Tag Archives: Sea of Dammam

One step beyond

I waited for the news from more sources, the news that I got yesterday was too ridiculous. Even now, when I look at the ABC headline ‘Houthi rebels claim to have captured ‘thousands’ of Saudi troops in Yemen border fight‘ I am willing to ignore it. The force required to do that requires full and open cooperation of the IRGC, in addition, it would have required no less than 500 troops heavily armed. The news however kept on going and when I was treated to a video (at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WPa6HUxy11w) we see a lot of lose shoots, but there is no real evidence of the scope of the matter. That view is supported by the BBC, who gives us (at https://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-49866677) “The video shows an attack on armoured vehicles, but there is so far no verification of the Houthi claim of a major military success“, as well as “But the video broadcast on Sunday instead shows what appear to be rebels firing at vehicles on a road. This is followed by footage of several burnt-out vehicles, as well as assorted light weaponry laid out on the ground and a group of men not in military uniforms marching down a dirt road“. It is presentation, yet not confirmation, claims we have seen often enough from Iran and from players like Hezbollah. And in all the Houthi response: “He said the evidence of the attack could not be shown for security reasons” reads just like it should be regarded as, as a joke!

Yes, traps and ambushes will get you some result, however the true victory over 2,000 men like that would have required Saudi Arabia to ignore the wisdom of Julius Caesar, who stated 2,000 years ago: “The first rule, whether you are engaged in war or not is to install defences against enemy retaliation“, that essential first would never have allowed for such a victory without hundreds of well-trained Iranian troops to support the Houthi soldiers out there. There are basic settings no matter where you are on the planet where an ambush would not have been prevented, but overall the damage would have remained limited.

It seems to me that the Houthi forces have been briefed by Iran to wage open war into Saudi Arabia, so no matter what story Yehia Saree (spokesperson for Houthi forces) gives us, unless he has video of a lot better quality revealing a lot more factual evidence, the only thing we see was an optional strike against a few vehicles using 2-3 RPG-7’s.

That would fit into the brief of Houthi activity and for those 500 kills, until the names are verified and checked, it could have been a mere mass murder site of Yemeni civilians, and that too remains an option. It is however a new step and it does not matter whether the kills were Yemeni civilians or Saudi citizens, the actions by the Houthis would not have been possible without serious Iranian support, that part is too often muddied away behind the screens. If we would have hi-res images of the weapons, there is a likelihood that we will see weapons that Yemen never had, in addition the video (at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jZw5taiYMqw) shows us (at 3:25) an ambush by 4 soldiers on an armoured vehicle, whilst no RPG’s were fired, whilst no firefight was going on, at best a few machine guns firing at an armoured vehicle, impact that the armoured vehicle might not even have noticed. Even as the ‘expert’ seems to believe it is confirmation, the shoots I see are separate takes of different moments, it is propaganda editing, if this was successful, we would get the full uncut version complete with brain matter on the dashboard. That is not happening, one reason is that the Iranian troops are not to be shown, the other shoots shows one vehicle in one shot and three vehicles with clear scorch marks from RPG impact, the Russian RPG-7 is merely the most likely weapon used (decent availability all over the Middle East). In addition, the ‘troop’ movement at 4:18 gives no evidence of any level that there are Saudi troops, optionally Saudi citizens, most likely groups of Yemeni civilians trying to get away from it all. The same is to be said from the group shot at 4:27, the chaos makes it most likely to be civilians and we see merely 2-3 dozen, for thousands to be moved the need for a huge military force would have been essential and nothing of the sort is visible.

What is a given that no matter how this plays out, the Saudi Government has a clear premise and as I personally see it a right to strike hard. And on a personal note, I would advise Saudi marksman to switch to the Accuracy International AX .338, good bang for the buck and it allows the marksman to efficiently thin the Houthi herd between 500-800 meters. OK, that might have been uncalled for, but you have to consider that there is a difference between presentation and war and it is time to give those ground troops more than a ‘packaged present’ from a plane. And if I can push forward British commerce at the same time, I will (Australia has zero quality long range rifles made in Australia), so I feel good about that element too.

Yet this is still madness and as such using the hit song from the band with the same name One Step Beyond applies, all the actions after the attack on the two Aramco sites are a clear path to open war, I believe that this was not an accident, I personally believe that Iran is actually scared at present, but their fear is founded on how many allies would step to the side of Saudi Arabia, this is a serious attempt to find fact in a sea of facts and fiction and Iran is uncertain at present, it knows that it can only lose, but the size of losses increases dramatically with every ally that Saudi Arabia gains in this open conflict. As the opposition against Saudi actions dwindles, so does the confidence of Iran and as their Nuclear deal is now at an end with 99% certainty, Iran has no carrot to use against the EU, it now has a much larger problem, because the oil impact took whatever sympathy vote they had in the EU away and now they need to see the state of affairs, how to prolong their options and as they realise that the west in general has no further interest in catering to Iran in any way, shape or form, the entire matter becomes a hazard play for Iran, that is as I see it behind it all, and as the NATO navy (UK and US) are now in the Sea of Dammam (Persian Gulf), the Iranian fleet options are almost completely out of the window and any actions will now add the UK and the US on the side of Saudi Arabia and they are not ready for that, if the IDF adds to that (because they have had more than enough of the IRGC) the entire matter comes to blow and Iran ends up having to concede in every field, moreover they will only be in a place to publicly admit to defeat, and after so many years the population will demand a massive national overhaul, which suits most players, but not the Iranian clergy, or the Iranian defence forces.

One step beyond is also what we are willing to do on removing the risk that is Iran, the bulk of all instability has been due to Iran and one of several; tools they have wielded: Hezbollah, they too will have a larger problem, with Iran out of the picture their actions stop and right quick, they will cry loudly on TV to get any UN deal whilst the IDF is not really in a mood to give them any options at all. These actions will lead to a larger stability to the Middle East with Saudi Arabia at the head of that table (which has seemingly been the best course of action for forever). It is time to strap on momentum towards resolving issues, not to maintain some balance of instability, we have had too many years (read: decades) of that.

The issue of the attack on Saudi grounds is still out in the open. There are disputed lands and there are non-disputed lands. Until there is a clear map on where the attacks are, we will see a clear path on how Saudi Arabia could and should respond. The harsh reality is that talks with the Houthi forces is without any hope of success, there are millions of Yemeni who have suffered on that and how we see the actions is up to all of us, yet to see what comes next, there is an interesting video that gives a really good timeline (at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=veMFCFyOwFI). Yet we see an underline, it gives positive visibility to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia as it used its wealth to create a strong infrastructure via roads making the nation almost completely reachable, giving them a huge opportunity to let the population grow, a part that always seemed missing in Iran (beyond Tehran) as I personally saw it.

Now that the forces come to blow Iran is rightfully nervous (perhaps outright scared), no matter how brave a face they show, even now the outright support that Saudi Arabia is getting is making Iran even more nervous and to avert utter disaster they need to see if they get any real support (beyond Russia and Turkey), in this Russia might not be willing to get involved for the mere reason that its tactical position increases if this comes to blows, whilst the EU and US spend funds in this region, Russia could decide to stabilise their margin to a larger degree, and Russia is in it for the long game, a tactic that Iran no longer has at its disposal, as such it is my personal believe that Iran is trying to see how far it can go now and again they are reusing the tools at their disposal, which in this case are the Houthi forces in Yemen.

 

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Desert for breakfast

There are moments where you see the road unwind in front of you, I am not meaning in some imaginary way, but in the real sense. Consider Highway 40 from Riyadh to Dammam, and you are on the road getting there, for whatever reason. Now as a driver you see the road ahead of you, yet at some point you do not merely see a mile or two miles ahead, your focus increases and suddenly you see 10-15 miles ahead, you sense all that is coming your way and whatever is driving in front of you. Ask anyone who drives a lot; it happens to all of us. A similar stage is unfolding now and in a different way. The first article in the Arab News gives us: ‘King Salman calls Aramco attacks a ‘cowardly act’ aimed at destabilizing Saudi Arabia‘, it is an important piece in all this, because in very unexpected ways, I believe that his royal highness was incorrect, specifically the part of ‘destabilizing Saudi Arabia‘, as it seems Iran pushed the wrong buttons and achieved the opposite.

We see this in the second part (at https://www.arabnews.com/node/1558581/middle-east), where we see ‘Aramco attacks solidify Iran’s ‘enemy’ status among young Arabs‘, it is not only there, we see that as the media is showing us more on the evil that Iran is doing, we see a movement where consideration towards Iran is waning and the politicians trying to broker selfish deals are now in a stage where their careers are now in question whenever they are talking about finding some political deal. The voices are changing the clearest in France, Britain and Germany, and this implies that not only is the nuclear deal coming to a clear end, there is the additional impact that the Saudi opposition we have seen over the last 6 months are waning as well. I believe that the quote “According to the Arab Youth Survey, which was published in May by the PR consultancy ASDA’A BCW, 67 percent of the region’s youth saw Iran as an enemy, as opposed to 32 percent who saw it as an ally” will shift within the next two weeks, as the Saudi Arabian population is getting more and more of the acts that Iran has been involved in, especially abroad, gives rise that the group seeing Iran as an optional ally will degrade to a mere 25% (or even lower) soon enough, as Saudi International students give rise to the acts of Iran will also give rise to contemplation to other local students wherever they are.

As the stage unfolds towards perceiving Iran as an enemy and a threat to stability in the Middle East, we see a larger group of people advocating harder acts against Iran. I personally believe that the US putting boots on the ground will also help the Saudi population towards the understanding that there is much larger unity against Iran, even as I noted and reported in the last two months that Saudi Arabia had been deserted too often when they were attacked, the last attack had international repercussions and it seems that more and more eyes are looking at what Iran is doing to others, giving a much better view of Saudi Arabia after all the targeted bad events view that the media in the west had been giving Saudi Arabia since 2018 (well, it was since before that, but it became a lot more negative since 2018).

There is an additional reason for a larger unification. As we look at the news, we see CNN report 5 hours ago that “Iran’s foreign minister has raised the prospect of a new agreement with the United States that would see permanent sanctions relief exchanged for Tehran’s permanent denuclearization“, whilst Reuters gives us an hour ago “Iran ruled out the possibility of negotiating a new deal with major powers“, in this we see Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif as the two faced monster, merely seeking the limelight at every opportunity he gets. All whilst the Washington Post reports 9 hours ago ‘Iran’s foreign minister says diplomacy with the U.S. is over‘ with the leading quote “any prospect of direct interaction between U.S. and Iranian officials is now officially eliminated“, I personally believe that the people have had enough of the banter by this petulant toddler named Iran, in addition we see that the Media is taking a less positive stance towards Iran, all these elements are seemingly polarising at the same time. Not only is there stronger unison within the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, there is also a larger awareness that stronger ties with Saudi Arabia could also result a much larger play towards actual Middle Eastern stability.

Yet the battle is not over, only 25 minutes ago, the Financial Times reports (at https://www.ft.com/content/1e818d2e-de30-11e9-9743-db5a370481bc) that ‘France and Germany add backing to call for new Iran nuclear deal‘. Clearly there are mutters in the ranks all over Europe and making sure that everyone knows what games are played becomes essential in stopping Iran. The becomes a larger issue when we see “If it was a bad deal — and I’m willing to accept that, it had many, many defects — then let’s do a better deal,” UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said. The problem with that statement is that the EU will have to give in towards Iran to some degree and when we consider that Iran has violated conditions of the nuclear pact 4 times already, we see a larger failing. Even as we accept the larger view that the Financial Times gives with: “The time has come for Iran to accept negotiation on a long-term framework for its nuclear programme as well as on issues related to regional security, including its missiles programme and other means of delivery” (a part I do not deny or oppose) the issue is not the media, when you consider the timeline.

Mixing the message

It was interesting to see that the Arab News was on my side 3 weeks before I got here. Arab News (at https://www.arabnews.com/node/1548681) gives us in the article ‘Iran’s mixed messages on negotiations with US‘ several issues and is goes beyond the US, Iran is doing a similar tactic with the EU, the media in the last 24 hours ago are a decent indicator of that.

In the article Dr. Mohammed al-Sulami gives us: “It asserted that Zarif’s attendance provided further proof that it is actually the US president who is suffering diplomatic isolation, as it had previously claimed. Rouhani also announced that he too would not mind meeting with any foreign official, so long as this meeting would bring benefits to Iran and serve its national interests“, as well as “However, the supreme leader has found a possible way out of the current impasse by launching a new slogan, “heroic flexibility,” under the pretext that any negotiations that take place with the “Great Satan” within the framework of aiding Iran’s nuclear program could be allowed if they meet certain objectives“. These parts come to blow when we consider the final quote: “Arab countries should learn the lessons of the recent past and seek to play an effective role in any future negotiations to maintain their own interests, given the fact they are the ones most directly affected by the Iranian regime’s behavior in the region” there is a larger play and even as the limelight is on a nuclear deal and an optional deal with the US, the game that is unfolding is mixed messages that are on the second level aimed at the neighbours of Saudi Arabia.

How did I get there?

There are a few parts in this, first it is the speech by President Rouhani which is the given in the headline ‘Iran asks West to leave Persian Gulf amid heightened tensions‘ with added text “Rouhani separately promised to unveil a regional peace plan at this week’s upcoming high-level meetings at the United Nations“, with all due respect, asking a proxy war player like Iran to handle a peace plan is like asking Mr. Fox whether he could watch your chickens whilst you go out to have lunch, Mr Fox ends up getting a much better meal in the process. I believe that part of this scenario involves Bahrain and the UK Royal Navy base at Salman Port. With the British SAS now upping security, the IRGC would not be able to carry out any actions against targets, they are no match for the British SAS, it would not be a war or a skirmish, and it would merely end up being an exercise in IRGC troop extermination. It is merely one of a few handles that the mixed messages from Iran open. The mixed messages also increase pressures and stress levels in Qatar and the UAE, not to mention Oman.

How wrong am I?

That is up for debate, the entire matter is still moving along and in the end it depends on the moves and actual tactical moves that Iran will make, more important, they will not make a move until the final moment. In all this, as the Arab News reported less than an hour ago (at https://www.arabnews.com/node/1558801/business-economy) where King Hamad of Bahrain denounced the “serious escalation targeting the security and stability of the region”, I believe that this is still true, not in regards to the stability of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, yet it is my personal view that the mixed messages is about creating inactions against Iran. It is an intelligent move, with the number of opponents that Iran faces; it wants to keep Qatar, Bahrain and the UAE out of the mix for the longest of times, whilst using the non-aggression pact of Oman to keep waters as traversable as possible. All the indicators I see is that Iran is very much ready for hit and run attacks where it can and when they do take this journey they want local waters (Oman, UAE and Qatar) to be a hindrance for the non-Middle Eastern nations participating in the actions against Iran. It is my personal view and optionally in incorrect one, but I do remember my maritime training and when we take a look at the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS, Part III), we get to see in Article 41 we see that ships in transit to respect applicable sea lanes and traffic separation schemes. Such a scheme does exist in the Strait of Hormuz, adopted by the International Maritime Organization, which directs westbound traffic within the strait through Iranian territorial waters. It’s not clear where in relation to the outer limit of Iran’s territorial sea the Stena Impero was when the Iranian action took place, but Iran is not alleging the ship had no right to be where it was, and now we see that when article 41 is applied any military vessel obeying that would become a juicy target for Iran, if the bordering nations demand that sea lanes are respected and no transgressions in their local waters will be tolerated, that situation becomes very real; the NATO fleet and US fleet could optionally get stuck in the Gulf of Oman, as such, my view on trying to keep Bahrain, Qatar, Oman and the UAE on the fence would be a larger tactical problem soon enough and whilst Iran plays their mixed messages game and there is no state of war in play, Iran gets to have (for a limited time) a tactical advantage in the Sea of Dammam (aka Persian Gulf).

Basically we would all like desert for breakfast so that the day seems more sweet, however if it was up to Iran, porridge would be the only acceptable dish, salted porridge, served in the Gulf of Oman.

 

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It was foretold

So as I went into a howling rage of laughter when Iranian foreign minister Javad Zarif told the world that ‘it will destroy any aggressor‘, I almost called +98 2139931 to ask Mahmoud Alavi whether it was allowed for the Foreign Minister to pronounce National governmental acts of suicide. In all this Iran had been the greatest aggressor of all.

His response was due to the events we see in the BC article (at https://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-49781350), ‘Iran warns it will ‘Destroy aggressors’ after US troop announcement‘. Even Maj-Gen Hossein Salami said Iran was “ready for any scenario“, yet he too is mistaken, the issue is not merely the attacks on Saudi Oil (which finally has woken up the west to a larger degree), the idea that both the State of Israel as well as the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is ready to take the battle to Tehran is not something Iran has foreseen, it would be a challenge to deal with either, dealing with both and optional support by American troops is something they have not seen coming. It is seen in other ways as well. Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah has changed his tune, it is now all about “if Saudi and UAE stop their war on Yemen, they will not be in need of squandering more money to fund it and buying the costly defense systems against the drone attacks which, in turn, will inflict heavy losses upon both of them“, this person (read: tool) conveniently left out the part where Hezbollah members were part of the atrocities in Yemen themselves and we have not forgotten that, the forces will be overlooking whatever the state of Israel is about to give Hezbollah and its supporters, they can come cry and hide behind the UN skirt, but in the end, they created this mess themselves and now that Iran is pulling support more and more Hezbollah is suddenly in a place without the support they had 2 years ago, so Hezbollah is soon the crying child awaiting ammunition and whilst they await arrival crying for international help and offering talks, a game they have played for too long. I personally expect to see another flag for talks going up before the end of October, the sincerity of these talks are basically towards the timeline for fresh supplies and optionally until Iran backs them again with more. Yet the truth of the matter is that Iran is now engaging in a three pronged strategy that they cannot afford. Hezbollah, Houthi and Iranian attacks on Saudi interests is now striking back in almost every way, the Aramco hit made that possible. The spike was the rude wakeup call and even as the price has so far subsided by 1%, the engines of defence will require a lot of oil products soon enough, which could be another marker for increased fuel prices soon enough.

Yet it is the issue that we did not see that matters, it is the view on the precision of the attack that has intelligence analysts baffled to some degree. No matter how we slice the data, the numbers actually favour Iranian abilities, even as Iran remains in denial, the fact that this attack was more than merely successful leaves 5 players who could have done this: America, NATO, China, Russia and Iran.

It is perhaps the first time that Iran gets mentioned next to these other four on this scale. Iran cannot admit as this would be admitting to an act of war, yet this is centre stage in all this. I personally still believe that someone painted the targets, but beyond that, if that was not the case, it implies that an orchestrated drone missile attack is something that Iran has mastered to the degree that the other four have not shown ever. That is the baffling part, yet we know that the other 4 can do the same, yet that puts the Iranian drones on the same level as the General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper, which is a stretch on a few levels I might add, in addition, the drone operators that the US has are not to be underestimated, the fact that the attack was this successful grades Iranian pilots a scale higher than I ever have before. Let’s not forget, Iran is proud of its air force, and the fact that they delivered last week is rather unsettling. the truth is that there is no way that Houthi forces have anywhere near the skill, the materials and the setup to do this, that is what shows the Iranian forces to be the guilty ones and now they are calling the bluff of others to try and attack. I myself am all in favour to call out to them and merely ‘borrow’ a reaper to install free air-conditioning in that building using a GBU-12 Paveway II. Did you know that the GBU-12 Paveway II is awesome for immediate installation of air shafts and holes in buildings to facilitate for air conditioning? #JustSaying

A light situation?

Some people might think that I am making light of the situation, well, yes, but that has been the media for months, until Aramco was hit, over half a dozen attacks on Saudi Arabia, Saudi locations and its citizens was left unreported by the western media, only now, only when oil spikes, do we see action from those ignoring Iranian transgressions and acts of aggression, so in that, I am in full view of righteous when I laugh at the Iranian sentiment of ‘it will destroy any aggressor‘, as they have been the aggressor all along.

I agree with the BBC point of view giving us: “What seems clear is that this remains a game of brinkmanship, with all sides still hoping to be able to pull back from a direct military confrontation“, however on a personal note, I believe that it is too late for that, I believe that Iran will keep on playing this game for as long as they can wave the ‘nuclear deal’ carrot in front of the EU, delaying matters for as long as they can. I personally believe that it is a stage most overdue that a direct action against the Iranian military forces has become essential, they need to see direct and material damage in Iran (Tehran would be best) to show them that there is no more leeway for Iran. On other departments, I would happily offer my design to sink the Iranian fleet to SAMI, see if we can get it working, there is nothing like watching a minister of defence praising their new Sahand whilst it is appreciating the Horizon of Iran from the bottom of the Sea of Dammam (a reference to an earlier article), and to be honest, I want this design to work just so I can nose thumb DARPA, as stated before, I do have a sense of humour.

There is however another side, Iran is losing its ability to get things done soon enough (sooner would be better), even as their economic picture shifts, the Financial Tribune offered less than a day ago ‘Iran-EU Trade Tumbles 75%‘, whilst the quote “Iran exported €452.65 million worth of commodities to the European Union, indicating a 93.67% fall, and imported €2.55 billion in return to register a 52.13% year-on-year decline“, offers that Iran will have other setbacks in several fields, however the largest issue is not Iran, these numbers give out that Iran needs to focus all resources on Iran in a few fields, leaving nothing to Hezbollah and whatever they get now will be short term and would optionally deny them long term help. That is unless Iran finds a replacement supplier, it will have larger national resource problems soon enough.

There was more in the Arab News a few hours ago. As they give us ‘Only a united front will thwart Iran’s war games‘ (at https://www.arabnews.com/node/1557771), where we see: “Israeli sources continue to make it clear that they regard Iran’s proliferation of advanced missile technology to their allies in Lebanon, Syria and Iraq as a red line“, as well as “I largely believe Zarif when he says Iran doesn’t want war, but with one small addition — “on someone else’s terms.” If war comes, Iran would be happy to fight in a way that plays to its own strengths; asymmetrical, grey zone, widely dispersed, damaging to global energy flows, seeking to spread conflict uncontrollably and in particular dragging in Israel” and there we see the crux of the entire matter: ‘on someone else’s terms‘, when we take that away and make a direct statement against buildings and refineries, the hit and run tactics will no longer work and whilst Iran sets up for a massive defence the winds of support will be removed from the Houthi and Hezbollah sails to the largest degree, possibly completely removed for the long term. That was the largest need in Yemen for three years and now that this stage has arrived, actual progress will be possible in Yemen. The part here I do not agree with the writer Sir John Jenkins is the part where he gives us “We don’t have to play that game. But to impose our own, we need strategic patience, an enhanced defensive capacity against Iranian provocations, a much better communications strategy and, if necessary, a willingness to respond ourselves“, he makes a really good point and he does not shy away from ‘a willingness to respond‘. The problem I see is that the operative word is ‘willingness‘ and actual response is an essential part at present.

We cannot afford to let Iran keep on playing their hit and run guerrilla games whilst letting others take the credit/blame. this has worked for them as others need to set the stage of expenses, when a direct attack comes they lose the initiative and accept open war if needed, at that point Tehran will lose a lot more, infrastructure gone, essential needs cannot be met and international help would be their only option, allowing for the people to take a different position against their army and clergy control. there is the added need that their clergy has not seen actual losses for the longest of times and that keeps them in the delusional state that nothing bad can happen to Iran, that delusion needs to be popped like a balloon, and soon.

The issue is not merely Iran and Saudi Arabia, at some point someone (most likely Iran) will do something really stupid and get the UAE involved because of that, at that point there will be less chance of talks and less options for short term actions with a diplomatic solution at the end, it would turn into a long term event with no diplomatic options for the foreseeable future, that is a stage no one really wants, yet it would be an unavoidable danger for as long as Iran is playing the game it currently is.

Their guilt was foretold through evidence, their denial was a given by media inaction for the longest of times, now that the two meet, we see several options, but until any direct action is undertaken, I fear that the long and harsh theatre of war is the one we are in danger of staring at for now and that is a path we need to avoid, or as the American often state: ‘the best defence is a good offense‘, I would speculate that this is exactly what we need to do in this case, if only to wake Iran up to the notion that ‘on someone else’s terms‘ is no longer an acceptable strategy.

 

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Game of labels

Yes, we all have games on the mind, mind games, video games, war games, and not to forget political games and economic games. These are not games that we see on the console or computer. Games do not usually rename waters from Persian Gulf to the Saudi Straight, or perhaps we will name it the Sea of Dammam. When we see that the US is changing the stage at which they can operate, mind games is all that they are left with. They failed to political game, they bungled the economic game, they are blocking their ability to play War Games so what is left? Yup, you got it mind games is all they have left.

So see this stage we need to visit USA Today (at https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2019/07/12/house-passes-bill-bar-trump-from-launching-iran-strike-and-end-us-support-saudi-arabia-war-in-yemen/1708612001/) where we are told ‘House approves measure to block Trump from launching military strike against Iran‘, so not only are politicians weak weasels they have now blocked their own commander in chief to do the responsible thing against Iran, it has dwindled to this. OK, let’s face it war is not a good thing, there needs to be a really good reason to start one, as wars are expensive and the house does seemingly need approval to spend large amounts of cash that is not directed at Wall Street.

And in fairness the text: “bar the Trump administration from using any federal funds for military force “in or against” the Islamic Republic, unless the president receives explicit congressional approval for a strike. It would not bar the president from responding to an attack on the U.S.“, yet it is also interesting that this is the cowardly act (as I personally see it) to cross swords with expectation and a lack of determination. Is it not funny that I quoted in ‘Be the bitch‘ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2019/07/07/be-the-bitch/) on July 7th: “when we see: “that nuclear agreement prevented war“, it never stopped it, it merely delayed it so that Iran could get ready and that part has been shown in several ways over the last three years alone, now that the pressure is growing we need to consider that no one wants a war, but Iran made it impossible to avoid and as they make tally of all who are willing to become the bitch by not acting, that is how we might lose this upcoming war, not merely by inaction of them, but the mere fact that these politicians are willing to grab their ankles and let happen what would happen next. They will call it: “We have reached an immediate cease fire so that a diplomatic agreement can be drawn” that will be the second sign that the war was won by Iran“, we now see this very scenario unfold. It is seen with the additional text: “It would not bar the president from responding to an attack on the U.S.” We all know that a direct attack on America is most unlikely, but this also means that America will only come to the aid of the State of Israel and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia AFTER Congress approves it and there is absolutely no guarantee that Wall Street will give approval at that point.

It is no longer a mere expectation, less than 12 hours ago Newsweek got us: ‘Iran launches strikes in Iraq and responds to Israel;s threat as it vows to defend itself against any attack‘, and here we see: “The Revolutionary Guards announced Friday that they conducted strikes against anti-Iranian government insurgents operating along the Iraqi border in the Kurdistan region“, Iran is lashing out, in this particular case to appease their Turkish ally (they always enjoy Kurdish slaughter). When we add the pressure of the Iranian tanker, as well as the threats between Iran and Israel, we see a much larger stage evolving, and the US, just like the stage of the Syrian war was unable to accomplish anything; they merely pulled support from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, a nation that they call an ally. The question is that we do not know who states it, who means it and who ignores it. That is the stage that the US Senate, the House of Representatives, the presidential administration and Wall Street are in, like it is an episode of Musical Chairs, and we cannot tell which party takes on which pose, they merely refer to it as: ‘an extremely complex situation‘.

Then we get to the Washington Post, who gives us: ‘Iran’s nuclear program seems to be accelerating. Will Saudi Arabia take a similar path?‘ (at https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2019/07/12/irans-nuclear-weapons-program-seems-be-accelerating-will-saudi-arabia-take-similar-path), here we see the escalation in another way. With the direct headline ‘In a multipolar world, curbing nuclear transfers becomes more difficult‘, we merely see one side. So even as we see: “Riyadh has vowed to match Iran’s nuclear capabilities, including the ability to enrich uranium and acquire nuclear weapons if Tehran gets the bomb. My research, recently published in International Security, explains how Riyadh’s ability to play nuclear suppliers off against one another can increase its chances of securing nuclear technology.” There is no denying this, and that is only when we look at that side. You merely have to look back towards 2004 and remember “Pakistani scientist Abdul Qadeer (A.Q.) Khan, then famous for his role in developing Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal, confessed on live television to having illegally proliferated nuclear weapons technology to Iran, Libya, and North Korea over the course of decades. Today Khan is enjoying a resurrection at home, where he is again touted as the “Mohsin e-Pakistan,” or the savior of Pakistan” to consider that this might already have happened. Pakistan has ties to Saudi Arabia. The fact that this is largely in a stage where we see: “Wouldn’t the United States and other countries interested in stopping proliferation block Riyadh’s access to sensitive nuclear transfers, such as enrichment technology?” We see the wrong question, the stage is that America is no longer a significant super power, it is too broke, it is too much bankrupt. That gave Russia an edge and more important, other players are no longer heeding America’s word, it becomes simple for them when the infighting in America is doing most of the work for them, so seemingly America has become really good at trivialising itself as a world power. In all this (from recent events) America failed twice, it did not act when the Syrian issues were playing, so as the world saw the Ghouta chemical attack unfold on 21st August 2013, the world saw the Obama Administration sit by and do nothing, even as there had been decades of messages that a chemical attack is a red line that was not to be passed, Someone in Syria passed it and nothing was done. Again we see failure now under the Trump administration that when the calls for Yemen were needed, the US pulled away and the media set the stage for this war to continue for at least 3 years more costing the lives of hundreds of thousands. Two direct failures in the last 7 years and when someone is asking others on why the USA is not taken seriously, did you actually expect a serious response?

So when the Washington Post gives us: “As Matthew Fuhrmann explained here in the Monkey Cage, there remains debate over whether peaceful nuclear technology transfers lead to proliferation — but the risk of proliferation is high in the Saudi case“, again the stage is miscommunicated. It is not about the Saudi case, it is about the not stopping Iran case. For over 2 years we have seen and heard spokespeople from the KSA state that they have no interest in nuclear technology as long as Iran does not move forward on where they are. So now that the nuclear pact has collapsed and as Europe and America do not do anything after 2+ violations by Iran, Saudi Arabia does not really have any options left.

In all these events Iran was clearly the powder keg and the two larger players are unwilling to act. As I personally see it, the US has benefit to a lack of stability in the Middle East (outside of Iran) and is now courting Qatar to keep in the game, we see all the threats by Iran and the media is always good to make sure that we all hear the threats made (but little else) and that is now pushing for a very different stage. With the UK sending a second warship into the Sea of Dammam, escalation risks go up, not down.

The third problem is not merely the players that are out and about, when this goes south the UAE, Qatar and Bahrain will have little options left, they will be caught in the middle, all because certain players are unwilling (or disallowed) to make the hard calls. Finally there is the last piece, there is Hezbollah. We see all kinds of statement in the last few hours and they are merely that, mere statements. Yet, when Iran does make a move how will Hezbollah act? The statement that they gave 6 hours ago with ‘Hezbollah can target all of Israel with it’s missiles‘, might be true, but is it Hezbollah or Iran doing the work? The missiles are all Iranian, the knowledge to strike more precise came from IRGC instructors, the (upgraded) hardware is also covered in Iranian fingerprints. So when Hezbollah does make a move, there will be consequences and at that point the US and Europe will have no cause, no call and no right to make some lame humanitarian statement. They left this mess unattended for too long, so whatever Israel decides should be regarded as acceptable.

I still believe that the strikes that come will be 79.5% against Israel, 19.5% against Saudi Arabia and 1% against both. The Houthis are losing more and more options, Hezbollah is nowhere near ready to face two armies and Iran needs to play the game very carefully, because even as the US and Europe are not acting, there is every chance that Israel and Saudi Arabia can make short work of Iran, the Iranian threats that we have seen over the last few hours (the usual) as well as mention of a special weapon give rise that they took a little too much on their for and striking now might be the only way to defuse a nasty situation.

It is time to push back to Iran and if the politicians can’t make it work then we must make it work, so my first action to diffuse the situation is not to strike with weapons (I only have a steak slicer and a cricket bat at home at present), is to make war through mind games. I call for a change on the map; we rename the Persian Gulf to the Sea of Dammam.

It trivialises Persia and therefor Iran, when we take away the old naming mistakes, we get to trivialise Iran to a lager degree, when they cannot counter they will need to push harder or fold the hand. I saw that they were only holding a two and a seven in this poker match and there is not a lot you can do with that, to win you need to get really lucky or bluff like a god and they are unable to do the second.

So I scored an easy victory over Iran with the greatest of ease and without firing a bullet in real life, but we can keep that option for later. So take a look at the city of Dammam, with the Sea of Dammam to the right, or consider my second option below, I did made a mention of video games in the beginning and we can all bluff, we can optionally argue that bluffing is all that Iran has left, but that is a story for another day. In my case of bluff I went up against my cold war adversary the Russians (always a decent opponent to cross, and we can’t have Alexander Bortnikov feeling too relaxed in all this, can we?)

 

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