Tag Archives: Saudi Arabia

Evidence? Why?

I ignored the news initially, as I saw it, it was nothing more than some bash piece on Saudi Arabia. Yet something hot me, it was just a thought and it was: ‘What if I illuminate parts and let common sense people decide‘ (which takes out many journalists and mostly all politicians). As for me? The issue is that the media is all about bashing any royal part of Saudi Arabia, all whilst ignoring evidence (and debatable evidence to a much greater degree, their pursuit of circulation and agreeing to the beat of shareholders and stakeholders has gone to the heads of too many editors and I get a real rush to illuminate this part.

I have never ignored evidence, yet just like with Huawei, it is seemingly all about the big bully shouting, whilst the deciding world for the most ignores evidence and I think that it is a weird situation. Not merely in this blog, but on a few matters, we will get to hold them to account in a few years, at that point these people will make hastily formulated excuses whilst running to their mummies to get breastfeeding (I reckon).

So, lets begin. In the first we have ‘How the UN unearthed a possible Saudi Arabian link to Jeff Bezos hack‘ (the Guardian at https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2020/jan/22/how-the-un-unearthed-a-possible-saudi-arabian-link-to-jeff-bezos-hack) as well as ‘Did Saudi Arabia’s crown prince hack the Amazon king?’ (the Economist at https://www.economist.com/middle-east-and-africa/2020/01/25/did-saudi-arabias-crown-prince-hack-the-amazon-king), a nice side effect is that the Economist, is viewed and acted on on the 24th of January, whilst the article states that it is the Jan 25th 2020 edition, but enough about that. Let’s start with the Guardian who tells us “The UN’s demand for law enforcement authorities to conduct a proper investigation into the alleged hacking of Jeff Bezos’s mobile phone came after it reviewed the findings of a cybersecurity firm, FTI“, we might not see anything here, yet the UN, who is underfunded and strained has time for this? Is this another US Essay like the one by some French girl on the killing of Jamal Khashoggi? And what about ‘after it reviewed the findings of a cybersecurity firm, FTI‘? This implies that the United Nations called for the inspection, notified a cyber security firm (FTI) and investigated the phone of some so called billionaire (postage and shipping required). So why exactly is this not with the police or an official investigative body like the FBI Cyber division?

Following this we get the real beef with “concluded with “medium to high confidence” that it had been compromised because of actions attributable to a WhatsApp account used by the Saudi crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman“, first of all, if I want to investigate the corruption at an army base, I will not go in as the lawlordtobe, I would enter the situation as some poor schmuck who is from the city of Noonecares. It is almost like an assasination and the official in question uses his own service revolver instead of someone else’s. And what goes with ‘medium to high confidence‘, what evidence was uncovered? Then we get the part where is all falls to shambles. With “The UN was careful not to be definitive. Instead of pointing the finger, its statement said the apparent hack had been achieved using software “such as NSO Group’s Pegasus or, less likely, Hacking Team’s Galileo, that can hook into legitimate applications to bypass detection and obfuscate activity”“, just like the Khashoggi essay fiasco, the UN is all about being not definitive, as such we want to know how accusations can be made when you are not definitive. As such I would like to point the UN troll to a kids game called Clue, there in that games (for ages 8+) we are introduced to the concept of evidence, where you need to collect facts and state “I am accusing Colonel Mustard who killed Dr. Black (aka Mr. Boddy) in the Kitchen using the lead pipe” and then we look at the evidence and see if the claimant had his or her facts straight. None of that CIA BS where we see ‘medium to high confidence‘, I would offer that if the confidence is already medium, what was not looked at and what was discarded. The statement comes directly before “The NSO Group, an Israeli cyber-surveillance firm, strongly denied that its surveillance tools were responsible“, as such we are left with ‘less likely, Hacking Team’s Galileo‘. so there is a mountain of doubt on an article that throws the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia in a bad light and there is seemingly an increasing lack of evidence. As we go on, we see the NSO giving the statement that offers direct opposition to some firm called FTI with “These types of abuses of surveillance systems blacken the eye of the cyber-intelligence community and put a strain on the ability to use legitimate tools to fight serious crime and terror. We expect that all actors in this arena put in place stringent procedures and technological controls, such as those that we have put in place, to assure that their systems are not used in an abusive manner“, as such there are larger questions not merely on the UN for setting the stage of something that is not on their plate, they apparently went to another small operation (who knows) and let them set up the stage of doubtful and debatable documentation, doubtful as we get one of the implied companies go directly into denial and setting a document based on evidence that is regarded as ‘medium to high confidence‘.

And then something beautiful happens. We see “The FTI report cited by the UN special rapporteurs, Agnes Callamard and David Kaye, noted that both NSO and Hacking Team, an Italian company, offered tools that could theoretically have performed the attack” where we are (again) introduced to that UN essay writer, the one that had given us the joke called some Khashoggi report (Agnes Callamard), as well hiding behind ‘tools that could theoretically have performed the attack‘, the idea that this joke from a building based at 760 United Nations Plaza, Manhattan, New York City, New York 10017 and hide behind the word ‘theoretically‘, as such pardon my French (oh, that was funny!) but how the fuck does she still have a job?

For several reasons I will not use the Economist (as I am not a subscriber), but the quotes in their magazine “which was soon used to steal large amounts of data—though the un did not say exactly what, or how it was used” as well as “It called for an “immediate investigation”. The Saudi embassy in Washington, dc, said the accusations were “absurd”.

As I see it, the UN is nothing more than an advertising paper tiger, adhering to the commands of some stakeholder (identity unknown), if this was a direct action by the UN, those people need to be investigated immediately, I feel decently certain I will get both China and Russia to sign off on this, as this has the distinct smell that comes from neither region, so they would score a win, in addition to that, the UN would have to submit data as to what exactly was taken and how it could be identified, which is also an issue that is unclear and optionally unclear to the UN people involved. 

The Verge had a lot more, they had (at https://www.theverge.com/2020/1/23/21078828/report-saudi-arabia-hack-jeff-bezos-phone-fti-consulting) the actual report, and there we see on page one we see the person we need to hackle for information, it is Anthony J. Ferrante who needs to give us the names of who this so called ‘Confidential Report’ was given to, because it seems that it was leaked. And there we see the originator (vice.com) giving us “The report, obtained by Motherboard, indicates that investigators set up a secure lab to examine the phone and its artifacts and spent two days poring over the device but were unable to find any malware on it. Instead, they only found a suspicious video file sent to Bezos on May 1, 2018 that “appears to be an Arabic language promotional film about telecommunications.”“, however, this is not the end. They also give us “Investigators determined the video or downloader were suspicious only because Bezos’ phone subsequently began transmitting large amounts of data. “[W]ithin hours of the encrypted downloader being received, a massive and unauthorized exfiltration of data from Bezos’ phone began, continuing and escalating for months thereafter,” the report states“. In this I state OK, let’s take an actual look.

And they do give us more, quotes like “The digital forensic results, combined with a larger investigation, interviews, research, and expert intelligence information, led the investigators “to assess Bezos’ phone was compromised via tools procured by Saud al Qahtani,” the report states“, as well as “A mobile forensic expert told Motherboard that the investigation as depicted in the report is significantly incomplete and would only have provided the investigators with about 50 percent of what they needed, especially if this is a nation-state attack“, ““They would need to use a tool like Graykey or Cellebrite Premium or do a jailbreak to get a look at the full file system. That’s where that state-sponsored malware is going to be found. Good state-sponsored malware should never show up in a backup,” said Sarah Edwards, an author and teacher of mobile forensics for the SANS Institute“, and “The investigators do note on the last page of their report that they need to jailbreak Bezos’s phone to examine the root file system. Edwards said this would indeed get them everything they would need to search for persistent spyware like the kind created and sold by the NSO Group. But the report doesn’t indicate if that did get done.“, which is as I personally see it the shallow political BS that some people go for. As such we see in the report “The following investigative steps are currently pending“, and more profound, on page 4 we see: “On May 1st, 2018, Bezos received a text from the WhatsApp account used by MBS“, my issue here is that this might have been the infected one, yet if I did that, I would use an originator that was real. And there we have it, the Dailymail gave us ‘New bug allows hackers to send fake messages pretending to be you – and there’s nothing you can do to stop them‘ (at https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-6039533/WhatsApp-users-beware-Hackers-send-fake-messages-pretending-you.html) with the additional text: “First discovered by Israeli cybersecurity group CheckPoint Research, the flaw is incredibly complex and involves a gap within the app’s encryption algorithms. Writing on their website, the team said the vulnerability could make it possible for a hacker ‘to intercept and manipulate messages sent by those in a group or private conversation’ as well as ‘create and spread misinformation’. Hackers could use the bug to alter the text sent in someone else’s reply to a group chat, essentially ‘putting words in their mouth’, the group said.

It took me 5 minutes and Google search to find this. I am not stating that this is true and that the Daily Mail is the source to use (they often are not), yet this is a larger failing, I expected this from the very beginning, the origins of the setting was not properly investigated. Then Vice.com gave us “the report is significantly incomplete and would only have provided the investigators with about 50 percent of what they needed“, which is what I expected before I read one word of the accusation, and with US Essay writer Callamard involved (yes again it is her) we see what this is, another mindless attack on a nation and one person. They did not even bother getting him properly smeared, and no one is asking questions, I reckon that the involved stakeholders are likely to go for the, if we create enough barbeques, someone will shout fire: ‘I ran’ for office! Anyone?

what is the most irritating part is that the UN is again used as the cheap tool that they are. In this there is also the involvement of the FTI and more interesting that a Cyber Security firm did not look past the simplest trappings, as as we consider the optional involvement of Anthony J. Ferrante we need to consider sending quota to all 49 of the Global 100 companies that are FTI clients. Even if it was merely to make a few people sweat. When a non Cyber adapt like me can see through this part they have a clear problem and whether Anony Mouse Bezos was part of this or not will not matter. There is one other part in the report that should be considered. On page 2 we see “More significantly. al Qahtani is known to have played a key and senior role in the killing of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi.” In the first, he was acquitted (in a Saudi trial) and there has been no other trials, as such the statement should be read as false, no clear evidence was ever presented. In the second, as this is part of the executive summary, it seems that this was a way to blatantly strike out against one individual and the evidence is not corroborating any of this, too many questions are left unanswered and the media is not asking them either, as such I wonder what is to be believed, especially in light of the Daily Mail ‘revelation’ last August, which implies long in advance of this report. The fact that this (optional) fact is ignored gives out a much larger issue, the work in incomplete, debatable and political, not factual, as such sending serious cyber letters to the 49 of the Global 100 companies that are FTI clients, as I personally see it, these players are all about facts and when their provider and be painted as open for considerations, we should entertain all kinds of questions. 

I would also look at the footnotes and take a larger look at that descriptive part, I wonder what is left once I have had the chance to take a red pencil through this report. Now, I am not stating that Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia Mohammad Bin Salman Al Saud is innocent, I am merely considering that his evidence is so shallow, that I would never accuse him of anything, not before a lot more work was done (and a lot more footnotes were properly weighed), in this consider on page 3 footnote 8. When we go there, we see that the article is Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai a member of Motherboard (so why is there no Motherboard article that is the source), we see “An investor from Saudi  Arabia is apparently behind a company that bought a stake in the controversial spyware vendor” where ‘apparently‘ is the operative word. It is also where we see: “Hacking Team was thoroughly owned, with its once-secret list of customers, internal emails, and spyware source code leaked online for anyone to see“, were all these customers on a secret list investigated? There is also ‘spyware source code leaked online for anyone to see‘, a small fact that is apparently not investigated, additional players all optionally ready to give someone called Bezos the time of his on-line life. Then we get “this apparent recovery is in part thanks to the new investor, who appears to be from Saudi Arabia“, a line ruled by, you guessed it ‘apparent‘ and ‘who appears‘, so much filtering and doubt, and in this FTI used that as a footnote source? A program co-owned for 80% by none other then David Vincenzetti. That does NOT make HIM a guilty party and neither is there any convincing evidence of any kind towards the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia Mohammad Bin Salman Al Saud.

When I see all this I wonder if the UN (or FTI) has any clue how much we should regard them as tools. I cannot tell at present what kind of tools they are, but my personal view is that if this is the debatable level of evidence that some employ, we all are in so much more trouble then we ever thought.

 

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The second lap

We always seem to have a problem with the second lap, the first lap is OK, it is new, we just started, it is the second lap that is the problem, it is that stage where you are tired from the previous lap and the second wind has not started, mainly because the second lap is not the moment where the body adjusts for prolonged exercise.

That is how some see the EU at present (mainly the Observer). The setting of ‘the EU’s weakness on the world stage‘ is however no laughing matter. As we are introduced to “Ursula von der Leyen believes Europe should take a leading “geopolitical” role in international affairs, reflecting the EU’s status as the world’s largest trade bloc. But turning words into deeds is proving problematic“, and it is “We must use our diplomatic and economic strength to support global stability and prosperity… and be better able to export our values and standards” that is part of the problem, in the first, the EU is su up to the gills in debt through the idiotic scheme by Mario draghi that the EU has no economic strength. The IMF gives the EU in GDP growth 2.8% (2017), 2.2% (2018), 1.5% (2019), and 1.6% (2020). This seems like an improvement, yet 0.1% increase is not really an increase and when we consider that the devaluation of the currency gives the EU debt that is currently around € 10,593,000,000,000 a much larger issue to battle, at present only the German debt is decreasing slowly, but the debt in Spain, Italy, and France (all in the trillions) is still increasing, so where does the EU think it has economic strength? And all this whilst the Financial Times informed us yesterday on ‘Europe braces for new fiscal battles‘, here we see Paolo Gentiloni trying to shake things up (no idea why he was referring to shaking up). The issue is larger than anyone can see, because the stage of “widely disliked given their impenetrable and convoluted nature“, the game where you adjust the rules in the middle of the game with 27 players, the entire stage goes awry in this game where the option of “On the Italian social democrat’s reform wish list will be changes making the rules more symmetrical — allowing for countries to be pushed to boost their economies via fiscal policy in downturns, rather than just reining in deficits and debt” (at https://www.ft.com/content/a062fb2e-3b24-11ea-a01a-bae547046735), and it is the debt these never elected officials are trying to be in deny with. Yet there is also an upside in this (as I see it) if this play goes on, the German population will not tolerate the EU to continue. None will address their debt and Germany (as one of the big four) is the only one who got the debt below 72% of GDP, the rest is in a bismal state and whilst we get that the Italians (French and Spain also) are all about ‘new investments’ they are doing it on a maxed out credit card. And whilst we all see this, we also see “One idea is to give countries extra scope to borrow to fund green investment“, yet the basic issue is that this is yet another idea to IGNORE outstanding debts and the people will have to pay for that. So as we see “has already run up against opposition from conservative northern European states“, we see that the Italian factor (Genitoli) is hiding behind “the urgency of the green agenda could improve its chances“. So whilst we now see “Some will want to use any reform opportunity to loosen the regime. Others will wish to use the greater clarity to make the deficit rules even tighter“, we see a basic fight between the spenders and the none spenders and the non spenders have had enough of it all, it founded the Brexit and there are others who do not want to be caught with the consequences of another nation in a stage with their pants down, as such all the other players will have to grab their ankles (you get the idea). 

So while we go back to the Observer view (at https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/jan/19/the-observer-view-on-the-eus-weakness-on-world-stage ) we might see “Trump’s illegal, and unilateral, action effectively blew up the most prized achievement of Borrell’s predecessors, Federica Mogherini and Cathy Ashton – the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, which was already on life-support because of US sanctions“, it seems that the EU is in some kind of a delusional stage where they take the filtered media view on Iran. Iran had been in a proxy war with Saudi Arabia, it has repeatedly threatened the state of Israel and whilst we are given “the US then insisted that the EU3 (Britain, France and Germany) trigger the deal’s dispute mechanism“, whilst the violations by Iran on the Nuclear pact are completely ignored. All in a stage where the delusional parties are setting the stage where Joseph Borell is in a stage to ‘talk’ with IOran whilst Iran has been refusing to do so and littered transgression upon transgression and the EU remains in denial and seemingly gives the EU press the stage that they are not to report on it for all kinds of unknown reasons. And when we look at the media, they are all so against war that it scares them (which it does), I merely wonder if the US and the UK press would have written ‘The Wrong Track for Confronting Germany‘ in 1943, as we see the New York Times write up the Iranian stage 12 hours ago. In addition, Al Jazeera reported 5 hours ago ‘Iran’s new Quds leader vows ‘manly’ revenge for Soleimani killing‘, which is fine, but this escapes the entire stage as they already had their missile go, yet their ego is not satisfied, so as we are treated to ‘Iran warns of ‘repercussions’ for IAEA after European moves over nuclear deal‘, as well as ‘Iran says it still respects 2015 nuclear deal, rejects ‘unfounded’ EU claims‘ (yesterday, source: CNA), all whilst there are dozens of reports as well as public statements that Iran had transgressed on set limits, so exactly HOW they are ‘respecting’ the Nuclear deal? 

In all this the lack of strength in response from the EU has been frightening. And in regards to the responses, we see on the 20th of January “Mr Mousavi said: “Tehran still remains in the deal. The European powers’ claims about Iran violating the deal are unfounded“, all whilst the news on January 5th was ‘Iran will no longer abide by uranium enrichment limits under 2015 nuclear deal‘, as well as the fact that Iran on state television, on January 5th responded that they pulled out of the Nuclear deal agreement (at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RsQ-NBaOUMw), as such we can all speculate on what Mr Mousavi is smoking, but more importantly, in light of all this, the utter lack of diplomatic power by the EU, as such the EU statement “We must use our diplomatic and economic strength to support global stability and prosperity“, Ursula von der Leyen sounds nice, but she cannot deliver on any of that. The EU is in the second lap, out of energy from the first lap and their second wind is nowhere near kicking in. Iran might be the strongest example, but it is not the only one, the lack of action in Syria, the lack of action in Yemen and the opposing support against Saudi Arabia, whilst ignoring the actions of Iran in a proxy war, in a speculated stage of a nuclear pact that was not sustainable in any degree and several parties are in denial of all this whilst there is enough optional evidence that the creation of the amounts of enriched Uranium that is now at the core of it all could not be produced by the amount of centrifuges allowed, there are more factors to consider, yet the supporting evidence is at present too thin (a lack of exact numbers is in play too).

In the end, the EU is an organisation that is on its final steps of becoming irrelevant, the debt made them so and these so called elected officials never stepped in when they were supposed to step in as debt levels were pushed to excessive levels as even now, people like Paolo Gentiloni (not just him mind you) are trying to find ways of getting around the debt for spending purposes.

And the matter will get worse soon enough, as the EU nations are in shambles on the EU budget, especially as Brexit is nearing completion, the members are all in a desperate setting of non-union, as we see news like “a French minister has warned nations they will have to pay more“, which is slightly weird as this was always going to be the setting, I warned of that almost 3 years ago. The stage at present is that Germany (at present) pays 20.78% of that budget and France is up for 15.58%, those are the big two and they are looking at an additional 3%-4% after brexit, which now implies that the long term budget up to 2027 will get a massive slam into a wall, it is in that setting, where nations are now feeling the pinch are confronted with a Paolo Gentiloni who wants to spend more and as such all nations have to pay more. Even as the big three are confronted with the impact on their loans from that change, the smaller nations are still in shambles as they were eager to overspend in their first option and they too will have to pay more, so now we optionally get to see an EU gravy train where none of the members agree on anything, as such that expensive train will keep costs high and not produce results, merley delays. 

So when we look at the stage of the EU and the setting of Ursula von der leyen with her “We must use our diplomatic and economic strength to support global stability and prosperity“, all whilst there is no economic power left in the EU and its diplomatic strength (which is linked to their economic power) dwindles basically as fast as their economy does, I wonder what Ursula von der Leyen is looking at, because the outlook from this side is really grim for the EU.

The second lap is the killer for a runner, as the runner gets better he can run longer, yet the reality of crossing that startline the first time and realising that you have less energy whilst you are at the beginning is the realising factor, yet there is a difference, a runner tends to be realistic about where he is and where he is going, as I personally see it, the EU is seemingly a lot less focussed on the reality of the matter as I personally see it. You merely have to read enough media and focus on the quotes to see that part of the equation.

 

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As the house comes down

There are two articles in the Guardian, both are mere hours old and it shows the impact that bully tactics have. In the first it is the EU who starts with ‘EU trade commissioner ‘will call Trump’s bluff’ over Huawei security‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2020/jan/16/eu-trade-commissioner-will-call-trumps-bluff-over-huawei-security), where we also see ‘Phil Hogan convinced US president will not withdraw intelligence cooperation with UK and EU‘, it appears that Mr. Andrew Parker was right as I expected him to be. The text “The EU trade commissioner has said he will call Donald Trump’s “bluff” on threats to withdraw the US’s cooperation with the UK and the rest of the bloc on intelligence and security over Huawei, the Chinese telecoms giant” and it is important to note that the US has still not shown one lick of evidence that Huawei is under the intrusion thumb of the Chinese government. It was an odd situation, do you think that the Chinese government would interfere with such a large setting of income, whilst the data will be coming to them already through the direct means of applied usage of social media? However, we need to recognise that the US is n a worse state now, even as direct numbers are not given, the political hounding of Facebook and Google, could see a much larger jump of people to Harmony OS and as such these companies could lose a large stage of data coming their way. I personally believe that this is the direct impact of electing into the oval office a man who is known for the one-liner ‘You’re Fired!‘, but that is just me.

There is also the given part of “Phil Hogan has also risked the wrath of the US president by declaring that the EU is not, in principle, opposed to giving the Chinese tech group access to 5G plans. At a press conference in London he said the US did not have exclusivity on safety and security of its citizens, and predicted Trump would come round to the EU view that they had shared interests in that regard“, I believe that Phil Hogan is right, the foundations of the threats were not based on evidence (as I see it), in addition as the US is losing more and more ground in intel gathering in the Middle East, they will become more and more dependant on the EU and UK sources out there and not sharing is really disadvantageous for the US, it will take well over a decade to regrow the size and quality of sources they had. 

The second issue is seen (at https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/jan/16/iran-says-it-is-enriching-more-uranium-than-before-nuclear-deal) in the article ‘Germany confirms Trump made trade threat to Europe over Iran policy‘, as we are introduced to ‘Defence minister says Trump threatened to impose 25% tariff on European cars‘, here the stage is different, it is not Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, it is the larger EU political community that is the danger. Iran is a clear and present danger, it was so before America offed Qassam Soleimani and Iran will remain a threat after. The media on a global scale has been all about minimising the impact on Iran, even as there was no way that some nuclear deal would ever make it, but the political hacks in the EU had the arrogance to think that they could (a valid option), yet even now, well over a year later, there is still nothing there. Even now as we get from various sources in the media that Iran is presently enriching more Uranium than ever before, we are given the raw dangers. Even as the EU members are in denial through “In invoking the dispute mechanism for the Iran nuclear agreement or Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) – in other words, in deciding to hold Tehran to account for its breaches of the deal – the UK, France and Germany insist that they are still firmly behind the deal” we see a dangerous escalation delusion from the EU side. the problem is that if Iran makes a false move on willing to talk, we get the same situation that America faced when Japan stated that they were willing to talk in the months before Pearl Harbour, the problem now is that the target is Israel and optionally a scare tactic towards Saudi Arabia and for some reason people are oblivious to the fact that if the ground of one nation is radioactive, that dust is likely to spread to neighbouring nations. As I see it, Iran will not care about what happens to Egypt, Lebanon and Jordan, optionally it will cross the mediteranian and impacts Italy, Spain, Turkey and Greece for generations. If the radioactive matter hits the sea that will happen for certain. Yet the arrogance of the EU politicians that a place like Iran will talk whilst their Uranium enrichment is running at full force is a dangerous precedence. I do believe that America is doing the wrong thing for the right reason and when (not if) that first missile mysteriously makes it into Hezbollah hands, the denials from Iran will be as loud as possible as it will ‘hide’ behind the military power of Russia, I am just not certain if Russia will be willing to be part of that mess.

So even as we see: “Iran initially denied responsibility for the crash, but three days later admitted that it had downed the plane believing it was an incoming US missile. An Iranian national security commission is investigating the episode“, it does not mention that the person releasing the video is now arrested for matters of Iranian national security. Still the EU politicians think that they can weave some kind of deal and the months of delay is working into the Iranian hands as well and those politicians need to be woken up as soon as possible, because once it is too late, the costs will be beyond comprehension and at that point the EU politician will hide behind ‘fair play’ and ‘unforeseen complications’ all whilst history has seen these issues all before. And in all this, the one part that matters is not addressed. Even as we see and are told that Uranium enrichment is at an all time high, the method of how they are doing it is ignored. Thousands of centrifuges were under critical eyes disposed of, so how were they replaced so easily? With the response as to the killing of January 3rd, we now see that there are Iranian claims that enrichment is back, yet how was this done in under two weeks? It could only have been done if the hardware was already there and if enrichment was the main agenda point from before July 2019, and that means that Iran intended to break the Nuclear accords long before they lost one general, is no one seeing that part?

The media is certainly not making any mention in that direction. The fact that one part of the deal was the reduction of centrifuges from 19,000 to 6,104 (at https://edition.cnn.com/2020/01/16/middleeast/rouhani-iran-uranium-enrichment-intl/index.html). So how can they be back to enriching so quickly? The second part is that enrichment would stop at 3.67%, there is no clear word on how rich their uranium is (at present), but there is also the locations, only Natanz was supposed to be active, but the implied amount stated gives rise to the importance of the fact that there is no way that Natanz can produce that much, implying that Arak, Ishafan, or Bushehr is either back online, or that the EU missed a few places (not entirely improbable).

The second part is that the only registered mine is Bandar Abbas, to continue on the track they are now, the traffic there would have increased massively and no one noticed? An optional issue is that there is MORE than one Uranium mine in Iran, this has two distinct issues. In the first it would mean that Iran has a much larger Uranium consideration, the second is that another mine has been largely unnoticed. It all adds up that in the first the EU dropped the ball to a much larger extent, in the second that the EU was unaware and therefor unable and unwilling to be a true investigator. Now we see the bully threat that America wrongfully made for the right reasons. My small speculation becomes, what is happening to the South, South West and West of Tabas (South Khorasan Province)? And in addition, why is there no open awareness in the EU in these matters? 

It gets to be worse, but I will spare you that part (for now). 

There is another side to all this, it is the financial side. All these actions are costing a boatload of money, money that Iran should not have and that implies that it is getting fueled to some extent from somewhere. Even as we are treated to ‘Defying U.S. sanctions, Iran boosts gas oil sales to neighbours‘ (source: Reuters), we are looking at a larger Iranian infrastructure need, and as far as I can tell, gasoil sales will not fuel that need, and even as we are given “more than 80% higher than the previous quarter and nearly four times higher than the first quarter, data from consultancy FGE showed“, the math doesn’t add up.

So either Iran had the means hidden, or there is a larger play going on. Consider that Iran had to replace well over 5,000 centrifuges to make their setting truthful, these things each costs a bundle, the mining operations needed to be ‘upgraded’ through manpower and that is another infusement of funds, last we see the missile and drone programs, it all adds up to the costs that they cannot afford, someone has handed Iran a credit card, or made funds in other ways available and I cannot see where it comes from (which makes sense as I do not walk in those lanes), yet the media is also not reporting on any of that and finding this would be a massive scoop for any paper, so why is there nothing? Is there nothing? If that is so then the nuclear threat from President Rouhani is hollow and empty, but I do not believe that to be true (personal conviction). 

The main problem for all nations is that Iran has an advanced weapons program, one that does NOT include nuclear weapons, yet the technological knowhow is largely there, as we see enrichment continue, the setting for a dirty bomb is merely months away, so Iran could use a dirty bomb in 2020 if it chose so, an actual nuclear weapon is less likely, yet not impossible. The problem that a weapon like that would be developed in unknown (read: unvisited Iranian) locations and the trigger would be part of a non-nuclear bomb, even if there was nuclear fission, they need the bare minimum to test that, hence hiding a 1Kg bomb in 3 tonnes of TNT would be easily hidden. 

When we go by “The total radioactivity of the fission products is extremely large at first, but it falls off at a fairly rapid rate as a result of radioactive decay. Seven hours after a nuclear explosion, residual radioactivity will have decreased to about 10 percent of its amount at 1 hour, and after another 48 hours it will have decreased to 1 percent. (The rule of thumb is that for every sevenfold increase in time after the explosion, the radiation dose rate decreases by a factor of 10.)” (source: Britannica) and a weapon with less than one Kg would be acceptable for testing, Iran has plenty of places where this would happen unobserved and within hours the larger extend would not be registered, the only path is the EMP, as long as there is no measurement around, it will go unnoticed if the bomb is small enough, so as Iran tests its nuclear detonation options, it can go a long way in staying undetected end the nuclear trigger is pretty much the same for a 400Gr and a 10KT bomb, so that is the danger and we have no idea where Iran is at at this point. Yet the latest info is still that Iran has NO nuclear weapons technology. However, if it can create the amounts of fission that Iran is claiming to be making, they might not be far off, in the most positive scenario they are at best a year away from that.

And in that environment the EU politicians rely on ego and arrogance that Iran will play ball, I might not agree with the bully tactic, but in this case the US and all others have very little to go on. My issue is that I personally believe that anyone (including Iran) is innocent until proven guilty, yet as we witness the statements by president Rouhani and the actions by Iran, can we afford to take that path? Can we actively set the stage of endangering the State of Israel (the most likely first target) to this level of danger? And when that happens, what are the levels of danger that Saudi Arabia faces? More importantly, depending of the first blast, what are the dangers of the surrounding nations of the target? Lets not forget that the Suez Canal goes straight through that area, not only destroying an economy, but endangering the economy of the entire EU. 

When we are in a house as it is coming down on top of us, we need to see what our options are and that part is in no way clear, all whilst we know that running out of the house will bring new and other dangers.

 

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It took one funeral

In the left corner

Iran is in all kinds of problems, there are a few issues all playing at the same time, yet the one that is satisfying me the most is the news on Al-Jazeera where we see ‘UN monitors say Houthis not behind Saudi Aramco attacks: Report‘ (at https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/01/monitors-houthis-saudi-aramco-attacks-report-200109062732396.html) It is here that we see “The investigators, who monitor sanctions on Yemen, also said they do not believe that “those comparatively sophisticated weapons were developed and manufactured in Yemen.” They were not tasked with identifying who was responsible for the Saudi attack” in this it is interesting that it was merely about identifying that houthis were not responsible and the added ‘They were not tasked with identifying who was responsible‘ merely shows a larger failing for the UN. Of course they might use the same approach in falsely accusing the murderers of Jamal Khashoggi, but the UN cannot get what it wants, it is now a political engine trying to be the vice for the EU to get Nuclear accords. What took them a month to figure out was within my grasp within hours when I wrote ‘Government? Censorship?‘ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2019/08/18/government-censorship/), the data was available and even as the UN might set ‘standards’ for their information (the UN-essay by Agnes Callamard debates that), the setting of a destroyed Yemen making advanced weaponry like the drones, all whilst they never had the people to make them before the war was not a part that they took for granted? The fact that years of war show a rather large lack of accuracy whilst the pinpoint accuraccy of the attack on Aramco was almost surgical. No, none of that mattered to the UN, even as they had months to look into the matter ‘They were not tasked with identifying who was responsible‘ rears its ugly head. Al Jazeera then gives us “Adel al-Jubeir, signalled in September that Riyadh was waiting for results of UN investigations before announcing how his country would respond. UN experts monitoring UN sanctions on Iran and Yemen travelled to Saudi Arabia days after the September attack. Antonio Guterres, the UN secretary-general, told the Security Council in a separate report on December 10  that the UN was “unable to independently corroborate” that missiles and drones used in the attacks “are of Iranian origin”“, the UN did its job and prevented a war at the expense of credibility and trustworthiness. I had by that date in December established via several sources that only Iran could have done what was done and I even looked at other Saudi Allies as optional aggressors, only NATO and Iran remained as optional aggressors, I wonder if we get a NATO brief next week with an apology? The matter is actually larger than merely hardware, Houthi forces also do not have the ability (read: people) to properly control drones, I would argue that my ability (I’ve never managed a drone) with mere Flight Simulator experience would make me a better drone operator than any Houthi. 

In the right corner

Now we get to the fun part (for me that is), the news of ‘Catastrophic failure of Ukraine jet in Iran suggests missile strike‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/jan/09/catastrophic-failure-ukraine-jet-iran-suggests-missile) with added photo of a Tor-M1 part gives a rather nasty setting, it is the news that comes with “Fail-safe systems that would have allowed the aircraft to get back safely in the event of engine failure appeared to have been compromised in an instant. Others pointed to what looked like penetrating holes in the airframe, leading some to compare them to the damage suffered by the Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 shot down over Ukraine by a Buk surface-to-air missile five years ago“, yet I was not convinced, if I slam Iranians (which is always fun) I want to keep a rather high level of evidence in play. I am also unwilling (after three CIA bungles) to go with “the US had picked up the signature of an anti-aircraft missile battery locking on to the Ukrainian plane, and then the infrared heat signal of two missile launches followed by that of an explosion on the plane“. I even debate the intelligence implied by prime minister Justin Trudeau (most likely relying on US-CIA intelligence) that it was an Iranian surface-to-air missile. I am however taken with the independent part of “the aircraft landed safety with only one death, thanks to the significant “redundancy”, or fail-safe designs, built into modern planes to allow them to land safely after an engine failure“, you see, no matter what happened after that, the plane would be in a largely controlled crash drive and there would be communication, there would be updates by the pilot, no matter what his or her nationality was. In addition there is: “Here we had some kind of event that knocked the transponder off the plane. Some kind of event that disabled the electronics to that system. It takes a lot to disable the electronics on a sophisticated aircraft like the 737-800“, I get that and that is very acceptable and from that we get back to the quote ‘Experts say debris fragments and sudden loss of fail-safe systems point to missile‘ and “while some apparent evidence of fragment damage to the aircraft turned out to be debris from the ground, other images showed ragged holes in one of the engines and scorching to one side of the cockpit, and other parts of the aircraft“, this all point towards the use of a missile and I agree with the statement of implied convenience “the unverified picture of the seeker head of the Tor-M1 missile seemed to some to be too good to be true, lying on the ground and largely intact“, I would like to know the source of that image, it is not Iranian, that much is certain, and any person ‘on the ground’ there finding that part is just too much of a happy go lucky lottery winner for me to have faith in (yes, I tend to not trust anyone). The issue remains, Iran is screwing up, in massive ways, the overreaction towards a civilian passenger carrier implies that the people there cannot distinguish between optional targets and that implies a lack of push on the iranian side, if they go to war whilst their people cannot tell differences implies that they are open to much larger flaws when tactical issues cannot play out because they cannot tell the difference.

Even as we (to some degree) accept “US officials would not disclose the intelligence they claim to have that indicates an Iranian missile was to blame, they acknowledged the existence of satellites and other sensors in the region, as well as the likelihood of communications intercepts and other similar intelligence“, there is a play in motion, now that Iran has torn up the nuclear accords, we see new actions on the table, yet these actions seem hollow. Actions like ‘Germany urges Europe to respond to Iran’s nuclear violations‘ (source: Reuters), where we see the quote “stopped short of calling for renewed U.N. sanctions“, an almost cowardly level of response whilst the transgressions have been going on since October 2019, I spoke about it in ‘The tradesman and the deal‘ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2019/11/05/the-tradesman-and-the-deal/), yet the EU still cannot find any solution that works months later and is refraining from ‘calling for renewed U.N. sanctions‘, it’s like watching a large neon sign ‘I saw a big pussy and it called itself EU‘, no wonder nothing gets resolved.

Yet no matter how it turns, Iran is getting more and more issues on its plate and there is a growing amount of international intelligence and evidence to really turn up the heat on Iran, the problem is that there are also an increased amount of players who want ‘their’ project to continue and that is the larger problem for now, when we look at the timeline and resolve the Aramco attacks at Abqaiq and Khurais first, we will see a much larger level of pressure against Iran, nuclear accords be damned, anyone thinking that Iran would abide by them is completely looney tunes, the news that Iran gave last year of transgressing its 300Kg limit by one thousand percent was (as I personally see it) a timed one, there was just not enough space to hide their transgression and the materials and hardware required for it and that part is just ignored by too many (mostly the 27 players in the EU), now one funeral later it all comes to blow, but not because of the funeral, the matter that people forget is that when you have an orchestra and you replace the conductor, we see that the orchestra is going through changes, it always does and as we see it now, the fact that Qassam Soleimani was juggling half a dozen issues at the same time, it is expected that his replacement will drop a few items as he does not know these issues 100%, as well as the fact that the people in that army are all vying for a better position, that is the benefit we now have and that is why we have to push. When Iran is exposed to the largest degree they will falter again and again until they have no credibility anywhere, that is the setting we need to go for, not because of people on a flight, not because of attacks of refineries or transgressions on accords, those are in the past, we need to do it because of the things that are still to reach the surface and there are issues that will still reach the surface, that is what will show Iran as the weak middle eastern bully it has been for the longest time, there is the victory of what is yet to come and that will set change, the problem is will the opponents of Iran be strong enough? Saudi Arabia and Israel are, the rest is open to interpretation, it is linked to the ego of the speakers and the win they still hope for, the EU is showing that all too clearly.

I personally wonder just how far certain players are willing to go to get their ego’s fixed, I feel certain we will see a lot more before the month is over.

 

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Inheritance for the weak

Things happened and things needed to be done, this has been a long standing issue and America took that stance. Yes, we agree that we do not want a war, but Iran made it almost unattainable and something had to be done. So when I see (at https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/jan/06/nato-chief-holds-back-from-endorsing-us-killing-of-suleimani) the words “Jens Stoltenberg condemns Iran but stresses drone attack decision was not made by Nato” we see a truth, yet the words given are that of a weakling. It gets support from “His intervention came as the EU commission president, Ursula von der Leyen, also warned Iran that “it is imperative that it return to the nuclear deal”, remarks that could presage a European decision to abandon the deal if Iran does not recommit itself to its terms“, another weakling on the European front. They are all about ego and not about realism, for months Iran has ignored the deal, it has traversed transgression point after transgression point and the EU is about ‘Let’s talk a little more’, it is like we are watching the police agree with drug dealers who have brought in 8 containers filled with drugs that they should come in so that an arrangement can be made for container number 9. They are drug dealers, deal with it!

America did the one thing that had to be done and now we see media article after media article on why we should not do it, that same media that has decided not to report on Iranian actions in Yemen, we now see more on ‘Iranian backed Houthis’ and that is as much as we can get from the media. So as we get ‘US allies distance themselves from Trump decision to assassinate Suleimani‘, we see more. I get it, Israel is too close to Iran and they cannot get dragged into it, they are dealing with Hezbollah and that is good. We also see ‘Saudi minister urges restraint in Washington‘, which is slightly less good, but the reasoning is clear, they are close to Iran and in close striking distance, they need to take a cautious stance here, yet Iran had to be dealt with and the killing of Qassam Soleimani is the point of no return, it has been done and now we need to make sure that Tehran realises that the gig is up, we will act and we will come for them, so having weaklings like Stoltenberg and van der Leyen in the EU, who have no issue making strong language when it suits them and their ego’s is a bit of a waste.

So as I read “Mike Pompeo, has already expressed disappointment in the lukewarm reaction of Washington’s European allies” I can only agree with Mike Pompeo. I see the issue that Saudi deputy defence minister, Khalid bin Salman faces and he needs to do what is best for Saudi Arabia, yet most experts are in agreement that the attack on Aramco could only have come through the acts of Iran and via the acts of Iran. The Guardian article also mentioned “There is mounting concern that the more cautious stance by the US-led coalition would make it much less effective and allow Isis to regenerate“, this is the larger issue and Iran has been playing a seesaw card for the longest of times, they have played that card well and that is the pivoting point, now with Soleimani away they will make mistakes, and that is what we needed for the longest of times, there is also the concern that the media is now in another bind. The Washington Post gave us 4 days ago “Soleimani took control of the Quds Force, the external wing of the Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), in the late 1990s and went on to expand its regional presence. He was widely known for his high-profile links to paramilitary groups from Syria to Yemen that are now in the spotlight“, yet the larger newspapers have been shunning reports on Iran action in Yemen for well over a year, so I think that there is a larger play to consider. The spotlights are now illuminating the Iranian acts in Yemen and that is good, there is a larger setting where the media was so on the ‘Nuclear Pact’ deal that they ignored a larger setting, even as Iran ignored certain limits several times over. 

Yet the act of killing also opens up a larger can of worms on the allied side, Luke Hartig (former senior director for counter-terrorism on the national security council) wrote about it he gives us “Trump’s counter-terrorism legacy in Iraq and Syria may be a series of dead bodies but nothing that addresses the core of the problem and no partners willing to help us root it out“, ever since the US has its spats in Iraq we have seen a shifting of CIA staff all over the place, too many were looking for one old man in a cave and they found him (in the end) in Abbottabad, Pakistan but not until a serious amount of time had passed, in the mean time a lot of CIA operatives are useless (known to too many players) and the options for counter intelligence was further impeded by the acts of Julian Assange and ‎Bradley Edward Manning the latter one thought that 3 years of active service was enough to put well over 700,000 classified pieces on Wikileaks. These actions had a lasting effect and will have an effect for close to a decade. Quality Intelligence from the Middle East is only coming from allies (or so it seems). The US has limited action available to them and even whilst we sneer at espionage, we need to realise that it is the importance of it that sets the stage, Sun Tsu was very clear about it in chapter 13 (the Art of War) ‘the importance of developing good information sources‘ is essential and that part is currently missing for the US in the Middle East.

Luke Hartig (at https://www.justsecurity.org/67927/trumps-fatal-mistake-killing-suleimani-vs-countering-isis/) voices it as ‘Trump’s Fatal Mistake: Killing Suleimani vs. Countering ISIS‘, he is not wrong, yet the issue is depending on point of view. I feel that QS was too effective in the Middle East, his meetings tend to voice that part and the fact that two high value targets were taken out with QS was icing on the cake. For the most we ignore the effectiveness of Qassam, yet the truth is that his effectiveness made the Iranian proxy war in Yemen work, I believe that removing him is an essential win for the US, not immediately, but as the Iranian army faces the challenges that they need to find someone as good as QS, they will see that they are merely failing at whatever they try. The Washington Post gives us 5 hours ago “I have more than 4 million followers on various social media networks, and I have received thousands of messages, voice mails and videos from Iranians in cities such as Shiraz, Isfahan, Tehran and even Ahvaz, who are happy about Soleimani’s death. Some complain of the pressure to attend services for him” the Iranian presentation goes on, yet without QS in the mix, it will go a lot less smooth and issues will be overlooked giving s a much larger view on what is happening, optionally the others will get a lot more out of Iran for their trouble and that too aids the effort against Iran. Soleimani was that effective in life. Hartig gives more and it is there that we see his point of view, with “Effective counterterrorism policy is about much more than conducting drone strikes and deploying commandos; it’s about setting the diplomatic and geopolitical conditions for counterterrorism to succeed” he is correct, with the killing of Qassam Soleimani diplomatic and geopolitical options are out of the window, yet in the long run I believe it was the better position to play, the Iranian chess player lost its queen and as such, its chess play will be limited until an equal can be found, or the opposition loses its queen as well. I also agree with Hartig view “President Trump and the true believers in his inner circle have no sense of the strategy it will take to defeat ISIS (or Iran-linked terrorist groups, for that matter). Counterterrorism requires careful, methodical work, undertaken with our closest allies, that builds up local partners, patiently targets key vulnerabilities in the terrorist network over time, and ultimately addresses the long-term drivers of violent extremism“, there is no real tactic to deal with ISIS, it was less clear in the Obama administration, yet they too should have added weights to dealing with ISIS, but the costs were spiralling out of control, and as we consider his words on Africa through “The gains made against al-Shabaab are a result of diplomatic efforts and military assistance designed to stiffen the spine of African Union partners shouldering most of the fight in Somalia. Terrorists in the Sahel have been contained because of rigorous collaboration and modest assistance to the French combined with patient work to bolster regional partners“, we see the larger play, yet in all this QS had the phone number of all those leaders at hand, any of them with a beef against America got a nice weapons deal, now we see another play, without QS these deals will stop and optional larger wins could be made, yet it is not a given. What is a given is the fact that Iran has been out of control for a much longer time and it is high time that some of the egotistical and self wealth concerned players that that under consideration. so when we see ‘Blowback: Iran abandons nuclear limits after US killing‘, we see the wrong message, Iran had already abandoned those limits for a long time, they are merely outspoken about it now and if those in EU charge cannot see them, they should not be in these positions of power. The game and the message changed, but also the lies we see from Iran, it was never ‘Iran drives another stake into the heart of the nuclear deal‘ (source: CNN), it was that there was never going to be a nuclear deal, they ended it when they started the proxy war with Saudi Arabia in Yemen, they needed a large bat to threaten with and they are continuing building that bat, they are however no longer willing to hide their actions to some degree and that works for us (as well).

So even as the Washington Post is all about ‘Iran announces it is suspending its commitments to the 2015 nuclear deal‘ (18 hours ago), let there be no mistake, they had done this in the beginning of 2019 they were merely pussyfooting in diplomatic steps, and now that the failure is out, others will blame this on the US, yet the direct information that I gave months ago was a direct sign that Iran had no intentions to ge back to the table unless they could get 200% out of a deal for them, and that was just not realistic. Qassam Soleimani was very adept in this and now we’ll see a different game, first out of anger, then denial, soon we will get them in a stage of bargaining and some fainted national depression, then the push buttons towards reconstruction and acceptance, yet they will move the table with those two buttons again and again, yet now it will be less expertly managed, which again works for everyone else. 

Iran played the game for too long and for the longest time, no one was willing to hold them to account for their actions. We never wanted to control Iran, we merely needed them to play the game like all the other nations, East and West, North and South, they merely thought they were better than everyone else and now that there is a realistic sense towards war they will have to push through and face several nations in combat, or they will actually sit at a table and negotiate some kind of solution. It is what most wanted all along, it merely never went that way, too much ego and that was always the problem on both sides of the isle.

 

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The public and facts ignored

Yup, this is all about the public, and a little bit about the media. The centre of attention of all this is Qasam Soleimani, as the weekend hit us, the US decided to hit Iraq and specifically Soleimani, They got lucky and got another two hit value targets in the process, yet let it be clear that Soleimani was the direct target. Over the weekend I have seen loads of rubbish in particular a tweet from Rose McGowan apologising to Iran on behalf of the American people and that got me furious (not just me). The media has been so successful in hiding the actions of Iran, especially during the Yemeni events that it is time that the public gets a little history lesson on just what Qasem Soleimani got done. In the last 20 years he has made more unwritten deals (especially with Hezbollah) than any other Iranian general in history. Over the last few years Iran has been in two proxy wars, one with Israel via Hezbollah and one with Saudi Arabia (in Yemen) with Hezbollah and Houthi forces.

There are two important issues in the Saudi efforts [against the model of Iran’s Islamic Republic]: First, they spend a lot of money; second, they sow the seeds of problems throughout the Islamic world using the Salafiyya. They do all this because they are afraid that the model of the Islamic Republic will have an influence on them – and this is actually happening… The most important principle of the Rule of the Jurisprudent, where a wise and God-fearing man rules, should be the red line for us all [that we must never relinquish]” (source: MEMRI, 2014)

The once reclusive head of the Revolutionary Guards’ elite Quds Force has emerged from a lifetime in the shadows directing covert operations abroad, to achieve almost celebrity status in Iran. The man who, until a couple of years ago most Iranians would not have recognised on the street, is now the subject of documentaries, news reports and even pop songs” (source: BBC, 2015).

In neighbouring Syria he is widely credited with delivering the strategy that has helped President Bashar al-Assad turn the tide against rebel forces and recapture key cities and towns. Iran has always denied deploying boots on the ground in Syria and Iraq, but every now and then holds public funerals for security forces and “military advisers” who were killed in these two countries” (source: BBC, 2015)

The main purpose of his visit was to discuss new delivery routes for shipments of Russian S-300 surface-to-air missile systems, sources said. Several sources also said Soleimani wanted to talk about how Russia and Iran could help the Syrian government take back full control of the city of Aleppo” (source: Reuters, 2016)

Photos have emerged claiming that Major General Qassem Soleimani, the commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ (IRGC) elite foreign operations unit, the Qods Force, is in Aleppo, Syria. Soleimani leads Iranian strategy in Syria in coordination with both Russia and Bashar al-Assad’s government. He commands the IRGC-led Shiite expeditionary force there, which includes the Afghan Fatemiyoun, Pakistani Zeynabiyoun, Lebanese Hezbollah, and the Iraqi Harakat al Nujaba” (source: Classified, 2016)

Soleimani pointed to how this was already happening as the Revolutionary Guards “had been working around the clock to arm the Popular Mobilization militias” after its establishment. On the sidelines of his participation in the memorial service of one of the guards killed in Syria on Monday, Soleimani said that the Lebanese Hezbollah terrorist group has already provided support to the PMU militias, according to a statement published on Tasnim news agency” (source: Al-Arabiya, 2017)

Major-General Qassem Soleimani, the hugely popular commander of the IRGC’s Qods Force, appeared to attack the spirit, if not the substance, of the government’s foreign policy by highlighting the role of the Qods Force – and the wider IRGC – in advancing Iranian strategic and foreign policy goals. Speaking on the 40th day of the “martyrdom” of Brigadier General Shaaban Nassiri – who was killed in late May during the operation to retake Mosul – Soleimani glorified the role of commanders like Nassiri who make the ultimate sacrifice in pursuit of national prestige through the projection of complex forms of hard power. This is, of course, a swipe at the Rouhani administration which is perceived to favour softer forms of diplomacy to advance the Iranian position” (source: Middle East Eye, 2017)

Qassem Soleimani, the commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) Quds (Qods)Force, has called for the “eradication” of Israel in retaliation for the killing of a Hezbollah commander ten years ago. Speaking in Tehran at a ceremony commemorating the 39th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution February 14, Soleimani said “The eradication of Israel would be the best revenge for the killing of Imad Mughniyeh.”” (source: Radio Farda, 2018) 

Soleimani’s message was in essence a warning to the US to stop threatening Iran with war or risk exposing itself to an Iranian response. “We are near you, where you can’t even imagine … Come. We are ready. If you begin the war, we will end the war,” Tasnim news agency quoted Soleimani as saying” (source: SCMP, 2018)

The day after anti-government protests erupted in Iraq, Iranian Gen. Qassim Soleimani flew into Baghdad late at night and took a helicopter to the heavily fortified Green Zone, where he surprised a group of top security officials by chairing a meeting in place of the prime minister. The arrival of Soleimani, the head of Iran’s elite Quds Force and the architect of its regional security apparatus, signaled Tehran’s concern over the protests, which had erupted across the capital and in Iraq’s Shi’ite heartland, and included calls for Iran to stop meddling in the country” (source: Haaretz, 2019)

“Saudi Arabia is building its regional influence with money only. This is a false influence and a failure…We will take revenge for our martyrs…(and) it might be anywhere around the world,” Qasem Soleimani said, according to Tasnim. The Islamic Republic has accused arch regional rivals Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates of backing militants who carry out attacks on security forces in Iran. Saudi Arabia and the UAE have denied any connection with the attacks” (source: Radio Farda, 2019)

This is just a small grasp of a much larger problem, Qasam Soleimani has had a finger in the regional porridge for a much larger extent of time, and the absence of his acts in the Yemeni events is a much larger failing of the media, even as scores of experts clearly state that the drones that Houthi forces in Yemen could in no way be Yemeni, the media remained silent. There is no way that any of this happened without the approval and blessing of Qasam Soleimani. Even as the media had no issues stating numerous articles on Jamal Khashoggi and Saudi Arabia and hiding behind ‘alleged’, ‘seemingly’ and ‘from unnamed sources’, they stopped short on any reporting regarding Iran, the entire nuclear accords had too many eyes stopping the media doing their job. As such the people are largely unaware of just how involved Iran was in Yemen. As targeted killing goes, Qasam Soleimani was an essential target for the US and largely this man was a thorn in the side of optional Middle East stability, even now we see: ‘Hezbollah vows retaliation against US for Soleimani killing‘, yes the death of Qasam will be a problem for Hezbollah, under the table agreements tend to be absent of actual agreements and Hezbollah will need to ingratiate itself again to Iran. Consider the support that Qassam gave for a terrorist organisation to give out: “Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah has vowed to target US forces in the region in retaliation for the killing of top Iranian and Iraqi commanders in a US drone strike earlier this week“. 

Most importantly, QS has been the centre of attacks on Israel for the longest of times, Hezbollah had (according to some) a stockpile of 130,000 missiles. I find that number largely exaggerated, yet even at 10% we see 13,000 missiles at $100K each, so where did Hezbollah get that money? My personal take is that there is a large financial debt on KLebanon in the forms of send missiles, Iran has nothing to lose in that way, they have someone else attack Israel and if that is concluded they will had over the invoice which must have gone into the billions at present, the orchestrator has been and was as always Qasam Soleimani.

Hezbollah will do whatever it can to let that invoice stand and continue, without it they run out and they will have to admit defeat to Israel (something they would never do). There is no denial that the impact of Qassam Soleimani has been seen and felt all over the Middle East, his links to Hezbollah, his actions in Syria and Yemen as well as his death leading to a rift in Qatar pushing some towards Iran is a larger issue that has not been dealt with. Only an hour ago did we learn “Qatar’s contradictory policy moves – at once hosting the aircraft that attacked the Iranian commander and then apologizing for it – demonstrate the Qatari leadership’s “extremely dangerous” drift towards Iran, according to expert Varsha Koduvayur, a senior research analyst at the Washington-based think tank Foundation for Defense of Democracies. “On the one hand, Qatar hosts US forces at al-Udeid air base. But on the other hand, they prop up and fund scores of terror groups throughout the Middle East diametrically opposed to US interests, and work hand in hand with countries that seek to damage the US’s interests in the region,” said Koduvayur in an interview“, a push that plenty did not see coming, implying that QS had larger links to Qatar, the place where in 2 years all football will be, happy now?

As Al-Arabiya gives us ““We consider ourselves on Iran’s side. We did not, at all, expect such a thing to happen, or that such a decision would ever be taken. Such actions are unprecedented, and we are very sad and concerned about this,” al-Thani, who also met with his Iranian counterpart Mohammed Javad Zarif, was quoted as saying“, we see a larger play and it seems that there are links that we did not expect to be, QS had a much larger role to play in Iran’s foreign policy than most analyst expected, there are seemingly larger connection where the military decided on policy and not President Rouhani, or at least that is how it appears. So anyone who wants to apologise for the targeted killing whilst ignoring the thousands of deaths that Iran has orchestrated for are out of their minds. The man who gave us (in May 2019) “Iran’s most prominent military leader has recently met Iraqi militias in Baghdad and told them to “prepare for proxy war”, the Guardian has learned. Two senior intelligence sources said that Qassem Suleimani, leader of Iran’s powerful Quds force, summoned the militias under Tehran’s influence three weeks ago, amid a heightened state of tension in the region. The move to mobilise Iran’s regional allies is understood to have triggered fears in the US that Washington’s interests in the Middle East are facing a pressing threat” has been stopped, there is no doubt that Iran will not stop and the devil you know beats the devil you don’t, yet the devil we knew was extremely adapt on the world stage, whomever replaces him will be nowhere as good as Qassam Soleimani ever was, of that I am decently certain.

 

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Twenty twenty is visual

Yes, we are in the new year, yet this year (according to Forbes at https://www.forbes.com/sites/zakdoffman/2020/12/29/us-and-china-technology-conflict-heres-why-2020-is-so-critical/amp/) will be a lot more critical than anyone thinks. Yes it is about Huawei, however not in the same lame way that the US administration brings it. Here we see: “Huawei has 42% of the huge Chinese market and more than 25% of the Russian market to get it started. Then on December 28, China’s state media announced that its “Beidou” alternative to America’s GPS satellite navigation system will be completed“, now this is a different kettle of fish. It is not about government intel (in a way it is), it is about who gets the data and the lies that seemingly originated at the oval office are now no longer about ‘the chinese government connections’ it is more about how the US government is not getting the free data that they have had for so long, moreover as we take notice of “But Beidou—“Big Dipper” in Chinese—will not stop at China. It will focus on converting markets in South East Asia, Africa and Eastern Europe, price- and investment-sensitive markets” we see a much larger concern for the yanks, they are at risk of gaining access to a little over 50% of all given data by the end of 2020, that is something to notice, and in my view they had it coming. They make one accusation after another and never show any data to support it. Even now (yesterday) as we see the number of links of TikTok and data, I was able to find well over a dozen US sites where the advertisement of the TikTok app continues, one is called seemingly hypocritical national security (I actually do not know the Tik Tok situation), the other is money and money trumps Trump.

I am baffled why the US would think that this free reaping would continue, I am actually amazed that Russia did not have its own version of software ready. We even see “Russian President Putin described the U.S. campaign against Chinese technology as “the first technological war of the coming digital era.” His point was that this is the start of something much greater and more significant“, he is right in more than one way. Do you think that I would offer my IP to the US when I know that I am getting lied to? I wonder how large the failing list is actually hitting Google and Facebook, the fact that people are intentionally getting misinformed should show up in their numbers as well. For those who have no real affiliation to Social media, China is becoming more and more interesting, the moment that it has a real Facebook equivalent, we will see a much larger jump. For Google the mess is not that big, YouTube is an engine that people cannot live without (pretty much the medical condition is ‘acute VideoitisfromYoutube failure‘) so as we cannot get treated on that, we will continue in the YouTube realm. I personally believe that if the news was a year ago that China was launching its own services the news would have been accepted differently, the entire ‘China is all about spying through Huawei‘ got us on the wrong foot, just like Iraq, just like two other events afterwards the US have been handling billions of free voices and the free voices are through with a lying party like America.

So whilst we take notice of “For China, it will increase its independence and influence. For the U.S., its grip on key standards will loosen and for some of its key players there are risks they could loose material market share“, that is the ballgame, the ‘loose material market share‘, until the beginning of the internet, the US has never had an equal in this fight and in the economic place they are now they are scared. Consider the interest on $23,000,000,000,000 all whilst they are facing a technology user setback of 10%-25% in the first year, and as Asia, Russia and Europe start folding away from the US solutions the interest is impacted and can no longer be paid, for example try the Apple solution for $1749 (down from $2365) and as things ‘suddenly’ become affordable for the people, think of how the population reacts to the coin grab of 2010-2019 when they were trying to make ends meet. This technology wave will follow an anger wave that the US is unable to stop, and beyond that, Huawei has a much larger base soon enough. In Saudi Arabia Huawei was able to set the stage of a strategic memorandum of understanding, healthcare is only the first step and as it shows the progress it will entice Egypt and India, at that point Huawei will achieve two paths that the US only hinted at and sneered (their version of enticement) for well over 10 years whilst never delivering. The people who decide things saw no eager listing to pursue, now that the numbers are getting called in 2020 and 2021 the game changes and there have been too many lies (oops, I meant ‘intentional misrepresentation’) coming from the US players.

And as the EU gives us: ‘European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen voiced skepticism Friday over involving Chinese tech giant Huawei in the rollout of Europe’s 5G networks amid concerns its equipment could be used for spying by Beijing‘, we see that optionally the career of Ursula von der Leyen will be cut short too. She might be the President of the European Commission for a month now, but I am certain that her history lessons included the time when we hung those who hid behind ‘befehl ist befehl‘ and even now, as we traverse that time, the US will not have any dimes to sit on, those spreading the US message without evidence could be demanded to be called on, even now as Germany (and India) are moving against the warnings of the US, warning that have never seen any real evidence since the beginning, will now have a coin marker, people like Ursula von der Leyen will see that as other European nations demand evidence, their place in the hierarchie will seem unholdable, held together by US promises that they will fall back on and fold on when the moment is nigh. That is the ball game for the US and the Europeans will not have alternatives, especially as Nokia is showing several cracks in their veneer, as their 5G outlook changes and as the backlash of bribery scandals, the US will find themself in a stage that is not holdable, and they are not alone, Ericsson is right there next to Nokia when it comes to scandals and the US was not ready for that. The impact will be larger than they expect and that part will bite too. When the EC members will look towards alternatives and there is only Huawei, they will shift gears and give the boot to whomever supported the US and stopped them to get their bonus, people are easy to anticipate in that regard.

If only there was direct evidence of the US claims. There was a reason why I used the Colin Powell and silver briefcase example in the past, there was no way around it, the game that was being played was short for whomever was counting the cards and too many were out in the open, the US had two plays left and they chose the wrong one. That becomes more and more clear when we look at the actions of Sony last October, that setting changed the anger levels of Third Point to some degree, and as I cannot tell who was right, the fact that Daniel Loeb lost out against the Sony view ”no concrete proposals to improve the business“, who is eagerly spending a billion to get on the market is a larger issue than you can imagine, the Japanese government has a larger stake in all this then even I can surmise. Japan will have to take on a few players and they are behind (really behind), yet they are all in it to win it and their ego’s will collide, the US will have to find new areas to push against and as we see that this is being fought, we also see the American dream is under pressure of failing and that is one concrete version why the american corporate views are not what they are surmised to be, it will be a stronger difference as the year progresses, but I reckon that half way, when that American super villain Taxman has to give documentation as to the values it holds dear (numbers on a spreadsheet) we will see additional cracks, there is only so much that people will live for and the US has no reserves, it lost those a little over three years ago as the debt kept rising. In this as we saw one month ago that “Dan Loeb sharply boosted its net long position in equities,’‘ we will see managed bad news over the next 6 months that will reduce that position (as I personally see and anticipate), that will be the first (of many) cracks in all this and China is not merely a crack in their armor, it is a flaming hole the size of the Grand Canyon. And still my IP is outlasting theirs as they have no idea what they should have been looking at, it is becoming more than a spreadsheet user versus a visionary, the US status is becoming a spreadsheet user to someone who does not comprehend a cross tabulation, and that is not a situation that the US can hold up. 

In this all these solutions give China an advantage, because as we see more and more dubious statements from people who caress the limelight, we also see that the chinks in their armour are lighting up and that is where Russia and China only have to ask: ‘what is that?‘ (pointing at the chinks) and those people will not have the setting to answer. 

It is a stage we have not seen before and will not see again any day soon, but in 2020 it will matter, it will drive the global population away from any American solution. They will only have themselves to blame soon enough, they vied for it but will do anything to make anyone else pay and the people are taking notice, they are no longer willing to take the idiocy and the current American administration made it happen, at least that part has no push towards previous administrations. When that happens, the loss of revenue will increase faster and faster and all others are ready to step in wherever they can, I am happy I have no stake in any of the American hedges, their national product is about to lose value and a lot, I merely wonder how long it will take, as we saw in several situations in 2008, the $1.1B bill to Moody’s was paid without hesitation, I wonder what and who will delay the news this time around and those who got out late, will they have any recourse? I reckon not, at some point we will see certain academics make a statement that the technology sector was too complex and too covariant to clearly see any pattern emerge, at that point whatever rating existed will be thrown out and as we see that, the people will run to any technology that has proven themselves and at present that is Huawei (and Huawei only), that is the part the US is unwilling to see, even as we see the Verge (only three weeks ago) give us both “T-Mobile has been saying it’s got a smarter, sounder 5G strategy than both Verizon and AT&T” and “They also won’t support 5G on other networks, so if you switch carriers, you’re hosed” implying that there is no real 5G standard in the US and they are all merely marketing 5G whilst not having any real 5G (my personal view) and the Verge supports that view I have (at https://www.theverge.com/2019/12/16/20997594/tmobile-5g-600mhz-low-band-speed-tests-oneplus-samsung) when we see “you’ll never get the speed thrill of downloading an entire movie from Netflix or Prime Video in seconds“, all whilst the 5G advertisement is about that part alone, we see the hose job in the making and in 2020 that will not be tolerated by the people, in the US there is no alternative, yet Europe, Africa and Asia have other options which enables Huawei and that is the short play that the US is not ready for and the EU people are about to get a dose of reality soon enough, when the MoU that Huawei has signed show actual progress, Europe will run towards whatever shelter they can whilst ignoring the pleas from the USA, it will be that simple, people like Ursula von der Leyen will run towards what pays them and what keeps them safe, warm and dry, they will soon see that ‘befehl ist befehl‘ fell short the second time around too and at that point they will enable whomever has the technology and America is about three years late.  

It is the biting reality that 2020 brings, whilst the vision of twenty twenty is negated at every turn whenever possible and it is the ‘whenever possible’ part that will fall short soon enough (sooner rather than later).

 

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