A Pathological December

December GEOPOLITIC

It was a hot and dry end to the year in the antipodes — but it will be remembered as cold and glum, a despotic milieu too heavy to emulate in word: in a month of global relations’ rapidly cooling. It was a month which saw the retaking of Mosul stall; a month revelatory for building an imperial base in the Holy Land; and a month of missile installations in Russia. But it was mostly a month of United Nations’ abominations. It was the last month and the last Christmas — the last December before the Time of Jacob’s Trouble:

For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.

It was a month to implore the podean to hold their head high, keep their hands warm and their oil-lamps full:

10 Hear ye the word which the Lord speaketh unto you, O house of Israel: Thus saith the Lord, Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them. For the customs of the people are vain: for one cutteth a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the axe. They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not. They are upright as the palm tree, but speak not: they must needs be borne, because they cannot go. Be not afraid of them; for they cannot do evil, neither also is it in them to do good.

It was a month for abysmal weather and abysmal decrees at the United Nations —  having declared a day, as by some malevolent spirit, “Palestine Day”, adopting against Israel six resolutions — part of its annual rite of enacting 20 Arab-sponsored resolutions to single out the Jew. It was a month the Temple Mount came into sharp focus.

It was a month that saw the culmination of a post-Soviet Muslim revival in Russia, and a month of Russian revanchism:

And it was a month of something rotten in the state of Mosul [Nineveh]: 54,000 (Iraqi) troops and 5,000 (US) servicemen—supported by 90 warplanes and 150 heavy artillery pieces—could not defeat 9,000 jihadists. A month, apparently, when the god of mathematics slept in (or Apollyon got out).

And so it was a month of the inexplicable undeniable:

The failure of the US-backed Iraqi army offensive to liberate Mosul—nine weeks after it began—[can] no longer be denied when a delegation of ISIS chiefs arrived there Sunday, Dec. 4, traveling unhindered from Raqqa, Syria. … they arrived to discuss how to synchronize the operations of the two jihadist strongholds, after the Islamist leaders occupying Mosul changed course about leaving the city and decided to stay put.

It was a month of wonders and signs, of fire from heaven.

[Image source: SBS Australia. Original graphic by AFP]

It was a month when Apollyon came early—out of hell’s pit itself—to deliver a tranche of armaments to the assassins in Mosul … boosting their defensive posture as they drew tactics “from the Battle of the Trench, a story narrated from Islamic history texts in which the Islamic Prophet Muhammad led 3,000 defenders of Medina to prevail over 10,000 Arab and Jewish troops in 627 A.D”

It was a month of bad news — a fateful December. It was a month of little hope and less reason. It was a month to be forsaken, abandoned, and left alone. It was a month of little light. So I write then, brethren, of Ihsan al-Shammari, of the Iraq’s Centre for Political Thought, who said that:

It is a matter of time before Daesh are defeated inside Mosul. Their ammunition and equipment are being depleted.

It was a month, then, of platitudes and wishful thinking. For a rose by any other name may still smell as sweet. Yet—as I say—something is rotten in the state of Nineveh.

It was a month of a Turk, a Turk, but not Ataturk, in Al-Bad, Syria, where he should not be. It was a month of fingers thick and thumbs numbed.

It was a month of waiting for some sense, some common sense, to come from Israel. Alas, but none. The US army—it’s a good army is it not—will use the Israeli coast as a military base against troops nearby [against the Russians in Syria?]. A month in which the news broke that the US National Defence Authorisation Act (NDAA) subsections, the US military is to establish a maritime base in the Israeli coastal city of Haifa in the coming years. Attack! Attack! A month in which the “Authorization of United States assistance to Israel”, under section 1259 of the National Defence Authorisation Act for 2017, says that:

The maritime security and maritime domain awareness in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea are critical not only to the security of Israel but also to US national security interests and encourage the Department of Defence to continue efforts to develop and improve capabilities in these areas.

It was a month to be told that this law is valid unto 2021. 2021! Will the world not end by 2021? I mean, literally, end? Will I still write in 2021? Will you still read?

It was a month to bewail Damascus a ruinous heap:

It was a month of going to London to London to buy a fat hen, to hear spies speak of “commies under the bed”:

Britain’s head of MI6, Alex Younger, said that Russia’s military operations in Syria may have tragic consequences and endanger the security of Britain. In particular, he denounced Moscow’s bombing of the Syrian city of Aleppo, saying “Russia seeks to make a desert and call it peace”. The spy chief asserted that the British people “cannot be safe from the threats that emanate from that land unless the civil war is brought to an end.” Younger made the comments at a closed meeting with journalists invited to MI6 headquarters in London.

It was a month of Jerusalem, a trembling cup betwixt my fattened fingers:

Israel’s security forces have broken up a Hamas terror cell that plotted a combined shooting attack and kidnapping in the Gush Etzion area, south of Jerusalem. Six Palestinians, residents of the town of Dura, the village of Tzurif and the city of Hebron, were arrested on suspicion of setting up the network. They were found with many weapons including two Kalachnikov rifles, two M16 rifles, three handguns and a hunting rifle, as well as magazines and ammunition. The arrests have been extended until the conclusion of the legal proceedings against the suspects, with an indictment to be filed soon at a military court. The terror cell was broken up in a joint operation by the IDF, the border police and the Shin Bet domestic security service.

It was a month of elects making the most of the lamest of duck, while the dark king himself keeps running amuck:

US President-elect Donald Trump announced Wednesday that retired Marine Gen. John Kelly is his nominee for secretary of homeland security. Kelly is the third retired general to be picked for Trump’s administration following Defense Secretary-designate James Mattis and National Security Advisor-designate Michael Flynn. The president-elect is considering choosing a fourth retired general, David Petraeus, as secretary of state. Trump also announced on Wednesday that he had tapped Linda McMahon as head of the Small Business Administration, after emphasizing the importance of the small business sector during the campaign. The 69-year-old McMahon, a billionaire who made her fortune as a co-founder of the World Wrestling Entertainment franchise, was one of the most significant contributors to Trump’s campaign.

It was a month of dalliances with the pleasant land:

Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu will meet Thursday in Jerusalem with his Greek counterpart Alexis Tsipras and the president of Cyprus, Nicos Anastasiades. The three leaders previously met in Nicosia in January. The official announcement from Netanyahu’s office said the meeting is aimed at “strengthening stability and establishing a regular framework for countries with common interests. A trilateral research and development agreement will also be signed in order to advance joint projects.” DEBKAfile’s sources report that Netanyahu, Tsipras and Anastadiades will also discuss cooperation in defense of critical subsea infrastructure, namely a gas pipeline and optical communication lines placed near the bottom of the Mediterranean.

It was a month that saw men of war delivered by bird into battle:

Russia began to deploy Chechen Special Ops forces into Syria. These units have extensive experience in urban warfare, including recent combat experience in eastern Ukraine and against radical Islamic forces in Chechnya. Reporting to the Khankala base, east of the Chechen capital Grozny, the soldiers are being vetted for suitability aiming to recruit a one-thousand-man strong force to be flown the 1200km directly by Ilyushin-76 (NATO codename: Candid) transport planes to Russia’s Hmaimim Air Base in Syria. This will be Russia’s first deployment of ground troops of any substance in Russia.

[Image: Waazon]

It was a month of their fallen comrades— three Russian servicemen (including a colonel) in Syria. Russia had previously restricted herself to sending only small groups of Spetsnaz (special forces) troops, confined to guarding Russian military, air and missile facilities in Syria.

It was a month of locusts, retaking Palmyra:

It was a month of Turks, streaming into Syria:

It was a month that raised the spectre of Sino-Russian trigger-fingers:

Yoshkar-Ola is 600 km to Moscow’s east whilst Kozelsk is about 250 km to her southwest.

Here’s a map, with the two regions marked; it’s one I prepared earlier:

screenshot-547

And a scaled-down version of the same map, to more aptly reflect the “IC” nature of these BMs:

screenshot-548

It was a month of imminent financial Armageddon.

It was a month of the coming financial collapse:

It was a month, at last, of liberation Aleppo:

Short comfort, indeed, for it was a month of assassination in Ankara; of fires put out within Israel while a “rim of fire” surrounds her; of a renewed Ukraine offensive in Luhansk.


It was a month of a world asleep and a world awash, the post-festive flotsam and jetsam lapping the inhabitants comfortably numb. It was a month of migrant drownings — rounding off 5,000 in the Mediterranean for the year. It was a month of months. It was the very last month.

It was a month where the colours of sinful showed through.

It was a month diabolical, fiendish, pitch black. It was a month to say may G-d bless Israel, America, and all who love truth; a month for flagellation, sackcloth and ash.

It was a month of pleas of mercy in the throneroom of Him that liveth for ever and ever.


Annotations

I do not write this lightly. It is not a personal attack, it is not trial by social media, nor is it partisan political polemic. It is a spiritual revelation. I write it now to crystallize in our collectives just what it is that we are facing, and to galvanise our resolve against it. At some point, we are going to have to call a spade a spade here. We can ignore this no longer: the elephant in the Oval Office. (And were we to finally rid it from that office, its pathology is such that it will rear its ugly head in another guise — be it directly through the UN or somehow else. It is the pathology of self-aggrandizement. It will not go away.) History shows that when we fail to correctly label the problem, and in a timely manner, the consequences are incalculable. And we’ve been dancing around the eggshells of political correctness such that we’ve lost our ability to enunciate the truth of a matter, to put our finger on it. Somebody needs to make the call and if that somebody is me, so be it. (I’d hope to be proven wrong but I have enough training in the field to suspect that I am right. The elephant in the room is the display of distinct psychopathic tendencies.) I do not ask that anybody agree with me, but each of us has the moral responsibility, if and when we come to the same conclusion, to get the word out. Perilous days lie ahead, not excluding the potential for a global obliteration. And the time to act is now.

Psychopathic / Sociopathic traits

  1. A disregard for laws and social mores
  2. A disregard for the rights of others
  3. A failure to feel remorse or guilt
  4. A tendency to display violent behavior

“Psychopaths … are unable to form emotional attachments or feel real empathy with others, although they often have disarming or even charming personalities. Psychopaths are very manipulative and can easily gain people’s trust. They learn to mimic emotions, despite their inability to actually feel them, and will appear normal to unsuspecting people. Psychopaths are often well educated and hold steady jobs. Some are so good at manipulation and mimicry that they have families and other long-term relationships without those around them ever suspecting their true nature. When committing crimes, psychopaths carefully plan out every detail in advance and often have contingency plans in place. Unlike their sociopathic counterparts, psychopathic criminals are cool, calm, and meticulous. Their crimes, whether violent or non-violent, will be highly organized and generally offer few clues for authorities to pursue. Intelligent psychopaths make excellent white-collar criminals and “con artists” due to their calm and charismatic natures.”

References
Featured Image

Mosul, Iraq [Wikimedia Commons]

 

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Forty Nine Days

November GEOPOLITIC   

Caution is advised against getting carried away with assuming Mr Trump’s election will be associated with a standing down of NATO in Eastern Europe. That type of thinking, unfortunately, is either premature (possibly immature), ill-conceived, or both.

Firstly, his inauguration is not until 21st January — that’s another 49 days for the current administration to still have its say (and way). Secondly, the Republican Party, traditionally the more hawkish, will hold sway over both houses. And besides, there are other forces at play in America and the Deep State–and new ones looming–apart from Mr Trump. Nothing occurs in a vacuum. There is an ebb and tide of continual forces and it is the sum of all these forces–not unlike a vector sum–that ultimately gets played out.

But don’t take our word for it. This is what those that matter have said over the course of the last month (give or take two-and-a-half thousand years) … YES IT’S A LITTLE LONG, BUT BEST YOU GET TO SPEED NOW WHILE THE GOING’S STILL RATHER GOOD …

October 2, 2016 – Russia Today:

A leaked UN report (published May) entitled “Humanitarian Impact of Syria-Related Unilateral Restrictive Measures” has revealed that the US and EU sanctions against Syria are punishing the population and make aid work in the war-torn country almost impossible, saying that the restrictions were “some of the most complicated and far-reaching sanctions regimes ever imposed.” The Intercept is reporting that American restrictions have made money transfers into Syria almost impossible, preventing aid groups from paying salaries and purchasing supplies “in both government and besieged area,” and has forced much aid relief to make use of the unofficial network of money exchange that is actively being used by both ISIS and al-Nusra. The trade restrictions ban export to Syria of goods that contain 10% or more of US-made content. Aid groups are forced to apply for a special license whose granting is heavily restricted by bureaucratic red-tape. Moreover, a leaked UN email lays the blame for food shortages in the country squarely on the US and EU restrictions. It is hardly surprising that, in a war zone, wheat production has dropped by 40% (since 2010) causing the price of flour to rise by 300%. And the price of rice, that’s up by 650%. But it is the US/EU restrictions that are the “principal factor” crippling Syrian health care, according to the UN. Pharmaceutical factories that are still standing have closed because of absence of raw materials and foreign currency, imposed by the sanctions. 

At odds with this UN report, the US State Department responded to an inquiry from The Intercept with:

US sanctions against [Syrian President Bashar] Assad, his backers, and the regime deprive these actors of resources that could be used to further the bloody campaign Assad continues to wage against his own people. The true responsibility for the dire humanitarian situation lies squarely with Assad, who has repeatedly denied access and attacked aid workers. He has the ability to relieve this suffering at any time, should he meet his commitment to provide full, sustained access for delivery of humanitarian assistance in areas that the U.N. has determined need it.

October 14, 2016 – Jacob L. Shapiro (Geopolitical Futures):

Yemen doesn’t get nearly as much media coverage as Syria. This is in part because the casualty numbers are far lower (the U.N. estimates there have been 4,000 civilian casualties in the fighting as of the end of September). It is also because generally speaking, Yemen is of no real strategic importance to anyone except for Saudi Arabia. That will quickly change if militants can reliably get their hands on anti-ship missiles and make crossing the Bab el-Mandeb difficult.

October 15, 2016 – Debka File:

Ankara’s military alliance with Moscow is steadily eroding Turkey’s ties with the United States as well as NATO. Matters have gone so far that the two capitals or in advanced discussion of the supply of Russian air defense missiles to the Turkish army. Under discussion is the installation in Turkey of a system of advanced Russian missiles linked to the Russian anti-air missile shield under construction in Syria. Turkey would thus become the first member of NATO to arm itself with a Russian anti-air missile shield.

Putin and Erdogan are moving fast to cash in on President Obama’s repugnance for military intervention in Syria and his waning powers at the tail end of his presidency. Furthermore –

a) Neither is configuring Syrian President Bashar Assad into their calculations. They are going forward with their plans while ignoring him and his drastically diminished army as factors worth consideration.

b) Their objectives are similar and interlocking: Both are intent on developing their respective enclaves in northern Syria, Moscow for a long-term military presence in the country: likewise, Ankara.

October 15, 2016 — 11:09 IST Jonathan Rodrigues (THE TIMES OF INDIA):

The ‘murmuratio’ at the Jesuit Curia in Rome ended with thunderous applause and loud Hispanic cheer as the 36th General Congregation (GC) of the Society of Jesus, on Friday, elected Fr Arturo Sosa Abascal, of the Venezuelan Province, as the 31st superior general of the 476-year-old religious order.

October 15, 2016 – Wayne Madsen (Strategic Culture Foundation):

The recent diplomatic row between the Philippines and the United States has come as a shock to U.S. State Department and Pentagon policy wonks but for astute observers of Southeast Asian politics, the decision of Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte to «pivot» to China and Russia was long in the making. Ever since the so-called «Yellow Revolution» that saw Corazon Aquino replace the Philippines autocratic ruler Ferdinand Marcos, the majority of Filipinos have roiled under one corrupt American-blessed president after another. Duterte, the fiery former mayor of Davao City in Mindanao, has channeled the disgust of many in the Philippines to adopt a hostile attitude in the face of a renewed U.S. military presence in Southeast Asia designed to counter China.

October 18, 2016 – Jacob L. Shapiro (Geopolitical Futures):

Iraq is not such a place governed by such values. Perhaps it will be one day. But that day is a long way off. Iraq’s history has been bloody and violent. Its population is made up of distinct tribes and religious and ethnic groups, and none have any reason to trust the others. People don’t become more empathetic or more willing to compromise because they have lived through the physical and emotional trauma of war and conflict. The worst part of hate and distrust is how insidious they are, and how they recreate themselves in the people who have been victimized by them. To think Iraq’s myriad factions are about to come together to expel the Islamic State and rule Iraq with love, equality and cooperation is a delusion. It is the very same mistake U.S. strategists made in 2003, when they let themselves believe Iraq was going to become a liberal democracy overnight by virtue of a piece of paper American advisors were going to help them write. The battle for Mosul is beginning. It’s a time for humility, not celebration.

October 19, 2016 – Thierry Meyssan (The Voltaire Network):

In Moscow, the television broadcasts information on anti-atomic shelters and «assault course» team games, while in Washington, everyone laughs at the paranoid Russians who believe that there may be a Third World War.

October 19, 2016 – The Voltaire Network:

Responding to a question from Reuters, Mr. Stoltenberg indicated that NATO would deploy AWACS to improve the Coalition’s view of the sky. … Syrian air-space is legally used only by Syria and Russia, and illegally by the Coalition and Israël. The rebel or terrorist armies have no air force. It seems that NATO intends to test the methods of aerial surveillance which still function despite the deployment of the Russian system for disconnecting the Alliance’s command and control.

With the ink of his own inauguration signature barely dry, the new Black Pope’s thoughts on the president of Venezuela have already been made public. It’s bad news when half your country doesn’t want you, but what is it when the newly-crowned Black Pope, a political scientist by training, thinks you should go? …

Rome, Italy; October 21, 2016 — 10:19 am – Elise Harris (CNA/EWTN News):

Ms Harris quotes a Mr Dupla, a professor and previous teacher of Mr Sosa at the Andrés Bello Catholic University in Venezuela:

A fellow Jesuit who has known Fr. Arturo Sosa for more than 50 years has said the newly elected head of the order, while not always explicitly vocal, is critical of the current socialist government in Venezuela pioneered by Hugo Chavez. … Though he didnt necessarily criticize Chavez publicly, Fr. Sosa wrote a number of articles in the Jesuit-run magazine SIC, in which he criticized the course of governments measures.

October 24, 2016 – Tom Nichols (The National Interest):

… nuclear weapons and their mission simply do not matter much to post–Cold War American leaders. Nuclear weapons, however, certainly matter to the Russians. Nuclear arms have always been the source of superpower status for both Soviet and Russian leaders. This is especially true today: the Soviet collapse left the Russian Federation a country bereft of the usual indicators of a great power, including conventional military force or the ability to project it. Little wonder that Moscow still relies on its nuclear arsenal as one of the last vestiges of its right to be considered more than merely—in President Obama’s dismissive words—a “regional power.” (Or in the caustic words of Senator John McCain: “A gas station masquerading as a country.”)

October 27, 2016 — Jens Stoltenberg (NATO Secretary-General):

This month alone, Russia has deployed nuclear-capable Iskander missiles to Kaliningrad and suspended a weapons-grade plutonium agreement with the United States.

October 29, 2016 – J E Dyer (Liberty Unyielding):

Close call: Russia-U.S. ‘near-miss’ problem moves to Syrian air space

It looks like the vaunted air space coordination between the U.S. and Russia in Syria isn’t producing a safe flying environment. … Basically, there are two separate networks exercising command and control over the same air space – and that’s your problem, right there. Add to it the likelihood that the Russians are not squawking IFF in a way that U.S. systems can interpret, and you have the potential for a nice fecal focaccia.

October 30, 2016 – John Mauldin (Frontline Thoughts):

You own stocks for two reasons. You either think the shares will gain value, or they will give you dividend income, or both. Neither will happen unless the company is making money or at least has the plausible hope of making money someday. Earnings reports are important because they tell us whether that’s happening. They’re important for a deeper reason, too. A company’s market value is essentially the present value of its expected future profits. Small changes in that “expected” number can have a kind of domino effect. Public-company executives know this and try to put their best feet forward. Analysts are supposed to see through such maneuvers and discern reality. They issue forecasts about companies, and then each quarter we get to see if the forecasts were right. Somehow this innocent-sounding exercise has evolved into a giant expectations shell game. For the most part, Wall Street doesn’t care if a company’s report is good or bad; it cares whether the results match, beat, or fall below the consensus analyst forecast. A company “wins” the game and earns a higher share price by delivering unexpectedly positive numbers. This creates all sorts of perverse consequences.

October 31, 2016 – Stratfor:

For nearly eight centuries, Russia has been trapped in a loose cycle: It rises from chaos, returns as a regional and sometimes even global power, grows aggressive as the system cracks, and then collapses before rising again. Russia’s cycle starts with a catalyst that causes governance to break down and disrupts the social order, leading to collapse. In the 13th century, it was the Mongol invasion; in the 17th century, the Time of Troubles; in the 20th century, the Russian Revolution, fall of the Soviet Union and the 1998 financial crisis. And after collapse comes resurrection. Typically the system that governed during the crisis is transformed into something new — usually with a strong personality at the fore. This figure tends to create a stable system in which Russia can consolidate itself and its borderlands.

stratfor

Russia’s soft underbelly, seen from her own perspective [Image: Stratfor]

November 3 – John R. Deni (LA Times, Op-Ed):

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte is on a tear. In just the last two weeks, he has expressed a desire to separate his country from the United States, declared his intention to kick U.S. military personnel out of the Philippines, and appeared ready to drop territorial sovereignty claims in the South China Sea in return for investment guarantees from Beijing.

November 5, 2016 – Frank Oleh Tyahnybok (Off Guardian):

There are also numerous statues of Bandera across Ukraine, and since the 2014 coup even street names bearing the same name. Significantly the UPA have now received political rehabilitation from the Kiev Junta, with Bandera declared a hero of the Ukraine and the UPA rebranded as ‘freedom fighters.’ One particularly splendid statue of Bandera stands proudly in Lviv and is usually adorned with flowers. … Present day neo-Nazi groupings in Ukraine – Svoboda (Freedom) party and Right Sector – have been the direct descendants from the prior ideological cesspool.

November 9, 2016Mia Bennett (CRYOPOLITICS, ARCTIC NEWS & ANALYSIS):

Fast forward to November 2016, and president-elect Trump has just appointed notorious climate change skeptic Myron Ebell to head up the transition team for the Environmental Protection Agency. With science deniers such as him in charge of government agencies, there’s likely to be a brain drain from government. Top scientists and environmentalists will not want to work in bureaus and agencies that ultimately report to Trump. This may have damaging consequences for drafting informed policy about a fast-changing Arctic. Even worse, Trump’s desire to tear up methane restrictions that have been proposed for oil and gas producers could speed up global warming, since methane’s impact is 100 times greater than a molecule of carbon dioxide over a 100-year period. With the U.S. having overtaken Russia as the world’s biggest producer of gas, one would think we have a responsibility to frack and drill responsibly – but not Trump.

November 9, 2016 – Jack Anderson (Global Risk Insights):

Under the cover of the 2016 election season, the Obama administration has been busy crafting a new Arctic policy that will have significant environmental, economic, and national security ramifications. … There are three apparent objectives this policy. First, the government will seek to adequately protect the Arctic environment, particularly in Alaska. Second, the US will attempt to bolster the economy by taking full advantage of the region’s potential for hydrocarbon development. Third, the US will re-establish itself militarily in the region by placing strategic assets in Alaska.

November 11, 2016 – Gordon M. Hahn (Russian and Eurasian Politics):

[T]here are powerful forces in Washington, Moscow and Brussels, such as the NATO military alliance, that seek to exacerbate differences in the national interests between Russia and the West. On the American side, these forces will seek to shape Trumps sources of information and pressure him to take a harder line against Moscow. Moreover, Trump inherits a lay of the land that will difficult to reshape without risk to his popularity ratings, given the gross exaggeration in the Western media regarding the Russian threat and Putins plans to recreate the USSR or Russian Empire.

And who, apart from chavisTA, can argue with the following logic …

November 14, 2016 – Francisco Toro (Caracas Chronicles):

A standard Monopoly set comes with 20,580 Monopoly dollars.

The cheapest monopoly set for sale on Amazon retails for $12.99.

One U.S. dollar therefore = 1,584.29 Monopoly dollars.

Conclusion: the bolivar is now worth less than Monopoly money.

November 16, 2016 – Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu (The Real Syrian Free Press):

Today, we started a major operation to launch massive strikes on Daesh and al-Nusra Front targets in the Idlib and Homs provinces. … The Admiral Kuznetsov aircraft carrying cruiser began taking part in operations for the first time in the history [of] the Russian Navy. Our Su-33 aircraft began working from this cruiser today. Before this, we carried out very careful, thorough reconnaissance of all targets.

November 17, 2016 – Stratfor:

As the Russia-West standoff following the EuroMaidan uprising intensifies, the importance of breakaway territories increases. Just as the West has strengthened its political, economic and security cooperation with Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia, Russia has strengthened its presence in the breakaway territories it supports, increasing the pace of its military exercises and providing rebels with more sophisticated weaponry.

stratfor2

[Image: Stratfor]

November 17, 2016 – STRATFOR:

During the past several months, Saudi Arabia’s relationship with Egypt has become more strained, but neither country can afford to turn its back on the other.  Egypt is on a quest for economic allies. In the tumultuous years since former President Hosni Mubarak’s ouster, Saudi Arabia has been one of Egypt’s primary backers. But the past several months have brought the countries’ differences to light, straining their relationship. In October, the Saudi Arabian Oil Co. (better known as Saudi Aramco) announced that it would suspend delivery on its petroleum deal with Egypt, likely in an attempt to bring the country back in line. Though the governments in Egypt and Saudi Arabia are trying to downplay their apparent falling out, Cairo is scrambling to secure its access to fiscal aid and oil from other allies.

November 17, 2016 – Stratfor:

For Tehran, preserving the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), a 10-year agreement struck in 2015 between Iran and six other countries — the United Kingdom, the United States, Russia, Germany, France and China — is paramount to continuing its economic revival. The deal is intended to keep Iran from developing nuclear weapons by limiting its production of fissile material, whether plutonium or uranium. Iran, in exchange for breaking down portions of its nuclear program and allowing monitors from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to ensure its compliance through regular inspections, receives relief from some of the economic sanctions against it.

stratfor

[Image: Stratfor]

November 20, 2016 – John Mauldin (Frontline Thoughts):

The US federal government debt will be slightly north of $20 trillion before Obama leaves office in January. Add in local and state debt of another $3 trillion (plus), for a total of more than $23 trillion of government debt. The US economy will be a few hundred billion dollars under $19 trillion at the end of this year. That is a debt-to-GDP ratio of somewhat over 121%. …  That debt has risen roughly $10 trillion under Obama, in just eight years. Last year the debt rose $1.3 trillion, even though we were told that the budget deficit was only around $600 billion.

November 24, 2016 – Adam Kredo (Washington Free Beacon):

The Obama administration has given clearance to Western airline manufacturers to sell planes to Iran at the same time the Islamic Republic is using commercial airliners to smuggle weapons and other illicit arms to Hezbollah terrorists in Lebanon. Senators, led by Sen. David Perdue (R., Ga.), have been pushing Obama administration officials to explain why they are helping airline manufacturers Boeing and AirBus sell planes to Iran, despite clear evidence that Tehran is using its commercial airline as cover for its continued terrorist operations across the region.

November 25, 2016 – Daniel Greenfield (Frontpage Mag):

Barack Obama has two faces. After Trump’s victory and Hillary’s defeat, the public Obama has been gracious and diplomatic. His lectures to Trump, directly and indirectly, are couched in praise. He echoed the feeling of millions on both sides when he said, “We are now all rooting for his success”. That’s a lie. Or rather a disguise. Obama and his aides had, in one insider narrative, decided to don the “mask of decorum”. The contempt for Trump still seeps through the mask. And the mask hides Obama’s next big move. President Obama is over. He knows that. There are still some things that he can do before he leaves office, but everything except the most destructive, can be undone by his successor. The next phase of his campaign will not be fought from the White House. It will be fought against the White House .

November 26, 2016 – Steve de Noon (Israeli News Live):
November 26, 2016 – Debka File:

Egyptian President Abdel-Fatteh El-Sisi’s secret decision to intervene militarily in the Syrian war on the side of the Syrian President Bashar Assad. … Donald Trump’s election this month as the next US president has already become the catalyst of a major reshuffling of Middle East alliances and stakes. … Some of its rulers, including El-Sisi, see the landscape changing and may be gambling on Trump reaching a deal with Russian President Vladimir Putin for joint military operations in Syria against the Islamic State and other Islamic terror groups, including the Al-Qaeda affiliate, the Nusra Front. The new bandwagon about to roll appears to favor Bashar Assad and his army. … There are grounds to speculate now that the deployment of Egyptian aviators to Syria may be one more product of the secret inter-power diplomacy swirling in recent weeks over Syria’s bloody and intractable five-year war.

November 27, 2016 – Steve de Noon (News Channel 428):
November 28, 2016 – J E Dyer (Liberty Unyielding):

Of course, they [Iran] have done much worse than that, and they’re engaging in this brinkmanship because we’ve let them get away with it. From the extraordinarily dangerous rocket launches they conducted next to the Strait of Hormuz transit corridor in December, to the armed seizure of U.S. patrol boats in January (an act of war), to making provocative attack-profile runs at U.S. warships in August and September and providing the missiles launched at destroyer USS Mason off Yemen in October, Iran has been on a career of extremely bellicose provocation for nearly a year. If we’re lucky – if God is looking out for us – we’ll get to 20 January without one of these incidents spiraling out of control.

November 28, 2016 – Gordon M. Hahn (Russian and Eurasian Politics):

On the third anniversary in November 2016 of the beginning of the Maidan revolt, Poroshenko gave Dmitry Yarosh the coveted state award, the Bogdan Khmelnitskiy Medal III, for his service in the ‘anti-terrorist’ operation conducted against Donbass rebels and civilians. … Yarosh is the former and founding leader of the neofascist party ‘Praviy Sektor’ (Right Sector or RS).

November 28, 2016 – Debka File:

Libyan Gen Khalifa Hafter arrived in Moscow Sunday, Nov. 26, with a request for Russian arms and military support for his army. He was welcomed in Moscow, which saw an opening for Russia to gain its first military base in North Africa. … President Vladimir Putin began to envision a second Mediterranean base on the coast of Benghazi, twin to Hmeimim in Syria’s Latakia. This one would accommodate Russian naval as well as air units and be located 700km from Europe. … Egypt and the UAE provide Hafter’s army with air support from Egyptian bases in the Western Desert. It was their leaders who urged him to accept the Russian invitation to Moscow and bid for military assistance.

November 30, 2016 – J E Dyer (Liberty Unyielding):

If the Iranian ships have been crossing the Atlantic, they’ll have to show up in Venezuela, Nicaragua, or Cuba in the next week. Assuming they don’t, we can conclude that Iran’s 44th fleet wasn’t crossing the Atlantic, and probably wasn’t going to.

Caracas – November 30, 2016

Within a few days, Venezuela will lose full membership in MERCOSUR, the regional trade bloc. Barring an unlikely 180-degree turn by either the four founding countries (Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay) or the Bolivarian Republic, MERCOSUR will strip the B.R. of V of any voting rights in the organization (it would still have a voice) over its refusal to adopt the group’s legal framework. And neither side is in a mood to back down. The Foreign Ministers of Uruguay and Paraguay agreed that unless Venezuela changes its mind, the decision reached by the four other members back in September will go forward.

November 30, 2016 – Debka File:

Israeli warplanes striking in and around Damascus overnight Tuesday, Nov. 29, with “four long-range Popeye” missiles fired from Lebanese air space on the government-held town of Al-Saboorah, a western suburb of Damascus, near the highway to Beirut. … Syrian army ammunition depot was destroyed in one of the raids, while other strikes hit and damaged a Hizballah arms convoy bound for Lebanon on the Damascus-Beirut Highway. … whatever took place, broke out of the secret overarching understandings on Syria reached provisionally this month between US President elect Donald Trump, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

circa 450 BCE – AUTHOR UNKNOWN, possibly King Solomon (Ecclesiastes 7:1):

A good name is better than precious ointment; and the day of death than the day of one’s birth.

1984 – Leonard Cohen (Hallelujah, Various Positions):

Even though it all went wrong/ I’ll stand before the Lord of song/ With nothing on my tongue but Hallelujah.


Post Script

Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch.

Messiah was talking specifically about the Pharisees there. But this is no ordinary ditch. When referring to the End Times, this is what He had to say:

And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.

At the risk of belabouring a point, there is something frighteningly amiss in the present-day world, and it mostly starts at the top. I have a great fear that (some) leaders, in their complete disdain for scripture and God’s law, are taking mankind along the wide road: the one that leads to destruction.

36 And the king shall do according to his will; and he shall exalt himself, and magnify himself above every god, and shall speak marvellous things against the God of gods, and shall prosper till the indignation be accomplished: for that that is determined shall be done. 37 Neither shall he regard the God of his fathers, nor the desire of women, nor regard any god: for he shall magnify himself above all. 38 But in his estate shall he honour the God of forces: and a god whom his fathers knew not shall he honour with gold, and silver, and with precious stones, and pleasant things. 39 Thus shall he do in the most strong holds with a strange god, whom he shall acknowledge and increase with glory: and he shall cause them to rule over many, and shall divide the land for gain.

And Mr Duterte, president of the Philippines, has got wind of it. But Venezuela, not so much. She is, I fear, about to go out of the frying pan and into the ecumenical fire.

Beware. Messiah is clear: the narrow gate and the narrow path lead to life.

Pray. Fast and pray. And get under the cover of the shadow of the wings of Almighty. Listen to Yeshua. Persevere, right to the very end. Stay true to the Lord. Enter by the narrow gate and stay on the narrow way. Call out to Him with all your heart, and you WILL be saved.

Good Read:
Further Reading
References
Featured Image

Lake at dusk in November [Photo courtesy photos-public-domain.com]

The Last Trump — July Geopolitical

Geopolitical Wrap – July, 2016

There were the yellow-caps and there were the brown-shirts. And the Cleveland Convention brought the impending split, Colorado walking out. They returned in time for “copy-gate”, before Cruz deflated Pence. The conclusion in Florida was emphatic, Mrs Clinton presumably playing both hard and cute at the same time:

Love trumps hate!

After that moment, “love, Trump hates” kept ringing in my ear …

He is a polarising figure, no doubt. But America was already polarised. And he [Trump] seems to be, intentionally or not, playing into that. He trusts his own ability: to get the job done; to make the deal; in the power of his will. Much derided, that personality is also seemingly much loved.

The middle ground in the American politic was vacated by a President with a penchant for the show of diplomacy. That void was claimed by reactionary rights, looking more and more like centrists to the faithful. Enter Trump.

Trump is a strong character — whether he reads books or not. But is he the right character, or, is he the megalomaniac narcissist the left, and a few on the right, portray him to be? That’s hard to say. What is easier to see is that, outwardly at least, he is chalk and Obama is cheese.

Power to the people

Staying with U.S. power plays, the newly completed Watts Bar unit 2 power reactor—near Spring City, Tennessee—will be joined by four more state-of-the-art Westinghouse AP 1000 reactors, two each in both Georgia and South Carolina, by 2019-2020. Passive-cooling harnesses convection currents for the continued pumping of cooling water, in case of loss of both grid and backup power, to prevent a replay of Fukushima and Three Mile Island. (Morning Briefing for July 8, 2016).

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Watts Bar unit 2 achieves criticality – Monday, May 23, 2016

But according to the same article, a number of U.S. plants are being decommissioned — many have already been upgraded to a 60-year shelf-life (80 years is being considered). The United States has 99 reactors, supplying 20% of the nation’s total power, and 4 in the pipeline. Too few, according to Webster Tarpley, by way of a peer comparison. For the International Atomic Energy Agency reports that, as of February 2016, the following situation stood with respect to plants:

  • China: 31 in operation — 24 under construction
  • Russia†: 35 in operation — 8 under construction
  • France: 58 in operation — 1 under construction
  • Japan‡: 43 in operation — 2 under construction

The Chilcot Report

The United Kingdom should stand shoulder to shoulder with the United States, felt the then Prime Minister Blair.

I will be with you, whatever.

It is easier to be wise in hindsight. Yet a number of folk in this case were wise also in foresight, according to the Chilcot Report. That said, many a British PM would have taken a similar position—to follow the United States—particularly so soon after 9/11. But leaders need to be bold and forthright, perhaps more so with their allies than with foes. An inflective voice here is Blair’s vincible ignorance.

Not so fast, gentlemen

So much is happening so quickly — so exponentially — that otherwise major events are being quickly overshadowed. But walk, don’t run, toward the Brexit sign: Mr Kerry stomping his size 18’s amid the closing door. The Secretary of State was a little too quick, for my liking, to suggest that the decision could be “walked back”.

I think there are a number of ways. I don’t, as Secretary of State, want to throw them out today. I think that would be a mistake. But there are a number of ways.

A Brexit is not what the United States would have wanted. A united Europe is vital to the NATO alliance, for instance. Sure, of its own, Brexit may not much affect NATO. But what if Britain is the first domino to fall? A disintegration, piecemeal at first, of the union would become a distinct possibility. Regardless, symbolically, Brexit is a real blow.

Diametrically opposed, geographically and politically, another NATO member (and military strength in her own right) is Turkey. Turkey has harboured aspirations to join the EU. That was so last week. Turkey is amidst internal crisis, and increasingly torn between two external hates — the East and West. Whereto then NATO?

IRAQ & SYRIA

Perhaps to rally the troops, but with a definite element of truth, ISIS has (apparently) told its followers that military-territorial collapse is near. This is surprising — that they would admit to this. While the writing has been on the wall, and this was only a matter of time, it may portend a period of renewed desperation on the part of their followers. This may spark life into their sleepers to indiscriminate and wilful acts.

What does John Bolton [rep], former U.S. ambassador to the UN think; and perhaps more importantly, what doesn’t he think?

I think the government of Iraq has collapsed. I don’t think it can be put back together.

Thirteen (13) allies have used a cumulative total of just shy of 50,000 bombs and missiles in Operation Inherent Resolve, over 3,000 in June. There is an apparent impetus of resolve of the West to fight, in the wake of Russian intervention it must be said. Between 229 and 335 deaths in June were to non-combatants, as Fallujah (Iraq) was liberated. There were 375 coalition airstrikes on Syria in June, compared to 175 in May. There has been a corresponding increase also in suicide-bombings in Iraq.

And as if one world region imploding is not enough, we’re seeing the frayed edges in others  — Europe (terror in France and Germany), war rumours in the Pacific (South China Sea), despair in South America:

In Venezuela today there are two certain things: death and shortages. But not even the first one can save you from the second one: there arent enough coffins to keep up with demand and the funeral sector is in crisis.

An urgent restructure of the oil and gas laws may be a good start. And what of her much larger neighbour, Brazil? Two years beyond the World Cup, is she ready to samba? No doubt. But she is laden now with the extra weight of USD 230 billion of debt and a 10% unemployment rate, at a time when the risk-averse investor may be fleeing to safety (the U.S.). And with a constitutional crisis she is lopsided and prone to slip, especially after a few drinks. A fractured hip is a life-changing event.

Is Britain and China forming a bulwark against the U.S. (Morning Briefing: July 13, 2016)? Did Britain use the anti-ISIS coalition conference “to sabotage emerging cooperation between the Russian Federation and the United States in the cause of destroying ISIS”?

If these old sparring partners [the US and UK, I mean] are at it again, Brexit is the long belated blowback of the American Revolution. And four hundred years have been rolled back in a matter of weeks. This is how quickly things are unfolding before our eyes, for those who see. Turkey is racing to 1918, even as some tried this month to disembark at 1960. As flummox gave way to rage, President Erdogan managed somehow to land on his feet and was quick to make the most of any opportunity. And the Middle East proper … it has been blown back to the Middle Ages, and all before you can finish your crumpet.

Yet in all this doom and gloom, global financial markets managed to perform rather well. And so did the Bond markets. Gold also did well. It’s not unusual for all three to do well — but at the same time? To what started in 2008—the world is slowly awaking—central bankers have managed to only put off: a one-in-100 year event. You can stave off the natural reversion only for so long.

Que sera sera.

Ed: Let your discretion be the better part of valour, today. Scrutinise the choice of event that you plan attending. Trouble is very easy to find, without having to go looking. Pray about your choices, letting the Spirit guide you in all things. Stay safe, and have a good August (whatever season it finds you in).

  • † Russia is planning for 20 new reactors by 2020.
  • ‡ Japan is planning to bring 48 of 54 reactors, shut down post-Fukushima, back into operation.

RequIred Reading

References

  1. A grave situation. Caracas Chronicles. Posted July 7, 2016
  2. Blairs vincible ignorance. Irrussionality. Posted July 7, 2016
  3. TWSP/UFAA Morning Briefing for Friday, July 8, 2016 – Tax Wall Street Party.
  4. Watts Bar Unit 2 operates under own power for first time. Electric Light & Power. Posted May 23, 2016
  5. Brexit may never happen, says US Secretary of State John Kerry, Adam Lusher – Independent
  6. International airstrikes and civilian casualty claims in Iraq and Syria: June 2016, Alex Hopkins – Airwars.org

Further Reading

Don’t call them Arabs

Monthly Geopolitical Wrap – June 2016

Oil and Famine

Two power outages in a day is all the confirmation a Libyan needs that summer has arrived. [Hmm … smells like Caracas.] And for a series of months now, bank withdrawals have been heavily limited. [Sure smells like Caracas.]

Benghazi or Caracas?

Take your pick. [Just don’t call them Arabs.]

The ethnic groups of Libya [Image: Wikimedia Commons]

Admittedly, the root cause of the despair-approaching-famine in each of these two countries differs. Libya is hostage to civil war, albeit with heavy external influence, and Venezuela is hostage to poor governance, albeit with some external influence. Both economies are hostage to oil. But the talk of a heavy ‘salve’ makes my head spin.

Like Venezuela, the economy of Libya depends heavily upon revenues from the petroleum industry [Wikimedia Commons]

Speaking of famine food, for those who have been living under a rock [myself included], the seed-king, Monsanto, has received a takeover offer from industrial-chemical behemoth*, Bayer. More than one pundit has speculated that a name change for Monsanto is on the cards, especially with a takeover in the air.

Russia

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Not to be outdone, and with a ballot set for next year, the Russians now have their own set of election primaries. But, judging from this article, perhaps the Russians should be watching more closely. No doubt the Americans will be watching those assertive Russians watching (more closely) the Americans.

MUTTON-SHEEP-CARCASS

A skinned lamb [Alibaba]

Still in Russia, the leadership has sent an uncharacteristically public message to its military commanders that any level of corruption that hampers combat readiness will not be tolerated. The time for partying is over. And Russia knows it.

Turkey

Turks don’t tolerate being called Arabs either. At the Presidential Palace — we’re in the Ataturk Forest in Ankara now — not a month goes by without uber-man making the headlines. Upset [yet again] over use of that “g” word with respect to Armenia — this time from Germany — el presidente has threatened to abandon Europe, much as he has seemingly threatened also to abandon any semblance of humility.

The West

At uber-uber-headquarters, global “Ground Zero”, more than one vote may grudgingly go the way of Mrs Clinton, who could snatch a November win by default if she—as is likely—claims the Democratic nomination. But in the U.K., that horse has bolted. Hate crimes have surged in Britain post-Brexit, flummoxed opponents moving to the second stage of grief. What this means, for the EU and the greater West, is anyone’s guess: but in the short to medium term probably not good. And by no means assume that famine will be limited to Libya and Venezuela, North Africa or South America for that matter. Nor hate crimes to Europe.

Finance

Is Peter Schiff “the boy who cried wolf”? Many seem to think so. All I know is how that story ends.

But one thing is working against imminent global financial collapse: the Jubilee. There are blessings from the Lord that flow out of the Jubilee. Once the Jubilee ends, however, (Monday, October 3, 2016), all bets are off.

Don’t look now, here comes July. Despite some perturbations, the world is chugging along … and if you believe that then I have some hair-tonic to sell you. Seven years of zero percent rates (and counting) is a sign of badness. Don’t be fooled. Batten down the hatches. And don’t forget: many Libyans are not Arabs; most Persians and Turks are not Arabs; and almost all Venezuelans are not Arabs.

Have a good month.

MGW

PS: If you haven’t yet followed the links, look at Caracas Chronicles and Brave New Libya. Sobering stuff.

 

These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.