than a quarter in advance at each stage and ending up missing their own forecasts by a lot, we see here that the vision that requires another 12 years is already set to fail, according to the Hill. Now, there is a clear setting that things have to change and there are changes coming, there are even more optional changes in the works as the EU has been playing the wrong settings to cater to the wrong people, in addition, the stress settings between Turkey and several European nations are now impacting a little wider than before. You might see this as separate and as acts they are, but the impact is much wider. France is getting less and less obliging towards Turkey in regards to the Afrin offensive, and the Turks are also getting less and less warm receptions from the Netherlands, so there are political stress situations all over the place. So as we now hear (at https://www.reuters.com/article/us-swiss-turkey/swiss-investigate-alleged-turkish-attempt-to-kidnap-businessman-idUSKCN1GQ2UD) that allegedly accuses that “Turkish diplomats planned to drug and kidnap a Swiss-Turkish businessman as part of a crackdown after the 2016 coup attempt in Turkey“, we see a new iteration of cooling notions. These matters have an impact to a larger degree. You see, there is not just the Saudi issue, issues 2 and three all include Iran, not merely the nuclear deal, but the Houthi support that Iran is giving with the supply of missiles and other goods is still largely ignored by too many players. It is a setting of filtered views, trying to isolate the players and deal with one sided responses. It is the Yemeni setting that makes that utterly impossible. So as we see on one side “The Senator followed up, citing reports that U.S. munitions have been used against civilians in Yemen, she asked, “General Votel, when you receive reports like this from credible media organizations or outside observers, is CENTCOM able to tell if U.S. fuel or U.S. munitions were used in that strike?” “No, senator, I don’t believe we are,” he replied“, we are shown a one sided part in all this that a significant amount of acts was to act against the Iranian missiles as they were targeting civilian areas. That part remains unasked. So in all this, as we realise that Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren is one of the smarter cookies in the US Senatorial jar of cookies, we need to wonder on her actions and her reasoning. The idea that the US (especially the democrats) needs the nuclear deal to hold, whilst we get (at https://www.ft.com/content/22845a20-27d2-11e8-b27e-cc62a39d57a0) an accepted view from the Financial Times with “The US will on Thursday ramp up pressure on European countries to “fix” a landmark Iran nuclear deal that president Donald Trump has threatened to scrap“, with in addition “A state department spokesperson said: “This is a last chance.”” we know that the end is nigh for that bad situation. It is more than Israel wanted, the additional settings that we see is that the US has played a very dangerous game on the Turkish, the Iranian and the Saudi side, whilst there is enough indication that they never had the Trump cards to make it happen. That view is given more strength when we see “The senior US official said “it was diplomatic malpractice to exclude missiles from the original deal”, adding that long-range missiles are inherently associated with a nuclear weapons programme“. In that regard, it is not just the acts of the US, but the EU and UK players in all this will also be given the spotlight. As we see that things were missing, the hasty excuses like ‘there was no time‘, or ‘this was as good as we were going to get it‘ will hit back with enormous force as it gives more and more view that the initial views of Israel were correct. Now as there is an increased escalation with Iran, it is the view we see (at http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-43419673) where we see “Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman told US network CBS News his country did not want to acquire nuclear weapons. “But without a doubt, if Iran developed a nuclear bomb, we would follow suit as soon as possible,” he added“, which now gets us in that stage that comes with the Hollywood phrase ‘This shit is getting real!‘ It was the setting that Israel had dreaded for the longest of times and whilst that shit is getting real we see, or better stated, we should see that the escalated and unbalanced pressures are showing the EU as well as the UN to be set as paper tigers that have no power and in the end no options. It is like Reuters stated in regards to the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, merely “a 47-nation human rights body that has no legislative powers“, yes that was a setting that really helped it all along, were they not?

It goes further than this

You see, some of the players are waking up (or so it seems), with ‘GOP leaders want to put off Yemen war powers vote’, (at https://edition.cnn.com/2018/03/15/politics/yemen-war-powers-vote-congress/index.html), they realise that the setting is less clear, there are intricate settings that have been ignored by some of the players (read: Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren), the issue is not how, what, when, where or why it was done. With “GOP leaders would prefer to put off a final vote on the divisive issue until after it can be more closely studied in committee” it is not merely a stalling tactic (stalling might still be a factor). The issues that Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren danced around are still very much on the table for the governing party and in all this it is also squarely on the plate of Mike Pompeo, who, if confirmed, as Secretary Of State, will need to make sure that his office does not become the SOS signal that breaks the loom before the strings in all this have been separated, untangled and isolated so that the matters do not become some Gordian knot that ends up pushing Saudi Arabia, Iran, Egypt, Qatar and Turkey over some edge, because these connections will set flame to the threads connected to others on the loom of diplomacy. Even as we are ‘treated’ to news items like ‘Iran-Qatar alliance deepens, says Iranian naval official‘ and ‘Iran stands with Qatar, says Guards official‘, the truth remains that a direct head to head with Saudi Arabia is one that Iran is reluctant to have, because when it comes to making choices between Saudi Arabia and Iran, there is clarity that the US, many European nations as well as Israel, pretty much none of them will support Iran, as the deepening cliffs are drawn between the EU nations and Turkey, the support it had with Turkey could essentially fall away further, and in that Turkey has been famous for merely supporting whatever pleases Turkey, getting in bed with Iran that deep is a choice Turkey will not be willing to chance. In all this Iran requires players like Qatar to make the blunders of setting themselves into a light of harm whilst Iran plays the ‘I know nothing‘ card.

A game that ends even before it starts in all earnest. So in that regard, the second and third setting we saw in Haaretz will have stronger impacts and the entire Yemeni setting will not be played out the way some would like that to be. that part was seen merely an hour ago when Reuters (at https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-yemen-mattis/mattis-dont-restrict-u-s-support-to-saudi-led-forces-in-yemen-idUSKCN1GS00N) gave us “Defence Secretary Jim Mattis defended U.S. military support to Saudi Arabian-led coalition forces in Yemen on Thursday as he explained a personal appeal to lawmakers who are considering whether to end Washington’s involvement in the devastating conflict“, and it is not merely in regards to support. When it comes to appeasing Turkey or Saudi Arabia, having strong ties with Saudi Arabia would be roughly 1,000% more important than anything else and not in the smallest regard for economic reasons. So as we earlier (in previous bog) saw that what is now stated by Reuters as “A bipartisan group of senators, Republican Mike Lee, independent Bernie Sanders and Democrat Chris Murphy, are attempting to take advantage of a provision in the 1973 war powers act that allows any senator to introduce a resolution on whether to withdraw U.S. armed forces from a conflict not authorized by Congress“, we see that congress might be having the right cap on whilst considering this, the cap would prove to be a massive blowback for Saudi-US settings in the Middle East for the longest of times. So as we might to some degree agree with “Lawmakers have argued for years that Congress has ceded too much authority over the military to the White House. Under the Constitution, Congress – not the president – has the authority to declare war“, we need to also see that the US has not declared war against Yemen, it merely is seeking to stop the Iran-aligned Houthi rebels, a group has been firing missiles into Saudi Arabia as well as target commercial vessels off Yemen’s coast, 2 acts that should never have been allowed for in the first place. The US could have a clear setting in those two parts and as such a larger repair of status would be to be more vigorous in countering merely those two dangers anyway possible.

And in all this there is one final danger that the US desperately needs to negate and they do not have a lot of time to achieve it. You see as the Syrian issues are drawing to a close, it is not impossible that PMC Wagner would be growing its influence by offering support to Saudi Arabia against Yemen. You see, Iran painted itself in a corner by denying the weapons shipments to Yemen. In this the strategy becomes that either Iran walks away, or locks horns with Russia too. So as we see “The Iranian Minister of Defence Amir Hatami has denied the allegations about the presumed shipment of weapons to Yemen“, the door has been opened and now Yevgeny Prigozhin as well as Lt. Col. Dmitry Utkin could end up visiting Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, in his role of Minister of Defence and offer to solve the Yemeni issue. Should that happen, which is largely speculative from my side, the Russian delegations would receive a much larger opening of the door of opportunity in the Middle East as well as optional access to offer services towards NOAM, a situation that must be the stuff of nightmare legends for the US (as well as for the UK to some degree).

If that happens, it is expected to happen before the end of July, so we will know then and I could be wrong, but when it comes to business opportunity we have seen Yevgeny Prigozhin take the lane of opportunity in the quickest way and there is no way that he does not want a slice of that $500 billion Lemon Meringue Pie, or as he would be calling it the: Kremlin Profit Sharing Money Supply, a refreshing desert that is as rhymed as the Kremlin could get it with the available Horn of Plenty for all who agree there.

Do you still think that my speculation is that far off? I do not hope to be right, but knowing how the souls of greed move; the chance of me being wrong is declining really fast.

All because some of the players have (as I personally see it) their own ego’s and personal needs in the play and not the national needs they had to serve, the long term needs that is, because there is no doubt that some of these sparks are the direct consequence of short term thinking.

 

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