Iran

Iran & the media vs Trump

So Iran has yanked the chain of the British. While a British ship prevented an Iranian tanker headed to Syria from reaching its destination in violation of sanctions, the Iranians returned the favour, albeit without legal pretense.

It is easy for Iran to take advantage of the political malaise in Britain but it would be unwise to risk antagonizing Trump beyond this because there will be no red lines with invisible ink unlike his predecessor.

To Iran’s benefit is the Trump hating media. No doubt they’ll make much noise saying that the ayatollahs are paragons of peace and defenseless against American might. If a saber is rattled then it’s nothing more than chest beating and Trump will only look to whack a ‘shithole’ country to please his base.

Pretend for a second it was Obama. If an ally had a civilian ship boarded by armed Iranian Revolutionary Guard troops in violation of international law, would we protest if Obama stood up and warned Iran to step off or face military intervention? The media would embrace it.

Iran is itching to push Trump’s resolve. It’s deep involvement in Yemen, Syria, Lebanon and Iraq is not lost on anyone with their eyes open. This proxy war has been ongoing for decades.

Don’t be surprised if the Russians start shipping some more S-400 Triumf SAM systems to Iran in order to level the playing field a bit. The Iranians already have the upgraded P-270 Moskits and P-800 Oniks anti ship missiles. If you see America attack Iran, these batteries will be first on this list to be take out as they are virtually unstoppable once launched. Can one imagine the implications of a US carrier sunk in the Gulf? That would cause a massive reprisal which would move this beyond a skirmish. Buy Gold.

Don’t forget Iran is Rosoborenexport’s second largest export client. That will be proper collusion, not the nonsense dreamed up by the Dems at election time which even if true would wilt in the shadow of Google’s meddling.

This has the potential to turn very ugly. It all rests on Iran’s shoulders. It’s not the Iranian people who are a problem. It’s the regime.

Netanyahu honours US president with Trump Heights

Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu has honoured President Trump with a settlement in the Golan Heights, citing that the American leader has done much for the security of Israel and Iranian aggression. The last time such an honour was cast upon an American president was the Kfar Truman in 1949. Cue the left losing their minds.

Netanyahu heads for 5th term

It looks as though Bibi Netanyahu is set to take a 5th term as Israel’s PM. Despite a gallant charge from the centre left’s Blue & White Party leader Benny Gantz, Netanyahu managed to put all of the scandals behind him to win.

Perhaps more telling in his victory is that despite the relentless negative media coverage (where have we seen this before) pointing to corruption he has still managed to retain power.

Whatever one might think of Netanyahu’s character or ethics, voters have made their decision with all of that knowledge in mind. Clearly many think his policy platform is better for the country even with the (alleged) scandals than the opposition without.

Israel trolls Iran

The Iranian Air Force Chief threatened to “eliminate Israel from earth” after the Israeli Air Force bombed Syrian based Iranian installations. This is how the IDF responded on Twitter to the threat.

Do arms suppliers have a moral compass?

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40 murdered children in Yemen.  The Saudi logic behind the attack was that the Houthi rebels were training these kids as soldiers. A far-fetched claim. Yet where has the condemnation of Saudi’s role on the UN Human Rights Council been? Countless civilian deaths in Yemen at the hands of the Saudi military are nothing new. Where was the outrage then? The decades long proxy war has only accelerated since the assassination of former Yemeni dictator President Ali Abdullah Saleh in December 2017.

CNN looked to put the blame of this latest tragedy at the feet of US defence companies. Surely the Europeans are just as blameworthy for selling the Tornado or Eurofighter aircraft that likely dropped the American ordinance on these kids? Mattis has openly criticized the Saudi attack in this instance.

Arms deals are a dirty business. Let’s not pretend otherwise. Unfortunately these dangerous toys rarely come with a “please use responsibly” section inside the box of instructions. Some might argue that in certain cases users are not of the appropriate age bracket to play with them. Bribery scandals (aka incentives) are often more notable than the weapons deals themselves. Yet have there been incidences of arms suppliers turning down multi-billion dollar contracts?

If we go back in history, the Americans refused to release the source codes to the Saudis in a potential multi-billion dollar US jet fighter sale that would have allowed certain weapons (the US weren’t prepared to supply) to be fired. Even if the Saudis bought the US jets and sourced the banned weapons on the black market they wouldn’t be able to be fired.  Instead the Saudi’s bought the Panavia Tornado because the Europeans were happy to sell a similarly capable platform that the US refused to sell. UK defence contractor BAE Systems won a long term maintenance contract known as Al-Yamamah as a result of this Tornado deal. Why not bash the Brits for taking advantage of the US putting regional security ahead of arms sales in Saudi Arabia?

Perhaps we could question the moral fibre of the US refusing to sell the F-22 Raptor attack fighter to the Japanese. The Japanese top brass pleaded for the plane but US Congress refused to approve it claiming the billions required to redo all of the computer systems and source codes to ensure it had a lower capability than the USAF plane. The reality was more likely to prevent a leakage of its capability (something that had occurred when the Japanese ordered Aegis destroyers). The result was Japan didn’t get them even given its peaceful history post WW2.

Should we bash the Russians for supplying military hardware has been behind the deaths of over 100,000 Syrians? Or Ford for making the car that ran down people in Westminster?Or should we question the operators of these tools?

If we really want to get petty the Paveway Mk-82 bombs responsible for killing these kids were sold to the Saudi’s in a deal made in 2013 under the Obama administration. Was it Obama’s fault in allowing the sale? CM doesn’t believe he is but interesting that CNN left the period of sale out. Easier to attack the $110bn arms sales going forwards.

40 dead children is a tragedy. Arms deals are far from if ever holy. The instruments of death are sadly not always deploy in manners which are either moral or ethical. The Iranian backed Houthi almost sunk a French made Saudi frigate in the Red Sea at the beginning of last year. Several Emirati patrol boats have been severely damaged by the Houthi in the same area, the most recent incident occurring  last month. There are countless skirmishes along the Yemeni/Saudi border.

Unfortunately the Saudis and several other gulf states are key allies of the US in the proxy war against Iran/Russia. Do not expect a wholesale change in US arms deals with Saudi Arabia for the foreseeable future.

In closing perhaps people might question China’s new interest in the Middle East? Many may have missed it has deployed 5,000 troops (including special forces) in Syria since 2017. Geopolitics seldom look to protect the rights of anyone other than the home side. Don’t pretend it does otherwise.

Saving a 52yo convicted wife-beater

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Remember the self made movie starring heroine Elin Ersson preventing a plane taking off unless a man being cruelly deported was deplaned? CM always thought it was a bit odd. To be deported from a country like Sweden would likely mean one has to be a pretty unsavory character given its long standing forgiving social justice bent.

It turns out activist Ersson wasn’t rescuing who she thought she was. It wasn’t the 26yo Afghani man who’d lived in Iran for 20 years in safety she boarded to save on behalf of his parents but a 52-yo convicted wife beater who had just been released from jail so he could be deported. Which country would truly wish to welcome someone with such abhorrent values to settle? If it can’t pass Sweden’s often lenient smell test (we’ll get to that) on immigration it is probably a sign that it won’t pass anywhere else either.

Fuller story here.

N.B. Sweden has a national election on September 9th this year and the anti-immigrant Sweden Democrats (SD) are polling at 25.5% according to an August Sentio survey, vs the incumbent Social Democrats at 21.1%. CM has written about the Sweden Democrats before. This was a banned commercial.

Is it any wonder the party is gaining traction when left wing politicians like  Barbro Sörman tweeted the difference with migrants commiting rape is that Swedish men culturally should know better. She tweeted “The Swedish men who rape do it despite the growing gender equality. They make an active choice. It’s worse…” When contacted by a local newspaper for clarification she replied, “Take a picture of Sweden as an equal society, where all are nurtured in equality. Then you can say that if you are brought up in it, you make an active choice to not be equal, rather than if you are brought up in a society that is not equal.” How can apologists take such views?

The Gatestone Institute highlighted some of the outcomes of migrant crime in Sweden in June 2016 alone. The list is long but here are some of the crimes which seem so lenient and moreover question why some people wouldn’t be deported for committing such acts.

June 8: Three Somali men in their 20s, who locked a 14-year-old girl in a room and took turns raping her, received very lenient sentences — and all three avoided deportation. Two of the men got two and a half years in prison. The third, who was also convicted of drug-related crimes and drunk driving, got three years. After serving their time, they will all be allowed to stay in Sweden, even though they are not Swedish citizens.

June 14: An exceptionally lenient verdict against a rapist from Yemen caused emotions to run high in Mariestad. Maher Al Qalisi attacked a 13-year-old girl, knocked her off a bicycle, knifed her in the face and raped her in a park — yet, he only got 18-months’ probation and will not be deported. Al Qalisi claims he is 17 years old, even though his Yemenite passport says he is 20. If he had been tried as an adult, he would certainly have gotten a more severe punishment. Prosecutor Jonas Lövström was disappointed with the verdict: “It is my firm belief that he is older than 21.”

June 28: An Eritrean, who raped a Swedish woman in a public restroom in Sundsvall, gets to stay in Sweden after being sentenced to one year and four months in prison. The Swedish Migration Agency apparently did not feel he could be sent back to his home country. The mild sentence was given because he claimed to be only 19 years old.

Surely Ersson might reflect on how hard it is to get deported in the first place before hijacking a plane to protect the wrong man. Maybe question why there are now as many as 55 “no-go zones” spread throughout several Swedish cities where the police have little or no ability to control rising rates of violence which is putting a huge burden on over-worked police officers. Is it any wonder many are choosing to quit the force in record numbers. The Police Union had a website Polisliv (Police Life) which allowed police to air grievances anonymously because a growing number lost faith in the National Police Commissioner. The site has since been closed.

Putin’s puppet?

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Not surprising from Rasmussen overnight:

The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey finds that 65% of Likely Democratic Voters believe critics of Trump’s recent meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin truly believe he is a treasonous Russian puppet. Just as many Republicans (67%) disagree and think those critics are only making the charges for political purposes, a view shared by a plurality (47%) of voters not affiliated with either major party.”

Trump’s  unconventional (yet unsurprising) outburst of diplomacy against Iran (if it can be called that) on Twitter in capital letters does dispel this somewhat. To fire a social media salvo at Rosoboronexport’s second largest arms customer (one Russia has sold weapons to Iran  for 98 years) would somewhat dispel that myth of kowtowing to Putin’s every move. 85% of Iran’s military hardware is Russian. Syria is Russia’s #1 export client with the prize being the naval base in the Mediterranean port of Tartus.

In any event both Iran and Syria serve Russia’s ability to interfere with US policy in the Middle East. Israel now claims Iranian Revolutionary Guard soldiers have stepped up from being mere advisors in the Golan Heights to actively fighting. Israel has commenced day raids in Syria such has the threat escalated.

If POTUS is intending  to remove one or two of Putin’s clients (list here) then one suspects the Russian dictator should be pulling Iran’s strings to get them to arm in silence rather than pick a fight with the US.

Perhaps a more apt way to look at this is Trump’s hatred of Obama’s (foreign) policies far outweighs his supposed love of Putin. The evidence for that is not only obvious but entirely factual, backed with empirical evidence.