Tag Archives: US

The non-knowing speak loudest

There is an old saying that goes back to the original circus, the days of Sir Alec Guiness, John Le Carre and the circus (MI6). Those who do not know speak and those who do will not. There is however a valid issue with that mindset. When it is merely intelligence and what some regard as spyshit, we tend to not care. It is their world and they tend to live by other rules even as they have the same lack of common cyber sense as some US generals, it is their choice to make. Yet when we see labour people like Michael Danby need to present evidence in regards to “an opposition Labor party MP, called on the Liberal-National coalition to block Huawei and fellow Chinese telecoms company ZTE from supplying equipment for the 5G network. “Both Huawei and ZTE must report to the Communist party cell at the top of their organisations,” he told parliament. “Let me issue a clarion call to this parliament: Australia’s 5G network must not be sold to these telcos.”” I am actually in the mindset that his seat should be put up for auction if he does not disclose a proper setting and give evidence as to the reasoning of all this. It becomes more pressing when we see “Mr Lord, a former rear admiral in the Royal Australian Navy, told Australia’s state broadcaster on Monday that these claims were “wrong”, adding that Huawei was not owned by any committee of government and posed no risk to Australia’s security“. It is not just because Mr Lord is a former rear admiral, more that the average naval midshipman tends to be more reliable than any politician. We get this from the Financial Times (at https://www.ft.com/content/1a2d19ba-67b1-11e8-8cf3-0c230fa67aec). In addition, when we get politicians start the scare tactics of ‘critical infrastructure pose a risk to national security’, there is a clear need for both Duncan Lewis and Paul Symon AO to get hauled in a chair in Canberra and ask them to openly answer the questions regarding any evidence that Huawei is a security threat. To blatantly accept the US on their ‘china fears’ is all well and good for Telstra, yet the setting is not a given and the fact that Telstra is nowhere near the technological levels of Huawei is not something that we blame them from, but they basically lost the 5G war before it started through their own actions and inactions.

Now if there is an actual national security concern, we should be open about that and when that happens, and evidence is presented, at that point we can all relax and state to Huawei that we feel sorry for the inconvenience caused, but such concerns are just too big to ignore. I think we have had quite enough of these presentations that reek of Colin Powell and his silver suitcase with evidence that no one ever saw in 2001. We cannot go in that direction ever again. We will not be the play toy of greedy telecom companies and their internal needs for stupidity and inactions; we can no longer afford such a nepotism environment.

That same issue can be said regarding Nationals MP George Christensen. Apart from him trying to undo a business deal of a 99 year lease, no matter how silly that deal was, Australia cannot be perceived as a nation that cannot be trusted at the business table. My second issue is why a maroon (Queenslander) is involving himself with NT politics. In that regard, why do we not see the responses form Vicki O’Halloran is she has any, is she not the appointed administrator? In this, the game is not over. The Australian Financial Review gives us: “Huawei faces the likelihood that Cabinet’s national security committee will veto it supplying equipment for the 5G network, based on the recommendations of security agencies, over concerns about the potential for cyber espionage at the behest of China’s leaders“. In this the question becomes, is there an actual security concern, or is it that the national concern is the devaluation of Telstra? In additional support we need to see the Sydney Morning Herald two weeks ago when they gave us (at https://www.smh.com.au/business/companies/how-a-huawei-5g-ban-is-about-more-than-espionage-20180614-p4zlhf.html): “The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age reported in March that there were serious concerns within the Turnbull government about Huawei’s potential role in 5G – a new wireless standard that could be up to 10 times as powerful as existing mobile services, and used to power internet connections for a range of consumer devices beyond phones“, as well as “the decision will have an impact on Australia’s $40 billion a year telecoms market – potentially hurting Telstra’s rivals“. the first part is something I wrote about for well over a year, the second one is important as we see ‘potentially hurting Telstra’s rivals‘, from my personal point of view it reads like the one lobotomised idiot in telecom country gets to decide through arm-twisting on how we need to remain backwards as they set the standard that they could not deliver for the longest of times (a little sarcasm regarding Telstra’s 2011 3.7G), I wrote about that recently.

ABC gave us yesterday: “it continues to be the target of criticism over its connections to the Chinese Government, including allegations it is involved in state-sponsored espionage“, yet the people have never been shown actual evidence, so where is that at? There might have been doubts to some degree for a while, but the Powell stunt is too clear in our minds and the USA does not have the credibility (or credit rating for that matter) it once had. The fact that the opposing former rear admiral of the Australian navy trumps two half bit politicians seeking the limelight any day of the week and some stay silent, the reason for that is only speculation, but we might not need to seek far and a few words ion Google Search might help find that answer (like ‘Telstra’ and ‘8000’). When we see some giving us: ‘Telstra Corporation Ltd (ASX:TLS) is betting it all on 5G‘ and we see the Telstra strategy briefing (at https://www.telstra.com.au/content/dam/tcom/about-us/investors/pdf-e/2018-Strategy-Update.pdf), we see on page 6, Leading with 5G, that would never be an option with Huawei in play as they are ahead by a lot, so the presentation given a week ago, whilst we realise that the presentation was prepared way before that is giving the setting that Huawei is no longer considered to be competition, that is what we now face! What some might call a backward organisation proclaiming to be leading whilst 8000 men will be missing through inaction. That page is even more fun when you consider the quote ‘new technologies like IoT‘, which is funny when you consider that the Internet of Things (IoT) is a system of interrelated computing devices. It is not a technology; it is a network that enables technology. In addition, when you start nit-picking in that 34 page event, we see all the bells and whistles we need to see, yet when you consider consumers and small business (the millions of people that Telstra charges) starts at page 9 and gives us 5 slides. We see ‘cutting edge 5G capability’ (by whose standards?), we see location devices (with the image of a dog), Access to rewards an tickets, a fully-digital relationship with Telstra (an implied no more personal interaction after the sales, merely a chatbot) and value added services, yet the value of a service like customer service and customer care are absent in that part of the equation, so how does this push the people forward, because I doubt that it actually will achieve anything in the long run and one flaw will anger the actual consumers without limits.

You see, personally I believe in the IoT, I believe in 5G, they are tools to enhance experiences and interactions, not make them obsolete and that is what  feel when I saw the Telstra strategy update. These two elements can enhance customer care, customer service and customer support, not replace them with ‘AI’ enhanced chatbots. So the moment we get a 2.0 version of ‘Telstra’s new chatbot, Codi, is making so many mistakes customers are furious’ (at https://www.businessinsider.com.au/telstra-codi-bot-backlash-2018-3), chatbots can be a great asset to get the information and channel the call to the right person, yet that again is merely enhancing and that can work fine. The presentation implies the loss of actual customer values and ignoring their need for interactions. That in an aging population might be the least intelligent stance to make ever.

Yet this does not give way to the issue on Telstra versus Huawei, as the Sydney Morning Herald states “Telstra has refused to exclude Huawei from its 5G tender, but that is seen more as a way of keeping its existing supplier Ericsson on its toes“, as well as “In other words, a ban could be bad news for TPG, Vodafone and Optus. Whether it is necessarily good news for Telstra – which has its own issues at the moment – is less clear“. In finality we get “Intelligence agencies tend to get their way on matters like these“, this beckons the question what are they actually after? The US seems to be in bed with Samsung and their 5G routers, so it makes sense that this will be the path that Telstra walks as well, time will tell how it ends.

So why is this such a big deal?

We are currently in danger of actually falling behind Saudi Arabia, yes, that place in a large sandbox is about to surpass us in 5G and other technologies. They had the audacity to reserve half a trillion dollars toward Vision 2030 and Neom. So when we got “Al-Khobar in the Eastern Province, of Saudi Arabia, has become the first city in the region to benefit from the fifth-generation wireless network or 5G network, according to a press statement issued by the Center of International Communication“, last month. There was not a surprise in my bone. You see, this will drive their Vision 2030 plans even further. So as Saudi Arabia is now the new pond to grow speciality in 5G, app designers can promote, test and deliver on knowledge that will be available whilst Telstra is trying to figure out how to get 5G installed. with “All the necessary national 5G policies and supporting administrative provisions are planned to be in place before the end of 2019, along with the award of initial batches of the spectrum to support the full commercial deployment of 5G technologies“, we see that Saudi Arabia had been taking this serious for a much longer time. This goes a little further when we see ‘the Middle East and Africa 5G Technology market (Egypt, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Nigeria, and South Africa)‘, so at this point, Saudi Arabia has a head start to not just push Saudi Arabia forward, they have quite literally first dibs on gaining a chunk of the 98 million Egyptians. Not all can afford 5G, we get that, but those who do are confronted with only Saudi Arabia as a Muslim player, you did not actually believe that they would run to Vodafone, did you?

So back to the 5G local ‘market’! For this we need to take a look at the Australian Financial review 2 weeks ago. Here we see (at https://www.afr.com/opinion/columnists/the-technical-reasons-why-huawei-too-great-a-5g-risk-20180614-h11e3o), with the title ‘The technical reasons why Huawei is too great a 5G risk‘, the start is good, this is what we wanted. Yet we are treated to paragraphs of emotion and alleged settings. So when we see: “Huawei presents unique additional risk beyond the “normal” risk of buying complex equipment. China has demonstrated a long-standing intent to conduct cyber-espionage“, so is ‘intent’ shown in evidence? How did the CIA and NSA acquire our data or Cambridge Analytica for that matter? ‘China is thought to be behind data breaches‘ is merely a statement ‘thought‘ is speculation, not evidence. Then we get: “The US Trade Representative’s Section 301 report from March this year details the very close cooperation between the Third Department of China’s People’s Liberation Army (3PLA is a military hacking unit, also known as Unit 61398) and Chinese enterprises“, I have to get back to this. We are treated to ‘At one extreme, Huawei could be asked‘, is a case of fear mongering and not evidence. In addition we get ‘it is certainly a possibility‘ which came after ‘Vulnerabilities may already exist. This may not be the most likely possibility‘ as well as ‘very likely‘ all emotional responses, none of them evidence in any way, so the article with included in the title ‘The technical reasons’, has pretty much zero technology and close to 90% ‘allegedly’, speculations and emotional twists, whilst we cannot deny the optional existence of vulnerabilities, yet these are found regularly in Cisco hardware and Microsoft software, so have those two been banned in Australia?

Now to get back to the Section 301 report (at https://ustr.gov/sites/default/files/Section%20301%20FINAL.PDF). It is 215 pages and I did not read that complete political US marketing behemoth. There is one that actually carries weight. On page 153 we see: “evidence from U.S. law enforcement and private sources indicates that the Chinese government has used cyber intrusions to serve its strategic economic objectives. Documented incidents of China’s cyber intrusions against U.S. commercial entities align closely with China’s industrial policy objectives. As the global economy has increased its dependence on information systems in recent years, cyber theft became one of China’s preferred methods of collecting commercial information because of its logistical advantages and plausible deniability“, which is basically good application of intelligence gathering. Please do not take my word for it, feel free to call the NSA (at +1-301-6886311, all their calls are recorded for training and quality purposes). Oh, and before I forget, the text came with footnote 970, which gave us “A number of public submissions provided to USTR state that the Chinese government has no reason to conduct cyber intrusions or commit cyber theft for commercial purposes, see CHINA GENERAL CHAMBER OF COMMERCE [hereinafter “CGCC”], Submission, Section 301 Hearing 16 (Sept. 28, 2017); that the US has not provided evidence of such actions by China, that China is also a target of cyber-attacks, and that the two countries should work together“, there is that to deal with and is that not a rare instance where we are treated to ‘the US has not provided evidence of such actions‘, how many times have we seen claims like that since 2001? Would that number be a 4 or 5 digit number?

The point is not whether it can or could happen, the question becomes did it happen here? let’s not forget that in most settings the section 301 report is about US interests and their technological advancement (which they lost by becoming iteratively stupid). Here we have a different setting. In the setting we face Huawei has a technological advance over all we have in Australia and most of Europe as well. Huawei was one of the first to realise the power of data and 5G and they are close to a market leader, the US is basically relying on Samsung to get them there. BT (British Telecom) is on the ball, but still not on par. They are in bed with Finland “BT has teamed with Nokia to collaborate on the creation of 5G proof of concept trials, the development of emerging technology standards and equipment, and potential 5G use cases“, so this sets the larger players in a field where Nokia and Huawei are now active. The SAMENA Telecom Leaders Summit 2018 and Saudi Telecom Company (STC) announced today that it is working with Nokia to launch a 5G network in 2018 within Saudi Arabia, yet the technology agreements show that it does include Huawei and Cisco, so they aren’t already active, the setting for the initial bumps in the road that Cisco, Nokia and Huawei will surely overcome is knowledge that we will not have in Australia long after someone was able to connect the 5G router to a power point (very presentable, yet the online green light seems to be broken).

So whilst politicians are considering who to be buddies with, Saudi Arabia joins the US and they will be the first 5G providers, which means that the UK and Australia are lagging behind and optionally not for the short term either.

So am I not knowing or am I all knowing? I actually prefer the first, because it is more relaxing; yet the need to speak out loud is becoming increasingly important even if it was only to place the loud mouth limelight seeking politicians like Michael Danby and George Christensen in their slightly too arrogant place. They are of course welcome to present ACTUAL evidence proving me wrong. #WishingForAMiracleHere

 

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Humble Pie

Merely a few hours ago, Bloomberg gave us ‘Iran Is Ready to Discuss Yemen Conflict with European Nations‘ (at https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-05-28/iran-says-ready-to-discuss-yemen-conflict-with-european-nations). You might think that this is a good thing, but it is not. Iran is caught in a two side war, just like I predicted in the previous 3 weeks. Just like that, they are willing to talk. They have suddenly realised that time was up and now they are grasping at any side that will be willing to facilitate for them at a price. It is linked to a few escalations on more than one side. Even as we read here: “Iran will be holding a new round of talks with Europe on the Yemen conflict, negotiations that have taken on greater significance as the sides try to salvage a nuclear agreement“, the start gives the goods, Iran wants to protect the nuclear agreement at all cost. Their high farting like sounds of political boasting is coming to an end, there was never any option and now they must concede on several sides. Even as one side is taken from them, they are willing to concede on the Yemen side as it was never going to be a realistic option and as Hezbollah has failed again and again in their pursuit of successful strikes on Saudi Arabia, none happened and now they need to find the one war they might actually have a chance of winning, it is the Nuclear agreement and even that will backfire soon enough. So when we read: ““Iran, like the EU, is unlikely to want to mix fate of the nuclear deal with that of talks on other issues,” said Aniseh Bassiri Tabrizi, a research fellow at the Royal United Services Institute in London. “At the same time, it is important for them to keep a channel of communication open with the EU, whatever happens on the nuclear deal, and the best dossier to do so is Yemen for them.”“, I tend not to be in agreement. You might think that it is all the same, but it is not. It is not about ‘whatever happens on the nuclear deal‘, it is about making sure that this agreement is salvaged, Iran overplayed its hand and now that there will be hell to pay, they need to find a way out, if only they can find the right greed and ego driven Europeans to make a quick deal, at that point the media can reflect on some victory, whilst there is no actual victory. You see, there is a second side that is part of this. Iran has figured out that the only interests that Russia has in Syria are Russian ones and in that picture there is no space for Iran, Israel has made that abundantly clear and as such Iran stands alone and with the hits that Israel has been making in Syria on Iranian troops and the strike last Thursday as well as the silence (or better stated lack of loud boasting) by the Syrian governments indicates that the absence of Iran is well liked, even though they are not willing to state it out loud. Syria wants to get the most out of the Russians and Iranians as it can get, which is perfectly fine, yet Iran is too much of an issue for Israel, after years of boasting and threatening, Israel decided to act; the political field was ripe for that. With both America and Saudi Arabia opposing Iran and Russia not really caring about Iran, Iran is in an unwinnable situation, the Iranian coffers drained by enabling Hezbollah as well as the actions in Syria have drained a large chunk of their reserves, Iran need to cut its losses and it is doing so with the gesture we see in the Bloomberg article, one of many to follow I reckon. That truth becomes a lot harsher when we see: “Chagai Tzuriel, director general of the Israeli ministry of intelligence, said he believed that Moscow realised that fighting between Iran and Israel could undermine gains made by Russia during the Syrian civil war“, we know that there is no hiding for Iran, they played the game as far as they could, now that option after option falls away, they are determined to hold on to the Nuclear agreement. This also opens the second stage for Israel; they can now more effectively take care of Hezbollah, now that there is an open season on Iran, Hezbollah can (hopefully permanently) be dealt with. In that regard there is no lack of either Israel or Saudi Arabia to hunt them down and without Iran that might well happen. For Russia it is not over, you see, the Jerusalem Post gives us “Lavrov’s comments are part of an understanding reached between Israel and Russia to keep Iranian and Hezbollah forces away from Syria’s border with Israel on the Golan Heights“, that sounds nice in theory, yet over the years Hezbollah has shown never to keep any agreement (when they were not out of ammunition), so there is a setting where it is very realistic that Hezbollah will do whatever it wants and puts Russia in a pickle, as such both sides agreeing to get rid of Hezbollah makes perfect sense as such Iran is really not willing to stay there as a piggy in the middle. In addition Russia stands to make a lot of plus points in the Saudi Arabia side of things, not just by pushing Iran away from where they are, but to push Hezbollah away from Syrian and Jordanian borders which gets them nice points at the Jordanian royal court as well. In all this there is actually not one part of Hezbollah that has any redeeming value at all, and the worst part is that Hezbollah knows this too (yet they do not care).

There is one additional side that Iran needs to worry about. As Saudi Arabia has given to Germany to be the aggrieved party in Germany’s support in favour of the nuclear deal for Iran is already costing Germany a lot, the German giants who were tenders on several projects for the Saudi government are seeing them being cut from consideration, with Neom and Vision 2030, both projects totaling in value at well over 800 billion, the German economy will take larger hits, other EU nations might find themselves in a setting where they have to choose to go for a really bad nuclear deal, whilst there is no evidence that it will result in a better position and good economic settings in the longer run (more then 3-5 years) whilst Saudi Arabia is growing a setting that is getting closer to a trillion dollars over 12 years, there is no way that Iran can rely on any level of serious support, not after all the stunts they played. Their actions made it impossible and their boasting made it close to intolerable. In addition with Iran cut in every way, Turkey will now need to realise that they played the game wrong in other ways as well. Even as some might cry over the Russians not getting the F-35 due to getting culled from the program, Russia sees a second option to not just sell Turkey missiles, they could optionally sell them the SU-57 as well, which will get Turkey a new loan agreement for a few billions and let’s face it America needs to test the F-35 anyway, whether they test their F-35 against a Sukhoi, does it matter whether a Russian or a Turk is flying it? (Howls of deriving laughter in the background)

You see, they are doing this whilst their currency is at an all-time low, some might think that it is a great time to buy, yet with their economy in shambles and there should be no chance of them ascending into the EU in the next few years, the setting of spending billions on a new Sukhoi squadron (perhaps even two) seems to be folly to me. Even as there is some good news (read: numbers) coming from Turkey, its unemployment rate is still a little over 10.5% and seems to be rising over the next quarter, surpassing Italy in unemployment statistics. It is there where we see another issue. This matters as there has been a link between Iran and Turkey, so as the pressure on several sides is on Turkey, the economic pressures might force Turkey to make any deal they can, even if they have to break connections to Iran, which would for the most isolate Iran at that point, an option that both Israel and Saudi Arabia would enjoy. Israel especially as Turkey was threatening Israel with all kinds of sanctions (source: Haaretz).

So as Turkey is imposing sanctions on those deciding to recognise the Armenian Holocaust, we see the active economic impact that Turkey faces by being in denial, not the worst day in many lives.

In this there is a reflection that must be noticed, In Al Arabiya, there was an article (at http://english.alarabiya.net/en/views/news/middle-east/2018/05/25/Bitterness-confusion-among-Saudi-Arabia-s-foes.html), an opinion piece that matters. You see, the writer Abdullah bin Bijad Al-Otaibi (Twitter: @abdullahbjad) gives us “Enemies are upset and confused and the world is recalibrating its power equations so that each knows its place and capabilities. Also, so that each country can reflect on its policies and alliances through the power of politics, diplomacy, boycott and sanctions, as well as with the power of armies and weapons“, he is correct, President Donald Trump might have kicked it off with “America First“, it is a truth we have been forced to face for well over 5 years. It does not matter whether you are in the US, UK, Saudi Arabia, Sweden, Australia, Canada or New Zealand. As citizens and politicians we have a duty to protect our national interests and set that as a first essential need. When we look from that angle we get to reflect on how bad Iran is, we cannot fault Turkey for taking its national interests first, yet they did it by not honouring the allies they had for decades and that sets the sliding acceptance (towards rejection) of Turkey in all this when you consider the events from 2001 onwards.

In this his view: “Big European companies are fleeing Iran at a fast pace and everyone who has dealt with Iran, whether banks or companies, are looking for a safe way out of any ties they have with Iran, its parties, militias and ideology. Everyone now accepts the facts about Iran’s crimes such as its sponsoring of terrorism, drug dealing and money laundering in the region and the world” is not incorrect, yet the issue is that this sets the stage on greed influencing the national interest in the stage of big business versus government, a setting that Europe, the US and the Commonwealth have had for the longest time. In addition there is now a small opposition from my side. I agree with part of his statement “They have done so through the Palestinian cause which they have, from Iran, Turkey, Qatar and the Muslim Brotherhood, managed to exploit to serve their interests and fulfil their ambitions“, there is a side I cannot completely agree with (actually there is more than one side here). Not because I think he is wrong, but because there is data missing, data I never had access to, or was given by a reputable media source to the degree that there is enough shown to see it as an actual issue.

This is seen in the parties Iran and Qatar. Now, we accept the puppet game that Iran has played, we do not deny that in any way, but in the end Iran was merely playing the hand it had to show Iranian interest. We can agree that it was done badly, yet they did do this for mere national interest (or so they say). In the second part there is Qatar. I agree that there are questions, yet overall, I have not seen the evidence, the allegations going back to 2014 have been loud, yet the media and others have not given a clear path of evidence that gives light to the wrongful opposition by the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, we can agree that there are some terrorist financiers, that was never in question, yet Qatar seems to have tried all legal ways and did not get anywhere, in addition the US state document (at https://www.state.gov/documents/organization/258249.pdf) does not give the goods either, we are confronted with “Qatar is a partner in the Global Coalition to Counter the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and has provided significant support in facilitating critical U.S. military operations in the region. Terrorist activity historically has been low in Qatar“, this does not make Qatar innocent; it merely shows that without better and more data, they remain ‘not guilty‘, which is not the same. The document is 3 years old, yet there is no new information that truly sets Qatar in a bad light (for now). In addition we see that Qatar State Security is aggressive when it comes to monitoring internal extremist or terrorism-related activities. Interestingly enough, the players from ‘team’ Qatar State Security seem to have a much better handle on internal extremism and terrorism-related activities than most European countries, so there is that to consider as well. The second issue I had with the statement by Abdullah bin Bijad al-Otaibi is the reference to ‘the Palestinian cause‘, which is not wrong to make, yet for many of us, especially those outside of Saudi Arabia, Palestine or the Middle East, we no longer know what ‘the Palestinian cause‘ actually is. You see in its origin it is directly linked to the 1948 Palestinian exodus, yet the entire Palestinian cause seemed to have been presented, projected and covered by the media in almost any setting that covered news in Lebanon, Israel, the West Bank and the Gaza strip. The entire definition has shown to have shifted over the decades and I still believe that it is shifting, even today. In addition the fact that western media over the years seemed to have made ‘the Palestinian cause‘ and ‘hatred of Jews and the State of Israel‘ close to interchangeable does not help matters either.

All these issues matter as they are connected. that connection is also part of the problem and reason why I am partially in opposition, now, I am fully aware that my opposition is wrong, or better stated incorrect, yet I am like most sensible people, I rely on data, and data is either reliable or not and I tend to regard shifted data as not that reliable, which is why I had the cause for opposition.

So as we see that Iran is facing humble pie on several fronts, we need to realise that our views and more important the views we get from information we accept as reliable is also filtering the view we have, it might be correct, or wrong. In the end we do not know and restoring our filters by attending our national interests first is not the worst place to start, as a citizen we need to do that, because when we look to our nation, our national needs and attend to that, we ground ourselves and perhaps as the economic settings have shifted, so will the national need and that is OK, as long as we do not tend towards corporate greed and consider the needs of our neighbours, we might get through the bad times in a much better way than we thought. In the end it is not about serving Iran Humble Pie, which would be the right thing to do, we need to consider when we are rightfully served Humble Pie, will we eat it when we realise that we were wrong?

That includes us all and it includes me, I have never shied away from optionally being wrong. I merely reacted to the verifiable data that I was served and I made the best of it and tried to remain true to the data based views offered and I reflected on those insights, it is the best we can do in this modern world.

 

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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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Stopping Slumber, Halting Hesitation

I woke up this morning at 03:30, you see I have messaged that Iran has an impeding missile strike on Israel. Now, in all fairness, ehhh, actually there is none. I got woken up with the prospect that Northern Israel would end up getting hit by missiles. Haaretz gives us some news, yet the validity and value are still in question. Even as we see “Israel has detected unusual involvement by Hezbollah in Iran’s preparations for retaliation, even though the organization has been trying to keep its activity low-profile so as not to affect its position within Lebanon“, as well as “operational planning, however, is being done by members of the Revolutionary Guards’ Quds force” and finally “Iran seeks to settle its open account with Israel, but wants to do so without sparking a war. One possible solution to this dilemma is trying to fire a limited barrage at military targets in northern Israel“. All valid and there is no real arguing on it, but the validity has been hard to confirm. I do understand that the start, which was the attack on April 9th, the airstrike on Syria’s T4 airbase, which killed seven Iranian military advisers and members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards.

This now opens up the second door. You see, these so called ‘advisors’, shall we call them ‘instructors’? Have been doing a lot more than most realise. I personally belief it to be one of 3-4 places where Hezbollah was being trained, one of them would be to train the Hezbollah and optionally Houthi’s in firing missiles towards Riyadh. Iran can shrug its shoulders at accusations of Iranian missiles being fired, should one of the Saudi bombings hit pay dirt and Iranians are found, then the game changes, Iran has been careful to play its cards, it is a game of plausible deniability which they probably got from an episode of the X-Files.

The Haaretz article (at https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-israel-braces-for-iran-missile-attack-from-syria-over-t4-airstrike-1.6060719) gives us a little more than that, especially at the end when we see “Netanyahu will reiterate Israel’s opposition to Iran’s continued military consolidation in Syria and ask Putin to work to prevent it“, that part really works for Russia as they are not happy on the growing influence Iran could get as President Bashar al-Assad needs every friend he can find, yet in Russia’s view they like their ‘friends’ to be singularly focussed on what those ‘friends’ can receive in the form of payable services towards Russia, not handing that cash to Iran. The question is what Russia would want in return. I have no idea. There is little I can offer on that side of Iran, there is no Iranian navy there and my solution was based on sinking their navy (a Saudi issue to be resolved), even as the deployment system is now coming to fruition, I see that there are increasing options to stop Iran in its track. That is the ball game, not on how Israel gets optionally hit (which would be regrettable), but the issue on stopping Iran from playing the game it is.

The India Times had an interesting piece yesterday (at https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/markets/commodities/views/slippery-slope-why-opec-may-struggle-with-new-iran-sanctions/articleshow/64051168.cms). Here we see the article ‘Slippery slope: Why Opec may struggle with new Iran sanctions‘. The quote “President Donald Trump has to decide by May 12 whether to extend waivers on Iranian sanctions, and all the indications are that he won’t. The drop in supply could easily exceed a million barrels a day, if the president decides to impose extra-territorial sanctions on anyone doing business with Iran — would-be buyers could decide that the safest course is to shun the country’s oil“, it sounds nice, yet in the end, Iran could still sell oil to Russia and when that happens, China will open up to receive their share (at premium discount that is), so even as Iran ends up selling at a discount to these two players, they will get the financial relief that they need and in that Iran can keep on playing its games and that is the part that needs to stop. We have seen the ‘regard’ President Putin has for President Trump, so there will be little to stop them there and when that happens and the oil market gets flooded with the optional 5 million barrels per day that Iran can produce, the oil prices would tumble again, which is nice for some, but the consumer tends to not see those benefits, so there will be a growing issue on the players who are pushed into a pressure setting. Even as we see “Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman told Bloomberg in April 2016 that his country could raise output to 11.5 million barrels a day immediately; lifting it to 12.5 million barrels would take six to nine months” and their willingness to produce more, especially in light of moving away from oil dependency, we much wonder how it will fare. You see as Russia, China, Turkey and optionally South Korea end up with the additional oil, oil that Iran will pump into the industry, the US ends up having no stick to work with and that is where Iran ends up in an partially optional win- win situation, one that both Israel and Saudi Arabia are not happy with. Yemen has no vote in this as the Houthi’s are watching that population die. So when we saw “Nearly a third of Yemen’s population – 8.4 million of its 29 million people – rely completely on food aid or else they would starve” last week, we seem to feel impervious to the needs there, we merely watch the news as it is one of the two most horrific settings of humanitarian disasters in history. The mere news of another ‘cholera epidemic’ hits us, but it somehow does not register. As we vaccinated our populations seeing cholera near extinction, we forget that it is still a global issue, the fact that it causes massive dehydration as a side effect makes it a lot worse anywhere in the Middle East. It is in that setting that the Iranian backing of the Houthi’s needs to be seen and even as they go all Italian with ‘I know nothing‘, the issues are growing and the games that Iran is playing will have repercussions, the moment one missile actually hits a populated part of Riyadh and the camera’s show the scores of casualties, that is when all bets are off and it will be a full scale war in the Middle East, whatever Iran states then will fall on empty ears and the bombing of someplace called Tehran will not be out of the question, the good news is that there are only 8 million Iranians there, so the number of casualties would be contained, the other 90% might not have anything to fear.

Apparently that is what Iran is hoping for, it is the price of playing the game via puppets.

All these sides matter, because one successful strike on Northern Israel will change the game, Iran forgot that the puppet game comes at a price and even as they are all in denial by calling instructors ‘military advisors’, the setting is that they were training terrorists to be more ‘effective’ in their job. The last part can only be argued to some part, the impact in the changing timelines and the thousands of Yemeni’s near dying constitutes as evidence here and that needs to be taken into account. The NY Times gave us a mere hour ago https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/06/world/middleeast/israel-iran-nuclear-deal.html. Here we see a few issues and most of it has been seen in other news, yet with “The country’s currency, the rial, has lost around 35 percent of its value since his re-election in May last year, and his popularity has slipped among the middle classes for having failed to achieve some of the economic and social changes he promised“, we do not see the failure of President Rouhani, we see the optional opportunity for the more extremely outspoken military leaders to take control and do exactly what we need to not happen. When we realise the US setting “Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has forbidden his diplomats from engaging with American officials on any subject outside of the nuclear talks, but at quarterly meetings on the deal’s status, U.S. and Iranian diplomats have used the opportunity to conduct sideline discussions on matters of shared concern. These meetings are currently the only points of direct and official contact between the governments” that the US needs, we need to understand that there are two versions in play. Al Jazeera (at https://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/military-coup-iran-180424144510759.html) gives one view with “It is amid these heightened tensions that the possibility of a coup against the current government, whose term expires in 2021, has arisen. There are already some signs that the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) could be moving in that direction if Ayatollah Khamenei orders them to do so“, I believe that part to be incomplete (read: inaccurate). The part I see is not merely the defensive based words that Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is speaking, which are valid for any politician to speak when they are speaking out in regards to their nation in defence. Al Arabiya gave us “A video surfaced of Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei’s top adviser for international affairs, Akbar Ali Velayati, in Syria’s Ghouta on Wednesday getting a report on the developments of the war-stricken area from an Assad military official” a month ago, yet in all this, there is a supporting view from the Tasnim News agency, the Iranian news agency that the quote “According to the Iranian Tasnim news agency, the Syrian foreign minister, Walid al-Muallem, received Velayati on Wednesday morning and they discussed the political developments in the country. Velayat confirmed Iran’s support for the Assad regime during the discussion, the news agency reported” is also linked to the impeding strikes on Syrian bases with Iranian Revolutionary Guard members. Even as the reference was towards the US at the time, I am certain that the discussion had been on how Iran would be retaliating at that time. So the setting of their actions, whilst they were knowingly preparing and training terrorists on the responses in both Israel and Yemen gives rise that the connection between Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and the Iranian military is closer and stronger than either of them ever had for President Rouhani, that is the setting and even as both ‘tolerated’ the elected president, they have been ready to go it alone (read: without the current president) and as such, whomever replaces that person will be either deeply religious or massively military, either path does not bode well or either Israel, Yemen and optionally Saudi Arabia. Now it is in that setting we return to the setting with former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. I actually warned on this danger a year ago, not a week or a month, no, a year ago (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2017/05/30/the-hard-line-path/) where the setting as stated in the article ‘The hard-line path‘, is now becoming a reality, even as the details might differ a little, it is exactly as Dr. Majid Rafizadeh, a leading expert on Iran and US foreign policy and president of the International American Council predicted. I saw that same danger. It is actually the same General Amir Ali Hajizadeh that I mentioned then who is now implied in all this by the Times of Israel with “Israel believes Iran’s retaliatory effort is being led by Major General Qassem Soleimani, the head of the IRGC’s Quds Force, which operates around the world, with assistance from the head of the IRGC air corps, Brig. Gen. Amir Ali Hajizadeh“, it reflects on last year with the quote “the commander Brigadier General Amir Ali Hajizadeh, is the very same person who boasted rocket aid to Hezbollah as well as the mention that the Iranian missiles can reach Israel“, so after a year it has all come to fruition, in all this was President Rouhani merely the accepted play toy of these two ‘extreme Iranian nationalists’? We cannot make the leap that this has been in preparation for over a year, but the model fits awkwardly well and as such we need to set the need of what to expect and how to counter that. That brings me to the issue I had, you see Iran feels safe because of its navy and air force, both are nothing to be sneered at, but if we remove their navy, they might just open the door for actual real talks and alleviate the pressure against both Israel and Saudi Arabia. It would even be better if Israel removes that threat called Hezbollah, even if merely for the reason that when a puppet is removed, we might actually achieve something in Yemen and get true humanitarian aid up and running, in that we are still confronted with the UAE presence, but there are too many question marks on the reasons there (read: I actually did not read up on that part of the equation).

We need to stop dozing off, the largest extent of the Middle East is that we idly stood by and did nothing, the Syrian people as well as the Yemeni ones are not happy, because they suffered needlessly for years. The EU all talk and no action has been regarded as one that merely acts on economic needs, that part can be accepted as gospel. Yet that will never be a suitable solution and that is why we need to change, we need to get awake and become hungry for solutions, a hunger we have not seen since 2004, when the bulk of greedy CEO’s saw their income/fortune diminish by 72.6%. Would it not be great if that hunger exists for humanitarian welfare?

So even as it is 7:45:32 later, there is still no strike at present, or it is perhaps in mid-flight, no matter what, we have mere hours to find an actual solution in all this, and it needs to start by stating beyond mere sanctions that Iran is in a stage where it is invoking anger through what should be regarded as clear acts of war. We have played the ‘diplomatic game‘ for far too long with some of the players, it is time to change the game and let people know that in the end when talks are proven to be useless, action must be taken, we merely have no options left, because when this escalates it will truly be an escalation that will end up far beyond Iranian and Middle Eastern borders, that is the greater evil we must now prevent.

Even as the Jerusalem Post is now giving us (a mere 30 minutes ago) that ‘PM Netanyahu Will Be Judged By How Israel Confronts Iran Militarily‘, yet that article also gives one light that is perhaps not the one we wanted to see. With “The spies (Mossad) in February 2016 reportedly discovered a warehouse located in the Shorabad district of the Iranian capital where the documentation was being stored; kept the building under surveillance for two years; and, recently, devised an operation to break into the structure and smuggle back to Israel half a ton of material in less than 24 hours“, in addition we see “This was perhaps the greatest intelligence operation in history, as I do not remember any instance when a complete archive was moved from one part of the world to another“, you see that is the one part that makes no sense, it gives rise to the Iranian defence when we see ““Anyone who says there is nothing new in the material we showed has not seen the material,” Mr. Netanyahu said, days after exposing Israel’s acquisition of a huge archive of stolen Iranian nuclear plans, mostly relating to a covert bomb-making project that was halted in 2003” (source: NY Times), which is still partially an issue, yet if it was halted in 2003, it makes sense to be in some archive after 15 years, so unless there is clear evidence in those documents that nuclear technology is still worked on covertly at the present, we need to give way in both directions. I do not oppose any actions against terrorists, yet going to war over 15 year old documents without proper intelligence on any clear and present danger from Iran, nuclear or not is also a fools path into the sleepy village of ‘no resolution ever‘, we need not become mayor to that place and even as we might lower dangers with firm actions against Iran, it needs to be proportionately or we are not asleep at the wheel, we are merely comatose re-actionists to a situation that does not actually exist, which might end up being more dangerous beyond the short term.

So as we are awake we need to take firm action, I am still in mind of removing Hezbollah permanently of the tactical board. It would be good for Lebanon to find its own way, not poised at the pointing of a gun, it would be good for Yemen and when Iran cannot use Hezbollah it needs to do things out in the open, something that they are very unwilling to do, so tactically that first move makes perfect sense. It lowers the national stresses in both Israel and Saudi Arabia, I see no down side at all (which is a fortunate rarity) from there we can see what happens next, because without the puppet in the game, Iran might actually consider true talks, not merely delays during a missile convoy, which would please the diplomats all over the region.

Am I correct in all this? I believe I am as I have supporting evidence going back a year, yet there remains the interactions of perception, principles and presentation. I merely show my side, and I have never claimed that I do not make mistakes and in light of the actions I illuminate that needs to remain at the very front of the line, in the end I might just be wrong.

 

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Milestones

We all hope to make certain milestones, some through fantasy, some through luck and some through anticipation. Your first threesome, the moment you joined the mile high club and for governments they have their own achievements, for example when they join the 100% debt club. So when we realise that Japan has well over 200% of GDP in debt, the US has passed the 100% marker and it joins those they looked down on for the longest of times. Italy, Iceland, Granada, Eritrea, Greece, Jamaica and Lebanon, all members of that 100% debt club, so when we see the Arabian Business (at http://www.arabianbusiness.com/politics-economics/395741-100-debt-club-set-to-get-new-member-from-oil-rich-gulf), treat us to the facts that Bahrain will soon join Libya and the Sudan as their debt exceeds their 100% GDP. We see more and more messages at present and even the IMF is setting a different atmosphere. We see part of that in equities.com. There we see “IMF (Page 10): Against a backdrop of mounting vulnerabilities, risky asset valuations appear overstretched, albeit to varying degrees across markets, ranging from global equities and credit markets, including leveraged loans, to rapidly expanding crypto assets.
MY TRANSLATION: In the last two major bubbles, the problems were mostly contained to dot-com stocks and housing. That is 100% not the case now. Almost every single asset on the planet – from stocks to bonds to loans and more – is wildly overpriced. There is zero room for error with prices at such dizzying heights
“. This is merely one setting; the field is expanding on a larger field and in all this, the nations that are passing the debt bar. France is set at 99%, so if they cannot contain the debt growth they will pass it this following financial year, leaving only Germany as one of the four large economies that is in a containable situation and there is where we get a partial ‘I told you so!‘ You see I wrote on part of this 5 years ago. (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2013/05/15/a-noun-of-non-profit/), I made a reference in regards to Brexit, but the setting of it all was a lot larger than merely Brexit. So as you get to contemplate “Consider a large (really large) barge, that barge was kept in place by 4 strong anchors. UK, France, Germany and Italy. Yes, we to do know that most are in shabby state, yet, overall these nations are large, stable and democratic (that matters). They keep the Barge EU afloat in a stable place on the whimsy stormy sea called economy. If the UK walks away, then we have a new situation. None of the other nations have the size and strength of the anchor required and the EU now becomes a less stable place where the barge shifts. This will have consequences, but at present, the actual damage cannot be easily foreseen. Any claim that there is no consequence and they predict no issues, remember this moment! The Barge (as is), will lose stability and the smaller members thinking they are on a big boat are now thrown left to right then left again as the storm rages on. The smaller nations will get damaged and in addition, the weaker ones (Cyprus and Greece) could still collapse, especially if the UK takes a non EU gander“, this was predominantly regarding Brexit. Yet the implications are larger as I stated. The UK is taking on Brexit and now we see that the German anchor it the only anchor giving some stability, the UK is taken away, Italy has lost its footing as it surpassed the 100% debt and now France is pushing that boundary as well. All because it was easier to play the popular fool than taking a hard stance on their debts, France is not alone, Italy and the UK are all there, the smaller ones have no options to give strength to the large 4 and as the UK figured out that going it alone is much better for the economy, we see a dangerous setting.

Even now, when we merely consider Spain in all this (not the smallest economy), we see (at https://www.southeusummit.com/europe/spain/spanish-economy-returns-grade/) that Standard & Poor’s is still playing (what I personally see) as ‘their little game’. Perhaps you remember ‘S&P reaches $1.5 billion deal with U.S., states over crisis-era ratings‘ (at https://www.reuters.com/article/us-s-p-settlement-idUSKBN0L71C120150203) the one quote (one of many) needs to be considered “S&P parent McGraw Hill Financial Inc MHFI.N said it will pay $687.5 million to the U.S. Department of Justice, and $687.5 million to 19 states and the District of Columbia, which had filed similar lawsuits over the ratings“. So when I see “S&P notes that Spain’s overall economic and budgetary performance has not been hampered by political tensions in Catalonia, as many had feared. The country’s GDP increased by 3.1% in 2017 and last week the Bank of Spain raised its economic forecast for this year to 2.7%, up from a December forecast of 2.4%“, you see, the numbers are not really in question, yet when we see the image below (source: Trading Economics).

When we realise that none of the EU nations has a grasp on their debts, in addition, the GDP for Spain went down whilst it is still below the numbers of 2016 and before, there is actually no reason to see the credit rating for Spain go up. I am personally speculating that the EU will be so much more hardship when France hits the 100% debt marker. It matters, because this will soon become the academic exercise that the question: ‘What is the difference between cooking the books and creating a false positive wave through inflated credit scores?‘ I actually do not have the answer here, but I guarantee you that the quality of life in Europe is not moving forward any day soon, not until some issues are seriously reconsidered. In addition, the US-China trade war isn’t helping anyone, not even the Europeans so that will also become a factor of debate soon enough. It partially relates to “We have revised upwards our GDP forecasts, with an intense rate of employment creation and an economic model based on the external competitiveness of our companies. With this scenario, we will achieve our objective for 20 million employed people by 2020“, the issue is that it is misrepresentation, you cannot rely on the unemployment figures and then state we will have 20 million employed, because on a population of 46 million, he might be implying that the unemployment numbers will skyrocket from 17.4% in 2017 to 56%, that would be crazy, yet that is what we are told, is it not? The best lies (read: miscommunications) are done through statistics, so that the feather matches the bird one would say. Still, back to my speculation, I believe that Spain is not the only nation in this setting; I think that some numbers in pretty much every EU nation are beefed, weighted and set to make Europe (or basically themselves in the European setting) look much better, so when the UK leaves they will not look as weak and feeble as they have actually become. It is a setting that is way too dangerous. There is no way that Mario Draghi is not part of this, so when we look at the Financial Times of last week we see ‘Mario Draghi acknowledges ‘moderation’ in Eurozone growth‘ (at https://www.ft.com/content/3e20b49e-4939-11e8-8ee8-cae73aab7ccb). So with “Analysts said that Mr Draghi’s guarded language suggested that the ECB may wait until July — a month later than previously expected — to provide the markets with updated “forward guidance” on its plans to phase out the crisis-era stimulus“. I am a little less optimistic in regards to the quotes, and when we see ““Better safe than sorry was the motto of the day,” said Dirk Schumacher, economist at Natixis“. I personally tend to see that as:

Better safe than sorry
It allows for another day without worry
As we pile the worries and woes
To a stack we can blame on crows
Those at the London Tower are best
Because when they leave the EU we can make them the jest
And when our barge is no longer secure
We move to Wall Street where we can endure

You might think that I am merely making light of all this. The issue is that people in Europe seem to ignore that over €2,000,000,000,000 was printed without the validation of treasuries or consent of the people whose funds got devaluated even further. Do you think that printing money has no cost? It is money that the EU never had, so why did you think it came without consequence?

This partially (and I mean partially) is seen in different ways when we look at an article from Reuters merely two weeks earlier (at https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-ecb-policy-draghi/stock-volatility-no-big-factor-for-ecb-so-far-draghi-idUKKBN1HG1VR) ‘Stock volatility no big factor for ECB so far – Draghi‘, now I agree that volatility will come and go, so the ‘so far’ part is perfectly fine. When we see ““While we remain confident that inflation will converge towards our aim over the medium term, there are still uncertainties about the degree of slack in the economy,” Draghi said in the ECB’s annual report“, now I can agree with that. There will always be a certain amount of uncertainty, that is all good, no issues there, but it is set on a certain premise. When we see that Spain (the only visible one) suddenly in opposition of what I see as real has its credit score increased and as such we see the start of an optional bubble, when others do the same we see the forecast on unreal values, so we see the bubble is not set to the reality of the actuality, at that point, when a lot more start realising that some numbers do not make sense, the uncertainty grows and the closer the UK is to leaving the stronger that uncertainty becomes. At that point we see a run and a total collapse, when that happens, when the people realise that pensions before 78 is no longer optional, do you think that the people will remain calm? When they realise the impact of €2 trillion printed cash is impacting the 26 nations, how much value decline will they face? When that happens, how will people react in all this? Now we get to two elements, one is the mention in the Financial Times where we see: “But the weak economic data for the first quarter have triggered increasing speculation that the first interest rate rise will be delayed until later in 2019. A smaller number of analysts are expecting the bank to continue QE into the new year“, the second is that the entire stimulus was to set the economy right, which did not happen, now set that against inflated credit scores, inflated economies and the downturn that follows, that will happen, it can no longer be contained, merely delayed to some extent. When it does hit Europe would not have a penny left to balance against and it will leave the bulk of Europe destitute. There would be no defence against the next downturn and that is when disaster will truly strike. So as the story is pushing towards ‘protectionism’ and ‘patent values’, we should also consider that impact. Now, as a University graduated Master on Intellectual Property rights, I do comprehend some of the issues, yet I am not a patent attorney, so there are parts that I will ignore or not look at. Consider that a national economy is now more and more dependent on the national patents and the represented value that they hold. Now we get European Patents, the Unified Patent Court (UPC) allows for a simpler way to get it all registered and to some extent enforced. So it is a good thing overall, there was never too much fuss about that side, yet the one strong economy (Germany) is now setting the stage to oppose the UPC, we see this (at http://www.ippropatents.com/ippropatentsnews/europenewsarticle.php?article_id=5725), where we also see “Alternative für Deutschland (AFD) has called for the repeal of the convention on a Unified Patent Court (UPC). AFD “rejects the EU patent law reform”, according to the German Bundestag, which announced the motion on 7 March“, I believe that overall the UPC is a good thing, but there will always be small interests that are not perfect, no EU setting is 100% positive, yet overall, to get one filing for all EU nations, in light that even the UK agreed (and ratified) is a good thing. So when we see “It was based on three grounds, mainly how the UPC Agreement violates EU law, the majority requirements of basic law, and does not comply with the rule of law principle related to judicial impartiality. The complaint was scheduled to be heard in 2018 by the second Senate, appearing as the 11th item on its agenda. In Germany’s 2017 federal election, the AFD won 12.6 percent of the vote and received 94 seats, the first time it had won seats in the Bundestag“, there is an academic setting, yet with 12.6 of the council in hands of the AFD, a very Brexiting minded party, or is that Berlout or Deutchleave, we need to realise that the patent issue is a lot more biting in Germany and that cannot be ignored, as they give rise to uncertainties. So when we get back to the uncertainty there, as well as other uncertainties, and whilst we saw Mario Draghi accept that uncertainty results in stagnation, how much more stagnations are required for the next downturn, even a short term one, whilst the economic reserves have been already been drained.

Now we have a much larger setting, the EU was never about everyone agreeing on everything and the economic setting that requires that to happen at present is also making the dangers of waves that sinks the barge called EU. Now, that seems like an exaggeration, but when you realise that the German anchor is the only one giving stability, you can see the dangers the EU faces and more important, the dangers of no reserves and an utter lack to keep proper budgets in place, a setting now in more danger for the reasons that I gave supported by the economic views of many others. I believe some are downplaying the impact, yet when we realise that EVERY European Union government is downplaying the economic impact (as every nation always wants to look as good as possible, which is a PowerPoint setting of the human ago) we get a much more dangerous setting. We accept that the smaller nations have a negligible impact on the whole, but on a ship that can only remain truly stable with four anchors, losing three is a much bigger disaster than anyone realises, and that downplay will hurt all the players that are part of the EU, so when the downturn starts, we will see kneejerk movements from all the nations, all the big players and we can only speculate the fear mongering speculations that the IMF will treat the European audience to. I have no idea what form it will take, but when it happens I will take a deeper look. In a setting where every negative economic milestone could lay waste to whatever reserves its citizens wrongfully thought they had in the first place.

 

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Slicing the Tiramisu

Perhaps you remember the old days, the days where France was ruled by Marie-Antoinette, as well as King Louis XVI. In days of hunger she stated “Qu’ils mangent de la brioche”, or for those who did not serve in Etrangere: “Let them eat cake”. Yes those were the good days. It was 1789 (it was April if I remember correctly). It was around the day when those bloody colonials (now known as Americans) inaugurated George Washington as the first President of the United States of America. You see, nowadays we fend of hunger by wallowing in greed, to set our stepping stones towards gaining a piece of the action, any action and what I predicted (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2018/02/24/losing-values-towards-insanity/) in ‘Losing values towards insanity‘, is now turning into a reality. You see, when I stated on February 24th “Both Yevgeniy Prigozhin and Dmitry Utkin are now perfectly placed to rake in billions” is now as we see in the Washington Post (at https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/iran-russia-and-turkey-meet-over-syrias-future-as-trump-mulls-troop-withdrawal/2018/04/04/c607e27c-3770-11e8-af3c-2123715f78df_story.html) becoming a reality. With the quote “The three presidents — including Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey, Iran’s Hassan Rouhani and Russia’s Vladimir Putin — gathered in the Turkish capital, Ankara, where they pledged to cooperate on reconstruction and aid” we see the present escalate for the facilitation towards President Assad, whilst they now are willing to state “The leaders called for more support from the international community and emphasized their opposition to “separatist agendas” in Syria“, you see now that they are at the table getting rich the rest of the Syrian oversight will be costly thing and now they are willing to let the US and the EU pick up the bill for those costs. It is the price of doing business with the wrong party, or basically staying out of it all.

In addition, with “It was the second time that Erdogan, Putin and Rouhani have met in recent months to discuss the conflict, underscoring those tensions and the extent to which U.S. power has waned in the region“, which is not news, it is a clear sign of making all the wrong choices and the US is about to make a few more. In regards of Syria, I do stand with President Trump. You see, the title ‘As Trump talks of leaving Syria, his top commander in the Middle East emphasizes the need to stay‘ (also the Washington Post) is deceptive, dangerous and not too bright. I do sympathise with General Joseph L. Votel, head of U.S. Central Command. His statement “A lot of very good military progress has been made over the last couple of years, but the hard part, I think, is in front of us,” is correct. Yet now that the Russians have delivered, the US is at the political mercy of the steps taken by President Rouhani, President Erdogan and President Putin. Each of these players with their own needs to play their games with the U.S. in any way they can and as much as possible. Turkey wants the EU membership, whilst knowingly endangering the EU values forever, Iran wants whatever Iran can lay their fingers on and Putin wants to screw with the Americans for all he can. So any US presence is like walking through a minefield day in day out for months, even years. In addition, there is no evidence that the rebels will ever stop, they will come back and by letting the Russians and Iranians and Turks take those reprisal blows is not the worst idea to have. The wise play is to move out of Syria altogether, the US can only lose here, it is almost the certainty of facing a ‘lose-lose’ situation whilst every blow delivered to the US will mean that the Russians and their Megaline LLC (or known as the delicious cake makers Prigozhin and Utkin).

It will rake in the massive wealth that they will most likely share with President Putin and a few of their friends on the inside. There is every chance that this is the year is the year where Yevgeniy Prigozhin becomes the second most important man in Russia for a very long time and with every contract that they score and deliver to the Syrian government means an additional ascension of his stardom. With the US gone they will actually have to deal with the matters themselves and as the EU stays out, their goose will be partially cooked with every act of retaliation the defeated rebels successfully make. The UK with the entire bungled Salisbury events are only the icing on the cake that Putin is lashing out with for all to see in the media. The fact that he is calling for the joint investigations on several levels whilst there is enough indications that his involvement might never be proven is one part that also works against the UK and the EU. There was never any doubt that Russia created and developed the Novichoks and as the world is seeing what a mess the OPCW and the SAB made of it all merely intensifies the need for other players to get their fingers on this technology and learn skills they never wanted earlier. That part was invigorated by the outspoken misses of the Porter Down and the bunny jumps by Gary Aitkenhead stating “we have provided the scientific information to the government, who have then used a number of other sources to piece together the conclusions that they have come to” only made matters worse. So the Russians are now slicing their Tiramisu which they will share (to some extent) with Iran and turkey, but the message is clear, the US lost massively here and staying behind is not a wise choice (as I personally see it). You see, I do respect the view of General Votel. Even as President Trump thinks short term (his ‘reign’) and General Votel has the right long term strategy view, It is the Trump action that is the wisest one. Syria is about to become cold war territory and the US military is not ready and even nowhere near trained to get into that field. The fallout of such strategic blunders would haunt anyone serving there for a very long time to come. In addition I think it is what the Syrians deserve, they wanted this, so let it be maintained in a ‘cleaned’ state by Russian troops. The US gearing up optionally against Iran by standing next to Saudi Arabia and gaining a better profile in that way is a much better option. It allows for a better humanitarian standing as they set their sights on Yemeni relief is a better option, it will set them against Iran, which is good, because at that point Iran will either back down against Saudi Arabia, or face the wrath of the Saudi, US and Israeli forces which would be quite the show, and I would love to test (for a fee of course) that solution I designed to sink the Iranian fleet (but that is merely my sense of humorous ego).

The second reason is that ISIS might have been dealt serious blows, but they are not out of the fight. The Sinai is merely one focal point, the fact that they are also in Yemen makes for a strategic need for the US to see if they can operate from Saudi Arabia. It would allow for other means to deal with ISIS and for the US to gain a much better foothold in the Middle East. With Saudi Arabia moving well over 500 billion towards a futuristic NOAM, the US have a lot more to gain, doing so before Russia gets options in NOAM is again the wise strategy to follow.

In the second view, it sickens me that ‘after the war‘ we are suddenly ‘allowed‘ to give what the Syrian four now regard as ‘aid’. That was a step they should have allowed 6 years ago. Let them solve it themselves now and live with the consequences of that aftermath and the costs that come with them.

They can have the cake, the crumbs and the table it stands on, that whilst we know that there are several players eager to set fire to that table whilst the 4 rulers are trying to eat the cake. Setting the US and the EU up as a decoy whilst they eat all the cake is a little too distasteful to my liking.

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