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Awareness west of India

Awareness is a first need for anyone, there is no exception to this; a person looking for a job or a person seeking to sell a product, or a terrorist organisation. Without awareness they are all equally in the shadows, unknown and disregarded at the spot. So when we were alerted to yesterday’s airstrike by the Indian Air force on Jaish-e-Mohammed, most people had the response: ‘You who now?‘ The group which translates to ‘The Army of Muhammad’ is a terrorist organisation that operates out of Kashmir. Their goal is to relocate Kashmir from India into Pakistan and as such, it would cause great friction with India even under the most docile conditions. It is Al Jazeera, who less than a day ago reports ‘India foreign secretary says jets hit Jaish-e-Mohammed camp in Pakistan, but Islamabad denies casualties in air raids‘, which is now also a much larger escalation in creating a more direct conflict between Pakistan and India. We also get: “Pakistan reported the Indian airspace incursion, with military spokesman Major General Asif Ghafoor saying its air force jets were scrambling to respond, forcing the Indian aircraft to “release their payload in haste while escaping“, I found the term ‘in haste while escaping’, that is no jest, even as the Pakistani air force is merely half the size of the Indian one, the insider gossip is that this Pakistani air force is more than able to deal with the IAF even as it is twice the size, so we could consider that the Indian act, whilst being optionally essential was not the tactically clever. Consider that the act was against a target that was less than 60 Km across the border finding another solution would have been a much better act. This is speculation as I have no terrain intelligence at my disposal, yet hitting a target that is optionally around 225 Km from Islamabad, where one of the more alert airports is was definitely not a great idea, so the ‘in haste whilst escaping‘ becomes pretty much the ruling for India at that point. This does not invalidate the attack on Jaish-e-Mohammed, it merely becomes tactically questionable. Of course there are other considerations, how does the Kashmir population feel about joining Pakistan, because that also impacts the tactical choices available. Any planned attack on Jaish-e-Mohammed from closer to the border whilst that population is loudly singing

Count 1 to 10 in a MIG on high

You go hide, and they come fly!

Better prepare, make a stinger rage in flight

(Source: adapted nursery rhyme)

At that point, we can agree that there are not that many options, especially in remote areas. Yet there is another side, and that is on Pakistan at present. After we have seen that they sheltered Osama Bin Laden only two miles from their military academy, they need to lash out stronger against terrorist organisation operating from their territory. We can agree that Pakistan is too large to keep properly in check with military against extremists, but this escalation could have larger repercussions and in this day and age as Pakistan’s economy is in dire needs of international investment. That setting alone will not go anywhere when operations like Jaish-e-Mohammed pretty much have the lay of the land. Now, be aware that is me not speaking out in favour or against the need of Kashmir that is for the people of Kashmir. I am however of the mind that it is not up to Jaish-e-Mohammed to decide either. The anti-feelings between India and Pakistan have been around long before the Mahatma accepted the separation, it is a setting that might never be resolved, yet in all this a much larger issue plays and I am painfully aware I do not have the wisdom on how to feel (as well as a massive lack of data intelligence on the area and the subject matter), yet the escalation as the IAF pushed for is up for debate. Even now we see ‘It was a non-military, pre-empted action targeted at terrorist activity‘, yet how exactly was that place bombed? So when we are also given: “In an early morning attack on Tuesday, the Indian Air Force Mirage 2000 jets crossed 50 miles undetected into Pakistan and hit Balakot“, my question towards Indian Foreign secretary Vijay Gokhale would be: “Who were the civilians flying the borrowed Mirage 2000 Jets and can I please borrow one? I have always wanted to get my flight wings on that fabulous French jet!” Perhaps the foreign secretary could limit the BS regarding a ‘non-military’ action when it requires the high end Mirage to get there, clearly a non-civilian form of transportation (a crazy assumption from my side). We all agree that actions against terrorists are essential, we all know that rules will be broken under these conditions, yet the essential need and then reflect on the term ‘non-military’ is too much of a stretch.

In addition, when less than 10 hours ago, the news (at https://www.businesstimes.com.sg/government-economy/eu-urges-maximum-restraint-from-india-pakistan-after-air-strike) give us: ‘EU urges ‘maximum restraint’ from India, Pakistan after air strike‘, it needs to be stated that the EU needs to grow a spine and stop being a paperback, a bad one at that. We either accept actions against terrorist organisations, even if they operate from deep within Pakistan. When I see the bloated “exercise “maximum restraint” after Indian warplanes attacked a militant camp in Pakistan, sending tensions soaring between the nuclear-armed arch-rivals” in light of the fact that it was an attack on a terrorist group, and in the second when Pakistan claims “insisting there was no damage or casualties” we see that both sides are to some degree in denial and the comments from limelight seeker Maja Kocijancic are just a little to hypocrite. We understand that the EU is in denial of terrorist activities all over the board and keeps on facilitating for Turkey and Iran for too many reasons, most merely for those trying to instigate another gravy train in the EU, others to keep their desolate economy from completely collapsing, in that day and age as we see the actions of Iran facilitating for the Houthi and Hezbollah forces, the entire matter as well as the call by Maja Kocijancic becomes increasingly distasteful.

That being said, Pakistan is not without blame, finding a common ground with India to take Jaish-e-Mohammed out of their jurisprudential domain seems to be an essential first. It is not a solution that JeM is likely to go for, yet at that point enabling the IAF in these actions would set a much larger stage of trust for foreign investors to take Pakistan more and more serious for serious investments, it will enable Pakistan more and better than Jaish-e-Mohammed ever could. You see the more immediate issue is neither, the more immediate issue is the question on where the people of Kashmir want to be. I actually do not know, mainly because the media has kept many in the dark in that regard, or merely quote some politician seeking the limelight (read: Maja Kocijancic) on a call of restraint from ‘nuclear enabled nations‘ (India and Pakistan).

The first issue for Kashmir is to get awareness, it might not give us information that we like, that we accept or information we hope for, but awareness is a first need. For now the awareness is merely limited to terrorist groups acting from within Pakistan and the fact that Indian civilians have access to military jets for hot rodding and cruising through the mountains of Kashmir and Pakistan. Perhaps it is a great day to upgrade Grand Theft Auto 5, to become Grand Theft Jet 6, hot wiring a Mikoyan MiG-35 at Shatalovo airbase and take it for a nice cruise and land it at Stockholm Arlanda (undamaged), would that make for a fun game or what? And it was Indian Foreign secretary Vijay Gokhale who gave us the idea with his ‘non-military, pre-empted action‘, some half-truths really should not be used ever, it complicates matters as we make light and fun of the situation.

So why make fun?

That is the issue when we give light to NDTV who (at https://www.ndtv.com/world-news/15-years-ago-us-took-note-of-jaish-e-mohammeds-terror-training-camp-in-balakot-1999829) gives us “15 Years Ago, US Took Note Of Jaish’s Terror Training Camp In Balakot“. If this can be confirmed, we see the setting where Pakistan allowed a terror training camp was allowed to go on for more than a decade, unopposed and unchallenged. It is one of the reasons why foreign investors will not consider serious investments in Pakistan. We accept that Pakistan is too large to police to the degree it needs to be, but 15 years is just too unacceptable. The quote “The memorandum talks about a Pakistani national Hafez K. Rahman, a Guantanamo Detainee, who was 20 years old and born in Gujrar, Pakistan, who turned out to be a jehadi” is very much at the heart of the matter here. In addition, the quote: “Rahman has admitted to volunteering to fight jihad against the US and its allies, remaining after the events of September 1lth to continue to fight, and receiving training from the Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM). The JEM espouses Jihad against the US and is directly supported by Al-Qaida, General Miller wrote“, in this light we need to ask a lot more questions form a lot more people, as this is not limited to some Kashmir disagreement, any place that caters and facilitates towards terrorism to a much larger degree is a direct threat to the continuation of Pakistan. Pakistan might seek out to remain in seclusion form world trade, yet they are already learning that Pakistan cannot continue to survive in that way. Pakistan must select a path that gives Pakistan forward momentum and it is clear that JeM training camps cannot cater to that future.

In the end it is up to Pakistan to find a solution that they can live with, the question ultimately becomes, what caters to the continuation of the Muslim State of Pakistan?

If we take three publications, the first being the Business Standard (at https://www.business-standard.com/article/current-affairs/pakistan-s-hamstrung-economy-can-t-weather-a-conflict-with-india-119022700052_1.html), where we see: ‘Pakistan’s hamstrung economy can’t weather a conflict with India‘ with the quote “The country has been facing an ever-rising fiscal deficit, increasing debt and high inflation“, is more than a truth and a half, in addition, the dependence and reliance of the IMF will at some point end, there are multiple sources giving indication that the support to Pakistan must stop, at that point what will be left for Pakistan? The second supports the views. It comes from the Nikkei Asian Review (at https://asia.nikkei.com/Opinion/Pakistan-must-end-damaging-dependency-on-IMF) giving us: ‘After 21 assistance programs in 60 years, time to create sustainable economic growth‘, as well as “the new government is slowly persuading the public that Pakistan will need another International Monetary Fund bailout. At the same time, it has stepped up diplomatic efforts to secure short-term financial support from friendly countries. This approach appears to be bearing fruit. The government recently received $4 billion from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, and is expecting a further $2.5 billion loan from China. Such bilateral support may allow Pakistan to seek a much smaller IMF package than expected“, yet behind the partial truth is that the Pakistani government has no way to pay these loans back in the immediate future, whichever path they take, repaying the loans and interest via a road that is twice as long as projected and merely gets settled with new loans under less optimal conditions is all that the Pakistani people have to look forward to. All this whilst the Indian Business Today (at https://www.businesstoday.in/current/economy-politics/pakistan-trying-to-hide-dead-body-of-terrorists-in-balakot-tries-to-debunk-india-claims-source/story/322532.html) gives us: “The Pakistan Army has cordoned off the entire area of Balakot and are clearing away evidence such as dead bodies so that they can deny India’s claims of the latest IAF strike wiping 300 militants in the area, a source has told India Today“, in my legal view, i would change “are clearing away evidence” into “are seemingly clearing away evidence“, for the mere reason that most Indian publications would more likely than not be too biased in this matter. Yet the given accusation, as well as intelligence from multiple sources give rise to the decent reliability of the Indian claim. Yet the article has a gem at the end. With “A sound relationship and cooperation between the two serves the interests of both the countries and peace and stability in South Asia” we see a much larger truth. Both nations could flourish to a much larger degree if they can find a common not to move forward on and both their economies would benefit in finding in such agreements. If only to learn that several players outside these two are too much interested in those two to lack stability to a much larger degree, when they realise that, and look for stable forward momentum would cater to both economies to a much larger degree and that is never a bad setting.

 

 

 

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Our BBC alarm clock

It is Thursday, I just finished a baguette with salami and I was just going over the news (as one does) and I was hit by something stated in the BBC. I was not sure on how to react, but it made me take another look at certain matters. The event was initially about Saudi Arabia and their need for a nuclear reactor, they want to diversify their energy options. The one nation where sunlight would imply the need for large Elon Musk batteries to light Riyadh at night, whilst they get charged by free sunlight during the day, that one element is seen. Yet, they want a nuclear reactor requiring a huge water source to cool the entire matter. OK, that is their choice, and I am fine with it (no one cares what I agree with, I don’t care myself either). Yet the setting changes when I am confronted with two parts. The article (at https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-47296641) gives a few elements that become debatable in more than one way. So as I am listening to golden oldies like Atom Bomb Baby by The Five Stars (my sense of humour remains in place), as well as Civilization (Bongo Bongo Bongo) by Danny Kaye, songs that matter in this case. The first quote is: “Whistleblowers told the panel it could destabilise the Middle East by boosting nuclear weapons proliferation“, so why whistle blowers? Political impact does not require whistle blowers, there is no guarantee that it would result in destabilisation (it is likely though), and WHY EXACTLY did the BBC ‘hide’ behind the Whistle-blower statement?

The second part in all this is: “Lawmakers have been critical of the plan as it would violate US laws guarding against the transfer of nuclear technology that could be used to support a weapons programme“. So how does that relate to the Iran nuclear accords? America might have left it, but they were in the centre of all this. So, exactly why is there optionally a law against it and seemingly Iran was catered to, to begin with, and is still catered to at present by Europe. At this point everyone needs to sit down and really consider what their political representatives are up to all over the globe, because things are not really adding up at present.

Finally we get: “They also believe giving Saudi Arabia access to nuclear technology would spark a dangerous arms race in the volatile region. But concerns around rival Iran developing nuclear technology are also at play, according to US media“, if that is the case why allow talks with Iran to get it in the first place? And how exactly is ‘according to US media’ a valid response? And exactly who are the players in that US media mess? Does that not worry you?

Then we get the house report, based on whistle-blowers (who exactly?) where we see: “within the US, strong private commercial interests have been pressing aggressively for the transfer of highly sensitive nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia

There is a larger play in this; the issue becomes who exactly are those ‘private commercial interests’? It seems that the media (including the BBC) is all about creating awareness whilst those writers are all about ‘not stepping on any toes’ and in light of the linked term ‘nuclear weapons proliferation‘, yet the BBC does not disappoint. We also get:

The commercial entities mentioned in the report are:

  • IP3 International, a private company led by ex-military officers and security officials that organised a group of US companies to build “dozens of nuclear power plants” in Saudi Arabia
  • ACU Strategic Partners, a nuclear power consultancy led by British-American Alex Copson
  • Colony NorthStar, Mr Barrack’s real estate investment firm
  • Flynn Intel Group, a consultancy and lobby set up by Michael Flynn.

Now we are off to the races! You see, even as IP3 International is visible on their website (at www.ip3international.com) with: ‘A global enterprise to develop sustainable energy and security infrastructure‘, we need to realise that this is a presentation play (everyone is allowed to do that). Sustainable is often used as it more than not can be replaced with renewable energy (which is still not the same), the larger issue is that there is a sizeable debate as it is also an increasing controversy over whether nuclear energy can be considered sustainable energy.

The textbook gives us: “meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs“, which is reflected in: Kutscher, C.F.; Milford, J.B.; Kreith, F. (2018). Principles of Sustainable Energy Systems, Third Edition, I believe that IP3 International is revenue driven and one tends to go to the players that can pay their bill, I would see it as an innovative thought to go to Saudi Arabia, if only (according to law) it was not illegal. Yet there is the second stump in all this, you cannot start that conversation with Iran and not optionally refuse to have it with Saudi Arabia. And now the music is still on par with the events in play, because the song at present is ‘Grandma Plays the Numbers’ by Wynonie Harris. It is not a bet and the players are not hedging their bets, the issue becomes Politico (at https://www.politico.eu/article/mohammad-javad-zarif-iran-to-eu-give-us-more-to-preserve-nuclear-deal/), which gives us “On the nuclear deal, from which Trump’s withdrew last year, Zarif said a so-called special purpose vehicle set up by the EU to allow European countries to keep trading with Iran despite U.S. sanctions fell short of what Europeans had promised. In a clear message to European powers, he said domestic support for the deal was fragile — with 51 percent of Iranians in favor, according to an opinion poll“, it is not about the deal, it is to some extent as to where 49% of Iran wants to be as the margin is too close to call an actual win. What is important is where the hardliners stand and what path they want to walk on, it makes all the difference in this.

The other party that draws attention in this is Michael Flynn and his Flynn Intel Group. Even as it is seen as a consultancy group, the issue is optionally seen with “In January 2017, National Security Council staff began to raise concerns that these plans were inappropriate and possibly illegal, and that Flynn had a potentially criminal conflict of interest“, the imperative part is ‘possibly illegal‘, it does not state ‘should be regarded as illegal‘, the difference makes for all the difference here and the fact that this is not clearly stated implies that this is a political push, optionally against Saudi Arabia, and optionally to keep nuclear energy out of the middle east completely. When we realise that the issue changes, it does not merely require Europe to stop any Iran nuclear deal, it gives different levels of rise to the political pressures in play. The fact that we see (source: Ars Technica): “Flynn had decided to adopt IP3’s plan to develop “dozens of nuclear power plants” in Saudi Arabia during the transition while he was still serving as an advisor to IP3. Harvey also said that Barrack would be made a special representative, with credentials equivalent to an ambassador, to guide the plan“, yet the entire matter of ‘there is bi-partisan concern regarding Saudi Arabia’s access to nuclear technology‘, we seem to get a little less informed that this is not about the material itself, it is about upgrading the fuel required to upgrade it to weapons grade, that is the actual turkey in the oven.

And it is at this point that Bing Crosby starts sing Pistol Packin’ Mama. You see, we seem to forget that there are a few ways to upgrade Uranium towards a less acceptable use. It’s like stone washing your jeans (a small reference to alternative ways to upgrade Uranium), when you start looking into the matter, you can find several ways to upgrade the fuel to a boom point. That is where the issue is hiding at and when we go back to the case where people re happy to in like Flynn with Saudi Arabia, we get confronted with a memo that is seemingly linking former NSA Director Keith Alexander, when we look at the sources, there is a lot alleged, implied and not a whole lot valued as evidence (which does not make it true or false). The part that matter is that this is a lot larger and there is not a whole lot of information on the legality of it all (in one way or another).

The mess goes on and even NPR gets involved. We are all treated to: “Let’s take a closer look now at what a transfer of highly sensitive nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia would mean for U.S. national security“, yet how valid is that today? The first nuclear reactor was built in 1942, it is an energy solution that has been in place for almost 77 years. There are now 31 nations that employ nuclear energy, nations that include Armenia, Argentine, Romania, Netherlands, Sweden, Slovakia, the UAE and Switzerland. So how sensitive is that technology? If the technology is up to date (which might be sensitive) does that not also include that the reactors are safer? Should safety not be the largest concern in all this?

Well that is not entirely the story and it is Ars Technical that gives us: ““We remain concerned that the Saudi Government has refused, for many years, to consider any agreement that includes so-called ‘Gold Standard’ requirements against pursuing technologies to enrich uranium and reprocess plutonium-laden spent nuclear fuel,” the senators wrote in their letter to Trump.” that was the part that the BBC did not give us, so even as part of that still needs to be vetted, yet if true, there would be a partial issue, yet in all this we still see that Europe is willing to give it to Iran and as such, should Saudi Arabia not be entitled to that choice too?

When we see the elements in play is it actual about stopping Saudi Arabia getting a nuclear reactor, or is it about stopping a handful of former admirals and generals laying their fingers on $200 billion? In the end whatever happens, the players forget that Russia is eager to serve Saudi Arabia with the 20 nuclear reactors that Saudi Arabia in committed to switch on in under 36 months. It seems to me that the United States or those reporting via the US media are all about removing the US as the larger economic power. That is how I personally would read it, the entire mess has too many angles and too many ‘possibly illegal‘ and ‘concern regarding access to nuclear technology‘, whilst the list of nations with nuclear reactors is already way out of control, and we read this, whilst we know that Russia and China are eager to put their fingers on that much revenue, when you want to buy a car that does at least 250Km, are you going to wait in front of the Ferrari door, or do you accept that Lamborghini and Aston Martin are not second choice cars, they are equally great choices in really fast cars. When we realise that part of the equation, we might consider that the Americans: General (ret.) John M. Keane, U.S. Army, General (ret.) Keith Alexander, U.S. Army, Rear Admiral (ret.) Michael Hewitt, U.S. Navy, Admiral (ret.) Kirkland H. Donald, U.S. Navy, Lieutenant General (ret.) Patrick J. O’Reilly, U.S. Army are not merely Americans, they might be the few true Americans left in that place. We catered to Wall Street for so long, we forget that innovation and had work and proper commercial deals made America great, short selling stock a lot less so, and even as we ‘acknowledge’ that these fine gentleman are still being mentored (or is that insightful advised) by Robert McFarlane, we need to realise that the entire media mess is set in motion for very different reasons. I am not pretending to know the reason, yet those so called whistle-blowers have their own alternative need, I wonder if we ever get the truth on that part of this much larger equation.

 

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Evolving an infrastructure

The news is all over the place when it comes to Saudi Arabia. Reuters (at https://www.reuters.com/article/us-saudi-defense-naval/saudi-arabia-signs-warship-construction-deal-with-frances-naval-group-idUSKCN1Q60B0), with the headline ‘Saudi Arabia signs warship construction deal with France’s Naval Group‘, then there is Arab News giving us (at http://www.arabnews.com/node/1453471/saudi-arabia) ‘Saudi crown prince oversees $20bn of deals with Pakistan‘, all opportunities lost to the US and Europe (well most of Europe). A lot of it is ‘part of its efforts to develop domestic manufacturing capabilities‘, which they have been very clear about for some time now. All options lost. In part to the circus that Turkey had put in place. Some give us: ‘Turkey Has Not Revealed All About Khashoggi Killing: President Erdogan‘, others give us: ‘Khashoggi’s remains may have been burned in well‘, items like ‘not all revealed‘, ‘may have been‘, as well as a few other implied making statements that leave too much doubt on the matter. The fact that Turkey apparently has not revealed all implies orchestration. As the lackey of Iran it makes perfect sense, the fact that the media has been skating around that issue for months now does not. The fact that Turkey is trying to push the US, whilst they should have revealed all the facts and evidence is a much larger issue.

Let’s be clear, I am not stating that Saudi Arabia is innocent (because I cannot tell), I am not stating that nothing happened (something happened that is clear, what exactly happened is another matter), I am merely claiming that there are too many issues in all this from the very beginning. When it comes to the media, we see close to 18 million placements on ‘Kim Kardashian’ and ‘boobs’, we see 889,000 placements on ‘Jamal Khashoggi’ and ‘tapes’, yet how many made a critical analyses on the tapes? We see mention in papers on: “a man alleged to be Maher Mutreb, the suspected coordinator of the mission who worked for some time in the kingdom’s embassy in London, is quoted as replying to the Washington Post columnist“, we see ‘alleged’, so how were the tapes critically analysed? We also see: “The report adds that a later recording captures another “hitman”, Mustafa al-Madani, who was used as a body double to Khashoggi, saying: “It’s really creepy that I am wearing the clothes of someone who was killed minutes ago.”” as we see ‘a later recording’ should that not be one and the same recording? Then there is ‘transcript of a tape recording’, the fact that it is stated to be ‘a recording’ not ‘the recording’ is also mind for analyses and that list goes on.

We see claims by a Kardashian getting numerous cross references, with Khashoggi there is a consistent stream of doubts and debatable issues. As I stated, I am not saying nothing happened, I am merely wondering what actually happened. The fact that Turkey goes crying to USA to put pressure on Saudi Arabia merely gives more and more debate and debatable doubt to the entire setting. We also see the mention at the UN of “The Special Rapporteur travelled to Ankara and Istanbul with British Baroness Helena Kennedy, a forensics expert who sits in the House of Lords, and homicide investigator Paul Johnston“, yet in the BBC we see: “Evidence suggests the murder of Jamal Khashoggi was planned at the highest level, Baroness Helena Kennedy says“, yet here the BBC states ‘evidence suggests’, which is something different from ‘Evidence shows beyond reasonable doubt’ and for the most that should initially suffice if the stakes were not too high for comfort. In the UK the Press Gazette gives us: “After an initial examination of the evidence, Callamard found that Khashoggi was the victim of a “brutal and premeditated killing planned and perpetrated by officials of the state of Saudi Arabia”“, yet when we look on we also get claims on quotes made in 2017. All an emotional package to push us in a certain direction, and whilst we might accept: “Woefully inadequate time and access was granted to Turkish investigators to conduct a professional and effective crime-scene examination and search required by international standards for investigation,” the fact is that the event occurred on Saudi territory and the Turkish government has no jurisdiction there. If there was such a level of evidence with the tapes, they would have been made public, yet we see more and more games played by the Turkish government making the issue debatable again and again. We can argue that if they had gone out and revealed everything, the entire setting would be different. They basically invalidated themselves with all the preposterous claims.

This is when we go by the source I used (at https://pressgazette.co.uk/jamal-khashoggi-un-saudi-investigation/). As stated there are issues, there really are, but the emotional games played using the media takes away a lot of credibility. As we were shown “Germany halted arms exports to Saudi Arabia over what it said was the uncertainty surrounding the murder“, we now see well over $20 billion in deals going to other places. That is the name of the game. The issues are important because the governments being holier than though, yet refusing to hold Turkey to account over well over 200 incarcerated journalists is part of the entire package. It comes across as a mockery when we get treated to Turkish journalist Nazli Ilicak who is now apparently serving life plus 6 years in prison. Now we can agree that one should not be the other and I would agree with this. Yet the fact that there is doubt on many levels and the fact that the media kept on shouting and screaming ‘alleged‘ as well as ‘according to unnamed sources‘ whilst there is all kinds of issues in several directions is also a reason for some to not include certain parties. We can argue the same part in the stage with the USA, when we consider “The US Senate, in a largely symbolic gesture, voted in December to end US military support for the war in Yemen and blame the Saudi crown prince for the murder of Khashoggi“, this whilst we can agree that a partial case can be made for the Yemen conflict, the fact remains that the Houthi forces have been receiving support from both Iran as well as terrorist organisation Hezbollah, making the withdrawal by the US a bit questionable (yet not invalid), as for blaming the Crown Prince whilst there has been no evidence showing his involvement is just slightly too silly. If there was clear evidence beyond all reasonable doubt that would be one part, but that part has not been given, now once in 16 weeks makes the claim silly, France was happy though, so there is that to consider.

There is still space for the Dutch if they reconsider a few places. I am decently certain that Saudi Arabia would love to get their ships upgraded with the Dutch Goalkeeper system which is (for the most) a defensive system. And that is merely the defence part, there is a much larger goal for Saudi Arabia and the Dutch could become contenders is a few ways. And in regards to the stage, is being critical about what is written that bad a position to have? I am not stating avoiding writing anything, merely be clear and produce evidence, if we demand it in some directions, should that same request not be in all directions?

The issues evolve even now. As we were introduced to: “Jubeir said the public prosecutor responsible for the case had sought evidence from Turkey but had received no response” is the reference to Adel al-Jubeir, Saudi minister of state for foreign affairs. The fact that evidence is not shared is also an issue; it could imply that there is no evidence at all making this hot potato no longer a potato, but a disaster in the making. If the evidence was so clear, it would have been in Turkey’s interest to share it with the world and all the media (to some degree), the media will refer to the event as leaking (like they normally do). I wonder when all the facts are clearly published, what would be left?

The fact that News24 also gives us “The CIA has concluded the Saudi operation was likely directed by the powerful crown prince” is now a growing concern. It is not ‘beyond all reasonable doubt‘, it is not ‘on the likelihood of probability‘ it is merely ‘was likely directed‘, implying that evidence is missing on a whole range of issues. So when we see all the unsupported accusations, all the calls for ending cooperation with Saudi Arabia, are we even surprised that Saudi Arabia is spending their cash somewhere else? And when we see the 500 billion and 185 billion go to alternative places, how will that impact economies? To be honest, I would love to get my fingers on the full report of homicide investigator Paul Johnston. It might clear up a whole truckload of issues, and perhaps leave too much reasonable doubt. I honestly do not know, yet I would love to find out.

So when we see that here truly is too much reasonable doubt and when the US hopes to make deals for the good of the economy, we will see what the decisions form Riyadh will be. The fact that 8 hours ago the news as given with ‘Sultan Bin Salman reviews prospects of cooperation with Russian space officials‘ is from my point of view a first message that Saudi Arabia is seeking more interactions on a global scale (read alternative cooperation partners), the fact that it is not going to Europe or the US should be a clear indication that there are troubles brewing under the Saudi sands, and more is coming when we look at the upcoming cutbacks that NASA will be facing.

When we see the amount of evolution that Saudi Arabia is trying to give its own infrastructure should be a massive input towards global economies, but so far the players needing it the most end up with the least, it could of course be a coincidence, but when we realise that it is not, can we actually place any blame, or should we merely blame our own politicians for bluffing whilst holding merely a pair of threes, I will let you decide on that one.

Too many questions and a lack of clear reporting contributed to all this, of that I personally have little to no doubt at all.

 

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The Iranian escalation

We know that their nuclear accord is not worth the paper it got printed on. We also know that the involvement in Yemen is a lot larger than anyone has been able to illuminate on (especially the media). Yet the cupcake of the day goes to the Times of Israel (not the most neutral party in all this). they gave us mere hours ago ‘We bought spares for nuke equipment we agreed to destroy‘ (at https://www.timesofisrael.com/irans-nuclear-chief-we-bought-spares-for-nuke-equipment-we-agreed-to-destroy/). It is ‘supported’ with the by-line Ali Akbar Salehi says supreme leader was convinced West would renege on 2015 pact, so replacement tubes for nuclear reactor were secretly purchased‘. We get this part, whilst a mere 4 days ago the Financial Times give us: ‘EU seeks to keep Iran nuclear deal alive despite US pressure‘, a policy state of mind that I called reckless and not too bright close to 5 months ago. So now we see that not only did Iran have no intention to keep its word, it is actively setting the stage of being a danger to a lot more than merely Israel. Has anyone considered the dangers when one of the warheads goes missing, gets an added dirty load and both elements miraculously in the hands of Hezbollah?

This is not a fictive danger!

Consider the following ‘facts’:

  • Article 151 of the Constitution obliges the government to “provide a program of military training, with all requisite facilities, for all its citizens, in accordance with the Islamic criteria, in such a way that all citizens will always be able to engage in the armed defense of the Islamic Republic of Iran.
  • General Qasem Soleimani is in charge of the IRGC army, his direct inner core has direct control of the Basij and they protect and reinforce several locations where nuclear materials can be found. In addition there have been several pieces of evidence that the support of Hezbollah by the IRGC goes beyond simple funds and hardware, hence the danger I am illuminating is not the weirdest one, or the least likely one.

So when the Financial Times gives us: “We need to accept that the [nuclear deal] is important and it has been a signal achievement“, we also need to consider that this is merely what Iran wants you to think. It is a stage that is too dangerous for some ‘peace for our time‘ moment as the UK thought to have in 1939, it did not end well then and it will equally not end well this time either. The trouble here is not merely what is in store for Israel, the defeat that they currently face opposing Saudi Arabia in Yemen (via Hezbollah), it also implies that there is every indication that proxy strikes against Saudi Arabia are not out of the question. I am not talking about the two fired on Saudi Arabia 4 days ago (source: Al-Masdar Al-‘Arabi). The quote “According to the official media wing of the Houthi forces, their rocket battalion fired two Badr-1 ballistic missiles towards the Asir and Jizan provinces of southern Saudi Arabia. The Houthi forces said that one of their ballistic missiles managed to hit a Saudi military gathering near the Yemeni border with the Jizan province.” gives is that Houthi forces are upping the game. Whether Hezbollah is directly involved is unknown at present, yet the danger is that Hezbollah makes for a decent Iranian mule and as such a dirty payload is not out of the question at present. The part that none are giving is that both the Asir and Jizan areas are predominantly civilian and that with the lousy aiming abilities of both Houthi and Hezbollah forces we can speculate that the only way for these two to hit a military target was done by aiming for civilian targets. No matter how it turns out, Houthi (and optionally Hezbollah) forces are waging war on Saudi civilians which is a big no-no and as the Western media stays out of it (to a larger degree) the Saudi coalition will be forced to strike hard and harsh against the enemies of Saudi Arabia. The important part here is that this is no longer merely Yemen, at some point in the near future a meeting and decision will be made to actively engage Iran and that is when all bets are off for Tehran. the evidence shown in regards to the Nuclear deal as well as their involvement in Yemen, we see that both the EU and the US have no other option but to stand by Saudi Arabia in all this, decency would demand it from them and by not doing so, we will see a very different stage and Russia is only one step away from enabling themselves into a political stage of becoming best friends with Saudi Arabia. So as we saw three days ago the statement “Iran has not been invited to a global conference on the Middle East in Warsaw next month and Russia has declined the invitation“. The question in my mind becomes, is that truly the reason for declining, or is Russia playing a larger game? I will emphasize at this point that this is pure speculation from my side, yet if there is chance to get a much closer relationship with Saudi Arabia and get that achieved by ‘seemingly remaining friendly with Iran‘, we see a Russia that has plenty to win with this path. Unlocking the ties between Saudi Arabia and the USA would be one of the greatest wins of the decade for Russia and that danger should not be underestimated.

In the end Saudi Arabia and the Saudi coalition needs to do what is best for them and the events of the last two years give rise to the stage that America has merely been thinking of their own needs in the last 3 years and most allies have had enough of that.

What will happen in the end is not to clear, not whilst there are gaps in either path of allies and whilst Russia is playing its own cards close to their chest, the Americans have been too clumsy for close to two years. The Khashoggi and Yemeni events have clearly shown that part. The media gives us even more when we consider Al Arabiya. There we see: ‘Orchestrated media, political campaign to damage Saudi-US ties, says analyst‘. The quote “I strongly believe that Qatar, Turkey, and certain Muslim Brotherhood proxies in the West are involved in funding a media campaign and political operations to discredit Saudi reforms and the government in general” by Irina Tsukerman (at http://english.alarabiya.net/en/features/2019/01/10/Orchestrated-media-political-campaign-to-damage-Saudi-US-ties-says-analyst.html) is as I personally see it incomplete. She is looking at one part, but there is a second stage. Not unlike the UK actions in the 70’s against the Cairo-Tel Aviv attempts for a peace, we see another stage here too. You see, the events from Saudi Arabia regarding Neom City have been so overwhelmingly progressive that larger US industrials are now worried, they cannot live with the fact that they are soon to be less impressive than the Saudi advances in 5G, it goes further, large players like AT&T are now openly deceiving the people with their 5G Evolution, a product that has been heralded all over the media as a fake product. The Register, USA Today, Android Police, TechCrunch and many others are seeing this as deception. The idea that Saudi Arabia beat them to the punch was too unacceptable to these people. They are increasingly worried that every win towards Neom City will be regarded as a loss towards their own economy, which is the America the allies of America face. It also fuels the entire recession mess that is upcoming, merely because corporations can fund one place and whatever goes towards Saudi Arabia is not going towards other places and in all this, the UAE will benefit to some degree as well. As Saudi Arabia is facing down it’s not so hidden enemy Iran, Saudi Arabia will face opportunities as well as challenges and its allied neighbours will have positive waves of economy going their ways too.

Yet before there can be a positive outlook on it all, the global players will have little choice but to put down Hezbollah as soon as possible. No matter how they try to commit to peace, there is enough evidence that Hezbollah is still committed in wars against Israel and Saudi Arabia. Even as we see “Tens of millions of Iranian dollars have gone to Yemen“, we see that this image is also incomplete. That part is seen when we consider the BBC (at https://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-46958455). When we consider the fact that ‘Pro-government forces removed 300,000 landmines laid by the Houthis between 2016 and 2018‘, the numbers do not add up. the value of the mines, the time required to place them as well as the manpower required to place them we get the clearer picture that the entire funding goes well beyond ‘Tens of millions of Iranian dollars‘. That part as well as the missile costs, the Hezbollah support and other goods imply a financial support that implies close to 1000% of the support that is claimed by some. The found number of mines implies that Yemen required placing 200+ mines a day every day. That require a much larger workforce and support engine (including some form of logistics and communication) than anyone could possible consider. That requires no less than two regiments placing mines 24:7. That is the number that does not make sense in all this and Yemen is not known for soft sands, there are plenty of rocky surfaces to content with. The numbers do not add up and it seems to me that the media has been ignoring those facts to a larger degree, making the Iranian involvement a lot larger than anyone expected, which also implies that the commitment by Hezbollah was a lot larger making them a more essential enemy to get rid of and that part is not limited to Israel and Saudi Arabia. Europe and America have every interest in dealing with Hezbollah with extreme prejudice. Well, that is if they ever want to see true peaceful balance in the Middle East, because with Hezbollah (and Hamas) that will never happen.

In all this Iran has been the catalyst to escalation and it is high time that the global media is taking a very serious look and openly reports on the actions that Iran has been an active participant in, do you not think so?

 

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The assumption of right

This happens, it happens almost every day and we all (including me) see that happen. My view was that oil prices would go up. It is a logic set to demand and supply, a basic principle. As OPEC cut production by 1.2 million barrels a day, we would have expected a rise, maybe not directly, but overall when you get less of a product, the prices rise. It is the basic foundation of commerce; shortage tends to drive prices up. Yet a Forbes article proves me wrong (at https://www.forbes.com/sites/gauravsharma/2018/12/10/opecs-output-cut-not-enough-to-provide-short-term-70-oil-price-floor/#668312a8d58d).

This is fine, I never proclaimed to have all the answers, yet it does seem odd that less oil still drops the price from $80 to $51 in one month, and the logic is gone at my end of the table, yet I also know that oil prices are a little more complex, so I took this moment to learn a little. Gaurav Sharma gives us: “oil price is not just a story of supply; it is also a story of demand“. That part makes sense, yet this part only gives rise to changes if demand dampens and dampens by a whole lot. We see that with: “It cannot be ignored that Eurozone growth continues to disappoint, global trade is decelerating and China’s slowdown is a visible fact, and not just a forecast. We haven’t even mentioned the words “trade wars” and a prospect of further U.S. interest rate hikes“. Yes, so far I am on board, yet does that dampen the need for oil to THAT degree? This is precisely the setting when we consider: “If anything OPEC’s move provides U.S. drillers with a further incentive to pump more, and they already are, having made America the world’s largest producer of crude oil.” This implies that the need is changing; America needs less as they become self-reliant more. This explains the setting in the short term, yet it also gives rise to other dilemmas. As the US is using its own stock to keep cheap oil, we also see the change in the dynamics. Less money in the treasury through cheap oil, more costs (and optionally more jobs mind you), yet the budget and shortages of America (like $21 trillion debt) now has another not so nice tail. The interest on 21 trillion can no longer be fuelled with fuel. With a downwards economy, the debt will rise a little faster and there will not be anything left for infrastructure. Now, in this case none of this is the fault of the US Administration, or the current administration to be a little more precise. There is a lot wrong as the Clinton administration left the nation with surplus. I am not ignoring that 9/11 changed the game, yet the Obama administration had a clear directive to do something and that was not done. We can argue whether they had the options or not, we know that the war on terror has had a long-lasting impact. And the downward fuel price does not help. Yet cheap fuel is good for all the non-petrochemical industries and the people requiring cheap oil for heating.

The writer also gives us: “As things stand, a sustainable $70 oil price doesn’t look certain at all for 2019“. OK, I can only support that for as long as the US can keep up with the reductions that OPEC and Russia implement, when that stops working prices will go up, just how fast is unknown. It depends on the current storage and demand and I am not certain that this will not bite in 2019. I cannot academically argue with Gaurav Sharma and his 20 years of experience. His point might be valid, yet the Economic Times gives us: “WTI is forming Doji candlestick pattern and also near its long term Fibonacci retracement. Both are positive signs for crude oil prices“, If this happens within the next two weeks, my predicted increase of 15% comes true. Yet how is that chance? Focussing on merely my point of view tends to be delusional, which is why I liked the view by Gaurav Sharma. He gave me something to think about. It is Mike Terwilliger, portfolio manager, at Resource Liquid Alternatives, in New York who gave us (last week): “It’s a stunning market backdrop where everything from the adjectives used by the Fed chairman to whom is appointed head of trade negotiations can roil the markets. While the macro backdrop remains firm, with strong earnings and historically low unemployment, sentiment is unquestionably vulnerable. That would, in my view, fit the definition of an opportunity – a disconnect between the underlying and perception.” (at https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/markets/stocks/news/us-wall-st-tumbles-growth-trade-unnerve-investors/articleshow/66946928.cms)

I have always considered and known about ‘the underlying‘ and or versus ‘perception‘, no mystery there, yet are there factors we see to forget about? Part we get from the Guardian (May 2018) when we were given: “Demand is expected to average 99.2mb/d this year.” I am adding the part where that demand is not going to diminish over at least part of 2019. Even as we see more and more drive towards sustainable energy, most players are still all about presenting and not completely in the realm of achieving, hence oil demand remains stable (as far as stable tends to be), in addition we need to look at the oil futures. S&P global (at https://www.spglobal.com/platts/en/market-insights/latest-news/oil/121018-crude-oil-futures-stable-to-higher-on-opec-production-cuts) gives us: “risk sentiment remained heightened after US Trade Representative Robert Lighthize Sunday said that he considers March 1 to be a hard deadline for a trade deal to be reached with China and that tariffs will be imposed otherwise“. So basically the futures are rolling towards the up side making me correct, yet as long as the US can keep up with demand and as long as we see this continue, oil will remain stable and not push beyond $60 per barrel in the short term. MatketWatch is actually more optimistic towards the consumers of fuel. With: “Oil futures fell Monday to settle at their lowest in about a week on growing concerns surrounding a slowdown in energy demand“.

Why do we care?

We care because the drop in demand as projected and given by several sources is also the economic indicator that not all is well. This is seen in several sources. Goldman Sachs, via CNBC gives us: “We expect the U.S. to slow down to less than 2 percent by the end of next year and as a result of that you could see the market getting quite scared“, yet would be an overly optimistic view. We saw last week that the US Economy gained 43,000 jobs less than last year giving us a much less optimistic view on that part of the equation. Apple is falling down, tension on the Economy (specifically the US economy) is on the rise, some might say sharply on the rise. In addition, the Financial Post gives us: “Wall Street ignored trouble signs for months. Now it sees risks everywhere Markets face stomach-churning swings as economic uncertainty grows“. Even when we stick to the headlines, it was nothing really breathtaking. The US trade deal with China, the growth fears in the EU, they all link into a negative setting of the economy. Not recession, yet a negative impact due to no growth (too little growth is more accurate) and the events in France do not help either. In addition, there is now a realistic chance that Italy is entering recession territory. Even as it is possible to avert it, it will means that the Italian economy will end at a standstill (which is not a recession), yet in all this, with the Two large EU economies at 0 (France and Italy), it falls to Germany to bring home the bacon and sausages, implying that they are all eager and desperate to sink any notion of Brexit as soon as possible. As we see the jesters giving us that the UK can exit Brexit, that whilst they are seemingly unable to get a handle on the ECB and their everlasting lack of transparency, so whilst we see (at https://www.euractiv.com/section/politics/news/ecb-chief-rejects-chance-to-adopt-eus-transparency-register/) the unsettling part “The European Central Bank’s President Mario Draghi has rejected calls from European lawmakers to have financiers who give advice and feedback to the ECB register as lobbyists, saying they merely provide “information”.” I merely see an extended reason to pursue Brexit stronger. I actually am in a state of mind to demand the right for targeted killing these so called ‘informers’, which is a massive overreaction, yet the need to get these information givers listed next to the lobbyists is becoming more and more essential. If any nepotism, or if any under the table deal is found within the EU, their exposure is essential. I believe that this will flush greed out into the open rather fast, but then I am merely one voice in all this.

It connects

You see, the QE is supposed to come to an end this Thursday, or at least the formal announcement to end it at the end of this month. However, when we consider Reuters: “the economy weakening, trade tensions darkening the outlook and headwinds still on the horizon in the shape of Italy and Brexit, financial markets are looking ahead to next year and just how the ECB will protect the bloc from a severe downturn“, not only does the rejection to officially end QE have an impact, it also means that suddenly demand for things like oil will suddenly spike, that means that reserves go down, oil prices go up and there the cost of living will impact harshly on Europe in winter and as such on American soil the need for a price hike will not really be one that people will cherish, and when we add to that the part that Germany also has a depressed economy to look forward to, we see the three great economic players all in a diminished form, implying that the economy will tank on the low side not merely in this year, it will have a depressed form of growth in 2019 as well. There will be all kinds of lessened good news, whilst the good news is not that great to begin with. It gives rise to the point that I might be wrong on the oil price as I expected it to grow by 15%, it might still go up yet not that much and it will come at a really high cost this time around.

Right or Wrong?

It does not matter in this case; the issues seen are openly visible and heralded throughout the net, magazines and newspapers. The issue of ‘the underlying‘ and or versus ‘perception‘ is at the heart of the matter. Even as energy and oil prices show certain paths in all of this, it does not make it a correct view (which is neither right not wrong), what we perceive in opposition to the underlying elements connected, that is the bigger picture of impact. It is also a new stage. As the politicians are fighting over the carcasses of opportunity and bonus structures, we see that Germany has a few other elements in play. It is not merely the manufacturing part of it all, it is infrastructure as well and that is where we get my earlier statement, a statement I gave 3 days ago in ‘Behind the facade‘ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2018/12/08/behind-the-facade/), if Huawei (minus one arrested exec) shows their value in Germany with the given quote, which came well over a day after my article (at https://foreignpolicy.com/2018/12/09/germany-is-soft-on-chinese-spying/), where we see: “In the terms of reference published last week by the German Federal Network Agency for its 5G auction, security was not even included in the conditions for awarding the contract. In October, the government announced: “A concrete legal basis for the complete or partial exclusion of particular suppliers of 5G infrastructure in Germany does not exist and is not planned.”“, as well as “For Deutsche Telekom and other network operators, the situation is clear: Huawei offers innovative and reliable products at highly competitive prices. Legally, Deutsche Telekom does not bear any liability for the security risks associated with Huawei technology. And the company does not care about the fact that Huawei’s price advantage is the result of a highly skewed playing field in China. In the world’s largest market, domestic providers control 75 percent of the market, giving them unbeatable economies of scale“, we see the hidden trap that some people related to Mr S. Tupid are now in hot waters (optionally with the exception of Alex Younger). Not only have they not given any evidence regarding the security risk that Huawei is supposed to be. Foreign Policy also gives us: “Given the massive cybersecurity and national security risks, the only responsible decision is for Berlin to follow the Australian, New Zealand, and U.S. lead and ban Chinese providers from the German 5G network“, yet there is no evidence, that was always the problem and so far there is more and more indicators (especially in Australia) that the claim “In none of these three countries will domestic suppliers be the primary beneficiaries“, which I regard to be false, on paper it does not impact ‘primary beneficiaries’, but it does harshly (in Australia at least) negatively impacts the competitors of Telstra, which amounts to the same thing (TPG, Vodafone, Vodafail et al). And when we go back to my writing in ‘Behind the facade‘, where I give the reader: “You see, Huawei can afford to wait to some degree, as we see the perpetuated non truths of devices being pushed forward, the replacements better do a whole lot better and they are unlikely to do so. When we see another failure in 5G start and we see transgressions and those screaming that ‘Huawei’ was a danger, the moment they cannot prove it and their ‘friends’ give us a device that is malicious, the blowback will be enormous. There is already cause for concern if we go by CNBC. They give us a few points that show the additional fear that America has on Huawei“, when the intrusions are not proven and Huawei shows to be a strength for consumers and businesses, heads will roll, there will be a demand for blood by the people, which means that politicians will suddenly hide and become ‘on the principle of the matter‘ and transform their perspectives into in all kinds of lethargic versions of denial.

That too is impacting the economy, because those on track to start pushing out new innovations on 5G will have a clear advantage over the other players and that pushes for success even more, will it come to pass? I cannot tell as there are too many elements in motion and the policies now in place are off course under optional revised in the future as Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer will replace Angela Merkel if her party is re-elected as the biggest one.

We are seeing a few versions in the assumption of right, and we need to realise that the assumption of right and speculative version of what will happen overlaps one another, but they are not the same thing. States of delusion tends to be an impacting factor. Am I delusional to think that big business gives away greed? Am I delusional to consider that Huawei is not a danger? If we go by ‘the underlying‘ and or versus ‘perception‘ I am correct. You see, would China endanger the true power of economy where Huawei would become the biggest brand on internet and 5G requirement, using it for espionage when there are dozens of other methods to get that data (including Facebook policies implemented by Mr S. Tupid and Mrs M. Oronic). As this sifting of data exists on many levels in several ways, not in the least that the overly abundance of TCP/IP layer 8 transgressions happening on a daily basis and at least twice on Sunday), when we realise that, why would any Chinese governmental (namely Chen Wenqing) endanger a Chinese technological powerhouse? The logic is absent in all this. This gives us the light of Alex Younger opposing the others. He gave a policy setting of national need, whilst the others merely voiced all this ‘national security‘ banter on risks that do not even exist yet. Especially when we saw the Australian version of: ”5G will carry communications we “rely on every day, from our health systems … to self-driving cars and through to the operation of our power and water supply.”” Perhaps anyone can tell me how many self-driving cars there are at present or within the next 10 years?

And none of these клоуны (or is that Sarmenti scurrae) considered the step to start with Huawei 5G and replace them at the earliest convenience whilst you work out the bugs of your currently incomplete 5G solutions, the few that are out there for now, a simple business decision that is at the heart of any daily event, including military ones. A nice example there is the ugliest dinghy in US history (aka the Zumwalt class) where we see: “Zumwalt-class destroyers are armed with 80 missiles in vertical-launch tubes and two 155-caliber long-range guns“, which is an awesome replacement from the previous version that was regarded as a Ammo less Gun edition, in the face of continuing budget shortfalls, personnel problems and of course the fact that the previous edition was $1 million per shell, for its smart (GPS) capability. The mere elements that some sources gave out that shooting straight was an ability it naturally acquired as well as the fact that a $440 million ship was not given the budget to get its unique, 155-millimeter-diameter cannon that can shoot GPS-guided shells as far as 60 miles the 600 rounds of ammo at a total cost of $600,000,000. And that is apart from the $10 billion the Navy spent on research and development for the class. So perhaps people still have questions why I considered this monstrosity to be regarded as a ‘sink on the spot‘ project. The fact that The Drive gave us a year ago: “the Navy has steadily hacked away at various requirements, stripping planned systems from the design, in no small part to try and control any further cost overruns and delays. Close-in protection, ballistic and air defense capabilities, and various other associated systems are no longer part of the base design, something The War Zone’s own Tyler Rogoway explained in detail in a past feature, leaving it with limited utility despite its size and cost” (and apart from some minor issue regarding stability and stealthablity which we shall ignore for now) in that light the entire 5G redeployment after the fact and the ability are acquired, tested and evaluated, at that point re-engineering away the advantage that Huawei had built, did that not make sense within 10 seconds?

It is common business practice in IT, and has been for over 2 decades, that is why ASUS and not IBM rules the lay of the desktop land nowadays. so getting even would not have been the dumbest idea either, but no, we see all kinds of unfounded accusations and that is where those people are most likely to lose and out in the sunlight, when they cannot prove that claim, that is when we see on how some elements will soon be disregarded. In this Huawei has a nice advantage in Germany and Saudi Arabia. When they prove the elements there, we will see a large driven technology shift and those making the claims at recent days better have their stories straight.

Yet again, I might be wrong, my assumption of right might get sunk on false premise and nepotism, I do recognise that this has happened before and will happen again.

The assumption of right is at times hindered on delusional thoughts, as well as the need that the other players are straight shooter, and that definitely applies to all politicians, does it not?

 

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Heating at what price?

We all know it; in winter it is about the heating, in summer about the quality of the fan, in addition, we need to make sure that apart from food, and drinks that we have the proper attire. We have known this for almost a lifetime. So even as this is known in the US, President Trump decided to have a conversation with Saudi Arabia to increase production to keep prices down. It seems really nice that Saudi Arabia came forward, yet they had no practical reason to do that did they? Not in an age of bullet points, business cases and maximised profit.

Oil is a commodity, and in the professional world of business, you have to go for the buy low, sell high equation if you want to be in business. So I was surprised to the extent that Saudi Arabia was facilitating towards America.

Yet this is seemingly coming to a halt when Bloomberg treats us to: ‘Putin Says Russia and Saudi Arabia to Extend OPEC+ Oil Pact‘. In itself the title does not give the US the warning that they need to read, the text does however give us: “OPEC, which pumps four-in-ten barrels produced worldwide, will convene in Vienna on Dec. 6 to discuss output cuts after oil prices in November suffered the largest monthly drop since the global financial crisis in 2008” the article also gives us “an advisory group to OPEC told ministers the market is oversupplied, with a need to cut about 1.3 million barrels a day from October levels“, apart from Bloomberg, there were several others showing the news, adding their own political flavour towards facilitation and that will be discussed soon enough. The shape here is not merely that there is oil in the Al Saud family, it is the fact that they are (as any good business does) trying to maximise what they have. People seem to forget that. It might seem a buyers’ market, but that is merely the presentation, once production stops for 12% or more that balance will change really quickly. Let those who want it somewhere else, go somewhere else. The direct impact is that it merely drives prices faster. Even as there is an oversupply, the entire setting seems to be focussed on getting past this winter, the players are in error not to focus on the next winter, for that part will be impacted and it will be a large impact.

As the conversation between Russia and Saudi Arabia continues, whether or not it is some OPEC+ setting, the setting that is evolving is one that I mentioned in ‘Two issues in play‘ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2018/11/20/two-issues-in-play/). The day after we saw Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) giving the statement that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was “unstable and unreliable”. So as we were treated to ‘Putin says Russia, Saudis agree to renew OPEC production cuts‘ mere moments ago. How much reserve is there? How long until the prices are raised, optionally just before Christmas as a speculative Ebenezer Scrooge bonus to your household?

The entire matter was just waiting for an opportunity to happen, as we see this unfold over the next few days, we will see additional parts too. The best example that anyone who served knows is that there are three people you do not mess with. The first is your Supply officer, the second is the payroll officer and the last one is the cook. These three are sacred and you leave them alone. So why push the person who is a supply officer, that impacts your payroll officer (as you end up with a fair amount less) and that in turn unbalances what the cook gives you as you cannot afford a full meal. As the price of food goes up, as we see clear data from several sources (Washington Post and HILDA) that larger groups of workers have been on stalling incomes for years now, have I made a clear enough point? When the total income is the same and food prices go up, what would you surrender to the currents of loss, once you realise that fuel prices will be on the rise as well?

In anticipated opposition, don’t give me that ‘ethics regarding Jamal Khashoggi‘ routine, because the bulk of the US senate and US congress have not made any noise regarding all those journalists (well over 240, with over 140 wanted) in Turkish prisons, several of them for life. Not much noise is there? The fact that Turkey isn’t getting slammed for being an ally of Iran is still a mystery, yet there might be some European need there, especially around some ‘nuclear accord’.

Even as I anticipate some reaction in all this, we must also heed the opposition in this. Here I call for Oilprice dot com. Martin Tillier gives us (at https://oilprice.com/Energy/Crude-Oil/Oil-Output-Cuts-May-Be-Coming-But-Dont-Bet-on-It.html): Crude oil has been in freefall, with both Brent and WTI having lost around a third since hitting highs in early October. There are some demand related worries involved as trade wars threaten to slow global growth, but the biggest reasons for the drop are supply related. A couple of months ago, those highs were achieved in anticipation of a disruption to global supply as the Trump administration’s abandonment of the Iran nuclear deal with Iran and the resulting sanctions took effect. Since then though, a few things have become clear. Firstly, U.S. production has been stepped up by more than imagined. In addition, the Saudis increased their output to help offset the expected loss from Iran but, most importantly in that context, that loss doesn’t look likely to materialize“, he goes on giving us the tough talk part and he is right. Whether we see it as political windbags or perhaps merely a storm in a cup of tea, the impact is not merely some good needed, it is a larger issue that goes beyond supply and demand. Just like the predicted shortage of concrete for the building of Neom city. Those who saw it have been upping their ability for production. Several have doubled it and there is a chance that the UAE will have its own large concrete facility soon enough. As Saudi Arabia could decide to cut production, it could in addition merely seek to seel part of it elsewhere. The end result is the same, yet that trajectory will be much slower. For the current administration it is about getting past this winter, with the next winter being a larger impact on the elections, so it will also impact the cost of living all over the US.

CNBC gives support here (at https://www.cnbc.com/2018/11/28/expect-a-saudi-first-policy-on-oil-production-cuts-regardless-of-trumps-demands-analysts-say.html). It is early days and what we anticipate or expect does not usually happen, yet with “Analysts believe that despite Washington’s geopolitical leverage over the kingdom, after its staunch defense of the Saudi monarchy amid accusations over its alleged role in the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, Riyadh will still pursue its own economic interests rather than abide by the wishes of President Trump. The pivotal question hanging over oil markets remains that of production cutbacks. Who will tighten their taps, and by how much?” This is the game for now and even as it is all set in common sense, the one part we cannot anticipate is ‘by how much?‘, I predicted a rough 12% a week before this article came out and so far, the fact that it is still likely to happen before the end of the year, optionally before before Christmas, it does remain to be a the speculative part for now. I expect Russia to try and get a consensus with Saudi Arabia to go well over 12%, optionally closer to 20%. It is essential for Russia, it will be good to the super wealthy oil friends that President Putin has and it will also bring joy to the coffers of the Saudi Monarchy. The question is who can pick up that slack and how fast. The US has its own facilities in it, yet could they keep up? Leave it to the US to piss off 3 of the top 5 producers, which leaves Iraq and they do not have the working infrastructure, moreover, volatility is still their middle name for now, as well as the fact that they merely produce 16% of the other three that the US insulted (more than once I might add).

So will oil prices go up? If the US is set on its current policy, the issue of oil prices is a given certainty, the fact that they will go up before winters end seems more and more likely, yet by how much is not to be anticipated. In this Saudi Arabia, merely needs to have a ‘technical glitch’ and the pumps go down twice for 2-3 days, and the damage is done. At that point, Saudi Arabia merely has to drop production for 15%-20% until the technical matter is ‘resolved’ and all the US can do is pray for Saudi Arabia to accept the assistance of their engineers. Although as Saudi engineers go, their knowledge might be (vastly) superior in all this, they have had plenty of time to get ahead of the curve for some time now.

Should this happen, what will the US do? Throw a tantrum; throw a curveball? I am eager to find out, because the entire journalist part is still a matter for discussion. You all seem to know Jamal Khashoggi. Yet how many of you know Mehmet Topaloğlu, killed by the Turkish police, as was Metin Göktepe. Then we see Önder Babat, Serena Shim, Rohat Aktaş and Yaşar Parlak. The Turkish authorities have shown less than 0.5% effort here when comparing it to Jamal Khashoggi and the silence from the US in these deaths (a few of many) have been deafening, we can ignore the European Union in all this as they seemingly do not care. So when I made the claim that Jamal Khashoggi is merely a convenient puppet to hit Saudi Arabia with, I knew what I was talking about. When we see that inaction is the natural state, the entire Jamal Khashoggi was a game of political players, emotions used to drive an audience, an audience giving Google search currently well over 72 million hits when we see for that JK journalist. Try that with one of the other murdered or imprisoned journalists in Turkey, they are not even a blip on the radar. It is my speculative thought that Neom and the future drive by Saudi Arabia scared the US as it did several European players. It is the first time in history that a Middle Eastern nation has the ability to put the US and EU to shame with their lack of technological progress. They claim to have it, yet Saudi Arabia is making a move towards ‘showing to have it‘, changing the game for both the US and Europe.

This is where we see the difference. China and Russia see this as an opportunity, whilst Europe and the US are seeing it as an inconvenience. In Europe it seems that only Salini Impregilo is taking the charge of that future, having scored already well over half a billion in contracts, the rest of the players are either under the surface or not there at all. Is that not odd either? When we see close to a trillion dollars in opportunities in Saudi Arabia, the noise should be deafening but it is not.

How does that matter?

Well, if oil fuels the coffers, the daily input is more than enough to warrant actions, yet I see not activity anywhere, not to the degree it should have. In all this, within a day I found a way to revolutionise information using 5G (designing a new device in the process), and there we see opportunity, a pilot the size of a city that could have global repercussions and no one is there. I cannot be the only player in town, my ego would never be that delusional, yet there is not activity at all. It makes sense that it is not out in the open, yet some people would have to file for concepts, optionally for patents and I see the light of at least 4 of them right there, yet there is no visible action, and believe me, as a Master of Intellectual property law, I do know where to look.

Karma kicks greed’s ass

We have all seen the news when it comes to Huawei and the list of those banning them is growing, there too we see that China has a vested interest in making a local company a true success and there we see the options too. So when we consider the Verizon offer: “As part of a 10-year agreement, Verizon will expand its wireless small cell infrastructure to build out its existing 4G LTE network and prepare for 5G deployment, with streamlined permitting from the City of Boston. TV licensing will also be amended to support an expansion of Verizon’s Fios TV service to more neighborhoods“, it came in 2016. So consider the actual wording ‘as part of a 10-year agreement‘ and ‘prepare for 5G deployment‘, by the letter, it implies that Boston will optionally not have 5G before 2026, in this it could optionally have been in the foundations of Neom by 2021 (depending on then the first buildings are completed). It would be a kick in the nuts for the US to have something operational after Saudi Arabia, does it not?

Karma bites like Piranha if need be.

This all impacts the oil price, because the Saudi Crown Prince is driven to get Neom right, it also impacts the coffers so whatever is done regarding the oil, would optionally not be allowed to endanger Neom. I cannot prove that, yet I am decently certain that this is the case. We can see this as an opportunity, that as the US seeks options, it can make other offers to offset the optional ‘loss’ to Saudi Arabia. If enabling can be done in money or goods, offering goods is still an optional path to take for the US, yet they too need to realise that the overly visible acts of playing the ‘Khashoggi blues’ whilst not making any noise on the ‘Turkey newspaper shuffle’ is going to be a debate soon enough, especially as there is enough evidence that Turkey has been facilitating for Iran.

In the end

In the end it is about the oil prices and I expect them to go up regardless of what happens, yet there is leverage to a small extent, the amount of price increase is one that could be under negotiation. The question is, will we see proper actions by the US and Europe to limit the price increase and the impact on their citizens? I expect to see an answer to that part within the next two weeks.

Have a fun Monday!

 

 

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Two Issues in play

There is a larger issue in all this, part of it is Wall Street, the gig is up (to some extent) yet no calls are being made to investigate the Analyst game by aspiring new Wall Street kings, and moreover no one is asking questions.

We start with the impact that Apple has had and the Financial Post is giving us (at https://business.financialpost.com/investing/us-stocks-wall-st-pulled-lower-by-apple-trade-worries) “Shares of Apple Inc fell 3.5 per cent after the Wall Street Journal reported the company had cut production orders in recent weeks for all three iPhone models launched in September“, as well as “Other market leaders — including the ‘FANG’ stocks — also fell sharply, underscoring the view that their leadership was on shaky ground. Shares of Facebook were down 5.1 per cent, Amazon.com was down 4.3 per cent, Netflix was down 4.9 per cent and Alphabet (Google) fell 3.4 per cent“. Now, we can go two ways in this, yet I am concentrating on the mere logical view. It is not the part of loss that is concerning me, it is as I said in ‘Annual medical bill $864,685‘ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2018/11/17/annual-medical-bill-864685/) “Consider the $2365, whilst their opponent is offering a decently close solution for $1499 (Google) and $1599 (Huawei) all top end phones and the next model is 33% cheaper, in an economy where most people are turning around pennies (just look at Debenhams). It was a really bad market moment; one could argue that Apple believed their marketing whilst it was nowhere near realistic“, when we consider this part, which is the basis application of common sense in a day and age of hardly being able to get by and we see such drops in stock levels, is that because there is underperformance, or a more clear image of overestimation by certain analysts clearing an optional path of short selling? When we consider the definition of short selling as: “The trader sells to open the position and expects to buy it back later at a lower price and will keep the difference as a gain“, is my speculation on a market set to implode that far from the actual truth? Has the entire FAANG group resorted to hiring mentally challenged Business Intelligence enabled accountants, or is someone spiking the Wall Street environment?  Is my thought on this that far out or synch with reality? When we see SBS reporting with ‘Nissan chairman arrested in Japan for financial misconduct‘, and we are given: “Besides being chairman of Nissan, the 64-year-old is also CEO of Renault and leads the Nissan-Renault-Mitsubishi alliance“, “Nissan CEO Hiroto Saikawa expressed “despair,” but also suggested that Ghosn had accrued too much power and eluded proper oversight“, as well as “Saikawa gave few details about the nature of the improprieties, including refusing to confirm reports that Ghosn under-reported his income by 5 billion yen, or around $60 million (AUD), over five years from 2011. He said an ongoing investigation limited what details could be shared, and refused to be drawn on whether other people were involved, saying only: “These two gentlemen are the masterminds, that is definite.”“. As we consider the impact of Representative Director Greg Kelly and Carlos Ghosn, we might think that the entire matter is contained, yet is it? The fact that Automotive is a clear element on Wall Street, when we see this and we do not see another part, how wrong have the analysts been getting it? The fact that numbers on Wall Street would not fluctuate to the degree needed as the numbers were spiked by a major players is interesting to consider yesterday’s news (at https://www.zdnet.com/article/nuance-spins-off-automotive-segment-into-new-publicly-traded-company/). You see, just like I found the issue in the Harbour or Rotterdam two decades ago, I looked into another direction. When we consider “Other automotive brands such as Honda, Volkswagen, Ford, Hyundai, Audi, Porsche, Nissan, Kia, Chevrolet, Harley Davidson, Ferrari are ranked by their brand value among the top 100 brands in the world!“, so if we see the SBS part with: “years of financial misconduct including under-reporting of income and inappropriate personal use of company assets“, which looks weird as this is merely an internal part (criminal or not), is there a decent chance that the entire matter is larger and as such, would a provider like Nuance not be hit as they are a component in the Nissan (and Renault, and Mitsubishi)?

In all this, when we consider The actions of one, and the impact on another, yet we see that expectations were ‘firmly’ in the wrong place, at what point will we start asking the damaging questions to analysts who were ‘overly’ positive? So when we see: “Wall Street was looking for earnings of 32 cents a share on revenue of $525 million. Shares of Nuance were down slightly after hours“, were we shown a realistic stage? This gets us to the Sydney Morning Herald, where we see: “Since the FANG outperformance run peaked on August 30, the group has underperformed the S&P 500 by 16.25 per cent. That is their worst underperformance since the first half of 2014 when they underperformed by around 20 per cent“, is it truly an underperformance, or is it set towards unrealistic overestimation and as such, is the foundation of short selling not done on the word of analyts? So in that light, would it not become more and more prudent to ask the analysts certain questions? The fact that certain Nissan events were not on their radar, what else did they not see and as such, would that not have impacted the numbers at Nuance in a similar, yet there unfairly?

What else is there?

Well, that can be seen in one way as these players all need power to be available and energy is becoming an issue in the US. What happens when we put the (big) mouth of Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) to the test? As he was ‘kind’ enough to use Bloomberg to state that the current crown prince of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was “unstable and unreliable”, would it be an idea to ask his royal highness to kindly consider that Oil is a sellers’ market and that it is important to consider the long term future of the kingdom of Saudi Arabia, as such, it is important to consider the value of oil and I personally believe that it should be raised to $73 per barrel, in light of this cutting oil production by 12% would be essential.

So when Lindsey gets the news that his lack of diplomacy is cutting oil and raising prices, at what point will he ever feel safe again as the American people will react to the mere stage of commerce, it is a sellers’ market plain and simple. It is a sellers’ market because the buyer is always open to get it somewhere else, and in all that there is merely Iran left. How does it all flow now? Let’s not forget that these are not my rules, they are the consequences of Wall Street. At what point will people wake up?

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is a monarchy, it is one where the monarch of that nation makes decisions that decide what would be the best track for the people of THEIR nation (which is Saudi Arabia). In a time where the life of a journalist does not matter, Turkey showed that and both the EU and America remained largely quiet, so let’s face it, we do not care about Jamal Khashoggi, yet that person has received more pushed and powered visibility than for example Matteo Messina Denaro (I chose him as I grew up being a huge Diabolik comic fan), so when we see his actions and his absence from the press for the longest time, why would we care about Jamal Khashoggi? Because a knave speaking for Iran direted others to do so? We keep on getting the news, the media, the mention of tapes, yet how clearly has the evidence been investigated? The media stays silent, mostly playing on innuendo as much as possible.

You see, it the Crown Prince succeeds in getting the stage of Neom Started, Saudi Arabia will have started and aspired to something never seen before in the history of this world, all the things that America claimed to have done will be seen active in Saudi Arabia, it is optionally the biggest blow to American ego and optionally their economy too and they are finally scared, like the UK was when the 70’s peace accords had a chance, they pushed Egypt in another direction. Now we see the stage where there is so much anti-Saudi news, that it is sickening to me, especially as the acts of Turkey and Iran are smothered. How much news have you see on the 214 journalist jailed in Turkey? most of them all convicted, the last one a week ago, we were given “A court sentenced Turkish journalist Ali Unal to 19 years in jail on Wednesday on a charge of being a leader in the network accused of carrying out a failed coup in July 2016“, Jamal Khashoggi got 60 million hits in Google Search this morning, it is that far whacked out of balance and the industrial next generation all technological marvel that could be Neom, including the Bridge that links the Sinai (Sharm-El-Sheik) to Saudi Arabia, opening even more options to commerce and growth for Egypt and the Sudan? A mere 2.8 million, a project that is well over $500 billion in investments for technological and financial opportunities; that got less than 3 million hits. I reckon that Saudi Arabia also needs additional PR and digital PR on a much larger scale.

I think that America (as well as the European Union) needs to wake up and smell the coffee and they need to do it fast. As they whinge like little children, they are optionally giving additional fields of economy to India, China and Russia to move into a market where the oil revenues will be pressed for a different directions, so as these people are merely trying to bait infighting within the Saudi Royal family, they should start to realise that one of them wakes up and decides to close the tap by 20% and merely adjust the vision towards 2035, at that point whatever comes next will no longer have any America and even less Wall Street, at what point will the American administration have to forfeit on 21 trillion of debts they can no longer pay? Let’s not forget that the entire FAANG group can vacate and move anywhere globally, at what point will we see the news: ‘NASDAQ shuts down!‘  leaves us with the question: ‘is my speculation so outlandish?’ You see, the needs for the next technology is no longer in America and the difference between global and global minus America is not that big, at that point the politicians of the European Union will fold like little bitches and accept whatever deal will keep them employed and on their gravy train; they are that predictable.

The nice part is that there is every chance that I will be around when that happens, getting to tell the economic and financial editors of all the major newspapers: ‘I told you so!‘ and the blatant attacks, the media toolkit against the current crown prince of Saudi Arabia makes my speculation more and more likely. You see, it was merely a week ago, when CNBC gave us (at https://www.cnbc.com/2018/11/15/trump-duped-saudis-into-tanking-oil-prices-analysts-say.html) ‘Oil analysts say Trump fooled Saudis into tanking crude prices‘, with the quote: “Oil market analysts say it now appears that Trump hoodwinked Saudi Arabia, fooling the U.S. ally into pushing the oil market into oversupply and sparking a roughly 25 percent drop in crude prices. That accomplished Trump’s goal of driving down energy costs for Americans“, it is optionally a decent tactic, but at present it can backfire, the KSA can take a step back and let it all fall to pieces as the Saudi government can survive a few years in the up scaled oil prices, yet the US and European economies will start to collapse as they have no infrastructure left, so when we see Bloomberg giving us ‘The Oil Price Is Now Controlled By Just Three Men‘, whilst we know that America has pissed of the other two to the largest degree; if truly three man control the price, the names are given to us as Presidents Donald Trump, President Vladimir Putin and Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman. That whilst America needs to import to survive making them actually pretty weak. So at what point do the people in Wall Street wake up and realise that the oil morning special is served at $91+, whilst there are 3-4 months of extreme cold ahead? At what point will they realise that oil is a sellers’ market, not a buyers one and the oil companies can wait, they can watch it all collapse and pick up cheap labour for a mere apple and an egg (quite literally so).

In the end, America can start making a deal with Iran and Russia for oil, yet at what cost will that come? Which concession will the American people have to agree to? I am pretty sure that this moment will become the nightmare scenario for Israel as well as the others get to cater to Iran, and the oil setting makes that an optional reality; the amount of concessions Turkey will get will give the EU something to cry about to a much larger extent; apart from the nightmare that the Italian budget is becoming at present.

There were a few games on everyone’s desk and at least three of them have been handled so badly that the impact needs to be felt in the US, even if it was for the mere reason to get them to wake up and smell the coffee that they spilled and the cost of living that they helped raise soon enough.

Oh, and when the Italian economy stops stagnating and turns to recession again, the mere impact of a 5% oil price rise would be enough to stop Italian traffic in its track, how much will be possible there when that happens? Consider that Italy has the highest fuel prices costing €1.65 per litre. When that goes up by 10%, how many people would be able to afford a car? More importantly, the Italian economy has misjudged this super high price for taxation, so when that falls away, how much of the Italian infrastructure is also likely to collapse?

It is a mere side thought, because France and Spain will be in similar distress on a few stages there too, not to mention the impact in Greece. It would decimate the Mediterranean economy to a much larger degree, yet Wall Street will trivialise it and when there is no more trivialisation left, who will they blame?

Saudi Arabia, President Trump or themselves?

I will let you figure that part out.

 

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