Imprisoned for failing to bribe a police officer for unlicensed selling — a common and oft overlooked misdemeanour — a Tunisian street vendor suffers the ignominy of a slap to the face from a female prison officer. On release from prison, he self-immolates. Subsequent tensions spill over to the streets of Tunis and from there to Tripoli, Cairo, and Damascus.
The year is 2011. Welcome to the Arab Spring.
A proxy-war in the Levant, centred on Syria and northern Iraq and fed by Islamic arch-rivals Iran and Saudi Arabia, allows the ascendency of a predominantly Western-trained Al-Qaida offshoot rebel group that call themselves the Islamic State. The West’s response is lukewarm until a Russian dalliance in Syria invites a more formidable American rejoinder from a new Washington administration.
A ramshackle Syria has half its population displaced or dead. Libya is a failed state. Iraq is a quagmire of Quds forces and Shiite Iraqi soldiers, Kurdistan Peshmerga, and Turkish troops, combined in their opposition to the Islamic State and other rebel Sunni loyalists.
Turmoil in the Middle East spurns a giant wave of migration through Turkey but also across the Mediterranean — were 5,000 people drown each year in an attempt at this crossing.
Despite arguments that attempt to exonerate this crisis, Europe suffers a spate of terror attacks* — mainly in France and Germany, but now also Manchester, England. Since 2015, 313 people have been killed in terror in 13 separate incidents across major European cities.
It’s all glum as far as the eye can see; up to, and beyond, a September start to the Tribulation.
*The terror attacks coincide with the European Immigration Crisis. They started in France with the killing of 12 people in the Charlie Hebdo attack in January of 2015 and then a mass-murder of 130 people in Paris later that year. This was followed in March (2016) by the Brussels bombings were 32 people were killed, before returning to France for the Nice terror attack in July were another 84 people lost their lives. Berlin and Munich combined suffered 12 fatalities in a July terror attack of 2016. Then we went back to France for the Normandy church attack later that month. Another 12 people were killed in the Berlin Christmas market attack. Early this year we had the Louvre knife attack followed by the Westminster attack, in which 4 people were killed. April saw 4 people killed in Stockholm and a policeman was shot dead later that month in Paris. Three days ago, 22 people were killed in the Manchester terror attack.
We delegate — in large part — responsibility this month by way of interspersed videos throughout the wrap that help paint the picture and put you in the loop. The mainstream media cannot cover enough of these details in their nightly bulletins.
That all ended well, thanks in large part to President John F Kennedy and Defense Minister Robert McNamara, in a triumph of sanity:
After a long period of tense negotiations, an agreement was reached between President John F. Kennedy and Khrushchev. Publicly, the Soviets would dismantle their offensive weapons in Cuba and return them to the Soviet Union, subject to United Nations verification, in exchange for a U.S. public declaration and agreement never to invade Cuba again without direct provocation. Secretly, the United States also agreed that it would dismantle all U.S.-built Jupiter MRBMs, which were deployed in Turkey and Italy against the Soviet Union but were not known to the public.
Today, Russia is increasingly confronted by NATO’s defence missiles, Aegis Ashore, in eastern Europe. Sounds harmless enough — missiles for defence. These missiles, however, are designed to be quickly modifiable and are positioned to nullify particularly any potentially-nuclear cruise or ballistic missile launches from Russia.
The NATO missile deployments are shown here (above) protecting Europe from Iranian-launched missiles, which they will do, but it’s hard to think that they are not primarily designed to negate a first-strike threat from Russia.
Following the 9/11 attacks, American military doctrine shifted pointedly (codified in the 2002 National Security Strategy), with respect to weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) from one of deterrence to one of anticipatory attack — either preemptive (based on the belief that the adversary is about to attack) or preventive (launched in response to less immediate threats).
Just the other day, a flotilla, with Russia’s lone aircraft carrier, was paraded through the English channel. On its way to Syria, it seems, if nothing else than to escalate tensions there another notch. There is also news that Russia now is flirting with idea of Cuban bases.
Syria and Iraq
A very good wrap of the Syrian crisis as it has unfolded over the last year, essentially since Russia’s involvement, is found in the video directly below.
ISIS gained hold of Mosul, rumbling their way to a self-declared caliphate in February 2014. Two years later, and they’re about to be forced out by a motley crew of coalition forces centred on the Shiite Iraqi national forces. The ongoing Battle for Mosul, recently underway, is seen as a critical juncture in the war against ISIS. It could, however, be a case of one war ending and another beginning. Everyone’s scrapping for a political win here, including Turkey.
There are, however, reports that ISIS forces are being offered a safe passage of escape out of Mosul, by the West, to then go and fight in Syria:
Iraq’s volunteer forces (Hashd al-Shaabi) complained that the warplanes of the US-led coalition are allowing ISIL military convoys flee Mosul in Iraq’s Nineveh province to Syria without being harmed.
To many Latin Americans, there is a well-worn theme of independent-minded South American nations being internally undermined by colour revolutions fomented by their big brother to the north. Others say it is the result of mismanagement. Either way, President Maduro may be the next in line to lose his job.
The Vatican, at the bequest of the Venezuelan political opposition, has called a “dialogue”. When the Vatican calls a dialogue, I can’t help but think that your number is up. Next thing, you wake up with your horse’s head in your bed*. You may as well call for Mr White (Reservoir Dogs). This is where Venezuela’s at. Syria’s President Assad called the Vatican hotline in 2012. Look how well that worked out for him.
[It’s hard to avoid the suspicion, at this juncture, that an admittedly mismanaged economy like Venezuela’s was sent under by a Saudi-American price-fixing arrangement that has seen the price of oil go from over USD100 a barrel to under USD50. This has hurt also the West’s other opponents, and Venezuelan allies, Russia and Iran.]
There are murmurings of thoughts and visions and general trepidation that something might occur before the US Presidential election, some even going so far as to say that a state of martial law could be instituted before — and indefinitely delaying — the election. That is pure speculation at this stage. But in the times that we live, anything is possible.
*It might be a stretch to say that this is a deliberate approach by the Vatican, rather it’s likely that the anachronistic Vatican simply has a Sidam’s touch when it comes to external affairs — something about politics and religion not mixing well. But that’s never stopped them before. Indeed the Vatican gets its power by its ability to ordain or bring down governments at its choosing. And coy politicians know that. (We’re all a servant to something — the question is to what or whom?)
[Ed: By their very nature, not all views expressed in the videos above can, or do, reflect the thoughts of Pilgrim Bobby. We are not, for instance, critical of Israel — and certainly not of the lay Israeli — as the final video (of the main section) may be. When put together, however, the images and sounds and discourse help create a meaningful mental picture of the current state of affairs that would otherwise be inaccessible from the reading of a single article or listening to a single interview, or watching the MSM for that matter.]
Secret Information Societies: “I want to know what you’re thinking. There are some things you can’t hide.” – Information Society, 1988 – “If you want to keep a secret, you must also hide it from yourself.” -George Orwell, 1984
July 1, 2013 – EUROPE– The saga of National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden took several more twists over the weekend as new revelations about US electronic snooping emerged. Susan Rice says Snowden leaks have no significant diplomatic consequences but Europeans are outraged at the US allegations of espionage. The German magazine Der Spiegel reported Saturday that the NSA had bugged European Union offices and gained access to EU internal computer networks where it was able to read documents and emails. United Nations offices were similarly targeted, reports Der Spiegel based on information provided by Mr. Snowden. Martin Schulz, the president of the European Parliament, said that if the report…