Tag Archives: Tel Aviv

Price of freedom

What is exactly the price of freedom? We hear it all the time. Certain things must be done so that we can remain free. You can hear it in the US, the UK, France, the Netherlands, Australia even in New Zealand it can be heard (not just from the sheep). No, it is that currency, freedom that is the question. You see, what exactly is that price and what does every nation have to pay, so that they can be free. When was the last time you considered that part?

When was the last time you got a clear instruction on how to launch a missile so that it lands EXACTLY in what the Houthi’s call “Two ballistic missiles were fired on Saturday evening from Yemen into Saudi Arabia, allegedly targeting Khamis Mushait, a city in the south-west of the country, the coalition forces announced“, whilst in the Saudi Gazette we see: “the other failed to target any populated areas of the city after landing in a desert area“. Now consider the claims we have seen in the past weeks on how they were targeting specific places in Riyadh, which is several times the distance that we saw approached now and the Houthi’s cannot get that right 50% of the time. So when we see “Missile launched at Saudi capital, Houthis claim responsibility“, what are they actually targeting, are they targeting anything? I believe that there are two kind of teams working in Yemen, an Iranian and a Houthi; the better shots were clearly Iranian and with the quote ““This hostile act carried out by the Iranian Houthi militia proves that the Iranian regime is still providing the terrorist Houthi armed militia with qualitative capabilities…with the main objective of threatening the Saudi Arabian, regional and international security,” Al-Malki stressed in the statement.”, the statement is not wrong, but it is not correct either a I personally see it. I think that the Iranians are actively training Houthi troops, so when we realise that they are intentionally firing into dense populated civilian areas. Why is there not a much stronger response from Europe? It was only yesterday that the independent reported (at https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/iran-nuclear-deal-latest-eu-donald-trump-sanctions-miguel-arias-canete-a8359126.html), that ‘it remains committed to accord despite Trump’s withdrawal‘, so that is the price of freedom, a nuclear deal with a nation committed to act in terrorist ways via puppets. The question becomes, what is this so called freedom worth to you, because when you are called on the accountability of what your politicians are doing, are you ready to pay that bill?

In this regard, the Conversation (at http://theconversation.com/trumps-high-stakes-gamble-on-the-iran-nuclear-deal-could-work-96449), offered an interesting thought. With “Though Israel provided a great deal of proof that Iran had lied about its nuclear program in the past, no evidence was offered that Iran was continuing the past record of deceit. The vast majority of experts agree that there is a greater likelihood of an arms race in the Middle East without the agreement than with it“. The statement is more important than you think. You see in the first we get ‘Iran had lied in the past‘, we also get ‘with a nuclear deal there is a smaller chance of nuclear arms acceleration‘ and ‘there is currently no evidence that Iran is currently acting in falsehood‘. They are important because if they lied then, what is stopping them from lying now? There is evidence of Iran acting in falsehood when we look at Yemen, now we have a ballgame, because any evidence of any level of nuclear advancement is a signal for Saudi Arabia to do the same thing, they clearly stated that. The conversation is in the belief that a nuclear deal is better, yet they call this not on the setting it is in, they are now about: ‘There is a chance the re-imposition of sanctions could work. However, it is a high-risk gamble‘, it is set as ‘a possible defence of withdrawal’, it was not about the withdrawal, it is about the nuclear setting where Iran will do what it pleases as it has done so in the past, allowing Uranium into Iran, whilst all players agree that monitoring precise Uranium numbers is not an actual reality, and with both Saudi Arabia and Israel on the firing line, it is not a high stakes gamble that they are willing to make. And leaving the decision of such a gamble with people who are not on the firing line is folly, because they pretty much have nothing to lose, in the worst case, their ego’s get to take on for the team. Explain to me how that was ever going to be a good idea? It gets even worse when we consider that President Rouhani is only in charge as long as the clergy and military agree on his actions, how exactly is that called being in charge? We get this from the NY Times on May 9th, where we see “Iran’s supreme leader on Wednesday hinted that his country might step up its nuclear program, signalling a possible escalation in an already volatile relationship with Washington after President Trump announced he was pulling the United States out of the 2015 nuclear deal”. So that is an outcome that the clergy decided on (apart from their advanced degrees on nuclear physics)? The stated issue by Ayatollah Khamenei is a dangerous one, in light of other materials, there is an increased issue that this deal was not a good idea from the very start.

I still believe that removing the Iranian navy is a first move, not only does it hurt their morale, it sets the Iranian clergy directly in opposition against the military, merely because the clergy thought their side to be invulnerable, there is nothing as uncommunicating as a clergy that knows that they are a direct target. They become the axial in a blame game, a good place for Iran to be in internally (for us). The biggest Issue I saw was not on some Iranians, merely on that a future president could end up being another Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and as such the escalations begin again, yet now that person has nuclear options not a thought you would ever be willing to give any extreme Iranian president.

The issue is not merely the nuclear deal, it is Europe as a whole. When we see “Miguel Arias Canete, the European commissioner for energy and climate, said the 28-nation bloc, once the biggest importer of Iranian oil, also hoped to boost trade with Tehran“, they are ‘hoping‘ to boost trade. This is merely an economic necessity, the European economy is reported to be good, but now consider, it is 1941 and you are willing to deal with Nazi Germany, just to look economically better. Make sure you see the 1941 reference; this is no reflection on today’s Germany. Boosting trade with Iran comes at a price. Now consider that this has been going on for a year and now Iran states: “I would love to do this another three years, yet my good friend Turkey should be allowed in the EU“, now what will happen? A nation that should by the EU’s own standard never be admitted is now optionally a new EU nation. In that part when we consider the quote: “Mr Salehi said Iran had several options, including resuming its 20 per cent uranium enrichment if the European countries failed to keep the pact alive. He said the EU had only a few weeks to deliver on their promises“, this alone is an issue, because it is feasible that Russia has been delivering the hardware needed to an undisclosed location, now setting a different stage. In all this the EU is so willing to set the price of freedom in the basement, whilst knowingly endangering both Saudi Arabia and Israel.

The nightmare scenario

The nightmare scenario is not that Iran becomes nuclear; no it is the same issue when we look back to the era of Nazi Germany. I still personally believe that the State If Israel got created in an effort to get the blood rage that would have haunted Europe for decades off the streets, that danger was very real in 1945-1948. The Dutch NSB members, the Germans in general, we also get the quote “This was a time of often enthusiastic collaboration with the Third Reich, as French police and paramilitary organisations were among the many who rounded up ‘enemies of the state’ and sent them to Germany for extermination.” (I think that this was merely part of occupied France), or what we get from historian Jan Grabowski “‘Orgy of Murder’: The Poles Who ‘Hunted’ Jews and Turned Them Over to the Nazis“, at this point we have 4 countries where a people in utter rage could have persecuted Europeans for decades, that ugly reality alone and not even considering Belgium, Denmark, Italy and a few other places, on how long restorations would have additionally lasted. I am close to 100% certain that it would still be going on by the time I was born, so that image is part of all this.

The reason is that once this goes wrong, when we are optionally going to be a witness to a lynching unlike we have seen for 350 years. When this goes pear shaped and it is close to a certainty that it will go wrong, those who politicised this to happen, might in person feel what it was to be like Cornelis and Johan de Witt, who both got lynched and mutilated by the angry mob on August 20th 1672. These politicians will hide behind complications and mere uncertainties, but so did those who opposed the house of Orange, it did not end well for them.

When that happens, Europe will fall into anarchy, it will happen not because it is destined to do so, but because too many politicians have been trying to sell a bill of goods and there will be escalating levels of mistrust and anger. In this it will not matter whether Saudi Arabia or Israel will get hit, the hit will be enough to make every European politician a valid target for hunting and lynching. Their entire approach to keep every deal going whilst there is too much overwhelming evidence of the unacceptable acts by both Turkey and Iran will be the fuelling cause for it all.

After that I have no way to make any predictions, some politicians will take a long vacation in a nation without extradition the moment things go massively wrong, or try refugee status in America, but those who do not get out in time, will not have any options, they will, due to their own stupidity get hunted down.

Why?

That question is actually a lot more important than you might think. There has been an interaction of politics and media, that has never been a secret, yet in the past there was a level of balance, now, in the age where it is all about commerce and circulation, we see a different setting, the media at large are for the lack of a better term no more than a concubine, who splits her attention between the advertiser, the shareholder and the stakeholder. None of those three are the reader by the way; they merely get introduced to what we now call ‘stories of eventuality‘, which is different from actual news. Most papers merely use what Reuters offer and work with that foundation in any way that they can. This is not a national issue; it is a global one, so when something is not actually nationally set (apart from big events), we do not get the news we get some paraphrased context. Now consider that we have had that for 3-4 days and suddenly there is a nuclear explosion in Riyadh, Jeddah, Tel Aviv or Eilat. When that happens, do you think that the people will remain calm? No, they will be scared out of their minds and all the pretty stories that the news gave, and all the politicians who hid behind ‘we do not expect this to happen’ or ‘it could be so good for us all if it works out’ will not stop a group of people who will add up to many millions, their fear will catch on and they will hunt down anyone related to the Iran Nuclear deal and the messages that they handed out. Like Johan de Witt, they will be trying to get away, but an enraged crowd of that many people cannot be avoided, the only issue is, can those who signed it see that danger in time?

Is there real danger?

That is the part no one, especially me can predict. There is too much not known and even more at times misrepresented, so it is not likely but that merely is set to the foundation of facts, and we are often not given facts, merely speculations (even I am to some degree speculating), I am trying to stay as real as possible, but in light of what I just gave, based on the founding facts that we all have been able to see around us for a few years now. When the fears of nuclear events become reality, which person will not go into fear driven panic? All that, because the politicians of today are set in a battle arena where it is all about the economy and anything that can contribute to that economy must be embraced no matter how the political setting is. That is the setting and even as there is no real stability in that setting, as we see pressure on more than one currency, we will also see the need for intense economic growth and some will give representation that Turkey give options in this, that is the first moment where failure will translate to pressure, when that happens all bets are off and in light of those sliding values, should Iran (yes, I stated ‘should’) do one stupid move in any nuclear setting we will see a different kind of fallout, we will see the kind where the bulk of 740 million Europeans will all pretty much lose it on the spot, that is the moment where we will see on how ‘speech making’ will be a hangable offense to those people, no courts, no judges, millions of hysterically enraged (enraged through fear) who will seek people to hold accountable (the blame game), that is the wrong day to be a politicians, let me tell you that much.

Now, I do not think the danger is that big, although it is directly linked to the acts of Iran, so it is not zero. The real danger is grown with the moral setting of both Iran and Turkey, the fact that some want to keep the discussion going, whilst it should have been discontinued a long time ago will also count. We are heading into murky shallow waters and the end game cannot be predicted, merely because of the amount of players and they all have their own needs. Yet the one part that I do not fathom is that some are willing to add the ‘price of freedom‘ as a currency to calm both political and economic waters with people who have no regard for either element in that setting, a dangerous precedent I think, but that might merely be me.

 

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It is done!

There are a few issues today and the first one is not really an issue, unless you are a movie producer and you are up against Infinity war. I just learned that it smashed the Chinese box office on Friday with an additional $76 million, which makes it surpass both Black Panther and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows part 2. It is now the 8th most successful movie on the planet in the All Time Box Office and that is before the global Saturday revenues are known. I expect it to crush the first Avengers Movie and settle (during the week) on the 5th position. It is the fastest ascension of any movie ever. That is big news, so as per ‘today’ 40% of the top 10 movies ever worldwide are Marvel Productions. I think that the Legacy of Stan Lee is very safe for all time; in addition, I reckon that the Russo brothers will be walking around with that feeling of pride and accomplishment for some time to come. This will not be some DC Marvel comparing; this is a comic book victory that spans 3 generations, and perhaps the setting of an old truth that a dreamer with only $0.25 can conquer the world (small reference to Walt Disney there).

We watched for all kinds of reasons and none of us were disappointed, not even those who went to see it with the silent promise that they could see that Chris Hemsworth is merely slightly less than half the size of Peter Dinklage. We are not even at the halfway point yet! The pressure on part 2 will be overwhelming with every weekend we get towards that point of release, especially those who recognised the message in the teaser at the very end.

But our worlds do not merely revolve on Marvel Production (some need chocolates too), and if it was only so good, it is not, The independent gives us mere hours ago (updated) that in Iran the Clerics are shown to be as simple as one could expect. With the quote “Iranian senior cleric Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami said during Friday prayers that Western pressure will backfire, threatening that Israel will pay the price.” The holy system of Islamic Republic will step up its missile capabilities day by day so that Israel, this occupying regime, will become sleepless and the nightmare will constantly haunt it that if it does anything foolish, we will raze Tel Aviv and Haifa to the ground,” the hard-line cleric said. The warshippers chanted: “Death to America,” and “Death to Israel“.”, it is their invitation to War, they thought they were clever with their ‘Syrian‘ missile attack, but they now have the impeding wrath of the State of Israel, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia who has had their fill of the Yemeni Issues, as well as Iran’s commitment to terrorism and Hezbollah and now that both parties know that the rest of the world is willing to united behind Saudi Arabia and Israel, now they need to cry and scream like little children. It is in that setting that I see the mention of “Antonio Guterres, the UN secretary-general, asked for the halt to avoid “a new conflagration” in the region following the most extensive military exchange between Israel and Iran“, Iran did not listen for the longest of times, during the entire Syrian slaughter the UN was merely a lame duck, an expensive voice that was not listened to at all. So why should anyone listen now? So when we see “we will raze Tel Aviv and Haifa to the ground,” the hard-line cleric said. The worshippers chanted: “Death to America,” and “Death to Israel”“, we see a part that they are still in denial of the Houthi situation. Yet now, after the years of their chants, many are sick of the Iranian debacle, option upon option were given, but the two players in charge of Iran, the clerics and the military are soon to be called to put their money where their mouths are and now, the game changes for them, because as far as I see it, they cannot deliver. The fact that I saw the flaw that ends their navy, they will be on an unbalanced setting, they still have plenty of air force and army, but that too falls against the naval settings of what non-Iranians remains in the Persian Gulf and in that setting they have a much larger disadvantage. Iran must rely on the puppets and tools they had and these players are no longer sure of Iran at all. Iran overplayed their hand!

Sinem Cengiz the Turkish political analyst in Arab News gives us: “Turkey will not be taking sides in the crisis as it is already dealing with the effects of the turbulence affecting its other neighbors, Syria and Iraq. So a third neighbor under sanctions will not serve Turkish interests in the region. A nuclear-armed Iran is not in the interest of Turkey either as it would challenge Ankara’s own regional-power position in the Middle East“, she is not wrong, but I personally do not completely agree. You see, Turkey moved itself into a much higher echelon for its own reasons on Kurds and Kurdistan and the setting in Syria remains provocative. Russia wants the middle mediation spot and Iran thinks that they could still push some for certain agreements. Turkey’s actions could push itself into either directly opposing Iran as it wants to soften the setting with European players, or try approach, which was to make Europe more lenient. I do not think either will work, yet with the US in play, they could be pushed into denying certain settings with Iran. Turkey might not want to take sides and for the short term (4-8 weeks) that could be possible, yet both US and the EU want commitments from the Turkish government, but one that is set against Iran (or at least withdraw completely form that setting), it might be one of the few paths remaining to avoid a direct war and in all that, the others want commitments. The path could be delayed when open hostilities against Hezbollah are chosen, because at this point, such actions need to go without any Iranian support, and in that Turkey would be willing to sacrifice Hezbollah for their own needs. Iran will at some point use them as martyrs, which is fine for some as martyrs can no longer hold guns that is the reality of war!

In this we see support from the Courier Mail, who makes mention of ‘Russia reeling in Iran’, which might prevent worse, which is partially true. The issue is not any of the outside players; the issue is that the Iranian clergy and military have been prepping for the longest time. Now they want to move in and look good, yet the starting signal was not given at the right time, so now their entire strategy is falling upon the floor with no one wanting the visibility of picking that trash up. In this CNBC has its own view (at https://www.cnbc.com/2018/05/09/trump-iran-sanctions-give-saudi-arabia-and-russia-more-clout.html). With “Saudi Arabia said it will help meet world oil demand if President Donald Trump’s Iran sanctions create shortfalls, but analysts say it will do so only in conjunction with Russia, and the world may have to get used to higher prices as a result” they are correct, that is indeed the midterm play that we all face, increasing oil prices and the energy companies will try to cash in on this as soon as possible, even as they have been enjoying cheap oil for years. This strategy works for both Saudi Arabia and Russia on several fronts, there will be no opposing party ready or able to pick up that slack. Their only way to prevent worse is the action offered by Israel, If the Syrian president tells Iran to go home, it would relieve tensions. The question becomes if Syria willing to do just that? There are still scores of Russians there and perhaps Turkey has an option to show willingness to increase troops, which works for them on all but one front, Iran will see this as an act of desertion against the Iranian settings. Iran’s actions or responses cannot be predicted as present. Even a Syria has had issues with the Turkish ties towards the Muslim Brotherhood and as such, it might be the best option, but not one President Assad is willing to consider (personal speculation). It is a Gordian knot of complications at best, cutting it might be the best, but that too might not be seen as a solution for any of those players.

So where is the option to remove the pressures? I am not certain if there are any left, the issue is the pressures are coming from Iran and they are not willing to change for the time being.

For desert

The end of this should be something light and frothy, there is nothing lighter and frothy than a good game and in light of the upcoming war, is that such a bad deal? We have seen all kinds of allegations and leaks. Now that we see a few announcements, and now that we have seen a few things that Sony will be bringing, I am now at a loss how Microsoft will get anywhere with the uphill battle they face this year. It seems to me that the upcoming Book of the dead is doing to PS4 what the initial the Last of Us did to the PS3. It was overwhelming. In addition when we see the Last of Us 2, Ghost of Tsushima, Spiderman, Death Stranding and Book of the dead, realising that at least three of these titles will be released in 2018, one is extremely unlikely to come before 2019 (Death Stranding) and one remains an unknown at present, and that is merely the exclusives. Sony has remastered the Spyro trilogy which will entice a new generation and satisfy the ones who played it on the original PlayStation. There are loads more coming, but this is at present what Nintendo and Microsoft are up against, which in light of the results of God of War is not a good thing to be up against. Now that the Sony gamers have heard that the release of Subnautica on PS4 is more and more imminent; an unknown title (to many) that is merely one of the best survival adventures I ever played and original from beginning to end. So in that view, we see that the other brand has a diminishing level of unique games left and that was never a good thing for any console. In my personal view, there is now only one reason why I still have the Xbox One. It is the one game, the game that I revered ever since I got my fingers on the demo that was added to the PC Format disc, al little over 20 years ago. Take a look at the update of the remastered and remade System Shock (at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lKfnTnZuC5E) where you can see the game in progress and even as it is announced to come to PS4, it is for the time being a lot earlier on Xbox One and PC.

The advantage Microsoft once had is now pretty much gone.

Even as some are all about the gifting a game hype, from my personal experience most people have never given me anything correct when it comes to gaming. Now, in some cases it is indeed nice, but most people prefer to go to shop and get a physical copy of the game. We acknowledge that backward compatibility is a nice setting; there is no denying that, yet over the next year do you want to replay a few good games, or play amazing new games? Backward compatibility is nice to have and an asset, no one denies that, yet the setting of no amazing new games is not something you want to rely on. The Verge actually almost nails it with “The Xbox One is the best console if you don’t care about exclusive new games“, I do agree with the setting, but those exclusives that Sony has is just beyond amazing and Microsoft has nothing to counter that, that is the setting that does matter. Nintendo upped the setting even more with the leak of Pokémon Switch coming this year; this will get millions of 3DS players now update to Switch much faster than initially expected. It gets to be interesting when you consider that Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon sold in excess of 7 million copies. With Pokken on Switch (originally a WiiU title) already out and now the new Pokémon’s coming (I expect at least two), we see that Nintendo is upping the score and the pressure on both Microsoft and Sony.

So even as Verge was almost correct, they missed it that the gamers love exclusive titles and the fact that the Sony players are getting the Switch on the side matters as well, apart from them not getting the XB1 on the side. With 26 titles announced by August 2018, the games list is also impacting the other two. Bethesda is giving Wolfenstein 2 a ‘switch’ over in 7 weeks, The Crash Bandicoot fans get to do it all over again on Switch as well and Capcom is breathing life to Streetfighter with a 30th anniversary edition this month on Switch, yes, my prediction that I made a mere two weeks ago is coming to pass, the worst nightmare for Microsoft is coming, Nintendo and Sony have upped their game and as it is less likely that Microsoft can equal that during the E3; by no more than late August will we see the setting whether the total Nintendo Switch sales will surpass Xbox One total sales by Christmas 2018, it is now becoming increasingly likely that Microsoft Xbox One will grace third position in the console race before December 31st 2018. Microsoft will have to produce a miracle by the end of the year and it better be a lot better than there marketing department hiding behind “All Xbox One games and Microsoft Store PC games are now eligible for digital gifting“, because when I look at AC Origin Gold (AU$145) and Shadow of War Gold (AU$158), I wonder if the people know that these games are around 40Gb to download and a 100% larger if you have 4K capabilities. So not only is it a massive download, the fact that these XB1 consoles have no more than 1TB is also a consideration. Nothing on any of this is a ‘pro’ gamer setting, merely a maximum exploitation setting from Microsoft. And that is even before you realise that a new Shadow of War Gold edition (with Steelbook) is a mere AU$99.95 at EB Games, so, do you still think I am kidding when it comes to Microsoft dropping the ball three times over? Are you kidding with downloading a game at a price that is 50% higher than a physical version in the shops?

Like Iran, Microsoft overplayed their hand way too soon and they are also in the venue of not being able to counter what comes. A setting that they should have avoided, in that light we can compare the Microsoft marketeers with the Iranian clerics, they shout from the highest peaks, but without the support of actual product you end up merely irritating people, which is how I personally see this all.

A desert that was a little less light on the bowels, but in all this we see that some games over the next month will be shown to be not up to the fight against reality and consumerism. Because both rely on smooth sailing and those who have never been hit by internet congestion have for the most never ever used the full setting of it. Until very recently, Sydney NBN users had 4 hours a week of congestion, now consider having to fetch your Sex in the city, the latest movie, download games, watch reality (kitchen) TV and focus on the big footy games. So how welcome was that digital download game to the internet welfare of the family in the end?

 

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Iranian decisions

At 00:10 Tel Aviv Time, roughly 07:10 here, the time of waiting was over, Iran has fired its missiles on Israel making the outstanding option of an impending war a lot more realistic. In this the Guardian gives us (at https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/may/09/iran-fires-20-rockets-syria-golan-heights-israel) “Iranian forces stationed in Syria fired approximately 20 projectiles at Israeli military positions in the Golan Heights just after midnight on Thursday, Israel’s defence forces (IDF) said“, in addition we see “Several but not all rockets were intercepted by Israeli air defences, an IDF spokesman, Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus, told reporters“, whatever happens, will happen soon, because if sch a barrage cannot completely be stopped, we can deduce that it will not take long for Iran to take a more targeted notion, yes, my version is speculative, yet the warmongering words from the last weeks gives rise to take it all a lot more serious than it has been taken in the past. So when we see ““The IDF views this Iranian attack very severely,” Conricus said. “This event is not over”“, we better believe that more is to come. There is an additional setting, this attack could only have been done with the approval of President Bashar al-Assad, so he is feeling secure enough with Iran and Russia backing him, so the picture changes on a few fronts, this is no longer merely settling whatever Iran thought it was settling, this could have much larger repercussions. Turkey is already voicing support for Iran and siding with Russia (they are playing their hand cautiously, yet Turkey is all in with their anti-Israel views. It gets to be worse, because as the US pulled out of the nuclear Iran accord, we now see ‘EU rushes to arrange crisis meeting with Iran over nuclear deal‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/may/09/eu-moves-to-protect-european-firms-from-us-sanctions-on-iran), so even as we know that there are several things wrong, even as Iran meddled in other business and now is responsible for direct missile attacks on Israel, we see that Europe is still trying to make some level of a deal with Iran. It goes even further when we see “Work on the package being coordinated by the European Union is at an early stage, but the EU is being urged to warn the US it will impose countersanctions if the US attempts unjustifiably to cripple EU firms trading with Iran“, yet the foundation is that there has been more and more overwhelming evidence that Iran has not been dealing in good faith. When we consider the earlier settings that I mentioned 3 days ago in ‘Stopping Slumber, Halting Hesitation‘ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2018/05/07/stopping-slumber-halting-hesitation/), we can just quickly decide that they were prepping for all this, which would be incorrect, yet the fact that 20 missiles got there so quickly to be fired on the Golan heights also indicates that there was Iranian willingness to go that distance in several political branches and on pretty much all military levels, which is equally unsettling. The issue is that the EU remains a lot quieter when it comes to the involvement of Turkey. It is a personal view of mine, yet I believe that there will be diminished needs soon enough and there is a Turkey EU membership play coming. The beginning of ‘compliance delay messages‘ is merely an indicator, I believe that the fear mongering will get worse and too many parties are playing that game, that whilst the denial of Turkey into the EU should have been clearly made well over a year ago.  So when we are treated to “The European Union is scrambling to arrange a crisis meeting with Iran after Donald Trump pulled out of the nuclear agreement, as the Iranian president Hassan Rouhani said Europe had a “very limited opportunity” to save the deal“, we also need to keep in mind that terms like ‘could’ connected to ‘shut down UK’ on EU laws, this level of fear mongering is just beyond acceptable and we might all be better off in a direct war and whomever survives will suddenly demand near draconian treatment of the media, even as Leveson 2 is (for now) off the rails, the next crises will not go that smooth for whomever is demanding greater accountability of the media. That is not the only part, the entire Turkish economy and the S&P decision to regard Turkey. As it junkified its currency rating from ‘BB/B’ to ‘BB-/B’, we see a larger impact and when we consider that the Turkish lira (TRY) has fallen 7.4% this year and in that setting, including the corporate debt problems that Turkey is facing, the entire blow hard whilst they are not producing any music is more than merely wind in the air, as Turkish economic growth has been fueled by cheap international credit, we still see the need to pay for all that and now as we see (actually it was last month) with “Yildiz Holding—owner of the brands Godiva chocolate and McVitie’s biscuits requires a complete restructure of $6.5bn of its total $8.5bn of debt by the end of this week“, a cookie factory having an eight billion dollar debt? What else is in such disrepair? That shows just how desperate Turkey is at present to get into bed with almost anyone, that is what we are allowing in our midst and there is no level of fear that seems to be reflecting off the sides of EU Brussels and Strasbourg, which is also unsettling, now as they are optional diplomats in a really bad case of reconsideration by merely the EU to get the nuclear deal going, now we see the rise of mentions and soft press tapping on Turkish doors.

That alone should scare us beyond measure!

There is no case against it all and whilst Turkey is at a stage what some call ‘Hostage Diplomacy‘ whilst they are now upgrading their arsenal with the Russian S-400, the game switches and none of this will end up having a happy ending. For now we can leave Russia out of this as its focus is merely the US, or intermittent board hugging to make the US look bad via the EU, yet overall the setting here is not too negative (for now), the issue merely becomes hoe friendly it needs to remain with Iran in the mix, because there is the game on a different level. From my point of view there is a certain level of polarisation, even as Europe should stand next to Israel, it seems intent on standing ‘diplomatically‘ alone so that they need not stand opposing Turkey, that is merely one view, yet in light of its financial hardships and Turkish needs to be seen positive towards becoming an EU nation is not a good combination. So when we see the EU with “As long as Iran continues to implement its nuclear related commitments, as it has been doing so far and has been confirmed by the International Atomic Energy Agency in 10 consecutive reports, the EU will remain committed to the continued full and effective implementation of the nuclear deal“, which all might be very true, yet Iran has shown different colours in Syria and against Israel, so that stance is not merely wrong it promotes polarisation. On the one hand, the EU is not doing anything wrong from that one treaty point of view, yet in light of what we have seen in Syria, there are a lot more issues in play, not all are on Iran, some are allegedly issues for Iran to answer, but I wish to not use that in the examples, merely because they are allegedly part of anything, meaning they are part of nothing until confirmed and when we consider the utter uselessness on the last chemical attack reports, certain Syrian issues cannot be labelled to anyone but Syria itself. So as things in Syria escalates and as Iran is escalating them, or at least actively part of the escalation, the EU will need to take a stance sooner rather than later, they prefer later, yet when they are forced onto a corner and they select Turkey and Iran over Israel, the game will quickly change and not only is Europe feeling that drain, the impact that will happen in the middle East, is one that Europe will suffer for a much longer time than they bargained for and there is no quick solution for the wrong decision. That will be evident pretty soon at this stage.

So as we see one side evolve, we see in similar news from the Wall Street Journal (at https://www.wsj.com/articles/missiles-fired-at-saudi-arabia-signal-support-for-iran-by-its-proxies-1525886469) the mention “Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen fired a barrage of missiles into Saudi Arabia on Wednesday, an early indication that Iran’s allies in the Middle East are likely to flex their muscles in a show of support for their patron—risking a wider conflict“, I think that these events which were apart by merely a few hours had some levels of coordination. So when we see “Yemeni army forces, supported by allied fighters from Popular Committees, have fired a salvo of domestically-designed and -developed ballistic missiles at “economic targets” in the Saudi capital city of Riyadh in retaliation to the Al Saud’s devastating military aggression against their impoverished country“, we need to keep a clear mind. The missiles are said to be Yemeni (Borkan H-2 missiles), yet the information on the H2 is that it is said to be a short range ballistic missile with normally a range of about 1,000 kilometres (620 mi) or less. Even as we see it is almost capable of making the 1,036 km to Riyadh, the setting that we see with ‘economic targets‘, whilst at the maximum distance, the chance of actually hitting what is aimed for at the maximum range is a lot less likely or possible, not without and ace rocket and ballistic expert at the missile site; the Houthi’s are a little short on both, so we have, in my personal opinion, either Houthi’s that want to hit any part (mainly civilian parts) of Riyadh and they merely claim to be aiming for a bank, or the optional more likely setting is that Iran has been directly involved in training the Houthi’s or firing the missiles themselves. Now, we can opt for option one, yet the training curve would be a little devastating on all minds involved (even if you use targeting computers and software, yet they have had the time to train the Houthi’s for months, so it is possible, yet I personally see it as less likely (again merely speculation from my side), so when we consider that Iran is waging war on two fronts, so far (as far as I can recall) only Napoleon and Adolf Hitler were that stupid and how did it end for them? There is an optional thought that Iran will be hiding behind European coat tails in the end, but that is still speculation without evidence (at present), perhaps that is why Turkey is in a desperate state to become part of the EU?

I am merely asking, because the Iranian decisions we are seeing over the last 24 hours give rise not to the US, but to other players hoping to wage ‘extreme’ solutions to make things go forward for them, whilst the opposing player has no intention of playing nice, the US can’t start another war and Iran might be hoping that the EU is too unwilling to see its economic setting dissolved through armed conflict. It would be a decent tactic to play, but for now it merely remains a setting of speculation. Yet, in all this, there is more than just saber rattling. When we look at Reuters we see “Turkey will continue its trade with Iran as much as possible and will not be answerable to anyone else, Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekci said on Tuesday, as U.S. President Donald Trump said the United States was withdrawing from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal“, so we see Turkey with an utter lack of accepting accountability for the economic paths that they are trying to get on (aka the EU gravy train). How can anyone expect Turkey to have any level of civility in the setting of economic partnerships? Because in the EU setting, we have seen more than one play where such acts would not have been allowed, yet Turkey is setting the pace to do just that. It is an important setting as it gives Iran a green light they should not have had, it is merely the outspoken voice to set the colour of options, and that colour is the one of explosive red. That is shown by others as the setting that is not to be allowed. Even as we understand that there is a setting that Italy, Germany and France do not want these sanctions to happen, we see that their voice gives “Patrick Pouyanné, the chief executive of the French energy firm Total, has already called for the EU to pass a blocking statute“, which makes perfect sense, and it is likely to happen, yet when we see the Turkish response with “Turkey will continue its trade with Iran as much as possible and will not be answerable to anyone else“, it merely shows that they are nowhere near ready to be allowed into the EU as a member state, because when they do something like this after they are admitted, the game changes by a lot and from that moment onward Turkey becomes merely the liability of the EU, not a member of the EU and there is a large distinct difference, even as we see them in the current setting for now, there is absolutely no guarantee that they will not continue on the undermining path that they are on, we have seen too many instances of Turkey acting that way that way in the last few years.

When we return to Iran we seem to be in deep water, not healthy waters by the way, the Riyadh/Golan actions are debatable at the very least and the fact that they are being mixed gives light to the dangers that are upcoming. Can they be avoided is the larger question, I am unsure of an answer, the fact that Yemen and Syria happened at almost the same time is a larger issue to contemplate and I have no factual useful response. Waiting for now is pretty much all we can do. I don’t think that we have to wait for too long as Israel has already announced retaliatory strikes a mere 15 minutes ago (source: Haaretz). So this cookie will not merely escalate, it is certainly the setting where other cookies get crumbled as well, the mere question is: “What are our options as per tomorrow, or the day after?

I do not know, when it comes to Yemen, we all (mainly the EU, NATO and USA) sat on our hands for far too long and they have made it part of the package deal. So the first act (at present) might just depend on how much Saudi Arabia feels threatened.

 

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The reality of danger

The entire Palestinian UN issue or as some call it Resolution 2334, certain players decided to make certain moves. There will be long term consequences, yet what they are can only be speculated on. The Washington Post gave news last year (4 days ago, at https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/monkey-cage/wp/2016/12/29/trumps-plan-to-move-the-u-s-embassy-to-jerusalem-could-help-the-peace-process/) that is another issue that will play. There is a choice at times to place anything governmental, yet where to place it has been less of an issue. You see the initial quote: ‘move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem could help the peace process‘ is a loaded one. Like in the Netherlands, Israel is one of the few places where the embassies are not in the capital of that nation. Tel Aviv is the most important city in Israel and the central hub for all business. There is a reasonable speculation that Ben-Gurion airport is a driving reason in that. Yet Tel Aviv is only half the size of Jerusalem, which does not make the move wise or foolish. What is a given that moving the embassies to Jerusalem will spark massive response. What is interesting in the Washington Post article is the reference to the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995.

In this we see:

(1) Jerusalem should remain an undivided city in which the rights of every ethnic and religious group are protected.
(2) Jerusalem should be recognized as the capital of the State of Israel; and
(3) the United States Embassy in Israel should be established in Jerusalem no later than May 31, 1999.

We can see that this act was either ignored or basically not taken too serious. The quote “However, a built-in waiver provision intended as a temporary measure has allowed every president since then to delay the move at routine six-month intervals” gives voice to that. So in case of the Israeli case as a solid ally, the US would state ‘not this time around‘ twice a year. Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama, 10 years of delays, 20 delays. Now, we see that the new president will push forward. Still at this point there are a few considerations to keep in mind. It is the quote “But a reversal of the long time U.S. diplomatic boycott of Jerusalem could bode well for Israeli-Palestinian peace prospects. Sending a strong message that the new administration stands with the Israeli government on a major symbolic issue with high potential costs could push the Palestinian leadership to a greater sense of urgency in negotiations” that I have an issue with. You see, Mahmoud Abbas is on his last options, quotes like: “Mahmoud Abbas, Re-elected as Fatah Leader, Moves to Solidify Power” is one side the other is “Hamas delegates find welcome at Fatah conference, but not trust“. The ties between Abbas and Hamas are strained and the Jerusalem move could implode the connections. This comes from a 2007 statement by Mussa Abu Marzuk ‘the failure of any political process to solve the Israeli–Palestinian conflict will lead to ultimate victory and the destruction of Israel reflects the Logic of Implosion of the Resistance Network‘, This resistance network is not that visible. Unlike some claimants to be ‘all for Palestine‘ they tend to brag on social media using photo ops for visibility. There are connections we see regarding Mussa Abu Marzuk, yet there is clearly another side. The conspiracy theories regarding Assad’s mercenaries are as unreliable as it gets, yet there are seemingly links in Beirut that do require scrutiny (an open blog is not the place to do this), the reason for these mentions are the reality that the move to Jerusalem will spark actions by Hamas and anyone with anti-Israel sentiments. Jerusalem could become a powder keg in more than one way. When we look at the same quote again ‘move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem could help the peace process’, I have to conclude that this is not likely to be. The so called burning bridges tactic could become the fire that lights dozens of fuses. Even as Iran had seized funding to the larger degree (implied that this was done), it could be a move that will reopen acts of support from antagonists like Iran, I very much doubt that Iran will be the only one. You see, the embassies not in Jerusalem gave some parties the idea that certain topics could be reopened. This move, when it happens takes that off the table and several parties will not like that at all. Yet it is not all doom and gloom. The reality is that Palestine has a massive benefit when the Embassy moves go through. Consider the benefits that Jerusalem traffic towards a place like Bethlehem brings, which is on the Palestine side.

Yet, this is not about tourism. It is about the rationale of moving the US Embassy. There have been a few voices that the US Embassy would not be safer in Tel Aviv, yet my issue is that there will be more opportunities for extremists to attack it in Jerusalem. Perhaps I will be proven wrong, time will tell. It was last year, just before Christmas, when the Washington Post stated “The United States recognized the 1949 Israeli-Jordanian armistice lines as the new borders of Israel outside Jerusalem, but as for Jerusalem the U.S. position was to support the provision of the 1947 U.N. Partition Resolution, which called for Jerusalem to be a “corpus separatum under a special international regime . . . administered by the United Nations” (at https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/why-the-us-embassy-is-in-tel-aviv-not-jerusalem/2016/12/23/89b5b5a8-c703-11e6-acda-59924caa2450_story.html). As well as “By 1953, the United Nations had shelved plans for a “corpus separatum,” and West Jerusalem was de facto understood to be part of Israel. Keeping the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv had no relationship to the status of East Jerusalem. Not moving the U.S. Embassy to West Jerusalem in 1953 or thereafter was essentially a bureaucratic decision, devoid of any legal justification“. What is now an actual issue is that less than a day ago we see ‘State Department ‘not aware’ of efforts to move US embassy to Jerusalem‘ (source: Times of Israel), where we see “We’re not privy to any moves, any decisions or active efforts to go ahead and move the embassy,” Kirby told CNN“, which reads like a load of ….. (you know the missing word). This is because on November 10th we get “Adviser says Trump tsunami will shift U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem“, making John Kirby an actual idiot. His additional clue word ‘privy’ like it was a secret makes this even more ridiculous. The president Elect has spoken on the intention of this happening. Now the DNC might not like this, yet intentional misinforming the public to this degree in the last 3 weeks of office is just stupid. How can we see John Kirby in any serious continuation when he is racking up disaster statements like this?

So we have ourselves a ballgame, because we now see: “intended ambassador to Israel David Friedman said last month that he looked forward to working “from the US embassy in Israel’s eternal capital, Jerusalem.” Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said subsequently that the PLO would revoke its recognition of Israel if the US moved the embassy“, here we now get the direct consequence of dealing in any non-lethal way with terrorists. The mere ‘revoke its recognition of Israel‘ is a clear sign that Palestine cannot now, or ever be trusted. In that regard, when we see the Fatah–Hamas Gaza Agreement of April 2014, with an indefinite delay on election, we should see in that light the situation of Palestine. With president Mahmoud Abbas in lock-down whilst we see people speaking, clearly with the old man in charge, making him either a puppet or unreliable, likely both. This is the group that the UN wants to do business with. This is the group, which via Egypt started Resolution 2334. In that regard, regardless of the dangers. The option that the US and possibly even Australia are moving their Embassies to Jerusalem. A stronger message needs to be given, either we stand with Israel, or we let it all burn and in this day and age, and from my point of view burning it all is a waste of resources.

We have seen for more than a decade that the Palestine high command is not in charge. That same organisation that tried marketing in the form of “It sought to convince a sufficient core of leftists that the PLO wasn’t really committed to its goal of eradicating Israel. It actually was a peace movement in terrorist disguise”, how has that been working out? The Haaretz quote “Lemon asked Ashrawi to explain what steps the Palestinians have taken for peace with the Israelis, to which Ashrawi answered, “I think we are trying our best to make peace in every possible way” sounds deceptive to say the least, although we must take into consideration that Haaretz will always be pro-Israel, so we can’t really hope for fair and balanced in this equation and I am trying to take this into consideration. My evidence are the loads of Hamas Rockets, a Palestine leadership that plays turncoat depending on ammunition reserves and a so called nation that has decided to delay elections. All these elements are in play when we consider the Israeli issues. A side that we see repeated when we look at the US State Department (at https://www.state.gov/secretary/remarks/2016/12/266119.htm). The quote “Both sides committed to a plan to transition much of the West Bank and Gaza to Palestinian control during permanent status negotiations that would put an end to their conflict. Unfortunately, neither the transition nor the final agreement came about, and both sides bear responsibility for that“, which is true, yet in 1995 onwards, we see bombings and suicide bombings in bus stations like Ashkelon and Jerusalem in addition to markets and streets. With an explosion of events in 2001 and 2002. Now that there is more and more evidence that Iran is backing away with their funds (likely because of oil prices in the basement), now we see there is so much need for a solution, for a suddenly giving in to Palestine. Perhaps the US wants to remember how they dealt with Benedict Arnold. How he was given land and prestige in the US? This question comes to the frame of mind when we see the Times of Israel (not the only source) state “Transcript claims to show US worked with Palestinians on UN resolution” with in addition “An Egyptian paper published what it claims are the transcripts of meetings between top US and Palestinian officials that, if true, would corroborate Israeli accusations that the Obama administration was behind last week’s UN Security Council resolution condemning Israeli settlements“, even as it has been denied by the White House, the actions and the statements from several sides give way to acts of desperation, trying to flush a result that is beneficial to the image of those proclaiming a deal, yet negligent on the State of Israel as it has remained under attack  non-stop until 2011. Is it possible for President Obama to remember what happened on September 11th 2001, perhaps he can also remember how there were no UN resolutions to chastise the Taliban with subsequent acts of diplomacy? Perhaps he remembers them, perhaps he was too busy politicising things. In all this the act of Resolution 2334 seems to be more and more a rash act. Without it, the move of the US embassy might not have been on the table, now to patch things and state that the US is an actual friend of Israel the move seems to have been pushed, with that the additional instigation of questions and requests in Canberra to move the Australian Embassy as well, which in light of Operation Paladin with 12 man could have beneficial logistical options. Operation Paladin is part of the UN Truce Supervision Organisation (UNTSO).

There is still the issue of the actions that led the UK to push for this as well as unconfirmed rumours that New Zealand had received Phone Calls from London regarding the matter. There have been protests on all levels, yet the one in London remains for now a mystery. In light of the upcoming Brexit, this resolution was a bad idea for the UK, having the UK and New Zealand abstain at the very least, although opposing it might have been a better idea. In light of the changes that Iran is showing gives several lights, not all of them good or positive. The implied changes towards Hamas and other players give light that Iran is changing priorities on several levels. It is the Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center who gives the best quality info in this matter. The quote “A member of the Majlis (Iranian parliament) committee for national security and foreign policy told the reformist newspaper Ghanoon that unless Hamas changed its strategy towards Syria and stopped supporting the Syrian opposition, Iran would be forced to establish new ties with other Palestinian groups“, gives way to this (at http://www.terrorism-info.org.il/en/article/21125), it is almost like reading the alternative play ‘One man’s folly is another man’s fiend‘, a not so gentle or secure way to play this game, yet it  does give the additional view to the changes in Iran, a shifting of borders, lines of acceptance without diplomacy. A view we see reinforced with “Hossein Salami added that the United States, the Europeans and the Zionists were planning to contain Hezbollah’s activity, but that Hezbollah had become a significant regional force. If Hezbollah could operate in the unlit ditches and winding alleys of Aleppo, without a doubt it could fight even better in the streets of Haifa and Tel Aviv, he claimed (Tasnim and Sepah News, December 25, 2016)“. Is this merely the wishful thinking of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, the presentation inviting Hezbollah, a combination of these or something else altogether. It is up to Mossad to see where there actual enemies are, yet with Resolution 2334 their game has changed, because the clarity of friends lost means another strategy, one that the west hasn’t had for some time, because in all this, until there is clear crystallisation of who is an actual friend, certain parties will no longer receive any indirect intelligence from either Mossad or Shin Bet on anything NATO intelligence parties would need to know. As this part will get politicised very quickly, the next attack that gets missed will be a clear first indication on the not so clever act of Resolution 2334.

There is a reality of danger in all we see do and act on, yet imposing it and inviting it whilst certain parties have again and again refrained from being anything but unreliable is cause for concern. The map of the Middle East is being redrawn and the rash acts shown so far have had no positive effect at all, which should be a decent wake up call for a collection of foreign offices all around the world. Whether they do is up to them and good luck to those who get to clean up that mess.

 

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United we classify others

Two articles hit me a few days ago. One of them was an article describing a survey by the Reputation Institute. The news article titled ‘Tel Aviv ranked among least reputable cities‘. The article was found at http://www.timesofisrael.com/tel-aviv-ranked-among-least-reputable-cities/. This was an issue for me, because I have been to Tel Aviv. Why would it not be reputable, or at least one of the more reputable cities. In all that I wonder, because the top 600 cities (by population) are larger than Tel Aviv with its 425,000 people. So coming in at 92 whilst 600 are larger is still a good achievement. What puzzles me in all this is the part ‘least reputable cities‘. What makes a city reputable? I did not see the research or the questionnaire, but when we see “the Reputation Institute, asked 19,000 residents of France, Germany, Italy, the UK, Japan, the US, Canada and Russia to rank the world’s top 101 cities based on their levels of trust, esteem, admiration and respect“.

Trust, “In a social context, trust has several connotations“, which is nice yet did the interviewees realise that? The paper (at http://misrc.umn.edu/workingpapers/fullpapers/1996/9604_040100.pdf) gives a nice view on how trust is not an easy thing to tackle. at Page 43 we read “one can develop a good relationship with another person by gradually increasing Trusting behaviour, while at the same time decreasing any minor control measures directed at the other person. Decreasing controls includes less ‘checking up’ on the other person. It also includes moving from a formal relationship to a more personal, informal relationship

Which is nice when we consider that Russia, land of GRU and FSB gives way to ‘decreasing any minor control measures directed at the other person’, so do the interviewees from Russia consider trust the way a person from Sweden, the Netherlands or even Uruguay does? I can go on for the other nations, but in all, many have a feeling towards Israel, their view is biased from day one. Plenty with an anti-Israeli view, some with an anti-Jewish view, the probability of a mean will not apply here.

Then we get ‘esteem’, are they looking upon Tel Aviv in a particular way? Are they confusing esteem with ‘self-esteem’? All questions that go through my mind. We could state that Bagdad in last position is validly there, but over what level of reasoning? Because it is in a warzone?

Yet, do my thoughts invalidate the results? The paper as shown does give a solid foundation, the methodology sounds sound. In that I state ‘sounding sound’ is not entirely on the ball. You see, the heart of the respondent, how does that come in? The study overview states “G8 general public (only people who were ‘somewhat’ or ‘very’ familiar)” Yet what makes you somewhat or very familiar? How many Non-Jewish people who have been to Tel Aviv answered this? How many know this place. I was there, and I felt safer there than in Budapest (and Budapest is a decent and safe city). Tel Aviv scored less than Johannesburg, Hanoi, even Cape Town, known for its high crime ended up with a score better than Tel Aviv.

So what gives value to this report? This is not the setting of my view, it is a question. The question exists in my mind because if we give reputation and value to a place we must know and agree to the standards given here. That is the question that should be on your mind too. Now, you might not care about Tel Aviv for many reasons. The bulk of us will never visit the city, visit the country or end up anywhere near it. So how do we give value to a place, even when we are somewhat familiar? Yet there is more than just the result as given in the Times of Israel. Slide 22 when you get the 2015 reputation report (at http://www.reputationinstitute.com/), shows a very interesting part. Familiarity versus Reputation. So how about the places with low familiarity? How come their reputation is so high? Is it the media, because there again we see that Tel Aviv gets in the news when there are rocket attacks and terrorist issues towards Israel, so how can we consider reliability in this report? Beware my words, I am not stating that the methodology is in question, I am wondering how the validity of vision from the interviewee is correct. In a similar way, we can understand that Baghdad is graded poorly, but why is Tehran graded so bad, it is because of our impression of Iran? In that same context we might understand why Sydney, Stockholm and Melbourne are graded so high, yet in all this, what makes Zurich more reputable than Amsterdam or Oslo, perhaps because FIFA is placed there? With the FIFA news Zurich got a lot of visibility, but is that visibility correctly graded in the mind of the beholder? The issue here is the colouring by the media, that influence cannot be countered, which is why I think that Tel Aviv got placed so badly (in this 101 list). Behind all this is a bigger issue. It is the one reason why I object to some of these studies.

In my personal view this list caters to presentations and to some who need to see a national interest, it also places my own view in debate (as it should), not because my view is too shallow, but as we go through the iterations of reasoning behind this as we see in slide 24. The Advanced Economy gives view to the question ‘why is an advanced economy part of reputation or familiarity?‘ This connect on more than one level, which got me to ‘The Economics of Developing Countries‘, what makes for an Advanced Economy? In that view Peru, Chile and Uruguay are not amongst them, so with close to 1/3 of the measurement absent, in that case, how come Montevideo scored so high in that list? If it is the state of peace, we see something a lot more linking, Tel Aviv, Karachi and Abu Dhabi together, a pattern seems to emerge. In that view we must wonder as Tel Aviv is not in war, but under near constant attack. Now when we add Rio to all this, we see another pattern emerge, those not relying on ‘stability of peace’ we see the need for positive reinforced publications, Rio is certainly getting that. In all this we do not question the reputation institute or their methodology, it is all about the people giving their vote. It is that view which gives voice to my worry. Slide 24 is descriptive in all this. ‘Appealing environment’ is one, which give the view to ‘non war torn places’, Effective government is the second one. Yet, why is ‘effective’ government part of all this? You see, in my view, the most effective government is a corrupt one, a humane based government (like Norway and Sweden) tends to be expensive and not that effective. Perhaps effective government and humane government are terms that are interchangeable? I am just asking. In all this we see the four earlier words at the core of this. ‘Trust’, ‘Admire’, ‘Esteem’ and ‘Feeling’, so how does this all link?

Slide 25 gives us ‘Social, Economic & Environmental Policies’ in regard to ‘Effective Government’, are they for real? Environmental policies can be made more effective, but they do not, I say again absolutely not make for an effective government. In addition when an Advanced Economy relies on ‘Financially Stable & Future Growth’ we can state that Wall Street took care of that not happening in the last decade and in addition not for many more years to come, so when we acknowledge that the elements of attributes are an issue, does that not add question marks to the stated foundation of this report? In all this the summary from page 28 onwards makes sense. I do not disagree, I do not oppose it, but in all this, it is a view brought to us on the premise of a flawed view, the influenced view of the interviewee, that part is missing, which gives the question mark within me. This gets me to slide 34, a good reputation might influx tourism, yet in all this, the tainting influence of media becomes a colouring issue, discriminatory and revoking as we ignore or forget that perception is tainting and the press factor seems to be uncorrected for. So how is that not an issue in all this, or at least a non-correcting influence? This all gets me to the final part “living or working in the city, or deciding to invest in the city” might be deciding factors for anyone when the reputation is an issue, but on what foundation? Still overall the report remains an interesting piece of work, the supportive behaviour slide gives fuel to that.

My views do come to fruition in slide 40 where we see the two quotes “Communication is required to capitalize on good reality and overcome poor perceptions” and “Change is required to alter ‘reality’ and minimize reputational risk“. In my mind, this states that opportunity and risk are influential factors that can be pressed on by the media, the media sets perception and alters reality in a hundred ways, so does this paper show true reputation, or does this show how the media is too large a factor to ignore and in all this a place like Tel Aviv got introduced to the less reputable score than they should have gotten? The question is how we see a true score on reputation and perhaps that list is not completely incorrect, but in my personal view, the idea that Bangkok is more reputable than Tel Aviv remains an issue, one of perception and I have actually been to both places.

 

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In the lull of news

As people brace themselves for the outcome of another Greek deadline, the US army will find itself cut by 40,000 troops and there seems to be ongoing talks between Iran and interested parties. The last one is the one that feels like it is largely ignored. There is nothing sexy on nuclear talks and unless you are Israel, most people do not care. Yet, is that the clear truth?

This is what the BBC gives us (at http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-33424502), “The so-called P5+1 – the US, UK, France, China and Russia plus Germany – want Iran to scale back its sensitive nuclear activities to ensure that it cannot build a nuclear weapon“, which sounds of course really nice on paper (and in theory). Yet, when we look at the quote “The sticking points are said to include the duration of limits on Iranian nuclear research and development, guidelines for international inspections and how sanctions will be lifted. Tehran is also demanding that the UN ban on the import and export of conventional arms and ballistic missiles be lifted as part of any deal

We have to wonder for how long this ‘agreement’ will last and why we see ‘export of conventional arms and ballistic missiles‘, why is that? Perhaps certain Middle Eastern parties have been waiting on a Misagh-2 delivery? It might just be another model, so as we might understand that Iran would want to open options for import, the reasons for export are a little fuzzier as well as who would buy them? Russia? They have excellent missiles themselves and they supply them to nations all over the world too. So the question becomes, why allow for export? Especially when a captured stockpile of IS showed “26 of the recovered shells were made in Iran, an ally of Assad’s, and 18 were made in Syria itself, the report states” (at http://foreignpolicy.com/2014/10/06/where-does-the-islamic-state-get-its-weapons/). So certain parties are already getting arms somehow under an embargo, when the floodgate opens, the balance of power will shift in the Middle East, especially as certain parties are getting funded somehow (reference to Hamas). So even as we might not like, but could not openly object to Iran improving its defences (from Russian Stockpiles) there should remain a strong vigilant approach to not letting them export weapons of any kind.

In the Jerusalem Post we see the headline ‘Iranian official: US will remain our enemy despite emerging nuclear deal’, which is fair enough, and the quote “”Our enmity with them is over the principles and is rooted because we are after the truth and nations’ freedom, but they seek exploiting nations and putting them in chains” he explained further” is fair enough, we can’t all be friends, yet the problem is that its military commander stated ““This is the duty of the Muslim world to obey the order of the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution (Khamenei) and arm the Palestinian people so that a powerful response will be given to the Zionist regime,” said Brig. Gen. Ahmad Reza Pourdastan, commander of the Army Ground Force” not too long ago (august 2014), which beckons the dangers of letting Iran export weapons. Consider that a mere lieutenant or a master sergeant can lose certain items in his depot at times, so how much can get ‘lost’ in a depot when a General is calling the shots?

Is that so far-fetched?

This is at the core if the issue, the heart of the matter is quite a different thing here.

You see, the core is about the enrichment. LiveScience had an interesting quote “Separating that type of uranium from the more common variety requires a great deal of engineering skill, despite the fact that the technology needed to do it is decades old. The challenge lies not in figuring out how to separate uranium, but in constructing and running the equipment needed for the task“, so if we accept “The key to their separation is that atoms of uranium-235 weigh slightly less than atoms of uranium-238” so if the approach of a centrifuge gives us “Each centrifuge pulls out a little bit of uranium-238, and then passes the slightly refined gas mixture onto the next tube, and so on, until many hundreds of thousands of spins later, the gas remaining in the tube is almost entirely composed of uranium-235” a clear explanation by Jeff Binder, the isotope production program manager at Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

Yet is that the only way? Stanford University has a course called Physics 241, where we see Uranium Enrichment by Misam Jaffer, who also gives us “Laser separation: The use of laser separation for uranium enrichment is based on the principle of differential photoexicitation of isotopes of uranium by the use of monochromatic radiation. One such process is the Atomic Vapor Laser Isotope Separation (AVLIS) in which the laser light used photo ionizes a particular isotope while not affecting the others and changes its physical or chemical properties which are then utilized to separate the desired isotope, which in uranium enrichment is U-235. In doing so, the U-235 ions are positively charged and hence are attracted to a negatively charged plate and collected“, we will get all kinds of ‘experts’ telling us how this is not as efficient, or other words added into telling us on how this is not good enough. Yet, with Brig. Gen. Ahmad Reza Pourdastan in charge in Iran, ‘good enough’ is not the issue, the issue becomes, is it good enough to make a dirty bomb?

That is the fear Israel has been dealing with, because when missiles start flying from around Rafah, they will not need a hit, it just needs to get close enough to Beer Shiva, Ashkelon and Tel Aviv to make the issue evolve into something truly terrifying for the middle east, because at that point the US has absolutely no chance of getting a hold of the situation. the fact that some of the negotiating players have no clue (or do not care) regarding that danger is seen in the quote “Foreign ministers of the other powers started to return to Vienna on Sunday to help push for a swift deal“, please give me one example where a nuclear ‘swift deal‘ was ever a good idea, and in light of the glow in the dark consequences, should the word ‘swift’ be allowed to be used?

You see, the end quote “US Secretary of State John Kerry said on Sunday that reaching an agreement is possible this week if Iran makes the ‘hard choices’ necessary, but if not, the United States stands ready to walk away from the negotiations” sounds nice, yet the reality is, is that the US has not had any clear defining diplomatic victories for a long time, in that light, the word ‘swift’ is not that reassuring and I feel 99.53324% certain (roughly) that it leaves Israel with not such a good feeling either, especially that any lifting of the embargo means that their Iron Domes might have to work overtime soon thereafter.

The last part is not just an assumption, with many newsreels on missile attacks on Israel in 2015 alone.

So how did we get from Iran to Israel? Simple, Iran is an open supporter of Hamas. In addition, the top leaders of the Iranian military are eager to carve their names in history in anti-Israel acts and Hamas is eager to oblige. The fact that ISIS is all over Gaza and the Sinai only makes matters worse. So as some might strip away parts of any embargo on Iran, they should also keep a keen eye on what they give away, because it seems that the issue is not just ‘what could aid Iran’, but these people are also contemplating (on a daily basis) ‘what could hurt the US and its ally Israel’, there is not too much on that side of the equation, which makes any ‘swift deal’ a worry for several players (read victims) involved.

 

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Israel stands alone

I wish I had better news, but the situation as it deteriorates in the Middle East, might in the next immediate period give more pressure and dangers to the state of Israel then anyone realises. Is it more than Israel thinks it is? That is a little harder to see, but I feel certain that their bad case scenario had included options even worse than I would be able to foresee.

This is not just on the issues raised by the USA, or EU as published (at http://news.sky.com/story/1217922/us-and-eu-urged-to-halt-weapon-sales-to-israel), it is also the issues which will hit Israel as we see a deteriorating war theatre in Syria. When we see “Amnesty International criticises what it calls Israel’s ‘callous disregard for human life’ in its handling of Palestinian protests against occupation“. Is that the actual truth? Over 4000 attacks from Palestine missiles and mortars in the last 5 years against Israeli civilian targets, making almost 70 attacks a month for 5 years, so basically a little over two attacks a day, every day for 5 years (even more in the 5 years before that). These were almost all fired at civilian targets, which makes the Amnesty International report a coloured one. I am not just writing this from the back of the room. I have been there, I have seen the consequences and people that I know of have been in direct danger because of the acts of Hamas, Hezbollah and the groups acting in the Sinai. So, this is not just a far away from my bed situation (Dutch expression). When even today in 2014 see that the Palestine’s are stating “The Palestinian Authority adamantly rejects Israel’s right to exist” on a daily basis and the fact that this is still shown and proven at every turn. Is it a surprise that the tensions are not and will not be broken any day soon?

The second issue comes from State Secretary John Kerry, as mentioned by Sky News (at http://news.sky.com/story/1205342/israel-boycott-warning-dismissed-by-netanyahu),where we see the quote  “US Secretary of State John Kerry had suggested that a failure of peace talks with the Palestinians would accelerate calls for a ‘de-legitimisation campaign’ against the Jewish state

Is that so? The issue, as it has been known for decades is all about Israel’s right to exist. NOT ONE government has been able to swing this in favour of Israel EVER! So Mr Kerry, are you sure you want to be the one that is known as the person who acquired the label ‘the failed superpower USA‘ as we see not just the issues in Israel, but also the failings of campaigns involving Afghanistan, Syria and now the Ukraine? I am not stating that the last two should have been about military intervention, but diplomacy did not work. As the Syrian issues keep on escalating, the dangers that escalations move south of the Syrian border is not out of the question, when that happens the dangers for Israel will quickly increase. Even though many parties do not want the Syrian government to completely fall and left in the hands of several smaller extreme hands, the dangers, even if Syria moves on without President Assad will mean that pressures towards Lebanon will mean that the extremists now attacking Israel on a regular basis will end up with a lot more resources then they have at present. As we look at the mentioning of economic sanctions, the handling of it as we see in the newspapers about economic sanctions have for the most never ever worked.

Cuba is still there, even though it has been under massive economic pressure since 1962, the economic pressures against North Korea since 1950 also failed. They are still there; these two have nowhere near the resources of Russia, so how will the sanctions against Russia ever work? In addition, Russians are acquiring businesses all over Europe; the acquisition of Siebel in the Netherlands is one of the most visible ones lately. How will sanctions work in these cases?

This is all linked to Israel, let me get to that.

As we see the power of government (the US in particular) fall back because it has no power to stop businesses in many ways, we will see that governments are slowly losing power on a global scale (so not just the US). To some degree it will all be about the business and the local religion they depend upon, this evidence is seen as we see watch where big business remains and how it can deliver its projected forecast. This has been fact since the early 90’s. Now, as Europe needs and desires to do business all over the Middle-East, they will unite their view according to the need of their business. This does not make Muslims or Christians anti-Semites, yet the acts of individuals have been, especially when lacking moral and cultural insight, anti-Semite in nature. As long as the business makes that they need to achieve, they can get away with most acts of pro-profits. This places Israel, with a unique national religion in a dangerous place. When we see the article at http://www.haaretz.com/jewish-world/jews-reluctantly-abandon-swedish-city-amid-growing-anti-semitism-1.301276, in addition the news at http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4456356,00.html shows another side of one of the most liberal nations in the world. This is not a statement against Sweden, but the fact that this level of hatred goes on, even today, in several nations gives rise to the acts of Israel. Until the ‘right to exist’ is met by all its neighbours, and the Middle-East at large, this will go on and on. If anyone wants to make a statement on how it was ‘theirs’ in the past, then remember that the tribes of Israel were not just in Israel, they held parts of Palestine as well as a sizeable chunk of Syria as well. As this place became ‘slave shopping central‘ for both the Egyptians and the Romans, that area went from all to naught within 5 generations. So what is a solution? Well, as for the issues at hand, we could request two payments one from Egypt for 25 trillion and one from Italy for almost 50 trillion, not to mention the damage the Jewish population suffered from fanatical German acts. I am certain that Israel will make a deal to some extent. So if we go back long enough the issue could be settled, but the involved parties have nowhere near the funds to make restitution. In the end, is there a solution? It seems that there is, but not a peaceful one, not until the involved parties are willing to sit down and actually talk. In that regard, the US intervention has little or no power to hold any of it up. It is, especially at present, willing to sit at any table for economic reasons (not that this is a bad thing), but Israel knows that whatever deal will be gotten, it will not end good for Israel, the US knows this, it has always known this and at present, in their economic state of destitution they cannot afford to care about it. This is partially why the entire Iran situation will not be accepted by Israel, nor should it be by many nations. Be aware, I am not speaking out against Iran in this matter, but the issues as former president Ahmadinejad escalated them can easily happen again. Iran is the third largest nation in terms of oil reserves and this is why many parties are so adamant to make a deal with Iran (at http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/12/31/us-china-iran-zhenrong-idUSBRE9BU03020131231), as China is making new deals for oil, Iran will get an additional incentive of well over 80 billion, which the US is now missing out on. In an age of cash is king, the US is demoted from king to a mere tiny Earl and this is more than upsetting to these high and mighty US oil barons. Their business is wavering. So, as they will push for more and more business, the dangers Israel faces are also increasing. This is not about Hassan Rouhani, who so far is showing and proving to be an international diplomat. Israel fears what comes next in 2021. There is no indication that Hassan Rouhani is anything but a moderate, however the next one might not be like that and anyone who follows and is one step closer to a new Ahmedinejad will give the state of Israel a direct nuclear threat to deal with. They cannot allow for such a dangerous situation. It is all good and nice the things that John Kerry (as State Secretary) claims now, but when things go wrong, he will sit from a distance negotiating for talks whilst Tel Aviv partially glows in the dark. At that point those poor poor Iranians will be willing to talk (after the fact). When, at that point Israel stops existing, the Mediterranean is no longer a viable place and the fallout dangers to the eco systems of Greece, Italy and Spain will be regarded, by the US administration, as unfortunate. When a nation has no options, every step is one too many. Is my assumption a fair one? Consider the acts of former Iranian president Ahmadinejad; consider the acts of Hamas, Hezbollah as well as the Al-Qaeda groups currently in the Sinai. Mohamed Morsi was only just in office when Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood started staging anti-Israel rallies in Cairo.

I feel certain that John Kerry has been aware of all these dangers, as have the members of the state departments all over the world. So, if any solution is ever to exist, then getting the ‘right to exist’ for Israel, will be a mandatory first step.

So when I stated that Israel stands alone, I was not kidding. For those who are eager to deal with the oil states, will have to deal with many who are opposed to the existence of the State of Israel (avoiding stating the term anti-Semitism here). In this era of government bankruptcies, the Cash is King approach is painfully visible and there is no clear solution in sight any day soon.

 

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