Tag Archives: Royal Saudi air force

Is it mere wording?

That is where I am at. The issues are still escalating in Yemen, the issues are a given escalation and no one is proclaiming that either side, Yemen and Saudi Arabia are both innocent. Both made choices, both decided on choices that also clearly indicate that errors were made. Some will call them judgment errors, some will call for perspectives. I tend to call for facts and evidence. Yet we can all agree that no matter how right and just your setting is, in any war, in any act of war, things go pear shaped. Errors will be part of that and the instigator of that error will have to live with that.

It all started Friday morning, when ABC (one amongst many) gives us (at http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-08-10/yemen-air-strike-dozens-killed-including-children-on-a-bus/10104136) the simple setting: ‘Yemen: Children on a bus among dozens killed in Saudi-led air strikes, Red Cross says‘. We might get angry on this; we might get the feeling that children should always be avoided at all cost. Yet the ABC does not give the people the issue that is at the centre of it, besides the mention of: “It accused the Houthis of using children as human shields and said the strikes were carried out in accordance with international humanitarian law“, and let’s forget the setting of ‘strikes’ and ‘in accordance with international humanitarian law‘ for a moment, I just can’t laugh at his now (mainly because I was at the dentist this morning). You see, Al Jazeera (at https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2018/08/didnt-find-remains-yemens-survivors-deadly-bus-attack-180812062952530.html) gives us the additional part. The missing part is “a Saudi-Emirati coalition air strike has killed dozens of children in a Houthi stronghold.” Now the fact that Al Jazeera had the news 18 hours ago and ABC gave it on Friday morning, I partially pass for ABC, because information might have been missing, which tends to be the case in the first hours. Yet the setting: ‘dozens of children in a Houthi stronghold‘, so what the EFF were children doing in a Houthi stronghold? If that can be confirmed, it does not merely give rise to the human shield part, it might be evidence and that makes the setting a very different one.

In addition, the Canberra Times gives us 11 hours ago the setting (at https://www.canberratimes.com.au/national/act/saudi-bus-bombing-marks-a-new-low-in-yemen-20180810-p4zwsm.html) “The bus, which is reported to have been taking a group of children to summer camp, was travelling through the crowded Dahyan market in Sa’ada, the capital of Sada province. The region is the traditional homeland of the Houthi rebels who rose up against the Saudi-backed Yemeni government in 2014“, it sounds innocent enough. Yet in a war, taking a bus full of children THROUGH a Houthi Stronghold shows a massive lack of insight, does it not? The fact that several newspapers lack that information seems more deceptive conduct than journalism, which is merely my view point on all this. In addition, the Canberra Times, makes light of this with “bombing of a school bus in Yemen probably doesn’t qualify as a war crime because the Royal Saudi Air Force is so incompetent the odds are it just made a mistake“, so the Canberra Times hides behind ‘Credible commentators, including a leading German analyst‘ (no names though, odd is it not?) No, it becomes some ‘silly Arab not knowing how to use a bomber or fighter jet’ anecdote. Yet when we dig deeper, we see all kinds of information that require scrutiny, on both sides, mind you. Another comment here is “the Saudis, even with the active assistance of the Americans and the British, can’t differentiate between hospitals, schools, orphanages and school buses on one hand, and missile launching sites on the other“, this sloppy comment is all absent from a few facts, how were the missiles fired? In addition, the fact that the missiles were fired towards Riyadh and civilian targets is also brushed aside. In addition, the entire setting of how the missiles are fired into Saudi Arabia as well as the fact that both Iran and Hezbollah are part of those firing teams are just as easily brushed aside. So a terrorist organisation is firing missiles at Riyadh and we seem to focus on the most emotional part in the aftermath. I personally call that really bad journalism, I call that emotion creation on a false premise, and now that Fairfax is part of Channel Nine, not that big a surprise, is it?

The fact that this article does not have a name and is merely from ‘the Canberra Times‘ is equally a worry, is it not? The end of the article giving us “are some innocents more equal than others?” is an interesting side, especially in the trivialisation of Iran as well as the absence of Hezbollah, the utter absence of missiles being launched towards the Saudi Capital is also worth noting. In all this, what has the Canberra Times shown other than its sliding regard for journalism?

If we dig, we see that Gulf News gave last Thursday: “165 rebel missiles launched since 2015, according to the coalition“, that is a lot of damage fired, whether they made it or not does not matter, they were fired. The Deutsche Welle gave us last December (at https://www.dw.com/en/how-did-yemens-houthis-obtain-ballistic-missiles/a-41873594), a few niceties. With “The missiles which have been used appear to be a type that was not previously known to be in the arsenals of Yemen before the current conflict broke out. It is known that the previous Yemeni government had invested in different types of ballistic missiles. For example, some were delivered from North Korea, some 15 years ago or so. But it’s not those missiles that appear to have been used right now. The images and information we have shows that this is a different type of missile“, so the Houthis are clearly supplied in some way. A few sources state the ‘evidence’ from the US that the missiles are from Iran. It is indeed most likely, yet not unlike the Deutsche Welle, there is no clear independent confirmation and that is equally important. We can accept that we know (from several sources) that Iran and Hezbollah joined the Houthi ranks, but that does not give rise to the evidence regarding the missile, until an actual missile is independently tested. Several sources show that the Houthis are firing the Burkan 2-H, it is shown to be Iranian (or Yemeni), but no evidence can be shown ruling out (or in) the direct involvement of Iran shipping the missiles in all this. It is more likely than not, yet still unproven.

Now we get to the good part. You see, to fire one of them bad boys, you need a decent launch pad. the more stable the setting, the better the result. We need to realise that a static launch setting is not possible for the firing party, so they need to have something really sturdy, something decently large and metallic. I have not specific details, and as it is based on the Qiam-1, an 11 meter long missile, the setting of a bus being used as a launch platform is not the silliest idea. In addition, there are some issues with the entire smuggling setting, in this Jane’s Intelligence review stated: “it would be difficult to ship entire ballistic missiles to Yemen, suggesting the Burkan-2 is a Scud modified in Yemen for longer range“, that is certainly one setting. The other version (my version) is that it was shipped in 2-3 parts and assembled in Yemen by parties unknown. There is some intelligence that this is why Iran is there, equally reasonable is that engineers are there to teach both Houthi and Hezbollah troops to do these actions, giving them a better bang for the buck (as well as the fact that Houthi forces need to shell out a hell of a lot more towards Iran in the end), all optional settings that have evidentiary support, but not enough to state it as a fact or as a given truth.

All issues linked in all this and all missed by the former Fairfax outlet. In addition, several other sources, merely skated over the facts and the stopped the icing at ‘children dead’. We all agree that this is not a good thing, but the answer on what those kids were doing in a Houthi stronghold is equally important and avoided. That all reeks like Hezbollah and what they have been doing for the longest time (as well as Hamas), Israel has plenty of evidence on that matter.

In this, we also need to set the stage against Al Jazeera in all this. Especially when we see: “Al Jazeera’s Mohammed Adow reports from neighbouring Djibouti on what has been described as the worst attack on Yemen’s children“. In this I question the voice of Mohammed Adow in this. I do not doubt his view, but when he stated ‘the worst attack on Yemen’s children‘. Were children the target? That part lacks evidence as they were, by his own admission ‘in a Houthi stronghold’; one does not mix with the other, does it? When I see: “It targeted a bus carrying children“, was that the case? I am assuming that optionally the bus was the target, yet the wreck shown is that it was right next to a building, it was in a setting where (a little unlikely) missiles were fired from, it was a Houthi stronghold, all parts shown from more than one source. I did state ‘a little unlikely’, for the mere reasons that all missile launches, the ones that made it to YouTube and likewise sources were fired from the open area setting. That does not mean that they all were, but until evidence is given, I am not merely accepting that the bus was a launch platform, merely that a bus could optionally be one, which is not the same. And I am making that distinction, as it matters as a distinction.

Even as several sources are stating that the missiles have too many Iranian ‘Characteristics’, we need to realise that Industrial espionage is not a non-option. (it is extremely unlikely), the fact that none of the parties involved has been able to give enough evidence (real physical one) that these are Iranian missiles, and in this regard I mean independent evidence, the setting is a twofold one and even as we say that when it walks, quacks and swims like a duck, there is still some regard whether it could optionally be a small goose. I know, it is far-fetched in a few ways, but evidence of this nature needs to be beyond all reasonable doubt, making it a lot harder, yet equally more essential. A setting that the press has been skating around for the longest of times and with certain ownership of certain papers changing, that setting will not change any day soon.

From my point of view the setting has changed where we need to distill the truths form several sources, not from one source, it seems that there is enough evidence that one source will in the end intentional or not, not inform you at all. Not even ABC, for whom I have had a much higher regard then most other news media providers. Yemen shows that there is a larger issue in all this and the media seems to cater to the need of emotional imprinting at the cost of the quality of journalism, but that too is merely my own personal view on the matter and I personally do not believe that I am the most impartial source in all this, I will admit to that too.



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Sleeping with the enemy

We have heard the expression; most will remember the movie with Julia Roberts and Patrick Bergin. The expression is slightly harsh and a little over the top for the setting that I find myself presently in with PwC. You see, some people are playing a dangerous game. So when I see ‘UK firm PwC criticised over bid for major Saudi Arabia contract‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/jul/31/uk-firm-pwc-criticised-over-bid-for-major-saudi-arabia-contract), I find myself on the side of PwC supporting them. The article is an issue on a few levels. I touched on a few two days ago with: ‘Oman’s neighbour‘ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2018/07/30/omans-neighbour/), so this setting is actually most informative when we consider the issues seen here. I objected to the setting that Amnesty International gave a consequence, yet the original setting that started it was missing, in all this, the fact that the Houthi forces are firing missiles into Saudi Arabia, as is Hezbollah and Iran is the puppet master behind all this, so when I see “Peter Frankental, Amnesty International UK’s economic affairs programme director, urged PwC to explain what due diligence it had undertaken before pitching for the work“, I wonder if Peter Frankental has done its due diligence into the situation where a terrorist organisation (with evidence from several sources) is operation on Yemeni soil with full backing of Yemeni officials, who are also extremely aware that they are facilitating for Iran. That part is missing from the charade that Amnesty International states is ‘the humanitarian nightmare‘. We agree that too many Yemeni are in the middle of this, no one denies that, yet the actions by Iran via Hezbollah and the Houthi’s are an issue and in this they merely ignore the founding factors.

In addition, the UK, with a desperate need to improve the economy has options and opportunities in Saudi Arabia, creating a dialogue, helping Saudi Arabia move forward. We admit that it will not be fast, it might raise obstacles, which is a fact of life. So when Peter Frankental sets ‘due diligence‘, I am of the mind that he clearly did not proceed with that duly noted diligence to a rather large extent.

So when I see “The United Nations guiding principles on business and human rights make it clear that a company may be viewed as complicit if they are seen to benefit from abuses committed by another party“, in that view, Frank please explain to me how you will prosecute Northrop Grumman, Palantir, Blackberry, Dell, Pelican and Apple? I would really like to know that at present. I am going to grasp back at an expression that we get from Robocop, it was spoken by Kurtwood Smith: ‘Good business is where you find it!‘ and Saudi Arabia has business settings for up to £825 billion, so PwC is getting vetted for a chunk of business that could optionally keep thousands employed, grow optional new businesses and industries. In addition, when exactly did Peter Frankental set the stage for a similar attack on Virgin? Are they not setting up the first Hyperloop there? So where is Frankie boy in all that? Now, it is not my intent to slam out at Frank, he seems to have his heart in the right place. Especially when we look at a paper by the House of Lords called: ‘Any of our business? Human Rights and the UK private sector‘, it seems that he has forever focussed on this, the paper (Attached) is from 2009, where we see on page 15 “In particular, we contend that the UK state could and should play a greater role in the governance of corporations so as to contribute to the protection of human rights from corporate abuse, whether the abuse occurs in the UK or abroad“, that is fair enough, yet he is setting now the acts of an attacked government into a corporate right, in that same setting all exports to the US should in that light be equally questioned and regarded as illegal, you basically can’t have it both ways Frank!

So when we grasp at: “In particular, we do support the idea of some kind of international instrument for corporate accountability within the UN system, but we agree with Professor Ruggie that such an instrument would not exist to monitor the activities of tens of thousands of transnational corporations, that would be unfeasible, but it would exist to reinforce the will of states to hold companies to account within their jurisdiction” and set the dimensionality of a flaccid UN when it comes to the events in Syria, there is such overwhelming evidence of inaction (through Veto or not), which gives us that in the faced setting PwC should not even be a blip on his radar. Not when we compare it to “the US contractors are mostly focused on supporting the 2,000 US troops in Syria by delivering hot meals, gasoline and other supplies. More than 30% of them support logistics and maintenance, according to the quarterly Pentagon report, and another 27% help with support and construction of US military outposts in the region” (source: Al-Monitor, April 2018). So how much visibility did Frank give here? In all this, he does not get to hide behind the ‘It is not linked to the UK‘ you just cannot become a ‘local’ party towards a global event when you decide it is. It just does not work that way.

In this, we also see: “PwC already has a presence in Saudi Arabia, but it is the company’s UK operation that is behind the defence project“, which is true, because I applied and they were not taking any non-UK citizens. Darn!

In addition, with: “PwC has launched a “call for resources” – asking specialists and consultants in London whether they would be interested in moving to Riyadh to start the work – because, it has said, it is “currently finalising the deal”“, we see that PwC has the setting to move people to Saudi Arabia, more employment and in addition a sector growth that could lead to 10 figure long term deals, but fear not! Peter Frankental will be there to try and undo the economic boom that will benefit the UK (was that overly simplified?)

So with the upcoming opportunity and the subsequent quote “focus on how to reshape recruitment, resourcing, performance management and strategic workforce planning, and how to manage and communicate change“, it actually goes further than that, even as a lot more performance management is likely to be shown, it will also be about what is the hierarchy and what is not. In light of work safety and preparedness (yes, even in the military), the setting of ‘Own the challenge‘ is a lot harder to scribe into the soul of the person. To set ‘solving’ the issue as the forefront of ‘that what is my actual responsibility‘ tend to be a challenge even within the most flexible workers, so I predict that there is a shift that will soon be shown in places like Saudi Arabia as well. I will admit that having never worked there, that this setting is more speculative than anything else.

So when I see Frankie give us: “As any accountancy firm involved in work for the Saudi ministry of defence must know, the Royal Saudi air force has an appalling record in Yemen, with the Saudi-led military coalition having indiscriminately bombed Yemeni homes, hospitals, funeral halls, schools and factories. Thousands of Yemeni civilians have been killed and injured“, the equal question on how many missiles that Iran enabled the Houthi and Hezbollah forces allowed to be shot into Saudi Arabia, and there is the drone strike issues in the UAE to consider as well. In addition, it is called ‘Saudi Ministry of defence‘, not the Hezbollah missile strike team. It might be nit-picking on my side, but then, I was always willing to go for broke.

Then there is the setting of “the UK “should be focusing on trying to stop this terrible conflict, not assisting the Saudi government.”“, yes it is an interesting setting by Anna Macdonald (younger sister of Ronald). When we go to the site (at https://controlarms.org/meet-the-team/), we see Anna Macdonald, Raluca Muresan, Zoya Craig and half a dozen volunteers. Yet, lets also congratulate on the bang up (or is that blow up) job they did in Syria, as well as a few other places. So when I see: “a global coalition working for international arms control“, which is a good goal to have, the flow of missiles and arms from Iran into a few places was not really stopped was it? Iran has exported small arms and ammunition to Sudan and Syria, anti-tank missiles to Syria, Sudan and Somalia; rocket exports to Syria, Sudan, Libya as well as shipments to Hezbollah and Iraqi insurgents. So in that list, and the goal Anna Macdonald envisions is a noble one, no one denies that, in all that, with at least two dozen of export mentions excluded, I think that PwC should not be on her list either. Especially, as the Saudi Arabian civil population is still under threat of missiles from a terrorist organisation. No one denies that the Yemeni people caught in the middle are in a really unbearable place, but all these actions means that no actual actions are taken against Iran. So as we were given ‘the European Commission has moved to add Iran to the investment mandate of the European Investment Bank (EIB)‘ a mere 18 hours ago, it seems to me that in all this Anna Macdonald and Peter Frankental should be setting their focus in a different direction, or perhaps that will merely not give them the limelight that they so desperately need (for all the right reasons mind you).

In all this, the defence from Saudi Arabia in the person of the foreign minister, Adel al-Jubeir was reduced to a mere: “Judeir blamed the Houthi rebels for blocking aid and contributing to the humanitarian crisis“, is that not interesting too? The actual blockers of humanitarian aid was set into a mere footnote, a mere 14 words, so in all this, where is Peter Frankental at this point?


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