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The economic insanity

We all have our limits, we all have parts we look at it and it just does not make sense. I am no different in that regard. I cannot fathom how a business survives at times. We all get that. I grew up having to walk to the grocer, the butcher and the general goods store when I was young. I got beef from one, I got cabbage from the other, we even had a potato vendor on a street called Vierambachtstraat (Rotterdam); this potato man had half a dozen of different kind of potatoes, sweet, non-sweet, large and small. We would pick up a bag 3-4 KG and it would be more than enough for a week (household of 5). At some point he left us, he stopped, the grocer remained for a while, yet I was still around when he left and it was replaced for a record store. The general goods store had already left. You see, a Supermarket called Albert Heijn had taken over and the other stores could no longer remain there. The butcher remained, yet over time he too would fall away it is now a furniture store I believe. My house is still there, yet none of the shops remained, over time they were replaced by other shops, a mere sign of the times.

So when I was confronted with ‘Interserve shares fall as growing debt sparks fears over its finances‘, I initially merely glanced. An outsourcer called Interserve; it seems to be something trivial. That is, until you realise the part “The Company, which carries out building work and provides services such as cleaning, said debts would be between £625m and £650m by the end of the year, having earlier said debts would be £575m to £600m“. So even if we would trivialise all this, in which universe would a company have any chance to survive with an initial debts of ‘£575m to £600m‘? The fact that it will be fifty million pounds more should be the fuel to the fire. A company will be in debt for well over half a billion pounds and people are worried? Why on earth were the members of that board of directors and their children (and grandchildren) not sold into white slavery on a market in Marrakech? You see, I get it, any company will have downturns and we should allow for repairs on that, yet when a company is the pressure on the existence of small companies, whilst it act as a behemoth with a workforce of an estimated 75,000 people worldwide, we need to up the ante. These people are pushing the envelope hoping that they would be like any bank ‘too big to fail‘ leaving it up to politics and wheeling and dealing to get them out of the hot waters, to save and saviour their hot potatoes some might say.

Even as we see: “It comes a week after Interserve was forced to comment on the state of its finances, after shares tumbled to a 30-year low over fears it was heading the same way as Carillion, the rival outsourcing firm that collapsed in January“, was that not a wakeup call to set the stage to push for oversight much faster?

We are also introduced by Russ Mould, investment director at AJ Bell to: “Chief executive Debbie White and her team are clearly doing their best to steady the ship at Interserve but the admission that net debt will end the year higher than expected, not helped by how the cash inflow from the troubled energy-from-waste business will be lower than hoped, means the company has yet to reassure shareholders and potential investors about the key issues that face it.” I am not sure how we should see this, in view of: ‘how the cash inflow from the troubled energy-from-waste business will be lower than hoped‘. When should we accept ‘lower than hoped‘? That implies speculative investment with funds that they never had and playing the gamble card in corporate expectations. So when these debts hit full on, who gets to pay for that, the taxpayer? It is my personal believe that until the debt is gone, none of the board of directors should be allowed any income above £100,000 with in addition all bonuses scrapped until the company goes out of the red. In addition, there should be no weight to the claim: “Interserve, which provides a range of services for schools, hospitals and government departments across the UK, agreed a £300m rescue plan in March, at a time of heightened pressure on the outsourcing sector and in the wake of Carillion’s collapse under a mountain of debt.” From my personal point of view, they took jobs and under-priced them forcing the small fish out of the water of revenue, and then they use that shortfall to push taxation to zero whilst walking that path too often in too many divisions. That is how I personally see this and I might be wrong. Yet in all this, that is seemingly the path too many large players play it, undermining services for the longer time whilst the others have no option to get into the business. The government might like the short sold services as it looks good on their costing spreadsheet, yet when group of 75,000 people end up to the larger extent being unemployed, the damage will merely increase for all the parties involved. Russ Mould also gives us: “some investors would wonder why Interserve was waiting until 2019 to unveil a new plan designed to reduce debt, whilst the share price slide suggests the company’s situation remains acute“. In light of that we see the urgent need for players like that to suffer a lot more oversight, the withdrawal of all bonuses and capping of income. In a state where we see an escalating stage of danger to staff members on almost every level (I did say almost), we see (at https://www.interserve.com/docs/default-source/investors/financial-reports/integrated-reporting/2017/2017-full-year-pdf’s/governance-report.pdf) the mention of something I will address shortly, whilst we see (at https://www.constructionnews.co.uk/companies/contractors/interserve/interserve-ceo-set-for-125-bonus-for-2017/10030955.article). Can anyone explain to me how well over half a billion shortfall gives rise to: ‘Interserve CEO set for 125% bonus for 2017‘, you might think that this was merely last year, yet consider that one company has a shortfall of well over half a billion in one year. That does not happen, this has been going on for a much longer time and whilst we accept that any company gets to have a hard time, it seems utterly unacceptable that its board of failures in managing that get to go home with £525,897 (the bonus of Chief executive Debbie White) for 4 months of work and if things go really south, to sit at home on the sofa optionally watching Netflix and porn for 5 years whilst the market ‘restores’ itself. It gets to be even less tasteful when we also see: “This includes an annual variable pay (AVP) bonus of £270,089, which is 125 per cent of her pro-rata base salary of £216,667 since she joined in September 2017 – the maximum available under the AVP scheme” are you feeling betrayed yet? She should be regarded as HMRC positive and kept in isolation, removed from income until the company is again in the non-red numbers zone.

Was that over the top?

When we consider the first report which is 62 pages, we see that plenty of space was used to give rise to bonuses where three people get to go home (in a best case scenario) with £2.555, £1.593 and £1.168 million. In a setting where we see that a company minus zero setting, towards the one billion mark in the red, how is there even a case for a best case scenario? How is it that we see all kinds of share and cash deals whilst there is a real issue with this type of company? Should we not see a whole range of other questions holding the HMRC responsible for allowing this situation in the first place? Whilst the cheapest of the three (other executive director), optionally being a figure of speech for a lot more than one person the issue merely intensifies. Their minimum pay is £380K, which is close to 1,800% of the average annual UK income; giving rise that one year would enable a person to afford a person to go on a holiday for close to 10 years. I never had that option, not in two decades of loyal service, interesting how some people are just not held accountable for bad turns is it?

So whilst these high and mighty desk jockeys get to relax over Christmas, considering on how to tackle it all in 2019, as per ‘Interserve to roll-out £650m debt reduction plan‘, they will leave staff in pressure and under threat of being laid off. It gets to be even worse when they ‘hide’ behind “This deepened due to additional cash outflows on Energy from Waste as well slow payments in certain Middle Eastern markets“. If they have been there they know what the cycles of payments are. They know on what is to be expected. So if there is plenty coming in, there should not be an issue. When jobs fall through, it is known as well, so even as there is a slack from the energy from waste, it seems that merely lose statements are given and they might not hold water under accountancy scrutiny here.

As for the books

There we see that PwC are to be the financial advisors, some sources give rise to other parts. The independent report (at https://www.interserve.com/docs/default-source/investors/financial-reports/integrated-reporting/2017/2017-full-year-pdf’s/financial-reports.pdf) talks about ‘we’, but who is ‘we’? The report is 100 pages and it was set for the December 2017 point, yet there too we see a few things. If we are to accept certain previous statements, we see “We performed targeted procedures over component entities in Guernsey, Oman, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Australia, Hong Kong, the Philippines and the United States of America. We performed analytical procedures over component entities in all other geographical locations“, so when we see the larger picture, how does the ‘Middle East’ reference hold water? This would imply they’re UAE, Qatar, Oman and Saudi Arabia customers. There are still plenty of other locations, even if it is largely weighted to those 4, the mention “as well slow payments in certain Middle Eastern markets” seems less valid. The shortfall of well over half a billion does not hold up, because if it was all due to investment, there would not be a shortfall to report, those debts are different. That is where the report on page 114 seems to give a little light. We see: “A further update was given to the market on 21 March 2018, indicating that short-term facilities had been extended for a further month to 30 April 2018. The Group announced that it had concluded refinancing negotiations and had arranged access to committed borrowing facilities of £834 million on 27 April 2018.“, on the other side of that page, we see: “assessing the appropriateness of sensitivities applied to the Adjusted Cash Flow Forecast to evaluate whether liquidity headroom and covenant compliance had been subjected to appropriate stress tests;” when they come up short by another £50 million, one might argue that either the stress test was wrong, or elements were unknown or merely ignored. I cannot tell what, why, who or which, yet it does not seem to add up.

So as that page ends with: “As a result of our work, we concluded that there were no matters in relation to going concern to which the ISAs (UK) require us to report to you“, I will offer that the news is giving us a £50 million reason proving that statement to be wrong (or at least partially). There is also increasing consideration that the auditing firms needs additional scrutiny, as jobs are handed over from one firm to another, there is the option that it speculatively gives rise to nepotism, as well as the danger that they all play the same game in what should not be required to be reported. The last is also highly speculative, yet the shortfall over 50 million as well as the debt surpassing half a billion proves me at least partially correct.

The question is how to move forward. There is a point of view that gives rise to a lot more than merely changing the laws towards outsourcing. There should be a long term accountability system in place, as it might all seem to be nice and correct on the balance sheet, the mere worry is that there is a long term impact. Should we see additional pressures where Interserve goes the way of Carillion, there might be a pressing point to start considering making that change. In an age of global accountancy where the costs are stored local, whilst indirectly the booked profits are staged to go to the land of the shareholder (wherever that is) we see an imbalance of accountancy that is seemingly all fine, yet makes no logical sense altogether. That might be one of the biggest settings that governments are facing in Europe and on a global stage.

Perhaps I will take tomorrow to give you a clear picture on what I mentioned here in examples. At that point I will be bringing graphics to the table as well.

 

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Liberalism overboard

We can agree that there is in many places a setting of ‘freedom of speech’. For the most, I have always supported that, and even though I know that there is an overwhelming amount of exercise in the ‘art of free speech’ for the mere setting to do harm and to inflict insult onto others, the largest portion of people are about merely voicing personal opinion, or in some cases to evangelize their version, or better stated their interpretation of events through free speech. I do still believe that freedom of speech is a much larger advocate of good then evil. The question becomes, what happens when the intent is a malicious one?

In America one of the most famous cases of free speech is still Hustler Magazine, Inc. v. Falwell, 485 U.S. 46 (1988). From the New York Times at the time we get “the Court held that the First Amendment gives speakers immunity from sanction with respect to their speech concerning public figures unless their speech is both false and made with “actual malice”, i.e., with knowledge of its falsehood or with reckless disregard for the truth of the statement“, that is the important setting in this case, and even if this is regarding a setting in different nations, it gives a clear view on where most of us are, or should be. So when I was confronted with “a Prophet Mohammed cartoon contest organized by anti-Islam PVV leader Geert Wilders“, a person who has a visible anti-Islam view, when we are clear and in the know that images of the prophet Mohammed are a massive taboo in the entire global Islamic population, why can we allow a political party leader to set a stage of mental duress to Islamic people of all ages? The fact that this competition is to be held in a closed part of Parliament closed or not reflects even worse on the Dutch government.

If I was an emotional person (which I am not), I would plead with the United Muslims of Australia (UMA) as well as a few Muslim governments on the idea of a fantasy story, the topic would be ‘How to assassinate a politician‘, it is partially important that the people realise that I am a Catholic, not a Muslim. It would be open to all Muslims from 14 to 20 years old and the story needs to surpass 8000 words. We will ask a prominent member of Muslim society to consider being the judge of all those stories.

I am as rich as a church mouse (read: therefor the opposite of rich), so I cannot make a price available, so we need sponsor willing to host the artistic exercise and the winner should get a decent award and we will send all the submissions in PDF form to the Dutch Parliament as a statement of objection on what PVV Leader Geert Wilders had set in motion.

You see, the steps are important for the mere setting that there must be a dialogue with people that is not set on hatred and in equal measure, people fuelling the fires of hatred should no longer be allowed in politics. The fact that we were offered: “In 2015 Wilders attended a Mohammed cartoon contest in Texas. He left just before jihadists tried to commit an attack“, it was a clear message (apart from the one in France). So the Dutch politician was in attendance at this event on Dutch Memorial Day (regarding WW2), when we are treated to: “Two gunmen who opened fire outside a competition for the best cartoon depicting the Muslim prophet Muhammad near Dallas in the United States on Sunday. PVV leader Geert Wilders was the keynote speaker at the event. The police shot and killed both gunmen. A security officer was injured“. It was at an American event, in America that called for, and knowingly invited for an action of extremism. A hate group hiding behind “He told the audience that most terrorists are Muslims and “the less Islam the better”. “We are here in defiance of Islam to stand for our rights and freedom of speech,” he said during his speech. “That is our duty.”“. the two sides is that we do not deny a freedom of speech, yet when you use that freedom to knowingly and intentionally inflict harm to others, how does that go over with you?

In this it is the current nightmare for Stef Blok who is currently heading the foreign office. It is a nightmare, because not only is it a setting where a politician is intentionally insulting a religion, not only is this a set stage, it is one that is ALLOWED to be done in Dutch Parliament.

No matter how good most of the Dutch are, no matter how dedicated they are to excellence. when we consider the business model (at https://www.khaleejtimes.com/business/local/dutch-model-attracts-uae-firms), when we see that the setting of “Twenty-seven of the 60 projects come from the UAE“, when the attached “Currently, we have 60 investment projects from the Mena region together investing more than 1.1 billion euros and creating more than 2,000 jobs“, when that falls away due to the insult of their national religion, when the people in the UAE are made aware of the insults that PVV Leader Geert Wilders is allowed to get away with. How long until the funds stop and the jobs go to the UK, France and perhaps Australia? When we get Jeroen C.M. Nijland, commissioner of the Ministry of Economic Affairs at the Netherlands Foreign Investment Agency (NFIA), now having to state that economic times have taken a step back due to ‘abused freedom of expression’ in a stage of intentional malignant acts against Muslim nations on a global scale. When these 2,000 jobs fall away? What will be the excuse Dutch officials will announce in line to the ‘Due to uncontrollable elements, the Dutch deficit will rise from 1.1% to an expected 1.9%‘, or perhaps “The economy will grow by 3.3% in 2017 and a projected 1.3% in 2018“. When one party represents close to 50% of the Netherlands Foreign Investment Agency, getting the scope of alienating economic partners correct tends to become extremely important.

In that regard, when the President of the United Arab Emirates, Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan learns that Dutch parliament was allowed to be used for such an event. How do you expect that he is likely to react? When Saudi Arabia learns of this, a nation now ready to give reign to around one trillion dollars in projects for the next 7 years (the new Neom city included as well as other Saudi projects), in that light, just how stupid was the setting of facilitating to Geert Wilders in all this?

A setting where the technological growth, especially in 5G projects will be the largest in the history of the world (for now that is), when these projects could feed corporations for close to two generations, getting ‘political correctness’ a little better under control is close to everything. So, I do remain a ‘champion’ of free speech, but we should learn to see accountability equally important, especially when there is as what I personally see as clear intentional malice in play. In that regard it was never about ‘freedom of expression‘, was it? So, if we accept fair play, then the Dutch economy should rely on business partners that are not fundamentally Muslim and perhaps they can get the same amount of projects and revenue in Asia, or Africa, or perhaps America. Was America not that nation that has such a booming economy? You see, plenty of other nations to get the 27+ replacement contracts.

I think that this should be the impact of Liberalism when it goes overboard. When we dig deeper and we consider the Society of Personality and Social Psychology (SPSP), we see “findings confirm that conservatives, liberals, the religious and the nonreligious are each prejudiced against those with opposing views. But surprisingly, each group is about equally prejudiced. While liberals might like to think of themselves as more open-minded, they are no more tolerant of people unlike them than their conservative counterparts are” (source: Politico.com). Mark Brandt, Geoffrey Wetherell and Christine Reyna created the paper ‘Discrimination Across the Ideological Divide. The Role of Value Violations and Abstract Values in Discrimination by Liberals and Conservatives‘ (2013). Here we see “conservatives were more discriminatory than liberals toward liberal groups, and liberals were more discriminatory than conservatives toward conservative groups. Conservatives’ discrimination was driven by their higher traditionalism and by liberal groups’ apparent violation of their values. Liberals’ discrimination was driven by their lower traditionalism and by conservative groups’ apparent violation of their values. Complicating matters, conservatives highly valued self-reliance, which weakened their discrimination toward liberal groups, perhaps because self-reliance is associated with the freedom to believe or do what one wants. And liberals highly valued universalism, which weakened their discrimination toward conservative groups, likely because universalism espouses acceptance of all“. Yet the foundation is not the setting of prejudice that we all will have to some degree, what happens when this prejudice is coated in intentional malice? What happens when malice is the cornerstone of the politician and the spokesperson on an agenda that is drenched in self-interest and in that knowingly sets the stage of ‘absence for consideration‘ towards the economic setting that is part of a governing parliament, a parliament that Geert Wilders is a part of? When we see that the economic partners walk away, is that prejudice or the cost of doing business? When we accept certain cultural business partners, should we accept that a level of accountability is to be expected when the ‘freedom of expression‘ is set towards the stage of intentional malice?

You see, for me the exposure would be merely business. I can, to some degree take the slack of these 27 projects and claim my 3.75% of 1.1 billion euros and assist in getting the UAE the quality replacements that do take a level of political correctness in their stride, especially the political players that are unwilling to play fast and loose with a billion euro’s by not allowing parliament to be used for intentional malicious anti-Islam events.

So am I suddenly anti-Dutch? Am I suddenly anti freedom of speech, or anti freedom of expression? No, I am not. I merely state that ‘intent of malice’ should not be allowed, especially not in any house of parliament. I do also accept that the Charlie Hebdo case is a sensitive one, yet in that this was acting within France, in a total satirical case and it was not merely Islam. The setting was also anti Catholic and anti-Judean. One could argue that the magazine treated all religion, as well as politics and culture to a larger degree with contempt. I do not accept that the act against the Charlie Hebdo on 7 January 2015 was an acceptable one. For the most also for the driving reason that they were not singling the Muslim religion out as a target for their satire. In their setting it was about freedom of expression against all they viewed, not just one religion. There was a debatable absence of malice here.

This does get me on a slippery slope and I admit to that. You see, when we set that stage, is there intent or absence of malice? Is satire an intention of malice? No, when it is done over the top and in the staged setting of a cartoon, I remain in line of the Hustler Magazine, Inc. v. Falwell stage. It is cartoon, over the top expression of ridicule, like the two Hebdo images. And as a Catholic, I can look onto that setting and giggle. We never had the absence of icons and images towards religious Christian figures. It changes the field completely.

When liberalism allows for, and to the larger stage supports intent of malice, that is when we need to sit down and wonder just how far over the top have we gone? It is a discussion that the Dutch need to have in the very near future. That pressure will grow when it is no longer merely Pakistan formally complaining, but when Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Oman, Turkey and Indonesia follow suit and stand with Pakistan. At that point it might be too late for the Netherlands to merely do this away with some political statement. At that point it will require much larger efforts by the ambassadors in those nations to go into damage control mode and fix the mess that Geert Wilders was allowed to make in the first place.

It suck to be Mr Laurens Westhoff, Mr Joost Reintjes, Dr Bahia Tahzib-Lie, Mrs Laetitia van Asch and Rob Swartbol in the coming weeks. I have no doubt that in these places there will be a lot of outrage on the matter (and a few other places too).

The fact that this started in June and was not the front page setting in many papers was to some degree an issue, the fact that Pakistan made a formal complaint about the setting and the fact that the newspapers are ignoring the issue over the past 48 hours is also an issue, especially when we are confronted with the setting “Mazari said the actions of Wilders, who heads the Dutch Freedom Party, was a clear violation of human rights of Muslims in Europe as well as a violation of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedom“, so we see Human rights issues in almost every paper, yet when it is Pakistan minister Shireen Mazari, the papers set it aside? Will it all become an outspoken stage on the Pakistan blasphemy law that still attracts the death penalty? In this stage and those settings, we need to accept that there is a much larger hypocrisy in play, so when I limelight the issue, partially so that I can fly in with an option towards 3.75% of One billion Euro, I feel perfectly justified in my actions, at least I was always willing to state out the settings, even when I was wrong (the Jeremy Corbyn stage of a funeral in Tunesia), I had no issue about correcting the stage as to what it truly was (to the degree that I was able to validate).

 

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The Qatarian debacle

There is no denying it, we sometimes take the most stupid steps, even though it was for the best intentions. Yet when we are confronted with the reality, it becomes a different thing, especially when corruption and corporations intervene. First we were confronted with the prospect of Qatar 2022, I was actually pretty happy about it. To bring the enthousiasm of Soccer into the Middle East is a good thing, it opens all kinds of dialogues between Middle Eastern nations and as Europe has one universal event in common, soccer could have become the bridge between the nations in Europe and the Middle East. That’s how I naively saw it. But it took merely a week or two until suddenly the accusations of corruption came out of the woodwork. More and more news outlets have become the ‘whores’ of shareholders and stake holders, all in fear because it wasn’t merely about Qatar, it was the fact that it would be held in winter overlapping the normal soccer season, leaving us with the clear set that clubs could not play with their stars representing the national teams. With all that advertisement opportunity gone, they are all screaming like bitches. The biggest of them (Martin Ivens) is part of this (at https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/plot-to-buy-the-world-cup-lvxdg2v7l7w), and when we see “revealed for the first time this weekend in a bombshell cache of millions of documents leaked to The Sunday Times“, the editorial has a clear duty to inform the public showing the evidence. The fact that ‘millions of documents‘ were parsed is close to impossible, but that’s going to be another story. Yet since June 1st 2014, we keep in getting more and more speculations, yet no evidence was presented. In the end, the FIFA corruption was merely parsed aside, no clear imprisonment, merely ‘a six-year ban from participating in FIFA activities‘, the corruption and the facilitation to the stake holders and shareholders have gone that far, yet no one presented clear evidence at any level to the public, partially my setting for demanding Martin Ivens that he gets the hell out of journalism.

In all this, Qatar has remained the battered victim (in this instance) and I thought it was good for those shareholders and stakeholders to feel the consequences of diminished value for a change. Yet that is not happening. Still, we see is some olive branch towards soccer by setting the news as we saw it in the Washington Post with ‘FIFA could expand World Cup to 48 teams in 2022, ahead of schedule‘, either it is a 50% bigger strain for Qatar to keep up with the changes or it collapses and the torch quickly gets handed over to another soccer nation pleasing all stake holders involved.

Yet the issue is now escalating and not in a good way, it is also not on the soccer side that things are becoming a mess. In this case it is not about the article (at https://www.thenational.ae/world/britain-warned-over-qatar-s-london-intelligence-network-1.749819), where we see the quote “A group of Arab countries demanded action from the British government to restrict an expansion of Qatar’s intelligence activities in London, including surveillance operations as well as political and propaganda activity“, I am not sure if this is actually happening, but it is one part that increases the pressures going on. The actual dangers are coming from two siders, the first is seen in Haaretz (at https://www.haaretz.com/us-news/how-qatar-is-warming-ties-with-both-trump-and-iran-at-the-same-time-1.6247714), where we get ‘How Qatar Is Warming Ties with Both Trump and Iran – at the Same Time‘, it is the Iran side that is a worry. We might take notice of an old fact given in “Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt severed ties with Qatar in June 2017, accusing it of fomenting regional unrest, supporting terrorism and getting too close to Iran, all of which Doha denies“, yet that is not the danger (at present). In addition we see the actions (the clever actions) from Qatar with “A review on Monday of Foreign Agent Registration Act records show that since May 31, six U.S. companies or individuals have registered new Qatari lobbying contracts with the Department of Justice. That number includes the major firms Ogilvy (which is being paid $10,000 per month) and Portland PR ($20,000 per month)“, in addition, Ogilvy gives them full access to the Commonwealth, so London (as mentioned earlier), Canada and Australia are part of the setting to change public opinion, a task Ogilvy is very good at. The second part is different, when we look (at https://en.mehrnews.com/news/135396/Iran-1st-quarter-export-to-Qatar-quadrupled-year-on-year), we see something that seems harmless enough, yet the fact that “In the first quarter of the current year of 1397 (March 21, 2018- June 21, 2018), 74 million and 61 thousand dollars of goods were shipped from Iran to Qatar, which has increased by 214 percent year-on-year“, seems innocent enough, yet it also gives us that with over $300 million of trade goods before the end of the year, a large amount of people go back and forth, which also optionally offers military advisors as well as people of the Hezbollah persuasion opportunities and now it becomes a very different game, now we have a setting that allows for the settling of units and their sole reason for playing possum the next three years is to go out with a bang in November 2022. Consider this setting against the Washington Post of April (at https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/hacked-messages-show-qatar-appearing-to-pay-hundreds-of-millions-to-free-hostages/2018/04/27/46759ce2-3f41-11e8-974f-aacd97698cef_story.html) where we see ‘Hacked messages show Qatar appearing to pay hundreds of millions to free hostages’, the operative word is ‘appearing’. When we see both: “with a half-dozen militias and foreign governments jostling to squeeze cash from the wealthy Persian Gulf state. “The Syrians, Hezbollah-Lebanon, Kata’ib Hezbollah, Iraq — all want money, and this is their chance,” Zayed bin Saeed al-Khayareen, Qatar’s ambassador to Iraq and chief negotiator in the hostage affair, wrote in the message. “All of them are thieves.” And yet, the Qataris were willing to pay, and pay they did, confidential documents confirm“, as well as “they appear to consent to payments totalling at least $275 million to free nine members of the royal family and 16 other Qatari nationals kidnapped during a hunting trip in southern Iraq“, there are issues that do not add up. Now consider that such a large group of dignitaries was too unprotected as well as the fact that this event did not become world news on every level!

Now we have a series of players like Kata’ib Hezbollah and Hezbollah-Lebanon ready for the next event. This they will play really clever, with $150 million ready, they have the time to prepare and truly make the beginning of Qatar 2022 go badaboom (big badaboom); Qatar gets to play the wounded victim and whatever happens will be in the news for years to come after that. The fact that this threat is actually growing and no longer unrealistic is also part of the issue now for considering the relocation of Qatar 2022 to somewhere else. That setting was not there in 2014, or not as far as I would be able to tell. What is now a given is that not only is there an actual danger here, the fact that this setting exists, is an additional threat to Saudi Arabia, if they will be able to attack the stadium as well as fire missiles on Riyadh, the stage changes as Riyadh is now a mere 449.23 Km, very much within range of several missile solutions. Tactically speaking they would come into Qatar into parts, like as spare parts for engineering equipment, most could be hidden in several ways and with $300 million in goods, the chance of finding even one part is close to impossible. They will have 3 years to assemble it all. Saudi Arabia is not alone, as this situation unfolds, we need to realise that the UAE and Abu Dhabi is a mere 200 Km away, an equally appealing target for Iran. You might think that it is not an option, yet the ‘goodwill’ that Iran bought with missiles for Hezbollah is exactly why it is an optional reality to face; it is the cost of doing business.

So, as we consider the cost of doing business we can only hope for the places like Ogilvy that if this happens that they have all the right paperwork ready for their presentations on what they facilitated for. It’s not like it might actually impact its parent company WPP plc, is it? We can only watch (and smile) from the sidelines when its £55.56 billion value starts fading like snowflakes in the summer sunshine. Should you think that I am kidding and my view is far-fetched? Consider what happens when 200 countries filled with an estimated 3.5 billion devoted soccer fans go berserk. I will be selling tickets and popcorn to that event and make a killing (figuratively speaking).

The Qatarian debacle was poorly set from the very start, it was a non-issue and whilst people filled their pockets we saw close to no concise actions against FIFA for decades. Now that the world stage, especially in the Middle East is polarising and escalating on several fields, we see that the allowed setting is becoming more than merely ‘optionally hazardous‘. The actions on several sides give a clear danger that no matter how you slice it Qatar 2022 is a clear tactical target, not only for the players, but the amount of dignitaries attending are now are set in a stage where the tiger gets offered a pound of flesh and everyone on the sidelines is considering that the tiger might be a vegetarian whilst it all gets aired in prime-time to every part of the world, you tell me who the short sighted player in that stage is.

 

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