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Web Log - April, 2015

Summary

30-Apr-15 World View -- 20,000 refugees flee violence in Burundi, fearing Hutu-Tutsi war

Generational history of Hutu and Tutsi tribes

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

20,000 refugees flee violence in Burundi, fearing Hutu-Tutsi war


Police clash with anti-Nkurunziza protesters in Burundi's capital city, Bujumbura (AFP)
Police clash with anti-Nkurunziza protesters in Burundi's capital city, Bujumbura (AFP)

Some 20,000 people from Burundi have sought refuge in neighboring Rwanda or Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), potentially destabilizing the region. The violence is being triggered by President Pierre Nkurunziza's decision to run for a third term in June. His opponents say that this violates the constitution, while Nkurunziza says that his first term doesn't count because he was appointed by the parliament, rather than being directly elected.

The police have been shooting bullets, tear gas and water cannon, and about ten people have been killed in four days of violence between youthful protesters and police. The government has blocked messaging services including Facebook, Whatsapp, Twitter and Tango, and some radio stations have been shut down.

Burundi's last generational crisis war occurred in 1994, when 300,000 people were killed in a civil war between ethnic Hutus and Tutsis.

Most people are familiar with the massive civil war between Hutus and Tutsis that occurred in Rwanda in 1994, killing close to a million people. A war in neighboring Burundi occurred at roughly the same time, though it was overshadowed by the Rwanda war.

Pierre Nkurunziza was a Hutu militia leader in the 1994 war. He was appointed president in 2005 according to the terms of a peace agreement, settling the 1994 civil war, and he ran unopposed and was reelected in 2010.

The 2005 agreement specified a power-sharing arrangement for Burundi's government, with a 60-40 split between Hutus and Tutsis, respectively. With the Hutus in control of the government for ten years, young Tutsis are now protesting Nkurunziza's decision to run for another five-year term. Many people fear a return to an all-out civil war, as in 1994, but Burundi is now in a generational Awakening era, so an all-out civil war is impossible, although periods of brief violence can occur at any time. AP and Radio France International and BBC

Generational history of Hutu and Tutsi tribes


Physical comparison of a Tutsi, Hutu and Twa (Mount Holyoke)
Physical comparison of a Tutsi, Hutu and Twa (Mount Holyoke)

There are numerous histories of the two tribes on the internet, and most of them seem to agree that the first indigenous tribe in what are now Rwanda and Burundi was the pigmy Twa tribe, who lived by hunting and gathering in forests.

It's not known where the Hutus came from, but they displaced the Twa from the 5th to the 11th century, who then moved farther into the forest.

Let me pause here to discuss the word "displaced." The internet histories almost make it seem like the Hutu came in, and the Twa said, "Hi Hutu! We'll just move further into the forest to make room for you!" In a couple of cases, the internet histories claim that all of these tribes lived together peacefully until the white man colonists came in the mid 1800s. This is typical of the worst of the moronic nonsense that you find on the internet.

If the Hutu "displaced" the Twa, it would have been done by a series of bloody, brutal generational crisis wars. And, like all generational crisis wars, they undoubtedly involved massacres, rape, slavery and torture. The Hutu were taller and stronger than the Twa, and they took advantage of their greater weight and strength to smash the Twa and take over their lands. The reason that we don't know about these wars, or about any wars prior to the mid 1800s colonization, is because no records were kept prior to the mid 1800s colonization.

The same story applies to the migration of the Tutsis from southern Ethiopia, starting in the 14th century. Once again, the Tutsis were taller and stronger than the Hutus, and there were undoubtedly a series of bloody, violent generational crisis wars that gave the Tutsis control over the Hutus.

In the history of almost any country, you'll find conflicts between farmers and herders. Farmers would be infuriated when herds of animals (such as cattle or camels) trampled their crops. They'd respond by building fences, and that infuriated the cowboys. There were numerous conflicts between farmers and cowboys in America in the 1800s.

But when the farmers and herders are from two different ethnic groups, then the conflicts over land use become the core triggers that lead from one generational crisis war to the next one. After a particularly bloody war, the survivors vow that nothing like that can ever happen again, so they set up rules to prevent it. In the case of farmers and herders, the farmers agree to set up pathways across their lands for the herders' animals to travel, and the herders agree to follow those pathways and not trample crops. But as decades pass, and younger generations grow up with no personal memory of the preceding crisis war, all the old agreements unravel, and there's a new generational crisis war 60-80 years after the end of the last one.

In the case of the generational crisis war currently going on in the Central African Republic, the Muslims are herders and the Christians are farmers. In the case of the Darfur crisis war, the Sudanese "Arabs" are herders and the "black Africans" are farmers.

In the case of the Hutus and Tutsis, the Hutus are farmers and the Tutsis are herders. In European terms, the Tutsis became the nobility, and the Hutus became the serfs. The relationship was called "ubuhake," which means "to work for access to land." The Tutsi herders controlled the land and the animal pathways. The Hutus were given access to the land and, in return, paid taxes to the Tutsis.

When the German colonists arrived in the late 1800s, they observed that the Tutsis were in charge and that the Hutus worked for the Tutsis, and the Germans implemented institutions to keep it that way. Germany colonized the region as German East Africa, which included today's Rwanda and Burundi. Some histories say that there was a eugenics angle to this, suggesting that the taller, stronger, lighter-skinned Tutsis were "more European" than the Hutus, and that they were therefore the "superior race," deserving of power and influence.

World War I was a generational crisis war for the Hutus and Tutsis, and when it ended, Germany lost control of German East Africa, with control given to Belgium in 1919. The Belgians continued to make the distinction between Tutsi and Hutu the basis of their colonial system. Finally, we have some records of what was going on, and we can see a typical generational Awakening era beginning in the 1930s, with the major event being a large Hutu revolt in 1934 in Ndora, a Rwanda farming community populated mainly by Hutu people.

What almost always happens in a country between generational crisis civil wars is that the two groups become peaceful at the climax of the first crisis war, but starting 15-20 years later, the youth from the first post-war generation start rioting and committing intermittent acts of violence. There follows decades of periods of violence alternating with "peace agreements." Each new period of violence is worse than the previous one.

By the 1960s, the periods of ethnic violence between the Hutus and the Tutsis were becoming chaotic. In July 1962, the two countries Rwanda and Burundi were formed, with Rwanda being a mostly Hutu nation, and Burundi being a mostly Tutsi nation. In December 1963, several hundred Tutsi guerrillas entered southern Rwanda from Burundi. The Rwandans referred to all Tutsis as "cockroaches," and the Rwandan army eliminate the intruders. Within days, some 14,000 Tutsis were massacred in southern Rwanda, in a coordinated campaign described by Bertrand Russell as 'the most horrible and systematic massacre' since the Holocaust.

Violence and peace agreements continued to alternate. In 1993, Rwanda's president Juvénal Habyarimana signed a peace agreement with Tutsi leaders known as the "Arusha accords," having been signed in Arusha, Tanzania.

The Arusha accords were never implemented. On April 6, 1994, a plane crash killed both Burundi's president Cyprien Ntayamira and Rwanda's president Juvénal Habyarimana. It's believed that the plane was shot down by a missile, with the Hutus and Tutsis blaming each other for the missile. That plane crash triggered the massive genocidal war between the Hutus and the Tutsis, killing 300,000 people in Burundi and close to a million people in Rwanda.

In 2005, new "Arusha Accords" were signed, this time by the people of Burundi, to settle the 1994 war. Those accords resulted in the creation of the 60-40 government of Hutus and Tutsis, respectively, and the selection of former Hutu militia leader Pierre Nkurunziza as president for two terms. His recent announcement that he will run for a third term has triggered new violence between Hutus and Tutsis.

Today, there are fears of a major new war between the Hutus and the Tutsis, but that's impossible at this time, because the countries are in a generational Awakening era. There will, of course, be outbreaks of ethnic violence, alternating with peace agreements, but nothing like the massive war that occurred in 1994. Burundi - Conflict Profile and A History of Hutu-Tutsi Conflict and History of Hutu – Tutsi Relations and UPenn - Burundi history History of Rwanda

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 30-Apr-15 World View -- 20,000 refugees flee violence in Burundi, fearing Hutu-Tutsi war thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (30-Apr-2015) Permanent Link
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29-Apr-15 World View -- Iran seizes cargo vessel in the Strait of Hormuz

Greece's PM Tsipras desperately seeks financial crisis solution

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Iran seizes cargo vessel in the Strait of Hormuz


Iranian army troops wearing ghillie camouflage suits in a parade in Tehran (CNN)
Iranian army troops wearing ghillie camouflage suits in a parade in Tehran (CNN)

Iran's Islamic Revolution Guards Corps Navy (IRGCN) has been taking actions in the Strait of Hormuz described as "provocative" towards commercial ships under US protection.

In Friday's incident, four Iranian patrol ships surrounded the Maersk Kensington, a US-flagged cargo vessel, in the Strait of Hormuz. The patrol ships harassed the Kensington for a while, and then backed off.

In Tuesday's incident, IRGCN patrol boats fired shots at a commercial cargo vessel passing through the Strait of Hormuz, and then forcibly boarded the ship and directed it to an Iranian port. The vessel was the Maersk Tigris, a Marshall Islands-flagged ship.

In my World View article yesterday on the US defense agreement with Japan, I provided a list of countries with which the US has a mutual defense treaty: Japan, South Korea, Israel, Taiwan, the Philippines, the ANZUS agreement with Australia and New Zealand, a special treaty with Iceland, and the NATO agreement with all of Europe.

Well, today I have to add one more to the list: The Marshall Islands. According to the State Department:

"The Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) is a sovereign nation. While the government is free to conduct its own foreign relations, it does so under the terms of the Compact. The United States has full authority and responsibility for security and defense of the Marshall Islands, and the Government of the Marshall Islands is obligated to refrain from taking actions that would be incompatible with these security and defense responsibilities. The United States and the Marshall Islands have full diplomatic relations. Marshallese citizens may work and study in the United States without a visa, and they join the U.S. military at a higher rate than any U.S. state."

The Marshall Islands is group of hundreds of islands northeast of Australia in the Pacific Ocean. It hosts the US Army Kwajalein Atoll (USAKA) Reagan Missile Test Site, a key installation in the US missile defense network.

The US Navy is monitoring the situation, but currently plans no further action. The U.S. believes that Iranians will "send the ship on its way," according to an official.

It's not known why Iran seized the Tigris, though press reports give a partial explanation that "the ship owner had some long-standing overdue payments that it had to settle" with an Iranian company.

These incidents come at a time when there are concerns about a possible naval confrontation in the Gulf of Aden between US ships and Iranian warships attempting to supply weapons to Houthis in Yemen.

They also come at a time when the US and the West are close to completing a nuclear agreement with Iran that would result in the lifting of all sanctions, possibly immediately. The US administration has made one concession after another to Iran so that the agreement will be consummated, and it may be that the administration is playing down the recent naval incidents in order to avoid provoking a crisis that might scuttle the nuclear deal. US State Dept. and CNN and Fars (Tehran) and Defense One

Greece's PM Tsipras desperately seeks financial crisis solution

Greece's prime minister Alexis Tsipras telephoned Germany's chancellor Angela Merkel on Sunday evening, and reports indicate that Tsipras begged for mercy. Without an additional bailout loan, Greece will go bankrupt in about a month. It's believed that going bankrupt will force Greece to leave the eurozone and return to the drachma currency.

On Monday, Tsipras fired his colorful finance minister, Yanis Varoufakis, who attended Friday's Eurogroup meeting of eurozone finance ministers, and was accused of being a time-waster, a gambler and an amateur.

No solution exists for Greece's financial crisis, and yet a way has always been found for the Greeks and the Europeans to postpone the final reckoning, "kicking the can down the road." The Europeans are now desperately looking for one more postponement, but positions have become so hardened that even a temporary solution may be impossible.

Tsipras's far-left Syriza party won January's election by promising that he would not allow any more austerity measures to be imposed on Greece. The Europeans have said that Greece will not get any more bailout money without committing to a list of reforms that address various economic issues, including Greece's bloated public sector, curbing tax evasion and corruption, privatizing public businesses, and adjusting generous pension and minimum wage policies.

Putting such a list in writing would violate Tsipras's campaign promises. Not putting it in writing violates Tsipras's promises to the Europeans.

On Tuesday, Tsipras tried a different approach: if the Europeans insisted on further austerity measures, then he would call a referendum to see if the Greek people accept the austerity measures. This appears to be a final desperate gasp, since there isn't enough time for a national referendum, and even if one was held, it wouldn't resolve the impasse with Europe.

So even a temporary kick-the-can solution would require a major climbdown by one side or the other, and it wouldn't buy much time anyway. Reuters and Kathimerini and Deutsche Welle

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 29-Apr-15 World View -- Iran seizes cargo vessel in the Strait of Hormuz thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (29-Apr-2015) Permanent Link
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28-Apr-15 World View -- US reaffirms defense of Japan's Senkaku Islands

Japan-U.S. military guidelines will include 'collective self-defense'

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

US reaffirms defense of Japan's Senkaku Islands


John Kerry and Shinzo Abe in Boston on Sunday
John Kerry and Shinzo Abe in Boston on Sunday

A day before Japan's prime minister Shinzo Abe visits president Barack Obama in the White House, Secretary of State John Kerry reaffirmed that a treaty that the United States and Japan signed in 1960 requires the United States to defend the Senkaku Islands from an attack by China.

According to Kerry, "Commitment to Japan's security remains ironclad and covers all territories under Japan's administration, including the Senkaku islands."

There has been some concern in Asia whether the Obama administration would honor America's defense treaties. This concern increased substantially after Obama's flip-flop on Syria, declaring that use of chemical weapons would be a "game changer," and then backing off once Syria's president Bashar al-Assad killed hundreds of people with Sarin gas.

After World War II, America signed a large number of mutual defense treaties with other countries. These include agreements with Japan, South Korea, Israel, Taiwan, the Philippines, the ANZUS agreement with Australia and New Zealand, a special treaty with Iceland, and the NATO agreement with all of Europe.

Many people have questioned whether the administration would honor these mutual defense treaties during an actual attack. Kerry's statement was meant to reassure the Japanese.

China has been claiming huge territories in the South China Sea and East China Sea that have historically belonged to other countries. Almost no one outside of China believes that China's claims are valid, and China is refusing to submit the claims to the United Nations for adjudication, knowing that it would lose.

In the South China Sea, China is in the midst of a massive military buildup, as we recently described. However, China has moved more cautiously with the Senkakus (called Diaoyu by the Chinese), knowing that a military assault on the Senkakus could provoke a direct military confrontation with the United States. AFP

Japan-U.S. military guidelines will include 'collective self-defense'

Since the end of World War II, Japan and the United States have had mutual defense treaties. However, Japan's constitution after WW II has been a "pacifist" constitution, prohibiting any military action except in response to a direct attack on Japan itself. This meant that the mutual defense treaty was pretty much a one-way affair, in that the U.S. was committed to defending Japan, but Japan could not defend the U.S.

Prime minister Shinzo Abe has stated that he wants to remove this restriction from the constitution, but amending the constitution would be a difficult process, and there are many people in Japan who would strongly oppose the change.

So in 2014, Abe made a unilateral political decision to "reinterpret" the self-defense clause of the constitution to allow for what is called "collective self-defense." I discussed this issue in detail in "5-May-14 World View -- Japan debates 'collective self-defense' to protect America and Japan".

Under international law, if a nation's ally is attacked by another country, then the nation may use its armed forces in defense of its ally. This is known as "collective self-defense," and it particularly can be invoked by either of two countries that have a mutual defense agreement, such as the mutual defense agreement signed by Japan and the United States. However, many people in Japan interpret the constitution's self-defense restriction to mean that collective self-defense is prohibited in Japan's constitution. Abe's reinterpretation makes collective self-defense possible.

The new guidelines between Japan and the U.S. will explicitly state that collective self-defense is allowed for both countries. Kyodo News (Japan) and Japan News

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 28-Apr-15 World View -- US reaffirms defense of Japan's Senkaku Islands thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (28-Apr-2015) Permanent Link
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27-Apr-15 World View -- China extends its military buildup with Pakistan

Air strikes, naval shelling and ground fighting escalate in Yemen

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

The China - Pakistan love story


Xi Jinping and Nawaz Sharif on Tuesday in Islamabad (AP)
Xi Jinping and Nawaz Sharif on Tuesday in Islamabad (AP)

China's president Xi Jinping made a "historic" visit to Pakistan early last week to visit prime minister Nawaz Sharif and to sign strategic military and economic agreements between the two countries.

As the visit began, an essay by Xi appeared in Pakistan's press describing the love affair between the two countries:

"This will be my first trip to Pakistan, but I feel as if I am going to visit the home of my own brother. Over the years, thanks to the nurturing of generations of leaders and people from all sectors of both countries, China-Pakistan friendship has flourished like a tree growing tall and strong. No matter how the circumstances in our two countries, the region and the world change, our bilateral relations have enjoyed sound and steady growth. We have always respected, understood and supported each other on issues concerning our respective core interests. In Pakistan, our relationship is poetically hailed as a friendship “higher than mountains, deeper than oceans and sweeter than honey.” In China, Pakistan is known as a sincere and reliable friend. Obviously, China-Pakistan friendship is deeply felt in the hearts of our two peoples."

In May 2011, Pakistan's ambassador to China Masood Khan described the relationship between Pakistan and China as "higher than mountains, deeper than oceans, stronger than steel, sweeter than honey, and dearer than eyesight."

It sounds like true love to me. Daily Times (Pakistan) and Dawn (Pakistan)

China extends its military buildup with Pakistan

Following last week's visit by China's president Xi Jinping, China will deliver another 50 JF-17 Thunder aircraft to Pakistan over a period of three years. 60 of these aircraft have already been delivered, making a total of 110. The jets are considered a symbol of friendship between Pakistan and China, because the technology was developed jointly by the two countries.

This comes at a time of an accelerating military buildup by the Chinese and their ally Pakistan. China is annexing other countries' territories in the South China Sea, and is aggressively building military bases in those territories. China is building the Gwadar Port military naval base in Pakistan on the Indian Ocean, where they can launch missile attacks on America's base in Diego Garcia and on American military bases and aircraft carriers in the Mideast. And China agreed last week to build a railroad line from western China, through Pakistan to the Gwadar Port base, to be used for both commerce and military transport. The News (Pakistan) and Want China Times (Taiwan) and Daily Times (Pakistan)

Air strikes, naval shelling and ground fighting escalate in Yemen

It's been just a week since Saudi Arabia announced that it's met its military objectives in Yemen, that "Operation Decisive Storm" was ending, and "Operation Restoration of Hope" was beginning.

On Sunday, the Saudi-led coalition pounded several cities with airstrikes, including the capital city Sanaa. There was heavy street fighting, and relentless artillery, tank and heavy machine gun fire through Taiz, Yemen's third largest city. Naval warships and airstrikes pounded Yemen's second largest city, the port city of Aden.

Iran continues to keep a fleet of warships in the Gulf of Aden, raising concerns that Iran is supplying weapons to the Houthis. Reuters and AP

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 27-Apr-15 World View -- China extends its military buildup with Pakistan thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (27-Apr-2015) Permanent Link
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26-Apr-15 World View -- Greece's government will confiscate cash reserves from all public institutions

Vietnam and the Philippines establish a strategic military partnership to counter China

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Greece's government will confiscate cash reserves from all public institutions


The Hellenic Parliament building, where a decree was adopted to confiscate cash reserves of Greece's public institutions
The Hellenic Parliament building, where a decree was adopted to confiscate cash reserves of Greece's public institutions

After a bitter debate, Greece's parliament on Friday adopted a decree ordering all public institutions to hand over their cash reserves to the central bank.

This means that everything from municipalities and provinces to state universities will have to give up all the spare cash in their bank accounts. 1,400 public institutions will be handing over their reserves.

The money will be used to cover "the state's urgent needs, which amount to three billion euros over the next 15 days." The government estimates the decree will raise some 1.5 billion euros, but local media have put the figure at around 400 million euros.

Mayors, labor unions and college directors have been complaining bitterly about the decree. According to one public sector labor union leader, "It is unjust and unacceptable for the state to manage municipalities' funds." Kathimerini and AFP and Reuters

Greece's people face the future with anxiety and dread

Some individual people can face the future realistically, even when it's obvious that the future is going to be bad.

But when you talk about entire populations of people or generations of people, self-delusion is the rule. The British ignored the Nazis' military buildup. America ignored the real estate bubble in the mid-2000s decade, and they're ignoring China's military buildup today. Actually, "ignored" is the wrong word. In each case, they deluded themselves into believing what was obviously true was not.

Ever since the Greek financial crisis began in the 2010, I've been writing that no solution exists, and that one day Greece will be forced into financial bankruptcy. Honestly, I thought it would have happened before now, but I underestimated the depth and extent of the self-delusion that not only the Greek people but also the European politicians would inflict on themselves and each other. In the course of writing about the Greek crisis over the past five years, some of the unbelievably ridiculous things that I've quoted from European officials have been truly astounding.

But at some point, reality overcomes self-delusion. And it seems to be the case that that point is being reached right now.

Friday's Eurogroup meeting of the eurozone's finance ministers was behind closed doors but was a verbal slugfest, descending into acrimony and name-calling, according to reports. Greece's finance minister, Yanis Varoufakis, who is an expert on game theory, was accused of being a time-waster, a gambler and an amateur. German Chancellor Angela Merkel had to call for calm.

After the meeting, Eurogroup chairman Jeroen Dijsselbloem said flatly that there will be no money given to Greece unless and until Varoufakis produces a list of committed reforms that he promised in February. The list would need to address various economic issues, including Greece's bloated public sector, curbing tax evasion and corruption, privatizing public businesses, and adjusting generous pension and minimum wage policies. Varoufakis has repeatedly promised that the list would be provided in a few days, and now the other finance ministers have apparently concluded that he's a charlatan.

The Greek people are watching all this with a mixture of dread, shock and foreboding. Polls indicate that over 70% of them want Greece to remain in the eurozone, but they see it all slipping away. Self-delusion is giving way to reality.

It's not just the name-calling at the Eurogroup. The Greek people have seen news stories that the government will be running out of money in a couple of weeks, and will paying salaries and pensions in IOUs. And now they hear that the government will be confiscating any available cash held by local governments and state organizations.

They fear their savings will be next. Anyone who can move their money out of a Greek bank into a foreign bank is doing so. Undoubtedly, a lot of people's mattresses are also being filled up with their life savings.

According to one communist MP:

"Even if there is a temporary solution it will not solve our problems. Our country produces nothing. Its manufacturing base has been destroyed, it is de-industrialised and agriculturally deserted. What lies ahead is great, great hardship."

When even the communists give up their delusions, you know that reality is really taking hold.

A word of warning. When a population turns from self-delusion to reality, they find someone to blame, and sometimes they do dangerous things, like turn fascist or start a war. We've seen nothing like that in Greece so far, but if things get extremely desperate, then the climate could change quickly. Guardian (London) and Bloomberg and Kathimerini

China speeds up its military takeover of the South China Sea

High-resolution satellite images reveal that in the space of ten weeks, China has built an artificial island on top of Subi Reef in the Spratly Islands group, with the apparent intention of building a runway that could support virtually all types of combat and supply aircraft in China’s navy and air force.

This is only one of three massive land reclamation projects that China is pursuing to establish military bases in the South China Sea.

China continues to occupy regions in the South China Sea that have historically belonged to other countries, and continues a massive military to enforce its seizures. China has claimed the entire South China Sea, including regions historically belonging to Vietnam, Brunei, Malaysia, Indonesia, Taiwan and the Philippines. China's claims are rejected by almost everyone outside of China, and China refuses to submit them to the United Nations court deciding such matters, apparently knowing that they would lose.

Lacking legal authority, what we're seeing is a frenzied military buildup in the South China Sea with a speed, scale and intensity that have few or no parallels in history outside of wartime. Diplomat

Vietnam and the Philippines establish a strategic military partnership to counter China

The Philippines and Vietnam have had minimal strategic military ties. But the two countries are responding to China's military buildup and belligerence in the South China Sea by establishing a "Strategic Partnership between the Republic of the Philippines and the Socialist Republic of Vietnam," with the agreement to be signed in May or June. Under the agreement, the two countries will conduct joint naval drills and scientific studies in the South China Sea, defying China's claims. They committed to resolve differences in a "constructive manner without resorting to the threat or use of force." Philippine Star and Council on Foreign Relations

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 26-Apr-15 World View -- Greece's government will confiscate cash reserves from all public institutions thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (26-Apr-2015) Permanent Link
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25-Apr-15 World View -- Turkey, Armenia hold dueling WW1 centennials over genocide and Gallipoli

The politics of genocide and rape -- in Turkey and elsewhere

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Turkey, Armenia hold dueling WW1 centennials over genocide and Gallipoli


British soldiers just before landing at Gallipoli in 1915
British soldiers just before landing at Gallipoli in 1915

There are so many bizarre things going on in the world today, and this one has to be near the top of the list.

For Turkey, Australia and New Zealand, the most important battle of World War I was the Battle of Gallipoli, which ran from April 25, 1915, to January 9, 1916. Turkey has commemorated the battle in the past on April 25.

According to Armenia, Turkey (the Ottoman Empire) committed a genocide against Armenians, and the genocide began on April 24, 1915, when the Young Turks government began deporting Armenians. Turkey denies that there was a genocide. Armenia has scheduled a centennial commemoration of the start of the deportations for next month on April 24.

In view of Armenia's genocide commemoration, Turkey has moved its Gallipoli commemoration to April 24 as well, so that the two commemorations compete with one another.

So on Friday there were two dueling centennial commemorations: The Battle of Gallipoli was commemorated in Istanbul, the capital city of Turkey, while the Armenian genocide was commemorated in Yerevan, the capital city of Armenia. Daily Sabah (Istanbul)

Turkey commemorates the 100th anniversary of Anzac day and the Battle of Gallipoli

"Anzac" is the acronym for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps, and April 24 is commemorated every year in Australia and New Zealand as Anzac Day, the first day of the Battle of Gallipoli. Australia had only become an independent nation in 1901, and New Zealand in 1907, so these were very young nations, anxious to prove themselves to the world.

Here's a summary of the Battle of Gallipoli:

350,000 British troops, 25,000 died
79,000 French troops, 10,000 died
74,000 Anzac troops, 10,000 died
400,000 Turkish troops, 86,000 died

The Battle of Gallipoli was pretty much a disaster for all sides, but it's still remembered as a major turning point in the history of Australia and New Zealand. The character of these two nations was forever shaped by this experience. BBC

Turkey debates its role in the Armenian genocide

At the same time that Turkey was fighting the British, Irish, Australians and Kiwis at the Battle of Gallipoli, Turkey, which is a Muslim nation, was also in a war with Russia, which is an Orthodox Christian nation, in the Caucasus region.

Turkey (as the Ottoman Empire) and Russia were previously in a generational crisis war with the Crimean War of the 1850s. That war was extremely bloody and a disaster for Turkey, and so now they were fighting again, and nothing mattered to Turkey at this time than the continued existence of Turkey and its way of life.

Armenians also are Orthodox Christian, and some 2 million of them were living in Turkey at the time of World War I. To the leaders of Turkey at the time, the Armenians living in Turkey were an existential threat to Turkey, and a decision was made to "remove" all the Armenians living in eastern Turkey.

On April 24, 1915, the Young Turks government of Turkey arrested and executed several hundred Armenian intellectuals. After that, ordinary Armenians were turned out of their homes and sent on death marches through the Mesopotamian desert without food or water. Frequently, the marchers were stripped naked and forced to walk under the scorching sun until they dropped dead. People who stopped to rest were shot. In other cases killing squads or "butcher battalions" drowned Armenians in rivers, threw them off cliffs, and burned them alive. The Turkish countryside was littered with Armenian corpses.

Turkey generally agrees that many Armenians died at the time, but they claim that the atrocities were not part of any organized plan. Furthermore they point to the fact that some 2.5 million Turkish Muslims also lost their lives during World War I.

As a result, Turkey has always denied that what happened in 1915 was a genocide. However, it's worth noting that this opinion is not unanimous in Turkey, and many Turks believe that they should just concede that a genocide occurred in order to defuse the issue and move on. History.com and Hurriyet (Istanbul) and Der Spiegel (Germany)

The politics of genocide and rape -- in Turkey and elsewhere

As in the case of the word "rape," I'm pretty cynical about the use of the word "genocide."

Some of the bloodiest genocides of the 20th century were perpetrated by Great Socialist or Communist leaders -- Stalin in Ukraine in the Holodomor in the 1930s, Mao Zedong in China's Great Leap Forward in the 1950s, Pol Pot in the Killing Fields of Cambodia in the 1970s -- without a peep from liberals.

This became clear to me in 1975, when far-left liberal feminist Jane Fonda and far-left "anti-war" liberal John Kerry (currently Secretary of State) approved of the massive slaughter of millions of Cambodians by Great Socialist Leader Pol Pot. Fonda and Kerry couldn't have cared less how many people starved or tortured, had their fingernails pulled or eyes gouged out, as long as it was done by a socialist. And this was a decade after college kids were carrying copies of the "Little Red Book of Chairman Mao" while Chairman Mao was massacring tens of millions of people.

The same kind of thing is true of rape. When Bill Clinton was credibly charged in the late 1990s of raping several women, it became clear that ultra-feminist liberal rape victim Susan Estrich couldn't have cared less how many women Clinton had raped. The same was true of his wife, Hillary Clinton. These days, ultra-feminist rape activists couldn't care less how many women were raped by the sleazy Julian Assange, who has been hiding out in the Ecuador embassy in London to avoid facing rape charges.

So I mention all that to make clear how cynical I am about these kinds of charges. They have absolutely no meaning except to be used hypocritically as a political weapon, and generally have no relationship to the truth.

So now let's turn to whether the deaths of a million Armenians in Turkey in 1915 can be classified as "genocide."

First off, the legal definition of genocide can't apply, because genocide wasn't a "crime" until 1948, and the slaughter occurred in 1915. In fact, the word "genocide" didn't even exist in 1915. It was only invented in the 1940s, in reaction to the Nazi Holocaust.

But let's ignore all that, and apply the legal definition of genocide to 1915 Turkey. Here's the first part of the legal definition in the "Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide" adopted by the United Nations in 1948:

"Article I

The Contracting Parties confirm that genocide, whether committed in time of peace or in time of war, is a crime under international law which they undertake to prevent and to punish.

Article II

In the present Convention, genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:

  • Killing members of the group;
  • Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
  • Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;
  • Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;
  • Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.

Article III

The following acts shall be punishable:

  • Genocide;
  • Conspiracy to commit genocide;
  • Direct and public incitement to commit genocide;
  • Attempt to commit genocide;
  • Complicity in genocide.

Article IV

Persons committing genocide or any of the other acts enumerated in article III shall be punished, whether they are constitutionally responsible rulers, public officials or private individuals."

So, if we apply this definition, then it's clear that the Armenian Genocide was indeed a genocide. The Young Turks government deported millions of Armenians, subjecting them to starvation, exhaustion and death. This easily complies with the UN definition.

However, so do a lot of other things. I point to the Allied firebombing of Dresden and Tokyo, and the use of nuclear weapons on Japanese cities at the end of World War II as examples of mass slaughter that also clearly fit the UN definition of genocide.

Generational Dynamics has its own definition of genocide that differs slightly (though not significantly) from the United Nations definition. And acts of genocide are crucial in understanding how a society or nation goes from one generational crisis war to the next.

During a generational crisis war, like World War II for America, the value of an individual human life gets smaller and smaller, and the only thing that matters is the survival of the society and its way of life. Every crisis war ends in some variation of what is called "an explosive genocidal climax," where the value of an individual human life is effectively zero, and nothing matters except winning the war at any cost. At that time, the war can end with a mass slaughter that's regretted for decades.

After the war ends, the winners write the history of what happened, and decide which actions (the losers' actions) were genocidal and which were not (the winners' actions). However there is something that the survivors of both the winning and losing side agree on: What happened is so horrible that it must never be permitted to happen again. And I emphasize that both the winners and losers feel the same way about this. And so they create austere rules and institutions to prevent it from happening again.

This leads to a generational Awakening era (like America in the 1960s), where the young post-war generations reject their parents' austere rules and institutions, and the value of an individual human life becomes paramount again. This leads to a generational Unraveling era, like America in the 1990s, where all the austere rules and institutions completely unravel. Finally, the society enters a new generational Crisis era, as America did in the early 2000s. All the survivors from the previous crisis war are gone (retired or dead), and there's no one left who remembers the horrors of the previous genocidal climax, or who vowed never to let it happen again. And then it does happen again. History.com and UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 25-Apr-15 World View -- Turkey, Armenia hold dueling WW1 centennials over genocide and Gallipoli thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (25-Apr-2015) Permanent Link
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24-Apr-15 World View -- Europe pledges to solve the unsolvable migrant problem

The flood of farmer suicides continues to grow in India

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

The flood of farmer suicides continues to grow in India


Gajendra Singh's suicide note (Indian Express)
Gajendra Singh's suicide note (Indian Express)

On Thursday, a farmer in India's Uttar Pradesh, near Delhi, committed suicide by consuming pesticide. He had suffered crop losses due to bad weather.

Just one day earlier, Gajendra Singh, a farmer, had committed suicide by hanging himself from a tree in the middle of a crowded anti-government political rally. The farmer left a suicide note:

"My father has thrown me out of house as my entire crop had been destroyed. I have three children. ... Please tell me, how do I go home.

Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan."

The last line means "Hail the soldier, hail the farmer." It's a slogan from the 1960s, when India was facing two simultaneous crises -- war with Pakistan, and a severe shortage of food.

The farmer killed himself in support of the political rally, whose purpose was to protest proposed changes by prime minister Narendra Modi to India's Land Acquisition law. The proposed changes will, in many circumstances, allow the government to take a farmer's land without his consent, without concern for the social impact, and with reduced compensation.

However, the Land Acquisition law is not the principal cause of farmer suicides. The principal cause is the weather.

Whether it's India's historically severe drought in 2012, or the historically high abundance of rainfall and hail so far this year, India's crops depend on the weather. This year, cotton farmers are hit with a double whammy: The crop was good last year, so cotton prices are low, while this year's crops have been adversely affected by the weather. So farmers have a small crop to sell at low prices.

A poor crop means that the farmer cannot repay his debts or feed his family. According to one widow, "He was in so much debt. He wasn't getting any money from cotton. He chose death over distress."

There has been a recent wave of 40 farmer suicides. Over 600 farmers have committed suicide so far this year. There are thousands or tens of thousands of farmer suicides every year. Government data shows 11,772 farmers committed suicide in 2013 across India, which is 44 deaths every day. Indian Express and Economic Times (India) and DNA India and CNN and New Delhi TV

Europe pledges to solve the unsolvable migrant problem

Estimates range from 500,000 to 1 million for the number of migrants who have come from other countries to Libya, waiting for their turn to travel to Europe. Analysts expect around 200,000 of them to reach EU this year. They spend thousands of dollars -- their life savings -- to be put on a rubber dinghy or rickety boat to be allowed to cross the Mediterranean Sea, counting on being saved by someone if the boat gets into trouble as many do.

However, some 1600 migrants have died crossing the Mediterranean in the last couple of weeks, and this forced the EU to hold an emergency meeting in Brussels on Thursday to find a solution.

One outcome of the meeting was that EU leaders pledged 120 million euros annually to redeploy a search and rescue program similar to the "Mare Nostrum" program that that Italy funded on its own until November of last year, and which rescued over 200,000 migrants last year. However, that was the easy decision, especially because there are some restrictions and because it's not clear that all the money will be funded.

On the other hand, there are several problems that were not solved:

Even if the ports could be blocked or all the boats could be confiscated, there would still be a crisis in Libya with hundreds of thousands of migrants waiting to travel to Europe. Even worse, the crisis would turn to violence because the traffickers will do anything to continue extracting thousands of dollars from each migrant.

With warm weather approaching, the height of the migrant season is just beginning. It's safe to assume that Thursdays meeting in Brussels will have done nothing to solve the problem. Middle East Eye and Catholic Online and Bloomberg

Eritrea: The most repressive regime in the world

Even worse than North Korea or Iran, the African state of Eritrea is considered by many to be the most repressive country in the world. And it's also second only to war-torn Syria as the leading country from which EU-bound migrants originate. In fact, all the corpses found during the night after the shipwreck off the coast of Lampedusa last week were Eritrean.

Eritrea has one of the poorest human rights records in the world. Anyone can be arrested and tortured at any time on the unsupported charge of criticizing someone in the government, or for attending the wrong religious institution. The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has labeled it the "most censored" country in the world. (The next nine are: North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Ethiopia, Azerbaijan, Vietnam, Iran, China, Burma, and Cuba.)

What is unique about Eritrea is the extent of military repression as practiced through a strictly-enforced conscription regimen and martial culture. Eritrea’s army is about 600,000 strong, which is one tenth of the population of about 6 million. Few countries anywhere, other than North Korea or the Cambodia of the Khmer Rouge, have one tenth of their population in the army. Some people are forced to serve in the armed forces until age 50.

Many people are forced to work at government jobs essentially as slaves. The average monthly salary is $12. If someone escapes to Europe as a migrant to earn money, the remittances that the migrant sends back to his family are heavily taxed by the state.

Like many African countries, Eritrea has a "youth bulge" in its population. Many of these young men and women are not satisfied with living in the most repressive nation in the world, and they're willing to make any sacrifice or take any risk to reach Europe and a better life. Thursday's EU meeting in Brussels will have no effect on that. Geopolitical Monitor and Telegraph and Guardian (Nov-2014) and Foreign Policy

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 24-Apr-15 World View -- Europe pledges to solve the unsolvable migrant problem thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (24-Apr-2015) Permanent Link
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23-Apr-15 World View -- Palestinian factions 'unity' talks in crisis, near collapse

ISIS and Yemen force yet another realignment of the Mideast

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Palestinian factions 'unity' talks in crisis, near collapse


Top officials of the Palestinian 'unity government' as of June 2, 2014 (AFP)
Top officials of the Palestinian 'unity government' as of June 2, 2014 (AFP)

A five-day meeting in Gaza between the two major Palestinian factions ended in crisis after just one day on Wednesday, once again bringing into question whether there can ever be a Palestinian "unity government."

The two-state solution to the Mideast crisis that everyone talks about is usually described as a State of Palestine existing side-by-side with a State of Israel in peace and harmony.

As I wrote in May 2003 in "Mideast Roadmap - Will it bring peace?", referring to President George Bush's proposed peace plan, no peace plan can work because Generational Dynamics predicts that Arabs and Jews would be refighting the 1948 war that followed the partitioning of Palestine and the creation of the state of Israel.

So it's no surprise that, once again, unity talks between the two major Palestinian factions that are a prerequisite to a State of Palestine are collapsing.

The Palestinian Authority (PA/Fatah) used to govern both Palestinian territories, the Gaza Strip and the West Bank but after Hamas took control of Gaza in 2007, leading to a bitter war between the two factions, it's been pretty clear that a successful peace treaty between Hamas and Fatah has been even less like likely than a peace treaty between the Palestinians and the Israelis.

On April 23 of last year, the two major Palestinian factions signed a "Palestinian unity agreement," as a prerequisite to forming a State of Palestine. The agreement provided for a series of steps to unify the two factions into a common government, but now, a year later, nothing has changed.

The unity agreement never really had a chance, but whatever chance it had was destroyed by the summer war between Israel and Hamas. The war was a disaster and humiliation for Hamas, which launched thousands of missiles at Israel without a single one ever drawing blood, thanks to Israel's Iron Dome missile defense system. In the end, Egypt, the PA and Israel imposed a cease-fire on Hamas that met not a single one of Hamas's demands. There were supposed to be follow-on talks to negotiate terms for ending the blockade of Gaza being imposed by both Israel and Egypt, but those talks never started.

This last week, a ministerial delegation from the PA in the West Bank visit Hamas in the Gaza Strip, so that the two groups could negotiate plans for how the unity government was going to pay the salaries of the public employees in Gaza.

There are two sides to the story of what happened next: Hamas claims that the PA delegation went to their hotel rooms and refused to leave. The PA claims that the delegation went to their hotel rooms and were prevented from leaving by Hamas. Either way, they didn't leave their hotel rooms, and the meeting ended in bitter discord within one day, making it appear very likely that the entire unity government concept is near collapse. AFP and Xinhua and Times of Israel

ISIS and Yemen force yet another realignment of the Mideast

Not only did the Gaza war really end the Hamas/Fatah unity government, it split the entire Mideast into two large factions. In a major realignment, Israel plus Egypt plus the Palestinian Authority plus Saudi Arabia were allied, versus Hamas plus Qatar plus Turkey. In addition, Iran has been supplying money and heavy weapons to Hamas.

However, since the end of the Gaza war, two major events have shaken the Mideast and is forcing the old realignment to be replaced by a new realignment. The two events are:

In this sectarian environment, a new realignment has been occurring. Saudi Arabia's new King Salman bin Abdulaziz al Saud is acting as a mediator to restore Saudi ties with Qatar and Turkey, and also to restore ties between Turkey and Egypt.

In fact, a rather startling non-event that occurred on Tuesday is being taken as a sign of renewed friendship between Egypt and Turkey.

Turkey's president Recep Tayyip Erdogan was a big supporter Egypt's former president Mohamed Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood government, the only democratically elected government in Egypt's history. Erdogan broke off relations with Egypt after Abdel al-Fattah al-Sisi engineered the coup in July 2013 that ousted Morsi. Since then, Morsi has been kept in jail, and Erdogan has repeatedly stated his solidarity with Morsi, and demanded that he be freed.

On Tuesday, Morsi was sentenced to 20 years imprisonment on charges arising from the killing of protesters.

The startling non-event that we referred to above is that Erdogan hasn't said a word. Turkey's Foreign Ministry did issue a statement saying, "The verdict against former President Morsi ... aggravate[s] concerns about the future of democracy in Egypt." But we haven't heard a peep from Erdogan himself.

This is being perceived as an abandonment of Morsi engineered by Saudi King Salman. According to one analyst, “The fact that he [Erdogan] did not say a single word the day Morsi received 20 years [imprisonment]" showed that Erdogan has succumbed to the wishes of his only allies left in the region, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states. Today's Zaman (Istanbul)

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 23-Apr-15 World View -- Palestinian factions 'unity' talks in crisis, near collapse thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (23-Apr-2015) Permanent Link
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22-Apr-15 World View -- Patriotism and nationalism surge in Saudi Arabia, but not in Iran

Saudi Arabia declares that it's met its military objectives in Yemen

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Saudi Arabia declares that it's met its military objectives in Yemen


A patriotic billboard in Riyadh features an image of soldiers and a portrait of Saudi King Salman (AFP)
A patriotic billboard in Riyadh features an image of soldiers and a portrait of Saudi King Salman (AFP)

Saudi Arabia's military announced on Tuesday that it had met its military objectives in Yemen, and that "Operation Decisive Storm" is over.

They also announced that "Operation Restoration of Hope" is beginning.

It's not clear what the difference is. The Saudi-led coalition began a heavy campaign of air strikes on March 23, and Brig. Gen. Ahmed Asiri, the Saudi military spokesman who announced the change in the name of the operation, did not indicate whether there would be any change to the airstrike campaign.

Asiri said that the military campaign’s objectives had been met as the rebels’ military capabilities had been destroyed. He said that the Houthis no longer pose a danger to civilians, and that the new operation will focus on rebuilding the country while denying the rebels operational movement, protecting civilians, and supporting evacuation and relief operations:

"To implement this we will continue to have our operation. Inside a city like Aden we will continue to protect civilians to prevent these [Houthis] militias from sustaining their operations."

Analysts that I heard suggested that the Saudis were bowing to international pressure in view of the number of civilians being killed by the airstrikes, but that there would never be a resolution of the conflict with the Houthis unless the Saudis launched a ground troop invasion. Daily Star (Beirut) and Arab News

Patriotism and nationalism surge in Saudi Arabia, but not in Iran

According to an NPR story, the Saudi public has become increasing patriotic and nationalistic since the Saudi airstrikes have begun. In addition, the popularity of the new King Salman bin Abdulaziz al Saud has skyrocketed:

Jamal Khashoggi, a Saudi journalist, says there's unprecedented unity inside the kingdom because Saudi is seen as standing up to Iran:

"We felt humiliated, we felt worried of Iranian expansionism, and we felt somebody must stand against that. And that's why Saudi people are so much now supporting of King Salman, they feel he is the man that made that stand. ...

His popularity skyrocketed, people were talking about him before as a kid, we didn't know much about him. But nowadays, with this patriotic euphoria, he scored big time."

All of this information is anecdotal, but it paints a picture of a Saudi population in sync with the government leadership in pursuing the Yemen war.

From the point of view of generational theory, this is what I refer to as a "war that comes from the people." The Saudi population does not need to be convinced of the necessity of the war in Yemen; they were receptive to it from the moment it happened. That's because Saudi Arabia is deep into a generational Crisis era, as I explained yesterday, which means that patriotism and nationalism are going to be high.

The journalist Khashoggi is quoted as saying that the "unprecedented unity" is occurring BECAUSE Saudi Arabia is seen standing up to Iran.

But from the point of view of Generational Dynamics, that's not the reason at all. Just standing up to an enemy doesn't always unify the country. Americans were unified behind President Roosevelt in World War II, which was a generational crisis war, but not behind Presidents Kennedy or Johnson in the Vietnam war, which was an Awakening era war.

Like America in the 1960s, Iran is in a generational Awakening era today, since only one generation has passed since the end of Iran's Great Islamic Revolution and the Iran/Iraq war that climaxed in 1988.

And so we see quite a different picture in Iran. There have been no reports of carwashes in Iran backing Iran's support of the Houthis in Yemen. There have been no reports of patriotic war songs, or patriotic billboards about Yemen.

There are plenty of reports about statements from Iran government officials. Here's one from a speech by Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei from February:

"Whether or not our enemies like it, the Islamic Revolution has been advancing since its beginning, and today we have might in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bahrain, Yemen, and even Saudi Arabia, that we did not have from 1978-1991... In the not-so-distant future, we will see the twilight of America and Israel – this is not a slogan... Today we in Iran, Hizbullah in Lebanon, Ansar Allah [i.e. the Houthi movement] in Yemen, the National Defense Force in Syria, [and] the popular forces in Iraq have become much stronger... The great popular army begins to take shape in the world; be certain that this movement is undefeatable."

This is actually a pathetic attempt to relive the erotic days of the 1979 revolution by blaming everything on the United States. It worked then because Iran was in a generational Crisis era. Khamenei's arguments are old and shopworn, and a version of them could have been used (and were used) at any time since the 1980s.

So this is what I refer to as "a war that comes from the politicians." The public mood is completely different, and the public support is almost nonexistent.

Today, Iran is in a generational Awakening era. Just as Americans in the 1960s were sick of hearing about the dangers of Communism, Iranians today are sick of hearing about the evils of the West, which they really don't believe.

The difference is that Iran's population today contain many survivors of the 1980s wars. They remember how bloody the revolution was, and how 1 1/2 million people were killed in the war with Saddam. And of course they remember that they were victimized by Saddam's use of poison gas.

That's why there are no carwashes in Iran exalting Iran's support for the Houthis in Yemen. In fact, that's why Khamenei can't even admit that Iran is participating, since he knows how unpopular that would be. The Iranian people remember the 1980s, and don't want another war.

Here's a brief additional word on some nearby countries. Iraq, Syria and Lebanon are also all in generational Awakening eras, and the public mood is similar.

In Iraq in the 1980s, the Sunnis and Shias were unified behind Saddam to fight Iran in the Iran/Iraq war. Today, the Sunnis are joining up with Islamic State (IS or ISIS or ISIL or Daesh), the Iraq army has a reputation for dropping their weapons and running for their lives, and the Shia militias have had little success.

In Syria, president Bashar al-Assad is using everything from heavy weapons to Sarin gas to chlorine gas to subjugate his people, but instead of fighting, they're running away, and now there are millions of Syrian refugees in neighboring countries.

In Lebanon, the political situation is so fractured that the country has been unable to elect a president for months. Hezbollah militias are fighting in Syria, but that's because Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah is forcing them to, and, ironically, that's because Nasrallah's puppetmasters in Iran are forcing him to do so.

But other countries -- Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt, Israel, Palestinian territories (Palestine) -- are deep into a generational crisis era, and those countries are going to drive the coming major sectarian war. NPR and Memri and Gulf News/Washington Post

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 22-Apr-15 World View -- Patriotism and nationalism surge in Saudi Arabia, but not in Iran thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (22-Apr-2015) Permanent Link
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21-Apr-15 World View -- US sends warships to Yemen as Saudis face a quagmire

ECB examines a possible 'second currency' for Greece - government IOUs

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Saudi Arabia appears headed for a quagmire in Yemen


Huge explosion following airstrike on army weapons depot near Sanaa on Monday (Reuters)
Huge explosion following airstrike on army weapons depot near Sanaa on Monday (Reuters)

A Saudi Arabia airstrike on Monday on a military weapons depot near Sanaa, the capital city of Yemen, caused the most powerful explosion of the current Saudi air campaign against the Iran-backed Houthi militias that have overrun much of the country. The explosion was so powerful that shop fronts were shattered and windows were blown out four miles away from the explosion.

The Saudis have been conducting a massive air campaign against the Houthis in Yemen since March 26. Although there's supposed to be a large coalition of nations participating, in actual practice only United Arab Emirates (UAE) has joined the Saudis in the airstrikes. The only other nation participating militarily is Egypt, which is bombarding Houthi targets from the sea with its Navy. The US military is helping out with intelligence and air-to-air refueling, and is sending the USS Theodore Roosevelt carrier group to waters off Yemen.

However, the air campaign is receiving a great deal of international criticisms because hundreds of civilians have been killed, and the airstrikes have hit hospitals, schools and a refugee camp. The Houthis have been storing weapons in hospitals, schools and civilian neighborhoods in order to provoke such attacks, and they're adapting to the airstrikes by avoiding being caught in large convoys.

Analysts believe that airstrikes alone are unlikely to settle the war and that sooner or later, a Saudi ground invasion will be required. And if that happens, analysts say that the Saudis would be involved in a bloody quagmire.

As we've been reporting, the Pakistan government has rejected Saudi Arabia's request for military help in Yemen. It turns out that this is a bitter shock to the Saudis, since Saudi Arabia has provided plenty of military aid to Pakistan over the decades.

Many analysts are predicting that Saudi Arabia will back down and negotiate a settlement with the Houthis -- which would be an enormous victory for the Houthis and for their Iranian sponsors. However, from the point of view of Generational Dynamics, Saudi Arabia is not in the mood for a compromise. Saudi Arabia's last generational crisis war was even earlier than World War II -- it occurred in the 1920s between the Al Sauds tribes and the Wahhabi tribes, when the Al Sauds subdued the Wahhabi tribesmen, leading to the creation of the country Saudi Arabia in 1932. So Saudi Arabia is now deep into a generational crisis era, and the public mood will be sharply opposed to a compromise with the country's arch-enemy, Iran. Daily Star (Beirut) and Lowy Interpreter (Australia) and AFP

US escalates conflict by sending warships to Yemen to confront Iran


The USS Langley, the US Navy's first aircraft carrier, off the coast of Baltimore in 1924. (CNN)
The USS Langley, the US Navy's first aircraft carrier, off the coast of Baltimore in 1924. (CNN)

In an escalation of America's participation in the Yemen war, the USS Theodore Roosevelt carrier group is being sent to waters off Yemen to join other American ships prepared to intercept a convoy of Iranian ships suspected of carrying weapons to Houthi militias in Yemen. The Iranian convoy consists of freighters, escorted by warships from the Iranian military and Revolutionary Guard forces.

Iran says that Iranian navy ships in the area were there to protect its ships from piracy.

The US Navy said in a statement: "The purpose of these operations is to ensure the vital shipping lanes in the region remain open and safe. The United States remains committed to its regional partners and to maintaining security in the maritime environment." NBC News and Washington Times and CNN

ECB examines a possible 'second currency' for Greece - government IOUs

We may know more after the Eurogroup of eurozone finance managers meet in Riga on Thursday (24-Apr), but it now appears likely that Greece is going to run completely out of money in the next two or three weeks, and will be unable to make its debt repayments, and also will be unable to pay its pensions and the salaries due to public sector employees.

The Europeans are unwilling to release to Greece the next bailout payment of 7.2 billion euros until the government of Alexis Tsipras produces its repeatedly delay list of reforms, addressing various economic issues, including the bloated public sector, curbing tax evasion and corruption, privatizing public businesses, and adjusting generous pension and minimum wage policies.

So the European Central Bank (ECB) has been studying an alternative scenario, where the Greek government issues IOUs in lieu of cash to pay the pensions and public sector salaries at the end of the month.

However, using the IOUs would have an important drawback: many Greeks would then have to withdraw their bank savings, causing a bank run that would put Greece's banking system into further crisis. Furthermore, the IOUs could not be used to make debt repayments to the institutions that loaned money to Greece.

Yields on Greek bonds have now skyrocketed to the levels of 2012, indicating that the markets are increasingly convinced that Greece is going to go bankrupt, and will be forced to exit the eurozone, and return to its former drachma currency. Reuters and Guardian (London)

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 21-Apr-15 World View -- US sends warships to Yemen as Saudis face a quagmire thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (21-Apr-2015) Permanent Link
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20-Apr-15 World View -- Europe considers military action in Libya as migrant drownings accelerate

Debate over whether rescuing migrants just encourages more migrants

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Migrants overwhelm Europe as Mediterranean drownings accelerate


Migrants queue at phone booth on the Island of Lampedusa, Southern Italy, on Thursday (AP)
Migrants queue at phone booth on the Island of Lampedusa, Southern Italy, on Thursday (AP)

It seems that every three or four days there's a new catastrophe in the Mediterranean Sea, involving migrants traveling by boat from Libya to Italy. On Tuesday, 400 migrants drowned when their boat capsized. On Thursday, 41 more drowned after a shipwreck. And late on Saturday, 700 people may have drowned when a small fishing boat capsized 60 miles south of the Italian island of Lampedusa.

The reason that these numbers are known is because in each of the three cases, there were survivors who could describe what happened. It's suspected that there are other shipwrecks where everyone drowns, and so there may be hundreds more unrecorded drownings. There were about 500 drownings in the first three months of the year, and if the above figures are true, then there have been about 1,100 drownings in the month of April alone.

In October 2013, 400 migrants drowned in two shipwrecks near Italy ( "16-Oct-13 World View -- Sicily declares state of emergency as African migrants flood in").

The drowning of 400 migrants created a political crisis that Italy resolved by implementing a very aggressive search-and-rescue program across the Mediterranean that they called "Mare Nostrum" ("Our Sea"). However, Mare Nostrum was extremely expensive, and Italy demanded that other EU countries contribute.

Last November, Mare Nostrum was replaced with and EU program called Triton. However, Triton is not a search-and-rescue program. It's a low-cost border protection program that operates no more than 30 miles off the Italian coast.

In 2013, fewer than 40,000 migrants per year were making the trip from Libya to Italy. During 2014, when Mare Nostrum was active, the number of migrants attempting the trip increased substantially, and has continued to grow. Currently, over 10,000 migrants attempt the trip each week, and the number of drownings has increased significantly as well.

The major controversy in Europe is whether the hyperbolic increase in the number of migrants was CAUSED by Mare Nostrum, or whether the increase would have happened anyway. Some people point out that the number of migrants has been increasing since Mare Nostrum was replaced by Triton, but this doesn't answer the question, because there's a time lag for any action to have an effect, especially since many migrants probably don't know that Triton is different from Mare Nostrum.

According to an official from Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors without Borders): "A mass grave is being created in the Mediterranean and European policies are responsible." Independent (London) and AFP and BBC

Europe desperately considers military action in Libya

European nations are being accused of "closing their eyes" to the drownings of thousands of migrants. Pope Francis expressed shock at the new drownings. He's previously said that the Mediterranean Sea should not turn into a vast migrant graveyard, and on Sunday he said, "They are men and women like us – our brothers seeking a better life, starving, persecuted, wounded, exploited, victims of war." He demanded that Europe "act decisively and quickly to stop these tragedies from recurring," though the good Pope provided no suggestion on how that might be accomplished.

However, the desire of other countries to help Italy deal with the migrant problem is pretty low. There are several reasons:

With regard to the last point, Victoria Ayling is an MP candidate in the UKIP (United Kingdom Independence Party), which is anti-immigrant and anti-EU. She said that fewer migrants would attempt the dangerous journey if the UK were not part of the European Union:

"The simple solution is leave the European Union. The reason they’re coming over in those boats is because the system allows it that should they land in any European country, they’re in the system and they can come over to Britain as if they are EU migrants and have access to everything.

The Schengen Convention, signed between countries who are part of the European Union, allows freedom of movement between participating countries.

It is clearly the system that’s encouraging this to happen, risking their lives, poor things, and I don’t blame them for doing this."

So, with the flood of migrants from Africa increasing, what can the Europeans do to "kick the can down the road," so they can pretend to be doing something while the problem is getting worse, and the solution being considered is boots on the ground in Libya to target migrant traffickers.

According to Germany's vice chancellor Sigmar Gabriel:

"All European police and border authorities must make every possible effort to fight the criminal trafficking gangs who profit from human misery. We need an international operation against people smugglers.

We must no longer accept that Europe on its outer borders too often means death, not humanity."

The British foreign secretary, Philip Hammond added: "We must target the traffickers who are responsible for so many people dying at sea and prevent their innocent victims from being tricked or forced into making these perilous journeys."

Malta's foreign minister Dr. George Vella, in a BBC interview (my transcription) says that military action in Libya is required:

"I personally think that the most important thing to do and urgently is to try somehow to control these human traffickers. This is the most important thing. This is something that will have to be looked at in detachment from the whole political problem that is besieging Libya at the moment.

This is not the division that exists in Libya. This is purely human trafficking, and if there is some way how to get at these people, whom we will stop from making this massacre of people who are looking for better opportunities.

I'm thinking more in terms of either a force or coalition of the willing, or a decision by the United Nations to have boots on the ground, I would say, specifically to target the human traffickers. We know where they are leaving from. There are two or three places along the coast, quite well known, and if that traffic is stopped, at least we'll see less and less fatalities in the Mediterranean."

It's hard to see how this proposal will have any effect on the flood of migrants at all. If two or three places on Libya's coast are blocked, then the traffickers will simply move to a different spot.

And this does nothing to slow the flood of people from Africa and the Mideast who have saved up all their money and are arriving in Libya to purchase a trip to Europe for $1-5,000. The traffickers want that money, and they'll use any trafficking route they can find to get it. And the proposal would also do nothing to reduce the number of drownings.

Still, military action would have the appearance that the European countries are doing something, in a way that would not help UKIP and other anti-immigrant political parties. Guardian (London) and AFP and BuzzFeed and AP

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 20-Apr-15 World View -- Europe considers military action in Libya as migrant drownings accelerate thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (20-Apr-2015) Permanent Link
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19-Apr-15 World View -- ISIS terror in Afghanistan highlights government chaos

Greece scrapes the bottom of the barrel as bankruptcy talk increases

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

ISIS claims responsibility of major terrorist attack in east Afghanistan


Site where a suicide bomber on a motorbike blew himself up in front of the Kabul Bank in Jalalabad, Afghanistan, on Saturday (CNN)
Site where a suicide bomber on a motorbike blew himself up in front of the Kabul Bank in Jalalabad, Afghanistan, on Saturday (CNN)

A suicide bomber on a motorbike blew himself up in front of the Kabul Bank in Jalalabad in Afghanistan early Saturday. Jalalabad is near the Pakistan border, east of the capital city Kabul. 33 people were killed, and hundreds injured.

"ISIS Wilayat Khorasan," a terrorist group that has pledged allegiance to the Islamic State (IS or ISIS or ISIL or Daesh) claimed responsibility for the act. ISIS refers to "Khorasan" as a province the Islamic State consisting of the existing countries Afghanistan and Pakistan. ISIS has been recruiting heavily in the region, and concerns are rising that ISIS is gaining a foothold in the region.

In the past, ISIS groups in Afghanistan turned out to be former Taliban groups who were disillusioned with Ayman al-Zawahiri and the other old geezers running al-Qaeda, and were super turned-on by the young, sexy Abu Omar al-Baghdadi, the terrorist running ISIS. Whether or not this is true of the "ISIS Wilayat Khorasan," terrorists in the Jalalabad bombing, a Taliban spokesman sent a text message to reporters, "The explosion in Jalalabad doesn't have anything to do with us and we condemn it."

There was another terrorist attack on Saturday, in a nearby town in Nangarhar province. A magnetic bomb was attached to a parked car and then detonated by remote control, killing one person and wounding two others. CNN and and RAWA (Afghanistan)

Afghanistan becomes more ungovernable as US-led coalition withdraws

This new terrorist attacks come as the United Nations says that in the first three months of this year, 655 people were killed and 1,155 were wounded in suicide attacks throughout the country. Concerns are rising that Afghanistan is becoming ungovernable as the United States coalition withdraws its forces.

Everything seems to be going wrong. The economy is bad, and getting worse as the US-led coalition withdraws.

The government was supposed to be holding "peace talks" with the Taliban in March, but that deadline is now in the past.

President Ashraf Ghani had promised to improve relations with Pakistan, and work with Pakistan to affect that terrorism affecting both countries. But so far little has come of the promised rapprochement between the two countries, and indeed, given the history of the two countries, it's doubtful there will be.

There was a national election last year with results that were so disputed, there was no way to determine with certainty which of the two candidates won. So under tremendous pressure from the United States, they formed a sort of co-presidency. Ashraf Ghani was made President and Abdullah Abdullah was made Chief Executive. There have been incessant squabbles and rumors of rifts, and a full cabinet has still not been formed, although several nominees received approval on Saturday after months of delays. However, many analysts believe that the unity government will collapse before long, with warlords and militiamen growing in confidence and acting with impunity. The National (UAE) and Dawn (Pakistan)

Greece scrapes the bottom of the barrel as bankruptcy talk increases

Alexis Tsipras, the far-left prime minister of Greece, had been hopin' and prayin' that Greece's three creditor institutions -- the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the European Commission (ECB), the European Central Bank (ECB), formerly known by the now-banned word "troika" -- would cancel a debt repayment or at least delay it for a while. As you already know, Dear Reader, this is what we call "kicking the can down the road."

But IMF chief Christine Lagarde firmly rejected that hope this week:

We never had an advanced economy actually asking for that kind of thing, delayed payment. And I very much hope that this is not the case with Greece. I would certainly, for myself, not support it."

ECB president Mario Draghi was vague, but seemed to be saying that the Europe and the euro could survive a Greek bankruptcy, which would mean leaving the euro currency and returning to the old drachma currency:

"The short-term danger of contagion [from a Greek exit] is difficult to assess, but we have enough buffers in place. And even though they were designed for different circumstances, they are sufficient. But we are entering uncharted waters."

By "contagion," he means that if Greece leaves, then other troubled economies, such as Portugal and Italy, may also have to leave. He's saying that he thinks he's got this covered.

Whether Lagarde's statement is really a firm decision, or just a negotiating stance, remains to be seen, but there's little doubt that Greece is really on the edge of the cliff, about to fall over.

Greece will need to tap from all of its remaining cash reserves, about 2 billion euros, in order to pay salaries and pensions of public sector workers by the end of April. That will leave Greece with no more reserves to pay 1 billion euros due to the IMF in the first half of May, with other payments due following quickly after.

In February, the three institutions gave Tsipras a four-month reprieve, on condition that he come up with a list of reforms to explain how it's going to meet the existing terms of its bailout agreement. The list of reforms would have to address a number of economic issues, including the bloated public sector, curbing tax evasion and corruption, privatizing public businesses, and adjusting generous pension and minimum wage policies.

Now, two months have passed. Tsipras and his garrulous finance minister Yanis Varoufakis keep talking evasively, and saying that the list of reforms is just a day or two away, but it never shows up, and people are beginning to think that he's always going to keep talking about reforms but is never going to actually implement any reforms.

So we have Tsipras and the three institutions playing a game of Chicken. In the 1950s, the game of chicken was played with two cars racing at full speed toward each other until one car turned away, making the other car the winner. But, as everyone knows, sometimes neither car turned away, with explosive results. Irish Times and Reuters and Forbes and Guardian (London)

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 19-Apr-15 World View -- ISIS terror in Afghanistan highlights government chaos thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (19-Apr-2015) Permanent Link
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18-Apr-15 World View -- Russia's Chechnya becomes biggest contributor of jihadists to ISIS

Chechen youth from Georgia's Pansiki Gorge joining ISIS in droves

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Russia's Chechnya becomes biggest contributor of jihadists to ISIS


 Umar al-Shishani (center), ISIS's military emir in Syria, is a Kist Chechen from Georgia's Pankisi Gorge (RFERL)
Umar al-Shishani (center), ISIS's military emir in Syria, is a Kist Chechen from Georgia's Pankisi Gorge (RFERL)

For years I've been writing about the very stupid policy of Russia's president Vladimir Putin in sending money and heavy weapons to Syria in support of president Bashar al-Assad's genocidal attack on innocent Sunni women and children. By 2012, reports made it evident that young Sunni men from around the world were traveling to Syria to fight al-Assad, and this included young men from the North Caucasus (Russia's southern provinces). I wrote repeatedly that those young men were going to get terrorism training and return to their home countries, in this case Russia.

Since then, those predictions have been coming true with a vengeance. We've seen al-Assad's genocidal acts, supported by troops and weapons from Russia, bring about the creation of several jihadist groups, most recently the Islamic State (IS or ISIS or ISIL or Daesh).

Although countries around the world have supplied young jihadists to ISIS, the biggest non-Mideast contributors are not America or European countries. The biggest contributor is Russia. The number of Russian nationals fighting with ISIS has roughly doubled over the past year. Russia's own Federal Security Service (FSB) estimates that 1,700 militants from Russia have joined ISIS, but that figure seems too low to be plausible. Other estimates range from 3,000 to 5,000.

Many of these are runaway teen Chechens who grew up during Russia's wars in Chechnya during the 1990s, saw their relatives and friends killed by the Russian military, and are now seeking an opportunity for revenge. In fact, the Chechnya separatist movement had been waning in influence since the early 2000s, but is rapidly gaining strength again because of the success and glory of ISIS. Now the insurgents from Chechnya and other Caucasian nations have a new opportunity to train and operate with impunity – an opportunity they certainly did not have back home in the Caucasus.

This is all the result of a very stupid policy by Vladimir Putin in supplying weapons to the sociopathic Bashar al-Assad to slaughter innocent Sunnis. Going further, I suppose that if Jonathan Gruber can refer to the "stupidity of the American people" who supported Obamacare, then we can refer to the stupidity of the Russian people who are supporting Putin, who is shaping up to be a total disaster for the Russian people. Jamestown and Bloomberg and RFE/RL and Geopolitical Monitor (Sep 2014)

Chechen youth from Georgia's Pansiki Gorge joining ISIS in droves

Emotions ran high in the Chechen community when it was learned earlier this month that two school children, aged 16 and 18, had run away from their home in Georgia's Pansiki Gorge and had managed to go through airport controls in Tbilisi, Georgia's capital city, to leave for Turkey, after which they are presumed to have crossed into Syria to join the Islamic State (IS or ISIS or ISIL or Daesh). Angry parents and community elders in Pansiki are demanding an explanation from Georgian authorities how it was possible for minors to board a plane to Turkey unchallenged. Other reports indicate that six people had left Pansiki to join ISIS in Syria between April 6-14.

Georgia's Pansiki Gorge lies on the border with Russia, on the border of the province of Chechnya in Russia, and is populated mostly by Kists, who are ethnic Chechens. Because it's in a difficult to reach geographical location, Georgian authorities have done little to provide security to Pansiki, with the result that it's become practically a free portal for local young radicals and militants to go to Syria or Iraq and join ISIS, and then return. ISIS and its Chechen squadrons have already declared war on Russia and promised to "liberate" the Caucasus.

The Gorge has become a matter of great concern to both Georgia and Russia. It's economically very poor, making it a prime pool for ISIS recruiters to gain adherents.

Georgia's response to these concerns is to pass a new law making it illegal to join or receive training in illegal armed groups in George and abroad, or to recruit others to do so. Passing a law gives the appearance of government action, but many analysts believe that just passing a law will make little difference. (Isn't it already illegal to join illegal armed groups, or to recruit others to do so?)

According to one analyst:

"In Pankisi's case, the valley's crushing poverty and the international demand for Chechen fighters [in Syria, Ukraine, as well as in many other theaters] make for a noxious mix that is difficult to disrupt via legislation."

Al Arabiya and RFE/RL and Jamestown

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 18-Apr-15 World View -- Russia's Chechnya becomes biggest contributor of jihadists to ISIS thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (18-Apr-2015) Permanent Link
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17-Apr-15 World View -- South African xenophobic violence echoes 1820s Mfecane Zulu massacre

Thousands of immigrants flee xenophobic attacks in South Africa

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Thousands of immigrants flee xenophobic attacks in South Africa


Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini, whose careless remark is being blamed for triggering the xenophobic violence
Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini, whose careless remark is being blamed for triggering the xenophobic violence

Thousands of people, mostly foreigners from Zimbabwe and Malawi, fled for their lives on Tuesday and Wednesday, after mobs with machetes attacked them in the city of Durban. Durban is the largest city in the South African province of KwaZulu-Natal, which is the heartland of the Zulu tribe. The anti-immigrant violence has spread to Johannesburg, raising fears of widespread violence spurred by the country's dire economic woes.

It's believed that the attacks were triggered by remarks made by Zulu king Goodwill Zwelithini, who said in a public speech, "We are requesting those who come from outside to please go back to their countries." He has since said his comments were misinterpreted.

South Africa, with a population of about 50 million, is home to an estimated 5 million immigrants, from African countries including Somalia, Ethiopia, Zimbabwe and Malawi, and from further afield, including China and Pakistan. Many own shops or sell wares as informal hawkers on street corners or in markets.

Although tribal tensions have existed continually in South Africa, this is the first major return of xenophobic violence since 2008, when similar xenophobic attacks killed around 60 people. Experts are blaming on the xenophobic violence on the 25% unemployment rate, and many believe that this figure is a great understatement. Unemployment is particularly high among young blacks, around 50%, which provides fertile ground all kinds of violence, particularly anti-immigrant violence.

There had been warnings about the coming violence on social media. One message read:

"Wednesday, Zulu people are coming to town starting from Market [Street] their mission is to kill every foreigner on the road please pass this to all your contacts in case they come people should be on alert."

According to one witness:

"If you look carefully, we as black people are attacking one another. I have never witnessed people attacking whites, or any other race. It is only black people attacking one another, It is clear that black people do not want to see one another progressing."

Jacob Zuma, the Zulu president of South Africa, called the violence a "violation" of South Africa's values:

"No amount of frustration or anger can ever justify the attacks on foreign nationals and the looting of their shops. We condemn the violence in the strongest possible terms. The attacks violate all the values that South Africa embodies."

Thousands of people marched in a peace rally through Durban, chanting "Down with xenophobia!" and "A United Africa." However, the march ended in violence, with police using rubber bullets, tear gas and water cannon to disperse the crowds. There was a similar reaction to a peace march in Johannesburg. Reuters and AFP and CNN and CS Monitor and Euro News

South African xenophobic violence echoes 1820s Mfecane Zulu massacre

Zimbabwe's 91-year-old president Robert Mugabe is being criticized for his silence about South Africa's xenophobic attacks on foreigners, including Zimbabweans. In particular, he's refusing to help these Zimbabweans return to Zimbabwe, for fear that they'll be his political enemies. This comes at a time when Malawi is launching a program to hire six buses to ferry people who voluntarily want to be repatriated to Malawi.

Xenophobic violence in South Africa has deep roots, going back at least two centuries. See my generational history of South Africa in my 2008 article on the xenophobic attacks of that time.

There's a good reason for Mugabe's silence, and his reluctance to bring his own citizens back to Zimbabwe: He's pleased that Zimbabweans in South Africa are being killed, so he doesn't have to have them killed in Zimbabwe.

I've written many times about Syria's president Bashar al-Assad being a genocidal monster, but al-Assad is a pussycat compared to Mugabe. Mugabe is a member of the Shona tribe, and in his 35+ years of rule, he's repeatedly massacred thousands of people in the other major tribe in Zimbabwe, the Ndebele (pronounced "nnn de BELL eh" or "nnn de BEE lee") tribe.

During the 1820s, the Zulu tribe went from obscurity to world renown thanks to one leader, Shaka, and the extremely bloody and brutal war of extermination he led against other tribes in that region. This war was called Mfecane ("the crushing"), and it climaxed in 1828.

Shaka targeted the nearby Xhosa tribe, but many of those crushed by the Zulus in the Mfecane were from the Ndebele tribe, and those who survived were driven into what is now Zimbabwe where they, in turn, massacred the members of the local Shona tribe.

That was almost 200 years ago, but all those old tribal feuds are being revived today.

Mugabe, from the Shona tribe, came to power in 1979. Within a few years, Mugabe sent his army on a "pacification campaign" directed at his Ndebele opponents, resulting in tens of thousands of deaths in 1983 and 1984. The "pacification campaign" was accomplished with the help of Mugabe's 5th Brigade, trained by North Korea, and was called "Operation Gukurahundi" (The rain that washes away the chaff before the spring rain). Mugabe maintained control since then through torture and jailing of political opponents, mostly from the Ndebele tribe.

Since then, many in the Ndebele tribe in Zimbabwe have been fleeing to the "rainbow nation," South Africa, to escape Mugabe's carnage. But in 2008, there were numerous xenophobic attacks against foreigners, including the Ndebele, and today there's a new round of these xenophobic attacks. Many of the targets of these xenophobic attacks are members of the Ndebele tribe, which Mugabe would like to exterminate anyway. So for him, the xenophobic attacks in South Africa are a GOOD thing, as Martha Stewart would say.

During World War II, different political factions wished to side with the British or with the Germans, or stay neutral. But since South Africa was part of the British empire, it fought on the side of the Allies. South Africa's fighting troops were all whites, but blacks served in non-fighting roles like drivers and guard duties.

Now South Africa is once again in a generational Crisis era and, once again, all the old vicious violence from the Mfecane and its aftermath are coming back. South Africa is headed for a new bloody civil war -- not between whites and blacks, but between Zulus and their allies versus Ndebele and Xhosa and their allies. News24 (South Africa) and Malawi News Agency and Zimbabwe Eye

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 17-Apr-15 World View -- South African xenophobic violence echoes 1820s Mfecane Zulu massacre thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (17-Apr-2015) Permanent Link
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16-Apr-15 World View -- Saudis to Hezbollah: Yemen is none of your business

United Nations is 'deeply shocked' at Europe's failure to save migrants

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Saudis to Hezbollah: Yemen is none of your business


Hezbollah chief Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah giving televised speech in January
Hezbollah chief Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah giving televised speech in January

As the conflicts in Syria and Yemen increase the bitterness between the two countries Iran and Saudi Arabia, the conflicts are also increasing the bitterness in Lebanon between the two factions allied with these countries, Hezbollah and the Future Movement, respectively.

Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Hezbollah in Lebanon, said late last month:

"The real reason the Saudi-led coalition is [attacking Yemen] is that Saudi Arabia has failed. It has lost control over Yemen... and fears that Yemen now belongs to the people. The goal of the coalition is for Saudi Arabia to regain control over Yemen."

Ali Awad Asiri, the Saudi ambassador to Lebanon, said that Nasrallah "aimed to distort facts and mislead public opinion":

"The speech made by Hezbollah’s General Secretary Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah expressed the confusion experienced by the sides he represents [Iran], and contained a lot of slander and false allegations against the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. ...

The same side [Iran] supporting Sayyed Nasrallah and directing the Houthis does not want good for Yemen and has been behind obstructing all agreements and pushing the security situation in the country toward escalation and deterioration.

We wish some sides would emulate the wisdom of the kingdom’s leaders."

Lebanon has been unable to elect a president for months because of the differences between the two major political factions, Hezbollah, which is linked to Iran, and Future Movement, which is linked to Saudi Arabia.

Hezbollah and Future Movement have tried to maintain a dialog, and senior officials from both groups met on Tuesday in a round of talks to calm tensions. At the end of the session, they released a statement saying that the two parties discussed "continuing security measures in all Lebanese areas in order to immunize the domestic scene."

By Wednesday it was pretty apparent that, if anything, the meeting had made things worse. On Wednesday, Hezbollah issued a statement saying that Iran cannot be compared to the "backward, ignorant and murderous" Saudi regime, and that Future Movement was supporting "genocide":

"Future Movement leaders and officials, over the past few years, have waged violent attacks against the Islamic Republic of Iran, unleashing a spate of false accusations and unfounded slander, in the service of foreign and Arab agendas. ...

The backward, ignorant, murderous regime that exports terrorists, extremists and aberrant radical ideas... cannot be fairly compared to the Islamic Republic of Iran."

That statement came after Asiri, the Saudi ambassador to Lebanon, told Hezbollah to mind their own business:

"First of all, I have the right to respond to issues concerning my country and its leaders, especially when you listen to a language that has gone beyond the limits of reasoning.

Secondly, I do not see that Yemen is Hezbollah’s business. Hezbollah is in Lebanon, not in Yemen, which has its statesmen and privacy.

I see that Hezbollah’s intervention in Yemen and its support for the Houthis as reported by the media, and the usage of [Hezbollah’s] media in the ongoing war in Yemen, is unacceptable."

Nasrallah has called for major street protests in Lebanon in Beirut's southern suburbs on Friday (17-Apr). Daily Star (Lebanon, 29-Mar) and Mideast Confidential and Daily Star (15-Apr) and Daily Star (15-Apr)

United Nations is 'deeply shocked' at Europe's failure to save migrants

The day after 400 migrants drowned when their boat traveling from Libya to Italy capsized, Antonio Guterres, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) expressed shock at Europe's poor search and rescue program:

"I was deeply shocked when hearing the news that another boat, an overcrowded boat capsized in the Mediterranean and where 400 people died. This only demonstrates how important it is to have a robust rescue-at-sea mechanism, in the central Mediterranean.

Unfortunately Mare Nostrum was never replaced by an equivalent capacity to rescue people, and at the same time the legal avenues for those who need protection to be able to come Europe."

Mare Nostrum ("Our Sea") refers to the program set up by Italy in October 2013, when hundreds of migrants lost their lives in the Mediterranean attempting to reach Italy. For over a year, Italy ran a search and rescue program called "Mare Nostrum" ("Our Sea") that saved the lives of thousands of migrants attempting to travel from Libya to Italy. This program required Italian naval vessels near the Libyan coast. Italy demanded that all of EU share the burden of saving migrants' lives, and in November of last year, the program ended and an EU program called Triton replaced it. But Triton restricts its operations to only 30 miles off the Italian coast. Triton has been considered unsatisfactory because many more migrants are drowning, and the loss of 400 lives earlier this week may be the death knell for Triton in its current form.

However, there's a great deal of opposition to a full-scale search and rescue program, especially in Britain, arguing that such a program simply encourages more migrants to take the trip, since they can be fairly certain of being rescued if there's a problem.

This opposition received a boost this week from an interview with Graham Leese, who is a special advisor to the EU program that oversees Triton:

"My understanding is that the facilitators [migrant traffickers] are often phoning up the Italian authorities in advance and saying that boats are on their way. They are not putting as much fuel in the boats as they usually do because they expect them to be picked up.

A lot of the migrants are interviewed afterwards, and this is what they say, and my professional contacts also say it. We have started to hear about it since Mare Nostrum was launched, when those on the Libyan side became aware that there were more boats being deployed to rescue people."

So the traffickers charge each migrant several thousand dollars, often a lifetime savings, to be put on a boat that is sure to sink, except that the traffickers then call Italian authorities, who send their own boats out to rescue the migrants. One wonders why the Italians can't just pick up the migrants from Libya directly, and pocket the thousand dollar fee themselves.

The Mediterranean is the most dangerous of the four main sea routes used in the world by migrants and refugees. The four routes are:

With regard to the Mediterranean, UNHCR commissioner Guterres says:

"I am here in Lebanon and we know that Syrians are more and more risking their lives to have access to European territories. But for all those in need of protection it is very important to increase the number of resettlement opportunities, humanitarian admission opportunities, to have a more flexible visa policy, to have enhanced family reunification programs, and again I repeat to have an effective mechanism to rescue people at sea in the central Mediterranean."

Ansa Med (Italy) and Telegraph (London)

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 16-Apr-15 World View -- Saudis to Hezbollah: Yemen is none of your business thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (16-Apr-2015) Permanent Link
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15-Apr-15 World View -- U.S.-China diplomacy over South China Sea turns vitriolic

Illegal immigration falls for US, but surges for Europe

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

U.S.-China diplomacy over South China Sea turns vitriolic


One of China's planned artificial islands in the South China Sea
One of China's planned artificial islands in the South China Sea

China is responding furiously to remarks by president Barack Obama that China has been using its "sheer size and muscle" to bully the Philippines and Vietnam in the South China Sea:

"We think this can be solved diplomatically, but just because the Philippines or Vietnam are not as large as China doesn't mean that they can just be elbowed aside."

China's Foreign Ministry called this "mind-boggling hypocrisy" by Obama, because "everybody can see who has the biggest size and muscle in the world."

This is a sure sign that the Chinese are lying, because nobody is accusing China of bullying the U.S. The accusation is that China is bully the Philippines and Vietnam, an accusation that is sufficiently embarrassing to China that they chose to cover up their embarrassment by accusing the US of hypocrisy.

China continues to occupy regions in the South China Sea that have historically belonged to other countries, and continues a massive military to enforce its seizures. China has claimed the entire South China Sea, including regions historically belonging to Vietnam, Brunei, Malaysia, Indonesia, Taiwan and the Philippines. China's claims are rejected by almost everyone outside of China, and China refuses to submit them to the United Nations court deciding such matters, apparently knowing that they would lose. Instead, China is becoming increasingly belligerent militarily, annexing other nations' territories, and militarizing the entire sea.

In the latest developments, China has been building artificial islands in the South China Sea, in order to attack the Philippines, Vietnam, and other neighboring countries more quickly and violently. US Admiral Harry Harris, soon to take charge of the Pacific Command, told an Australian audience on March 31 that China was rapidly building "a Great Wall" of artificial islands in the South China Sea, totaling "roughly the size of Canberra's Black Mountain Nature Reserve." He said:

"China is creating a great wall of sand with dredges and bulldozers over the course of months.

When one looks at China's pattern of provocative actions towards smaller claimant states, the lack of clarity on its sweeping nine-dash line claim that is inconsistent with international law, and the deep asymmetry between China's capabilities and those of its smaller neighbors – well, it's no surprise that the scope and pace of building man-made islands raises serious questions about Chinese intentions."

According to a statement in Chinese state media:

"As a matter of fact, Washington has long been adopting double standards on this issue, as it chooses to totally ignore the building work by other countries on islands owned by China, while showing "concerns" over China's activities on islands and reefs over which it has indisputable sovereignty.

China has reiterated its adherence to the path of peaceful development and a defensive national defense policy, stressing that the construction work is 'not targeted against any country.'"

No other country in the region is building artificial reefs for military purposes, or indeed has the resources to do so. Not only does China not have "indisputable sovereignty," their sovereignty is challenged by almost everyone outside of China. The United Nations has courts to resolve issues like this, but China is scared and frightened of using those courts because they know they would lose.

This increasingly vitriolic exchange of words is a major escalation in the situation, and a miscalculation by any party could trigger a military confrontation or a wider war.

China has been rapidly building its military for years with a variety of weapons and missile systems that have no other purpose than to preemptively strike American aircraft carriers, American military bases, and American cities. Generational Dynamics predicts that China is preparing to launch a pre-emptive full-scale nuclear missile attack on the United States. There is no guarantee that the United States will survive the subsequent world war. China Daily and Reuters and Sydney Morning Herald and The Diplomat

400 die as illegal migrants flood into Italy from Libya

A boat packed with 550 migrants, traveling from Libya to Italy on Tuesday, capsized, resulting in 400 deaths, many of them children. The 150 survivors were rescued and brought to a southern Italian port on Tuesday. This adds to the 500 previous migrant deaths so far this year, up from a total of 47 in the same time frame last year.

An enormous 280,000 migrants entered the EU illegally last year, and that number is surging sharply higher this year. In the waters off Sicily, as many as 8,480 migrants were rescued from the Mediterranean Sea in the four days from Friday to Monday. They were rescued by boats from the Italian Coast Guard, assisted by the European Union's Frontex border control boats, several commercial tugboats, and an Icelandic patrol boat. Aircraft and helicopters operated by the Coast Guard were brought in to help.

In one incident, the Icelandic vessel Tyr, was already carrying 342 migrants from an earlier rescue operation, and was called on to help rescue 250 people aboard a second migrant vessel. After they were transferred to the rescue vessel, a speedboat approached the rescue vessel. Those onboard the speedboat fired several shots into the air, and then sped away with the empty migrant boat. This was the second time this year when the smugglers took back a smuggling vessel.

According to one official, "This is a sign that smugglers in Libya are running short of boats and are more willing to use weapons to recover those used to transport the migrants." Times of Malta and VOA and Independent (Ireland) and Gazzetta Del Sud (Italy)

Illegal immigration from Mexico down sharply, but not for lack of trying

In the first six months of fiscal year 2015 (starting in October 2014), border agents captured 15,647 children traveling without parents crossing America's southern border illegally. That's down 40% from the 28,579 apprehended at the same point in fiscal year 2014. The number of "family units" captured is down 30% from last year.

So the level of illegal immigration is down sharply, but not for lack of trying by the migrants. The reason is that tens of thousands of migrants who are trying to escape the violence in Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras are being stopped by Mexican police and deported back to their home countries. In 2014 alone, the United States provided a military aid package of $112 million to Mexico to help modernize and make more efficient Mexico’s border policing and militarization.

US law allows for quick deportation of Mexicans caught illegally trying to cross the border, and this has deterred a much larger wave of migrants from Mexico. But children coming from Central American countries are transferred to social workers at the Health and Human Services Department, which holds them until they can be placed with relatives or foster family sponsors. Some politicians are urging that the law be changed so that Central American migrant children are also quickly deported, but others are resisting this because of the level of violence in Central American countries. International Business Times and Washington Times and Al Jazeera

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 15-Apr-15 World View -- U.S.-China diplomacy over South China Sea turns vitriolic thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (15-Apr-2015) Permanent Link
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14-Apr-15 World View -- Gaza and Israel prepare for war with each other

Greece denies reports that it's preparing for a default

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Gaza prepares for all-out war with Israel


Hamas tunnel (Memri)
Hamas tunnel (Memri)

While Hamas, the governing group in Gaza, are taking care not to slide into a military escalation against Israel at this time, officials are boasting that workers are working day and night to manufacture rockets and other weapons, and to excavate new tunnels for concealing rocket launchers and mortars, as well as new tunnels for strategic attacks within Israel itself.

Al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas, are recruiting as many teens as possible so they could acquire military skills, train with live ammunition, and practice civil defense and first aid.

According to a Hamas spokesman:

"The history of Hamas and its fighting brigades sets before us a glorious and honorable picture of preparing and producing weapons and excavating through rock to resist the occupier and cause it pain. Today, after many years, this picture has produced the Al-Qassam Army, as you and the world see, with its fighting units that participate today in this impressive display: artillery units, marine units, the elite unit, the tunnel unit, the sniper unit, the armored unit, the infantry unit, and the aerial defense unit. These are not [mere] names and nicknames – they are fighting units that subdued the enemy on Gaza's doorstep, broke its arrogant pretense, and humiliated their opponents on the land, in the sea, and in the air, with the grace of Allah the Almighty."

Memri and BBC

Iran and Qatar give Hamas money and weapons to fight Israel

Three years ago, the massive slaughter of Palestinians and innocent Sunni protesters by Syria's president Bashar al-Assad caused a split between Syria and Hamas, which moved its headquarters from Damascus to Doha, Qatar, and a resulting split between Hamas and Iran.

However, Hamas and Iran are putting aside their differences, and now Iran is once again sending the Al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas, tens of millions of dollars to fund rebuilding its network of tunnels and the manufacturing of new rockets and other weapons. The amount of aid is not as great as provided by Qatar, but is significant.

Israel and Qatar do not officially have diplomatic relations, but Israel is cooperating with Qatar's plan to rebuild 1,000 homes that were destroyed in last summer's Gaza war, as part of a $1 billion aid pledge.

An unnamed official in the Palestinian Authority (PA), which is the governing group in the West Bank and is the nominal head of the "unified" Palestinian government, says that the agreement between Qatar and Israel threatens to marginalize PA:

"The PA fears the political implications hidden in the trenches of the Qatari initiatives and Qatar’s direct communication with Israel, particularly in terms of the proposed long-term bilateral truce between Hamas and Israel and the establishment of an airport and a seaport in Gaza.

Qatari involvement regarding a bilateral truce between Hamas and Israel means stepping around the PA’s role, leadership and position and ignoring Egypt's sponsorship of the Palestinian issue with Israel. [It would result in] the separation of Gaza from the West Bank, the establishment of a separate entity in Gaza with Qatari funding, the marginalization of the powers of the PA and government in the Gaza Strip and the preservation of Hamas’ control on the ground and over the crossings."

This illustrates one of the many reasons why there can never be a successful Palestinian state: Hamas and the Palestinian Authority simply don't get along. Telegraph (London) and Al Monitor and Ynet

Israel prepares for war with Hamas in Gaza

Israel is of course aware of Hamas's activities in Gaza to build tunnels and manufacture rockets and other weapons, and is applying lessons learned from last summer's Gaza war.

Israel is tripling the size of the "Samur" unit, which is designed to fight tunnel warfare. It's been receiving training in destroying weapons hideouts and tunnels.

According to Israeli army General Sami Turgeman made mistakes during last summer's Gaza war by not evacuating Israelis living in homes near the Gaza border:

"I think most of us went into this mistakenly thinking that evacuating residents of the border towns would have been a victory for Hamas."

He said that Israel's military could have been more effective if civilians in border towns had been evacuated, as the army could then have concentrated on the enemy without having to worry about protecting civilians. Jerusalem Post and Israel National News

Greece denies reports that it's preparing for a default

Greece denied on Monday a report by the Financial Times that it was preparing for a debt default if it did not reach a deal with its creditors by the end of the month and said the negotiations were proceeding "swiftly" towards a solution.

A senior EU official said that the conflicting messages from Athens "reflect the divergence of views within the current Greek government rather than an agreed negotiation position and tactics." Reuters

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 14-Apr-15 World View -- Gaza and Israel prepare for war with each other thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (14-Apr-2015) Permanent Link
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13-Apr-15 World View -- Desperate Kenya demands closure of refugee camp after Garissa school attack

Pakistan hits back at UAE over Yemen war military support issue

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Desperate Kenya demands closure of refugee camp after Garissa school attack


Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya, the largest in the world
Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya, the largest in the world

On April 2, The Somalia terrorist group al-Shabaab massacred over 147 people, mostly Christian students, at Garissa University College in Kenya. That event, according to Kenyan officials themselves, has caused a reaction on Kenya very similar to the effect of the 9/11/2001 attack on America.

Kenya's government has announced two major actions targeting Somalians in particular.

First, Kenya on Wednesday suspended the licenses of major Somali money transfer firms in Nairobi, in an effort to curb the financing of al-Shabaab from remittances sent from Kenya. This suspension has been bitterly criticized not only by Somalis and but also by aid agencies that depend on the money transfer firms to transfer money used for humanitarian and development operations. Somalia is one of the poorest countries in the world, and millions of people depend on remittances from their family members who moved to other countries to find work and send money back. End the remittances will hurt a lot of people, without increasing security.

Second, on Saturday, Kenya's government demanded that the United Nations close the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya, the largest refugee camp in the world, with 300,000 to 600,000 people, mostly Somalis, and move the camp and the residents into Somalia.

According to Deputy President William Ruto:

"We have asked the UNHCR to relocate the refugees in three months, failure to which we shall relocate them ourselves. The way America changed after 9/11 is the way Kenya will change after Garissa.

Kenya is in an emergency situation... Each country has an obligation to look after its people first."

However, it's doubtful that these measures, even if enacted, will reduce the risk of terrorist acts against Kenya. Even the idea of building a 700 km fence along the border separating Kenya from Somalia, something that's being discussed as a measure of desperation, would be unlikely to prevent another attack.

The Dadaab camp was established in 1991 to house refugees from Somalia's civil war. Since then, a whole new generation of children have grown living in the camp. Since they're not allowed to leave the camp, they can't get an education or a job. So the Dadaab camp has become a fertile ground for recruitment by al-Shabaab, and also a place to hide out in preparation for an attack on a Kenyan target. The investigations following the Garissa school attack confirmed that that's happening.

Ironically, there's little evidence that the Garissa attack has increased xenophobic feelings between Muslims and Christians in Kenya. However, these acts directed at ordinary Somalian people are certain to increase mutual xenophobia between Kenyans and Somalis, creating a situation that may lead eventually to war. AFP and Al-Jazeera and The Nairobian and Clapway

Pakistan hits back at UAE over Yemen war military support issue

Tensions are increasing between United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Pakistan over the latter's apparent refusal to provide military help in Operation Decisive Storm, the Saudi Arabia-led military action against the Houthis in Yemen.

Saudi Arabia's King Salman at the end of March made a formal request of Pakistan's prime minister Nawaz Sharif to provide military help. After days of debate, Pakistan's parliament voted unanimously to reject the request help the warring factions in Yemen to resolve their differences through dialogue.

UAE's foreign affairs minister Anwar Mohammed Gargash angrily that "The vague and contradictory stands ... are an absolute proof that Arab security — from Libya to Yemen — is the responsibility of none but Arab countries." ( "12-Apr-15 World View -- Repercussions start for Pakistan's and Turkey's neutrality in Yemen")

On Sunday, Pakistan hit back at the UAE.

Pakistan’s interior minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan accused UAE of "hurling threats":

"This is not only ironic but a thought-provoking moment that a minister of UAE is hurling threats at Pakistan. The statement of the UAE minister is in stark violation of all diplomatic norms prevalent according to the principals of international relations.

Pakistan is an honored nation and has brotherly emotions for the people of UAE along with Saudi Arabia, but this statement of an Emirati minister is equal to an offense against the ego of Pakistan and its people and is unacceptable.

This is a very interesting statement because it's like a husband asking his wife if she's having an affair, and in response she screams, "You don't love me any more."

Khan's statement expresses how deeply hurt Pakistan is to hear such a thing from the "brotherly" people of UAE, but it doesn't respond to UAE's criticism that Pakistan is willing to accept all kinds of help and support from Saudi Arabia, but when the Arab security is at stake, the Arabs are on their own.

An editorial appearing in a leading UAE newspaper lists many of the ways that Pakistan has benefited by aid from UAE's Pakistan Assistance Program (PAP) which build roads, bridges, 64 water treatment and purification plans, schools, colleges, vocational training institutes, hospitals, clinic and medical institutes.

The editorial says that Pakistan’s refusal to join the Saudi-led operations in Yemen could have serious consequences for its relations with the UAE. Furthermore:

"Pakistan’s decision, if it was made final, not only compromises the security of long-standing allies and friends, but also could undermine its own stability. The success of the operation in Yemen will not only remove the Houthi threat, but will also aim to destroy Al Qaeda’s stronghold there, which would have consequences far beyond the Arabian peninsula.

It might also lead to a situation of mistrust between old friends, Pakistan and the GCC countries, that have co-operated for decades on military and security issues."

This is a very interesting situation because you can see the clash of two opposing themes in many countries of the world:

On the one hand, whether it's Barack Obama in Syria, Angela Merkel in Ukraine, or Pakistan and Turkey in Yemen, there's a fear of "getting involved," and a willingness to appease rather than confront, as in the legendary case of Britain's Neville Chamberlain and Nazi Germany.

On the other hand, there are very strong nationalistic and xenophobic feelings being exhibited in other countries, such as Saudi Arabia and UAE in Yemen, China in the South China Sea, and Russia in Ukraine.

In the end, choosing between appeasement and war is a "Hobson's choice," because in a generational Crisis era, appeasement is not an choice that's available for long. Appeasement in this era appears as weakness, and only encourages further nationalism and belligerence on the part of the countries not practicing appeasement.

In the case of Pakistan, the choice is between a continuing major political embarrassment with UAE and Saudi Arabia, versus military involvement in Yemen. If the best that the Pakistanis can do in response to the request is to whine about "an offense against the ego of Pakistan and its people," then the political choice is not going to be available for long. AFP and The National (UAE)

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 13-Apr-15 World View -- Desperate Kenya demands closure of refugee camp after Garissa school attack thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (13-Apr-2015) Permanent Link
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12-Apr-15 World View -- Repercussions start for Pakistan's and Turkey's neutrality in Yemen

Holy Fire from Jerusalem's Easter celebration arrives in Athens

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Holy Fire from Jerusalem's Easter celebration arrives in Athens


The Holy Fire from Jerusalem arrives in Athens on Saturday evening
The Holy Fire from Jerusalem arrives in Athens on Saturday evening

The Holy Fire that was lit in Jerusalem on Saturday morning arrived in Athens, Greece, on Saturday evening in time for the midnight Greek Orthodox celebration of Easter. The fire is lit each year on Easter Saturday in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem's Old City, believed to be built on the site where Jesus was crucified, buried and resurrected. From Jerusalem, the flame is sent to other nations.

The Holy Fire ceremony is possibly the most impressive celebration in all of Christianity, and is performed each year for Orthodox Easter.

On Saturday morning, Orthodox clergymen break the seal of the door to Christ's tomb in Jerusalem and descend into the chamber. After a while, they emerge with lit candles. Believers say that the "Holy Fire" appears spontaneously from the tomb on the day before Easter to show Jesus has not forgotten his followers.

The fire is passed from candle to candle, and is flown to Athens and other cities, so that the Holy Fire can be shared by thousands of worshippers. In Athens, the ceremony begins at 11 pm on Saturday, when practically the entire country is in church. At midnight, the lights are turned off, and everyone's candle is lit with the Holy Fire from the priest's candle, as the priest says, "Christ has risen from the dead and in so doing has trampled on death and to those in the tombs he has given life." Then people head home with their lit candles, and the entire city is lit by the candles with the Holy Fire. The ceremony dates back to the fourth century, and possibly as early as the first century. Greek Reporter and Times of Israel

Pakistan and Turkey refuse to support Saudi Arabia in Yemen

After several days of debate, Pakistan's parliament adopted on Friday a 12-point unanimous resolution, calling on the government to maintain neutrality in the Yemen conflict.

The terms of the resolution included the following:

One really has to laugh that grown men could put stuff like this out.

However, this was only an advisory opinion. The final decision will be taken by Pakistan's prime minister Nawaz Sharif, but he's previously said that any decision would require the backing of the parliament.

On Saturday, Sharif had a 45-minute phone call with Turkey's president Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Although the contents of the phone conversation were not revealed, it's believed that Turkey's views are similar to Pakistan's, and they want to "mediate," not fight. Two days after the Saudi military operation in Yemen began on March 25, Erdogan openly announced Turkey's support, promising logistical and intelligence assistance, and harshly criticizing Iran and Shias in general. Then Erdogan took a couple of trips, first to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia's capital, and then Tehran, Iran's capital. He did a complete U-turn in less than two weeks, and now says that Turkey is categorically against sectarian-driven policies in the region. The News (Pakistan) and Reuters and Hurriyet (Ankara)

Pakistanis fear repercussions from neutrality on Yemen


Children in Yemen war zone (Reuters)
Children in Yemen war zone (Reuters)

Saudi Arabia's official position regarding the current neutrality of Pakistan and Turkey is that it won't affect the military operation in Yemen, known as "Operation Decisive Storm." According to Saudi Brigadier General Ahmed Asiri, Pakistan's participation in Operation Decisive Storm would be an "addition to the coalition."

However, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is harshly condemning Pakistan and Turkey for their neutral stance. According to Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Dr Anwar Mohammed Gargash:

"The Arabian Gulf is in a dangerous confrontation, its strategic security is on the edge, and the moment of truth distinguishes between the real ally and the ally of media and statements. ...

This is nothing but another chapter of laggard impartial stand. Tehran seems to be more important to Islamabad and Ankara than the Gulf countries. Though our economic and investment assets are inevitable, political support is missing at critical moments.

The vague and contradictory stands of Pakistan and Turkey are an absolute proof that Arab security — from Libya to Yemen — is the responsibility of none but Arab countries, and the crisis is a real test for neighbouring countries."

Indeed, Pakistani expatriates living in Saudi Arabia are concerned about repercussions from Pakistan's neutral stance. There are nearly two million Pakistanis living in Saudi Arabia, and they contribute $4.73 billion per year to Pakistan through remittances, the highest ever sum from any single country. Some of these Pakistanis are expressing fear that they might face discrimination in Saudi Arabia as a result of Pakistan's stance. Tribune (Pakistan) and Khaleej Times (UAE) and The News (Pakistan)

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 12-Apr-15 World View -- Repercussions start for Pakistan's and Turkey's neutrality in Yemen thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (12-Apr-2015) Permanent Link
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11-Apr-15 World View -- Pakistan reneges on promise to prosecute 26/11 Mumbai attack mastermind

Obama to meet with Cuban leader Raul Castro

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Pakistan reneges on promise to prosecute 26/11 Mumbai attack mastermind


Mumbai's Taj Mahal Palace Hotel during the 2008 terror attack
Mumbai's Taj Mahal Palace Hotel during the 2008 terror attack

The government of Pakistan has released on bail Zaki-ur-Rahman Lakhvi, the mastermind behind the horrendous 26/11 terrorist attack on a number of hotels in Mumbai, India. The attacks began on November 26, 2008, and lasted three days, killing 166 people, and wounding hundreds more. ( "After Mumbai's '26/11' nightmare finally ends, India - Pakistan relations face crisis" from 2008)

The attack was perpetrated by Lashkar-e-Taibi (LeT), a Pakistani terrorist group that was formed in the 1990s by Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency to fight India in the disputed regions of Kashmir and Jammu. After the attack, India threatened to send its army to attack LeT on Pakistani soil, which might have led to a major war. This was prevented by hard intervention by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

Part of the agreement was that Pakistan would track down and prosecute the LeT terrorists who perpetrated the Mumbai attack.

Lakhvi has been kept in prison, but it's been pretty clear for years that Pakistan's government is reluctant to prosecute him, possibly out of fear that ISI officials had foreknowledge of, or were complicit in, the Mumbai attack. Now, a Pakistani high court has ordered the Lakhvi be released on bail, and it's thought that he'll never be prosecuted. Lakhvi is now the leader of Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD), which is a front group for LeT.

The government of India has expressed fury at the release, saying that Pakistan only wants to prosecute Taliban terrorists who attack targets within Pakistan, but gives a free hand to terrorists like LeT that attack targets in India and Afghanistan. India has launched a formal protest, and suggested that additional retaliatory steps will be taken.

Lakhvi came out of court declaring victory and pumping his fist in a defiant gesture. He was taken to a “secret and secure” location by JuD cadres who were in court on Friday. The News (Pakistan) and Mumbai Mirror

Obama to meet with Cuban leader Raul Castro

President Barack Obama and Cuba's president Raul Castro are expected to meet on Saturday at the Summit of the Americas Conference in Panama City. The agenda will be to convince Obama to lift embargoes and sanctions on Cuba and Venezuela.

The opening of relations between the US and Cuba became inevitable in 2010, when Cuba announced the end of its Communist economy. (See "16-Sep-10 News -- Cuba's seismic shift has global implications") Fifty years after the Cuban revolution, all the fanatical survivors of the 1959 war are old or dead, and the younger generations are more anxious to have internet access and new cars than to satisfy the ideological needs of some old Communist geezers.

One thing that's never stated often enough is that communism and socialism have failed every time they've been tried, and have usually ended up in a massive bloodbath.

Every now and then you'll hear some loony left activist saying that communism is superior to capitalism, which is a moronic thing to say, given the catastrophic experiences of Russia, East Germany, China, Cuba, and other countries. Today, the People's Paradise of North Korea, led by that Gift from God, Kim Jong-un, is the only major communist economy left.

There's a very simple mathematical proof that socialism and communism will always fail, except for very small populations. If you have a fiefdom of a few hundred people, then you can have the Lord and maybe an assistant or two set prices and make sure that all transactions follow the rules. But as the population increases exponentially, then the number of transactions increases at a much faster exponential rate, so that after a while the number of bureaucrats enforcing the regulations is almost the entire population.

That's why the economies of all the communist countries were stuck in the 1950s before their version of communism collapsed. In Cuba, there are nostalgic stories about all those 1950s cars that everyone drives, but we can expect those to disappear pretty quickly now. Whether you like it or not, after a while every communist economy collapses, and is replaced by some variations of free markets. Cuban News Agency and VOA

Pakistan adopts a neutral stance in the Yemen war

After several days of debate, Pakistan's parliament has voted a resolution to reject Saudi Arabia's request for military help in fighting the Houthis in Yemen. The resolution, which was unanimously approved, says that Pakistan's role will be as a mediator between Saudi Arabia and Iran. Pakistan reaffirmed that Pakistan will stand with Saudi Arabia if its security was threatened, but said that in this case, the war in Yemen was an internal Yemen affair that did not threaten Saudi security. Dunya News (Pakistan)

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 11-Apr-15 World View -- Pakistan reneges on promise to prosecute 26/11 Mumbai attack mastermind thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (11-Apr-2015) Permanent Link
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10-Apr-15 World View -- Syria's Yarmouk refugee camp descends into the 'deepest circle of Hell'

Europe demands list of reforms from Greece after numerous delays

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Syria's Yarmouk refugee camp descends into the 'deepest circle of Hell'


Scene of destruction in Yarmouk refugee camp (dpa)
Scene of destruction in Yarmouk refugee camp (dpa)

Ever since Syria's Yarmouk refugee camp was captured last week by the Islamic State (IS or ISIS or ISIL or Daesh), putting ISIS within a few miles of al-Assad's seat of power in Damascus, the camp has turning into what United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is calling "the deepest circle of Hell."

For the last two years, Yarmouk has been under siege by the army of Syria's president Bashar al-Assad, who was afraid that the 18,000 Palestinian refugees living there would side with the jihadists against him. But now that ISIS has invaded and captured Yarmouk, the residents "are pinned down by sniper fire, fearing for their lives, as shelling and aerial attacks escalate," according to Amnesty International.

According to Ban:

"The refugee camp is beginning to resemble a death camp. ... "What is unfolding in Yarmouk is unacceptable. We simply cannot stand by and watch a massacre unfold."

Daily Star (Beirut) and Deutsche-Welle and Daily Times (Pakistan)

Palestinians flip-flop on Syrian action in Yarmouk refugee camp

This situation is posing an intolerable political situation for the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). On the one hand, the PLO opposes Bashar al-Assad because he has massacred hundreds of thousands of innocent Arab women and children, and even used Sarin gas against them, for peacefully demonstrating against him.

On the other hand, the PLO is demanding that something be done to save the Palestinians. Two days ago Ahmad Majdalani, a member of the PLO executive committee, said: "The Palestinian leadership and the PLO will support any decision taken by the Syrian government regarding al-Yarmouk Camp."

On Thursday, however, the PLO issued a statement repudiating Majdalani's support for a Syrian regime solution, saying, "We refuse to be drawn into any armed campaign, whatever its nature or cover, and we call for resorting to other means to spare the blood of our people and prevent more destruction and displacement for our people of the camp."

That was followed later on Thursday by an announcement by 14 Palestinian factions, led by the same PLO executive, Ahmad Majdalani, saying:

"[The factions support] a security solution that will be carried out in partnership with the Syrian state and will have as its priority maintaining the security of citizens."

The only thing that we can make of all this is that the entire Mideast is spiraling into chaos, with blood running in the streets in several countries. Generational Dynamics predicts that a full-scale generational crisis war will engulf the Mideast, pitting Israelis against Arabs, Sunnis against Shias, various ethnic groups against each other, and even various factions against each other. I've been saying this for year, and it seems that every day brings it significantly closer. SANA (Syria) and Reuters and Al Arabiya

Europe demands list of reforms from Greece after numerous delays

Greece's central bank scraped together 450 million euros, and made the loan repayment to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) that was scheduled for Thursday, thus delaying once again the threat of a Greek bankruptcy, which would force Greece to leave the eurozone and return to its traditional drachma currency.

However, Greece's woes are far from over. Greece has to pay another 400 million euros on April 14, then another payment of 900 million euros at the end of the month. Then, during May, Greece will have to pay 2.1 billion euros for salaries and pensions.

Greece's radical left wing prime minister Alexis Tsipras has literally been begging and pleading for money from the IMF and Europeans, but both are pointing out that Tsipras has failed to meet one of his own commitments.

In February, the Europeans gave Tsipras a four-month reprieve, on condition that he come up with a list of reforms to explain how it's going to meet the existing terms of its bailout agreement. The list of reforms would have to address a number of economic issues, including the bloated public sector, curbing tax evasion and corruption, privatizing public businesses, and adjusting generous pension and minimum wage policies. That list has never been provided, and in fact, spending has been increased for "humanitarian needs" among Greeks in poverty.

The next Eurogroup meeting of eurozone finance ministers is scheduled for April 24, and the Europeans are demanding that Tsipras provide that list of reforms before that meeting, if he wants to get any more bailout money. Reuters

Iran's demands on sanctions threaten to unravel nuclear deal

Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei spoke out for the first time since the nuclear deal was signed last week between Iran and the West. Khamenei called the Obama administration liars, and said that Obama's published fact sheet was not what was agreed. This will not be a surprise to Generational Dynamics readers, as we've reported Khamenei's similar statements in the last few weeks. But apparently it's a big surprise to the reporters at the NY Times and NBC News, who are too young and stupid to check out any facts.

According to Khamenei's statement on Thursday:

“I was never optimistic about negotiating with America, not based on hallucinations, rather based on experience. ... However, I agreed with these particular negotiations. I have supported—with all my existence—and will support the negotiators.”

“I support a deal that would guarantee the Iranian nation's honor and interests.”

“I trust our negotiators—know this—I have no doubts about them, ... but I have serious concerns about the other side. ... An example of this occurred in the last round of negotiations. The White House, approximately two hours after the negotiations, issued a multi-page statement they called ‘fact sheet’ on account of the [framework agreement] which was mostly untrue.”

On sanctions: “All sanctions must be removed when a deal is reached. If sanctions are linked to another process, then the talks are meaningless, because the purpose of the negotiations was to remove sanctions.”

On inspections: “They [inspectors] should not be allowed to penetrate at all into the country's security and defensive boundaries under the pretext of supervision, and the country's military officials are not permitted to allow the foreigners to cross these boundaries at all or stop the country's defensive development under the pretext of supervision and inspection."

“Some criminal countries, who themselves have either used a nuclear weapon against a country, like America, or France who has tested weapons in the ocean, which is illegal and bad for the environment, yet they accuse us of pursuing weapons. Islam and our logic and reason forbid us from acquiring nuclear weapons.”

Iran's President Hassan Rouhani reaffirmed Khamenei's statement on Thursday, and repeated that Iran has already been the victims of weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) at the hands of Iraq's Saddam Hussein:

“The West supported Saddam with aircrafts, missiles, chemical weapons... and we [Iran] were empty handed. ... With determination and faith our nation was victorious.”

“If we wanted to obtain chemicals, which is far easier than obtaining nuclear weapons, surely we would; we are the victims of chemical weapons; however, we did not retaliate and joined the convention banning use and stockpiling of chemical weapons instead; this is a clear indication that our nation does not need such horrible weapons.”

So it appears that John Kerry and Barack Obama were simply lying last week when they said there was an agreement.

There are three major areas of disagreement:

Obama and Kerry have had one foreign policy disaster after another, and they're going to be desperate to save this one, by deferring and yielding on every point possible. A final deal is scheduled for July 1. AEI Iran Tracker

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 10-Apr-15 World View -- Syria's Yarmouk refugee camp descends into the 'deepest circle of Hell' thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (10-Apr-2015) Permanent Link
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9-Apr-15 World View -- Fears of tribal and ethnic violence in Kenya continue

U.S. begins daily aerial refueling for Saudi warplanes in Yemen

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Germany fears wave of xenophobia after arson attack on refugee home


Neo-Nazi National Democratic Party of Germany (NPD)
Neo-Nazi National Democratic Party of Germany (NPD)

Early Saturday morning, criminals broke into an apartment building in the town of Tröglitz in the state of Saxony-Anhalt in eastern Germany and set the building on fire. The building was being remodeled to accommodate 40 asylum-seekers, starting in May. It's feared that this may signal new xenophobic attacks across the country.

Tröglitz was first established in the 1930s to provide housing for workers at a local coal mine, but after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, the mine closed and some 4,500 jobs disappeared, leaving few work opportunities. This has provided an effective recruiting backdrop for parties like the neo-Nazi National Democratic Party of Germany (NPD), for which some politicians are calling to be banned.

Asylum-seekers have been putting a strain on municipalities across Germany. It's estimated that 250,000 refugees will arrive from Germany this year, an increase of 80,000 over 2013. Many come from Syria and the Balkan states. Deutsche-Welle and Der Spiegel and TheLocal (Germany)

U.S. begins daily aerial refueling for Saudi warplanes in Yemen

For Wednesday's Yemen war escalation du jour, the United States has started aerial refueling for warplanes in the Saudi-led coalition carrying out airstrikes in Yemen. The refueling flights will take place daily. However, all US flights will remain outside Yemen's air space.

On Tuesday, the US announced that it was stepping up intelligence sharing with the Saudi-led coalition and expediting the delivery of precision-guided bombs to the Saudis and their Gulf allies.

Iran has condemned the Saudi-led intervention, and has sent two warships to the Gulf of Aden Wednesday, saying they would protect Iranian shipping from piracy. Daily Star (Beirut)

Fears of tribal and ethnic violence in Kenya continue

About 2500 of Kenya's residents, both Muslims and Christians, marched in the town of Garissa on Tuesday to protest al-Shabaab, the Somali terrorist group responsible for the slaughter of 148 people, most of them Christian students, last week at Garissa University College. The raid, the deadliest since al-Qaeda bombed the U.S. Embassy in the capital, Nairobi, in 1998, was at least the fifth massacre by al-Shabaab since it stormed the upmarket Westgate shopping mall less than two years ago.

The protesters were also critical of Kenya's security forces for not doing enough to prevent such a massacre, and then for not responding quickly enough as news of massacre spread. There had been material previously circulating on social media warning about the attacks.

On Wednesday, hundreds of Somalis of Kenyan descent, marched in Eastleigh, a suburb of Nairobi, once again to protest Al-Shabaab.

Initially it was feared that these protests would lead to communal violence between Kenyans and Somalis, but those fears are subsiding now as no such violence has occurred.

Communal violence is not new to Kenya. Following the national elections in December 2007, there was massive violence, particularly in Rift Valley, killing over 1,100 people and leaving over 600,000 homeless.

Communal violence in the northeast regions of Kenya killed hundreds of people last year. Two ethnic groups, the Turkana and the Pokot, have been responsible for the communal violence in the far north of Kenya. For years, the two groups have been fighting over the usual kinds of things -- water resources, land, cattle rustling, and so forth.

But two years ago, a find of 600 million to one billion barrels of oil was discovered in Turkana's land, right next to the Pokot land. This oil has the potential to bring wealth to both tribes, but the Turkana are claiming it for their own, and the Pokot are threatening to kill the Turkana and take over the oil wells. As a result, the two tribes have been locked in a cycle of ever-increasing retaliatory violence, with whole villages burned to the ground and unarmed civilians killed.

Caught in the middle is the Anglo-Irish exploration company, Tullow Oil. According to a spokesman:

"People live off their land, the way they lived hundreds of years ago, in most cases. Here you have big industry and technology coming in with pastoralist communities. There are always going to be challenges. We are not going to agree on everything."

However, the government in Nairobi is saying that the oil wealth doesn't belong to either the Turkana or the Pokot -- that it belongs to the government of Nairobi.

When I wrote about the communal violence that followed the December 2007 election ( "Kenya almost -- but not quite on the brink of genocidal ethnic war"), I pointed out that Kenya's last generational crisis war was the Mau-Mau Rebellion, that climaxed in 1956. By 2008, only 52 years had passed, which is usually not enough time for a new generational crisis war to begin. (Usually, at least 58 years are needed.) Based on that analysis, I concluded that the communal violence at that time would soon fizzled out, which is exactly what happened.

But now 7 more years have passed, and we're 59 years past the climax of the Mau-Mau Rebellion. So Kenya is well past the time when a new generational crisis war can start. So the fears of new communal violence today are well founded, and any occurrence could spiral into a wider war. The Nation (Pakistan) and International Business Times and United Nations and VOA

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 9-Apr-15 World View -- Fears of tribal and ethnic violence in Kenya continue thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (9-Apr-2015) Permanent Link
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8-Apr-15 World View -- Bashar al-Assad's Syria army showing signs of collapse

US speeds up weapons deliveries to militias in Yemen

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Bashar al-Assad's Syria army showing signs of collapse


Al-Assad's warplanes bomb the town of Kasab in Latakia province, after the army loses the town to opposition forces (Anadolu)
Al-Assad's warplanes bomb the town of Kasab in Latakia province, after the army loses the town to opposition forces (Anadolu)

It was just last year that Syria's president Bashar al-Assad was claiming that in 2015 his army would defeat all terrorists and their supporters in Syria, blaming the terrorism on Israel and its allies.

Blaming Israel for the rise of Islamic State (IS, ISIS, ISIL, Daesh) and Jabhat al-Nusra (al-Nusra Front) in Syria would have to be considered at best a fantasy and at worst a delusion. But the promise of victory in 2015 is perhaps the biggest self-delusion of all, and appears less and less likely each week.

A major turning point in the international perception of al-Assad's army occurred a couple of weeks ago when the regime's army suffered a major military setback, and was defeated by Jabhat al-Nusra, which captured Idlib. That was in northern Syria. Al-Assad's army is faring no better in southern Syria, where ISIS captured Syria's Yarmouk refugee camp, putting ISIS within a few miles of al-Assad's seat of power in Damascus.

Al-Assad's reaction to those defeats is to bomb both Idlib and Yarmouk. Bombing these cities will be very effective in killing innocent women and children, but will do very little to stop the advance of al-Nusra and ISIS.

New reports indicate that these two defeats are not flukes, and that al-Assad's army is badly fracturing.

Al-Assad is a member of the Shia Alawite race, which broke away from mainstream Shia Islam in the ninth century. Since many of the forces that al-Assad's army is fighting are Sunnis, al-Assad does not trust Sunnis in his own army, for fear that they'll defect to the other side.

The result is that Alawites form the bulk of al-Assad's army, and are suffering the bulk of casualties, even though they're only a tenth of Syria's population.

The figures are staggering. There were about two million Alawites at the start of the war, with perhaps 250,000 men of fighting age. Today, as many as one-third of these are dead. Over 22,000 al-Assad soldiers and militiamen were killed in 2014 alone, the bulk of them Alawites.

When ordinary Alawite soldiers die in al-Assad's army, their corpses are returned to their homes piled up in plain pickup trucks. They are followed by the "press gangs": military recruiters raid Alawite houses to find replacements, and force them into the army.

The result is that the Alawites are trapped -- hated by the Sunnis for joining the army and killing Sunnis, but unable to escape the clutches of the press gangs.

This explains why al-Assad's army appears to be collapsing. At the beginning, al-Assad promised the Alawites quick victories and rich rewards. Those promises have gone the way of "you can keep your doctor." Today, the Alawites do not wish to be in the army, and probably couldn't care less who's in control of Idlib or Yarmouk. Telegraph (London) and Joshua Landis and Guardian (London)

Why do Awakening era civil wars always fizzle?

I've been criticized for writing in 2011, and repeating several times, that a crisis civil war cannot continue for long in a generational Awakening era, and so Syria's civil war would soon fizzle. The criticism was that this prediction allegedly turned out to be false.

Actually, from the point of view of Generational Dynamics, the civil war in Syria fizzled some time ago, and so the prediction turned out to be true. Certainly what's going on today cannot seriously be called a civil war, certainly not in the sense of generational theory. On the one hand, you have Bashar al-Assad's fracturing army of Alawites, as described in the story above, surviving only because of massive supplies of weapons from Russia, and troops from Hezbollah and Iran. On the other hand, you have the Islamic State (IS or ISIS or ISIL or Daesh) depending on thousands of jihadists from countries around the world, and a weak Free Syrian Army.

But let's dig deeper into this. Why is this not a real civil war, and why did it have to fizzle?

Let's start with what a real civil war would look like from the point of view of generational theory. You would have the Alawites full of hatred for the Sunnis and the Sunnis full of hatred for the Alawites, with each side wishing to exterminate the other. That's what a crisis civil war would look like. The last one occurred in the 1970s and early 1980s, and the previous one occurred roughly 70 years earlier during World War I and the collapse of the Ottoman Empire.

Every generational crisis war ends in what I like to call an "explosive climax," something so horrible that both winners and losers are traumatized by it. In World War II, America and the allies firebombed Dresden and Tokyo, and nuked two Japanese cities. Today, these acts are generally accepted as necessary to have protected American lives, but in the decades after the war, these acts were widely condemned by armchair critics.

However, the "explosive climax" need not be an actual explosion, because it refers to a political explosion. Actually, there were two such explosive climaxes in the region in 1982. The Palestinian refugee camps at Sabra and Shatila in Lebanon were the site of a massacre of Palestinian refugees in camps 1982. And Syria's last extremely bloody civil war climaxed in the 1982 slaughter of tens of thousands of Syrians in Hama.

Like the actions that ended World War II, these mass slaughters still weigh heavily on the psyches of the survivors of the Syrian and Lebanese civil wars, respectively, of the 1980s. I discussed this fear several times with regard to Lebanon in the 2006 war between Israel and Hizbollah. I quoted Lebanese President Émile Geamil Lahoud as saying:

"Believe me, what we get from [Israeli bombers] is nothing compared to [what would happen] if there is an internal conflict [a new civil war] in Lebanon. So our thanks comes when we are united, and we are really united, and the national army is doing its work according to the government, and the resistance [Hizbollah] is respected in the whole Arab world from the population point of view. And very highly respected in Lebanon as well."

The Lebanese feared, above all else, a repeat of something like the 1982 massacre at Sabra and Shatila, and considered that to be a worse possibility than Israeli bombers.

So now returning to today's situation in Syria, we have a population of Syrians with no desire for a civil war, who are being propelled by forces beyond their control. The Alawites vividly recall the horrors of what happened in 1982, and have no desire to repeat them. The Sunnis, whose women and children are being bombed every day by al-Assad's warplanes, with bombs supplied by Russia, have responded by creating ISIS and al-Nusra, and recruited jihadists from around the world to fight al-Assad, his Russian weapons, and his Hezbollah and Iranian allies. AP

US speeds up weapons deliveries to militias in Yemen

The war in Yemen escalated by one more step on Tuesday, when the US announced that it was setting up an American coordination center in Saudi Arabia, and would speed up weapons deliveries to anti-Houthi militias in Aden, in south Yemen. According to US Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Riyadh:

"Saudi Arabia is sending a strong message to the Houthis and their allies that they cannot overrun Yemen by force.

As part of that effort, we have expedited weapons deliveries, we have increased our intelligence sharing, and we have established a joint coordination planning cell in the Saudi operation centre."

Saudi airstrikes so far have failed to stop the Houthis, and officials hope that expedited weapons deliveries will help. Reuters

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 8-Apr-15 World View -- Bashar al-Assad's Syria army showing signs of collapse thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (8-Apr-2015) Permanent Link
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7-Apr-15 World View -- Greece confirms that it will pay the IMF on Thursday and avoid bankruptcy

Pakistan parliament debates sending troops to Yemen to support Saudi Arabia

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Pakistan parliament debates sending troops to Yemen to support Saudi Arabia


Pakistan parliament building
Pakistan parliament building

Pakistan's parliament is debating a request from Saudi Arabia to actively join the coalition fighting the Iran-backed Shia Houthis in Yemen, and to supply combat planes, warships and soldiers to the effort. Pakistan and Saudi Arabia have come to each other's aid several times in the last decades, and so it's thought that Pakistan now has a moral obligation to help with something that Saudi Arabia considers a substantial threat to itself. Pakistanis urging rejection of the request point out that Iran and Pakistan share a long border, and say that Iran may retaliate against Pakistan if Pakistan helps Saudi Arabia in Yemen.

Pakistan has strategic relationships with only three countries: China, Turkey, Saudi Arabia. Leaders from both Turkey and Pakistan are meeting with each other and with leaders of Iran and Saudi Arabia in an attempt to resolve the conflict diplomatically, and to prevent it from exploding into a larger regional war.

However, as I've been saying for years, Generational Dynamics predicts that the Mideast is headed for a war pitting Jews against Arabs, Sunnis against Shias, and different ethnic groups against each other. We have Muslims killing Muslims in large numbers in Libya, Syria, Iraq and Yemen, and to a lesser extent in Egypt and Lebanon. In the past year, the amount of bloodshed of Muslims killing Muslims seems to have been increasing almost exponentially, and the growing Yemen war continues that trend. The News (Pakistan) and Reuters and McClatchy

Greece confirms that it will pay the IMF on Thursday and avoid bankruptcy

There have been unconfirmed reports that Greece was going into default on Wednesday, and then use the four-day bank holiday leading up to Orthodox Easter on Sunday to convert the country's currency from the euro back to the old drachmas.

But Greece's finance minister Yanis Varoufakis met with Christine Lagarde, the managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Sunday and confirmed that Greece will make the scheduled 450 million euro ($494 million) bailout loan interest payment to the IMF on Thursday, and would avoid bankruptcy.

Greece is almost out of cash, and will delay paying pensions and public employee wages in order to make the debt repayment. At the same time, Greece is begging the IMF and the eurozone finance ministers to hurry up and provide the next bailout tranche. Kathimerini and Capital (Greece)

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 7-Apr-15 World View -- Greece confirms that it will pay the IMF on Thursday and avoid bankruptcy thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (7-Apr-2015) Permanent Link
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6-Apr-15 World View -- Many countries, but not US, are evacuating their citizens from Yemen

Saudi Arabia razing villages near the border with Yemen

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Yemen Houthis arrest Sunnis in Sanaa, as fighting continues in Aden


Pro-Hadi fighters in Aden holding a position during clashes with Houthis on Saturday (AFP)
Pro-Hadi fighters in Aden holding a position during clashes with Houthis on Saturday (AFP)

The Shia/Sunni sectarian divide in Yemen widened on Sunday when Iran-back Shia Houthi militias raided the homes and offices and arrested members of Islah party of Sunni politicians.

However, the main fighting is taking place in Aden, the southern port city to which the internationally recognized president Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi fled in February, before leaving the country entirely. The fighting is between Houthi militias that arrived from the north versus Sunni tribes backing Hadi.

A coalition led by Saudi Arabia is conducting air strikes on Houthi targets, but strikes on Houthi positions in Aden have so far failed to stop the Houthi advance. Hadi is requesting the Saudi coalition to send in ground troops. VOA and Irish Times

Saudi Arabia razing villages near the border with Yemen

Saudi Arabia is planning to raze 96 deserted villages along the border with Yemen, Ten villages have already been demolished. The purpose is to prevent the empty houses from turning into "a safe haven for traffickers and infiltrators" from Yemen.

The villages were evacuated during a 2009-2010 conflict in which Houthis crossed into Saudi Arabia from their stronghold in northern Yemen. Some 15,000 inhabitants were forced to leave their homes and move 50 km away, where "They are suffering from material hardship and government marginalization," according to one resident.

People still living near the border between the two countries fear that they'll be forced to move as well. However, a Saudi officials denies that any orders have been given to move them, and that, "The inhabitants of all the villages along the southern border region close to Yemen are living normally and enjoying complete security and stability." Middle East Eye and Al Arabiya

Many countries, but not US, are evacuating their citizens from Yemen

With Yemen collapsing further into chaos on a daily basis, many countries are evacuating their citizens from Yemen. Many of these people are foreign workers who came to Yemen to earn money. Here are some examples:

However, many Americans living in Yemen are feeling abandoned after the State Dept. said that it has no plans to help evacuate them. According to a State Department travel advisory issued on Friday:

"The level of instability and ongoing threats in Yemen remain severe. There are no plans for a U.S. government-coordinated evacuation of U.S. citizens at this time. We encourage all U.S. citizens to shelter in a secure location until they are able to depart safely. U.S. citizens wishing to depart should do so via commercial transportation options when they become available. Keep vital records and travel documents close at hand; U.S. citizens should be prepared to depart at a moment’s notice. The airports are currently closed, but may open unexpectedly; other unforeseen opportunities to depart may also suddenly arise.

Additionally, some foreign governments may arrange transportation for their nationals and may be willing to offer assistance to others. There is no guarantee that foreign governments will assist U.S. citizens in leaving Yemen. U.S. citizens who choose to seek foreign government assistance in leaving Yemen should only do so if they can safely make their way to the point of embarkation and have received confirmation that there is space available. Even if assured there is space aboard transportation, U.S. citizens should be aware that there is no guarantee that they will be permitted to board the transport, or may have to wait an indefinite period until they can do so. There is also no guarantee of where travelers will go."

Canadian Broadcasting/AP and India.com and The Diplomat and Indian Express and Jordan Times and Daily Sabah (Turkey) and AFP and Bangladesh News and Bangkok Post and Guardian (London) and US State Department

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 6-Apr-15 World View -- Many countries, but not US, are evacuating their citizens from Yemen thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (6-Apr-2015) Permanent Link
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5-Apr-15 World View -- Texts of Iran nuclear deal differ in English and Farsi versions

Kenya's president: terrorists are 'deeply embedded' in Kenya

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

ISIS pushes closer to Damascus through Syria's Yarmouk refugee camp


Yarmouk residents queue up to receive humanitarian aid (Reuters)
Yarmouk residents queue up to receive humanitarian aid (Reuters)

Islamic State (IS or ISIS or ISIL or Daesh) militias have taken control of a southern district in Damascus, Syria, and are just a few kilometers from the military headquarters of the regime of Syria's president Bashar al-Assad. Al-Assad's army has suffered several recent defeats, especially the major military defeat in Idlib, and so it appears that ISIS may present a real military challenge to the regime in its seat of power. Reports indicate that ISIS is also receiving help from the al-Qaeda linked Jabhat al-Nusra (al-Nusra Front), a group with which it often has battles in other places and times.

ISIS's advance into Damascus is through the Yarmouk refugee camp, home to about 18,000 Palestinian refugees. The camp has been under siege from al-Assad's army since 2011, since al-Assad feared that the Palestinian refugees would join the fight against him. In the last couple of years, the Free Syrian Army and al-Qaeda linked Jabhat al-Nusra (al-Nusra Front) have entered Yarmouk and fought each other, making Yarmouk increasingly dangerous for the civilians living there. Now the invasion of ISIS has turned Yarmouk into a humanitarian disaster. Aid groups are unable to enter Yarmouk, with the result that the civilians have no food and water, no electricity. Anyone who leaves his home risks getting shot and killed by snipers on the rooftops.

Other reports indicate that al-Assad's forces are trying to fight ISIS by means of "violent shelling by the regime forces using tank shells and ground-to-ground missiles," weapons that are more likely to kill civilians than ISIS.

According to Hanan Ashrawi, international Palestinian activist and executive of the Palestinian Authority (PA/PLO) government, on Saturday:

"Yarmouk is a test, a challenge for the international community. We must not fail. The credibility of the international system itself is at stake.

The current situation in the al-Yarmouk refugee camp is a heartbreaking catastrophe.

Since December 2012, tens of thousands of men, women and children, most of whom are Palestinian refugees, have been forced to flee and have had their lives torn apart by war. The 18,000 residents who remain in Yarmouk are in great danger from extremist groups, including ISIS, that are seeking to take full control of the camp.

We call on all members of the international community, particularly the United Nations, European Union and the United States, to safeguard the innocent people of Yarmouk and ensure that all sides commit to a permanent ceasefire."

And yet, with almost the entire Mideast in flames these days, the women and children in Yarmouk have little hope of receiving any international aid quickly. ARA News (Syria) and AP and Jerusalem Post

Texts of Iran nuclear deal differ in English and Farsi versions

Iran's press has been euphoric and ecstatic over this week's nuclear agreement between Iran and Western negotiators. Many newspapers are devoting entire editions to the agreement. A typical headline is, "Our nation is on the cusp of a great victory."

The American mainstream media, who are overwhelmingly Democratic and always support President Obama no matter what he does, have stayed in line by endorsing the deal, calling it "historic" or "a great victory for Obama's legacy."

However, the more conservative New York Post hired a Farsi expert to compare the Farsi version of the agreement, published by Iran, versus the English version of the agreement, published by the White House, and found some significant differences. Indeed, it's clear from the two text versions that the claims of complete agreement between Iran and the West are simply not true.

To use the old joke, this is actually déjà vu all over again. There was an interim nuclear agreement that Iran signed with the West in November 2013 that had similar problems. The full text of that agreement has never been published. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said that under the agreement Iran had no right to enrich uranium, while Iran's foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif gloated that Iran had preserved its right to enrich uranium. The White House published a "summary," but Iran completely rejected the White House summary as "not true." Then, in January 2014, Iran disclosed that there was a secret side agreement to the nuclear agreement. The White House first confirmed this, saying that the side agreement would be made public, and then denied that there was a secret side agreement.

So it appears that we're starting off with the same kinds of lies and deceptions that were part of the 2013 interim agreement.

There's another thing that's bothering me. During his "mission accomplished" televised victory press conference earlier this week after the deal was announced, President Obama referred to a fatwa supposedly issued by Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei that Iran's nuclear program is entirely peaceful, and that forbids the development of nuclear weapons. The fatwa supposedly says, "the production, stockpiling and use of nuclear weapons are forbidden under Islam and that the Islamic Republic of Iran shall never acquire these weapons."

The problem is that nobody has ever seen this fatwa, because it doesn't exist, according to a number of Iranian and Arab writers that have researched the issue. "18-Mar-14 World View -- Does Iran's anti-nuclear fatwa really exist, as claimed?"

So the question is: Why did Obama refer to this nonexistent fatwa? Is he simply lying because he can always get away with lying? Does he think the reporters in the mainstream media are so stupid that they won't even check it out? Well, if that's what Obama thinks, then Obama is probably right.

At any rate, it's pretty clear that President Obama is willing to say and do anything to get the final deal with Iran ratified by the July 1 deadline. We'll see what he's willing to do as the weeks go by. BBC and New York Post and Memri (17-Mar-2014) and Memri (4-Oct-2013)

Kenya's president: terrorists are 'deeply embedded' in Kenya

Following last week's slaughter of almost 150 Christian college students attending Garissa University College in Kenya ( "3-Apr-15 World View -- Al-Shabaab kills 147 mostly Christian students in Kenya school"), Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta said on Saturday that those behind an attack in which Al-Shabaab fighters killed 148 people at a university were "deeply embedded" in Kenya. He called on Kenyan Muslims to help prevent radicalization:

"Our task of countering terrorism has been made all the more difficult by the fact that the planners and financiers of this brutality are deeply embedded in our communities.

Radicalization that breeds terrorism is not conducted in the bush at night. It occurs in the full glare of day, in [Islamic schools], in homes and in mosques with rogue imams."

On Saturday morning, al-Shabaab warned that there would be more attacks, and that, "Kenyan cities will run red with blood." Al-Jazeera

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 5-Apr-15 World View -- Texts of Iran nuclear deal differ in English and Farsi versions thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (5-Apr-2015) Permanent Link
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4-Apr-15 World View -- China to sell eight advanced submarines to Pakistan, encircling India

Greece turns to Russia and China, amid reports of imminent default

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

China to sell eight advanced submarines to Pakistan, encircling India


Submarine image from Pakistan Defense
Submarine image from Pakistan Defense

The naval arms race between India and Pakistan took a big leap forward this week, as Pakistan signed a deal to acquire eight advanced conventional (non-nuclear) diesel-powered submarines from China. Pakistan's Ministry of Defense said that the eight submarines were being purchased from China to address the force imbalance with India, as India has been expanding its own fleet.

China and Pakistan are "all-weather" friends, and this is a particularly large military sale. Also, as a sign of Pakistan's close relationship with China, this is the first time China has exported its submarines to anyone.

India has been expanding its fleet not just because of Pakistan, but because of China. China has been rapidly expanding its fleet ( "28-Feb-15 World View -- US Navy says that China now has more attack submarines than US"), and India claims that China has been "encircling" India with naval bases.

The Indians particularly point to the Gwadar Port on the Indian Ocean in Pakistan, which China has been developing. The port serves the dual purpose. On the one hand, it's a military naval base. But it's also a way for China to avoid maritime choke points in the Indian and Pacific oceans by moving Persian Gulf oil and gas over land from Gwadar to China.

China claims to have three principles in selling arms to other countries:

However, Western nations have accused China of repeatedly impairing the stability of the region, such as through the sales of advanced cruise missiles to Pakistan that began in the 1990s. Those accusations will certainly be renewed with China's sale of this submarine fleet to Pakistan.

A few days ago, I reported on Pakistan's close relationship with Saudi Arabia. As I've been saying for about ten years, Generational Dynamics predicts that the world is headed for a new "Clash of Civilizations" world war that will pit the West, India, Russia and Iran versus China, Pakistan and the Sunni Muslim countries. Dawn (Pakistan) and Marine Link and Lowy Institute (Australia)

As Russia-Saudi relations deteriorate, Egypt tries a middle road

Relations between Russia and Saudi Arabia have never been particularly friendly, especially since 1938, when Stalin closed the Soviet embassy in Saudi Arabia. Diplomatic relations were not restored until after the collapse of the Soviet Union, but they haven't been close.

In recent years, the Russians have infuriated the Saudis by providing billions of dollars of weapons to the regime of Syria's president Bashar al-Assad.

The Saudis have infuriated the Russians by refusing to cut production as the price of oil collapsed, thereby harming Russia's economy.

Russia has accused the Saudis of supplying weapons to the militias fighting against al-Assad in Syria. The Saudis have accused Russia of invading Crimea in order to kill the Crimean Muslim (Tatar) population.

Egypt is a close ally of Saudi Arabia, and the two countries are partners in the joint Arab military intervention in Yemen, against Iran-backed Houthis.

Egypt depends on Saudi Arabia for financial aid, but would also like a close relationship with Russia. Egypt has had a much longer relationship with Russia, with Russian czars supporting Orthodox Christians in Egypt as far back as the 16th century, and the Soviet Union was a key backer of Egypt in the decades after World War II.

Egypt is in a unique situation: Egypt would like to purchase weapons from Russia, funded by $2 billion of Saudi money. However, Russia has not been quick to sign such a deal, and the Saudi media is reminding Egyptians that 2,500 Egyptian soldiers died defending Crimea from the Russians back in the mid-19th century.

So although Egypt would like to have closer relations with Russia, it appears that they will be overshadowed by Egypt's very close relations with Saudi Arabia. Al-Monitor and Washington Post

Greece turns to Russia and China, amid reports of imminent default

Unconfirmed reports suggest that Greece plans to miss its next scheduled bailout loan repayment to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and will go into default next week on Wednesday (8-Apr). This would be the best time, since banks are scheduled to be closed for the following four days in celebration of Greek Orthodox Easter, which occurs next Sunday. According to this report, currency bills in Greece's traditional drachma currency have already been printed, and Greece's government would use those four days to convert from the euro currency back to the drachma currency.

Other reports suggest that Greece has been turning to Russia and China for bailout funds that would permit it to retain the euro currency. Russia might consider supplying these funds to Greece, in return for Greece's full-throated opposition to EU sanctions against Russia. China might consider supplying the funds as part of a deal to purchase Greece's port of Piraeus, which China's Cosco shipping group would like to buy.

Alternatively, the Europeans may manage, once again, to find a way to "kick the can down the road," and permit Greece to get through the current week's crisis and continue until the next crisis, which is currently scheduled for July. Investment Watch and Economist

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 4-Apr-15 World View -- China to sell eight advanced submarines to Pakistan, encircling India thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (4-Apr-2015) Permanent Link
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3-Apr-15 World View -- Al-Shabaab kills 147 mostly Christian students in Kenya school

Bill O'Reilly's 'Killing Jesus' and 1960s-style activism

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Al-Shabaab kills 147 mostly Christian students in Kenya school


Kenyan security forces at Garissa University College on Thursday (AFP)
Kenyan security forces at Garissa University College on Thursday (AFP)

The Somalia terrorist group al-Shabaab, which has been out of the news lately because Islamic State (IS or ISIS or ISIL or Daesh) has been grabbing all the headlines, has finally grabbed its own headlines on Thursday by killing over 147 people, mostly Christian students, at Garissa University College in Kenya. The students were massacred in their dormitories. Christians were singled out and shot dead. 79 were injured, and 587 were led to safety. Al-Shabaab has retained its loyalty to al-Qaeda, and has not pledged itself to ISIS, as other terror groups have.

Al-Shabaab has targeted Christians in the past. In December, al-Shabaab terrorists killed 36 mainly Christian miners working in a quarry in northern Kenya, near the border with Somalia. The 60 or so workers were asked to recite the Shahada, an Islamic creed declaring oneness with God. Those who couldn't were shot and killed.

This follows a similar incident that occurred on November 22, when Al-Shabaab terrorists forced a bus carrying 60 passengers to stop. They asked the passengers to recite Koranic verses, and those who were unable to do so were lined up and then killed. 28 people were killed, 19 men and 9 women.

The new attack was reminiscent of a 2013 al-Shabaab attack in 2013 at the Westgate shopping mall in Nairobi. That attack lasted for three days, and involved al-Shabaab recruits from a Somali community in Minneapolis, Minnesota. That attack brought Kenya's president Uhuru Kenyatta under a great deal of criticism for doing nothing to stop terrorism.

So on Thursday, Kenyatta announced that he would defy a court order that prevented the recruitment to Kenya's police service. In October 2014, the High Court blocked further police recruitment because of corruption in the selection process. Kenyatta will defy the court order, and is ordering 10,000 new recruits to report to the Kiganjo police training college. Daily Mail (London) and Capital FM (Kenya)

Bill O'Reilly's 'Killing Jesus' and 1960s-style activism

On Sunday, I saw Bill O'Reilly's "Killing Jesus," which presents the "historical Jesus," the life of Jesus as confirmed by contemporary historical sources.

From the point of view of Generational Dynamics, one thing that comes through strongly in watching this movie is how much Jesus was a 1960s-style activist. Almost every word about love and peace, and every action such as demonstrating against the older generation of Jews, sounded and looked like people from the 1960s. I was also reminded of the 1960s Broadway musical "Jesus Christ Superstar," which also portrays Jesus as a 1960s-style activist.

This is a compliment to Jesus, not a criticism. Jesus accomplished his goals through peaceful activism, as contrasted to Mohammed, who led an army.

One more point: Jesus's ministry occurred during a generational Awakening era, like America in the 1960s. Mohammed's time occurred during a generational crisis war between Mecca and Medina, like World War II. This difference is reflected in the two holy books. For example, many men are killed during a war, leaving behind many unattached women whose presence can destabilize a society. This fact alone explains why the Koran permits polygamy, while the Bible does not.

The New Testament might be thought of as describing how to live during a generational Awakening era. The Koran might be thought of as describing how to live during a generational Crisis war. This is a generational analysis that, from a secular point of view, explains the difference in tone between the two books.

The movie "Killing Jesus" will be repeated on the Fox News Network at 8pm and 11pm ET this evening (Friday) and again on Sunday. This is appropriate, as this weekend is Easter for Western Christians. As far as I know, the movie will not be repeated next weekend, for Orthodox Christian Easter. Fox News

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 3-Apr-15 World View -- Al-Shabaab kills 147 mostly Christian students in Kenya school thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (3-Apr-2015) Permanent Link
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2-Apr-15 World View -- ISIS captures Yarmouk refugee camp, closes in on collapsing al-Assad

Turkmenistan fears jihadist invasion from Afghanistan

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

ISIS captures Yarmouk refugee camp, closes in on Damascus


Yarmouk refugee camp, 31-Jan-2014, showing residents queuing up to receive food supplies (AP)
Yarmouk refugee camp, 31-Jan-2014, showing residents queuing up to receive food supplies (AP)

The Islamic State (IS or ISIS or ISIL or Daesh) captured the Yarmouk refugee camp in Syria on Wednesday, inflicting another defeat on the army of Syria's Bashar al-Assad regime. This comes just after the al-Assad regime suffered a major military setback in Idlib, as I reported a few days ago. According to some reports, the ISIS received some help from the rival jihadist gang, the al-Qaeda linked Jabhat al-Nusra (al-Nusra Front).

Prior to the start of the Syrian conflict in 2011, the Yarmouk refugee camp was home to half a million Palestinian refugees. However, many Palestinians have fled the camp, mainly driven out by a siege from the the army of al-Assad, who accused the Palestinians of joining the militias opposing him. The current population is estimated to be around 18,000.

The capture of Yarmouk gives ISIS a strong foothold on southern Damascus, which is al-Assad's seat of power. Daily Star (Lebanon) and Reuters and AP

Hezbollah trapped by a sense of collapse in al-Assad's army

The Shia Iran-backed Lebanon-based Hezbollah terrorist group in Lebanon is increasingly in a quagmire because of the changing Mideast dynamics.

Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah condemned the Saudi-led intervention in Yemen against the Houthis, and expressed displeasure at political elements within Lebanon's own government that supported the intervention. But there's little that Hezbollah can do, since it's stretched to the limits in Syria, where it's supposed to be supporting the regime of Syria's president Bashar al-Assad, but the latter is facing a growing perception of collapse following the last week's fall of Idlib, and Wednesday's loss of Yarmouk. With the military effectiveness of al-Assad's army possibly near an end, Hezbollah has to select its battles very carefully.

Hezbollah appears to be facing the bitter reality that it's a Shia militia living in a mostly Sunni Mideast, including the country of Lebanon where it shares power with Sunni politicians. In the past, the mantra was that everyone had to get along with everyone, and so Hezbollah could flourish by repeatedly talking about the "resistance," referring to the conflict with Israel. But the war in Syria, and now the war in Yemen, have caused the Sunni-Shia fault line to sharpen considerably, and there's a lot less patience among Sunni governments to put up with an Iran-backed Shia militia (Hezbollah), which they see as an ally of Iran and a threat to their own stability. Daily Star (Lebanon)

Turkmenistan fears jihadist invasion from Afghanistan

There have been fears throughout Central Asia that the withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan will create a vacuum that will be filled by jihadists.

This has been especially true in Turkmenistan, which shares a 744 km border with Afghanistan, and is particularly vulnerable to jihadists attacking from Afghanistan. In fact, Turkmenistan's government seems genuinely frightened by the prospect of an invasion, so much so that it's violating its own rules of neutrality and asking Russia to provide troops for protection. And this comes as Turkmenistan has already asked Uzbekistan to provide border guards to protect Turkmenistan's border.

Moscow has been strengthening its military presence in Tajikistan, so doing so in Turkmenistan is consistent with Russia's policies, even if it's inconsistent with Turkmenistan's policies. Turkmenistan, like the rest of the world, has been watching Russia's actions in Ukraine and Crimea, and learned that once Russian forces gain a foothold in a country, it's impossible to get them to leave. So Turkmenistan's government must be really scared to make that request of Russia.

What concerns everyone most is the threatened rise of terrorist groups linked to the Islamic State (IS or ISIS or ISIL or Daesh) in Central Asia. ISIS has been recruiting in north Afghanistan, and an ISIS invasion into Turkmenistan could create a large refugee problem that would be destabilizing in Central Asia, and would increase xenophobic ethnic violence in Russia itself. Jamestown/Paul Goble

Palestinian Authority joins International Criminal Court

The Palestinian Authority (PA) became a full member of the International Criminal Court (ICC) on Wednesday, with the stated intention of bring war crimes charges against Israel for actions taken during last summer's Gaza war. The PA joined last year with observer status, and is now a full member.

The Palestinians will have to overcome a number of legal hurdles. First, they must convince the ICC that they have jurisdiction. Second, they would have to prove that Israel's targets during the Gaza war were not legitimate military targets, and that the intention was to cause indiscriminate or disproportionate harm to civilians. This would be difficult to prove, since armed Palestinian militias were launching rockets from within the civilian population.

On the other hand, Israel could make a much more straightforward case that Hamas's firing of rockets and missiles at Israeli communities had the intention of causing indiscriminate or disproportionate harm to civilians, especially since Palestinian military leaders have stated on numerous occasions that they consider Israeli civilians to be legitimate military targets. Arab News and Media Line

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 2-Apr-15 World View -- ISIS captures Yarmouk refugee camp, closes in on collapsing al-Assad thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (2-Apr-2015) Permanent Link
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1-Apr-15 World View -- As Yemen war intensifies, Pakistan seems close to sending troops

The Mideast and the world continue to head for a major new war

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Yemen crisis continues growth into major war and humanitarian crisis


Pakistan's Nawaz Sharif shakes hands with Saudi King Salman (The Nation)
Pakistan's Nawaz Sharif shakes hands with Saudi King Salman (The Nation)

The Mideast seems to be settling in for another major war, another major humanitarian crisis, another opportunity for gushing statements by politicians.

Saudi Arabian airstrikes hit the Al-Mazraq refugee camp near Sanaa, killing at least 30 people, including women and children. About 1100 families live in the camp, having fled from the fighting in the last few months.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights is criticizing the Saudis for the air strikes, and the fighting in general, saying that "Increasing hostilities have led to (the) targeting of schools, health facilities and other social infrastructure. ... There are reports of damage to residential areas in different cities, and in Aden, minors have reportedly taken part in the fighting on all sides."

The Saudis have deployed thousands of soldiers to the border with Yemen. Iran-backed Houthi fighters have been clashing with Saudi soldiers on the border between the two countries. There was heavy gunfire as Saudi helicopters flew overhead.

In southeastern Yemen, Houthis are massively attacking Aden, and have approached the strategic Bab el-Mandeb strait that controls access to the Red Sea and the Suez Canal. Egypt's naval ships are shelling Houthi positions to protect the strait.

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein said:

"The situation in Yemen is extremely alarming, with dozens of civilians killed over the past four days. The country seems to be on the verge of total collapse."

AFP and Reuters and CNN

Pakistan debates Saudi Arabia's call for help

It's increasingly clear that the war in Yemen is turning into a major war. There's supposed to be a ten-country coalition fighting against the Houthis in Yemen, but only three countries have seriously committed forces to fighting the Houthis: Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt. The U.S. supports the efforts with intelligence.

Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz al Saud has asked Pakistan's prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, to provide troops from Pakistan's army to aid the Yemen war against the Houthis. Pakistan is officially a sectarian state, but it's 80% Sunni Muslim, and has a history of supporting the Sunnis in the Mideast. Pakistani troops fought in the 1967 Six-Day War between the Arab states and Israel, and the army also came to Saudi Arabia’s aid in 1969 when South Yemen invaded part of the kingdom.

Nawaz Sharif also owes a personal debt of gratitude to the Saudis. When Sharif was prime minister in the late 1990s, he was overthrown in a coup by army general Pervez Musharaff and imprisoned. The Saudis interceded for him, and he went to Saudi Arabia and remained as a guest for several years. Pakistan has also benefitted from its friendship with Saudi Arabia. Pakistan is a poor country, while Saudi Arabia is a wealthy country, and the Saudis have given a great deal of financial and military aid to Pakistan.

So now the Saudis are demanding help in return. According to reports, the Pakistani public is opposed to intervening in Yemen. Pakistan has a long border with Iran, and has tried to maintain cordial relations with Iran, which would not be helped by fighting a proxy war against Iran in Yemen. Internally, Pakistan has suffered thousands of deaths from sectarian terrorist attacks by the Taliban against Shias, and getting involved in a sectarian war in Yemen could exacerbate the sectarian conflict in Pakistan.

Analysts seem to believe that Pakistan has no choice but to yield to King Salman's request. Some reports indicate that several battalions of Pakistani troops are already preparing to travel to Saudi Arabia, or have already arrived.

This is a good time to review Generational Dynamics predictions that I've been posting for ten years:

These predictions seemed unlikely or even fantastical ten years ago, even to me, but today, they're all coming true. These predictions did not come from a crystal ball. They came from an analysis of history using a specific methodology.

Once again, the Generational Dynamics methodology is based on MIT's Systems Dynamics applied to population flows through generations. There is no analyst, politician, web site or journalist with anything close to the predictive success of the Generational Dynamics web site. When I set up my web site in 2003, it was with the specific purpose of providing a place where I could post Generational Dynamics analyses and predictions, so that anyone at any time could look back and see if they turned out to be right or wrong. Now, after 12 years, I can say with confidence that Generational Dynamics has probably turned out to be the most successful predictive and analytical methodology in history, and anyone can look back on the thousands of articles, predictions and analyses that I've posted and judge for themselves. Guardian (London) and The Nation (Pakistan) and Debka (Israel)

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 1-Apr-15 World View -- As Yemen war intensifies, Pakistan seems close to sending troops thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (1-Apr-2015) Permanent Link
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