Generational Dynamics: Forecasting America's Destiny Generational
Dynamics
 Forecasting America's Destiny ... and the World's

 |  HOME  |  WEB LOG  |  COMMENT  |  FORUM  | 
 |  DOWNLOADS  |  FOURTH TURNING ARCHIVE  |  ABOUT  | 

Web Log - September, 2016

Summary

30-Sep-16 World View -- Pakistan expected to retaliate after India invades Pakistani soil in Kashmir

China threatens Japan, South Korea and U.S. all in one day

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Pakistan expected to retaliate after India invades Pakistani soil in Kashmir


Entrance to historic Sikh place of worship in Kashmir
Entrance to historic Sikh place of worship in Kashmir

India's special forces carried out a series of "targeted strikes" early Thursday morning into the Pakistan-controlled region of Kashmir. India's military says that they were targeting several "launching pads" used by Pakistani terrorists as they prepared to cross the line of control (LOC) separating the India-controlled and Pakistan-controlled portions of Kashmir, in order to carry out terrorist attacks. India's military says that dozens of militants were killed.

This is a new escalation in the conflict between India and Pakistan, because it's the first time in recent years that Indian soldiers crossed over into Pakistani territory.

The targeted attacks come just a few days after a major September 18 terrorist attack on an Indian army base in Uri in Kashmir. There was a five-hour firefight, and at least 17 soldiers were killed, as were the militants. This was the worst militant terrorist attack in Kashmir in years.

Indian officials promised retaliation for the Uri attack, and Indian media have been calling for a swift counter-attack. Now that one has occurred, Indian officials are congratulatory. A statement by India's cabinet congratulated the prime minister for "decisively ordering this surgical operation to demolish the bases and camps of those acting with impunity against our citizens," and added, "The operation has been executed with clinical and professional precision by the brave men of the Indian army."

Furious Pakistani officials responded angrily. Pakistan's Minister of Defense Mohammad Khawaja Asif response referred to nuclear weapons:

"We will destroy India if it dares to impose war on us. Pakistan army is fully prepared to answer any misadventure of India. We have not made atomic device to display in a showcase. If such a situation arises we will use it and eliminate India."

A belief that Pakistan could "eliminate India" with nuclear weapons is obviously delusional, and an analysis by an Indian journalist says that India has called "Pakistan's nuclear bluff":

"Pakistan defense minister Mohammad Khwaja's threat to use "tactical" nuclear weapons is not just a case of political hyperbole. The notion that nuclear weapons deter retaliation by the Indian Army while allowing Pakistan to send jihadis to carry out terror strikes in India is a deeply held view in the Pakistani establishment. ...

The Pakistan army's "green books" that detail operational philosophies, conventional and jihadi outfits, like Lashkar and Jaish, and nuclear weapons are a seamless triad. "The Pakistan army is perceived to be the center of gravity...of Pakistan which is backed by irregular forces (like mujahideen) and is reinforced by nuclear weapons," the 2008 edition says.

In crossing the LoC and admitting it, India has taken on this nuclear blackmail, well aware that doing so carries the risk of escalation. "We are ready. The decision to go ahead with military action was taken with the full awareness that overt action can come at a cost," said a senior minister in the know of the operation."

By taunting Pakistan and call its bluff, India is guaranteeing that there will be retaliation.

From the point of view of Generational Dynamics, what we're witnessing here is a series of "regeneracy events" that lead to full-scale warfare. The word "regeneracy" refers to the fact that civic unity is regenerated in each country for the first time since the end of the previous generational crisis war. Each new attack crosses a previously uncrossed red line, and results in retaliation which does the same. These tit-for-tat attacks continue to escalate. In this case, it would mean a major war between two nuclear powers. The use of nuclear weapons by either Pakistan or India would certain being other countries into the war, if it hasn't happened already. This is one of the scenarios that could lead to a new world war in the next year or two. Indian Express and International Business Times and AFP and Pakistan Today

Related Articles

China threatens Japan, South Korea and U.S. all in one day

South Korea continues to make plans to deploy an advanced American-supplied Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) defensive missile system -- for protection from missiles launched from North Korea or China.

China has demanded that the deployment be cancelled, and on Thursday announced that it "means what it says" when it says it will consider countermeasures against the planned U.S. deployment.

Meanwhile, Japan is strengthening its ties with Vietnam and the Philippines in common defense against China's use of military force in the South China Sea and East China Sea. In particular, China is using military force to illegally annex regions in the South China Sea belonging to other countries, according to a judgment by United Nations Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) in the Hague.

Japan has announced that it will step up activity in the South China Sea through joint training patrols with the United States.

On Thursday, China's Defense Ministry spokesman said:

"We must solemnly tell Japan this is a miscalculation. If Japan wants to have joint patrols or drills in waters under Chinese jurisdiction this really is playing with fire. China's military will not sit idly by."

So, Thursday was a busy day in Asia. India's special forces invaded Pakistani-controlled Kashmir, Pakistan promised retaliation, and China threatened South Korea, the United States, and Japan. Reuters and Reuters

Related Articles

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 30-Sep-16 World View -- Pakistan expected to retaliate after India invades Pakistani soil in Kashmir thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (30-Sep-2016) Permanent Link
Receive daily World View columns by e-mail
Donate to Generational Dynamics via PayPal

29-Sep-16 World View -- Wells Fargo receives laughable 'punishment' for massive criminal fraud

Reasons given why no criminal prosecutions of bankers for criminal fraud

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Wells Fargo found to have defrauded millions of customers


Wells Fargo branch in New York (AP)
Wells Fargo branch in New York (AP)

An audit consulting firm has determined that Wells Fargo opened over 1.5 million "ghost" bank accounts in the name of customers who didn't even know about it.

Apparently the way it worked was as follows:

This wasn't one or two rogue employees. This was thousands of employees defrauding millions of customers. The size of this fraud is mind-boggling. The number of crooked employees is staggering. The number of defrauded customers is beyond belief.

And yet it's clear that nobody will go to jail. The crooked employees will keep their huge bonuses, and even if they've been fired, they'll be perfectly free to go on to other jobs and defraud other people, because with the rise of Generation-X, fraud has essentially become a free crime.

Wells Fargo was fined $185 million by the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau. Wells Fargo's net income in the second quarter was $5.6 billion, so the fine is just 3.3% of one quarter's net income (or less than 1% of annual income). Wells Fargo's CEO John Stumpf was fired and fined $41 million, but that leaves him with more than $100 million in company stock and millions in salary.

I've already used the words "mind-boggling," "staggering" and "beyond belief," so there are no words left to describe the enormity of this farce. Bankers can get away with almost anything today, with no punishment except sometimes to give back a small portion of their fraudulent gains, and then they're free to go to the next fraud.

I've written about this many times in the past. First there was the "financial crisis" of the mid-2000s decade. That was created by Gen-Xers who poured out of colleges in the 1990s with masters degrees in financial engineering. Those crooks knowingly created tens of trillions of dollars in fraudulent securities, and sold them to investors knowing that they were defrauding the investors.

And not a single goddam one of these crooks has gone to jail or even been criminally prosecuted.

Instead, President Obama's Department of Justice adamantly refused to prosecute these crooks, but instead chose to accept billions of dollars in campaign contributions from the very banks that had made trillions of dollars fraudulently, putting millions of people into bankruptcy or homelessness after being unable to pay their sub-prime mortgages. I've never believed this massive level of government corruption was possible in America, but it's happening.

In 2010, congressional Financial Crisis Inquiry hearings provide 'smoking gun' evidence of widespread criminal fraud. I expected investigations and prosecutions to begin at that time, but there were none. In fact, as described in the movie "The Big Short," the crooks were financial rewarded by the administration for their criminal fraud.

I've written many, many times, that the failure of the administration to criminally prosecute these crooked backs would leave the same bankers in the same jobs finding other ways to defraud people. That's exactly what's happened. The massive Wells Fargo frauds began in 2011, according to reports. The massive Libor and Forex rate-rigging began around the same time.

I believe that when the 2010 Financial Crisis Inquiry hearings were completed and the crooked bankers were rewarded instead of being prosecuted, it was a signal to bankers that they could do anything they wanted, with impunity. This does not mean all bankers, of course, but it means a significant minority.

As for bankers, I remember when I was growing up in the 1950s how much my mother hated bankers, and thought they were all crooks. Bankers seemed like nice people to me, so I never understood why she felt that way. But I understand now. She had grown up in the 1930s, a time when bankers were just as crooked as they are today.

If you'd like to take a few moments for some musical entertainment, then listen to the song "Little Tin Box" from the 1959 Broadway Musical Fiorello!, about how 1930s politicians made millions of dollars and claimed they did it by saving their pennies in a "Little Tin Box." YouTube: Fiorello - 'Little Tin Box' - original Broadway version and CNN and LA Times

Related Articles

Reasons given why no criminal prosecutions of bankers for criminal fraud

In reading and listening to news reports on the financial crisis, reasons are sometimes given for why no one has been criminally prosecuted. Above, I gave what I think is the real reasons -- federal government corruption. But mainstream media reporters don't want to criticize this administration, so they look for other reasons.

"All the banking laws were repealed by the Clinton and Bush administrations, so they can't be prosecuted."

The laws on criminal fraud have never been repealed. The 2010 congressional Financial Crisis Inquiry hearings found "smoking gun" evidence of criminal fraud.

"If bankers are prosecuted, then banks will become unable to do business, because they'll be unable to hire the right talent for the most difficult jobs."

Believe it or not, I've actually seen this utterly moronic reason given for why bankers weren't prosecuted. Of course talented people will want to work for banks -- to get those 6 and 7 digit salaries, and also to get HONEST bonuses.

"Sometimes building a strong case against individuals can be difficult given how big and complicated banks are, and sometimes, even when there is evidence, that evidence points not to the C-suite suits, but middle-manager types."

So what? If some "middle-manager types" are prosecuted, then other "middle-manager types" will fear committing more crimes. As I said, I believe that the failure to prosecute after the 2010 congressional hearings was a signal to bankers that they could do anything they wanted, with impunity.

Second, prosecuting "middle-manager types" allows for discovery, and allows for getting low-level employees to turn on their bosses, so that "the C-suite suits" can be prosecuted as well.

These reasons all miss the major point: that the Wells Fargo, Libor, Forex and other banking scams came about because bankers knew that they could do anything they wanted, and the worst that would happen is that they'd have to give up a small portion of their fraudulent gains.

New York Magazine quotes Notre Dame law professor Jimmy Gurulé in listing many recent instances of banks engaging in massive criminal activity, and coming away only with monetary punishments:

"To take just a handful of them: In 2012, Standard Chartered was found to have violated the U.S.’s economics sanctions by moving hundreds of billions of dollars for Iran, and settled for $330 million. In 2012, federal investigators found that HSBC had, as the Times put it, “transferred billions of dollars for nations under United States sanctions, enabled Mexican drug cartels to launder tainted money through the American financial system, and worked closely with Saudi Arabian banks linked to terrorist organizations.” HSBC paid $1.92 billion. Then there was Barclays in 2010 — a fine of $298 million for illegal dealings with Cuba, Iran, Libya, Sudan, and Myanmar (before reluctantly approving the settlement, the judge in that case called it a “sweetheart deal”). Also, Credit Suisse in 2009: it settled for $536 million in connection with similar charges."

So if you're a banker, then what's the point of being honest? You can get away with anything you want, and you won't be prosecuted. It's mind-boggling. Washington Post and New York Magazine

Related Articles

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 29-Sep-16 World View -- Wells Fargo receives laughable 'punishment' for massive criminal fraud thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (29-Sep-2016) Permanent Link
Receive daily World View columns by e-mail
Donate to Generational Dynamics via PayPal

28-Sep-16 World View -- As ISIS loses territory, it turns increasingly to terrorism

Pyrrhic victory over ISIS could create a 'terrorist diaspora'

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

ISIS losing territory in Iraq and Syria


Smoke rising from a burning oil well in the town of Qayyara as set on fire by ISIS as they fled the town (Rudaw)
Smoke rising from a burning oil well in the town of Qayyara as set on fire by ISIS as they fled the town (Rudaw)

Ever since the so-called Islamic State (IS or ISIS or ISIL or Daesh) shocked the entire Mideast by capturing Mosul in Iraq in June, 2014, it's been an important objective of Iraq's army to recapture Mosul, and indeed it's been an important objective of the Iraqis, Kurds, Turks and Syrians to stop the spread of ISIS.

Iraq's Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi has repeatedly said that he wants the army to begin to take Mosul back from ISIS before the end of 2016. Other analysts say that 2016 is unrealistic, but recapturing Mosul during 2017 is realistic.

At one time, ISIS controlled huge swaths of territory in Syria and Iraq, and seemed unstoppable. But in the last year, ISIS has suffered some significant defeats.

Iraq's army and Shia militias backed by the U.S. led air coalition have successfully driven ISIS out of Tikrit, Ramadi and Fallujah during 2016. The also recaptured Shargat and Qayyara, two oil rich towns in northern Iraq. Kurdish forces drove ISIS out of southern Kirkuk’s Hamrin and Hijel oilfields. ISIS had depended on oil for a large part of its income, ISIS no longer holds an oil well in Iraq, which has severely weakened its finances.

ISIS has also suffered badly in Syria. ISIS had controlled Manbij and Jarabulus in Syria along the border with Turkey, allowing ISIS to move people and supplies back and forth across the border. Kurdish forces recaptured both cities in a month-long push. But then Turkey invaded Syria in Operation Euphrates Shield, and drove the Kurds out of both cities.

Some analysts and politicians are saying that, after so many defeats, ISIS is close to total defeat, especially after Mosul is recaptured.

However, Mosul may be a lot harder to recapture than analysts expect. Mosul has a population of over 2 million people, almost all Sunni Muslims and ethnic Iraqis. This means that both Shia militias and Kurdish militias will be reluctant to take part in the military operations.

Even more important is that fact that ISIS is expected to "fight to the last man." In the smaller cities, ISIS forces simply fled as the opposing armies approached. But Mosul is preparing for a major defense of its control of Mosul. ISIS has built huge walls in Mosul's airport, to prevent landings. It has fortified routes into the city by digging vast trenches that could be filled with oil and set alight. And it is digging vast networks of tunnels across the city where they can hide from enemy fire.

The battle to recapture Mosul is expected to be very big and very bloody. Already a major new flood refugees are fleeing from Mosul, and there may be a major new humanitarian disaster in progress in the next few months. Guardian (London, 7-Sep) and Rudaw (Iraq-Kurdish) and Independent (London)

Related Articles

Pyrrhic victory over ISIS could create a 'terrorist diaspora'

A "Pyrrhic victory" is a victory, but one that comes at too great a cost. After King Pyrrhus of Epirus defeated the Romans in 279 BC, the losses were so great that he's quoted as saying, "One more victory against the Romans and we will be ruined."

Many people fear that the defeat of ISIS could be a Pyrrhic victory. This was most clearly stated on Tuesday by FBI Directory James Comey, who said:

"The so-called caliphate will be crushed. The challenge will be: Through the fingers of that crush are going to come hundreds of very, very dangerous people. They will not all die on the battlefield in Syria and Iraq. There will be a terrorist diaspora sometime in the next two to five years like we've never seen before. ...

We must prepare ourselves and our allies particularly in western Europe to confront that threat because when ISIL is reduced to an insurgency and those killers flow out they will try to come to western Europe and try to come here to kill innocent people."

There are tens of thousands of jihadists in ISIS, having come from over 80 countries around the world to fight Syria's president Bashar al-Assad. Crushing the ISIS "caliphate" will be a great victory, for which politicians will heartily congratulate themselves and take credit, but there will still be tens of thousands of jihadists. Some will remain in Syria and Iraq, but as we've been writing since 2012, thousands of them will return to their home countries, including America and Europe, create, as Comey said, "a terrorist diaspora like we've never seen before." UPI

Related Articles

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 28-Sep-16 World View -- As ISIS loses territory, it turns increasingly to terrorism thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (28-Sep-2016) Permanent Link
Receive daily World View columns by e-mail
Donate to Generational Dynamics via PayPal

27-Sep-16 World View -- US, UK, UN officials accuse Syria and Russia of barbarism and war crimes

Comparisons of Syria civil war to Sri Lanka civil war

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Russian warplanes drop phosphorus bombs and bunker buster bombs on Aleppo


White helmet workers in Aleppo find a small child in the rubble after a bombing (CNN)
White helmet workers in Aleppo find a small child in the rubble after a bombing (CNN)

In 2015, Syria's army suffered a string of defeats, and even al-Assad admitted that his army was in danger of collapse. That was turned around when Russia fully entered the war in September of last year.

Earlier this year on March 15, Russia's president Vladimir Putin announced that most of Russia's forces in Syria would be withdrawn because "the objectives set before the Defense Ministry and the Armed Forces have on the whole been achieved."

Russia has been forced to reverse this withdrawal, as Bashar al-Assad's Syrian army appeared last month once again to be collapsing. Furthermore, Turkey has invaded Syria with "Operation Euphrates Shield," and is setting up a growing "safe zone" in Syria along Turkey's border that will not easily be displaced. Other regions of Syria are being controlled by the Kurds, by the so-called Islamic State (IS or ISIS or ISIL or Daesh), and by Jabhat al-Nusra (al-Nusra Front, now Jabhat Fateh al-Sham or JFS). I heard one analyst say that Al-Assad is being reduced to be ruler of "Alawite-istan," meaning that al-Assad, an Alawite, may end up being president of only a small portion of Syria along the Mediterranean Sea.

Hoping to prevent complete disaster for al-Assad, Russia is back with more force than ever, and with bigger weapons than ever -- phosphorous incendiary bombs that suffocate people by sucking up all the oxygen, cluster munitions, and huge "bunker buster" bombs that penetrate deep underground by punching holes in concrete before detonating, bringing down whole buildings.

Some reports indicate that the Russians have targeted hospitals whose operating rooms have moved to the basement for safety, but are now vulnerable to bunker buster bombs. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said, "Let us remember: the fighting has forced hospitals and schools to operate in basements. These bombs are not busting bunkers; they are demolishing ordinary people looking for any last refuge of safety." Foreign Policy and Daily Mail (London)

Related Articles

Comparisons of Syria civil war to Sri Lanka civil war

I heard an analyst today compare the war in Syria to the Sri Lanka civil war. From the point of view of Generational Dynamics, that comparison does not hold up. In fact, the situation is Syria is almost the exact opposite of the situation in Sri Lanka in 2009.

As long-time readers may recall, as the Sri Lanka civil war approached a climax in May 2009, every news organization and analyst that reported on the civil war were predicting that the civil war would continue on for months or years, because it had already gone on for 26 years.

As far as I know, every analysis in the world was wrong except the Generational Dynamics analysis. As I had been saying for months earlier, the Sri Lanka civil war was a generational crisis war, headed for an explosive climax, and when that climax was finally reached, then the war would be over once and for all. The comparison I made was to the surrender of Berlin and Tokyo that ended World War II once and for all.

In January 2008, the low-level violence turned into a full scale generational crisis war, as we reported at the time. Finally, in May 2009, the Sinhalese army trapped the Tamil Tiger militants in a U.N.-declared "safe zone" and slaughtered them, including a number of civilians, although 50,000 civilians that had been trapped there were freed. That was the end of the war.

This analyst said that al-Assad and Putin expect a similar outcome in Syria from the current flattening of Aleppo. This is close to being delusional.

The Syria war is an Awakening era war, and they following a predictable pattern that I've described many times in countries like Burundi, Thailand, Zimbabwe, South Sudan, and others. The Syria war should have fizzled in 2011 or 2012, but continued only because of the depraved violence of Bashar al-Assad, backed up force from Iran and Hezbollah, and especially by massive flattening of civilian neighborhoods by Russian bombs.

The pattern for an Awakening era war is that it runs for a while, then it stops because of some kind of peace agreement, then picks up again a few months or years later. The primary pattern of an Awakening era war is this alternation between conflict and "peace" -- where the peace is characterized by peaceful demonstrations and protests.

The bombing of Aleppo does not change that fundamental pattern. World War II ended with the fall of Berlin, and with the nuking of Japanese cities. The Sri Lanka war ended with the trapping and slaughter of the Tamil Tiger rebels. But none of that is true in Aleppo.

Consider the statistic that some 600 civilians in Aleppo were killed over the weekend. That's a lot of civilians, but that kind of slaughter isn't enough to stop the Kurds, ISIS, al-Nusra or Turkey. There are over 200,000 civilians living in Aleppo, and Russia's phosphorous incendiary bombs, cluster munitions, and "bunker buster" bombs are not going to end the war.

At times like this I become philosophical. If policy makers and politicians understood generational theory, then they wouldn't make so many stupid mistakes. But one can't expect delusional leaders like al-Assad and Putin to act rationally, unfortunately. Al Jazeera

Related Articles

US, UK, UN officials accuse Syria and Russia of barbarism and war crimes

Relations between Russia and the West reached a vitriolic height at an emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council on Sunday. In the past, Western politicians diplomatically refrained from criticizing Russia, in the hope from bringing peace to Syria. But Western officials have been made fools of so many times, and the Syrian war has been such a geopolitical disaster that Western officials no longer see the point of being diplomatic.

Samantha Power, the US Ambassador to the UN accused Sergei Lavrov, the Russian Ambassador to the UN, of repeated lying. She added:

"What Russia is sponsoring and doing is not counterterrorism, it is barbarism. Instead of pursuing peace, Russia and Assad make war. Instead of helping get life-saving aid to civilians, Russia and Assad are bombing the humanitarian convoys, hospitals and first responders who are trying desperately to keep people alive."

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said he was "appalled" by the military escalation and that the use of bunker-busting bombs "brings the violence to new depths of barbarity."

Matthew Rycroft, Britain's ambassador to the UN, said:

"After five years of conflict, you might think that the regime has had its fill of barbarity -- that its sick bloodlust against its own people has finally run its course.

But this weekend, the regime and Russia have instead plunged to new depths and unleashed a new hell on Aleppo. This isn't Pompeii."

Sergei Lavrov said that the Western accusations were an attempt to deflect attention from last week's accidental bombing of a Syrian army unit:

"I would like to emphasize that the Americans and their Western allies, for one thing, want to distract public attention from what had happened in Deir Ezzor."

Syrian officials later said that the Deir Ezzor bombing was "intentional."

Russian spokesman Dmitry Peskov expressed outrage at the charges of barbarism and war crimes directed at Russia:

"We note the overall unacceptable tone and rhetoric of the representatives of the United Kingdom and the United States, which can damage and harm our relations."

It's particularly ironic for Peskov to worry about damaging and harming Russia's relations with the West.

Guardian (London) and CNN and Russia Today

Related Articles

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 27-Sep-16 World View -- US, UK, UN officials accuse Syria and Russia of barbarism and war crimes thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (27-Sep-2016) Permanent Link
Receive daily World View columns by e-mail
Donate to Generational Dynamics via PayPal

26-Sep-16 World View -- Murder of Jordan writer exposes fault line between secularists and Muslim Brotherhood

Writer Nahed Hattar, accused of blasphemy, gunned down in Amman, Jordan

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Writer Nahed Hattar, accused of blasphemy, gunned down in Amman, Jordan


A mourner holds up a photo of Nahed Hattar, who was murdered on Sunday (Reuters)
A mourner holds up a photo of Nahed Hattar, who was murdered on Sunday (Reuters)

Nahed Hattar, 56, a controversial satirical writer in Jordan, was gunned down on Sunday in front of a courthouse where he had been on trial for blasphemy for posting a cartoon deemed offensive to Islam. He was shot by Riad Abdullah, 49, a conservative Muslim and former imam, thought to be a supporter of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Hattar, self-described as a Christian atheist, was arrested on August 15 on charges of insulting religion in a satirical cartoon posted on Facebook. He intended for his cartoon to expose the hypocrisy of jihadists in the so-called Islamic State (IS or ISIS or ISIL or Daesh). The cartoon was captioned "In paradise," and depicted an ISIS jihadist in a tent in bed with two woman.

A bearded Allah opens the flap of the tent, and has this conversation with the jihadist:

Allah: “May your evening be joyous, Abu Saleh, do you need anything?”

Jihadist: “Yes Lord, bring me the glass of wine from over there and tell Jibril [the Angel Gabriel] to bring me some cashews. After that send me an eternal servant to clean the floor and take the empty plates with you.”

Jihadist continues: “Don’t forget to put a door on the tent so that you knock before you enter next time, your gloriousness.”

The phrase "Your gloriousness" ("Subhanekh") is considered insulting because it's a play on the word for "Glory be to Allah" ("Subhanallah"). To see the actual cartoon, click on the "Clarion Project" link below.

Hattar was extremely controversial not only because he was a secularist and an atheist, but also because he was a strong supporter of Syria's president Bashar al-Assad, and a critic of ISIS and al-Qaeda.

So far, Jordan has escaped the worst of the sectarian and ethnic violence that has occurred in other Mideast countries, although there have been some terrorist acts. The worst so far was an ISIS suicide car bombing near the Syrian border in June, killing seven Jordanian soldiers. Jordan reacted by closing the border with Syria.

Because of the blatant nature of Sunday's attack in the heart of Amman, Jordan's capital city, it's feared that sectarian tensions between secularists and Islamists will increase, triggering tit-for-tat revenge attacks. Jordan Times and AP and Clarion Project (15-Aug)

Related Articles

Nahed Hattar shooting exposes Jordan's secularist vs Muslim Brotherhood fault line

The family of Nahed Hattar is blaming his murder on Jordan's prime minister, Hani Mulki, for bringing him to trial on blasphemy charges in the first place, and for not protecting him from extremists. In a statement, the family said, "Many fanatics wrote on social media calling for his killing and lynching, and the government did nothing against them."

In the aftermath of the shooting, Mulki and his cabinet were forced to resign. However, the King Abdullah of Jordan asked Mulki to stay on as a caretaker, and then to form a new government with a new cabinet.

However, Jordanian society is deeply split. Muslim Brotherhood MP Dima Tahboub wrote, "Seculars are the downfall of our society."

One analyst said, "I am deeply disturbed by what has happened today, and even more by the fact that some people are celebrating the murder on social media."

Other tweets include the following:

"The ugliness that lurks within the Jordanian masses rears its head in the response to the assassination of #NahedHattar."

"To hell and good riddance, God bless the shooter, (We) are a people God is proud of."

"I disagree with Nahed Hattar’s ideas, but I’m afraid for my country and my children after seeing all the tweets that have come out welcoming his killing!"

Jordan's King Abdullah was interviewed on Sunday on CBS's 60 Minutes, but the interview had been recorded before Hattar's murder. Petra (Jordan government) and Al Bawaba and Middle East Eye and 60 Minutes

Related Articles

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 26-Sep-16 World View -- Murder of Jordan writer exposes fault line between secularists and Muslim Brotherhood thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (26-Sep-2016) Permanent Link
Receive daily World View columns by e-mail
Donate to Generational Dynamics via PayPal

25-Sep-16 World View -- US will deport tens of thousands of Haitian immigrants surging toward California

Illinois Rep Luis V. Gutiérrez demands special status for Ecuadorians

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Surge of nearly 40,000 Haitians on their way to California


From 2004 - Poor neighborhood in Haiti
From 2004 - Poor neighborhood in Haiti

Sarah Saldaña, Director of U.S Immigration and Customs Enforcement said that new figures indicate that 40,000 Haitians are on their way to the Mexican border with the United States. Most are headed for Tijuana, from where they expect to cross the border legally to San Diego, California. Once in the United States, they travel to established Haitian communities in New York and Miami.

Following the enormous January 2010 earthquake in Haiti, the US granted Haitian nationals "Temporary Protected Status (TPS)," which permits them to live and work in the United States without being subject to deportation.

The following table shows the number of undocumented Haitians arriving in San Diego and Miami as of August 31, 2016:

Year  San Diego   Miami
----  --------    -----
2014    479        249
2015    339        266
2016  4,346        216

There is already an emergency situation on the San Diego border, where 4,346 Haitians have arrived so far this year, while only 216 arrived in all of last year. Saldaña says that information from Central American countries indicates that tens of thousands more are en route. According to Saldaña, many Haitians have been working in Brazil and other South American countries, but are now out of work because of severe economic downturns.

Up until Thursday, Haitians presenting themselves at the US border were allowed into the US under the TPS humanitarian program. But as of Thursday, Haitians seeking entry now are subject to a fast-track process called Expedited Removal that entails immediate detention, likely followed by deportation.

However, that plan will require cooperation with the government of Haiti, which has yet to make a statement. It's unclear what will happen if Haiti refuses to accept deported immigrants. Even before the earthquake, Haiti was one of the poorest countries in the world, and it still hasn't recovered from the earthquake. Furthermore, Haiti's government is in chaos, run by acting president Jocelerme Privert after Michel Martelly stepped down as president without a successor. Haiti Libre and LA Times and US Dept. of Homeland Security and Haiti Libre

Related Articles

How Haitians travel to the United States

Research gathered by the Miami Herald shows the path that Haitians take to arrive in the US. The travel begins with a plane trip to Rio de Janeiro in southern Brazil, and continues through 12 countries:

That's how it used to work, until Thursday. Starting then, the Haitians crossing the border are held in detention until a hearing can be held, after which they'll be deported. Miami Herald

Related Articles

Illinois Rep Luis V. Gutiérrez demands TPS status for Ecuadorians

A strong earthquake struck Ecuador on April 16 of this year, killing 700, with thousands injured and homeless, leading to demands that Ecuadorians be given the same Temporary Protected Status (TPS) that was granted to Haitians after their 2011 earthquake. According to government figures, there are more than 200,000 undocumented Ecuadoreans in the U.S. among the one million Ecuadoreans residing in the country. Many of those would benefit from the TPS if granted.

Besides Haiti, several Latin American countries have TPS status. El Salvador has had TPS status since 2001 because of a devastating earthquake. Nicaragua and Honduras have had TPS status since a hurricane that happened 18 years ago.

According to a statement by Rep. Luis V. Gutiérrez (D-IL):

"My constituents and I would greatly appreciate knowing what exactly the State Department recommended to DHS on this matter,” the Congressman wrote today to Secretary Kerry. “In the interests of transparency, especially for the numerous Ecuadorian nationals living in the U.S. and those U.S. citizens with strong ties to Ecuador, I urge you to make public the recommendation that was made by State to DHS regarding TPS… Citizens of Ecuador and citizens of the United States deserve to know how the U.S. government is deliberating – or failing to deliberate – a TPS designation."

Gutiérrez added that "People’s lives hang in the balance." Lawndale (Ill) News (1-Sep) and Telesur TV (18-May-2016) and US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 25-Sep-16 World View -- US will deport tens of thousands of Haitian immigrants surging toward California thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (25-Sep-2016) Permanent Link
Receive daily World View columns by e-mail
Donate to Generational Dynamics via PayPal

24-Sep-16 World View -- Syria's al-Assad goes for the kill, turning Aleppo and civilians to bloody rubble

Responses to reader comments

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Syria's al-Assad goes for the kill, turning Aleppo and civilians to bloody rubble


Aftermath of bombing in Aleppo on Friday (AP)
Aftermath of bombing in Aleppo on Friday (AP)

US Secretary of State John Kerry has once again been the major instigator and Russia's useful idiot for what has turned out to be a new foreign policy farce for the Obama administration. As I wrote when the ceasefire agreement was first announced, just a few days ago, ceasefire agreements in the middle of a war are almost always worthless, and this one was particularly farcical because Syria's president Bashar al-Assad has repeatedly made clear that's he's going to massacre all the "terrorists," by which he means all Sunni Muslim civilians, including women and children. A real ceasefire would give new life to the residents of Aleppo, and al-Assad wants them dead, not alive. So there was literally a zero probability that the ceasefire would last.

The particular event that signaled the failure of this ceasefire was the missile attack, by either Syrian or Russian warplanes, on a truck convoy that was delivering food, water, medicines, and other humanitarian aid to east Aleppo.

Right off, we can see what a farce this is. Al-Assad doesn't want a humanitarian aid cargo to reach east Aleppo. There are hundreds of thousands of civilians there, and al-Assad wants them all dead. So of course he was going to make sure that the aid convoy didn't reach them. This is not rocket science. The warplanes destroyed 18 of 31 trucks in the convoy.

Immediately we had to listen to the moronic statements of Bashar al-Assad and Russia's foreign minister Sergei Lavrov, claiming that nothing had happened, or that the "terrorists" had bombed the trucks, or that an American drone had struck the convoy with missiles.

At an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council, Secretary of State John Kerry mocked and made fun of Syrian and Russian excuses:

"According to spokesman Igor Konashenkov, I quote, "Neither Russia nor Syria conducted air strikes on the UN humanitarian convey in the suburb on the outskirts of Aleppo." That's a quote.

Then Komashenkov went further, and he said "The damage to the convoy was a direct result of the cargo catching fire." The trucks and foods and the medicine just spontaneously combusted. Anybody here believe that? I mean this is not a joke. We're in serious business here."

Kerry waved his arms in the air to emphasize the idiocy of the suggestion that 18 of 31 trucks were destroyed by spontaneous combustion. But this is the level of discourse that's filling the halls of the United Nations, rapidly turning into the most useless organization in the world.

And we have to ask what the hell Kerry thinks he's doing. Kerry must have known that the ceasefire would quickly fail, as it did. Kerry must have known that the Syrians and Russians would use the ceasefire as an opportunity to reorganize and rearm in preparation for the end of the ceasefire. Kerry must have known the Syrians and the Russians were making a complete fool out of him.

The most likely explanation is that Kerry still hopes that the loons in Sweden will give him the Nobel Peace Prize when they announce it October 7. They gave it to Obama in 2009 "for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples."

So why not? If Kerry stumbles and lurches from one failed policy to the next, all in the name of "peace," then why shouldn't the Swedish loons give it to Kerry for exactly the same reason: "for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples" -- even though all such efforts have been absurd failures.

On Friday, Syrian and Russian warplanes appeared to be closing in for the kill. Hundreds of missiles and barrel bombs rained down on eastern Aleppo, turning many neighborhoods to rubble mixed with blood and body parts. Washington Post and CNN

Related Articles

Responses to reader comments

"The Syrian government is working with the terrorist group Hezbollah, a sworn enemy of Israel."

This is a very good point that isn't mentioned enough. Hezbollah, Bashar al-Assad, and Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei are all committed to the destruction of Israel.

"Give it up Breitbart, We the people don't want a war with Syria. Let Saudi Arabia and Israel fight they're own wars for the pipeline. The lives of are sons and daughters should not be sacrificed for globalist!"

One of the bitter ironies of the way the world works is that war is rarely a choice. The United States has mutual defense treaties with many countries: Japan, South Korea, Israel, Taiwan, the Philippines, the Marshall Islands, the ANZUS agreement with Australia and New Zealand, a special treaty with Iceland, and the NATO agreement with all of Europe.

Even more important, there are a lot of people, in America and in the world, who believe in American Exceptionalism, and who truly believe that America has a moral obligation, or even an obligation dictated by God, to do the right thing, so we won't stay out of a war very long.

"Of all the players in the Syrian conflict, Erdogan is the most culpable. Assad being an Alawite, and therefore an infidel in Sunni eyes, the Gulf Arabs put up the funding and Erdogan the logistical support for an armed uprising against him. Turkey provided free passage for ISIS volunteers, training, and medical support. Turkey bought ISIS oil and passed on Gulf money. But Erdogan has a problem. He hates the Kurds even more than he hates Assad. And Russia supports Assad. So he is putting off the removal of Assad for now, the better to deal with his own Kurds, and those in Syria and Iraq."

This simply doesn't make any sense.

Recall that early in 2011, Turkey and Syria were allies. The historic enmity between Alawites and Sunnis was put aside, and Turkey's prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan considered Bashar al-Assad to be a friend. Hamas had its headquarters office in Damascus, with the support and protection of al-Assad. Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Iran, Hamas, Hezbollah were all uneasy allies, but allies nonetheless, with only one common enemy: Israel.

Then al-Assad started exterminating peaceful anti-government protesters. Imagine if President Obama sent out warplanes to kill peaceful protesters on the Washington Mall, then you can understand the shock throughout the region to al-Assad's depraved violence.

The real turning point came in August, when al-Assad started a massive military assault on a large, peaceful Palestinian refugee camp in Latakia, filled with tens of thousands of women and children Palestinians. The US State Department called the attacks "abhorrent and repulsive."

Turkey's Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu issued a stark warning to Syrian authorities to immediately halt military operations across the country, or Turkey would "take steps," although those steps were not specified:

"If these operations do not stop there will be nothing left to say about the steps that would be taken. This is our final word to the Syrian authorities, our first expectation is that these operations stop immediately and unconditionally.

In the context of human rights this cannot be seen as a domestic issue."

Turkey never took direct military action against Syria (until 2016 with Operation Euphrates Shield), but the attack on the refugee camp completely changed Mideast politics. Turkey began turning against al-Assad, reviving the old Alawite-Sunni fault line. Hamas withdrew its headquarters from Damascus and moved it to Qatar. The Saudis and Turks began supporting "moderate" Syrian opposition rebels, some of whom aligned themselves with al-Qaeda as the al-Nusra Front. Tens of thousands of jihadists from dozens of countries around the world started pouring into Syria to fight al-Assad, later forming themselves into the so-called Islamic State (IS or ISIS or ISIL or Daesh).

It's now five years later, and it's almost beyond belief how Bashar al-Assad, with the support of Russia, Hezbollah and Iran, has caused the greatest geopolitical disaster of the 21st century so far. Syria itself is turning into rubble, but al-Assad's disaster goes well beyond Syria's borders. Sectarian tensions are at a fever pitch, with Iran and Saudi Arabia close to war. Al-Assad has created millions of refugees, flooding into neighboring countries and Europe.

So Erdogan did not foment an armed uprising against al-Assad. Al-Assad did that all by himself by his extermination of peaceful protesters, with a major turning point at his massive military attack on the Palestinian refugee camp in Latakia.

Related Articles

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 24-Sep-16 World View -- Syria's al-Assad goes for the kill, turning Aleppo and civilians to bloody rubble thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (24-Sep-2016) Permanent Link
Receive daily World View columns by e-mail
Donate to Generational Dynamics via PayPal

23-Sep-16 World View -- US and Turkey headed for collision in Syria

A major new flood of refugees starting to flee from Mosul in Iraq

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Turkey's Erdogan blames the EU for reneging on the refugee deal


Refugees in a refugee center south of Mosul, February 14, 2016 (Reuters)
Refugees in a refugee center south of Mosul, February 14, 2016 (Reuters)

In his speech to the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday, Turkey's president Recep Tayyip Erdogan blamed the European Union for not fulfilling its commitments in the EU-Turkey refugee deal:

"As a response to this, the promises made by the EU to Turkey were unfortunately not been kept. ...

Turkey was left alone since the beginning of Syrian conflict and once again I think we are facing the same consequence. ...

As Turkey, with a humanitarian-centered approach, we have kept our borders wide open to those fleeing tyranny and oppression. ...

In a world, where babies are murdered, no one can remain innocent. We should immediately, promptly and resolutely take action to stop this crisis, otherwise we won't have the opportunity to explain to the future generations why we were delayed in our actions."

Erdogan's point is that Turkey is hosting three million refugees from Syria and Iraq, but European Union promises of aid have not been kept, leaving Turkey to solve this overwhelming problem on its own, despite the help that Turkey has given to Europe in dramatically slowing the flow of refugees across the Aegean Sea to Europe. Anadolu (Ankara) and Al Monitor

With Turkey 'left alone,' Erdogan announces refugee plan conflicting with US plans

In his UN speech, Turkey's president Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that Turkey has been "left alone," and he made it clear that Turkey is now going to solve its overwhelming refugee problem in its own way, but that way could put it into direct conflict with US plans in Syria.

Turkey's invasion of Syria, called "Operation Euphrates Shield," has created a "safe zone" of about 900 square kilometers (560 square miles).

In his speech, Erdogan announced plans to increase the size of the "safe zone" to 5,000 square kilometers (3,100 square miles), and he stated three goals:

The expanded safe zone would be controlled by Turkey, and would achieve another major objective not mentioned: preventing the Kurds from controlling a long strip of land along Turkey's border, stretching almost all the way from the Mediterranean in the west to Iraq in the east. The safe zone would push the Kurds south and east, keeping them far from Turkey's border.

Erdogan's objectives would appear to be well coordinated with the US, but drilling down into the details reveals big conflicts.

The city of Raqqa in Syria is the de facto capital of the so-called Islamic State (IS or ISIS or ISIL or Daesh). The US military is preparing a campaign to be launched in October to recapture Raqqa from ISIS. The US plans to directly arm the Syrian Kurds to fight ISIS in Raqqa.

However, Turkey considers the Syrian Kurdish militias to be terrorist groups, linked to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). The PKK has conducted several large terrorist attacks in Turkey in the last year, they are considered a terror group by the US and the EU. So Turkey wants nothing to do with the Kurdish militias in Syria, and strongly opposes the US plan to arm them. ARA News (Syria-Kurdish) and Daily Sabah (Ankara) and Reuters

Related Stories

A major new flood of refugees starting to flee from Mosul in Iraq

A major new humanitarian disaster appears to be imminent in Iraq, as over a million refugees may flee Mosul as Iraqi forces begin an extremely bloody battle to evict ISIS from Mosul.

Many of the refugees are expected to flee to Kurdistan, the Kurdish-controlled area of Iraq. Kurdistan currently hosts more than 1.8 million refugees, and another half-million or more refugees pouring into Kurdistan would completely overwhelm its ability to feed and provide shelter. The UK has already promised to give $52 million to Iraq, ahead of the Mosul offensive, to prepare for the influx, but Kurdish officials say that billions more in aid are needed. Fox News and ARA News and Al Arabiya

Related Stories

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 23-Sep-16 World View -- US and Turkey headed for collision in Syria thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (23-Sep-2016) Permanent Link
Receive daily World View columns by e-mail
Donate to Generational Dynamics via PayPal

22-Sep-16 World View -- Pakistan-India tensions again surge as Pakistan demands independence for Kashmir

Pakistan ejects Indian journalist from New York press conference

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Pakistan-India tensions again surge as Pakistan demands independence for Kashmir


Indian security personnel in Kashmir after violent protests in 2015 (PTI)
Indian security personnel in Kashmir after violent protests in 2015 (PTI)

The increasingly vitriolic war of words between India and Pakistan probably wouldn't make much difference to anyone, since it could simply ignored as mutual political bashing, which is so common these days in countries around the world, in this generational Crisis era.

However, the increasing vitriol is occurring in the context of increasing "organic" violence in Indian-controlled Kashmir, where the stone-throwing crowds continue to grow and India continues to respond with pellet guns that have wounded, blinded or killed hundreds of Kashmiri Muslims since the violence began on July 9, following the death on July 8 of Burhan Wani, a 22-year-old commander in the separatist militia Hizbul Mujahideen (HM), at the hands of India's security forces.

Speaking at the UN General Assembly on Wednesday, Pakistan's prime minister Nawaz Sharif glorified Burhan Wani, condemned India's violence, and demanded independence for Indian-controlled Kashmir.

"[Burhan Wani] represents a new generation of Kashmiris are fighting for freedom against India.

This indigenous uprising of the Kashmiris has been met, as usual, with brutal repression by India’s occupation force of over half a million soldiers. Over a hundred Kashmiris have been killed, hundreds, including children and infants, blinded by shotgun pellets and over six thousand unarmed civilians injured over the past two months.

On behalf of the Kashmiri people; on behalf of the mothers, wives, sisters, and fathers of the innocent Kashmiri children, women and men who have been killed, blinded and injured; on behalf of the Pakistani nation, I demand an independent inquiry into the extra-judicial killings, and a UN fact finding mission to investigate brutalities perpetrated by the Indian occupying forces, so that those guilty of these atrocities are punished.

Pakistan fully supports Kashmiris' right to self-determination."

Sharif also referred to an arms buildup in India, and said, "The international community ignores the dangers of rising tensions in South Asia at its own peril,"

By "self-determination," Sharif is referring to a 1951 UN Security Council resolution mandating an election to permit Kashmiri self-determination. Neither side is obeying this resolution, as neither side is willing to give up the portions of Kashmir and Jammu provinces that it controls. According to polls, even Kashmiri Muslims want an independent state, and do not wish to be part of either India or Pakistan. However, neither Pakistan nor India would ever agree to this.

An Indian official responded, "It is shocking that a leader of a free nation can glorify a self-declared terrorist (Burhan Wani). This is self-incrimination by Pakistan."

India has accused Pakistan of being behind the violence and unrest in Kashmir, and also of being a "terrorist state" behind Sunday's militant attack on an Indian army base in Kashmir, the worst terrorist attack in Kashmir in decades.

It's certainly possible that Pakistan's government backing violence and terrorist attacks in Kashmir, but it's not necessary. As I've been describing, the violence is "organic," meaning that it comes from the people rather than from the politicians. India and Pakistan are returning to the massive violence of their last two generational crisis wars, India's 1857 Rebellion and the 1947 Partition war. The News (Pakistan) and Reuters and Daily Mail (London)

Related Articles

Pakistan ejects Indian journalist from New York press conference

Following the speech by Pakistan's prime minister Nawaz Sharif, Pakistan Foreign Secretary Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry held a press conference at the Roosevelt Hotel in New York. According to reports, Chaudhry demanded that no Indians be permitted to attend the press conference, and ordered the ejection of New Delhi TV's reporter Namrata Brar.

According to the reports, the order was given "Iss Indian ko nikalo," which means "Remove this Indian."

Ejecting an Indian reporter from a Pakistani press conference is just one more sign of the growing xenophobic hatred between Hindus and Muslims in the region, but apparently the Pakistani action is triggering hilarity and mocking the phrase 'Iss Indian Ko Nikalo' in social media.

One tweet said: "Pakistani Official Said 'Iss Indian Ko Nikalo' to NDTV Journalist. UNESCO Has Declared It As Sarcasm Of The Year."

Another tweeter made fun of the fact that the speaker even uttered the word "Indian": "I strongly object this statement of Pakistan, specially the word ‘Indian’ is totally not acceptable for ndtv."

Another made fun of the fact that not all NDTV journalists are Indian: "Iss Indian Ko Nikalo was clearly a case of mistaken identity. Where was the Indian?" New Delhi TV and Indian Express

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 22-Sep-16 World View -- Pakistan-India tensions again surge as Pakistan demands independence for Kashmir thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (22-Sep-2016) Permanent Link
Receive daily World View columns by e-mail
Donate to Generational Dynamics via PayPal

21-Sep-16 World View -- US increasingly expresses total disgust with Syria regime for Bashar al-Assad's atrocities

Warplanes target and bomb humanitarian aid convoy near Aleppo in Syria

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Warplanes target and bomb humanitarian aid convoy near Aleppo in Syria


Humanitarian aid truck struck by Bashar al-Assad regime's warplanes on Monday (CNN)
Humanitarian aid truck struck by Bashar al-Assad regime's warplanes on Monday (CNN)

Warplanes on Monday targeted a clearly identified United Nations and Red Crescent aid convoy bringing food, medicines and other humanitarian aid intended for eastern Aleppo in Syria, where an estimated 250,000 civilians have been short of food, medicine and water. At least 18 of 31 trucks in a U.N. and Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC) convoy were hit, along with a SARC warehouse. Omar Barakat, the director of the Red Crescent's Urum al-Kubra branch near Aleppo, was killed, along with 12 aid workers and dozens of civilians.

U.N. aid chief Stephen O'Brien said "Notification of the convoy ... had been provided to all parties to the conflict and the convoy was clearly marked as humanitarian."

The aid convoy was almost certainly struck by warplanes of the regime of Syria's president Bashar al-Assad, although officially investigators are saying that the warplanes could have been either Russian or Syrian.

Russian officials immediately claimed that the strikes were perpetrated by "terrorists," but the only Syrian "terrorist" with warplanes is Bashar al-Assad.

This is reminiscent of the time when Russians in eastern Ukraine shot down Malaysian Airlines flight 17 airliner with a Russian Buk missile in 2014, and then bragged about it on Twitter, after which the Russian trolls moved into action to claim that Nato had shot airliner down to embarrass Russia. Reuters and CNN and Syria Direct (Lebanon)

Related Articles

Led by the US, more people are openly expressing total disgust with Bashar al-Assad

As I frequently point out, almost every day something new happens that a few years ago you would have to have been crazy to believe would ever happen. This past week, the most bizarre occurrence was that the US and Russia decided to cooperate on a ceasefire -- after two previous failures -- which had zero chance of working because Bashar al-Assad said that he intended to continue.

The Bashar al-Assad has used Sarin gas on its own population, with impunity. The regime has continued to use chemical weapons. Regime helicopters drop huge barrel bombs onto civilian neighborhoods. The barrel bombs may contain explosives, screws, nails and other shrapnel, plus canisters of chlorine and ammonia. When chlorine is inhaled, it reacts with the moisture in the lungs, turning into hydrochloric acid that literally burns the target to death from the inside out. Al-Assad has conducted "industrial strength" torture on tens of thousands of ordinary civilians over the past decade.

This man, Bashar al-Assad, is almost beyond belief in his depraved psychopathy. But whenever I refer to him as a "genocidal monster," some of his trolls comment that he's a great, wonderful man, even if he has a fault or two. Nothing surprises me any more, but I do wonder about these trolls selling their souls every day to glorify an evil monster just to get paid a few dollars a day.

Western officials have always remained "cautious" about criticizing al-Assad, because they hoped that if they were nice to him then he would stop having his warplanes kill sleeping children in their dormitories. But anyone who has been nice to al-Assad has never been anything but a useful idiot, providing cover to al-Assad for more atrocities.

But now, after regime warplanes struck the aid convoy on Monday, officials seem more willing to criticize al-Assad. Actually, it's a lot more than that. After years of pent-up anger from being "nice" to al-Assad, there have now been bursts of fury.

US State Department spokesman John Kirby said to the BBC (my transcription):

"For so many years now, for five years, it's been the regime who has really, really perpetrated the worst brutality on their own people. It's been the regime dropping barrel bombs and chlorine on their own people. It's been the regime that's been besieging towns like Aleppo, starving people, refusing to let medicine get in. The regime has been by far the worst violator of the cessation of hostilities."

France's president François Hollande said:

Syria is now a shame, a stain for the international community. To accept that there is a city ... where the population is starving, with humanitarian convoys attacked, with chemical weapons used and with children who become victims every day — it’s the responsibility of the entire world."

However, the gold medal for letting loose absolutely fury goes to outgoing United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who said the following to the UN General Assembly on Tuesday:

"Powerful patrons that keep feeding the war also have blood on their hands. Present in this hall today are representatives of governments that have ignored, facilitated, funded, participated, or even planned and carried out atrocities, inflicted by all sides of the Syria conflict against Syrian civilians. Just when we think it can't get any worse the bar of depravity sinks lower. Many groups have killed many innocents -- but none more so than the government of Syria, which continues to barrel bomb neighborhoods and systematically torture thousands of detainees."

Why is anyone even surprised that the al-Assad blew up the aid convoy? Al-Assad has repeatedly made clear that he wanted to siege, starve and kill all the civilians in Aleppo, since he's under the delusion that this will end all anti-government protests, just like his father Hafez who perpetrated similar atrocities in 1982.

Bashar al-Assad has repeatedly made it clear that he wants to kill all the "terrorists" -- by which he means all the Sunni Muslim civilians, whom he considers to be cockroaches to be exterminated. When the bizarre ceasefire plan was first announced, al-Assad said:

"We as a nation ... are delivering a message that the Syrian state is determined to recover all regions from the terrorists and restore security, infrastructure, and everything else that was destroyed in both human and material aspects."

In other words, al-Assad, who has become delusional, has made it clear that he will attain total victory, and won't stop committing atrocities until then. That was obvious from day one. So what the hell was this moronic "ceasefire" supposed to be about? AP and NBC News

Related Articles

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 21-Sep-16 World View -- US increasingly expresses total disgust with Syria regime for Bashar al-Assad's atrocities thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (21-Sep-2016) Permanent Link
Receive daily World View columns by e-mail
Donate to Generational Dynamics via PayPal

20-Sep-16 World View -- Germany's Angela Merkel expresses regret after election loss in Berlin

Summit in Bratislava shows an EU in disarray

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Germany's Angela Merkel expresses regret after election loss in Berlin


Food at the AfD election party in Berlin (DPA)
Food at the AfD election party in Berlin (DPA)

Germany's center-right Christian Democrat Union (CDU), led by Chancellor Angela Merkel, suffered a historic defeat in a regional election in Berlin on Sunday, falling off 6% since the last election, getting only 17.6% of the vote, behind the Social Democratic Party (SDP) at 21.6%. Most significant were the gains by the right-wing anti-immigrant Alternative für Deutschland (AfD - Alternative for Germany) party, considered xenophobic by many, at 14.2%. Berlin's SPD Mayor Michael Müller had dramatically warned before the election that a strong AfD result would be "seen throughout the world as a sign of the resurgence of the right and of Nazis in Germany."

Merkel's loss is attributed to a voter reaction against her famous phrase "Wir schaffen es" (we can do it), referring to a policy of allow hundreds of thousands of refugees to enter Germany in 2015.

Merkel expressed regret over the election loss, and to a poll indicating that 82% of Germans are unhappy with the refugee policy:

"If I could I would play back time so I and the German federal government and leaders could have been better prepared," she said.

"We have not done everything right in the last few years. We are not world champions in integration. ...

If those 82% means that people do not accept foreigners, particularly people with Islamic background, this is against our constitutional rights, against our Christian democratic... and personal convictions. I and the CDU cannot represent this course."

However, it's not completely clear that the loss was entirely due to migrant issues. The election was also dominated by local issues, including poor public services, crumbling school buildings, late trains and a housing shortage.

Some reports indicate that Merkel's refugee policy will continue in any event. While the Social Democrats won the largest share of the vote, 21.6%, they will have to enter a coalition with two other left wing parties, Die Linke (15.6%) and the Greens (15.2%) to govern. A left-wing coalition, if formed, would probably continue to be favorable to refugees. AFP and CNN and McClatchy

Related Articles

Summit in Bratislava shows an EU in disarray

There was a European Union Summit meeting over the weekend in Bratislava, the capital city of Slovakia, but only 27 of the 28 EU members were represented. The representative from the UK was not invited because on June 23, the UK passed the Brexit referendum, calling for the UK to leave the EU. So even though the UK is still a full-fledged member of the European Union, the new UK prime minister Theresa May was not invited.

Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel has won repeated elections in Germany, the strongest economy in Europe, and so Merkel has been setting much of the agenda for Europe for almost ten years.

Although there is no one in Europe with the charisma necessary to replace Merkel as a leader, Merkel has certainly been weakened by the migrant crisis and her election defeats. Between that and Britain's Brexit vote, which called for Britain to leave the European Union, Europe itself is in disarray.

Indeed, the Brexit scenario is itself in disarray. Britain's new prime minister Theresa May has said that they won't even invoke "Article 50" until next year. Invoking Article 50 begins the two-year negotiation process for Britain's exit from the EU, and so no negotiations have begun to take place, leaving many businesses and people unable to make plans.

There are two major issues to be resolved by the Brexit negotiations. One issue is whether Britain will remain as part of the European Common Market, which is considered necessary by some people for Britain's trade requirements. The other issue is whether Britain will allow the free flow of people between Britain and the EU nations. Many Britons would like to remain in the Common Market even if there is no free flow of people, but many European leaders have already rejected that option, saying that you can't have freedom of trade unless you also have freedom to travel.

Even without the UK present, the EU summit was considered failure. Many people had hoped that the Summit would find a way to resolve the disputes, and particularly to reach a compromise with Hungary's prime minister Viktor Orbán which would allow Hungary to accept some migrants.

None of this was accomplished. Italy's prime minister Matteo Renzi said:

"I don't know what Merkel is referring to when she talks about the 'spirit of Bratislava'. If things go on like this, instead of the spirit of Bratislava we'll be talking about the ghost of Europe."

Reuters and Gulf News

Related Articles

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 20-Sep-16 World View -- Germany's Angela Merkel expresses regret after election loss in Berlin thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (20-Sep-2016) Permanent Link
Receive daily World View columns by e-mail
Donate to Generational Dynamics via PayPal

19-Sep-16 World View -- New terrorist attack in Kashmir threatens India-Pakistan retaliation

Russia accuses US of intentionally striking Syria's army to support ISIS

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

New terrorist attack in Kashmir threatens India-Pakistan retaliation


An Indian policeman fires a teargas shell at Srinagar, Kashmir, protestors on Tuesday (Reuters)
An Indian policeman fires a teargas shell at Srinagar, Kashmir, protestors on Tuesday (Reuters)

Sunday's American newscasts were occupied with unending discussions of Trump and Clinton vitriolicly calling each other names, as well as the terrorist attacks in New York City, wounding 28 people, all of whom have been released from hospital.

But if you're worried about the possibility of global war, then the much more important story on Sunday, totally ignored by the newscasts, was India and Pakistan vitriolicly calling each other names, and the new terrorist attacks in Kashmir, killing over 17 people.

In the hours following the first posting of my article yesterday on Kashmir and Balochistan, four militants, carrying guns and grenades, stormed an Indian army base in Uri in Kashmir. There was a five-hour firefight, and at least 17 soldiers were killed, as were the militants. This was the worst militant terrorist attack in Kashmir in years.

India's Home Affairs Minister Rajnath Singh reacted by blaming Pakistan and calling Pakistan a "terrorist state," and said that "there are definite and conclusive indications that the perpetrators of Uri attack were highly trained, heavily armed and specially equipped. I am deeply disappointed with Pakistan's continued and direct support to terrorism and terrorist groups."

Pakistani officials responded:

"Pointing fingers at Pakistan has become a traditional tendency of India after each terrorist attack. In the past many Indians were involved in the terrorist acts for which India had blamed Pakistan. ...

India is trying to divert world's attention from the human rights violations being committed in occupied Kashmir. ...

The whole world is looking at the Indian atrocities in India-held Kashmir and UN Human Rights Commissioner has also offered to send fact finding mission to Kashmir which India has rejected."

India's media is calling for retaliation against Pakistan. India's Defense Minister Manohar Parrikar tweeted:

"The supreme sacrifice of 17 brave soldiers will not go in vain. My salute to them. Reviewed situation in Kashmir following Uri attack with Army Chief & Commanders. Instructed to take firm action against those responsible."

According to G. Parthasarathy, former High Commissioner of India to Pakistan:

"Pakistan is isolated within SAARC [South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation], as three members of the regional group have accused it of sponsoring terrorism. Afghanistan, Bangladesh and India have accused Islamabad of sponsoring terrorism that ISI continues to generate, irrespective of the condition of the bilateral ties with India. Such attacks take place irrespective of the ties being temporarily good or continuously bad. A response therefore has to be forcefully enunciated."

India and Pakistan were at the brink of war following the November 2008 three-day '26/11' terror attack in Mumbai. That attack was perpetrated by Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT), a Pakistan Taliban terrorist group. India threatened to invade Pakistani soil to go after Lashkar-e-Toiba. War was only avoided by hard intervention from Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. It appears that India and Pakistan are, once again, on the brink of war.

As I've been writing repeatedly in the last few weeks, the situation in Kashmir is "organic," meaning that the rebellion is coming up from the people, rather than being controlled by country leaders or army generals. What we're seeing is a repeat of the last two generational crisis wars, which were also "organic" and extremely bloody: India's 1857 Rebellion and the 1947 Partition war.

It seems increasingly likely that this will explode into full-scale anti-Indian rebellion by the Kashmir Muslims in the next few months. If that happens, then a war between India and Pakistan becomes increasingly likely, and that would bring in their allies -- Russia and the U.S. on India's side, and China and Saudi Arabia on Pakistan's side.

As long-time readers know, this is what has been predicted for ten years, based on Generational Dynamics analyses, as the world gets closer and closer to the Clash of Civilizations world war. BBC and The Hindu and Dawn (Pakistan) and Reuters

Related Articles

Russia accuses US of intentionally striking Syria's army to support ISIS

On Saturday, airstrikes from the US-led coalition were supposed to target a tank position of the so-called Islamic State (IS or ISIS or ISIL or Daesh) in Deir Ezzor, but mistakenly targeted Syrian regime troops who were fighting ISIS in that region. Russia's military says that 62 Syrian regime soldiers were killed.

US Central Command said that they had conferred with the Russian military before the airstrike but, as usual, only broadly described the geographic area.

Russia convened an emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council. Russia's ambassador to the UN, Vitaly Churkin, accused the US of intentionally striking the Syrian army in order to support the ISIS terrorists:

"It is quite significant and frankly suspicious that the United States chose to conduct this particular airstrike at this time. Why all of a sudden did the United States choose to help the Syrian armed forces defending Deir Ezzor. After all they did nothing when ISIL was advancing on Palmyra. ISIL made a 100 mile march without being attacked by the coalition. All of a sudden the United States decides to come to the assistance of the Syrian armed forces defending Deir Ezzor.

It is quite significant and I would suggest not accidental that this happened just two days before the arrangements - Russian American arrangements - were supposed to come into force."

Samantha Power, the US ambassador to the UN, responded by calling the whole meeting hypocritical stunt:

"Even by Russia's standards, tonight's stunt -- a stunt replete with moralism and grandstanding -- is uniquely cynical and hypocritical. ...

Russia really needs to stop the cheap point scoring and the grandstanding and the stunts and focus on what matters -- which is implementation of something that we negotiated in good faith with them, which has shown it can reduce violence, and shown it can save lives, but it needs to be implemented. And a meeting like this, a stunt like this, isn't helping anybody."

Power continued by listing atrocities of the Syrian regime.

Australia's Department of Defense said in a statement that Australian aircraft were involved in the attacks in Deir Ezzor, targeting "what was believed to be a Daesh fighting position that the Coalition had been tracking for some time." It said bombing "ceased immediately" once Russian officials notified the coalition's Combined Air Operations Center that the targets may have been regime forces. CNN and Russia Today and The Australian

Related Articles

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 19-Sep-16 World View -- New terrorist attack in Kashmir threatens India-Pakistan retaliation thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (19-Sep-2016) Permanent Link
Receive daily World View columns by e-mail
Donate to Generational Dynamics via PayPal

18-Sep-16 World View -- India and Pakistan in vitriolic accusations at the UN over Kashmir and Balochistan

Violence in India-controlled Kashmir grows as thousands defy curfew

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Violence in India-controlled Kashmir grows as thousands defy curfew


Muslims in India-controlled Kashmir shout pro-freedom slogans at funeral of 11-year-old boy on Saturday (EPA)
Muslims in India-controlled Kashmir shout pro-freedom slogans at funeral of 11-year-old boy on Saturday (EPA)

Weeks of violent clashes in India-controlled Kashmir continued on Saturday, when thousands of angry demonstrators defied a curfew to attend the funeral of Nasir Shafi Qazi, an 11-year-old schoolboy, whose body was found riddled with bullets and pellet marks.

Violent clashes in Muslim-majority Kashmir began on July 9, following the death on July 8 of Burhan Wani, a 22-year-old commander in the separatist militia Hizbul Mujahideen (HM). There have been 81 deaths and thousands of injuries. Hundreds of people have been blinded for life, having been shot by the security forces with "non-lethal" pellet guns that are often turning out to be lethal.

The Hindu vs Muslim unrest in Kashmir continues to grow, and is "organic," meaning that it's coming up from the people, rather than being controlled by country leaders or army generals. What we're seeing is a repeat of the last two generational crisis wars, which were also "organic" and extremely bloody: India's 1857 Rebellion and the 1947 Partition war. The current Hindu vs Muslim unrest continues to spiral in that direction, and I see nothing that is likely to stop it. The Hindu and AFP and Al Jazeera

Related Articles

India and Pakistan in vitriolic accusations at the UN over Kashmir and Balochistan


Map of Pakistan, highlighting Kashmir and Balochistan
Map of Pakistan, highlighting Kashmir and Balochistan

Appearing before the United Nations Human Rights Council, India and Pakistan are embarking on vitriolic tit-for-tat accusations.

The Pakistan delegate said "India’s attempts to deny its illegal occupation of Jammu and Kashmir [is] a travesty of history." Pakistan said that give the "persistent, irresponsible flouting of international norms governing inter-state behavior by India, we are constrained to point out the abysmal human rights record of the Indian government."

As the Pakistan delegate was attacking India's record in India-controlled Kashmir, the Indian delegate responded by attacking Pakistan's record in Pakistan-controlled Kashmir as being "administered by a 'deep state'", and also in Pakistan's province of Balochistan:

"In the last two decades, the most wanted terrorists of the world have found succor and sustenance in Pakistan. This tradition unfortunately continues even today, not surprising when its government employs terrorism as an instrument of state policy. ...

In fact, Pakistan is a nation that practices terrorism on its own people. The sufferings of the people of Balochistan are a telling testimony in this regard. Not coincidentally, this region also serves as a base to conduct terrorism and violate human rights in a neighboring country."

The Baloch people are Shia Muslims of Iranian descent, and have been the targets of numerous bloody terrorist attacks by terror groups linked to the Pakistan Taliban and to al-Qaeda.

Apparently, mentioning Balochistan at the UN Human Rights Council has violated some kind of unwritten agreement between India and Pakistan, where they politely ignore many of each other's human rights violations. So the Pakistan delegate struck back by saying:

"Over one third of Indian territory is under a full blown peasant insurgency. There is a despicable human rights situation in Manipur, Mizoram, Tripura and Assam, and ethnic groups in India's north-east have been battling for rights since many decades in the face of terrible repression."

The epicenter of the vitriolic disagreement between Pakistan and India continues to be Kashmir, and it's clear that the situation gets worse every week. As I wrote above, The current unrest between India's Hindus and Pakistan's Muslims continues to spiral towards war, and I see nothing that is likely to stop it. Indian Express and First Post and Daily Times (Pakistan) and Telegraph (Calcutta)

Related Articles

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 18-Sep-16 World View -- India and Pakistan in vitriolic accusations at the UN over Kashmir and Balochistan thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (18-Sep-2016) Permanent Link
Receive daily World View columns by e-mail
Donate to Generational Dynamics via PayPal

17-Sep-16 World View -- Concerns grow about Tunisia's stability as economic protests escalate

Tunisia remains the #1 source of foreign fighters for ISIS

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Tunisia remains the #1 source of foreign fighters for ISIS


Sources of foreign fighters joining ISIS (Soufan Group, 2015)
Sources of foreign fighters joining ISIS (Soufan Group, 2015)

On December 17, 2010, street vendor Mohamed Bouazizi doused himself in gasoline and set himself on fire in a town in central Tunisia, after police allegedly confiscated his fruit and vegetable stand because he lacked a permit. Bouazizi later died. His act of self-immolation set off the "Jasmine Revolution" in Tunisia, as well as the "Arab Spring" in Libya, Egypt, Yemen, Lebanon, Iraq and Syria.

The Jasmine Revolution ousted Tunisia's long-time president Zine el Abidine Ben Ali, but Tunisia's experience is considered the "gold standard" for the Arab Spring because the transition of power was peaceful, and Tunisia is still a secular democracy, as contrasted to the violence in other Arab countries.

It's the peaceful nature of its transition that some people are now blaming for Tunisia's severe problems with jihadi terrorists.

In March of last year, two terrorist gunmen infiltrated security at the well-known Bardo Museum in Tunis, right next door to the parliament building. They took and killed 22 hostages, with 50 people injured. Almost all of the casualties were foreign tourists.

Tunisians were still in shock from that attack, when another attack occurred in June. A gunman disguised as a tourist opened fire at a Tunisian hotel in Sousse on Friday, killing 37 people.

Perhaps the most significant fact about Tunisia is that it's the number one source of foreign fighters who have gone to Syria to join the so-called Islamic State (IS or ISIS or ISIL or Daesh). Some 5,500 Tunisian citizens are now fighting in Syria and in Libya, far more than any other country. According to a CNN study, around 8,800 young Tunisians have been stopped at the border.

Some people are claiming that the reason is the huge disappointment in that things have not changed since the Jasmine Revolution. One foreign language teacher in Tunisia is quoted as explaining:

"Among one single family, six children have gone to Syria. Yet, they come from a middle-class family. So how do you explain this? The reason is that they grew up in a country without moral values. During the former regime, a family man could be humiliated in front of his kids by the lowest employee of an administration, without being able to defend himself. The father figure has been shattered. They all grew up without a sense of respect for the law because of corruption."

And yet, police brutality continues, especially against young people, and the economy is suffering. The reasons for radicalization are various, however, they are all rooted in deep feelings of injustice and disappointment due to the unkept promises that were made after the 2011 uprising: access to economic and social rights, more jobs for the youth, and reforms in the security ministry.

Last year's terrorist attacks were successful in that tourism to Tunisia has plummeted, with the economy losing as much as $2 billion. With so many young people unemployed, ISIS has found it fruitful to target Tunisian youth for radicalization, and once again, ISIS has apparently been very successful.

Washington Times and Middle East Eye and Reuters

Related Articles

Tunisia's town of Ben Guerdane on Libya border exemplifies problems

In March of this year, ISIS militants from Libya crossed the border into Tunisia, and attempted to establish a permanent outpost in the Tunisian city of Ben Guerdane. Tunisia's military forces crushed the effort, but

Things got worse in March, when the Islamic State suddenly attempted to seize the Tunisian city of Ben Guerdane, near the border with Libya. Tunisian security forces crushed the attack, but 45 militants and 13 Tunisian security personnel were killed.

To prevent further ISIS infiltration, Tunisia's security forces have allegedly been torturing and killing anyone who seems suspicious. Security forces have killed more than 60 people near the border, including many children.

Because Ben Guerdane is on the border with Libya, it's a major smuggling gateway between the two countries. However, corruption is high according to a Ben Guerdane resident:

"Lives here don’t seem to matter. The army and national guards fight over who controls the roads [used by smugglers].

Smugglers who refuse to pay bribes are shot. When Daesh attacked, the smugglers begged the security forces to give them arms [to fight Daesh], while security personnel were asking for [smuggled] cigarettes."

On September 3, a young man suspected of smuggling was shot and killed by a military patrol unit. This triggered a protest march followed by violent demonstrations on September 5. Further unrest is expected. Tunisia Live and Anadolu

Escalating economic protests across Tunisia threaten country's stability


Protest activity in cities across Tunisia (AEI)
Protest activity in cities across Tunisia (AEI)

The violent demonstrations in Ben Guerdane on September 5 were followed by violent demonstrations in Fernana, a town in northwestern Tunisia, starting on September 7 and continuing for several day. Protests are spreading to other cities in Tunisia in a manner resembling the original Jasmine Revolution.

It's feared that the demonstration are going to worsen. Thanks to the two terrorism attacks last year, tourism revenues have been slashed.

With a surging national budget deficit, it's going to be necessary to implement an austerity program, including sharp cuts in public spending, possibly laying off many public sector workers. Tunisia's prime minister Youssef Chahed announced on Friday that his ministers' salaries will be cut by 30%. Each of his 40 ministers and junior ministers, who earn around $1,800 a month, will have their salaries cut by about $500 per month.

However, this move is unlikely to quell the surging discontent, or to slow down the attempts by ISIS to recruit Tunisian youth. It's feared that the growing number of protests in cities across Tunisia is going to destabilize the country, possibly as much as the other Arab Spring countries were destabilized. AEI Critical Threats and Reuters

France's new ambassador to Tunisia commits huge gaffe

France's new ambassador to Tunisia, Olivier Poivre d’Arvor, generated controversy with a major gaffe in a radio interview on August 30, shortly after starting his official duties on September 10.

During the interview he said that his main concern in his new job was for the security of the 30,000 French citizens living in Tunisia, as he believed they were targets for the terrorists of Tunisia. He added that Tunisia was a major supplier of terrorists.

One person in social media is quoted as saying:

"Mr. Ambassador thank you for your feelings towards my country Tunisia, but about the security of French nationals in Tunisia, it is ensured by the Tunisian authorities. Your main mission is to convey to your government the expectations of a country that had thought to count on its first partner for a successful democratic transition."

In attempting to recover from the gaffe, the French embassy said that the ambassador "notably mentioned support for the consolidation of democracy in Tunisia, economic partnership and development, cultural cooperation or education assistance. It is the breadth and diversity of the French-Tunisian cooperation that make the relation exceptional, according to the term used by Olivier Poivre d'Arvor himself, which makes France the leading partner of Tunisia." Tunisia Live and TAP (Tunisia)

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 17-Sep-16 World View -- Concerns grow about Tunisia's stability as economic protests escalate thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (17-Sep-2016) Permanent Link
Receive daily World View columns by e-mail
Donate to Generational Dynamics via PayPal

16-Sep-16 World View -- Syria blocks humanitarian aid to Aleppo

Report: Turkey will build 'residential cities' in Syria buffer zone

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Syria blocks humanitarian aid to Aleppo


Aleppo on Wednesday (CNN)
Aleppo on Wednesday (CNN)

The "good news" today about the Syria ceasefire, based on reports by correspondents on the scene interviewed on the BBC and RFI, is that while there's no real ceasefire, the amount of violence has decreased, and also that the regime of Syria's president Bashar al-Assad has temporarily stopped bombing hospitals and schools.

The "bad news" is that nobody believes that the ceasefire will last for long, and everybody on all sides expects it to collapse any day. The ceasefire deal was reached between the US and Russia. None of the belligerents in the war on any side has endorsed the deal.

The epicenter of the ceasefire's failure is Castello Road, the highway into east Aleppo, where the people, including many women and children, have been starving because of a siege by al-Assad's military forces. A critical part of the ceasefire deal is that the UN has to be able to deliver humanitarian aid to the people of east Aleppo.

The UN has 40 trucks full of food, medicine and other humanitarian aid ready to go. But after four days, the trucks are stuck on the Turkey-Syria border, unable to move because Castello Road is too dangerous to travel, and because Syria has not given permission.

UN officials have been scathingly critical of Syria for not permitting the humanitarian aid to be delivered. According to Jan Egeland, chairman of the Syrian humanitarian task force:

We could go today. We're not. . . . The permits have not been given. We hope to go tomorrow, to eastern Aleppo.

Not a single permit is in the hands of our people."

Since 2011, there have been other attempts at humanitarian deliveries, some of which have been approved by the Syrian regime. However, the deliveries have all been held up Syrian troops roadblocks. At these roadblocks, the Syrian troops would pick through the humanitarian aid and remove much of it, leaving little for the intended recipients.

In this case, the United Nations is insisting that Syrian troops will not be permitted to harass the truck convoys and confiscate the food.

United Nations Special Envoy to Syria Staffan de Mistura said the Russia has agreed to allow humanitarian aid, but the Syrian regime is blocking it:

"Those facilitation letters, final permission for the U.N. to actually reach those areas (needing aid), have not been received. That's a fact. It is particularly regrettable because normally during these days we are losing time. These are days which we should have used for convoys to move with the permit to go because there is no fighting.

The Russian federation is agreeing with us about this, so are the two co-chairs (U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov). This is something that requires to take place immediately."

My guess is that the only reason that al-Assad approved this humanitarian delivery plan in the first place is because his army is desperate and confiscating the UN aid would help the army.

Four days ago I gave a list of reasons why it would fail, and all of those reasons are coming true.

Al-Assad himself quickly rejected the ceasefire, saying, "We as a nation ... are delivering a message that the Syrian state is determined to recover all regions from the terrorists and restore security, infrastructure, and everything else that was destroyed in both human and material aspects."

Both al-Assad and his opposition see the battle of Aleppo as the turning point of the war. Al-Assad's siege of Aleppo is starving the people, and it's been well-publicized that he believes that if he can force the opposition in Aleppo to surrender, then it will be a fatal blow for the entire war. If he's unable to force the opposition in Aleppo to surrender, it will be a sign that he's lost the war.

So I was surprised that al-Assad agreed to the Aleppo humanitarian delivery at all, since it strikes at the heart of his principal objective, and would end the siege. However, the new development that al-Assad is blocking the humanitarian deliveries, or that if approved they will be confiscated by his army, makes perfect sense.

The only thing that can change this dynamic is for Russia to find a way to force al-Assad to comply. That seems unlikely, but we'll have to wait and see. CNN and Washington Post and Reuters

Related Articles

Report: Turkey will build 'residential cities' in Syria buffer zone

It's now been almost a month since Turkey began the invasion of northern Syria known as Operation Euphrates Shield. Turkey achieved a quick victory by driving the so-called Islamic State (IS or ISIS or ISIL or Daesh) to leave Syria's border city of Jarablus.

Since then, Turkey has been rebuilding Jarablus, providing water and electricity for the hundreds of Syrian refugees returning to the region. Electricity will be provided by a three-kilometer underground power line from the Turkish city of Karkamis, and water will be supplied by using power generators to divert water from the city's wells into the water network. In one day earlier this week, around 1,700 Syrian refugees in Turkey have returned to Jarablus and the surrounding area.

Ever since millions of Syrian refugees started pouring into Turkey, Turkey has been lobbying to build a "buffer zone" in northern Syria, to provide a place where Syrian refugees can go rather than cross the border into Turkey. However, the international community has opposed the idea, fearing that it would create additional conflict.

On Tuesday, Turkey's Deputy Prime Minister Nurettin Canikli announced that Turkey has started implementing a plan for a buffer zone in northern Syria, and would start building "new residential cities" in Syrian areas recently liberated from ISIS by “Operation Euphrates Shield.” Turkey is currently hosting 2.7 million Syrian refugees, and the objective is to place them in fully equipped residential areas that Turkey was planning to build.

Turkish officials hope to get approval from the United Nations Security Council to create the buffer zone, but it seems possible that Turkey will go ahead with its plans with or without Security Council approval.

Daily Sabah (8-Sep) and Asharq Al-Awsat (London)

Related Articles

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 16-Sep-16 World View -- Syria blocks humanitarian aid to Aleppo thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (16-Sep-2016) Permanent Link
Receive daily World View columns by e-mail
Donate to Generational Dynamics via PayPal

15-Sep-16 World View -- UK politicians debate the 2011 Libya intervention

Libya and Syria illustrate the intervention dilemma for policy makers

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

UK politicians debate the 2011 Libya intervention


UK Parliament buildings
UK Parliament buildings

A report produced the UK Parliament Foreign Affairs Committee strongly condemns the 2011 intervention in Libya, mostly by the UK and France, with US support.

"The consequence was political and economic collapse, inter-militia and inter-tribal (warfare), humanitarian and migrant crises, widespread human rights violations and the growth of [the so-called Islamic State (IS or ISIS or ISIL or Daesh)] in North Africa."

This report was written by politicians to criticize other politicians, and on that basis alone there's no reason to believe that the report is anything but a collection of politically charged accusations based carefully selected "facts" from people who have no clue what's going on the world.

As I wrote in March, there was a bloodbath going on in Libya in early 2011, with a massive refugee crisis with hundreds of thousands of refugees pouring into neighboring countries. Muammar Gaddafi declared war on the protesters, and the Arab League requested a no-fly zone over Libya.

The ironically named "Arab Spring" began in early 2011, and resulted in chaos in Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Yemen, Lebanon, Syria and Iraq. No politicians could have either caused or prevented this chaos, or could even have predicted that it would happen. It was caused by the rise of a new generation of young Arabs throughout the Mideast.

Nonetheless, this report complains that David Cameron should have predicted that militant extremist groups would attempt to benefit from the rebellion, that a proper predictive analysis should have been made, that the country was poorly understood, and that there was no effective advance strategy to support and shape post-Gaddafi Libya.

In fact, from the point of view of Generational Dynamics, Chaos Theory tells us that none of those things could be accurately predicted or formulated. In fact, all of the countries mentioned above were chaotic in different ways, and nobody that I'm aware of correctly predicted what would happen in any of them. BBC and Guardian (London) and UK Parliament

Related Articles

Libya and Syria illustrate the intervention dilemma for policy makers

There is an obvious comparison to be made between the Libya intervention and the Syria non-intervention. Both situations were chaotic, both occurred as a result of the "Arab Spring," but the West intervened in Libya, but not in Syria.

Let's take the paragraph quoted above on the outcome of the Libya intervention, and rephrase to describe the outcome of the Syria non-intervention:

"The consequence was political and economic collapse (worse in Syria than in Libya), inter-militia and inter-tribal (warfare - in both countries), humanitarian and migrant crises (much worse in Syria, with millions of refugees flooding into neighboring countries and Europe), widespread human rights violations (Bashar al-Assad's massive genocidal attacks on Sunnis) and al-Assad's creation of ISIS, which spread to Iraq, Libya and other countries."

My opinion is that the policy of non-intervention in Syria has been a major geopolitical disaster, while the intervention in Libya has mitigated a disaster already in progress.

At the very least, this comparison illustrates the complexity for policy makers about when to intervene.

Related Articles

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 15-Sep-16 World View -- UK politicians debate the 2011 Libya intervention thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (15-Sep-2016) Permanent Link
Receive daily World View columns by e-mail
Donate to Generational Dynamics via PayPal

14-Sep-16 World View -- Monday's EU summit to show that Europe 'not detached from reality' over migrants

Luxembourg Foreign Minister calls for Hungary's expulsion from EU over migrant issue

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Monday's EU summit to show that Europe 'not detached from reality' over migrants


Refugees at Hungary's border with Serbia, 16-Sept-2015 (AFP)
Refugees at Hungary's border with Serbia, 16-Sept-2015 (AFP)

European Council president Donald Tusk said that European leaders need to show that they're "not detached from reality" at the EU summit to be held in Slovakia's capital city Bratislava on Monday. He was referring to the issues of immigration and free movement of people within Europe, in view of the importance of these issues in the success of the Brexit referendum in Britain, calling for Britain to leave the European Union, and a recent regional election in Germany that handed Angela Merkel a stinging defeat.

According to Tusk:

"The Bratislava summit is not about Brexit per se. It is about bringing back political control of our common future. People are turning against what they perceive as an irrational openness. They see the world around them getting more chaotic. Uncontrolled migration, terrorism, injustices linked to globalization - we have to confront such issues with real political leadership. ... What must be delivered is a sense of security and order.

We in Europe cannot build a political community only on the concept of mandatory and total openness for everyone. The union also has to be about protection – protection of our freedoms, our security, our quality and way of life. ... There is a balance to be restored. I think the union is one the best tools we have to do it."

According to a leaked document authored by Tusk, "People are concerned by a perceived lack of control and fears related to migration, terrorism, and globalization." Some of the issues that he identified to be discussed at Monday's summit include:

Politico (EU) and Telegraph (London) and Irish Times

Related Articles

Luxembourg Foreign Minister calls for Hungary's expulsion from EU over migrant issue

Luxembourg's Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn has called for Hungary to be suspended or even expelled from the European Union because of its "massive violation" of EU fundamental values:

"Those who, like Hungary, build fences against refugees from war or who violate press freedom and judicial independence should be excluded temporarily, or if necessary forever, from the EU. ... [This is] the only way to preserve the cohesion and values of the EU.

"The fence that the Hungarians built to deter refugees is getting longer, higher and more dangerous. Hungary is not far away from issuing orders to open fire on refugees. Anyone who wants to overcome the fence must expect the worst. ...

Moreover, all this is happening in a country from where hundreds of thousands fled to Europe from the Soviets in 1956."

However Asselborn's boss, Luxemburg prime minister Xavier Bettel, disagreed:

"I think we should view ourselves as like a family in which all members share the same value together and speak to one another when a family member does not accept these common values. We should not exclude a family member."

Foreign ministers from Austria and Germany also immediately rejected Asselborn's call. Hungary’s Foreign Minister, Péter Szijjártó, responded acerbically:

"We’ve known even before that Jean Asselborn is not a serious character. It really shows that he only lives a few kilometers away from Brussels. He wants to exclude Hungary from the EU, but he has already long excluded himself from the circle of politicians who can be taken seriously. Being the good nihilist that he is, he is working tirelessly on destroying European security and culture."

Luxemburger Wort and Budapest Business Journal and Hungarian Free Press

Related Articles

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 14-Sep-16 World View -- Monday's EU summit to show that Europe 'not detached from reality' over migrants thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (14-Sep-2016) Permanent Link
Receive daily World View columns by e-mail
Donate to Generational Dynamics via PayPal

13-Sep-16 World View -- As Syria ceasefire begins, Bashar al-Assad quickly rejects it

Confusion grows over role of al-Nusra Front in US-Russia peace plan

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

As Syria ceasefire begins, Bashar al-Assad quickly rejects it


Map of Syria and Iraq, showing who's in control of different regions (WaPost)
Map of Syria and Iraq, showing who's in control of different regions (WaPost)

The latest and greatest ceasefire in Syria's war began at 7 pm local time on Monday, amid reports that the regime of Syria's president Bashar al-Assad is continuing to drop barrel bombs on civilian neighborhoods in Aleppo.

It's never been entirely clear whether or not al-Assad was accepting the ceasefire proposal that was imposed by Russia and the United States, but on Monday, he made a statement that clearly rejected it:

"We as a nation ... are delivering a message that the Syrian state is determined to recover all regions from the terrorists and restore security, infrastructure, and everything else that was destroyed in both human and material aspects.

We come today here to replace the fake freedom they tried to market at the beginning of the crisis ... with real freedom, not the freedom that begins with them and is sustained by dollars ... and by some promises of positions."

If you look at the map above, you can see that the al-Assad regime and the opposition rebels (the "Sunni insurgents") are together fighting over a western region that's only a small fraction of Syria, and that al-Assad is not in control of the overwhelming portion of Syria.

The region colored green, which is controlled by Kurdish forces, is much larger, if you count the portions under Kurdish control in both Syria and Iraq. The so-called Islamic State (IS or ISIS or ISIL or Daesh) also controls large sections of Syria and Iraq, and those are totally out of reach of the al-Assad regime.

So the ceasefire agreement, if implemented, might leave al-Assad still in power, but only in control of a small fraction of the country. And al-Assad is clearly not willing to accept that.

The second portion of al-Assad's statement promises to replace "fake freedom they tried to market at the beginning of the crisis ... with real freedom." There's some confusion about what this statement means, and I've actually seen different translations in different reports, but here's my interpretation of what it means.

When the crisis began early in 2011, there was no ISIS, no al-Nusra, and no Free Syrian Army. There were just peaceful protests, demanding what al-Assad is now calling "fake freedom." There are peaceful protests in Washington, London, Paris, and other cities. Suppose there were a "Black Lives Matter" protest on the Washington Mall, and President Obama responded by calling out the army and air force to shoot and bomb the protesters, as well as the cities in which the protesters live.

It's a bizarre concept, but that's what al-Assad did in 2011, and this brings me to a contradiction that's been bothering me for years. Suppose there were some peace agreement, and everyone stopped fighting. What would happen if Syrian civilians began peaceful protests again? -- which is what would happen in a generational Awakening era. I'm guessing that the psychopathic Bashar al-Assad would start shooting and bombing civilians again.

So this week we have a ceasefire deal reached in Geneva by the United States and Russia. But there are no penalties for violations, in particular, no violations for continuing air strikes and barrel bombs launched by the al-Assad regime. And neither al-Assad nor any of the opposition groups have endorsed the deal anyway. Indeed, the US State Department on Monday had to go out of its way to deny that the US and Russia would have any control whatsoever on Syrian regime airstrikes.

As usual in the media, there always has to be "good news" and "hope." Today's version is that most of the fighting seems to have stopped at least for the time being. We'll have to see how long it lasts. Washington Post and ARA News (Syria) and VOA

Related Articles

Confusion grows over role of al-Nusra Front in US-Russia peace plan

When jihadists from around the world began pouring into Syria in 2013 to fight Bashar al-Assad, many of them joined al-Qaeda linked Jabhat al-Nusra (al-Nusra Front). However, as the trickle of jihadists turned into a flood, there was a split between al-Nusra and a new jihadist group, the so-called Islamic State (IS or ISIS or ISIL or Daesh). There were two major differences between the two jihadists group.

The first difference was that ISIS refused to pledge allegiance to al-Qaeda, while al-Nusra continued its allegiance to al-Qaeda.

The second difference was that al-Nusra has always been an organization of almost exclusively Syrian fighters, while ISIS has fighters from all over the world. However, members of the Free Syrian Army and other "moderate" rebel groups did not want to be associated with any jihadist group, either al-Nusra or ISIS.

In July, al-Nusra announced that it would split with al-Qaeda, and rename itself Jabhat Fateh al-Sham (JFS - Front for the Conquest of Syria). The announced objective was to become more acceptable to the moderate rebel groups in Syria, and also to become more acceptable to the international community.

The United States announced that JFS was still considered to be a terrorist organization. The US airstrikes have continued to target JFS, and last week the US announced that an airstrike had killed Abu Hajer al Homsi (alias Abu Omar Saraqeb), a top JFS commander.

However, JFS's split with al-Qaeda has made any discussion of a peace agreement more complicated. An objective of the US-Russia ceasefire deal is that FSA and "moderate" rebel groups should be spared, while jihadists should continue to be targeted. But now JFS and FSA are working more closely together in fighting al-Assad. Insofar as they've merged, the distinction between moderate and jihadist fighters has gotten even more complicated, and makes it even less likely that any ceasefire will last for long. Reuters (9-Sept) and The National (UAE) and Al-Monitor

Related Articles

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 13-Sep-16 World View -- As Syria ceasefire begins, Bashar al-Assad quickly rejects it thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (13-Sep-2016) Permanent Link
Receive daily World View columns by e-mail
Donate to Generational Dynamics via PayPal

12-Sep-16 World View -- South Korea announces 'Massive Punishment and Retaliation' and decapitation for N. Korea

After North Korea's 5th nuclear test on Friday, a 6th may be imminent

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

After North Korea's 5th nuclear test on Friday, a 6th may be imminent


North Korea's child dictator Kim Jong-un expresses pleasure at the nuclear tests on Friday (KCNA/AFP)
North Korea's child dictator Kim Jong-un expresses pleasure at the nuclear tests on Friday (KCNA/AFP)

North Korea on Friday set off its most powerful nuclear bomb to date. Earlier in the week, North Korea test-launched three ballistic missiles, and country officials are claiming that North Korea is almost ready to launch nuclear missiles.

The nuclear test was condemned by political leaders around the world. China, North Korea's supposed ally, also protested North Korea's "disregard" for international stability. It's believed that China's fear is of a destabilized North Korean government, although China would take advantage of that situation by moving its military quickly to take control of the North.

On Sunday, unnamed South Korean government sources said that another nuclear test may be imminent:

"Indications have been gathered that the North has completed preparations to conduct a nuclear test at any time in the third tunnel that has not been used previously."

After Friday's test, the US threatened to launch additional sanctions against North Korea unilaterally, without seeking permission from the UN Security Council.

However, North Korea mocked the threat in its state-run media:

"The group of Obama's running around and talking about meaningless sanctions until today is highly laughable, when their 'strategic patience' policy is completely worn out and they are close to packing up to move out.

As we've made clear, measures to strengthen the national nuclear power in quality and quantity will continue to protect our dignity and right to live from augmented threats of nuclear war from the United States."

Years of international sanctions targeting North Korea have had no effect. Yonhap (Seoul, 9-Sept) and National Post (9-Sep) and Reuters and Straits Times

South Korea announces 'Massive Punishment and Retaliation' and decapitation for N. Korea

South Korea has announced the "Korea Massive Punishment and Retaliation" (KMPR) plan to annihilate Pyongyang, the capital city of North Korea, through intensive bombing. The KMPR would be triggered in case the North shows any signs of a nuclear attack.

According to a government official:

"Every Pyongyang district, particularly where the North Korean leadership is possibly hidden, will be completely destroyed by ballistic missiles and high-explosive shells as soon as the North shows any signs of using a nuclear weapon. In other words, the North’s capital city will be reduced to ashes and removed from the map."

The attack would be conducted with conventional weapons, as South Korea has no nuclear weapons, although some Seoul officials have been calling for a nuclear development program in the South.

Of note is that the KMPR threat is of a pre-emptive attack. That is, the South would not wait for a nuclear attack. Instead, the KMPR attack would be launched "if signs of the impending use of nuclear weapons are detected or in the event of a war."

In the KMPR scenario, South Korea will deploy its Hyunmoo 2A and Hyunmoo 2B ballistic missiles, with a range of between 300 and 500 kilometers as well as the Hyunmoo-3 cruise missiles with a range of 1000 kilometers.

"The KMPR is the ultimate operation concept the military can have in the absence of its own nuclear weapons," according to a government official.

The threat is also highly personal in that the North Korean child dictator Kim Jong-un will be specifically targeted with "decapitation strikes" on the North Korean leadership. Yonhap News (Seoul) and Korea Times and Japan Times

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 12-Sep-16 World View -- South Korea announces 'Massive Punishment and Retaliation' and decapitation for N. Korea thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (12-Sep-2016) Permanent Link
Receive daily World View columns by e-mail
Donate to Generational Dynamics via PayPal

11-Sep-16 World View -- Syria's civilians fear worse violence from US-Russia 'ceasefire' agreement

Kyrgyzstan's World Nomad Games commemorate lifestyle of Genghis Khan

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Kyrgyzstan's World Nomad Games commemorate lifestyle of Genghis Khan


One horseman knocking another off his horse at the World Nomad Games. (AFP)
One horseman knocking another off his horse at the World Nomad Games. (AFP)

There were 40 countries, including Russia, China and the United States, competing in the World Nomad Games, held in eastern Kyrgyzstan during the last two weeks, between the Rio 2016 Olympics and the Paralympics.

The games are a celebration of Central Asia's nomadic heritage, dating back centuries, including the era of Genghis Khan. During the opening ceremony, Kyrgyzstan's president Almazbek Atambayev said:

"In the modern world, people are forgetting their history, and there is a threat of extinction for traditional cultures. Nomadic civilization is an example of sustainable development, which is what all of humanity is looking for today."

The star of the show was action film actor Steven Seagal, presumably publicizing his new movie "The Perfect Weapon." Seagal enjoys a cult-like following in the countries of the former Soviet Union, and the audience went wild when Seagal appeared on horseback, dressed as a khan (ancient Kyrgyz warrior) in armor and rode in on a horse as the Games’ guest of honor.

The sports include mass-wrestling, eagle hunting. The highlight is the traditional Central Asian sport buzkashi also known as kok-boru, "a violent Central Asian form of polo in which two teams battle for control of a decapitated goat carcass." Kok Boru is described as a violent and exciting game, akin to polo -- except instead of a ball the players attempt to score by picking up, carrying, and tossing a goat carcass, the head and hooves removed, into a circle at the opposite end of the field. The goat is traditionally slaughtered right before the game and delivered to the village elder after. Foreign Policy and The Diplomat and Guardian (London) and EurasiaNet

Syria's civilians fear worse violence from US-Russia 'ceasefire' agreement

Bombs rained down from warplanes on Saturday on a civilian marketplace in Idlib, near Aleppo in Syria, killing 37 people, including many women and children. At least 82 people were killed on Saturday in bombings from warplanes of the regime of Syria's president Bashar al-Assad. Syria's civilians fear worse violence from the announced "ceasefire," since the regime is using the opportunity to gain as much ground as possible before the ceasefire is scheduled to begin on Monday.

Generally speaking, in any war, a "ceasefire" is bound to be a farce for several reasons:

In this case, one of the politicians is US Secretary of State John Kerry. During his tenure, he's stumbled from one foreign policy disaster to the next, probably still hoping to get a Nobel Peace Prize if he keeps on trying.

The other politician is Russia's Defense Minister Sergei Lavrov who seems capable of lying about anything and everything, and never makes a true statement except by accident.

Not directly involved in the deal is Syria's president Bashar al-Assad, who has contempt for pretty much everybody, and certainly sees this agreement as an opportunity to gain a military advantage.

It's been well-publicized for weeks that al-Assad sees the current battle in Aleppo as an opportunity to strike a fatal blow against the opposition. According to one analyst:

"If the regime is unable to retake Aleppo, that will demonstrate that they are unable to retake all of Syria. If the opposition suffers defeat and is routed from the city, it’s a sign the revolution has lost."

This analysis alone means that the ceasefire will not last. The ceasefire would mean that the status quo is maintained and the regime will have failed to retake Aleppo. With al-Assad's army in trouble, possibly close to collapse, he may believe that the battle of Aleppo is an existential crisis for his regime.

Furthermore, Russia is now the main hegemonic power in the Mideast, and Russia has made it clear that they want al-Assad in power, so they will continue to use maximum military violence, irrespective of any "ceasefire." So if al-Assad has agreed to the ceasefire, as news reports indicate he has, then he will use it to gain every possible military advantage, in preparation for what he undoubtedly sees as the ultimate critical battle of Aleppo. BBC and Russia Today and CS Monitor and SANA (Syria)

Related Articles

Generational theory: Bashar al-Assad's miscalculation

As I've said before, from the point of view of Generational Dynamics, al-Assad is wrong to believe that the recapture of Aleppo would mean that the revolution is ended. Al-Assad is thinking of his father's war, which ended when Hafez al-Assad massively slaughtered tens of thousands of Sunnis in the town of Hama, Syria, in 1982, turning the town to rubble. But that was a generational crisis war, and so ended with an "explosive crisis," something I've described a number of times.

This war is a generational Awakening era war, and the rules are very different. The biggest difference is that there are plenty of people in the Sunni opposition today who recall the 1982 massacre, are prepared for it, and will not let it stop them from protesting and fighting, even if Aleppo is lost.

Awakening era wars follow a pattern that I've described many times in countries like Burundi, Thailand, Zimbabwe, South Sudan, and others. The Awakening era is the time when the first post-war generation comes of age, creating a "generation gap," as happened in the United States in the 1960s. It's characterized by large student protests and demonstrations, but any armed conflict fizzles quickly. That's what would have happened in 2011 if Bashar al-Assad hadn't treated peaceful protests by young people as an excuse to start exterminating all Sunnis. Today's students' parents were defeated by Hafez al-Assad in 1982, and these students are well aware of that, so they will not let the loss of one city stop them in 2016.

Related Articles

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 11-Sep-16 World View -- Syria's civilians fear worse violence from US-Russia 'ceasefire' agreement thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (11-Sep-2016) Permanent Link
Receive daily World View columns by e-mail
Donate to Generational Dynamics via PayPal

10-Sep-16 World View -- Turkey plans assault on Syria's Kurds, as US-Russia announce another peace deal

Turkey presses to establish a 'no-fly zone' in northern Syria

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Turkey presses to establish a 'no-fly zone' in northern Syria


Hadiya Yousef, Kurdish official leading the effort to create Rojava, a new Kurdish 'federal system' in Syria. (Reuters)
Hadiya Yousef, Kurdish official leading the effort to create Rojava, a new Kurdish 'federal system' in Syria. (Reuters)

Turkey is continuing with its invasion of Syria, known as Operation Euphrates Shield, now in its third week. On Thursday, the 15th day of the operation, Turkey announced that the operation had killed 110 of the enemy, where the enemy included both fighters from the so-called Islamic State (IS or ISIS or ISIL or Daesh) and also fighters from the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG).

The Turks did not announce how many of the 110 killed were from ISIS and how many from the YPG, but Turkish officials have said that a major objective of the invasion was to drive the Kurdish forces back east, to the other side of the Euphrates River.

Turkey's tanks, planes and special forces crossed the border into Syria on August 24, backed up by around 1,500 anti-Assad Syrian rebels called the Free Syrian Army (FSA). Turkey's forces were rushed into action to drive ISIS out of Syria's border city of Jarablus before the Kurdish YPG beat them to it.

Now that Turkey's army and the FSA are in control of a large section of northern Syria, Turkey wants them to stay there by forming a "safe zone" for refugees. At last week's G20 summit meeting, Turkey's president Recep Tayyip Erdogan restated this objective, and also criticized Syria's president Bashar al-Assad:

"At the leaders' summit in Antalya, we said that the Syrian crisis could be solved by creating a safe zone for the refugees, and we reiterated this. Not a single country took a solid step; the Syrian subject continues to be a bleeding wound. ...

Right now, in Syria, 600,000 civilians lost their lives. To still say 'let Assad stay' seems to me like an embarrassment to humanity."

Erdogan also wants the safe zone to be a "no-fly zone," enforced by the US coalition of warplanes fighting ISIS. However, the Obama administration opposes a no-fly zone, according to national security advisor Ben Rhodes:

We do not think a no-fly zone would resolve the fundamental issues on the ground because there continues to be fighting on the ground.

A no-fly zone would necessarily only be contained to one specific area, and we have problems and violence across the country."

However, Rhodes also congratulated Turkey on the operation in Jarablus:

"It has been a key priority for a long time.

If we can seal that border using Turkish forces, opposition forces, with our logistical and air support, I think that would help us make a substantial gain against ISIS."

So if I understand Rhodes correctly, the intention is to for Turkish and FSA forces to remain in place in northern Syria, protected by coalition warplanes. What's the difference between that and a safe zone / no-fly zone? I can't tell the difference.

If it isn't a safe zone, then ISIS and the Kurds will attack Jarablus again. If it isn't protected by coalition air power, then it will be attacked by Syrian regime warplanes. So we'll have to wait and see what's going on. Reuters and Middle East Monitor and Hurriyet (Ankara)

Related Articles

Turkey's forces and Kurdish forces set to clash in Manbij

In January 2014, ISIS captured the city of Manbij, with over 100,000 people, south of Jarablus, west of the Euphrates River.

Early in August, the Kurds had scored a major victory by defeating ISIS in the city of Manbij. In capturing Manbij, The Kurds' objective was to continue westward and to control a long strip of land in northern Syria, and declare an independent state called Rojava, something that's strongly opposed by Turkey.

Now Turkey's president Recep Tayyip Erdogan has stated that Turkey's military operation will continue southward, first to expel ISIS from the city of Al-Bab, and then to expel the Kurds from the city of Manbij.

US officials have asked their allies, the YPG Kurds, to retreat from Manbij and move back to the eastern side of the Euphrates River, but Hadiya Yousef, a Syrian Kurd politician, says that the Kurds have no intention of retreating:

"We have decided to convene a meeting of the founding assembly of the federal system at the start of October, and we will declare our system in northern Syrian.

We will not retreat from this project. On the contrary, we will work to implement it. The Turkish intervention will not obstruct us."

Yousef is co-chair of a 151-member council including Kurds, Arabs, Turkmen, Assyrians and other groups that will approve a new constitution known as a "social contract" that plans to form Rojava, which they describe as a new "federal system" in Syria.

According to Erdogan, both ISIS and the YPG Kurds are terrorists. However, the Turks and the Kurds are both allies of the United States, and it looks like they'll be fighting each other. Reuters and Yeni Safak (Ankara) and Reuters (12-April)

Related Articles

US and Russia once again announced a peace deal in Syria

After what has been described as over ten hours of arguing, US Secretary of State John Kerry and Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov announced a new "cessation of hostilities," to begin on Monday, September 12, and last seven days.

The "bedrock of the agreement," according to Kerry, will be to prevent the air forces of Syria's president Bashar al-Assad from flying combat missions that target the "moderate rebels," which would exclude the al-Nusra Front and ISIS. In particular, the agreement would prevent al-Assad's warplanes from dropping barrel bombs on civilian neighborhoods, marketplaces, hospitals and schools.

After the cessation of hostilities has been in place for seven days, then the peace agreement will be extended to include al-Nusra Front, which in July announced that it had split with al-Qaeda, and renamed itself Jabhat Fateh al-Sham.

We've now had several years of peace agreements, peace envoys, cessations of hostilities, but the core problem has always been the psychopathic Bashar al-Assad, who considers all Sunnis to be like cockroaches to be exterminated.

In this new peace deal, the Russians have committed to keeping al-Assad from bombing civilians with barrel bombs. I don't expect anything to be different this time, but we'll have to wait and see. BBC and CNN and Russia Today

Related Articles

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 10-Sep-16 World View -- Turkey plans assault on Syria's Kurds, as US-Russia announce another peace deal thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (10-Sep-2016) Permanent Link
Receive daily World View columns by e-mail
Donate to Generational Dynamics via PayPal

9-Sep-16 World View -- Saudi Arabia makes a dangerous accusation - that Iranians are 'not Muslims'

Obama warns China not to ignore the Hague tribunal ruling on South China Sea

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Two million Muslims -- but no Iranians -- begin the Hajj pilgrimage on Friday


View of the streets of Mina at last year's Hajj, where thousands of pilgrims were suffocated or trampled to death.  (AP)
View of the streets of Mina at last year's Hajj, where thousands of pilgrims were suffocated or trampled to death. (AP)

Up to 2 million Muslims from around the world have arrived in Saudi Arabia for the annual Hajj pilgrimage in Mecca that takes place this year on September 9-14.

The Hajj is Islam's holiest event, commemorating rituals that date back to the prophet Abraham, and then codified by the prophet Mohammed in the Quran. Each Muslim is required to make a pilgrimage to the Hajj at least once in his lifetime. Last year, about two million Muslims from 180 countries around the world arrived in Saudi Arabia for their once in a lifetime Hajj pilgrimage. Around the same number are expected this year, but with one big exception: Several thousand Muslims from Iran will not be attending.

At last year's Hajj, two massive crowds of pilgrims converged on the same narrow street just outside of Mecca, in burning hot weather with a temperature of 46 degrees centigrade (= 114 degrees fahrenheit). Over 2000 pilgrims, including several hundred Iranian pilgrims, were suffocated or trampled to death. Although the catastrophe was apparently completely unintentional, Iran's leaders have strongly condemned Saudi Arabia's behavior, saying that the crowds should have been better managed before, during and after the incident, and even insinuated that the Saudis had purposely intended for Iranians to be killed.

Relations between Saudi Arabia and Iran took a major step towards increased hostility in January of this year, when Saudi Arabia executed 47 alleged terrorists -- 46 Sunnis and one Shia, Mohammad Baqir Nimr al-Nimr, infuriating Iran and Shias because it implied that Shia terrorism is equivalent to Sunni terrorism. Iranian mobs firebombed the Saudi embassy in Tehran, and attacked the consulate in Meshaad. Saudi Arabia and Iran broke diplomatic relations. Other Saudi allies followed suit. In May, Iran banned Iranians from attending the Hajj.

Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei posted the following on his personal web site this week:

"Those who have reduced hajj to a religious-tourist trip and have hidden their enmity and malevolence towards the faithful and revolutionary people of Iran under the name of “politicizing hajj”, are themselves small and puny satans who tremble for fear of jeopardizing the interests of the Great Satan, the U.S.

Saudi rulers, who have obstructed the path of Allah and Masjid ul-Haraam this year and who have blocked the proud and faithful Iranian pilgrims’ path to the Beloved’s House, are disgraced and misguided people who think their survival on the throne of oppression is dependent on defending the arrogant powers of the world, on alliances with Zionism and the U.S. and on fulfilling their demands. And on this path, they do not shy away from any treason. ...

The fitna-promoting rulers who by forming and arming wicked takfiri groups, have plunged the world of Islam into civil wars, murdering and injuring the innocent and shed blood in Yemen, Iraq, the Levant, Libya and other countries- the godless politicians who have extended the hand of friendship towards the Zionist regime, have closed their eyes on the Palestinians’ sufferings and heartrending tragedies and have spread their oppression and betrayal to the cities and villages of Bahrain- the irreligious and unconscionable rulers who gave rise to the great tragedy in Mina and in the name of being servants of the two holy places, sacrificed divine sanctity and God’s guests on the day of Eid in Mina and in Masjid ul-Haraam shortly before that- these same people are now claiming the need to avoid politicizing hajj and are accusing others of the great sins that they themselves have committed and caused."

Khamenei went on to call for removing Saudi Arabia as managers of the two holy places (Mecca and Medina) and the Hajj. Guardian (London) and Ayatollah Khamenei's web site

Related Articles

Saudi Arabia makes a dangerous accusation - that Iranians are 'not Muslims'

Saudi Arabia's leading Sunni Muslim cleric, Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdulaziz Al al-Sheik, responded to a criticism from Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei by saying:

"We must understand that these [Iranians] are not Muslims, they are the sons of the Magi, and their hostility to Muslims is old and specifically with the Sunnis and the community."

The phrase "sons of the Magi" refers to Zoroastrianism, the official religion of the Sasanian Empire. This empire, which existed for several centuries before it was defeated by the Arabic Muslim army in 650 AD, is considered by many Iranians today to be the glorious height of Persian civilization, and an important part of Iran's cultural heritage, even though Iranians today are Shia Muslims, not Zoroastrians.

Iran's foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif responded on his twitter account by saying, in essence, that it's the Saudis who are not true Muslims:

"Indeed; no resemblance between Islam of Iranians & most Muslims & bigoted extremism that Wahhabi top cleric & Saudi terror masters preach."

This is a very dangerous situation, because it goes to the heart of many wars between Sunnis and Shias going back almost to the time of the prophet Mohammed himself. Even if we assume that the leaders of the two countries, Saudi Arabia and Iran, are somehow able to remain cool-headed (a questionable assumption), these two remarks will trigger anger and possibly terrorist acts by extremists in both countries.

The question about who is a "true Muslim" dates back to the period following the death of Mohammed.

The Koran was codified 20-30 years after Mohammed's death. Some of it had been written down, but many of the texts were based on the testimony of one or two persons who had been acquainted with Mohammed. The selection and interpretation of texts was controlled by a politician (Caliph Uthman) whose clan was to become the Sunnis, and who was in a bitter political and ideological fight with Ali Ibn Abi Talib, the first Shia imam. Although some Muslim scholars claim that the Koran text is unimpeachable, there is nothing in my experience that leads me to believe that Uthman, who was a politician, didn't filter all the texts according to his ideological fight with Ali, exclude some texts contrary to his ideology, and change a word here or there based on his ideology.

But most of the disagreements between Sunnis and Shias come about from the selection of the sunnah and hadiths -- statements by Mohammed or his companions, respectively, preserved in the memories of people, and passed on from generation to generation, not codified until one or more centuries later. These statements were filtered by multiple politicians, and there is nothing in my experience that leads me to believe that anything beyond a well-defined core set of sunnah can be considered valid.

So when the Saudi cleric accuses the Iranians of being Zoroastrians, he's accusing them of recognizing a group of sunnah and hadiths that Shia Muslims recognize as valid, but Sunni Muslims do not.

Conversely, when the Iranians criticize the Wahhabis, he's accusing them of adopting an extremely questionable set of sunnah not recognized by more than a small minority of Sunni Muslims.

So these mutual accusations really go to the deepest core of the disagreement between Sunnis and Shias. As the war of words continues to worsen, we will never be far away from the possibility that one side or the other will translate words into action, as had been the case for thirteen centuries. First Post and Al-Monitor and Exploring Islam and Professor Philip A. Pecorin, CUNY and Amman Message (2006)

Obama warns China not to ignore the Hague tribunal ruling on South China Sea

President Barack Obama, attending the meeting of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN), warned China that it must abide by the ruling United Nations Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) in the Hague. That ruling eviscerated China's claims to the South China Sea.

Speaking to the national leaders at the summit, Obama said:

"The landmark arbitration ruling in July, which is binding, helped to clarify maritime rights in the region. I recognize this raises tensions but I also look forward to discussing how we can constructively move forward together to lower tensions and promote diplomacy and stability."

China's foreign ministry spokesman said, "We hope the US can take an objective and just attitude with respect to South China Sea issues." What China means by "objective" is to ignore the ruling, which took three years to reach, and just do whatever China wants.

The Hague ruling makes it clear that China's actions are unambiguously and "objectively" illegal. China's statements have become increasingly furious since the Hague ruling, and it's feared that the ruled has provoked a surge in emotional nationalism in China that could lead China's military to start a war. AFP and Straits Times (Singapore)

Related Articles

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 9-Sep-16 World View -- Saudi Arabia makes a dangerous accusation - that Iranians are 'not Muslims' thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (9-Sep-2016) Permanent Link
Receive daily World View columns by e-mail
Donate to Generational Dynamics via PayPal

8-Sep-16 World View -- Darfur in Sudan facing new genocide as refugees are expelled from camps

Generational history of the Darfur war

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Darfur in Sudan facing new genocide as refugees are expelled from camps


Celebrity star George Clooney visiting a Darfur refugee camp in 2008 (AP)
Celebrity star George Clooney visiting a Darfur refugee camp in 2008 (AP)

The ongoing genocidal massacre in Darfur, the far western province of Sudan, is almost completely forgotten today in the West, and is no longer as chic and high fashion an issue as it was ten years ago.

Ten years ago, politicians and celebrity stars, led by George Clooney, were anxious to appear on the evening news shows to demonstrate what caring and concerned people they were, and to suggest some politically correct way to end the genocide. Running for the president in 2008, Barack Obama declared that Darfur was a “stain on our souls,” and that “as a president of the United States I don’t intend to abandon people or turn a blind eye to slaughter.”

Well, he abandoned them. The celebrities and politicians are now long gone, having done nothing the for the people of Darfur.

In 2007, the a UN Security Council resolution established the United Nations–African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID), and provided peacekeeping troops to protect the Darfurians. Millions of people who were threatened with violence were moved from their villages to camps for refugees and IDPs (internally displaced persons) controlled by UNAMID. Today, there are still more than 3.1 million IDPs living in these refugee camps, and they are still suffering from hunger, thirst, and attacks from the militias that were attacking them ten years ago.

Sudan's president Omar Hassan Ahmed al-Bashir is blamed for the ongoing genocide, and for launching the Janjaweed Militias that perpetrated the actual massacres. In March, 2009, the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued an arrest warrant for al-Bashir, charging him with war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide. Since then, al-Bashir has very carefully avoided traveling to any country where the government might take him into custody and send him off to the ICC to be tried, and he's still considered to be an international fugitive.

And so he considers the UNAMID refugee camps, which are at least partially protected by 19,000 UN peacekeeping troops, to be a personal humiliation and a humiliation for the government of Sudan, because they stand as a permanent monument to the genocide and other war crimes of which he's accused. For those reasons, al-Bashir has wanted for a long time to close the refugee camps.

On Wednesday, at a major celebration in Sudan's capital city Khartoum, al-Bashir declared the Darfur war to be over. He said that the country was now at peace, and that the UNAMID camps are to be closed by the end of the year. The 3.1 million people in these camps can return to their original villages, though Sudan may set up some non-UNAMID refugee camps for the others. In either case, there will be no peacekeeping troops to protect them from the Janjaweed militias.

Al-Bashir made the announcement at a ceremony attended by two other Arab leaders -- Qatar's emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani and Chad's president Idriss Deby.

Meanwhile, fighting is still going on, though not at previous levels. The Janjaweed militias have been renamed as the Rapid Support Force (RSF), but their actions haven't changed, and 3.1 million people are now threatened with renewed massacres from the militias controlled Omar al-Bashir's militias. AFP and Kigali (Rwanda) Today and Deutsche Welle and Sudan Tribune

Generational history of the Darfur war


Darfur refugee camp - changes from 2005 to 2014.  Tarpaulin roofs have been covered with mud bricks as homes have morphed into permanent settlements, packed between narrow alleys.  (BBC)
Darfur refugee camp - changes from 2005 to 2014. Tarpaulin roofs have been covered with mud bricks as homes have morphed into permanent settlements, packed between narrow alleys. (BBC)

The core issue in the Darfur war is one that I've described many times -- the battle between farmers and herders. Farmers and herders have two completely different lifestyles, and in many countries they come from two completely different ethnic groups. Battles between farmers and herders occur in country after country, as I've described many times in Central African Republic, Rwanda, Burundi, Kenya, Sudan, and even America in the 1800s. The farmers accuse the herders of letting the cattle eat their crops, while the herders accuse the farmers of planting on land that's meant for grazing. If the farmers put up fences, then the herders knock them down.

In Sudan, low level violence began in the 1970s between two ethnic groups, one of farmers (the "Africans") and the other of camel herders (the "Arabs"), in the usual disputes over land and water. The violence increased from year to year, and in the 1990s, Sudan's government in Khartoum delegated the responsibility of policing the region to the Arab Janjaweed militias, formed from certain groups of herders.

Violence continued to increase, and by 2003, it had turned into a full-scale generational crisis war. That was the time when the world began to pay attention.

That was only nine years after the Rwanda genocide of 1994, involving the slaughter of some 800,000 ethnic Tutsis by ethnic Hutus, in a three month period. There had been years of finger-pointing among politicians for "allowing" the Rwanda genocide to occur, while doing nothing to stop it.

So by 2004, it had become an international cause to prevent a new "Rwanda genocide" from occurring in Darfur. There were international calls to do something, although any such actions were opposed by the Arab nations in Africa -- Libya, Sudan, Egypt, Nigeria and Chad.

The crisis was all the rage among the glitterati and the hoi polloi. George Clooney visited Darfur, raised money, addressed the UN, and got other celebrities to speak out about the atrocities. In 2004, Jesse Jackson called for sending American troops to Darfur. In 2007, Senator Joe Biden called for withdrawing all the American troops from Iraq and sending them to Darfur. Ban Ki-moon blamed the United States and the West for the genocide in Darfur, by saying that it was caused by global warming.

From the point of view of Generational Dynamics, something important has been missing from the Darfur crisis, and until that missing piece emerges, the crisis will continue unabated.

The missing piece is the "explosive climax." Every generational crisis war has to end with an explosive climax, or the war won't end. Sometimes the explosive climax is literally "explosive," as in the nuking of Japanese cities at the end of World War II. In other cases, it's a massacre and atrocity so horrific that it's well-remembered for decades or even centuries. The Rwanda genocide was such an explosive crisis. So was the massive slaughter of tens of thousands of Sunnis from the town of Hama, Syria, in 1982, when Hafez al-Assad turned the town to rubble.

In the case of Darfur, when I was writing about it ten years ago, I was expecting this explosive climax to occur at any time. But it didn't happen because of the massive peacekeeping operation by UNAMID, starting in 2007, with millions of people moved into peacekeeping camps where they could be "protected."

But the UNAMID operation did not end the need for an explosive climax; it only postponed it. The explosive climax MUST happen before the Darfur war will end.

Although we don't know WHEN the climax will occur, we can take a pretty good guess about HOW it will occur. You have those 3.1 million IDPs like sitting ducks in refugee camps, protected by 19,000 UN troops. One day those troops will be removed, whether or not the refugee camps are closed. Either way, that will clear the path for the Janjaweed militias to finish the job they started. That will be the explosive climax. Sudan Tribune and Guardian (London, 11-Dec-2014) and BBC (11-Aug-2014) and Martin Plaut (6-Jan)

Related Articles

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 8-Sep-16 World View -- Darfur in Sudan facing new genocide as refugees are expelled from camps thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (8-Sep-2016) Permanent Link
Receive daily World View columns by e-mail
Donate to Generational Dynamics via PayPal

7-Sep-16 World View -- From 2013: The history of how Syria's Bashar al-Assad created ISIS

Syrian regime drops chlorine-laded barrel bomb on Aleppo market

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Syrian regime drops chlorine-laded barrel bomb on Aleppo market


Partial contents of a Bashar al-Assad barrel bomb (Sky News)
Partial contents of a Bashar al-Assad barrel bomb (Sky News)

At least 71 people, including 37 children and 10 women, were hospitalized in Aleppo in Syria on Tuesday with severe breaking difficulties, after the regime of Syria's president Bashar al-Assad used helicopters to drop barrel bombs containing chlorine on a crowded market. Other reports indicate that 120 people were hospitalized.

The al-Assad regime denied that it was responsible for the chemical weapon attack, and blamed it on "terrorists." However, al-Assad is the only "terrorist" with access to helicopters, so there's no doubt that the regime was responsible for the chemical weapons attack.

Last month, the United Nations issued a report concluding that chemical weapons have been used by the Syrian regime and also by the so-called Islamic State (IS or ISIS or ISIL or Daesh).

Once again, there was no doubt that the regime had been the perpetrators of the chemical weapons attack because the United Nations "found no evidence that armed opposition groups had been operating helicopters at the time and location of the cases investigated."

In 2013, the United Nations investigated a Sarin gas attack in Syria, killing hundreds of people. A U.N. chemical weapons team was authorized to investigate the incident. However, thanks to a threatened Russian veto, the U.N. team was forbidden from assigning blame for the Sarin attack. But the team found a clever way of assigning blame without having to say it. In their scientific analysis of the evidence, they included calculations of the trajectories of the rockets that delivered the Sarin gas. They drew no conclusions about where the rockets were launched, but they provided enough scientific information within the report so that experts studying the report could analyze the trajectories to prove that the rockets must have been launched from a Syrian Republican Guard unit. AP and Middle East Eye and United Nations (30-Aug)

From 2013: The history of how Syria's Bashar al-Assad created ISIS

There has been much discussion in the news lately about how the so-called Islamic State (IS or ISIS or ISIL or Daesh) came into existence. I happen to be in an excellent position to answer that question, since I was writing "World View" articles pretty much every day. I wrote 361 articles in 2013, comprising almost 400,000 words. So I went back in time to 2013 to see what I wrote about how ISIS was created, and there's no doubt whatsoever that Syria's president Bashar al-Assad created ISIS.

Starting around April 2013, there were reports of jihadists from other parts of the world coming to Syria to fight al-Assad. What was remarkable is that I was the only person I knew of who was describing the dangerous consequences of this. Of course I couldn't predict the formation of ISIS at that time, though I did start to mention ISIS in October of that year. And I repeatedly predicted that these jihadists would develop terrorist skills in Syria and bring them back to other countries to conduct terrorist attacks.

I was particularly contemptuous of the three leaders responsible for this impending disaster -- Syria's president Bashar al-Assad, Russia's president Vladimir Putin, and Iran's supreme leader Seyed Ali Khamenei. Even then it was clear to me that this these three idiots were going to cause a huge disaster and Mideast and beyond. And as I said, no one else was writing about this.

I was also contemptuous of president Obama's flip-flop on the Sarin gas red line. That's the reason that no one else was writing about this -- because it gave the lie to Obama's claim that things were under control in the Mideast, and the mainstream media didn't dare to write anything critical of Obama.

The flow of jihadists into Syria began as a trickle, but turned into a flood because of two events.

The Mideast changed dramatically on April 30, when Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah, the leader of the Lebanon-based Shia terror group Hezbollah, gave a televised speech saying that Hezbollah would militarily enter the fight in Syria on the side of the regime of Syria's president Bashar al-Assad, and then followed up by winning an overwhelming victory against Syria's opposition in Qusair. That was the point in time when Syria's civil war turned into a war between Sunnis and Shias in the Mideast. Nasrallah was acting under orders from Iran.

The second event was President Obama's flip-flop on his "red line" declaration, after al-Assad used Sarin gas on his own people. It's hard to overestimate the impact of this flip-flop, because it made it clear to everyone -- al-Assad, Iran, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, etc. -- that for the first time in decades, the United States would no longer be a force for peace in the Mideast. After this, everyone knew that they could do anything they wanted with impunity.

With tens of thousands of jihadists flooding into Syria to fight al-Assad, it was only a matter of time when there would be total disaster, and that's what's happened. These thousands of jihadists joined together to form ISIS, and I blame it entirely on the unbelievably stupid actions of al-Assad, Putin, and Khamenei.

I put the collection of 2013 excerpts into a posting in the Generational Dynamics forum.

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 7-Sep-16 World View -- From 2013: The history of how Syria's Bashar al-Assad created ISIS thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (7-Sep-2016) Permanent Link
Receive daily World View columns by e-mail
Donate to Generational Dynamics via PayPal

6-Sep-16 World View -- Sharply polarized Hong Kong electorate hands Beijing a stinging setback

China's relations with Hong Kong and Taiwan set to become more tense

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Sharply polarized Hong Kong electorate hands Beijing a stinging setback


Radical activist candidate Eddie Chu Hoi-dick (right), celebrates after winning a seat at the legislative council elections in Hong Kong (Macau Daily Times)
Radical activist candidate Eddie Chu Hoi-dick (right), celebrates after winning a seat at the legislative council elections in Hong Kong (Macau Daily Times)

Pro-democracy or "localist" candidates won 27 seats out of 70 in Sunday's elections for the Legislative Council of Hong Kong (LegCo). Although these aren't enough seats to push through new legislation, they are enough to veto important legislation that pro-Beijing factions had hoped to pass into law.

The 27 localist seats are even more significant when you consider that only 35 seats are directly elected by the voters. The other 35 seats are for "functional constituencies," which are elected by elite voters in particular professions or trades, such as accounting, finance, medicine and fisheries, most of which support Beijing because their members have close ties to China’s Communist elite on the mainland.

China's thuggish policies in Hong Kong have apparently backfired spectacularly, as the election handed a major setback to Beijing. Beijing had hoped that more seats would go to pro-Beijing candidates, but the opposite happened instead.

The turnout was almost as significant as the output. Some 2.2 million people voted, much more than in past elections, indicating increased polarization and an intense interest in both sides to "send a message."

The term "localist" is new this year. It doesn't mean "pro-independence," because being pro-independent is illegal. But it means more than "pro-democracy," because the latter refers mostly to election rules, while "localists" advocate much more self-government, and much more independence from Beijing.

Before Sunday's election, the pro-Beijing camp held 43 seats, and had hoped to increase that number to 47, giving them the two-thirds majority needed to pass constitutional reform, including laws that would give Beijing much more control over Hong Kong. Instead, the pro-Beijing camp now has only 40 seats, and the localists can veto any attempts at constitutional "reform" that would give more power to Beijing.

A statement from Beijing emphasized that any talk of "Hong Kong independence" was against the Constitution of China, the Basic Law, and relevant laws of Hong Kong. The statement accused "certain organizations and candidates" of publicly advocating for "Hong Kong independence," and it called on the Hong Kong authorities to punish these individuals and "to mete out penalties according to law." South China Morning Post (Hong Kong) and Macau Daily Times and Xinhua and BBC

China's relations with Hong Kong and Taiwan set to become more tense

During Mao's bloody Communist Revolution, Hong Kong was a British colony, and many people fled to Hong Kong in the late 1940s to escape Mao's atrocities. Many remained in Hong Kong, while many others continued on to the island of Formosa, now known as Taiwan. As the survivors of Mao's revolution have died off over the decades, and younger generations have come of age, the populations of both regions have become more polarized and more tense.

In the past few years, we've seen China become increasingly nationalistic and militarized. In the South China Sea, China is building artificial islands and military bases in waters that a United Nations court recently ruled were the territorial waters of the Philippines. China is making it clear that it does not recognize any international authority except its own self-interest, and that it will use its increasingly powerful military to crush any opposition.

So in China's mainland, young people are increasingly demanding military action against Hong Kong and Taiwan, while on Hong Kong and Taiwan, young people are increasingly demanding complete independence from China.

China has suffered major electoral setbacks in both regions this year. In January, Taiwan's pro-independence party won an overwhelming victory, and now on Sunday, Hong Kong's localist activists have won a very significant victory.

In both Taiwan and Hong Kong, "independence" is a forbidden word, and Beijing has said it will violently crush anyone who even talks about it. But pro-independence sentiments are growing in both regions, while nationalist sentiments are growing in China's mainland. Anyone can see that this won't end well. South China Morning Post (Hong Kong) and Chatham House (UK) and Manila Times

Related Articles

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 6-Sep-16 World View -- Sharply polarized Hong Kong electorate hands Beijing a stinging setback thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (6-Sep-2016) Permanent Link
Receive daily World View columns by e-mail
Donate to Generational Dynamics via PayPal

5-Sep-16 World View -- Anti-immigrant party in Germany hands Angela Merkel a stinging defeat

Migrants from Libya to Italy surge in the Mediterranean

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Migrants from Libya to Italy surge in the Mediterranean


Rescuing an overcrowded migrant boat off the Libyan coast (Reuters)
Rescuing an overcrowded migrant boat off the Libyan coast (Reuters)

Italy's coast guard rescued nearly 10,000 migrants in just two days, Monday and Tuesday of last week, as the number of migrants risking the dangerous trip is surging in the mild weather.

The migrants are believed to be mostly from Somalia and Eritrea. More than 100,000 migrants have made the journey so far in 2016, and 3,000 are estimated to have died.

The deaths are caused by increasingly dangerous practices by people smugglers. Rubber dinghies are overfilled with migrants to dangerous levels. The smugglers provide just enough gas and food to allow the boat to reach international waters in the Mediterranean, where they can only wait to be rescued by the Italian coast guard before the boat sinks. It's an unbelievably cynical situation. Deutsche-Welle and Australian Broadcasting and Deutsche-Welle

Related Articles

Anti-immigrant party in Germany hands Angela Merkel a stinging defeat

Three years after being founded on an anti-euro ticket in 2013, the right-wing Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) party has scored its fourth significant regional victory this year, by getting 21% of the vote in an important regional election in the state of Mecklenburg-West Pomerania in the former East Germany. AfD has gotten 15.1%, 24.3% and 12.6% of votes in other regional elections this year.

What makes Sunday's vote so significant is that it occurred in the home district of Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel, and her center-right Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party received only 19%, putting it in third place, not only behind AfD, but also behind the center-left Social Democrat Party (SPD), which came in first with 30.5% of the vote.

There's little doubt of the reason behind Merkel's stinging defeat. There was only one major issue in the election campaign, immigration. It was a year ago that Merkel invited Syrian refugees to come to Germany with the slogan "Wir schaffen es" ("We can do it"). However, Germany has taken in 1.1 million refugees in the last year, and Merkel is being held responsible for any problems that have arisen, including allegations of rape. ( "7-Jan-16 World View -- German 'Code of Conduct' for women shows pendulum swing on gender issues")

The AfD party, founded in 2013, has moved on from its original anti-euro stance to an anti-immigrant stance, though this has not been without problems, as there was a split in 2015 when one of the leaders quit the party, saying that was becoming increasingly xenophobic. However, as I've written many times, this is consistent with the rest of the world, as countries around the world become increasingly xenophobic and nationalistic in this generational Crisis era. BBC and Deutsche-Welle and Guardian (London)

Related Articles

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 5-Sep-16 World View -- Anti-immigrant party in Germany hands Angela Merkel a stinging defeat thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (5-Sep-2016) Permanent Link
Receive daily World View columns by e-mail
Donate to Generational Dynamics via PayPal

4-Sep-16 World View -- Bashar al-Assad's Syrian army once again close to collapse

Turkey sends more tanks into Syria in 'New Phase' of military action

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Turkey sends more tanks into Syria in 'New Phase' of military action


A Turkish tank in Suruc, near the Syrian border, on Saturday. (AP)
A Turkish tank in Suruc, near the Syrian border, on Saturday. (AP)

A large number of Turkish tanks crossed the border into Syria, and many more are massed on the border, ready to cross, in what Turkey is calling a "new phase" of its military action in Syria.

Turkey's tanks are supported by thousands of Free Syrian Army (FSA) rebels who have been fighting both the so-called Islamic State (IS or ISIS or ISIL or Daesh) and the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG). Both the FSA and the YPG are backed by the US military, even though they're fighting each other. The US administration favors the YPG because it's been the major fighting force against ISIS, which the US considers a threat to its national security.

Last week, US vice president Joe Biden issued a demand to the Kurdish YPG forces to move back east and remain east of the Euphrates River. ( "29-Aug-16 World View -- US forced to choose between two close allies, as Turks bomb Kurds in Syria")

The Syrian Kurds have been the most effective US ally in fighting ISIS in Syria, but they've had another major objective -- namely to take control of a region along almost the entire Syria-Turkey border, in order to declare an independent Kurdish state called Rojava. This plan is anathema to both Turkey and Syria. Although Turkey's tanks are nominally fighting ISIS, there's little doubt that the principal target is the YPG.

The Kurds now see themselves the victims of betrayal by the United States, and have vowed to fight to the death to stop Turkey from "invading the region." Anadolu (Turkey) and BBC and Independent (London) and Hurriyet (Ankara)

Syrian rebels capture 14 villages near Hama in four days

From Tuesday to Friday of the last week, Syria's anti-regime rebels conducted the biggest coordinated rebel assault in Hama province since 2014, and seized control at least 14 villages. The rebels came under heavy air attacks by the air force of Syria's president Bashar al-Assad, as well as by Russian warplanes.

Hama province is of strategic importance, because it connects rebel-controlled Idlib province to Damascus. But it also carries a great deal of symbolic importance. Hama was the site of some of the first anti-Assad protests at the beginning of the "Arab Spring" in 2011. At that time, al-Assad responded to the peaceful protests by shelling civilian neighborhoods and shooting protestors on sight.

But it was also the site of the bloodiest massacre by al-Assad's father Hafez al-Assad in the Syrian civil war. Syria's last generational crisis war was the civil war that climaxed in 1982 with the massacre at Hama. There was a massive uprising of the 400,000 mostly Sunni citizens of Hama against Syria's president Hafez al-Assad, the current president's father. In February, 1982, al-Assad turned the town to rubble, 40,000 deaths and 100,000 expelled. Hama stands as a defining moment in the Middle East. It is regarded as perhaps the single deadliest act by any Arab government against its own people in the modern Middle East. But once the Hama was destroyed, the anti-government movement against Hafaz al-Assad pretty much ended, as that was the climax of the generational crisis civil war.

But today's war is not a generational crisis war, but an Awakening era war, and the rules are different. Today's anti-Assad rebels still have fresh memories, either personally or through their parents, of the 1982 massacre, and they're not going to allow anything like that to stop them this time.

The larger picture is that the rebel assault on Hama has a strategic objective of forcing al-Assad to split his forces between Hama and Aleppo, the latter being the city where Syrian forces have been trying to take control for months. ( "8-Aug-16 World View -- Syrian regime apparently suffers major setback in Aleppo") The regime declared several times that victory was at hand, only to be defeated each time. Al-Jazeera and Syria Direct (Lebanon) and Al-Jazeera (5-July-2011)

Bashar al-Assad's Syrian army once again close to collapse

During 2015, we repeatedly reported that the army of Syria's president Bashar al-Assad was near collapse, after al-Assad's army suffered a number of significant major setbacks, and was being crippled by massive desertions. ( "8-Apr-15 World View -- Bashar al-Assad's Syria army showing signs of collapse")

Al-Assad was saved by the massive intervention by Russia, Iran and Hezbollah. However, al-Assad's government is rotten to the core, and the Russian military intervention appears to have saved al-Assad only temporarily, as the army is once again showing signs of collapse.

Mideast expert Scott Lucas, a professor at Birmingham University, described the situation in an interview on RFI. He said that the attack on Hama has forced al-Assad to split his forces between Hama and Aleppo (my transcription):

"What we've seen in the past week does raise the prospect he may lose Hama city, which is the 4th largest city in Syria.

The majority of the local population is against the regime there, and it's really in effect been an occupying force in Hama since early in the uprising.

[The regime is] trying to get back into this artillery base in Aleppo, and they're putting up wave after wave of attacks to be able to do this, and they may be able to claim this one victory, but the problem is that they've got to do this on multiple fronts now. They not only have to be able to secure areas on the Aleppo front, they've got to be able to push the rebels back on the Hama front.

We knew this a year ago. At the time when the rebels took the entire Idlib province up in the northwest, we knew that there were manpower problems, because president Assad came out and said it. He sort of warned his population almost in a sense that the military was on the point of collapse.

What saved the regime at that point was this massive intervention by the Russians, in terms of the aerial operations, in combination with a sharp escalation of Iranian and Hezbollah support, including not only Iranian units, but Iranian-led foreign militias, especially the use of Iraqis and Afghan militias. ...

We're now looking at a de facto partitioning of the country. You're going to have Kurdish areas of Syria up in the northeast, because the Kurds have pushed back the Islamic State. The rebels who now of course have Turkish support will hold parts of the north and the northwest. The Assad regime, which can no longer hold a national government, will try to hold the line from the Mediterranean through Homs to Damascus, and president Assad will hope to continue to remain in power as president of not all of Syria but at least part of it."

Other reports indicate a crashing economy with surging inflation, and growing infighting stemming from massive corruption. War On The Rocks

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 4-Sep-16 World View -- Bashar al-Assad's Syrian army once again close to collapse thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (4-Sep-2016) Permanent Link
Receive daily World View columns by e-mail
Donate to Generational Dynamics via PayPal

3-Sep-16 World View -- Japan and Russia may settle post-World War II Kuril Islands dispute

Reading between the lines: Russia, Japan, China, India and border disputes

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Japan and Russia may settle post-World War II Kuril Islands dispute


Shinzo Abe and Vladimir Putin on Friday
Shinzo Abe and Vladimir Putin on Friday

Both Japan and Russia seem determined to resolve the last major issue that has kept the countries from signing a peace treaty to formally mark the end of World War II.

When World War II ended in 1945 with Japan's surrender, Russia annexed four islands in Japan's Northern Territory, known to Russia as the Kuril Islands. The Soviet Union and Japan reestablished diplomatic relations in 1956, but they failed at that time to resolve the island dispute. In fact, over the decades, there have been multiple attempts at negotiating a resolution to the dispute, but those attempts have all been derailed for various reasons. The most recent attempt occurred in 2014, but that was derailed as well because Japan had to withdraw because of international sanctions imposed on Russia, after Russia invaded and annexed Ukraine's Crimean peninsula.

However, this week there was outreach from both sides to resolve the issue, culminating in a meeting on Friday between Russia's president Vladimir Putin and Japan's prime minister Shinzo Abe. The meeting took place in Vladivostok, a port city in Russia's Far East. Abe’s trip to Vladivostok was a rare visit to Russia by a Western leader, in view of the sanctions.

In an interview prior to the meeting, Putin that Russia "would very much like to find a solution to this problem with our Japanese friends":

"We do not trade territories although concluding a peace treaty with Japan is certainly a key issue and we would like to find a solution to this problem together with our Japanese friends. ...

It has nothing to do with any kind of exchange or sale. It is about the search for a solution when neither party would be at a disadvantage, when neither party would perceive itself as conquered or defeated."

Friday's talks continue a discussion that began at a meeting between the two leaders in May, in which Abe was said to be trying an entirely "new approach" to reach an agreement. At the talks, Abe laid out an eight-point plan for cooperating in the revitalization of the Russian Far East, including energy development and the construction of state-of-the-art hospitals among other areas.

In return, Abe will ask for return of two of the four disputed islands, while continuing talks on the fate of the other two, say sources.

At Friday's Vladivostok meeting, Abe said:

"I had substantially deep discussions about a peace treaty (with Putin). To achieve a breakthrough in the abnormal situation where a peace treaty has never been concluded for over 70 years, there is no other way than finding a solution based on the leaders’ trust. ...

I believe the development of the Far East region with big potential is Russia’s top priority issue. The growth of the Asia-Pacific leads the global economy. Japan, as Russia’s neighbor, will promote Japan-Russia cooperation in the region strongly."

However, analysts say that whatever economic incentives Abe offers, they will almost certainly not be enough to overcome the strong nationalistic feelings of the Russian people toward ownership of the Kuril Islands.

There are plans to talk again, when Putin visits Japan on December 18. Siberian Times and Nikkei (Tokyo) and Japan Times (7-May) and Kyodo

Reading between the lines: Russia, Japan, China, India and border disputes

When we try to analyze the intentions of different nations from the point of view of Generational Dynamics, we use a variety of analytical and historical tools. If two neighboring countries are headed for a major war, the chances are that border disputes will become a major casus belli that both sides will use to justify the war, in order to excuse and explain the mutual extermination of their civilians. Thus, any behaviors exhibited prior to any war can be analyzed as a strong sign of the intensity of a future war.

As we look at various border disputes around the world, we see some very dramatic and stark differences.

Japan and Russia were enemies during World War II, and yet their current discussions of the Kuril Islands are anything but hostile. Even if it takes time to reach an agreement, the compromising and conciliatory tone of the negotiations, and the fact that negotiations are taking place at all, suggest that these two nations will not be going to war.

Now contrast that with China's various border disputes -- with Japan in the East China Sea, with Vietnam and the Philippines in the South China Sea, and with India over their land border. No one would ever accuse the Chinese of being conciliatory.

China is militarizing the South China Sea by building artificial islands and annexing regions belonging to other countries.

Last month, China used a different technique to militarize the East China Sea. It sent a huge fleet of 240 fishing boats to the region around Japan's Senkaku Island, and then used the fishing boats as an excuse to send in over a dozen military patrol boats, presumably to "protect" the fishing boats.

One doesn't have to be a psychic to see that while Russia is NOT headed to war with Japan, China IS headed for with Japan, as well as with Vietnam and the Philippines.

Similarly, China has ruled out any negotiations with a very bitter border dispute with India. It's clear that China is also headed to war with India.

On the other hand, China also has a border disagreement with Pakistan, but there's no vitriol over that, as both countries describe their relationship as "all-weather friends," "deeper than the deepest ocean," "sweeter than honey" and "dearer than eyesight." Tass (Moscow, 8-Aug) and Reuters (9-Aug) and India Today (17-July)

Related Articles

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 3-Sep-16 World View -- Japan and Russia may settle post-World War II Kuril Islands dispute thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (3-Sep-2016) Permanent Link
Receive daily World View columns by e-mail
Donate to Generational Dynamics via PayPal

2-Sep-16 World View -- UK's 'junior doctors' call a devastating 5-day strike against the National Health Service

Obamacare in severe death spiral, as insurers bleed billions

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

UK's National Health Service continues to slash services to survive


Protester against cuts to UK's National Health Service (Daily Mail)
Protester against cuts to UK's National Health Service (Daily Mail)

As we reported a year ago, Britain's National Health Service (NHS) is facing an existential crisis, with a huge and accelerating deficit expected to reach 22 billion pounds ($32 billion) by 2020. ( "5-Aug-15 World View -- Britain's National Health Service (NHS) faces existential financial crisis")

The system is deeply corrupt, with doctors falsifying records, claiming for work that was never done, or putting in for bogus overtime. Dentistry services are so bad that people are buying "do-it-yourself (DIY) dentistry kits" to take care of their whole families, as was done centuries ago.

Because the NHS bureaucracy is so old and bloated, and because the services are "free," costs can only be controlled by rationing, queuing, reduced quality and artificial cost suppression. UK's doctors earn far less than doctors in other countries, and UK specialists earn about half of what they do in America. As a result, UK's homegrown doctors have left to work in other countries, and NHS has had to import 28% of its doctors from abroad, usually from poorer countries where low UK salaries look attractive.

General practitioner (GP) appointments are limited to 10 minutes, requiring some doctors to see up the 60 patients in a 10-hour day. And yet, NHS commissioners are planning to cut GPs by 1/3 in the next ten years, and cut GP appointments by 24%. GPs will be replaced with cheaper, easier-to-train physician associates, nurses and pharmacists.

At the same time, population is rising and aging, as new people are born and old people are getting older. In East London, for example, where population is rising rapidly, the plan is to cut 136 GPs by 2020, and replace them with 58 more pharmacists, 25 more physician associates, and 49 more nurses. That is, 136 high-cost doctors will be replaced by 132 much cheaper people. In addition, a number of hospitals are slated for closure.

Many analysts believe that NHS commissioners are either in denial about trying to save NHS, or a lying to the public. According to Helen McKenna, a senior policy adviser:

"Politicians need to be honest with the public about what the NHS can offer with the funding allocated to it.

It is no longer credible to argue that the NHS can continue to meet increasing demand for services, deliver current standards of care and stay within its budget. This is widely understood within the NHS and now needs to be debated with the public.

There are no easy choices, but it would be disastrous to adopt a mindset that fails to acknowledge the serious state of the NHS in England today."

In other words, UK's National Health Service is in a death spiral, and no one wants to say so. Chronicle Live (Newcastle upon Tyne, UK) and Guardian (London) and BBC (11-Jul) and GP Online (UK)

UK's 'junior doctors' call a devastating 5-day strike against the National Health Service

The British Medical Association (BMA), the labor union representing doctors in the UK's National Health Service (NHS), will stage an England-wide 5-day strike for the week of September 12-16.

The walkout will be devastating for patients. About 100,000 operations and one million hospital appointments will be postponed.

One patient, Simon Emmet, quoted by the BBC has a kidney stone and is waiting for surgery. The surgery was scheduled for four weeks (it would have been less than one week in the US), but with the strike, he expects it to be delayed.

"I can't see that the strikes won't delay my surgery. There are only two people at the hospital that can carry it out, meaning I already have a four-week waiting time.

I've been to A&E [emergency room] with abdominal pain twice in the last week. I constantly feel nauseous and I'm in constant pain. I have to take very strong painkillers which make me drowsy.

I work from home as an IT consultant and I have to balance taking enough painkillers so I can work through the pain but no so many that I'm too dopey to work. Often I end each day in so much pain that I just lie on the floor waiting for the next day's work.

I'd really like to believe the doctors have the patient's best interest at heart but it doesn't seem right. They've been arguing about this for three years."

This patient is covered by free medical insurance, but can only go to one hospital with two doctors. In America, you have to pay for medical insurance, but the patient can go to any number of private clinics and get it done quickly.

The labor dispute is centered on overtime work on evenings and weekends, which is usually assigned to the "junior doctors." Since the NHS is facing economic disaster, there was no money available for large increases in pay that the BMA demanded. So, the government offered a contract that would pay more to doctors that do a lot of work on weekends, and would pay less to other doctors.

The BMA recommended that its membership accept the revised contract, but the membership rejected it in July by a vote of 58% to 42%.

The BMA announced on Wednesday that junior doctors will strike from September 12-16. The BMA is scheduling additional walkouts for October 5-7 and 10-11, November 14-18, and December 5-9. WebMD (UK) and BBC and Guardian (London)

Obamacare in severe death spiral, as insurers bleed billions

I saw Mark Bertolini, the CEO of health insurer Aetna, on television numerous times in the last few years. He always expressed concerns about Obamacare, but repeatedly said that he was going to make it work, and he expected Aetna's Obamacare insurance to break even in 2016, or in 2017 at the latest. As late as spring of this year, he announced plans for Aetna to expand Obamacare coverage of 2017.

On August 15, Aetna announced major cutbacks in Obamacare coverage. I saw Bertolini on CNBC that morning, and he was asked why things had changed since the spring. He said, "Losing $200 million in the second quarter really focuses my mind."

Aetna announced it will exit 11 of the 15 health-insurance exchanges where it sells Obamacare plans. Other companies, including UnitedHealthcare, Humana, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of New Mexico, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, and Texas’ Scott and White Health Plan, have all announced similar massive losses, and have all made similar announcements.

In 2016, half the states saw premiums on Obamacare plans increase by 30% or more. The premiums in 2017 are beginning to rise even faster, at 44% or more.

Even worse, Pinal County in Arizona will have absolutely no Obamacare plans to purchase. That means that 10,000 families in that country will lose their health insurance at the end of 2016, with nowhere else to go. The average proposed premium rate increase among all insurers for 2017 plans in Arizona tops 65%.

Let's review how we got here.

As long time readers are well aware, in July, 2009, when Obamacare was first announced, I wrote that Obama's health plan is a proposal of economic insanity. I compared it to President Richard Nixon's wage-price controls, and I predicted that it would be just as much an economic disaster as Nixon's price controls.

Nixon's price controls were the typical plan that the loony left loves -- use government regulations to keep prices low, at a time when inflation was at 4%. It's a great idea, and one that "progressive" and left-wing politicians absolutely adore, because their low IQ's and limited mental capacities make them incapable of understanding that giving things away for free only creates economic disaster, as it always has in history. Nixon was forced to repeal the price controls because there were huge shortages of many things, and inflation was skyrocketing to 12%.

We've recently been seeing the same thing happen in Venezuela, in a more extreme form. Citizens have to queue for hours to get basics like milk, rice, flour, ketchup, diapers, and toilet paper. Crime and violence are becoming rampant. 75% of Venezuelan homes now live in poverty, compared to 27% just two years ago. The inflation rate was 275% in 2015, and still surging. The government has ordered the jailing of factory owners if their factories cannot produce products as ordered.

So now the same thing is happening with Obamacare. President Obama has been able to stall for years by stealing billions of dollars in funds meant for other purposes. We haven't yet seen President Obama order the jailing of insurance company CEOs for withdrawing from Obamacare. But this is an administration that earlier this year threatened to use RICO racketeering laws to prosecute organizations, corporations, and individual scientists who are climate change deniers. As Obamacare spirals into disaster, anything is possible.

And as always at times like this, I like to remind readers that Obamacare's principal architect, MIT professor Jonathan Gruber, said that Obamacare passed because of "the stupidity of the American voter." Gruber was talking about Obamacare supporters. Time and Business Wire - Aetna (15-August) and Fox News and Daily Signal (8-Aug)

Related Articles

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 2-Sep-16 World View -- UK's 'junior doctors' call a devastating 5-day strike against the National Health Service thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (2-Sep-2016) Permanent Link
Receive daily World View columns by e-mail
Donate to Generational Dynamics via PayPal

1-Sep-16 World View -- Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, China sign economic and military agreements

U.S. and India sign a landmark defense agreement

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Fault lines: Saudi Arabia-China-Pakistan and India-U.S. continue to harden


Saudi Arabia and China sign economic and military agreements (al-Arabiya)
Saudi Arabia and China sign economic and military agreements (al-Arabiya)

For ten years, I've been predicting, based on Generational Dynamics analyses, that in the coming Clash of Civilizations world war, the "allies" will be the United States, India, Russia and Iran, while the "axis" will be China, Pakistan, and the Sunni Muslim countries. Ten years ago, this alignment seemed almost preposterous, but in the last few years, the trends have moved more and more rapidly in the direction of that alignment. Major global events, including the Arab Spring, the Syria war, the Yemen war, the US-Iran nuclear agreement, and China's policy in the East and South China Seas, have all advanced global geopolitics along this trend line.

These alignments are not shallow political policies for domestic consumption. These alignments are deep in the DNA of the countries, based on experiences of multiple generations over centuries.

Many people refuse to believe these alignments. They point to some ephemeral agreement between Russia and China, or to a speech by Iran's Supreme Leader, as "proof" that something else will happen, typically that Russia, China and Iran will gang up on the United States, which is absolute nonsense. Unfortunately, many government and commercial policies are also made on erroneous assumptions, as I've pointed out many times, and the generational theory analysis has always been right.

In today's World View column, we're reporting on a series of agreements made by China, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, India and the United States that once again move those countries along the trend line to the predicted alignment. For any readers who are in policy positions, either governmental or commercial, you really ought to pay attention what's going on in the world, which is what Generational Dynamics explains.

Saudi Arabia and China sign economic and military agreements

In the last week, China, Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia have signed new economic and military agreements linking the three countries together.

On Tuesday, Saudi Arabia's Defense Minister Mohammad bin Salman began a three-day visit to Beijing, meeting with top Chinese leaders. Fourteen memoranda of understanding are being signed by the two countries. The agreements were related to security, national defense, exchange of data information, energy, technology, services, cultural exchange, and human resources development.

In the past, China has sold hundreds of millions of dollars of arms sales to the Saudis, but that's by $33 billion in US arms sales in 2011 alone.

This is only the latest in a series of visits and agreements that only began in 1990, when Saudi Arabia became the last Arab country to officially recognize the People’s Republic of China. Saudi Arabia was firmly anti-communist during the Cold War, and a close ally of the United States. However, a series of decisions by the Obama administration have caused the Saudis to reevaluate their relationship with both the US and the Chinese. The major decisions were:

Over time, these decisions convinced the Saudis that they've become overly dependent on the United States.

However, there are also issues about China that concern the Saudis:

On the other hand, China has become increasingly dependent on Middle Eastern oil. Furthermore, Saudi Arabia is an important link in China's proposal for the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road. So it's not surprising that security cooperation between Saudi Arabia and China is improving. Saudi Gazette and Global Times (Beijing) and Al Arabiya

Saudi Arabia and Pakistan discuss economic and military ties

Saudi Arabia's Defense Minister Mohammad bin Salman stopped briefly in Pakistan on the way to his visit in China. It's not clear whether any agreements were reached, but the subject of Yemen surely came up.

Relations between Saudi and Pakistan have been difficult for almost two years, since the beginning of the Yemen war. Saudi Arabia has led a multi-nation coalition to fight the Iran-backed Houthis in Yemen, but the Saudis are bogged down in a quagmire and may actually be losing. Pakistan has refused from the beginning to join the coalition, because it wants to continue having good relations with Iran.

The statement issued after the meeting was non-committal. "[Pakistan's prime minister Nawaz] Sharif and the Saudi defense minister pledged to further enhance the bilateral ties between the two brotherly countries and strengthen their cooperation in diverse fields."

Nonetheless, Pakistan is closely tied to Saudi Arabia, and is even heavily dependent on the Saudis. Possibly the greatest symbol of this dependence is that already over 100,000 Pakistanis have traveled to Saudi Arabia to perform the yearly pilgrimage of the Hajj, which will be held in Mecca on September 9-14.

There are also 1.5-2 million Pakistanis living and working in Saudi Arabia, sending remittances back to their families in Pakistan. And Pakistan's need for Saudi energy is critical and longstanding. One reason for China's close relationship with Pakistan is that it opens up access to the Gulf and Saudi oil. However, Pakistan's relationship with China goes well beyond that, because of their shared hatred of India. As we've reported in the past, they describe their relationship as "all-weather friends," "deeper than the deepest ocean," "sweeter than honey" and "dearer than eyesight."

Pakistan's Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has paid four visits to Saudi Arabia since January this year. President Mamnoon Hussain also visited Saudi Arabia last month.

Because of Pakistan's dependence on the Saudis, some analysts believe that Pakistan is secretly aiding the Saudis in Yemen, and may even have boots on the ground. According to one analyst, "Pakistan remains solidly allied with Saudi Arabia, regardless of how intense the outreach may be from Tehran. There are decades of close military cooperation that are not about to undone." Deutsche Welle and Al Arabiya and The News (Pakistan)

U.S. and India sign a landmark defense agreement

During a visit to Washington by India's Defense Minister Manohar Parrikar, the US and India signed a landmark defense agreement Tuesday that will increase the military cooperation between the two countries.

India has resisted this agreement in the last decade for fear that the agreement would aggravate China, and would lock India into a formal and irreversible military alliance and push New Delhi into supporting U.S. conflicts. However, in recent years India has become increasingly nationalistic, leading to the election of a nationalistic prime minister, Narendra Modi, making this defense agreement with the US possible.

Still, the agreement signed on Tuesday is extremely limited, in order allay Indian concerns. The agreement authorizes port visits, joint exercises, joint training, humanitarian assistance and disaster-relief efforts, and it streamlines relations between the two militaries. However, the agreement "does not create any obligations on either party to carry out any joint activity. It does not provide for the establishment of any bases or basing arrangements," according to India.

According to one military analyst:

"For the US, this is one part of the much larger pivot to Asia intended by President Obama to meet a rising China. The US Navy plans to deploy 60 percent of its surface ships in the Indo-Pacific in the near future. Instead of having to build facilities virtually from the ground up, as in Afghanistan and Iraq, the US has the benefit of simple arrangements for the tremendous Indian facilities.

For both the US and India, [the agreement] responds to the powerful challenge of Xi Jinping's artificial islands - with air bases — in the South China Sea. It may also matter against the common enemy of the US and India in radical jihadists."

Earlier this year, U.S. Adm. Harry B. Harris Jr. said at an event in New Delhi that soon the naval vessels of the two nations steaming together “will become a common and welcome sight throughout Indo-Asia-Pacific waters.” The statement was aimed at countering China's expanding military footprint in the region and echoed Washington’s expectation that India will play the role of a net security provider in Asia. Washington Post and Times of India

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 1-Sep-16 World View -- Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, China sign economic and military agreements thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (1-Sep-2016) Permanent Link
Receive daily World View columns by e-mail
Donate to Generational Dynamics via PayPal

Web Log Pages

Current Web Log

Web Log Summary - 2016
Web Log Summary - 2015
Web Log Summary - 2014
Web Log Summary - 2013
Web Log Summary - 2012
Web Log Summary - 2011
Web Log Summary - 2010
Web Log Summary - 2009
Web Log Summary - 2008
Web Log Summary - 2007
Web Log Summary - 2006
Web Log Summary - 2005
Web Log Summary - 2004

Web Log - December, 2016
Web Log - November, 2016
Web Log - October, 2016
Web Log - September, 2016
Web Log - August, 2016
Web Log - July, 2016
Web Log - June, 2016
Web Log - May, 2016
Web Log - April, 2016
Web Log - March, 2016
Web Log - February, 2016
Web Log - January, 2016
Web Log - December, 2015
Web Log - November, 2015
Web Log - October, 2015
Web Log - September, 2015
Web Log - August, 2015
Web Log - July, 2015
Web Log - June, 2015
Web Log - May, 2015
Web Log - April, 2015
Web Log - March, 2015
Web Log - February, 2015
Web Log - January, 2015
Web Log - December, 2014
Web Log - November, 2014
Web Log - October, 2014
Web Log - September, 2014
Web Log - August, 2014
Web Log - July, 2014
Web Log - June, 2014
Web Log - May, 2014
Web Log - April, 2014
Web Log - March, 2014
Web Log - February, 2014
Web Log - January, 2014
Web Log - December, 2013
Web Log - November, 2013
Web Log - October, 2013
Web Log - September, 2013
Web Log - August, 2013
Web Log - July, 2013
Web Log - June, 2013
Web Log - May, 2013
Web Log - April, 2013
Web Log - March, 2013
Web Log - February, 2013
Web Log - January, 2013
Web Log - December, 2012
Web Log - November, 2012
Web Log - October, 2012
Web Log - September, 2012
Web Log - August, 2012
Web Log - July, 2012
Web Log - June, 2012
Web Log - May, 2012
Web Log - April, 2012
Web Log - March, 2012
Web Log - February, 2012
Web Log - January, 2012
Web Log - December, 2011
Web Log - November, 2011
Web Log - October, 2011
Web Log - September, 2011
Web Log - August, 2011
Web Log - July, 2011
Web Log - June, 2011
Web Log - May, 2011
Web Log - April, 2011
Web Log - March, 2011
Web Log - February, 2011
Web Log - January, 2011
Web Log - December, 2010
Web Log - November, 2010
Web Log - October, 2010
Web Log - September, 2010
Web Log - August, 2010
Web Log - July, 2010
Web Log - June, 2010
Web Log - May, 2010
Web Log - April, 2010
Web Log - March, 2010
Web Log - February, 2010
Web Log - January, 2010
Web Log - December, 2009
Web Log - November, 2009
Web Log - October, 2009
Web Log - September, 2009
Web Log - August, 2009
Web Log - July, 2009
Web Log - June, 2009
Web Log - May, 2009
Web Log - April, 2009
Web Log - March, 2009
Web Log - February, 2009
Web Log - January, 2009
Web Log - December, 2008
Web Log - November, 2008
Web Log - October, 2008
Web Log - September, 2008
Web Log - August, 2008
Web Log - July, 2008
Web Log - June, 2008
Web Log - May, 2008
Web Log - April, 2008
Web Log - March, 2008
Web Log - February, 2008
Web Log - January, 2008
Web Log - December, 2007
Web Log - November, 2007
Web Log - October, 2007
Web Log - September, 2007
Web Log - August, 2007
Web Log - July, 2007
Web Log - June, 2007
Web Log - May, 2007
Web Log - April, 2007
Web Log - March, 2007
Web Log - February, 2007
Web Log - January, 2007
Web Log - December, 2006
Web Log - November, 2006
Web Log - October, 2006
Web Log - September, 2006
Web Log - August, 2006
Web Log - July, 2006
Web Log - June, 2006
Web Log - May, 2006
Web Log - April, 2006
Web Log - March, 2006
Web Log - February, 2006
Web Log - January, 2006
Web Log - December, 2005
Web Log - November, 2005
Web Log - October, 2005
Web Log - September, 2005
Web Log - August, 2005
Web Log - July, 2005
Web Log - June, 2005
Web Log - May, 2005
Web Log - April, 2005
Web Log - March, 2005
Web Log - February, 2005
Web Log - January, 2005
Web Log - December, 2004
Web Log - November, 2004
Web Log - October, 2004
Web Log - September, 2004
Web Log - August, 2004
Web Log - July, 2004
Web Log - June, 2004


Copyright © 2002-2016 by John J. Xenakis.