Tag Archives: Qatar

Lollies to the right

 

Yes, today is Friday and as every Catholic is seeking out the best place to find their serving of Friday fish, others seek their food from optionally different vendors. Yet for many Muslims, its Dutch Sweets day, and let’s be honest the Dutch have a great sweets department, from the liquorice (the best in the world), Haagse Hopjes, gingerbread, ginger snaps, chocolate letters, butter cake, Apple Pie and custard pies, the Dutch know how to present some of the very best Vitamin C (Candy) items on the planet. Yet for many today, the menu wants a slice of Geert Wilders. It seems that finally the setting is that Geert Wilders has opted to cancel the Mohammed Cartoon competition. The Guardian (at https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/aug/30/geert-wilders-far-right-dutch-mp-cancels-muhammed-cartoon-competition) is telling us that his response was “To avoid the risk of victims of Islamic violence, I have decided not to let the cartoon contest go ahead“, which is actually a bit weird. You see, he pretty much had to flee Texas, USA in 2015 over a similar event. Did he think that something unacceptable to Muslims in the USA would suddenly be tolerated in the Netherlands whilst hiding behind ‘freedom of expression’? For me it is actually a little sad, as I had a nice setting to take away Dutch business for myself (for mere professional, and greed driven reasons), in addition it inspired me to write a film script for Netflix called ‘How to assassinate a politician‘, aka ‘The Essay‘, and that is off the table now too (or perhaps not).

And in light of what was presented, we are also seeing two settings of falsehood. The first by him with ““It’s not just about me,” Wilders said in the statement. Opponents of the event “see not only me, but the entire Netherlands as a target”“, that is not a truth, it is correct (but for other reasons), it is a non-Truth because Geert Wilders instigated the outrage in a way that he would create the outrage. He got to play the ‘Muslims hate us card’ whilst he is very aware that his actions and his actions alone instigated it. The second player was not lying, but still acted (as far as I can tell) in falsehood. You see, when we see “Rutte added that people in the Netherlands have far-reaching freedom of speech rights and the government did not intend to seek the contest’s cancellation” we see a falsehood and a dangerous setting. Dutch law does not allow for certain settings.

When we look (at https://www.wodc.nl/binaries/ob248-volledige-tekst_tcm28-68659.pdf) at the Dutch Paper ‘Profanity, discriminating expressions because of religion and hate speech‘ we are confronted with the setting of Dutch Criminal Law Article 137. Here we see: “He who publicly, verbally or in writing or image, deliberately exhausts a group of people because of their race, their religion or belief, their heterosexual or homosexual orientation or their physical, psychological or mental disability, is punished with imprisonment of a maximum of one year or a fine of the third category“, it applies, because Islam is outspoken on the fact that there will be no image of the prophet Muhammad, that is one setting that the Dutch Prime minister cannot avoid and in that, the setting we see that not only was the competition planned to be held in the Dutch parliament building, the fact that we are confronted with the quote “Rutte added that people in the Netherlands have far-reaching freedom of speech rights and the government did not intend to seek the contest’s cancellation“, a clear setting where we see more than a mere collision of ‘freedom of speech’ and the law. So even as we see on page 26: “the discrimination provisions of relatively recent make-up, and were only introduced in the Netherlands in 1971“, considering that it was introduced after he was too old to be breastfed by his mommy and long enough to accept that the law was in place long before he got elected into politics, it is from that point of view that we can establish his intent in the act of insulting Islam.

In addition to this, the entire matter was handled incorrectly by Dutch Parliament, even the setting that the cancellation was not sought. There might have been some defence possible if the venue was not in a Dutch Government building, but that was not the case, tying the hands of Dutch politicians through their inactions.

So the predictions that I made 8 days ago in the article ‘Liberalism overboard‘ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2018/08/23/liberalism-overboard/) and the fact that we now also see that Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan has been requested to cut ties with the Dutch, so in this we are still seeing escalations. In this Dutch Ambassador to Pakistan Ardi Stoios-braken is about to get an interesting anniversary day, as she assumed the office on September 7th last year, in this there is now the smallest chance that she will not even be able to complete the one year milestone. The additional part where we see that Pakistan is importing close to $400 million from the Netherlands each year is optionally be getting hit as well. 54% if that pie is consumer goods and even if overall the amount is not that big a deal, there is still the chance that it will also impact Dutch exports to Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Oman, UAE, Indonesia and Qatar, to what extent is impossible to say, but the wound reopened by Pakistan is much larger than most people realise, especially ass the Dutch Prime minister had the option to diffuse the situation in May 2018 and decided not to do that, that in itself is the larger evil to deal with. The other element in all this is Tehreek-e-Labbaik, a hard-line party that is close to one year old. The issue is that they have the options to sit in conversations with the imams, who would be reaching out to the nations mentioned earlier and even more so the nations I did not mention (Jordan, Iran and Yemen for example). In all this the crises is still continuing and anyone thinking that this will blow over, think again. For Pakistan the issue is actually twofold and Al Jazeera gives these two parts with “Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP), Pakistan’s newest hard-line religious party, which calls for blasphemers to be put to death and celebrates those who have murdered the alleged perpetrators“, which should be regarded as a risk and danger towards violence. the second part is seen with: “A year ago, this kind of a political rally, in the heart of the political base of Pakistan’s ruling party, would have been unthinkable” this second part gives us not merely that there is a hard-line growth within Pakistan, it also implies and gives consideration that those voices will be listened to in Saudi Arabia and therefor also in Indonesia, which in turn might escalate issues in Egypt as well, although I have zero information that there is an interaction of thoughts between these groups at present, the likelihood of it happening should be set to much higher than not.

All issues that could have been prevented by not allowing such an anti-Islam provocation on Dutch government grounds and the additional timespan that the Dutch government would have had to soothe the emotions of Muslims in all this is now pretty much null and void.

In conclusion, it is the Media that also has a negated responsibility. When I am confronted with ““I have decided to cancel the competition to avoid the risk of making people victims of Islamist violence,” Wilders said in a statement. “I don’t want Muslims to use the cartoon competition as an excuse for Islamist violence.”” (Deutsche Welle), as well as “Wilders said adding that the competition is not to “provoke or insult”” (Straits times) are all settings of falsehood. this is not merely my opinion, the evidence can be seen with “Two men who opened fire Sunday outside of an event in Garland, Texas attended by Geert Wilders, a Dutch lawmaker and outspoken critic of radical Islam, have been killed by police“, which was an event in Garland Texas on May 4th 2015. Geert Wilders at that time responded on Twitter with: “Shots fired at Garland Mohammed cartoon free speech event. I just left the building after speeching. #garlandshooting — Geert Wilders (@geertwilderspvv) May 4, 2015“. So not only was there an event three years ago, there was also every clear indication that it would happen again and with the Dutch Criminal Law in place, as well as the additional Dutch inactions, we can clearly see that there is a larger issue in play and the inactions of its current government must optionally be taken as a setting that is more about anti-Islam than with Freedom of Speech or Freedom of Expression from my point of view, but that last part is my personal take on the issue.

So when we do see escalations, hopefully all non-violent ones. We need to consider on the increasing collisions that we see in Freedom of Speech versus Freedom of Religion. It is my view that we are nearing a critical point where Accountability can no longer be avoided and if we agree that some will act on a freedom, we must also hold these people accountable for these actions (and perhaps they will be perfectly valid ones). I wonder what happens when that happens, if people start to think before they speak, we might see levels of de-escalation or better stated an increasing level of common sense whilst awake, which is never a bad thing.

So have a good Friday and do not forget that Monday morning is (at this very moment) a mere 59 hours away.

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A different day

This is a different day. It started bright and early when I woke up at 06:30 thinking of a new movie, an anti-anti-Islam movie. The idea I started with a few days ago called ‘How to assassinate a politician‘ is now called ‘The Essay‘. A setting in regards to what some people call ‘Freedom of speech’ and whilst some are calling it debatable by organising a cartoon competition, where the best drawing of the prophet Mohammed wins, the entire matter is in even worse taste as the event is taking place on the grounds of Dutch parliament.

The setting is so disgusting because Muslim faith is clearly defined as that there will be no image of Mohammed ever. We get from various sources “The Quran does not explicitly forbid images of Muhammad, but there are a few hadith (supplemental teachings) which have explicitly prohibited Muslims from creating visual depictions of figures. It is agreed on all sides that there is no authentic visual tradition as to the appearance of Muhammad, although there are early legends of portraits of him, and written physical descriptions whose authenticity is often accepted“, even as Wiki gives us the goods; they refer to the quality stuff we require. In this Sahih al-Bukhariis one of the Kutub al-Sittah of Sunni Islam. Bukhari finished his work around 846/232 AH, and spent the last twenty-four years of his life visiting other cities and scholars, teaching the hadith he had collected. In every city that Bukhari visited, thousands of people would gather in the main mosque to listen to him recite traditions. Bukhari finished his work around 846/232 AH, and spent the last decades of his life visiting other cities and scholars, teaching the hadith he had collected. In every city that Bukhari visited, thousands of people would gather in the main mosque to listen to him recite traditions. The authenticity of his work has been widely accepted by Islam scholars. So in light of this, we need to consider that certain actions are just not acceptable. Even as a Catholic, I have for the most little knowledge of Islam, but the little I know clearly shows the Dutch Politician to act in intentional travesty and hides behind what some refer to as ‘freedoms’ to insult Islam religion and whilst that is happening the Dutch government is still trying to wield ‘diplomacy’ to gain large multi-billion euro contracts all over the middle east, in Muslim nations, yielding to ‘it is out of our hands‘ whilst letting the parliament building facilitate to such biased events of hatred. So at this point, can anyone explain to me why Egyptians are considering the Dutch in ‘Dutch engineering consultancy Arcadis selected to build tunnel under Suez Canal‘, there are several alternatives available and they are willing to give Islam the respect it deserves. Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Oman, UAE, Indonesia and several others are confronted with the insults against Islam like the Tweet shown here. Even as we accept that there will always be people who are not merely biased, they tend to be individuals, yet when Dutch Parliament is used as the host of such an event, what does that say? Why would you want to cater to a nation that willingly allows its governmental buildings be used for anti-Islam events? The fact that the official complaint by Pakistan was kept out of the large papers for well over 2 days is also a clear setting that they are setting the stage of what is a very Dutch setting of ‘toleration policy‘ of anti-Islamic events. Dutch politicians like Stef Blok who seems to embrace (to some extent) the bluntness of Geert Wilders. A larger population is now being made aware (they already knew it) that to some extent a multicultural society is for the most a dream at best, yet ‘hallucination’ is actually more appropriate in this environment.

The Dutch newspaper gives it best in an article by Hakan Kulcu. Here we see ‘Ik ben bang voor het Nederland van morgen. Zullen mijn kinderen hier nog welkom zijn?‘ (Translate: I am afraid for the Netherlands of tomorrow, will it be a welcoming place to my children?), it is a little paraphrased. The setting is that there are more and more indicators that multicultural are no longer a given, they are at best a hopeful dream. But do you feel that you are investing in what was to be an acceptable setting for the future?

In this the foreign office ‘El Jefe’ Stef Blok is making his bluntness and open wound and a drastic mistake for whatever policy seems to be in effect. So when we are treated to ‘unfortunate and careless‘ speech bubbles of non-consideration, we must accept that there is a larger issue and that is going on whilst the Dutch are hiding in their PowerPoint on settings of tolerance and multi-cultural events. A presentation in falsehood, is that not a decent reason to change that 9 figure contract to someone who is honestly merely about the money (America), or at least trying to be truly multicultural (Sweden and Switzerland)?

In all this my brain is still processing the setting for the movie concept of ‘The Essay‘. Perhaps that idea could be sold in Abu Dhabi or Riyadh, plenty of rich fish in the sea who would love to be a movie producer. A movie part tongue in cheek, so that there is plenty of satire in consideration (when assassinating a politician), having alternative explanatory paths is a good thing. Some politicians look very Arian and we can use that Germany concept easy enough. o, and I must be certain that their movie states at the beginning: ‘Any Resemblance to Actual Persons, Living or Dead, is Purely Coincidental‘, which works with the Arian look works especially well as every German dreamed of being one and there are 83 million Germans, so I should get away with it 50% of the time.

The setting should be like …better keep the rest to me, myself and I for the movie sale. That is unless I can get 3.75% of 16 billion Euros in Dutch international contacts. If I pull that off, I will just finance the movie myself. Yet even as I check, the newspapers in many nations are still taking a large detour away from Geert Wilders and the cartoon competition. I reckon that they are hoping that it passes with anyone noticing. The Dutch Parool gives us an actual view that is a lot better, an opinion piece by Frits Bosch. Here we see: “It is brewing under the shiny surface of our prosperity. The elite withdraw into a bubble and deny all existing social problems“. That is actually a lot more accurate than I expected, yet the so called powers that be, the decision makers are for the most these people in a bubble, they include the one percentage incomes and the politicians who seem to be hiding away in The Hague after they got elected, it is in this atmosphere where anti-Islam can grow unchecked and for the most unopposed.

Why should I care as a catholic?

That would be a good question; you see I believe in fair play, for the most i have always adhered to it. I was never greed driven, but the times are not merely changing, the times were never fair, so it is only fair that those hiding behind intentional miscommunication, those hiding through greed driven Status Quo are put into the limelight. Those big businesses that hide behind the corporate cloak whilst whispering at governments via facilitators need to be given the limelight. And if that deprives them of close to 17 billion so much the better. As it is essential for them to be given the option to speech on lost revenue due to ‘unfortunate miscommunications‘, it is fun to see them having to grovel to the settings of their actions and inaction. It will give me more entertainment in the end, because they now facilitate to nations willing to spend close to a trillion dollars in several fields whilst their own wells dried up long ago. Would it not be fair that those knowingly linked to anti-Islam events; that these places are now denied a seat at the table in the Middle East? It seems only fair to me, does that seem fair to you?

Consider that the Catholic bastion Italy, that nation has close to 2 million Muslims, yet in all this, I cannot be anywhere in metropolitan Italy without any church, chapel or cathedral to be within 500 metres, yet in all Italy there are only eight official mosques in that country, does that not seem odd to you?

Why should the Middle East cater to anti-Islamic presence in their country when plenty of other many not anti-Islamic are willing to cater to them?

The world is upside down, so I think it is time that we inform the people on what is actually up and what is actually down, let’s start doing that through a movie, a movie that I call ‘The Essay‘.

 

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Liberalism overboard

We can agree that there is in many places a setting of ‘freedom of speech’. For the most, I have always supported that, and even though I know that there is an overwhelming amount of exercise in the ‘art of free speech’ for the mere setting to do harm and to inflict insult onto others, the largest portion of people are about merely voicing personal opinion, or in some cases to evangelize their version, or better stated their interpretation of events through free speech. I do still believe that freedom of speech is a much larger advocate of good then evil. The question becomes, what happens when the intent is a malicious one?

In America one of the most famous cases of free speech is still Hustler Magazine, Inc. v. Falwell, 485 U.S. 46 (1988). From the New York Times at the time we get “the Court held that the First Amendment gives speakers immunity from sanction with respect to their speech concerning public figures unless their speech is both false and made with “actual malice”, i.e., with knowledge of its falsehood or with reckless disregard for the truth of the statement“, that is the important setting in this case, and even if this is regarding a setting in different nations, it gives a clear view on where most of us are, or should be. So when I was confronted with “a Prophet Mohammed cartoon contest organized by anti-Islam PVV leader Geert Wilders“, a person who has a visible anti-Islam view, when we are clear and in the know that images of the prophet Mohammed are a massive taboo in the entire global Islamic population, why can we allow a political party leader to set a stage of mental duress to Islamic people of all ages? The fact that this competition is to be held in a closed part of Parliament closed or not reflects even worse on the Dutch government.

If I was an emotional person (which I am not), I would plead with the United Muslims of Australia (UMA) as well as a few Muslim governments on the idea of a fantasy story, the topic would be ‘How to assassinate a politician‘, it is partially important that the people realise that I am a Catholic, not a Muslim. It would be open to all Muslims from 14 to 20 years old and the story needs to surpass 8000 words. We will ask a prominent member of Muslim society to consider being the judge of all those stories.

I am as rich as a church mouse (read: therefor the opposite of rich), so I cannot make a price available, so we need sponsor willing to host the artistic exercise and the winner should get a decent award and we will send all the submissions in PDF form to the Dutch Parliament as a statement of objection on what PVV Leader Geert Wilders had set in motion.

You see, the steps are important for the mere setting that there must be a dialogue with people that is not set on hatred and in equal measure, people fuelling the fires of hatred should no longer be allowed in politics. The fact that we were offered: “In 2015 Wilders attended a Mohammed cartoon contest in Texas. He left just before jihadists tried to commit an attack“, it was a clear message (apart from the one in France). So the Dutch politician was in attendance at this event on Dutch Memorial Day (regarding WW2), when we are treated to: “Two gunmen who opened fire outside a competition for the best cartoon depicting the Muslim prophet Muhammad near Dallas in the United States on Sunday. PVV leader Geert Wilders was the keynote speaker at the event. The police shot and killed both gunmen. A security officer was injured“. It was at an American event, in America that called for, and knowingly invited for an action of extremism. A hate group hiding behind “He told the audience that most terrorists are Muslims and “the less Islam the better”. “We are here in defiance of Islam to stand for our rights and freedom of speech,” he said during his speech. “That is our duty.”“. the two sides is that we do not deny a freedom of speech, yet when you use that freedom to knowingly and intentionally inflict harm to others, how does that go over with you?

In this it is the current nightmare for Stef Blok who is currently heading the foreign office. It is a nightmare, because not only is it a setting where a politician is intentionally insulting a religion, not only is this a set stage, it is one that is ALLOWED to be done in Dutch Parliament.

No matter how good most of the Dutch are, no matter how dedicated they are to excellence. when we consider the business model (at https://www.khaleejtimes.com/business/local/dutch-model-attracts-uae-firms), when we see that the setting of “Twenty-seven of the 60 projects come from the UAE“, when the attached “Currently, we have 60 investment projects from the Mena region together investing more than 1.1 billion euros and creating more than 2,000 jobs“, when that falls away due to the insult of their national religion, when the people in the UAE are made aware of the insults that PVV Leader Geert Wilders is allowed to get away with. How long until the funds stop and the jobs go to the UK, France and perhaps Australia? When we get Jeroen C.M. Nijland, commissioner of the Ministry of Economic Affairs at the Netherlands Foreign Investment Agency (NFIA), now having to state that economic times have taken a step back due to ‘abused freedom of expression’ in a stage of intentional malignant acts against Muslim nations on a global scale. When these 2,000 jobs fall away? What will be the excuse Dutch officials will announce in line to the ‘Due to uncontrollable elements, the Dutch deficit will rise from 1.1% to an expected 1.9%‘, or perhaps “The economy will grow by 3.3% in 2017 and a projected 1.3% in 2018“. When one party represents close to 50% of the Netherlands Foreign Investment Agency, getting the scope of alienating economic partners correct tends to become extremely important.

In that regard, when the President of the United Arab Emirates, Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan learns that Dutch parliament was allowed to be used for such an event. How do you expect that he is likely to react? When Saudi Arabia learns of this, a nation now ready to give reign to around one trillion dollars in projects for the next 7 years (the new Neom city included as well as other Saudi projects), in that light, just how stupid was the setting of facilitating to Geert Wilders in all this?

A setting where the technological growth, especially in 5G projects will be the largest in the history of the world (for now that is), when these projects could feed corporations for close to two generations, getting ‘political correctness’ a little better under control is close to everything. So, I do remain a ‘champion’ of free speech, but we should learn to see accountability equally important, especially when there is as what I personally see as clear intentional malice in play. In that regard it was never about ‘freedom of expression‘, was it? So, if we accept fair play, then the Dutch economy should rely on business partners that are not fundamentally Muslim and perhaps they can get the same amount of projects and revenue in Asia, or Africa, or perhaps America. Was America not that nation that has such a booming economy? You see, plenty of other nations to get the 27+ replacement contracts.

I think that this should be the impact of Liberalism when it goes overboard. When we dig deeper and we consider the Society of Personality and Social Psychology (SPSP), we see “findings confirm that conservatives, liberals, the religious and the nonreligious are each prejudiced against those with opposing views. But surprisingly, each group is about equally prejudiced. While liberals might like to think of themselves as more open-minded, they are no more tolerant of people unlike them than their conservative counterparts are” (source: Politico.com). Mark Brandt, Geoffrey Wetherell and Christine Reyna created the paper ‘Discrimination Across the Ideological Divide. The Role of Value Violations and Abstract Values in Discrimination by Liberals and Conservatives‘ (2013). Here we see “conservatives were more discriminatory than liberals toward liberal groups, and liberals were more discriminatory than conservatives toward conservative groups. Conservatives’ discrimination was driven by their higher traditionalism and by liberal groups’ apparent violation of their values. Liberals’ discrimination was driven by their lower traditionalism and by conservative groups’ apparent violation of their values. Complicating matters, conservatives highly valued self-reliance, which weakened their discrimination toward liberal groups, perhaps because self-reliance is associated with the freedom to believe or do what one wants. And liberals highly valued universalism, which weakened their discrimination toward conservative groups, likely because universalism espouses acceptance of all“. Yet the foundation is not the setting of prejudice that we all will have to some degree, what happens when this prejudice is coated in intentional malice? What happens when malice is the cornerstone of the politician and the spokesperson on an agenda that is drenched in self-interest and in that knowingly sets the stage of ‘absence for consideration‘ towards the economic setting that is part of a governing parliament, a parliament that Geert Wilders is a part of? When we see that the economic partners walk away, is that prejudice or the cost of doing business? When we accept certain cultural business partners, should we accept that a level of accountability is to be expected when the ‘freedom of expression‘ is set towards the stage of intentional malice?

You see, for me the exposure would be merely business. I can, to some degree take the slack of these 27 projects and claim my 3.75% of 1.1 billion euros and assist in getting the UAE the quality replacements that do take a level of political correctness in their stride, especially the political players that are unwilling to play fast and loose with a billion euro’s by not allowing parliament to be used for intentional malicious anti-Islam events.

So am I suddenly anti-Dutch? Am I suddenly anti freedom of speech, or anti freedom of expression? No, I am not. I merely state that ‘intent of malice’ should not be allowed, especially not in any house of parliament. I do also accept that the Charlie Hebdo case is a sensitive one, yet in that this was acting within France, in a total satirical case and it was not merely Islam. The setting was also anti Catholic and anti-Judean. One could argue that the magazine treated all religion, as well as politics and culture to a larger degree with contempt. I do not accept that the act against the Charlie Hebdo on 7 January 2015 was an acceptable one. For the most also for the driving reason that they were not singling the Muslim religion out as a target for their satire. In their setting it was about freedom of expression against all they viewed, not just one religion. There was a debatable absence of malice here.

This does get me on a slippery slope and I admit to that. You see, when we set that stage, is there intent or absence of malice? Is satire an intention of malice? No, when it is done over the top and in the staged setting of a cartoon, I remain in line of the Hustler Magazine, Inc. v. Falwell stage. It is cartoon, over the top expression of ridicule, like the two Hebdo images. And as a Catholic, I can look onto that setting and giggle. We never had the absence of icons and images towards religious Christian figures. It changes the field completely.

When liberalism allows for, and to the larger stage supports intent of malice, that is when we need to sit down and wonder just how far over the top have we gone? It is a discussion that the Dutch need to have in the very near future. That pressure will grow when it is no longer merely Pakistan formally complaining, but when Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Oman, Turkey and Indonesia follow suit and stand with Pakistan. At that point it might be too late for the Netherlands to merely do this away with some political statement. At that point it will require much larger efforts by the ambassadors in those nations to go into damage control mode and fix the mess that Geert Wilders was allowed to make in the first place.

It suck to be Mr Laurens Westhoff, Mr Joost Reintjes, Dr Bahia Tahzib-Lie, Mrs Laetitia van Asch and Rob Swartbol in the coming weeks. I have no doubt that in these places there will be a lot of outrage on the matter (and a few other places too).

The fact that this started in June and was not the front page setting in many papers was to some degree an issue, the fact that Pakistan made a formal complaint about the setting and the fact that the newspapers are ignoring the issue over the past 48 hours is also an issue, especially when we are confronted with the setting “Mazari said the actions of Wilders, who heads the Dutch Freedom Party, was a clear violation of human rights of Muslims in Europe as well as a violation of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedom“, so we see Human rights issues in almost every paper, yet when it is Pakistan minister Shireen Mazari, the papers set it aside? Will it all become an outspoken stage on the Pakistan blasphemy law that still attracts the death penalty? In this stage and those settings, we need to accept that there is a much larger hypocrisy in play, so when I limelight the issue, partially so that I can fly in with an option towards 3.75% of One billion Euro, I feel perfectly justified in my actions, at least I was always willing to state out the settings, even when I was wrong (the Jeremy Corbyn stage of a funeral in Tunesia), I had no issue about correcting the stage as to what it truly was (to the degree that I was able to validate).

 

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Oman’s neighbour

You might remember the state of Oman, capital Muscat. There are several reasons to remember Oman, the fact that they got into the news last March with: “The Central Bank of Iran has allowed lenders to issue guarantees for Iranian businesses planning to invest in Oman or those who seek to take out loans from Omani banks” is merely one reason. The fact that they are next to Yemen is the actual reason to mention them. You see, when you look at Amnesty International, you see (at https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2015/09/yemen-the-forgotten-war/) the quote “On 25 March 2015, an international coalition led by Saudi Arabia launched air strikes against the Huthi armed group in Yemen sparking a full-blown armed conflict. Over the following three years, the conflict in Yemen is showing no real signs of abating. Horrific human rights abuses, as well as war crimes, are being committed throughout the country by all parties to the conflict, causing unbearable suffering for civilians” is the issue. Now, let’s be clear, Amnesty International is not lying to you, but the setting that led to it is equally important. The missing part is: “Houthi forces controlling the capital Sana’a and allied with forces loyal to the former president Ali Abdullah Saleh have clashed with forces loyal to the government of Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi, based in Aden“, the setting is ‘former president Ali Abdullah Saleh‘ versus ‘deposed president Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi‘, deposed by the Houthi’s who had instigated a Coup d’état. I will admit that it is more complex than that (or better stated there are additional unmentioned facts here), yet the forced deposing of the then president Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi is still an issue; he went for help towards his allies.

That part is an important part that is missing. After that things went from bad to worse with on the frontlines Iran using Hezbollah enabling the deniable launching of missiles on Saudi Arabia, that is a clear setting and this escalation has no sign of letting up or slowing down.

Now we get the setting that Bloomberg is giving us. the setting (at https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-07-26/yemen-rebels-say-they-attacked-abu-dhabi-airport-with-drones), with the headline ‘Yemen Rebels Say They Attacked Abu Dhabi Airport With Drones‘, the issue is not merely that they have access to drones, the setting of the Iranian missiles and the fact that the Houthi’s are attacking both Saudi Arabia and the UAE (which is denied by the UAE) gives rise to other parts. with the quote “The source confirmed that the drone, Sammad 3, begun its operations by targeting Abu Dhabi International Airport with several raids, in response to the UAE crimes against Yemen” gives rise to the setting that this is no longer merely a Houthi versus the world setting, the entire premise that not only was there a new Drone developed, the Sammad 3 is also actively attacking the UAE, the question becomes is this done via Saudi Arabia, or via Oman, not merely transgressing on their sovereign land, but is it done whilst some in either government was aware? The direct path via Saudi Arabia makes more sense as there is a whole lot of nothing in that region. The second question becomes: why strategically deploy in this way? We might accept that whatever the Yemeni have is nowhere near what the US has, so it will be less than $12M per drone, but how much less is it?

In addition, what is the operational ability of the Sammad 3 (the speculated drone in question)? When you look into the timeline that one announcement comes after the announcement of the Sammad 2, whilst increasing the operational support 10 fold is also suspicious on a few levels. You see, every system increases as becomes better, but 1000% increase is a little much by any standard. Even as we accept that some strategies are better than others, Middle East Eye gives us: “Since the Saudi-led coalition launched its war in Yemen in March 2015, the UAE has been a key player. Yet, while Riyadh’s goal has been to restore President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi to power and crush the Houthi uprising, Abu Dhabi has focused more on the south, training security forces to secure its own geopolitical ambitions“, in this we might question some actions, and they are to some extent, yet the overbearing issue is that there is an Iranian finger in this pie. Only 14 weeks ago we were treated to: “The Yemeni government says that Iran supplied the Houthi rebels with drones used to attack Saudi Arabia. On Wednesday, Riyadh said it shot down two drones in the south of the country and intercepted ballistic missiles launched by the Houthi forces in Yemen. The drones are “made in Iran”, said Yemen’s internationally-recognised government on Saturday. It added that the country’s military did not possess such aircraft and it was “impossible to manufacture them locally””, this not directly contradicts the Bloomberg news by Mohammed Hatem. You cannot erect a drone solution in this short a time span, not even if you had all the Viagra in the world, so the tool erected setting of Iran trying new tools in the political and escalating statement arena regarding ‘drone strikes’ is more than an issue. When we see the news given from Almasirah Media Network with ‘Air Force Unveils New Drone, Sammad 3‘, are they the tool or, was the statement by The National who by their own words are ‘committed to serving the local UAE community‘ misled and they are misleading the UAE community? You see one of the two is true, not both. No matter which path is the real one, it is my personal opinion that none of this existed without Iran, they are in the middle of this and the other media sources are trying to steer clear as some are trying to ‘save’ an illusionary deal with Iran that was never a real prospect to begin with. No matter which one is true, the Yemeni population remains in the middle of it all. there is a second side to this, the events in the red Sea where a tanker was hit is now stopping transfer of oil via the Bab el-Mandeb strait, potentially upping oil prices. It is a clear intentional push for the US to get involved, especially after we were told “A huge tanker with a shipment of oil from Saudi Arabia bound for Egypt was damaged by a missile attack from the northern Bab el-Mandeb strait in the Red Sea. The Houthi rebels in Yemen, armed and financed by Iran, were responsible for the attack. It happened in the wake of the renewed exchange of threats between the United States and Iran, which could also hurt the oil market” (source: Haaretz), in addition we got “Iran’s Quds force chief Qassem Soleimani said on Thursday that the Red Sea was not secure with the presence of American troops in the area”, so there is a much louder setting that Iran is willing to escalate towards direct outspoken war. I reckon that as Europe is becoming meaningless, the direct involvement of Iran will turn defeat to victory. That is not only not given, there is every chance that the UAE and Saudi Arabia will make a united front, in addition, the naval actions could be bad times for Egypt, so there would be additional support for Saudi Arabia and the UAE. The questions will soon become, where does Qatar stand in all this and what are their options. They have their own worries as accusations more and more ridiculous are hitting the media. It seems that the Sydney Morning Herald is becoming the joke of independent journalism, whilst merely parroting that idiot Martin Ivens (as I personally see him in all this) on “In article published by The Sunday Times alleges the Qatar bid team used a PR agency and former CIA operatives to disseminate fake propaganda about its main competitors, the United States and Australia“, whilst the Sunday Times still has not given the people the millions of documents he stated he had with the previous accusations, so we can all optionally agree that Nine Networks is now wearing the pants in the new merger. That matters, because some are not merely tailoring to the needs of places like (censored name of sponsor), they are setting the stage for unsolicited change and through these events they are adding needlessly to pressures in the Middle East.

Pressures that need avoidance because the expression ‘If you have to fight, fight like a cornered cat‘ is a role that Qatar could be pushed into. I actually prefer the Dutch version of that expression which is ‘A cornered cat can move very unpredictable‘, that is more worrying, because the unsubstantiated accusation are an actual issue on a few levels now. so when we see “the alleged smear campaign included paying a professor $US 9,000 to write a damning report on the economic cost of a US World Cup, recruiting journalists and bloggers to promote negative stories in the US, Australian and international media, and organising grassroots protests at rugby matches in Australia“, we demand to see that report, as well as all other evidence; we need to be shown clearly where the lies in that report were as well as the other evidence. Is that not simple? Show us the ACTUAL evidence!

All these settings are important. We can vocally set the stage against Iran (like I am doing with both evidence as well as a comic look at the two images earlier), and I can look at the presented and i am using the published details available to me with all the settings that are open to the audience at large. I never proclaim to have all the wisdom in the world, yet hiding behind ‘unnamed sources’ and ‘unpublished evidence’ like the Sunday Times, whilst I regard them because of that as nothing more than a mere courtesan to sponsors, that is how I see their actions, when the need to investigate FIFA was there, these media buffs were all about the hooker in the bookcase, the entire setting of the media had become questionable. The setting of the Garcia report, whilst the newspapers and media failed to hammer down on Hans-Joachim Eckert, so when we got the ‘refused to publish on various legal grounds‘, who went after Hans-Joachim Eckert? the entire matter also involved the Qatar 2022 cup bids, so as it stands, we need to make sure that places like the Sunday Times and the SMH are now also optionally the spreaders of Fake News, but that is apparently not the case when they have their unnamed sources.

Even as I spoke out in the end against Qatar 2022, it is only because of the stage that Qatar found itself in. It is not up to me who got them there, some was all their own doing, but a larger part was the act of smear campaigns that we see now. Almost four years of smear campaigns. If we are to actually do something about it, then EVERY newspaper is to offer the 350-page report of Michael J. Garcia from September 2014 on their website with a full page 3 summary of the report. That is the first moment that we can start taking journalists serious again (possibly with the Sun as the one exception). It is my view that anyone who was part of misleading regarding Qatar, or in the other direction supporting in falsehood the Qatar bid should be barred for life from every official sport event. It is the only way and that is merely the one side-track that the Yemen situation now calls for. With Iran upping the stakes in Yemen and with alleged drone strikes on UAE and actual attacks on Saudi Arabia, how long until one of them sees a reason to lash out against Qatar? You see, the plot is also thickening when we see the Iran increasing non-oil trade with Oman by 136% in the last quarter alone. That is half a billion in value, now we can agree that every nation has and needs trade, so I would be the last one to state against it, yet there is every indication that Iran is trying to set the mood fir additional change. Some will remember the setting last year when we were offered “Bank Melli Iran and Bank Saderat Iran will resume their operations in the Omani capital Muscat which had halted during the sanctions that cut off Iran from the international financial network“, this is now seen against the news from March when we saw ‘Iran, Oman resolute to grow banking relations’ with the additional quote “Drafting an operational and practical program with opening joint accounts based on the national currencies of Iran and Oman, independent from foreign currencies, should be considered as one of the requirements of developing banking relations“, so what happens, when the setting of the national currencies becomes the foundation of a credit swap where oil is the determined value? It is merely one step away and the US crying for cheap oil is that one element that could make it happen. The US not acting against Oman, whilst knowingly allowing for the swapping of Iranian originated oil based CDO’s is not that far stretched, is it?

Now we have billions in funds, an operational drone team and additional Hezbollah populists trying to set the stage in Yemen. there is support for that view (to the smallest extent), Arab News two weeks ago gave us: “Yemen’s foreign minister has called on Lebanon’s caretaker government to “rein in” Hezbollah and its aggressive tactics in support of the Iranian-backed Houthi militia“, whilst in addition, whilst the National gave us last week: “The UAE Embassy in Beirut has denied claims made by Lebanon’s pro-Hezbollah Al Akhbar newspaper regarding an “Emirates Leaks” report that says Abu Dhabi is applying pressure on Muscat over the Qatar crisis. The embassy has called the leaked diplomatic correspondence from the UAE Embassy in Muscat “false” and said that it was aimed at creating tension with Oman“. We need to realise that the two are unrelated articles are merely that. One has apples, the other pears and the fact that they both represent pieces of fruit is no evidence, changing one of them into oranges does not behold additional truth that should be clear. Yet the stage where Iran decided to increase trade by 136% is a shown fact and Iran has been doing something similar with Turkey which has not given Turkey an additional amount close to $5 billion in the last 6 months alone. Iran is setting a trade stage where in the end, in light of their devaluation and monetary value can soon (or already) only be honoured with oil, how quaint!

It is not merely the plans in place, it is the funding that these projects require, that is where it seems to make sense, but it is not a given that those are the only paths that are being trodden. You see, there is still the Uranium enrichment program that is worked on. With those in the works, we see the need for serious amounts of cash, skills and equipment, all that from a setting where the infrastructure was no longer able to meet the financial needs and the commitment from Iran towards Yemen by the Iranian commander in chief shows that the next step is not that far away, they will need resources and there is now at least a partial setting in place where the facilitation is close to complete. From my point of view, lowering the pressures on Qatar allows Qatar to walk away from Iran as far as possible limiting the options that Iran has, and that is an essential requirement at present.

Even as we see several sources give us lines like: ‘Oman and Kuwait has taken a neutral position in the dispute involving Qatar‘, I am actually less and less convinced that Oman is completely neutral in all this. Is the trade merely growing sympathy in Oman, or is news from places like Sarfayt and Dhalkut changing the sentiment that the people in Oman have? I actually do not know, but something seems to be stirring in Oman, perhaps it is not a pro-Iran feeling, merely a lessened anti-Iran sentiment, they are not the same. What does matter is that all this is escalating giving Iran more options in Yemen, to counter that outside of a full scale event in Yemen is to take away the available fuel that Iran has and I think that removing pressure from Qatar is a first step in all this. Should this be successful, we might see a setting where Oman feels less comfortable having strong ties with Iran, which seems to serve everyone’s purpose (except Iran of course).

 

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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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