Tag Archives: UN Secretary-General

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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The failure of a current generation

If we look at the failures that we have seen going all the way back to the 80’s, there is a growing concern that the United Nations might be the biggest failure of all. Before I go into the deeper more complex parts, let’s take a look at some of these failures, whilst we need to realise that other optional successes have no impact at all.

June 2016, it might be one of the few times where the existence of a whistle-blower was essential. Anders Kompass, director of field operations at the UN human rights office in Geneva was suspended because he became the whistle-blower on exposing the sexual abuse of children in the Central African Republic (at https://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/apr/29/un-aid-worker-suspended-leaking-report-child-abuse-french-troops-car). A man suspended whilst elements in the United Nations were on an eager path to distort the truth. The Deutsche Welle (at http://www.dw.com/en/bolkovac-un-tries-to-cover-up-peacekeeper-sex-abuse-scandal/a-19082815) gives us: “continued scandals surrounding the UN botched, covert and now overt, attempts to remove, terminate and discredit those who blow the whistle on their deeds. The terms cover-up and whistle-blower are common within the walls of the United Nations and peacekeeping missions“, in addition we see “The cases involved the officers from many foreign countries, including the USA, Pakistan, Germany, Romania, Ukraine, government contractors, and local organized criminals. The human rights investigators were never allowed to fully investigate, the suspects were immediately removed from the mission or transferred to other missions“. When we look at the French side we see: “A statement from the defence ministry said the government “was made aware at the end of July 2014 by the UN’s high commission for human rights of accusations by children that they had been sexually abused by French soldiers.” An investigation was opened shortly after by Paris prosecutors, it said. “The defence ministry has taken and will take the necessary measures to allow the truth to be found,” the statement added. “If the facts are proven, the strongest penalties will be imposed on those responsible for what would be an intolerable attack on soldiers’ values.”“, the issue now remains that as far as published there have been no convictions, no prosecutions have been completed after nearly 4.5 years.

March 2011, an armed conflict rises in Syria, within a year this conflict goes out of control and Syria becomes a nation where extermination and mass slaughter are the foundations of what should laughingly be regarded as Arab Spring. Syria becomes a cesspool for growing extremists and terrorists. The UN influence to broker anything substantial is set to 0%, as Syria does not have the massive resources the rich nations need, Syria is seemingly isolated so it can kill all opposition until the population becomes zero.  As the participating nations reach 45, we see that no actual incursion is ever made by NATO. Both are afraid of a new Vietnam and with the USA being pretty much bankrupt, no military activities on the ground will be possible. The failure of the United Nations grows and grows and reaches new heights (or is that a new extreme lows?) on 21st August 2013, when a chemical attack hits the Ghouta region of the Damascus countryside. In addition, on several occasions, some as recent as February 2017, the Syrian government forces have been using coordinated Chlorine strikes in a strategy to retake Aleppo. There have been no UN sanctions as Russia and China voted against these resolutions, making the United Nations the joke it has been for far too long.

So far, from these two events alone, the UN shows to be a talk, talk and no action operation that is costing the nations of the world billions, whilst nothing comes from it. The UN only has itself to thank for its own failure to get anything done. It might be not too diplomatic, yet when I see quotes like “worst man-made disaster since World War II” UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein seems to be stating the obvious that nobody will fix or act against. I wonder, if these ‘talks’ would have been happening in World War 2, how many nations would now have German as their national language? Do not think I am joking, because the evidence clearly shows that if the UK did not start its offensive against Germany in September 1st, 1939 (together with France mind you), Germany would have been able to complete several lines of defence that would have made Normandy no longer an option. In addition, the Battles of Salerno and Hürtgen Forest would have gone very differently. With limited losses in Hürtgen Forest, the Germans would have been able to counter much stronger in the Battle of the Bulge, making that victory as such a debatable point. These elements show just how cheap talk would have been and as such, a United Nations that has been regarded as talk only and no actions, the existence of the United Nations becomes more and more a point of debate. Even when we try to find what the UN costs the people we find next to no clear information in the Media, the UN gives us ‘Assessment of Member States’ contributions to the United Nations regular budget for the year 2017‘, with the United States paying $610,836,578 (22%), this is excluding the peacekeepers of course. Yet, when we see the UK paying $112,569,794 (4%), we need to wonder where this all is spend on, especially when we see ‘Credit from staff assessment‘, which in case of the UK is $11 million. The Netherlands at 1.4% has a $41,148,173 contribution, minus the $ 3,767,838 ‘Credit from staff assessment‘. So is it any wonder that every party wants to talk until the seas are dry? I cannot state that this shows the inaction of the United Nations to act, but we can wonder how Syria can act with “the Syrian Foreign Ministry sent two letters to the UN Secretary-General and the Director of the UN Security Council about what it defines as “Israeli aggression against the Syrian Arab Republic in outrageous defiance of international law, UN resolutions, the sovereignty of Syria and the ban on the attacking its lands.”“, this whilst no one in the UN is achieving anything regarding the use of Chemical weapons by the Syrian government on civilian populated areas. After 6 years, the war gets messier and the failing of the United Nations more and more clear. At present there are 11 million displaced Syrians. The information becomes a larger issue when we consider the Jordan Times (at http://www.jordantimes.com/news/local/jordan-second-largest-refugee-host-worldwide-%E2%80%94-unhcr), they give us “Of all countries, Turkey sheltered the greatest number of refugees, hosting 2.8 million by mid-2016. It was followed by Pakistan (1.6 million), Lebanon (1 million), Iran (978,000), Ethiopia (742,700), Jordan (691,800), Kenya (523,500), Uganda (512,600), Germany (478,600) and Chad (386,100)“, which is largely confirmed. You see the part that is not confirmed is “UNHCR reported that there are 4,289,994 Syrian “persons of concern” of whom 630,776 are registered as refugees in Jordan. There are about 1.4 million Syrian refugees in Jordan, only 20 percent are living in the Za’atari, Marjeeb al-Fahood, Cyber City and Al-Azraq refugee camps“, this implies that Jordan is dealing with 800,000 floating refugees. Yet the Refugee Fact Sheet, (at http://reliefweb.int/sites/reliefweb.int/files/resources/JordanFactSheetFebruary2017-FINAL.pdf) gives us: “the population of concern, A total of 728,955 individuals“, so there are numbers out there and all over the place. To some extent it is set to the different moment of measuring, yet some of the numbers are way too far of several marks. The question becomes what has the United Nations achieved in protecting and tracking these people over the last three years? This as well as the blunders we see in Greece, (source: the Guardian) we get “the $803m total represents the most expensive humanitarian response in history. On the basis that the money was spent on responding to the needs of all 1.03 million people who have entered Greece since 2015, the cost per beneficiary would be $780 per refugee. However, the bulk of these funds was used to address the needs of at least 57,000 people stranded in Greece after the closure of the borders on 9 March 2016, and on this basis the cost per beneficiary is $14,088“, we are looking at staggering amounts where 70% is basically wasted, down the toilet as some would state. In addition we get: “The decision by the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) to classify the situation in Greece as an emergency turned what had been a backwater posting into a major placement almost overnight. An office with a dozen staff who had previously spent much of their time overseeing contract workers assisting the Greek asylum service expanded rapidly. The UNHCR team in Greece expanded to 600 people across 12 offices. Roughly one-third of the workforce were international staff“, I wonder with a Greek unemployment rate why this was necessary. I have been to UN and SC sites, so I know that some functions need to be international for a few reasons, yet with the number as high as 34% beckons the question why not give Greek youth the chance to intern, make some money and get experience? We all knew that this was not going to be a short term issue and at present, if the Turkish deal falls through, there is every rick that some places will have border people sleeping round the clock as 200,000 refugees try their options going into Greece. So this situation is not over by long shot. It is in that part where I would opt that Vasilis Kikilias and Giannis Panousis fumbled a few of their own balls whilst being in charge of the Ministers of Public Order and Citizen Protection. It is not clear what mess they left for Panagiotis Kouroumblis to look at, but I reckon that there are a few issues that up to today are still not dealt with (I apologise if I am wrong), yet with the imminent risk of 200K more mouths to feed, pressures will only increase and that is right on the eve of the French elections where Marine Le Pen can claim ‘We are about to get hundreds of thousands of more refugees and security risks, what will Emmanuel Macron do?‘, if she gets to ask that question loud enough, Macron would sit with a non-response as the French Infrastructure might be in a much better place than Greece is, but such an overload of people is not something that they can easily deal with. Even as this group needs to get via several nations, if they get the jump from Greece to Italy, it will soon be game set and lost match to Emmanuel Macron. Oh, and that is before this pressure hits Italy in addition in more than one way, time will tell what it starts. Yet, most can agree that several issues will go from bad to worse in a very short amount of time.

All these events show the bitter disappointment that the people have started to realise that the United Nations has become. Like the EEC councils, the UN is seen too much as an optional gravy train where people network 7 figure positions whilst they facilitate for whatever needs to be done. These are not my own words, these are thoughts that come from a legion of blogging sites, newspapers and information sites. The UN seems to have lost too large an amount of cohesion with reality.

Another part that we see in Greece, again from the Guardian (at https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/mar/09/how-greece-fumbled-refugee-crisis), is seen in “But in the last couple of years Greek migration officials have had access to one of the largest money pots administered by the European Commission, the aforementioned AMIF and ISF funds. These funds are relatively complicated to access. They are arranged in seven-year programmes, commencing in 2014, and required Greece to set up a managing authority and develop a strategic plan. When Syriza took office it found little of this groundwork had been done by the previous conservative administration“, which shows us that Greece had a separate option to resolve a few thousand jobs with added opportunity to overhaul their registrations systems, whilst the United Nations would foot the bill for up to 500 million. So optional Greek industry that could grow to some extent as an identification template would be introduced. Now, this is not the easiest task or given that it would be a success, but it was an option for a larger seat at the table at the UNHCR, this is just one of the elements where I stated that some of the gentlemen fumbled the ball.

All this and Rock and Roll too?

That is the matter we are with now, because as the larger players have been questioning their contributions (the USA most loudly), so how is this about the UN and not the nations I mentioned? That is actually easier to state. You see as the UN representatives kept on talking, no one decided to take charge and as such, the discussions continue as no actual victories are achieved. A large slice of the Syrian population has been witness to that, in addition, so are the victims of sexual abuse through inaction by the United Nations.

Any organisation, especially the size of the United Nations, will have its issues and its barriers, yet, the inactions to the size we currently see is a new low for the UN. The allowance for vetos, opposition, especially when it goes at the expense of human lives it becomes the debate whether the UN has anything left to offer, you only need to ask any Syrian refugee to hear clear doubt, especially after 6 years of too little actions and for the most no solutions. We as a global population have failed these victims who turned to us for help in the most disgraceful of ways.

 

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