Tag Archives: Vision 2030

The rocky road of Congress

There are issues all over the Middle East, and whilst saying that, we see that the UK and the US are now ‘caught’ with their fingers in the big pork pie.

The setting is best seen when we start with the Israeli Haaretz. The article (at https://www.haaretz.com/middle-east-news/top-three-stunning-admissions-from-the-top-u-s-general-in-the-region-1.5910066) gives an initial view.

The title ‘Iran, Syria and Saudi Arabia: Top Three Stunning Admissions from the Top U.S. General in the Middle East‘ sets the pace to the smallest degree and sets the topics to a much larger degree. So let’s take a look.

  1. Assad has won
  2. Iran deal should stand
  3. Saudis use American weapons without accountability in Yemen

Each of these three settings are partially a given. In the first we see that as Lt. Col. Dmitry Utkin has been successful in setting the pace and the plays that are about to follow. Yevgeny Prigozhin, who is linked in all this gives the push for Concord Management and Consulting as well as its subsidiary LLC Megaline, a large push for optional multi-billion dollar contracts. It is yet unconfirmed what exactly will happen, but the setting of the end of the Syrian war will have long lasting repercussions in the Middle East. It is also the first setting where there is a very clear indication that the influence of the US is declining. It will quite literally need to cater to the needs of Saudi Arabia for a much longer time to undo the damage that inaction has brought to the US. So whilst the world is getting torpedoed by news, fake news and gossip regarding to the US and the Internet Research Agency (IRA), there are more and more indications that LLC Megaline is moving beneath the radar to start setting up their infrastructures to grow close to 500% and become the construction facilitator primarily for Syria and after that who knows. Let’s not forget that the $500 billion required for NOAM will go a lot further than Saudi Arabia by its self can currently facilitate for. So as America has been making gruesome steps towards optionally fumbling the collaboration it had created and grown over 75 years. As we were treated earlier this week (at http://thehill.com/opinion/national-security/378132-us-must-push-saudi-arabia-away-from-the-chinese-model-of-governance), so when we see “The widespread concerns are that Saudi Arabia simply won’t meet the stated targets set by Vision 2030. Facing a demographic tidal wave — nearly 45 percent of the population is under the age of 25 — Saudi Arabia needs to generate millions of new jobs to absorb a growing workforce it can no longer afford to subsidize through generous government handouts“, that whilst the US has been unable to even closely set its own agenda for, at times, no more than a quarter in advance at each stage and ending up missing their own forecasts by a lot, we see here that the vision that requires another 12 years is already set to fail, according to the Hill. Now, there is a clear setting that things have to change and there are changes coming, there are even more optional changes in the works as the EU has been playing the wrong settings to cater to the wrong people, in addition, the stress settings between Turkey and several European nations are now impacting a little wider than before. You might see this as separate and as acts they are, but the impact is much wider. France is getting less and less obliging towards Turkey in regards to the Afrin offensive, and the Turks are also getting less and less warm receptions from the Netherlands, so there are political stress situations all over the place. So as we now hear (at https://www.reuters.com/article/us-swiss-turkey/swiss-investigate-alleged-turkish-attempt-to-kidnap-businessman-idUSKCN1GQ2UD) that allegedly accuses that “Turkish diplomats planned to drug and kidnap a Swiss-Turkish businessman as part of a crackdown after the 2016 coup attempt in Turkey“, we see a new iteration of cooling notions. These matters have an impact to a larger degree. You see, there is not just the Saudi issue, issues 2 and three all include Iran, not merely the nuclear deal, but the Houthi support that Iran is giving with the supply of missiles and other goods is still largely ignored by too many players. It is a setting of filtered views, trying to isolate the players and deal with one sided responses. It is the Yemeni setting that makes that utterly impossible. So as we see on one side “The Senator followed up, citing reports that U.S. munitions have been used against civilians in Yemen, she asked, “General Votel, when you receive reports like this from credible media organizations or outside observers, is CENTCOM able to tell if U.S. fuel or U.S. munitions were used in that strike?” “No, senator, I don’t believe we are,” he replied“, we are shown a one sided part in all this that a significant amount of acts was to act against the Iranian missiles as they were targeting civilian areas. That part remains unasked. So in all this, as we realise that Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren is one of the smarter cookies in the US Senatorial jar of cookies, we need to wonder on her actions and her reasoning. The idea that the US (especially the democrats) needs the nuclear deal to hold, whilst we get (at https://www.ft.com/content/22845a20-27d2-11e8-b27e-cc62a39d57a0) an accepted view from the Financial Times with “The US will on Thursday ramp up pressure on European countries to “fix” a landmark Iran nuclear deal that president Donald Trump has threatened to scrap“, with in addition “A state department spokesperson said: “This is a last chance.”” we know that the end is nigh for that bad situation. It is more than Israel wanted, the additional settings that we see is that the US has played a very dangerous game on the Turkish, the Iranian and the Saudi side, whilst there is enough indication that they never had the Trump cards to make it happen. That view is given more strength when we see “The senior US official said “it was diplomatic malpractice to exclude missiles from the original deal”, adding that long-range missiles are inherently associated with a nuclear weapons programme“. In that regard, it is not just the acts of the US, but the EU and UK players in all this will also be given the spotlight. As we see that things were missing, the hasty excuses like ‘there was no time‘, or ‘this was as good as we were going to get it‘ will hit back with enormous force as it gives more and more view that the initial views of Israel were correct. Now as there is an increased escalation with Iran, it is the view we see (at http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-43419673) where we see “Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman told US network CBS News his country did not want to acquire nuclear weapons. “But without a doubt, if Iran developed a nuclear bomb, we would follow suit as soon as possible,” he added“, which now gets us in that stage that comes with the Hollywood phrase ‘This shit is getting real!‘ It was the setting that Israel had dreaded for the longest of times and whilst that shit is getting real we see, or better stated, we should see that the escalated and unbalanced pressures are showing the EU as well as the UN to be set as paper tigers that have no power and in the end no options. It is like Reuters stated in regards to the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, merely “a 47-nation human rights body that has no legislative powers“, yes that was a setting that really helped it all along, were they not?

It goes further than this

You see, some of the players are waking up (or so it seems), with ‘GOP leaders want to put off Yemen war powers vote’, (at https://edition.cnn.com/2018/03/15/politics/yemen-war-powers-vote-congress/index.html), they realise that the setting is less clear, there are intricate settings that have been ignored by some of the players (read: Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren), the issue is not how, what, when, where or why it was done. With “GOP leaders would prefer to put off a final vote on the divisive issue until after it can be more closely studied in committee” it is not merely a stalling tactic (stalling might still be a factor). The issues that Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren danced around are still very much on the table for the governing party and in all this it is also squarely on the plate of Mike Pompeo, who, if confirmed, as Secretary Of State, will need to make sure that his office does not become the SOS signal that breaks the loom before the strings in all this have been separated, untangled and isolated so that the matters do not become some Gordian knot that ends up pushing Saudi Arabia, Iran, Egypt, Qatar and Turkey over some edge, because these connections will set flame to the threads connected to others on the loom of diplomacy. Even as we are ‘treated’ to news items like ‘Iran-Qatar alliance deepens, says Iranian naval official‘ and ‘Iran stands with Qatar, says Guards official‘, the truth remains that a direct head to head with Saudi Arabia is one that Iran is reluctant to have, because when it comes to making choices between Saudi Arabia and Iran, there is clarity that the US, many European nations as well as Israel, pretty much none of them will support Iran, as the deepening cliffs are drawn between the EU nations and Turkey, the support it had with Turkey could essentially fall away further, and in that Turkey has been famous for merely supporting whatever pleases Turkey, getting in bed with Iran that deep is a choice Turkey will not be willing to chance. In all this Iran requires players like Qatar to make the blunders of setting themselves into a light of harm whilst Iran plays the ‘I know nothing‘ card.

A game that ends even before it starts in all earnest. So in that regard, the second and third setting we saw in Haaretz will have stronger impacts and the entire Yemeni setting will not be played out the way some would like that to be. that part was seen merely an hour ago when Reuters (at https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-yemen-mattis/mattis-dont-restrict-u-s-support-to-saudi-led-forces-in-yemen-idUSKCN1GS00N) gave us “Defence Secretary Jim Mattis defended U.S. military support to Saudi Arabian-led coalition forces in Yemen on Thursday as he explained a personal appeal to lawmakers who are considering whether to end Washington’s involvement in the devastating conflict“, and it is not merely in regards to support. When it comes to appeasing Turkey or Saudi Arabia, having strong ties with Saudi Arabia would be roughly 1,000% more important than anything else and not in the smallest regard for economic reasons. So as we earlier (in previous bog) saw that what is now stated by Reuters as “A bipartisan group of senators, Republican Mike Lee, independent Bernie Sanders and Democrat Chris Murphy, are attempting to take advantage of a provision in the 1973 war powers act that allows any senator to introduce a resolution on whether to withdraw U.S. armed forces from a conflict not authorized by Congress“, we see that congress might be having the right cap on whilst considering this, the cap would prove to be a massive blowback for Saudi-US settings in the Middle East for the longest of times. So as we might to some degree agree with “Lawmakers have argued for years that Congress has ceded too much authority over the military to the White House. Under the Constitution, Congress – not the president – has the authority to declare war“, we need to also see that the US has not declared war against Yemen, it merely is seeking to stop the Iran-aligned Houthi rebels, a group has been firing missiles into Saudi Arabia as well as target commercial vessels off Yemen’s coast, 2 acts that should never have been allowed for in the first place. The US could have a clear setting in those two parts and as such a larger repair of status would be to be more vigorous in countering merely those two dangers anyway possible.

And in all this there is one final danger that the US desperately needs to negate and they do not have a lot of time to achieve it. You see as the Syrian issues are drawing to a close, it is not impossible that PMC Wagner would be growing its influence by offering support to Saudi Arabia against Yemen. You see, Iran painted itself in a corner by denying the weapons shipments to Yemen. In this the strategy becomes that either Iran walks away, or locks horns with Russia too. So as we see “The Iranian Minister of Defence Amir Hatami has denied the allegations about the presumed shipment of weapons to Yemen“, the door has been opened and now Yevgeny Prigozhin as well as Lt. Col. Dmitry Utkin could end up visiting Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, in his role of Minister of Defence and offer to solve the Yemeni issue. Should that happen, which is largely speculative from my side, the Russian delegations would receive a much larger opening of the door of opportunity in the Middle East as well as optional access to offer services towards NOAM, a situation that must be the stuff of nightmare legends for the US (as well as for the UK to some degree).

If that happens, it is expected to happen before the end of July, so we will know then and I could be wrong, but when it comes to business opportunity we have seen Yevgeny Prigozhin take the lane of opportunity in the quickest way and there is no way that he does not want a slice of that $500 billion Lemon Meringue Pie, or as he would be calling it the: Kremlin Profit Sharing Money Supply, a refreshing desert that is as rhymed as the Kremlin could get it with the available Horn of Plenty for all who agree there.

Do you still think that my speculation is that far off? I do not hope to be right, but knowing how the souls of greed move; the chance of me being wrong is declining really fast.

All because some of the players have (as I personally see it) their own ego’s and personal needs in the play and not the national needs they had to serve, the long term needs that is, because there is no doubt that some of these sparks are the direct consequence of short term thinking.

 

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Losing business in America

The Washington Post had an interesting article during the weekend. The article (at https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/supreme-court-case-centers-on-law-enforcement-access-to-data-held-overseas/2018/02/25/756f7ce8-1a2f-11e8-b2d9-08e748f892c0_story.html) gives us ‘Supreme Court to hear Microsoft case: A question of law and borders‘ where the issue debated is: “At issue is whether a U.S. company must comply with a court order to turn over emails, even if they are held abroad — in this case in a Dublin server. The litigation turns on a 1986 law, the Stored Communications Act, passed long before email became a ubiquitous way to communicate and before American firms began storing massive amounts of data outside U.S. borders“, in this case it goes even further then the lawmakers or lawyers have considered. Apart from the fact that the server is physically in Dublin and a case would be required to be made in Strasbourg, there is one additional need (beyond the stringent privacy laws in Europe). Microsoft is phrasing it that in opposition, “an adverse ruling would leave the government “no basis to object” when other countries demand Americans’ emails stored inside the United States, that it would “trammel” other nations’ sovereignty and erode trust in a way that poses “an existential threat” to the $250 billion cloud-computing industry“, this leads us to the Cloud Act, as we get the quote (in this case from WCCFTech) “Congress is currently considering to make it easier for the law enforcement to access international data – one of the major headaches that the prosecutors currently face. Microsoft, Google and other tech companies who have had their fair share of issues with the government have long asked for a revamp of the legislation that demands companies to hand over data stored on a foreign land“, the question is not why it is needed, but on how the changing rule of privacy is impacting those outside of the US, more important, how it could turn against the US in the long term.

The danger is seen, not in Europe, but in Saudi Arabia where banking laws are actually extremely protective of the customers. Let me explain with the following information.

There are certain secular regulations passed by government, which although not dedicated as a whole to data privacy/protection, contain specific provisions governing the right to privacy and data protection in certain contexts. Examples of such regulations include:

  • the Basic Law of Governance (no: A/90 dated 27th Sha’ban 1412 H (corresponding to 1 March 1992)), which provides that telegraphic, postal, telephone and other means of communications shall be safeguarded. They cannot be confiscated, delayed, read or breached.
  • The Anti-Cyber Crime Law (8 Rabi 1, 1428 (corresponding to 26 March 2007)) (as amended), which generally prohibits, amongst other things, the interception of data transmitted through an information network, the invasion of privacy through the misuse of camera-equipped mobile phones and the like, illegally accessing bank or credit data of another, unlawful access to computers for the purpose of deleting, destroying, altering or redistributing private data, or the production, preparation, transmission or storage of material impinging on public order, religious values, public morals, and privacy, through an information network or computers;
  • The Telecoms Act (approved pursuant to the Royal Decree No. (M/12) dated 12/03/1422H (corresponding to 3 June 2001), which states that the privacy and confidentiality of telephone calls and information transmitted or received through public telecommunications networks shall be maintained, and disclosure, listening or recording the same is generally prohibited

The Regulations for the Protection of Confidential Commercial Information (issued by Minister of Commerce and Industry Decision No. (3218) dated 25/03/1426H (corresponding to 4 May 2005), and as amended), which governs the protection of data considered to be “commercial secrets” under these regulations.
(Source: DLA Piper, at https://www.dlapiperdataprotection.com/index.html?t=law&c=SA)

So if we see Saudi Arabia push for equally protection in regards to digital privacy and digital personal data, there would soon be a jump by many people to get a futuristic @gmail.sa account.

So now we see the US pushing and they could lose out twice, first the fact that others will demand US data in the same trend for their own criminal legislation reasons (which should make the Wall Street boys nice and nervous. the second is that those who they are trying to prosecute will take their business to Saudi Arabia and protective minded nations. With Saudi Arabia looking at billions of investments coming from the Tech sector, giving in to big business like Apple, Google and Microsoft would be a small step to get the infusion of massive cash drops, infrastructure and evolution of their technological infrastructure. That alone could push the ‘Vision 2030’ plan that has been the shiny jewel for Saudi Arabia as envisioned by Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman Al Saud ahead by several years.

Yet when we see the WCCFTech, we also see the dangerous finale. With “Tech companies have continued to hint for a legislative reform that could help them deliver data on criminals when a warrant is served but the data is stored outside of the country. What these companies feel about the Cloud Act, however, remains unclear“, we see the crucible. This test is not set in law, but in interpretation. With ‘deliver data on criminals when a warrant is served‘, you see, a person is innocent until proven guilty, so as such the warrant becomes useless if there is no conviction. Now, I feel certain that the Cloud Act will take such matters into account, but in the clarity of the Act, it is an American Act and as such, even when we get “Thomas Bossert, assistant to the president for homeland security and counterterrorism and Paddy McGuinness, deputy national security adviser for Britain wrote. “The first one would be with Britain, which already has the authority to enter into such a pact.”” I am personally not convinced of that. The entire mess of the Safe Harbour or Safe Harbour 2.0 and/or the EU-US Privacy Shield, when we see privacy, yet in some places we see “for commercial purposes”, which is causing more confusion than give clarity, the fact that a lot is not done in the open and merely between the US and big business is making plenty of people worried. So when we see “2,400 companies – including Facebook, Microsoft, Google and Alphabet Inc.” whilst we see “Facebook’s default privacy settings and use of personal data are against German consumer law, according to a judgement handed down by a Berlin regional court”, whilst at the same time we see that Facebook list a case in the Belgian courts too. So the entire setting as we are given the view by Reuters “EU justice commissioner Vera Jourova, who presented the first annual report on the agreement, the Shield is “working well”“, whilst at the same time we see that one of the three largest players in the data industry is handed their marching papers all over Europe is a much larger cause for concern and Saudi Arabia is gaining an unique position to cash in on that setting, and they are not alone, in that same view China could make equal protective leaps, enticing business and data away from the US.

In this regard, when we look back at the Washington Post where we see: “With congressional action unclear, the stakes are high for U.S. v. Microsoft, such that more than 30 friend-of-the-court briefs have been filed by the European Union, members of Congress, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, tech firms, privacy advocates, and former law enforcement and national security officials, among others”, the issue is not merely what is in play, but with the changes towards G5 all bets are off because it is not merely more data and faster data, there will be a new dimension of machine learning and automation within the apps themselves and as such the issue on legislation on personal data and application data becomes a new and different fields of consideration. Now, this has no bearing on national borders yet, but when the value of application data grows (and it will soon enough on a near exponential scale), we will see these fields come into the view of consideration and debate.

The Saudi opportunity is seen in a much better light when we consider “E. Joshua Rosenkranz, who will argue Microsoft’s case, called the government’s position “a recipe for global chaos.” He added: “If ever there were a step that is sure to stoke international tension, it is sidestepping the treaties that were negotiated by countries precisely to protect their sovereignty, and instead unilaterally obtaining reams of personal letters”, so as we see that side in regards to the ‘sovereignty’ of accounts, we also see that if Mossack Fonseca pushes their boundaries and if they get their infrastructure and security up to scrap, they could open up new doors to alternative and additional revenues, because those who have the cash to secure their privacy will pay through the nose for it. So it will no longer merely be about tax avoidance, it will become about identity avoidance, repudiation avoidance and their cyber persona, all up for Encrypted Cyber Outsourcing. If your value in cyberspace is set to a value, being the one surfing with an economic value of $0 will be the most anonymous one and there are plenty of people who prefer to be that, out of sight of the Skip Tracers, the investigators and the media at large, in the cyber age, anonymity is becoming more and more important, especially to those who embrace anonymity.

The Washington Post gives a few alternative views and all very valid, yet in all this there is not merely the ‘criminal’ data as it is seen, it is the setting of data privacy within the persons national sovereignty set against the US, or any other nation that requests your data for whatever reason they give. We see this in the US case Blackwell, 2004, where we get “Illegally obtained evidence applies to criminal cases only and is typically “evidence acquired by violating a person’s constitutional protection against illegal searches and seizures; evidence obtained without a warrant or probable cause”“, that setting could stretch, especially when data obtained from another country is set against additional privacy laws and in addition, the proof required to set ‘or probable cause’ which might be another bump in the setting of borderlines, whether they are merely digital or physical. The law was never ready for Clouds and Cyberspace. This is seen in the unjust setting of ‘the law does not apply in Cyberspace‘, which is not true (proven on several settings), as the “conflicting laws from different jurisdictions would apply, and even as that happens for any person simultaneously, to some extent, to the same event. The Internet might not make geographical and jurisdictional boundaries clear, but Internet users remain in physical jurisdictions“. There is an agreement there, but as most systems as well as the lack of non-repudiation has been in play from even before I got my University IT degree, and since then too little changed, the failure to prove that the ‘internet user‘ is THAT ‘internet user‘ the law keeps on falling over and as that is paramount in setting the need of the warrant, the warrant should in the end go nowhere, which is exactly what the alleged criminal hopes for and legislation has remained behind the curve by a lot, optionally helping them out evading conviction.

So as we see these settings, we see that the U.S. v. Microsoft could in the end cost the US a lot more than they themselves bargained for, because that is in the end the nature of the beast of commerce, it goes where business and profit resides.

 

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Removing the right of choice

Fox News had an opinion piece 2 days ago that only now met my eyes. Now, for the most, apart from some Guardian opinion pieces, I tend to stay away from them. Yet, this one caught my eye because not only was the situation upsetting. The issue that Americans use their right to free speech to deny others the right to choose (to some degree) is another matter and it became clear that I should give my view in all this.

The title ‘Is the West finally pushing Saudi Arabia to squelch its version of radical Islam?‘ First off, why on earth do we see the need ‘forcefully silence or suppress‘ the choice of Islam? Now, I am merely a Christian in this, but I do not see any reason here. In the second, the setting of ‘radical Islam‘ is equally an issue. What makes it radical? That is not me being clever, it is an actual question. When does any religion become ‘radical’?

Now, I am merely quoting Wiki here (just the easiest part), and important that as a Christian and not armed with a knowledge of Arabic, I might wrongfully quote her, so be aware of that. With: “In the 18th century, a pact between Islamic preacher Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab and a regional emir, Muhammad bin Saud, brought a fiercely puritanical strain of Sunni Islam first to the Najd region and then to the Arabian Peninsula. Referred to by supporters as “Salafism” and by others as “Wahhabism”, this interpretation of Islam became the state religion and interpretation of Islam espoused by Muhammad bin Saud and his successors (the Al Saud family), who eventually created the modern kingdom of Saudi Arabia in 1932“, you see, my issue, perhaps partially better stated as my grievance with Nina Shea is not that she is a lawyer or a Christian, but that she is both. That one nation that has been hypocrite towards empowering outspoken Christians and Christian puritans at nearly every twist and turn of every American administration since WW1 is now speaking out against another puritan based religion? How screwed up is that?

And the fact that we also see in the Fox News pages that she currently is a leader of a campaign for Christians threatened with genocide by ISIS, is even worse. As American Presidents have refused to name the Armenian Genocide as such because of concerns over alienating Turkey, with former president Barack Obama being the latest weakling in that long line of individuals in denial. And when we get to alienating Turkey? Turkey alienated them self for a long time, going all the way back to 2001 and they only alienated themselves stronger with nearly everyone after that. So genocide is only recognised when it is in the interest of US political policies? How hypocrite is that? So even as this happened less than a year ago, we see: “But although ISIS’ genocidal intent has long been clear, the extent of the group’s atrocities has remained murky. Local authorities and human rights organizations have made some attempts to compile lists of victims. According to those lists, between 2,500 and 5,000 Yazidis had been killed by ISIS while over 6,000 had been kidnapped. But the UN has not yet been able to independently verify these figures” (source: www.foreignaffairs.com), so how should we see these differences?

Personally I have no issue with people and their religion, you see they can be a puritan as they want to be, and until they start pushing that onto us (read: me) they are fine. I have absolutely no regard for any Christian pushing their values onto others, in that I am quite happy to see the separation of state and church to be forever. There is in equal measure another issue, you see, puritan is often seen as ‘against pleasure‘, which is not always the case and that makes that discussion a lot harder, for what sets the definition of Puritan?

So when we see the quote from Nina Shea that gives us: “Now Europe is finding its voice with a new willingness to pressure the Saudi Arabian government to end its spread of extreme Islamic ideology, known in the West as Wahhabism“, so she has set ‘puritan‘ as ‘extreme version of‘. The question is on one side is what constitutes a puritan version as such and even if so, the Vatican forced Christianity into the world, whilst under its flag committed genocide by removing no less that 11 civilisations. The church and greed have gone hand in hand for centuries whilst the nobility, or should that be in modern tongue ‘Big Business’ have not been held accountable since before World War 1. The bible approved of slavery and in Matthew 19:14 and Mark 10:13 stated ‘Let the children come to me‘, Catholic priests saw that as an optional clear signal to fuck every young boy in town (whenever possible). So as the Holy See was considering thousands of priests actively taking the cherry from young boys for over 50 years, how many went to prison? In that light the media is equally to blame, until the movie Spotlight got the limelight in the Academy Awards, millions of Americans remained in denial. Even as the Boston Globe exposed it in 2002, it would take 13 years, until after the movie was released that the larger part of the media changed their tunes, the church still has that much power. So as we oppose one form of puritan religion, we see the outrages acts of our own religions and in that regard I have an issue with certain settings.

In addition we see: “As I told Congress in testimony last July, 16 years after the 9/11 attacks – led and carried out primarily by Saudis” we see yet another issue. In the first, this attack was done by Al-Qaeda, under the leadership of Osama Bin Laden, who was indeed born Saudi, yet he was banished from Saudi Arabia in 1992, 9 years before the event. More important, their family came from the Yememi Kindah, so another ‘faith’ altogether, in that regard, when we consider that Kindites converted to Judaism following the conversion of the Ḥimyarite kings, which happened roughly 1500 years ago, so why is she not blaming Israel in all this? It seems to me that Nina Shea has no religious agenda; she has a political one and is willing to play Saudi Arabia towards her needs. In the part that we accept that Al-Qaeda was made up from Islamic Extremists and Salafists, there is the legitimate question on how many of the members of Al-Qaeda are (still) Saudi, but is that even possible to grasp? There are so many splinter organisations, active all over the Middle East, In Yemen is gets even more of an issue where they are fighting the Houthi’s. The New York Post gave us two weeks ago: “An immigrant from Saudi Arabia suspected of applying to join an al-Qaeda training camp has been arrested on a visa fraud charge in Oklahoma, according to a report. The FBI recently discovered Naif Abdulaziz Alfallaj after his fingerprints matched those taken from a document found in Afghanistan“, it makes matters worse and less clear. It is not a clear picture for those getting all the information, for people like Nina Shea who are willing to ‘filter’ data before their presentation make matters worse, we do not only get a distorted picture, we get more non-truths (at times non-verifiable truths, or speculations) and as such the picture shift a little more. We can argue that to some Saudi citizens desire a life of ‘action’ in perhaps the wrong direction is preferred over whatever they had before. We have all had those moments. I myself have argued within myself to find 1-2 paedophilic priests and hang them in the nearest tree without trial, so should I join some anti-religion and blow up churches? Of course not, that would be just insane, but some might do just that.

So when we consider ‘members of the Ku Klux Klan planted and detonated dynamite at the 16th Street Baptist Church‘ we also need to see that J. Edgar Hoover had secret recordings that proving the involvement of guilty parties (according to some sources), he also ensured that a court could not use them as evidence to prosecute the attackers, making it more difficult to convict. For 14 years after the bombing, none of the men were prosecuted for their crime. The first one to be arrested (and convicted) was Robert Edward Chambliss in 1977. So we, Americans and non-American Christians alike have closets full of skeletons, perhaps when it comes to certain matters we should not be the judging or reforming parties in the matters of other nations.

Now, there are a few sides that do bare consideration.

Even if we agree with: “In 2010, a top U.S. Treasury counterterrorism official warned that without Saudi education reform “we will forever be faced with the challenge of disrupting the next group of terrorist facilitators and supporters.”“, Saudi Arabia is a sovereign state, it has its rights and it has forever been a Muslim state. You see, until the oil prices went down and the profits declined, America remained unwilling to hear any level of criticism on Saudi Arabia, making a lot of the matters in play hypocrite at best.

The next ‘wrongful representation‘ is “The West seems to be finally waking up. The new assertiveness shows official recognition of the link between Islamist ideology and terror, and our governments must keep it up“, you see, I see this as “as the profits are declining and as Saudi Arabia is now set to be a growing force beyond the petrochemical industry” we see issues because the ‘link between Islamist ideology and terror’ has been known for a long time and seen as such. Hamas, Hezbollah are the clearest ones. There is the Muslim Brotherhood, and plenty of others, whilst the PLO was delisted as a terrorist organisation is now again rearing its tail by no longer recognising the state of Israel, so that could escalate again. In addition we see that only the UK saw the Orange Volunteers as a terrorist organisation, I wonder why the US did not see it that way. So whatever makes that list is also very dependent on how they cross the United States of America (speculation on my side), so as the sovereign nation of Saudi Arabia is becoming a growing centre of commerce and an economic power we start seeing more anti-Saudi events. Yet the US will happily sell all the weapons and planes they can for now. Nina also refers to a report that was classified and forced into the open in 2016 regarding the Saudi textbooks (at https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2016/08/17/international-home/document-state-dept-study-on-saudi-textbooks.html), it is 148 pages, so read it there (the PDF was too large to place here).

My issue in this is not the paper; it is the chance of comprehending it all, it is linked to hundreds of books, to hundreds or issues all linked to the Koran and to the rights that Saudi Arabia has as a sovereign nation. We might not agree and as Christians we might to a certain degree oppose outside of Saudi Arabia, but its sovereign rights are as they wanted it, linked to the Muslim faith. We need to recognise that we are not all alike, that others have their rights and they need not be based on democracy. However we must also recognise that ‘democracy’ in America and largely in Europe is set towards what the rich and powerful want it to be. If you disbelief that then try to change laws in America that makes Wall Street criminally accountable. Good luck getting that done within the next 50 years!

You see, in support of my view, I would like to call attention to page 3, where we see “The national identity of Saudi Arabia is deceptively simple. It is an absolute monarchy“, so what makes a monarchy absolute? The Netherlands is a monarchy, so is Sweden, Norway, Denmark, the United Kingdom, Belgium, Spain and a few others. So as these are predominantly Christian monarchies, are they not absolute or dangerous? Perhaps they are merely seeing eye-to-eye with the US and not that much of an economic threat? The EU and the ECB simmered down the European nations as threats is another view and it is for people with better economic degrees than mine to make a call on that. Again a speculation from my side, but it seems to me that the US would prefer every nation to be a republic, so that the larger corporations can sweep in and reduce that national population into a spreadsheet and reduce the abilities of those being a hindrance, a non-consumer or a liability.

We can take any view on these matters, but in the end we see a person with a rightful opinion get the centre stage all the way to the US Congress, whilst we consider her quote: “Germany finally pressed Saudi Arabia to close the King Fahd Academy in Bonn in spring 2017, according to a 2016 Deutsche Welle report. It first came under investigation 14 years earlier for alleged ties to al Qaeda“. The question that is here is ‘It first came under investigation 14 years earlier for alleged ties to al Qaeda‘, so was that ever proven? That is the part that Nina Shea does not want you to know; in addition there is the part that was in the Deutsche Welle. ‘Now, the King Fahd Academy is about to close its doors of its own accord‘, which she did not mention. In addition (at http://www.dw.com/en/controversial-saudi-school-in-bonn-to-close/a-19511109), we see the clear mention of ‘Moving beyond oil‘, it seems that Europe and the US stayed very silent whilst the oil profits were flowing their way making a lot Nina states even more hypocrite. So as Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is pushing stronger towards his “Vision 2030“, we see that slowly his reforms are catching hold, there is momentum and there is additional evidence that it is a worry for the United States, particularly the people who were having benefits on the matters before Vision 2030. When we consider the rumour from last month when we were introduced to “The new policy means Apple is administering collection and remittance of tax to authorities at a rate of 20 percent in Armenia and Belarus; 5 percent in Saudi Arabia; 18 percent in Turkey; and 5 percent in United Arab Emirates” we see the clear benefit for Apple to grow in Saudi Arabia, yet in that it could cost the US 20 cents to every dollar pushed to Saudi Arabia and as Apple tends to think in tens of billions, the US is about to lose out of a pretty penny they desperately need. In addition with Amazon and Google gaining tech hubs there, the loss of revenue and data is about to cost the US a lot more and in this greed driven economy that is what has been setting plenty of people over the rails and into the sea of chaos, frustration and outcry. So as Saudi Arabia ends up getting 5 data centres, how many will not be upgraded in the US or Europe in the near future? How much is that going to cost them?

These are all matters linked to the opinion of Nina Shea, because if that was not the case we would not have seen “These events are being driven by Western governments that are now pushing hard for the government of King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud to pull back from Wahhabist support – a push that appears to be working“, you see, the fact that (some) schools closed on their own accord was not mentioned, neither is any part of Vision 2030 which has been on the front page of the Saudi plans of actions for almost 2 years now and in addition, when we see “For decades European and U.S. leaders bit their tongues while the Saudi governments spent billions of dollars indoctrinating Sunni Muslim communities“, whilst not stating that the oil money flowing into these places was too good to ignore is equally an issue because it shows us to be hypocrite and it shows Saudi Arabia to be business oriented. OK, I will give you that the last part is not entirely correct, but why did Europe and the US bite their tongues? If they were so morally high we would have seen a lot more, an issue that never happened.

So who will Nina Shea blame for that? I reckon we will leave it non-mentioned (for now).

Finally we need to look at her statement “Tiny Belgium, population 11.27 million, has sent more Islamic fighters to Syria per capita than any other European country“, so when we see the Wall Street Journal (at https://www.wsj.com/articles/europe-balks-at-taking-back-isis-fighters-1518557328) where we see the quote “An estimated two to three dozen Belgian foreign fighters are in detention in Syria and Iraq, another Belgian official said“, so as we consider an unrelated statistic like “Hospital medical errors are the third leading cause of death in the United States. That’s 700 people per day, notes Steve Swensen“, the fact that we see the mention of 36 Belgium fighters in Syria in a pool of 5000, seems to be too irrelevant to use as a focal point in her presentation, whilst in the US 700 people a day die in Hospitals through mere errors. She has the wrong focus as illumination in her presentations. You see, it would not have mattered if she had mentioned the number of Belgium fighters and the total pool of ‘extremists’ but she did not want that, she wanted the hypocrite limelight, so I will happily keep a focus on her and how she tries to misinform the people around her next.

In all this Fox News should get an equal share in the blame by not setting the stage properly. By leaving too much unstated we should consider that the reliability of Fox News and what they present is equally taking a turn downwards.

In the end

In the end this was less about speaking for Saudi Arabia (they can do that themselves perfectly well), then speaking against Nina Shea. I find this a hatched job that should not have been placed on Fox News the way it was. Whatever points she could have made was drowned out by the misrepresentation that I see them to be and in several fields in many ways. This requires me to add her mention of ‘Islamist terror has replaced chocolate as Belgium’s best known export‘, you see the best export the Belgium ever had was beer, the finest in the world. And even as we agree that their chocolates are the best, we need to see that terrorism is not their export, or their best known export. Perhaps their flaw was to have the most cordial of borders in Europe, together with Sweden, yet as Sweden is up in the north and Belgium is caught between the Netherlands, Germany and France, there is no doubt that whatever they get came initially from one of the three other nations and guess what, Nina made no mention of that either. Perhaps because she was in doubt whether it was a good idea to piss the other three nations off? Again, merely speculation from my side, but in the end, we have seen in evidence from reputable sources that the economy has been a central reason in creating extremism, a part that has hit Belgium and several other nations. That too remains unmentioned.

 

 

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Poly….what? Politics!

It is almost a week ago, yet the news is still rustling through the Middle Eastern meadows. The news is partially all over it. Yet, it is the Business Insider who gave us ‘a plot to shore up the country’s depleted coffers’ (at http://www.businessinsider.com/saudi-arabia-corruption-crackdown-looks-like-a-plot-to-plug-deficit-2017-12), Ambrose Carey makes an interesting point here. The beginning quote “Now a more probable motive for Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s unprecedented detention of members of the country’s rich elite is emerging. Reports suggest that detainees are signing away cash and assets to secure their freedom in what looks like an unorthodox bid to plug the kingdom’s gaping budget deficit” could be a given truth. When we consider the Guardian last week with ‘Saudi prince Miteb bin Abdullah pays $1bn in corruption settlement‘, some of us thought that it was interesting not just that the counts of corruption had already been investigated, the idea that there was a ‘get out of jail card‘ for a mere $1,000,000,000 is equally stunning, that I beside the fact that the sum has been agreed upon and that the head of the Saudi National Guard is apparently still smiling after having paid the amount. In light of one of the accusations “awarding contracts to his own firms, including a $10bn deal for walkie talkies and bulletproof military gear worth billions of Saudi riyals” we could see that the price is interestingly light. So does the Business insider have a case?

Well, when we consider how the oil prices have slumped from the almighty $135 to $58 we all have to wonder how the impact on the long term has been. pumping oil might be like printing money at your own convenience, but once the spending spree and the high rises are there, the long term issue is that oil is at 42% of what was and upping production by 193% is just not realistic in the long term. Yet there is another worry. the quote “a huge budget deficit, which stood at $79 billion in 2016. The government has had to use foreign reserves to help cover the revenue shortfall, with the former shrinking by about a third over the last three years. The recession has forced MbS to rein back public spending, alarming cosseted Saudis long accustomed to cradle-to-grave subsidies” does not give it. Even as that is merely the deficit, that and the selling of domestic debt in July gives rise to thoughts, yet we need to wonder how inflated this issue is, as it seems to be presented. Lets not forget that it is less than 10% of the Greek debt and unlike Greece, Saudi Arabia is still getting income from the oil fields. So the need to panic should not be there. And lets face it, who is actually panicking?

Even as the Business Insider is making a nice case. I fear I cannot agree on some of the ‘findings‘ and ‘assumed speculations‘ that they offer. With “So, in all likelihood, MbS will struggle to generate the money he needs. Worse still for him, his actions could have deleterious consequences for the economy. While the acquisition of assets and cash is likely to play well with ordinary Saudis weary of corruption amongst the royals and the business elite, it may unnerve already jittery foreign investors whose engagement is critical to the Crown Prince’s economic plans. Though allies have sought to portray the detentions as an anti-graft campaign aimed at cleaning up the corporate landscape, its apparently arbitrary nature and disregard for property rights and due process will worry the investment community“. You see, it might be correct to some extent, but knowing the greed that some have for mere millions, roughly 99.32554% of that population will not run away from optional billions, that is a given you can take to the bank. From my own point of view, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman can still have it all, the timeline might slip a little, but there are clear signs that there are options to grow opportunity within Saudi Arabia. They still have options to rival Al Jazeera if certain censoring is changed, By investing into tertiary degrees for Saudi’s its dependency for foreign workers will go down, which would be a massive boost for Saudi Arabia and as Saudi Arabia grows its entertainment network it can start opening doors on setting a 5G environment which will have them being amongst those leading the charge in the next mobile evolution which will enable a lot more industry all over the Middle East. In this aging day, pharmaceutical options seem to be the next step. There is no way it can compete with India, but in partnership with India they will have options to grow this industry internally. It seems like that need is too small for Saudi Arabia, yet with 28 million people it could profit by having an industry that is mainly for export within the Middle East that is comprised of 410 million people. That is still a large market that cannot be ignored and as the quality is proven and the export grows, Saudi Arabia could see a drastically reduced need for oil soon thereafter. There are more technology options for Saudi Arabia to enjoy, but the clear path of larger growth has been proven on several counts in several nations to be within the mobile and pharmaceutical industry and that could be the growing start for an entire next generation, because these two fields will have an almost exponential need for Patent lawyers, which means that the legal field will be pushed into revolutionary growth soon after that. Mind you, not merely a local growth, the IP field would enable global growth for Saudi Arabia as well and as this field is set in stone (or marble) it will attract even more foreign investors and opportunity seekers. All issues clearly set in this field and in this the Business Insider is still on the horse that states “The Crown Prince has staked his reputation on the success of an ambitious economic transformation plan, Vision 2030, to wean the country off its dependence on oil, but he needs to fund planned reforms and projects. He was banking on a part-floatation of the national oil company Aramco, which appears to have been postponed for at least a year. The ruthless purge and financial strong-arming could now deter the very western investors and regulators needed to move forward with the sell-off“, yet there is no given that other fields need to stop getting a foothold and as these two (or three) elements are grown within Saudi Arabia, other players will find options to get their own kind of fuzzy drink labelled ‘profit’ in their hands and as such they will still be fighting for a seat at this table called vision 2030. Even as the venue per plate is much higher than expected, the long terms gains are beyond what they are able to make now. With US deficits on the rise, the EU currently has 6 nations that are at risk of breaking the deficit rule (France, Italy, Belgium, Austria, Portugal and Slovenia), so there will be consequences there too, which would imply diminished profit, so those players are looking for seats at tables with loads of gain and that is where Saudi Arabia is one of the few that would accommodate their needs. So as such, Saudi Arabia has options if they have optional controls for greedy mobs. And even as there will be good news stories coming from Strasbourg, there will be eyes on the EU as it will likely dial down the consequences for these six nations. In addition with the Mario Draghi stimulus game where we will see a likely extension into 2018 yet at a lessened 30 billion a month implies that Europe will be diving into close to half a trillion of additional debt, with the likely result that there will be nothing to show for it, no actual economic growth, so in all this debt driven society, Saudi Arabia could have a larger windfall if it plays its cards right. Once certain plays are in place, Saudi Arabia would be more and more primed for export and exporting opportunities to places that ignored and neglected its own infrastructure. In this the US would have to cut costs and corners to a level never seen before as it optionally faces the ridicule for being at best at par and more likely to stray behind Saudi Arabia in the 5G mobile networking, a field they were once the only one dominating in. What a massive set back that will be for the old USA. In this Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman could have the forefront by preferring the Polytechnic sciences over Politics. In his role he cannot avoid politics, but by focussing on Science and technology he has the option to propel Saudi Arabia beyond what others thought possible. So even as it has its issues with deficits and treasury needs, can we rely on the Business Insider that it is so much worse than we expect? I for one am not convinced that this is the case. I might be wrong, but the fact that the larger players are still willing to sell their first born for a seat at that table makes me think that there are a lot more opportunities for investors than many perceive. the question becomes does the House of Saud feel safe letting these opportunities go beyond the national borders to other players? It is always a rocky road to travel. In the end I do believe that it is more about the speed of growth and less about who owns the growth. that should keep plenty of investors tallying their optional profits for some time to come.

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Your GCC resume

Qatar remains in the news, some are looking at the $5.9 billion deal in Italian dinghy’s, others look at the cancelled deal to become an American Airlines stake holder and others like me are focussing towards the GCC futures. According to the Defence minister Khalid bin Mohamed Al Attiyah this setting is not in an increasing danger. The problem is not merely the GCC in itself, it is what you will not see in many newspapers, it is the overhanging impact on OPEC. The news given by Oilprice.com is “All GCC countries depend on stability in the oil and gas markets, which is evident from the recent OPEC deal. A full-fledged confrontation will, without any doubt, put pressure on the current compliance rate of OPEC members to production cuts. Doha will be able to sabotage the current 6+3 production cut agreement between OPEC and non-OPEC members. If Doha decides to join the ranks of Iran and Iraq, OPEC’s future will be in doubt” it is at the very end of the article (at http://oilprice.com/Geopolitics/International/Clash-Between-Qatar-And-The-Saudis-Could-Threaten-OPEC-Deal.html), yet that in itself is not the bacon maker, or if pork is taboo, it is the lamb to the slaughter. When we see: “The Arab criticism may have been less harsh if U.S. officials would not have put oil on the fire. U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis openly warned Qatar that it should change its support of the Muslim Brotherhood. Mattis also stated that U.S. president Trump is considering classifying the Brotherhood as an international terrorist organization, which could have a very negative impact on the U.S.-Qatar economic-military cooperation in the coming months“, this reflects right back to the pressures that the American players where trying to establish through pressuring the WTO issues as written yesterday (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2017/08/02/a-big-tree-in-the-desert/). Another source (Leaprate.com) gives us the links to Iran and re-elected Hassan Rouhani. Here we see “America’s new-found protectionist outlook and open contempt for the JCPOA, has put a question mark against its future, while Iran’s ties with Qatar, currently the subject of embargos by many neighbouring states, is a further concern for investors“, this is the part that most do not get informed about. Partially the US has a valid point as the previous president of Iran was openly waging war towards the US and against the state of Israel. The dangers as I gave them years ago, especially in the light of the nuclear treaties is not how good or how reforming the newly elected President Hassan Rouhani was, it is the issue about the next person, who will get the presidential trophy in 2021 and what happens then? This is the long term worry, most will agree that one extreme leader on the edge of insanity is good enough and keeping that person in North Korea is for now the best place.

Yet, that was not what this is about, when we consider that the JCPOA (also known as Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action), we see the given by Ali Akbar Salehi with ““After JCPOA, our oil production has soared from 1 million barrels per day to 3.9 million bpd,” IRNA quoted Salehi as saying on Sunday, two days after the two-year anniversary of the action plan. This marks a success for Iran’s oil-based economy in reclaiming its market share lost over the years of sanctions“, the issue is that this directly opposes OPEC with “All GCC countries depend on stability in the oil and gas markets, which is evident from the recent OPEC deal. A full-fledged confrontation will, without any doubt, put pressure on the current compliance rate of OPEC members to production cuts” for the UAE and Saudi Arabia that is a problem, as Iran has increased its production by nearly 3 million barrels a day, the other players have to decrease even more, which means that they are hurting well $150 million a day or we will see the pressures shift all over the Middle East, which is not good for America (or the UK for that matter), because that impacts what Saudi Arabia can buy, and the monthly $4.5 billion is partially for the hardware delivered and expected before December 2017, so as these sales paths are impacted, we will see a level of hurt all over the weapons of mass consumer requirements market.

So we have valid and greed driven concerns regarding Iran, in this the Qatar issue does not help and the play that the US is making as we see it should not be considered as a beneficial path. No matter how valid the present situation is as we see it given through the Russian Academy of Sciences, Stanislav Ivanov is giving a present truth with “The main line of Tehran’s policy is to get out of sanctions and gradually restore its economic and financial potential“, we do not deny this, yet the past decades was about setting the pressures to Iran as the western nations had to deal with extremism, in addition to the funding that Iran gave Hamas as it kept on attacking the State of Israel, there are ample issues in all this as the strategic setting before 2021 (Iranian general elections) could face the US, Israel and Western Europe with an economic revitalised Iran, which will be pushing the players back to square one if that seat will become the sitting arrangement for another Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, which is not out of the question.

When that happens, those with a GCC resume, with or without references to OPEC might wonder where their employability resides. Now, if they have been smitten with a 7 figure annual income, they might not care, yet those without that part for at least 4 years might need to scrape by, having to live on $40K a month for the rest of their lives. I can advise these people that it can be done, if they shed the 4 luxury cars (Ferrari, Lamborghini, Maserati and Bentley), give up their membership in the Yas Links Golf Club, Almouj Golf and The Majlis, Emirates Golf Club as well as their 4 bedroom apartment in Riyadh and they are already half way there. So how serious is this? Well, it is actually a lot more serious than most people realise. When we consider that the GCC is a realistic target for cyber-attacks and cyber terrorists, Raytheon is setting up technological barriers to thwart to some degree these plans. the issue is not what the presentations give, whilst we do not oppose of attack the stance that CEO Thomas Kennedy has, the quote (source: Raytheon) “It has since reinforced its cybersecurity capacity with the purchase of 14 companies. In 2015, it acquired a company called Forcepoint (previously known as Websense and Raytheon|Websense) to enhance its commercial presence. This is now the world’s second-largest privately-held cybersecurity firm. Raytheon recently secured a five-year, $1bn contract for the US Department of Homeland Security to help defend “.gov” websites from cyber-attacks. Now the goal is to bring that working knowledge to the Gulf” is merely showing a deficit in the technology. Acquisition is a partial solution to any cyber given industry, the given premise to survive is not what can be bought today, but what must be developed for tomorrow. You see the firms that have that focus tend not to be for sale in the first place. Whilst Raytheon’s focus is very valid to catch up, it is much less a solution for those who are arming themselves for tomorrow, their own missile system department can teach them that part. It is not merely about the technology, it is the development of new systems in cloud and non-repudiation that will give the GCC and other gulf places the edge to be ahead of the cyber-attack curve. A partial issue is found with “We have one of the best data-leakage protection systems in the entire cybersecurity field, and we combine this with our insider-threat behaviour system, which detects suspicious activity and ensures IP and data is not compromised“, which might be non-false, yet the events as Sony has seen shows that the reflective comments are from a behind the wave assessment, with HBO being an example as they were hacked a few days ago. The one provider that relies on cyber security as it sells its value through Netflix is now giving Vanity Fair “When Netflix was hacked earlier this year, the cyber-criminals behind the attack demanded a ransom. But there was no such demand in the hack that struck HBO over the weekend, and the sheer amount of compromised data has led some to believe that video footage, internal documents, or e-mails could be leaked next. The premium-cable giant is working with the F.B.I. and cyber-security firm Mandiant to investigate the breach, in which hackers claimed to have stolen 1.5 terabytes’ worth of data“. This is what Raytheon is up against, not some access issue, but stopping the drain of terabytes, basically every part of the GCC removed in mere hours, whilst the cyber minders were in the dark until after the event and the quote that follows (at https://www.vanityfair.com/hollywood/2017/08/hbo-hack-seven-times-larger-sony) “A traditional business-grade D.S.L. link would take about two weeks at full blast to exfiltrate that much data,” Farsight Security C.E.O. Paul Vixie told T.H.R. “If not for video and sound, a corporation the size of HBO might fit [entirely] in a terabyte, including all the e-mail and spreadsheets ever written or stored.” Another expert added that the entire Library of Congress contains an estimate of 10 terabytes of print material—so it is almost certain that video and/or audio were stolen“, this directly reflects on Raytheon. It is not what we know it is what others have figured out that is the issue. Whether it was through frame leaking, through cloud replication, there are issues that remain non-secure, even as security is at the top of the salespersons mind. There is a need for a new designed system no longer merely on access, but on ‘bio wired’ non-repudiation that is driving the need for evolution and these sales forces have remained in denial as it is something that they cannot offer at present, so they reflect on it as being a non-solution, a non-reality. They stick to the solutions that they can sell now and that is where the GCC finds itself, the lack of visionary evolution of data systems.

So when Raytheon gives their next presentation and someone at the GCC asks “How can we assure that the Bolero electronic Bills of Lading are not stolen or corrupted?” what happens then? Will that person at GCC need to write his resume tout suite, or will his superiors realise that the question was valid and that this situation is an immediate threat to the GCC members? Because in this day and age where extremists are all about the attack on infrastructures, the Bolero Title Registry, the repository and application that manages the transfer of title of the eBL is a clear weak point. Ones the recipients are scrapped and the cargo gets locked down, the ship will have two issues. The first being that the ownership cannot be transferred, you might think that this could be solved in a few days, and that would be right. The direct consequence is that the transfer of oil stop would cost an additional $578,000 in port charges, twice the amount in addition for pilots and towage fees. And as they are moved around additional costs will be incurred, that is apart from the issue that the delays bring and when a visionary does find the way to reset ownership, the delivery of 1 million barrels comes down to a nice $50 million fee, that optionally went somewhere else.

The one place where cyber security was essential is as given in indications running behind and not catching up; the only way to do that is to get ahead of it all. Now, as stated, this is not an attack on Raytheon, this is merely the direct issue on the business need to set serious cash into evolving the new systems to be ahead of the curve and be in a state where the hackers learn that it is not merely about access, the nice part of adding a new ‘language‘ to the plot is not to delay their invasion, it become to take away their comprehension of what they see (hopefully for longer than short term). You see, I have loved Cisco solutions, but they all talk the same language and their precise documentation have been a real assist on those with no-good intentions, we merely need to ask Google ‘what does a cisco frame look like?‘ and we get so much information, enough for too many to get to the heart of the matter and in the early stages of the internet that was a really good thing, we need to move beyond certain settings and push towards dedicated systems that have additional layers of protection, now that might be a mere delay, yet consider what is being protected. How willing are you to keep data safe? Not merely oil data of ownership, in the age of Netflix whilst hackers are streaming the episodes by the dozen, depriving places like Sony and HBO from valid revenue, revenue they invested in, the game needs to be changed. We have seen the uselessness of some governments as they were facilitating towards the communication sellers on bandwidth; we need to change the game regardless of those players. One way to do that is remove their existence to impact. Google did that to some extent, but not to the extent needed. As we realise that providers are 15 dimes to the dollar, we need to set a different scope, not merely in the cloud, but in the need for dedicated non-repudiation. Only then can we make a first effort to push the boundary towards a safer zone. And perhaps Raytheon will bring that to the table, the fact is that we do not know the player that delivers the need of tomorrow today, we merely know that it will not be Beaker bringing it (a Muppet Show reference). In this the ‘evidence’ can be seen when we realise that Raytheon gives us John D Harris II and his view on how forward thinking Talon laser guided rockets are. Yes John this was really the need for Cyber safety! As we consider the issue beyond point-to-point communication. In addition the $100m development program reads sexy for your bonus, yet the issue is data, both at rest and in transit. There are the issues, not in the rocket man shooting by a member of the UAE air force. So as we moved from certain parts of the GCC, via Iran to other providers, we need to see and comprehend that there are several players, all with their own agenda, a perfectly sound and valid situation, yet when we see that stability is centre in all this, destabilisation will impact both the GCC members, the OPEC members and when the overlap is shown (those in both), we need to realise that Iran and Iraq will not care about the needs of the GCC, they are not part of that, which ties hands of the six GCC players and in that Qatar is the centre of the seesaw that the 6 members prefer to have in some level of balance, yet the issues as we are seeing them escalate will impact all the given needs for all the players having their ‘own’ needs to satisfy. None of that is likely to happen any day soon. We could see the US and both their needs towards JCPOA and the WTO as an opposing issue, one that is not beneficial to the GCC or the Qatar issues as they are playing. I cannot say what the GCC members should do next, but it seems to me resolving some parts and creating a new initial balance is the best way forward. This gets me back to the question phrase yesterday. If each of the 4 members could phrase one issue to resolve by Qatar, what would that be? If Qatar can get the conversation started on that, as merely a first show of good will, yet from my point of view, if they Promise to have a good look at Al-Jazeera and do some immediate reforms there as a first step of good will towards the four opposing parties, it might just be enough to reduce tensions and give time for non-escalations to settle and as such forward momentum in resolving issues will be found. In my view it would leave Qatar in a much better view by all other players and global non players. It will open the doors and perhaps that is a good beginning, merely a good beginning, but more than we have now.

And none of this, none of my views were set to painting any of the players as the bad people, merely a path to find the track towards profit and growth, profit for all the players and economic growth for all of them. In all this the one question that is forming in my mind is that Oman has been the one GCC member that is outside of the equation to some extent, could they be a mediating party in all this? I actually do not know the answer; I am merely voicing the question that I have not seen in the news. You see when you realise that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has been the driving force behind Vision 2030, the economic diversification strategy. Is that something that a nation like Oman could see benefits in, when we consider diversification, when we realise that this impacts range of products as well as field of operation. Would it not be interesting how this view could be beneficial to the Middle East as a whole? In all this, as the driving force surpasses boundaries, is that not a field of economic diplomacy to see it grow? To push forward momentum is to find a place and subject of discussion, in my view it would be to find a topic many can agree on, a topic that is always a hard sell in most occasions and it seems to me that oil dependency is always a good option for those realising that it is the only thing they offer, by adding more options, any nation connected is merely opening paths to more stability and more opportunities, especially when these paths can be sold to nations seeking more than oil, which is close to every nation on the planet. Finding a place of stabile growth is the best product any player is ever likely to sell. In this stability is a lot more sexy than quick gain, especially on Wall Street and they are having too often too much to say on that matter. As we need a different language in the cyber world, it is clear that outside of that world a common language is the only solution. The question becomes what language and how to start the conversation, even those setting up their GCC resume right now. That is a fact as it is a resume that they want everyone to read, a comprehensible common ground is the first step in this.

 

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