World Peace “Lennon Ivan Style” – Part 337

 

In summary, I refer to “World Peace Lennon Ivan Style – Part 337” as the belief that IRAQ and SYRIA victories are critical to ISIS decimation, while SYRIAN negotiations must result in peace, while focusing on the new geopolitical realities, whereby tensions between ISRAEL and IRAN represent the biggest concern, as the trigger for a potential Third and Final World War, such that all leaders across the globe must increase their efforts to identify creative diplomatic options to reduce tensions, by considering the appointment of THE ROCK as special envoy to the MIDDLE EAST, as the current situation between ISRAEL and IRAN depicts the new geopolitical realities in the region, whereby U.S. President Donald Trump seems to have realized that he needs an ally in the MIDDLE EAST, and hence the U.S. turned its attention to SAUDI ARABIA, who has been grappling with the KHASHOGGI scandal, whereby there has been an international uproar over the alleged killing of a SAUDI journalist inside the SAUDI ARABIAN consulate in the capital of ISTANBUL, TURKEY, with U.S. President, Donald Trump, initially playing public relations frontman and spin-doctor for the royal SAUDI ARABIAN family by speculating about rogue killers, while insisting that the royal SAUDI ARABIAN family must be presumed innocent until proven guilty, while now being forced to qualify his initial unconditional support with a WOW, as the U.N. special investigator on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, Agnes Callamard, officially stated that the murder was a brutal and premeditated killing, which was planned by SAUDI ARABIAN officials, with further allegations that SAUDI ARABIA seriously undermined TURKEY’s efforts to investigate the murder, as TURKEY was not allowed into the SAUDI ARABIAN consul where Jamal Khashoggi was killed for 13 days, such that Agnes Callamard assessed that efforts to undermine the investigation in TURKEY raise major concerns about transparency and fairness, justifying her request for an official visit to SAUDI ARABIA so that the SAUDI ARABIAN authorities can directly provide her with relevant evidence, albeit given that Jamal Khashoggi’s body was still not found and the fact that SAUDI ARABIA now controls the entire investigation in SAUDI ARABIA, I believe that Agnes Callamard will not be successful in finding any substantive evidence of formal or informal authorization from Crown Prince MBS or the royal SAUDI ARABIAN family, hence, it appears to be futile at this stage, to attempt any further investigations with the goal of trying to pin Crown Prince MBS or the royal SAUDI ARABIAN family, as SAUDI ARABIA has managed to present a strong enough case to protect the current power structure, in essence insuring that Crown Prince MBS and the royal SAUDI ARABIAN family are in substance under armour and bullet proof, thus, with power and wealth so concentrated with the Crown Prince MBS and the royal SAUDI ARABIAN family, it will be virtually impossible for the U.N. or any other international body to break through the veil of impunity, as the SAUDI ARABIAN inner circle is impenetrable, while sticking together like a pack of wolves, hence the U.N. should leverage the current situation to pressure SAUDI ARABIA, to release eight women activists who are celebrities of the international women’s movement, as a clear opportunity for SAUDI ARABIA to send a strong signal to the world that things have changed in SAUDI ARABIA.

 

TURKEY News

 

During the week ending on Sunday, February 10, 2019, the focus in TURKEY seemed to shift to the TURKISH struggling economy, largely attributable to a lack of confidence by foreign investors, due largely to TURKEY’s repressive crackdown measures on all opposition movements. It is important to note that, several months ago, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan allowed TURKEY’s two-year state of emergency to come to an end but as trials of dissidents and journalists continue, human rights campaigners continue to pressure TURKEY to do more to reverse a suffocating crackdown on free speech. Critics claim that the state of emergency, in place since the failed “Coup D’État” in July of 2016 that killed 250 people and wounded 1,400, has been used to detain opponents of the governing AKP for lengthy periods of time without trial to intimidate dissidents and to prosecute media outlets. That is, more than 120,000 people in the police, military, academia, media and civil service have been detained or dismissed from their jobs, over their alleged links to Fethullah Gulen, who is the exiled TURKISH preacher based now in the U.S., who TURKEY blames as the brains behind the operations for the failed “Coup D’État”.

 

However, the behaviours of TURKEY’s governing AKP seem to be taking their toll on the TURKISH economy as turbulent politics have resulted in economic turmoil whereby the sliding TURKISH Lira set-off alarm bells across TURKEY as businesses struggle to cope with the financial impacts of a declining TURKISH Lira. Unfortunately, TURKEY’s fragile economy recently received another economic blow when TURKEY’s growth forecasts for this year and next year were dramatically reduced, triggering further drops in the value of the TURKISH Lira. It is important to note that TURKISH Finance Minister Berat Albayrak stated that growth would be 3.8% this year and 2.3% in 2019, both revised downwards from the initial forecasts of 5.5%. Ironically, TURKEY’s finance minister insisted that TURKEYS’s economy did not face any significant risks, despite the TURKISH Lira plunging to its lowest point after new economic data was released that points to the risk of a sharp economic slowdown in TURKEY. However, the drop in the TURKISH Lira that had lost about 40% of its value against the U.S. dollar this year, hitting severe lows in October’ 2018, after TURKEY’s economic confidence index also hit extreme lows, has recovered slightly since. It is important to note that U.S. rating agency Moody’s downgraded 20 TURKISH financial institutions due to increased risks of a sudden shift in investor sentiment that could leave TURKISH banks struggling to attract foreign financing that keeps TURKISH banking sector liquid.

 

Thus, TURKISH banks that borrowed heavily abroad now face the near impossible task of refinancing short-term debt in expensive U.S. Dollars and E.U. Euros. It is important to note that around $180 billion in TURKISH foreign debt matures from now until the end of July of 2019, of which approximately $145 billion is owed by the private sector, particularly TURKISH banks, which borrowed heavily abroad in foreign denominated currencies. Therefore, TURKEY will be hit with a currency mismatch as TURKEY mostly earns returns on investments in TURKISH Lira, while it has to payback its foreign currency denominated debt by converting a plummeting TURKISH Lira, resulting in significantly higher debt payments. However, this week TURKISH Finance Minister, Berat Albayrak, continued to focus on the TURKISH economy, albeit it appears that the significant drop in the TURKISH Lira last year along with TURKISH credit difficulties that followed, are starting to take their toll on the TURKISH economy. That is, TURKEY’s inflation rate of 20.4% during January of 2019 along with TURKEY’s weak Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) of 44.2 and the collapse in TURKEY’s January car sales of 60%, make it highly unlikely that TURKEY will be able to emerge from its current economic difficulties before the second half of 2019. As a friendly reminder, the PMI for TURKEY of 44.2 is an indicator of economic health for manufacturing and service sectors, such that a PMI over 50, when compared with the previous month, represents an expansion, while a PMI under 50 represents a contraction, while the further the PMI from 50, the greater the level of change, hence TURKEY has experienced a moderate contraction in its economic health.

 

Thus, TURKISH Finance Minister Berat Albayrak who declared war on soaring inflation and called on TURKEY’s businesses to cut prices by 10% to counter runaway inflation, that has driven up the price of everything from food to fuel, and sent inflation to 25% during October’ 2018, its highest in 15 years continued with the firm stance of implementing this policy. Furthermore, TURKEY has already resorted to the seizure of numerous companies that have been accused of conspiring against the TURKISH government with speculation, opportunism and stockpiling. Furthermore, TURKISH police have also raided businesses, based on accusations of speculation, and shops and supermarkets, based on allegations of price gouging. Thus, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is calling on consumers to report shops and businesses for excessive price hikes in order for the police to investigate and resolve accordingly. However, the Banking Regulation and Supervision Agency (BDDK), the TURKISH watchdog, stated that the TURKISH banking sector’s sound and healthy structure continues at full strength. Therefore, the TURKISH banking sector’s current capital structure is fully capable of withstanding asset quality-driven risks.

 

However, this week, the main TURKISH opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu hammered the governing AKP by stating that TURKEY’s economy has been deteriorating, while stressing that TURKEY has one of the highest levels of inflation in the world. Obviously, the opposition CHP focused on the economic angle whereby TURKEY is a country where low inflation is key to peace and productivity, such that the governing AKP failed miserably by not delivering on their promise of single-digit inflation, as the inflation rate was at 20.4% during January of 2019. Nonetheless, it is important to note that the TURKISH President, who has garnered popular support, during his 16 years in power, on the waves of rising economic prosperity, will now be preparing to fight local TURKISH elections in March of 2018 with an ailing economy. As a friendly reminder, the last time TURKEY went to elections during an economic recession was in 2009, when President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s governing AKP Party suffered its worst ever results. Thus, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is already laying the groundwork to blame the ailing TURKISH economy on outside foreign powers, such as George Soros, who is the famous Hungarian Jew that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan previously blamed for apparently conspiring against the TURKISH government to divide and shatter the TURKISH nation. Nonetheless, two opinion polls suggest TURKISH economic woes will sway the outcome of the upcoming TURKISH elections, with the ailing TURKISH economy and high unemployment at the top of the list of what people see as TURKEY’s primary problems.

 

However, TURKEY’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan continued to warn the SYRIAN regime, RUSSIA and IRAN that an all-out military offensive on IDLIB could lead to a disastrous outcome for TURKEY by triggering a new wave of refugees heading towards the TURKISH borders. Thus, the world has been bracing for weeks for the Bashar al-Assad Syrian Arab Army (SAA) to attack IDLIB, where around 2.5 million civilians are living in opposition-held territory with no clear escape routes if fighting escalates. Hence, TURKISH President Recep Tayyip Erdogan reached a ceasefire deal with RUSSIA, in recent months, to prevent an all-out attack on IDLIB, as TURKEY is worried that an attack on IDLIB will trigger a mass exodus of refugees fleeing towards the TURKISH border. It is important to note that the weapons, which have entered SYRIA in large quantities, in recent months, including ammunition and GRAD rockets, clearly indicated that TURKEY would be providing complete TURKISH military support, for a long drawn-out battle over IDLIB, if necessary, that functioned as an effective deterrent from a full scale attack by the SAA and its RUSSIAN and IRANIAN backed allies. However, in recent months, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), which includes former AL-QAEDA terrorist fighters among its ranks, seems to be attempting to consolidate power in northern SYRIA with waves of arrests of civilians during the TURKEY and RUSSIAN brokered ceasefire.

 

It is important to note that this week, HTS signed a ceasefire deal with what was left of the rival NLF alliance that sees HTS supremacy and unison of the region under a HTS led administration. However, the SAA still appears to be preparing for a full fledge assault on IDLIB, as the war between the SYRIAN President Bashar al-Assad and rebel forces appear to be entering the final phase, as the U.S. announces its intention for a complete withdrawal from SYRIA. Thus, the Free Syrian Police (FSP), a symbol of SYRIA’s revolution and a recipient of international support, ceased operations following the HTS takeover of IDLIB. However, civilians, members of civil society and activists, who saw the unarmed and independent FSP as a military force for good, see the decision by the FSP to disband as a shocking surprise. Thus, the RUSSIAN foreign ministry announced that the situation was rapidly deteriorating such that IDLIB was almost under the full control of the HTS rebel group, previously linked to al-Qaeda that should trigger a coordinated military effort between RUSSIA and TURKEY to stabilise the situation in IDLIB. Thus, this week, the SAA launched a heavy attack across the southern countryside of IDLIB, targeting several areas controlled by terrorist organizations, consisting primarily of the governing HTS rebel group. It appears that the SAA scored several direct hits on HTS positions directly in Jabal Al-Zawiya, while also heavily targeting the northern countryside of the Hama Governorate, resulting in a number of casualties for the HTS rebel group. Unfortunately, SAA forces and IRANIAN backed rebel groups violated IDLIB’s de-escalation zone on multiple occasions by striking HTS rebel positions, leaving dozens of civilians dead. However, it was obviously the most horrific to see children getting killed in the crossfires, as one child was killed in north-western IDLIB province this week, while at least 30 people were killed in IDLIB in January, including women and children, while another 180 were injured, by SAA drone attacks and artillery fire.

 

However, in an unusual chain of events that triggered a change of fate, international uproar over the alleged killing of a SAUDI journalist inside the SAUDI ARABIAN consulate in the capital of ISTANBUL, TURKEY continues, whereby the SAUDI ARABIAN officials had promised consequences for anyone, even a member of the royal SAUDI ARABIAN family, found responsible for the assassination. Thus, TURKEY has led a relentless campaign to hold SAUDI ARABIA accountable, as TURKISH authorities have allowed media leaks to the international press. Furthermore, TURKISH President Recep Tayyip Erdogan formally denounced SAUDI ARABIA for initially trying to deny involvement in the killing, as after weeks of lying, SAUDI ARABIA finally admitted that Jamal Khashoggi was dead, such that as per TURKISH President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, covering up this kind of savagery will hurt the conscience of all humanity. Thus, this week, RUSSIAN President Vladimir Putin and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan discussed steps needed to stabilise the situation in IDLIB where they agreed on the need for coordinated efforts to battle against the terrorist organisations in the region. The RUSSIAN foreign ministry highlighted this week that the situation was rapidly deteriorating such that IDLIB was almost under the full control of the HTS rebel group, previously linked to al-Qaeda. It is important to note that the continuously postponed IDLIB offensive is becoming more inevitable such that the TURKISH Army may need to get involved with the war against HTS terrorist rebels if TURKEY does not choose to pull back its troops from the military posts around IDLIB.

 

Nonetheless, in an unusual twist of fate, CIA Director Gina Haspel obviously presented a solid case behind her conclusion that there is a high level of confidence that Crown Prince MBS was complicit in the murder of Jamal Khashoggi. Thus, CIA Director Gina Haspel garnered extensive support for her conclusion from both top Republican and top Democratic leaders to the point that the entire Senate Committee voted unanimously to overrule U.S. President Donald Trump by officially blaming Crown Prince MBS for the killing of Jamal Khashoggi. Thus, the official response from the SAUDI ARABIAN Foreign Ministry was that Saudi Arabia categorically rejects any interference in its internal affairs, any and all accusations, in any manner, that disrespect its leadership, and any attempts to undermine its sovereignty or diminish its stature. Thus, in a decisive move by Crown Prince MBS and the royal SAUDI ARABIAN family, they have ceased offering new versions of their own account of what transpired, with the final official SAUDI ARABIAN version remaining, that the SAUDI ARABIAN assassins killed Jamal Khashoggi with an injection of sedatives, and then immediately set to work dismembering him and hiding his remains. Hence, SAUDI ARABIA put the Jamal Khashoggi murder suspects on trial, whereby the prosecutor, SAUDI ARABIA’s attorney general, demanded the death penalty for 5 of the 11 suspects.

 

Nonetheless, this week, Agnes Callamard, the U.N. special investigator on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions who spent last week in TURKEY to head an independent international inquiry into the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, released her preliminary conclusions. Thus, the official statement by the U.N. that the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, was a brutal and premeditated killing, which was planned by SAUDI ARABIAN officials, was expected. However, a further allegation from the U.N. inquiry that SAUDI ARABIA seriously undermined TURKEY’s efforts to investigate the murder was surprising. That is, Agnes Callamard stated that woefully inadequate time and access was granted to TURKISH investigators to conduct a professional and effective crime-scene examination and search required by international standards for investigation. In particular, TURKEY was not allowed into the SAUDI ARABIAN consul where Jamal Khashoggi was killed for 13 days. Agnes Callamard also attacked SAUDI ARABIA’s trial of 11 suspects in the case, stating that efforts to undermine the investigation in TURKEY raise major concerns about transparency and fairness. Therefore, Agnes Callamard requested an official visit to SAUDI ARABIA so that the SAUDI ARABIAN authorities can directly provide her with relevant evidence. However, Agnes Callamard was disappointed with the fact that Jamal Khashoggi’s body was still not found causing even greater suffering to loved ones. Finally, Agnes Callamard stated that the final report would be presented to the U.N. human rights council in June of 2019. Thus, it appears that SAUDI ARABIA is in fact now in control of the Jamal Khashoggi investigation, as the latest news emerging from the SAUDI ARABIAN Deputy Public Prosecutor, Shalaan bin Rajih Shalaan, states that investigators have concluded that an intelligence officer ordered Jamal Khashoggi’s murder, applying a lethal injection inside the consulate, when the officer had been tasked with persuading Jamal Khashoggi to return to SAUDI ARABIA.

 

IRAQ News

 

As a friendly reminder, there were two obvious potential outcomes from IRAQI political party negotiations with substantial regional and international consequences. That is, the first potential outcome was a coalition headed by Moqtada al-Sadr that would probably mean a diminishing U.S. presence in IRAQ combined with an IRAQI government that is independent of IRAN’s influence, while reintegrating an independent and sovereign IRAQ into the Arab world. Conversely, the second potential outcome was a coalition headed by the pro-IRANIAN Fatah Alliance representing the SHIITE militias, along with parties loyal to former Prime Ministers Haider al-Abadi and Nouri al-Maliki, as well as smaller groups such as the Kurdistan Coalition, that would result in an overtly pro-IRANIAN government. Thus, in spite of dramatic differences, the three parties that gained the most votes in IRAQ’s May 12, 2018 parliamentary elections agreed to work together to form a new IRAQI government. Thus, after the dust settled, Barham Salih was voted by parliament into the position of President with his first act naming Adil Abdul-Mahdi to be prime minister, who formed the new government during November’ 2018. Ironically, IRAQ’s prime minister-designate Adel Abdul Mahdi presented his new cabinet to the IRAQI parliament for approval, although he has no parliamentary block of his own to stand on, and is thus dependent on the blocks of cleric MUQTADA AL-SADR and pro-IRANIAN militia leader HADI AL-AMIRI for his position.

 

Furthermore, uncertainty appeared to be looming over IRAQ, as it appears that ISIS is trying to re-emerge in IRAQ, while the traditional political parties remain strong, such that the new president and prime minister will have a difficult time translating recent political developments into concrete changes. However, it is important to note that for the first time ever, the IRAQI parliament voted freely for IRAQ’s next president, with Barham Salih winning by a landslide vote of 219 to 22 over his competitor, while in the past, the parliamentary vote served mainly as a rubber-stamp of election results. Furthermore, immediately after Barham Salih was sworn in as President, he designated Adil Abdal-Mehdi to become prime minister, who is the first prime minister not to come from the Islamic Dawa Party, which has dominated post-invasion IRAQI politics. Nonetheless, further complicating the situation in IRAQ is the U.S. re-imposing sanctions against IRAN as IRAQ finds itself caught in the crossfire between its key allies of IRAN and the U.S. such that IRAQ’s economy could suffer the worst economic collateral damage from the U.S. sanctions on IRAN. Ironically, as soon as the most recent round of U.S. sanctions hit IRAN, the IRAQI Prime Minister stated that IRAQ would reluctantly comply but one week later, reality hit IRAQ whereby many IRAQIS forced the IRAQI government to maintain trade relations with IRAN. Thus, IRAQI’s new Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi had no choice but to formally request that the U.S. provide certain exemptions to IRAQ on specific critical IRANIAN goods with an IRAQI delegation set to travel to Washington as soon as the U.S. counterparts are ready to meet.

 

Nonetheless, deadly protests continued to rage in IRAQ over the lack of basic services and government corruption as IRAQI security forces were bracing with a rise in violence that has resulted in more solidarity protests throughout IRAQ as activists look to create momentum in their protests against intermittent electricity availabilities, undrinkable water, unemployment and frustrations with the political system. Furthermore, tensions were once again high in IRAQ this week, as speculations among IRAQI officials that the U.S. will begin to draw down the 5,200 U.S. military personnel based in IRAQ, in view of the defeat of ISIS on the ground in late 2017, and subsequent to U.S. President Donald Trump’s announcement of a complete withdrawal from SYRIA. Thus, SAUDI ARABIAN Crown Prince MBS offered his full support for IRAQ’s continued security in a telephone call with Prime Minister Adel Abdel-Mahdi to fill the void left behind by a potential U.S. withdrawal from IRAQ. Contemporaneously, IRAQI Prime Minister Adel Abdel-Mahdi expressed full support of Saudi Arabia’s initiatives to support IRAQ’s permanent security and prosperity. Furthermore, this week, IRAQ’s Kurdish Peshmerga stated that ISIS is still a threat such that the anticipated U.S. withdrawal would be a strategic military error by the U.S. As a friendly reminder, ISIS fighters came within 25 km of ERBIL, the capital of the semi-autonomous KURDISH region of northern IRAQ, before the KURDISH Peshmerga got the upper hand in ferocious battles, retaking control of towns in the region between 2014 to 2016. However, although ISIS has since been driven out of MOSUL and other towns and villages in northern IRAQ, ISIS is still active in the northern region of IRAQ. It is important to note that the current KURDISH Peshmerga front lines are located along the high ridge, about 65 km southwest of ERBIL, behind which ISIS fighters are hiding in caves and on cliffs facing steep hills, such that it is rough terrain that makes it extremely difficult to conquer ISIS.

 

SYRIA News

 

As a friendly reminder, in recent months, the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) along with its RUSSIAN allies retook a town, DERAA, that was at the heart of the SYRIAN civil war, that engulfed SYRIA for over seven years now, as SAA government forces raised the SYRIAN flag, in the birthplace of the SYRIAN war. It is important to note that the SAA along with their RUSSIAN allies now continue to focus their attention on IDLIB where they have vowed to wipe out all terrorists. It is important to note that the SAA and RUSSIA have signalled that an all-out offensive to retake the last rebel-held province in SYRIA consisting of IDLIB is only a matter of time. Therefore, the SAA and RUSSIA have triggered rising fears over a major humanitarian crisis as it has become evident that IDLIB will eventually be subjected to an intense bombing campaign.

 

Therefore, TURKISH President Recep Tayyip Erdogan gave the HTS rebels inside the IDLIB buffer zone another warning to leave the designated RUSSIA and TURKEY designated demilitarized zone. Furthermore, TURKISH President Recep Tayyip Erdogan made it clear that if HTS rebels refuse to leave the designated demilitarized zone, TURKEY will allow the SAA and RUSSIAN Air Force to resume their operations against them in northwestern SYRIA. However, SYRIAN Foreign Minister Walid Al-Mu’allem stated that retaking IDLIB province, and liberating IDLIB from terrorism, is a top priority for the SYRIAN government, such that the primary objective is to contain the terrorists in IDLIB through dialogue, as the SAA prefers to take this route in order to avoid bloodshed. Thus, an opposition government in IDLIB backed by HTS, imposed Islamic Sharia law, which calls for severe retribution for lawbreakers, in order to consolidate their power in the region.

 

Furthermore, terrorists based in SYRIA’s IDLIB province have threatened to launch a large-scale operation on the northern areas of neighbouring Latakia and Hama provinces, while organizing large-scale attacks, although the SAA is taking appropriate measures and is ready to repel possible attacks. It is important to note that this week, that HTS signed a ceasefire deal with what was left of the rival NLF alliance, that sees HTS supremacy and unison of the region under a HTS led administration. However, the SAA still appears to be preparing for a full fledge assault on IDLIB, as the war between the SYRIAN President Bashar al-Assad and rebel forces appear to be entering the final phase, as the U.S. announces its intention for a complete withdrawal from SYRIA. Thus, the Free Syrian Police (FSP), a symbol of SYRIA’s revolution and a recipient of international support, ceased operations following the HTS takeover of IDLIB. However, civilians, members of civil society and activists, who saw the unarmed and independent FSP as a military force for good, see the decision by the FSP to disband as a shocking surprise. Thus, the RUSSIAN foreign ministry announced that the situation was rapidly deteriorating such that IDLIB was almost under the full control of the HTS rebel group, previously linked to al-Qaeda that should trigger a coordinated military effort between RUSSIA and TURKEY to stabilise the situation in IDLIB. Thus, this week, the SAA launched a heavy attack across the southern countryside of IDLIB, targeting several areas controlled by terrorist organizations, consisting primarily of the governing HTS rebel group. It appears that the SAA scored several direct hits on HTS positions directly in Jabal Al-Zawiya, while also heavily targeting the northern countryside of the Hama Governorate, resulting in a number of casualties for the HTS rebel group. Unfortunately, SAA forces and IRANIAN backed rebel groups violated IDLIB’s de-escalation zone on multiple occasions by striking HTS rebel positions, leaving dozens of civilians dead. However, it was obviously the most horrific to see children getting killed in the crossfires, as one child was killed in north-western IDLIB province this week, while at least 30 people were killed in IDLIB in January, including women and children, while another 180 were injured, by SAA drone attacks and artillery fire.

 

Meanwhile, the tensions between IRAN and ISRAEL seem to have continued to escalate again after ISRAELI airstrikes targeted IRANIAN military infrastructure inside SYRIA, in recent months. Obviously, IRAN condemned the wave of ISRAELI air strikes in SYRIA and clearly stated that these attacks by ISRAEL represent a blatant violation of SYRIA’s sovereignty such that IRAN has backed SYRIA’s right to defend itself against ISRAEL. It is important to note that the strikes were the heaviest strikes carried out by ISRAEL on SYRIA in decades that came right after twenty rockets were fired at ISRAELI military positions in the occupied Golan Heights of SYRIA. It is no secret that the strikes hurt IRAN that has deployed hundreds of troops inside SYRIA as military advisers to the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) while thousands of IRANIAN militia armed, trained and financed by IRAN, have also been battling SYRIAN rebel forces alongside the SAA. ISRAEL stated that ISRAELI fighter jets struck almost IRAN’s entire military infrastructure inside Syria consisting of some 70 targets in ISRAELS biggest assault since SYRIA’s civil war commenced in 2011.

 

Subsequently, the tone escalated between ISRAEL and IRAN, as ISRAEL continues to look to RUSSIA for help to protect ISRAEL from IRAN’s presence in SYRIA to prevent IRAN from gaining a permanent foothold in SYRIA. ISRAELI Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu continues to be adamant that the IRANIANS want to stay in SYRIA, and ultimately take over control of SYRIA, that will be a threat not only to ISRAEL but also for other countries in the region, such that IRANIANS should not be allowed to remain in SYRIA. However, in recent months, IRANIAN forces did pull back from the Golan Heights that seems to be a step in the right direction. However, tensions seemed to have risen with IRANIAN’s fuming at the re-imposition of U.S. sanctions to an IRANIAN economy already suffering from high unemployment and an IRANIAN Rial currency that has lost around half of its value since April of 2018. The new sanctions target IRANIAN purchases of U.S. dollars, metals trading, coal, industrial software and IRAN’s auto sector although the toughest sanctions targeting oil exports have only taken effect recently. However, IRANIAN President Hassan Rouhani clearly stated that IRAN would not let the enemy bring IRAN to its knees such that if the enemy thinks they will defeat IRAN, they will take their hope to the grave with them.

 

Hence, U.S. President, Donald Trump, warned that the U.S. is developing a new strategy for the war in SYRIA that would focus more heavily on pushing IRAN’s military and its proxy forces out of SYRIA. However, U.S. President, Donald Trump, then seemed to realize that he needed an ally in the Middle East and hence the U.S. turned its attention to SAUDI ARABIA who has been grappling with the KHASHOGGI scandal whereby there has been an international uproar over the alleged killing of a SAUDI journalist inside the SAUDI ARABIAN consulate in the capital of ISTANBUL, TURKEY. Nonetheless, U.S. President, Donald Trump, seemed to have initially sided with the royal SAUDI ARABIAN family by speculating about rogue killers, while insisting that the SAUDI ARABIAN family must be presumed innocent until proven guilty. Obviously, with the IRANIAN oil embargo plans that took effect on November 5, 2018, when sanctions kicked-in, success of the embargo depends on SAUDI ARABIA pumping extra oil to compensate for the anticipated shortfall.

 

Nonetheless, in an unusual twist of fate, CIA Director Gina Haspel obviously presented a solid case behind her conclusion that there is a high level of confidence that Crown Prince MBS was complicit in the murder of Jamal Khashoggi. Thus, CIA Director Gina Haspel has garnered extensive support for her conclusion from both top Republican and top Democratic leaders to the point that the entire Senate Committee voted unanimously to overrule U.S. President Donald Trump by officially blaming Crown Prince MBS for the killing of Jamal Khashoggi. Thus, the official response from the SAUDI ARABIAN Foreign Ministry was that Saudi Arabia categorically rejects any interference in its internal affairs, any and all accusations, in any manner, that disrespect its leadership, and any attempts to undermine its sovereignty or diminish its stature. Thus, in a decisive move by Crown Prince MBS and the royal SAUDI ARABIAN family, they have ceased offering new versions of their own account of what transpired, with the final official SAUDI ARABIAN version remaining, that the SAUDI ARABIAN assassins killed Jamal Khashoggi with an injection of sedatives, and then immediately set to work dismembering him and hiding his remains. Hence, SAUDI ARABIA put the Jamal Khashoggi murder suspects on trial, whereby the prosecutor, SAUDI ARABIA’s attorney general, demanded the death penalty for 5 of the 11 suspects.

 

Nonetheless, this week, Agnes Callamard, the U.N. special investigator on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions who spent last week in TURKEY to head an independent international inquiry into the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, released her preliminary conclusions. Thus, the official statement by the U.N. that the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, was a brutal and premeditated killing, which was planned by SAUDI ARABIAN officials, was expected. However, a further allegation from the U.N. inquiry that SAUDI ARABIA seriously undermined TURKEY’s efforts to investigate the murder was surprising. That is, Agnes Callamard stated that woefully inadequate time and access was granted to TURKISH investigators to conduct a professional and effective crime-scene examination and search required by international standards for investigation. In particular, TURKEY was not allowed into the SAUDI ARABIAN consul where Jamal Khashoggi was killed for 13 days. Agnes Callamard also attacked SAUDI ARABIA’s trial of 11 suspects in the case, stating that efforts to undermine the investigation in TURKEY raise major concerns about transparency and fairness. Therefore, Agnes Callamard requested an official visit to SAUDI ARABIA so that the SAUDI ARABIAN authorities can directly provide her with relevant evidence. However, Agnes Callamard was disappointed with the fact that Jamal Khashoggi’s body was still not found causing even greater suffering to loved ones. Finally, Agnes Callamard stated that the final report would be presented to the U.N. human rights council in June of 2019. Thus, it appears that SAUDI ARABIA is in fact now in control of the Jamal Khashoggi investigation, as the latest news emerging from the SAUDI ARABIAN Deputy Public Prosecutor, Shalaan bin Rajih Shalaan, states that investigators have concluded that an intelligence officer ordered Jamal Khashoggi’s murder, applying a lethal injection inside the consulate, when the officer had been tasked with persuading Jamal Khashoggi to return to SAUDI ARABIA.

 

 

TURKEY News – THE ROCK’s Opinions

 

This week’s focus in TURKEY seemed to shift to the TURKISH struggling economy, largely attributable to a lack of confidence by foreign investors, due largely to TURKEY’s repressive crackdown measures on all opposition movements. In my opinion, over the last two plus years, TURKEY has been radically transformed with emergency measures used to consolidate authoritarian powers, silence opposition voices and take away basic human rights and civil liberties. However, the behaviours of TURKEY’s governing AKP seem to be taking their toll on the TURKISH economy, as turbulent politics have resulted in economic turmoil, whereby the sliding TURKISH Lira has set-off alarm bells across TURKEY, as businesses struggle to cope with the financial impacts of a declining TURKISH Lira. In my opinion, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan blaming the rest of the world for waging an economic war against TURKEY, while most reputable economists would tend to agree that the TURKISH government has forced their central banks to follow counterproductive, if not destructive economic policies, is a sure sign that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is living in a delusional reality.

 

In my opinion, the underlying problem is that TURKISH banks and companies borrowed a lot of U.S. dollars, as TURKISH foreign currency debt represents about 30% of TURKEY’s GDP, such that TURKEY is now struggling to pay down the debt as the TURKISH Lira is falling. In my opinion, TURKEY’s economy is struggling in large part due to the TURKISH Lira losing almost 40% of its value against the U.S. dollar since the beginning of the year, albeit recovering slightly since it hit its lows during October’ 2018. In my opinion, there are a slew of reasons dissuading investors from TURKEY, but at the end of the day, many investors continue to try to liquidate their TURKISH Lira given that it has been dropping fast since the beginning of the year. Thus, the solution from my point-of-view is quite obvious, that TURKEY needs to raise interest rates in order to counter its problems of high inflation and a declining TURKISH Lira, while its economy should be able to bear the brunt of higher interest rates, without significant drops in current production levels.

 

Thus, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan continued to focus on TURKEY’s fragile economy, that received another economic blow recently, when TURKEY’s growth forecasts for this year and next were dramatically reduced, triggering further drops in the value of the TURKISH Lira. Thus, in my opinion, TURKEY seems to find itself in an awkward position, like a dog chasing its tail, as TURKEY has seen its currency plunge over 40% this year, over investor concerns about President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s influence over monetary policy and a horrible diplomatic separation from the U.S. In my opinion, the TURKISH economic turbulence has shaken global financial markets and created the potential for a banking crisis that could have a disastrous domino effect across the entire global financial markets. In my opinion, TURKEY’s banks face a potential barrage of bad debts as the TURKISH Lira sell-off has driven up the cost for companies to service their foreign currency denominated loans.

 

That is, TURKISH companies have been borrowing in U.S. Dollars and Euros for years, to take advantage of lower interest rates, but it appears that the private sector has accumulated over $145 billion in foreign currency denominated debt, maturing during the upcoming year. Nonetheless, Berat Albayrak, TURKEY’s finance minister stated that TURKEY does not foresee a big risk on the TURKISH economy and banking system as the TURKISH economy has strong fundamentals. Hence, although THE ROCK kindly and politely offered his consulting services to Berat Albayrak to help TURKEY straighten out their economic and geopolitical mess, Berat Albayrak seems to be heading in the right direction as TURKEY continued this week to focus on the TURKISH economy. In my opinion, the significant drop in the TURKISH Lira last year along with TURKISH credit difficulties that followed, are behind TURKEY’s inflation rate of 20.4% during January of 2019 along with TURKEY’s weak Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) of 44.2 such that it is highly unlikely that TURKEY will be able to emerge from its current economic difficulties before the second half of 2019. Furthermore, in my opinion, while the economic indicators reflect poor economic circumstances in TURKEY, with economic growth retracting despite the governing AKP’s relentless efforts to support demand, poor consumer and business confidence is preventing TURKEY from a quick reversal, as this loss of confidence has grown over the course of the last year or so. In my opinion, the increase in TURKEY’s authoritarian rule seems to also be holding TURKEY back economically. That is, democratically elected leaders such as President Recep Tayyip Erdogan expand their executive powers while weakening the legislature and the judiciary, such that democratic elections become less competitive, as the free press is constrained, to hurt TURKEY’s economic performance through eroding confidence in government institutions. Thus, in my opinion, the TURKISH government’s failure to improve the general confidence level in TURKEY’s economy, despite previous episodes of economic downturn, can be associated with the declining state of democracy, despite elections and the existence of opposition parties.

 

In my opinion, Berat Albayrak sounds like President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, which is not surprising as he is his son-in-law such that Berat Albayrak seems to be significantly influenced by the President and seems to be extremely reluctant to go against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s firm belief in the need to maintain interest rates stable at around 17%. However, in my opinion, TURKEY faces the risk of a rapid slowdown in the TURKISH economy that could potentially culminate in a difficult recession unless TURKEY’s finance minister, Berat Albayrak, takes urgent steps to rebalance the TURKISH economy while fuelling investor confidence. In my opinion, TURKEY’s finance minister, Berat Albayrak, acted appropriately, by declaring war on soaring inflation and calling on TURKEY’s businesses to cut prices by 10% to counter runaway inflation, that has driven up the price of everything from food to fuel, and sent inflation to 25% last month, its highest in 15 years. In my opinion, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s unorthodox brand of economics whereby inflation should not be contained by raising interest rates or other traditional measures, but rather by employing supply-side measures to reduce costs, may very well work for medium, large and government controlled organizations.

 

In my opinion, the main TURKISH opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu made the right strategic decision this week by hammering the governing AKP by focusing on the economic angle whereby TURKEY is a country where low inflation is key to peace and productivity, such that the governing AKP failed miserably by not delivering on their promise of single-digit inflation, as the inflation rate was at 20.4% during January of 2019. In my opinion, the follow-up by the opposition CHP with concrete tangible examples was perfect, by focusing on citizens unable to shop, who used to purchase produces by kilograms, but were now purchasing produce by unit sizes. That is, once crowded and bustling flee markets, now only have small numbers of customers coming, while the governing AKP blames tradesmen and farmers for the price increase, while the opposition CHP condemned the governing AKP for raids on produce warehouses. In my opinion, the opposition CHP brilliantly focused on specific prices increases such as the price of a kilogram of onion that increased by 231% and pepper by 155%. Furthermore, the opposition CHP was extremely strategic to focus on millions of unemployed people in TURKEY, noting that production in TURKEY had been halted and entire factories in TURKEY’s southeast region were closed. Thus, the opposition CHP was strong in its argumentation that voters should hold the TURKISH government accountable for the economic outlook, encouraging TURKISH citizens to vote the governing AKP out in the upcoming local elections on March 31.

 

Nonetheless, the ailing TURKISH economy is a major issue for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan who built his political success on supercharging TURKISH economic growth and prosperity that will now be put to the electoral test. Thus, in my opinion, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will once again try to blame the ailing TURKISH economy on outside foreign powers, such that he will probably return to his previous stance of comparing Jews to bacteria, and referring to the Jews as The Mastermind conspiracy preventing TURKEY from taking their rightful place as a world superpower. Thus, in my opinion, it was not surprising to see this week two opinion polls suggesting that TURKISH economic woes will sway the outcome of the upcoming TURKISH elections, with the ailing TURKISH economy and high unemployment at the top of the list of what people see as TURKEY’s primary problems. In my opinion, what is surprising to see is that the surveys point to a decline in popular support for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s governing AKP in power since 2002. Thus, in my opinion, the governing AKP will once again be forced to form a coalition with the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), which was its electoral ally during the last polls, while the governing AKP will also be forced to change the popular focus on the economy to avoid a downgrade from its majority status or even worse losing at the next TURKISH elections.

 

In my opinion, I was not surprised to see TURKEY focus its attention on IDLIB and continue to warn the SYRIAN regime, RUSSIA and IRAN, that an all-out military offensive on IDLIB could lead to a disastrous outcome for TURKEY, by triggering a new wave of refugees heading towards the TURKISH borders. In my opinion, TURKEY has already sheltered 3.5 million SYRIANS such that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is under significant domestic pressure to not take in any more refugees. Nonetheless, RUSSIA’s worries about AL-QAEDA linked terrorist groups based in IDLIB are legitimate but a full-scale military attack is not the way to deal with this situation as it will certainly put the lives of all innocent civilians at risk and create a humanitarian crisis. Thus, TURKISH President Recep Tayyip Erdogan needs to receive full credit for being able to negotiate a ceasefire deal with RUSSIA, in recent months, to spare IDLIB from disastrous consequences for the time being. In my opinion, the large quantities of weapons entering SYRIA, in recent months, indicated that TURKEY would be providing complete TURKISH military support for a long drawn-out battle over IDLIB, if necessary. Thus, RUSSIAN President Vladimir Putin once again made the right strategic decision to hold back the SAA and IRANIANS from engaging in a full fledge military assault on IDLIB that in my opinion will have disastrous consequences for all parties. However, in my opinion the withdrawal of all the so-called radical fighters from the area by October 15, that includes hardline Hay’et Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), which is dominated by a rebel faction previously linked to al-Qaeda, were obviously not yet persuaded to leave IDLIB peacefully.

 

Thus, in my opinion, the threats coming from terrorists based in SYRIA’s IDLIB province to launch a large-scale operation on the northern areas of neighbouring Latakia and Hama provinces should be taken seriously. Thus, in my opinion, this week’s HTS signed ceasefire deal with what was left of the rival NLF alliance that sees HTS supremacy and unison of the region under a HTS led administration will create more difficulties for the SAA. However, in my opinion, the U.S. announcement of its intention for a complete withdrawal from SYRIA, appears to have indirectly given the SAA the ability to prepare for a full fledge assault on IDLIB, as the war between the SYRIAN President Bashar al-Assad and rebel forces appear to be entering the final phase, as President Bashar al-Assad now appears ready, willing and able to consolidate all of SYRIA under his control, while the rebels vow to fight until death to hold onto their respective territories. Thus, the Free Syrian Police (FSP), a symbol of SYRIA’s revolution and a recipient of international support, ceasing operations following the HTS takeover of IDLIB, is not surprising. However, in my opinion, the FSP operations should continue, instead of deploying other HTS elements connected to a military faction, as the damage in IDLIB will not likely be exacerbated as the FSP have stopped working on security, corruption and the spread of robberies and crimes.

 

Furthermore, in my opinion, a large number of police officers who are defectors from the FSP will be harmed by becoming unemployed, and thus will further damage the safety network of IDLIB society in general. Thus, in my opinion, the announcement by the RUSSIAN foreign ministry that the situation was rapidly deteriorating such that IDLIB was almost under the full control of the HTS rebel group, previously linked to al-Qaeda, should trigger a coordinated military effort between RUSSIA and TURKEY to stabilise the situation in IDLIB. Thus, this week, I was not surprised to see the SAA launch a heavy attack across the southern countryside of IDLIB, targeting several areas controlled by terrorist organizations, consisting primarily of the governing HTS rebel group. However, in my opinion, it was quite disturbing to see the SAA forces and IRANIAN backed rebel groups violating IDLIB’s de-escalation zone on multiple occasions by striking HTS rebel positions, leaving dozens of civilians dead, including at least one child. In my opinion, with at least 30 people killed in IDLIB in January, including women and children, while another 180 injured, it appears blatantly obvious that HTS forces are unfortunately embedded within civilian societies. In my opinion, the HTS rebel group appears to be quite strong because the TURKISH government seems to be interested in IDLIB remaining occupied by opposition movements, controlled by TURKEY, so that IDLIB remains a huge market for TURKISH merchandise. However, in my opinion, a strong portion of IDLIB residents are supporting the SAA, as when the fighters of HTS took control of IDLIB, the humanitarian situation deteriorated sharply, arrests of civilians became more frequent, looting became widespread and several killings of civilians were reported.

 

In my opinion, the international uproar over the alleged killing of a SAUDI journalist inside the SAUDI ARABIAN consulate in the capital of ISTANBUL, TURKEY has still not been resolved. Furthermore, consequences for anyone, even a member of the royal SAUDI ARABIAN family, found responsible for the assassination, must be enforced to the fullest extent of the law as the audio recordings of Jamal Khashoggi being assaulted, tortured, killed and dismembered inside the SAUDI ARABIAN consulate, are disturbing and down right psychopathic in nature. Thus, TURKEY led a relentless campaign to hold SAUDI ARABIA accountable, as TURKISH authorities have allowed media leaks to the international press. Thus, in my opinion, it was not surprising to see CIA Director Gina Haspel garnering extensive support for her conclusion, from both top Republican and top Democratic leaders. However, it was surprising to see the entire Senate Committee vote unanimously to overrule U.S. President Donald Trump, by officially blaming Crown Prince MBS for the killing of Jamal Khashoggi. Nonetheless, in my opinion U.S. President Donald Trump has made the right decision to stick with Crown Price MBS on the basis that there is no substantive evidence to link him to the crime. Thus, in my opinion, SAUDI ARABIA appropriately denounced the U.S. Senate resolutions blaming Crown Prince MBS for the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, as they were based on unsubstantiated claims. In my opinion, the Senate Committee vote was a rare rebuke to U.S. President Donald Trump, but largely symbolic in nature, as to become law, the Bill would need to pass the House of Representatives, whose Republican leaders have blocked any legislation intended to rebuke SAUDI ARABIA.

 

In my opinion, the final official SAUDI ARABIAN version remaining that the SAUDI ARABIAN assassins killed Jamal Khashoggi with an injection of sedatives, and then immediately set to work dismembering him and hiding his remains, clearly answers the question of who, what, when, where and how but the remaining question of why still remains unclear. In my opinion, the 11 Jamal Khashoggi murder suspects put on trial, demanding the death penalty for 5, is completely expected. However, in my opinion, the 5 death sentence decisions will in substance result in SAUDI ARABIA preventing those people responsible from speaking publicly. Thus, in my opinion, it is to the benefit of SAUDI ARABIA for the truth about Jamal Khashoggi to disappear with the 5 planned executions, such that at this stage it appears that SAUDI ARABIA will execute a 5 to 1 exchange.

 

Nonetheless, in my opinion, this week’s preliminary conclusions by the U.N. special investigator on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions heading an independent international inquiry into the murder of Jamal Khashoggi are not surprising. That is, in my opinion, the official statement by the U.N. that the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, was a brutal and premeditated killing, which was planned by SAUDI ARABIAN officials, was expected. However, a further allegation from the U.N. inquiry that SAUDI ARABIA seriously undermined TURKEY’s efforts to investigate the murder was not expected although this clearly demonstrates that the Crown Prince MBS and the royal SAUDI ARABIAN family control the SAUDI ARABIAN consulate in TURKEY. Thus, SAUDI ARABIA appears to have been able to exercise control over the crime scene that obviously seriously undermined TURKEY’s efforts to investigate Jamal Khashoggi’s murder at the consulate in TURKEY. In my opinion, TURKEY was not allowed into the SAUDI ARABIAN consul where Jamal Khashoggi was killed for 13 days, in order to give SAUDI ARABIA enough time to insure that the trial of the 11 suspects in the case, would not produce any direct links to formal or informal authorization from the Crown Prince MBS or the royal SAUDI ARABIAN family. Therefore, I believe that Agnes Callamard’s assessment that efforts to undermine the investigation in TURKEY raises major concerns about transparency and fairness is valid justifying her request for an official visit to SAUDI ARABIA so that the SAUDI ARABIAN authorities can directly provide her with relevant evidence.

 

However, given that Jamal Khashoggi’s body was still not found and the fact that SAUDI ARABIA now controls the entire investigation in SAUDI ARABIA, I believe that Agnes Callamard will not be successful in finding any substantive evidence of formal or informal authorization from Crown Prince MBS or the royal SAUDI ARABIAN family. Therefore, in my opinion, the final report to be presented to the U.N. human rights council in June of 2019 will most probably rubber stamp all previous assessments by all Parties involved to date that although there is a high level of confidence that Crown Prince MBS was complicit in the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, there is no substantive evidence to pursue Crown Prince MBS or the royal SAUDI ARABIAN family any further. Thus, it appears that the final conclusion will be that an intelligence officer ordered Jamal Khashoggi’s murder, applying a lethal injection inside the consulate, when the officer had been tasked with persuading Jamal Khashoggi to return to SAUDI ARABIA. Hence, in my opinion, it appears to be futile at this stage, to attempt any further investigations with the goal of trying to pin Crown Prince MBS or the royal SAUDI ARABIAN family, as SAUDI ARABIA has managed to present a strong enough case to protect the current power structure, in essence insuring that Crown Prince MBS and the royal SAUDI ARABIAN family are in substance under armour and bullet proof. Thus, in my opinion, with power and wealth so concentrated with the Crown Prince MBS and the royal SAUDI ARABIAN family, it will be virtually impossible for the U.N. or any other international body to break through the veil of impunity, as the SAUDI ARABIAN inner circle is impenetrable, while sticking together like a pack of wolves.

 

Thus, in my opinion, the U.N. should leverage the current situation regarding the murder of Jamal Khashoggi to obtain concessions such as allowing a BRITISH panel of MP’s to go to SAIDI ARABIA to investigate allegations that women’s rights activists are being tortured and sexually harassed in detention. In my opinion, the U.K. has so far been stonewalled by SAUDI ARABIA in its efforts to access the eight detained women activists, arrested between May and July, and then branded as traitors in the SAUDI ARABIAN press. In my opinion, Human Rights Watch claims there have been credible reports from members of the women’s families that they have also been denied medical access, as well as maltreated. Therefore, in my opinion, this is an opportune time for the international community to pressure SAUDI ARABIA, as these women are celebrities of the international women’s movement, such that there is an enormous global focus on what is happening to them in the media. Thus, in my opinion, this is a clear opportunity for SAUDI ARABIA to send a strong signal to the world that things have changed in SAUDI ARABIA by agreeing to work with the BRITISH panel of MP’s to liberate the eight detained women activists.

 

IRAQ News – THE ROCK’s Opinions

 

As a friendly reminder, with ISIS inevitably nearing its downfall in IRAQ, IRAQI security forces need to be prepared for a different kind of war against ISIS, shifting away from ground offensives, to intelligence work and surgical airstrikes to counter an expected move by ISIS away from holding territory and back to a more terrorist role of a dispersed underground terror organization. In my opinion, ISIS is already laying the groundwork for a new terrorist strategy of hiding in remote areas, carrying out attacks in IRAQ and abroad and resorting to organized crime to bankroll future operations. In addition, in my opinion, IRAQ has obtained the necessary political support to get the SUNNIS back into the government in IRAQ to avert a new set of extremists in IRAQ. That is, given that the SUNNIS were brought back into the IRAQI political system, that should be the end of a significant ISIS uprising, as if the SUNNIS are not satisfied with their political voice, then IRAQ could see the emergence of new terrorist groups having a similar agenda as ISIS.

 

As a friendly reminder, either a coalition under Moqtada al-Sadr was expected to emerge or a pro-IRANIAN coalition under the Fatah Alliance was expected to emerge such that either way, it seemed that the U.S. presence in IRAQ would likely diminish over time. Ironically, after months of negotiations, Barham Salih was voted by parliament into the position of President with his first act naming Adil Abdul-Mahdi to be prime minister, who formed his government during November’ 2018. Thus, it seems that the results of the elections were bypassed for the benefit of stability, as this new duo represents the old IRAQI regime, as both have been active in IRAQI politics since the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003. That is, President Barham Salih was previously deputy prime minister of IRAQ and Prime Minister of IRAQI Kurdistan while Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi was formerly vice president of IRAQ and more recently oil minister. Thus, in my opinion, the election of President Barham Salih, a KURD, and his nomination of Adil Abdul-Mahdi to be prime minister, a Shiite, seems to have broken months of political deadlock in IRAQ after an inconclusive May election result that everybody seems to have agreed to scrap. Nonetheless, with IRAQ’s prime minister-designate Adel Abdul Mahdi presenting his new cabinet to the IRAQI parliament for approval, although he has no parliamentary block of his own to stand on, and is thus dependent on the blocks of cleric MUQTADA AL-SADR and pro-IRANIAN militia leader HADI AL-AMIRI for his position, Adel Abdul Mahdi will most likely not be able to control IRAQI corruption or challenge existing underlying militia influences in IRAQ.

 

In regards to recent uncertainty looming over IRAQ, as it appears that ISIS is trying to re-emerge in IRAQ, the new president and prime minister will have a difficult time translating recent political developments into concrete changes. Nonetheless, it is important to note that for the first time ever, the IRAQI parliament voted freely for IRAQ’s next president, with Barham Salih winning by a landslide vote of 219 to 22 over his competitor, representing a step in the right direction, given that Barham Salih acclaimed a clear majority. Thus, in my opinion, this vote marks a departure from last summer’s election shake-up, with some two-thirds of the members of IRAQI parliament now being new to the job, as growing protest movements exposed IRAQI citizen disillusionment with the political process, while increasing pressure on the IRAQI parliament for significant change. Nonetheless, in my opinion, poor governance, lack of public infrastructure and high levels of corruption, particularly in poor SUNNI areas, is helping to fuel ISIS’s objectives of a comeback after its crushing defeat. Unfortunately for IRAQ, the U.S. sanctions on IRAN seem to be arriving at the worst possible time, as the embargo on its IRANIAN neighbour could hit jobs in IRAQ and cut off a crucial source of relatively cheap imports into IRAQ.

 

In my opinion, with 80% of the products on the market in IRAQ being IRANIAN made, if the border closes, it will be an economic crisis for IRAQ. Thus, I was not surprised to see many IRAQIS pushing the IRAQI government to maintain trade relations with IRAN because IRAQ, which shares around 1,450 kilometers of border with IRAN, will be badly hurt by the IRANIAN sanctions. In my opinion, IRAQ relies on IRAN for gas supplies, electricity, water and food such that the U.S. has placed IRAQ in a loser position, as by attempting to cut-off the head of IRAN, the U.S. cut-off the waist of IRAQ, such that although IRAN suffers most without its head, IRAQ is unable to reproduce without its waist. In my opinion, IRAQ will certainly experience shortages of key products if IRAQ complies with all of the U.S. sanctions that could lead to political turmoil at a critical crossroads period in IRAQI politics. Therefore, I was not surprised to see Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi, clearly state that IRAQ has presented the U.S. with a framework, from which the IRAQI delegation will go to the U.S. to negotiate, with a clear vision of what IRAQ really needs, which includes IRANIAN natural gas, electricity and other critical trade related products that fuel the IRAQI economy.

 

Nonetheless, I was not surprised to see the deadly protests continuing to rage in IRAQ over the lack of basic services and government corruption as IRAQI security forces were bracing for new rounds of violent protests. In my opinion, intermittent electricity availabilities, undrinkable water, unemployment and frustrations with the political system will certainly result in more IRAQI protests. In my opinion, it is easier said than done for IRAQI security forces to protect and facilitate peaceful demonstrations when frustrated IRAQI populace hurl stones and Molotov cocktails at local IRAQI government buildings and IRAQI security forces. Furthermore, tensions were once again high in IRAQ this week, amid speculations among IRAQI officials that the U.S. will begin to draw down the 5,200 U.S. military personnel based in IRAQ. In my opinion, in view of the defeat of ISIS on the ground in late 2017, and subsequent to U.S. President Donald Trump’s announcement of a complete withdrawal from SYRIA, it is only a matter of time before the U.S. will withdraw from IRAQ. However, in my opinion, U.S. President Donald Trump will stick to his guns, as he has been extremely vocal that the U.S. has spent over US$ 7 Trillion in the MIDDLE EAST, with nothing to show for it, such that he has long favoured seizing IRAQ’s oil, while at a minimum IRAQ will have to renegotiate business relationships with the U.S. in order to warrant future U.S. involvement in IRAQ.

 

Thus, in my opinion, SAUDI ARABIAN Crown Prince MBS offer of full support for IRAQ’s continued security, to fill the void left behind by a potential U.S. withdrawal from IRAQ, is not surprising. In my opinion, SAUDI ARABIA is courting IRAQ as part of a combined effort with the U.S. to stem the growing regional influence of IRAN, while IRAQ is seeking economic benefits from closer ties with SAUDI ARABIA. Furthermore, in my opinion, SAUDI ARABIA which is of a majority SUNNI Muslim background is the perfect financial backer for SUNNI Muslim parts of IRAQ, which bore the brunt of the fighting during the war against ISIS, but that now seem to be underfunded by the SHIA-led central government in IRAQ, as the budget appears to be lacking to help the liberated SUNNI Muslim areas. Furthermore, in regards to this week’s Kurdish Peshmerga statement that ISIS is still a threat such that the anticipated U.S. withdrawal would be a strategic military error by the U.S., I would tend to disagree, as the remaining ISIS remnants should be able to be contained with the assistance of the SAUDI ARABIAN ARMY with a military land force in excess of 300,000, that could easily replace the existing U.S. military personnel accordingly. However, I agree with the KURDISH Peshmerga assessment whereby its front lines located along the high ridge, about 65 km southwest of ERBIL, are difficult to enforce as ISIS fighters are hiding in caves and on cliffs facing steep hills, such that it is rough terrain that makes it extremely difficult to conquer ISIS. Thus, in my opinion, the SAUDI ARABIAN ARMY would be ideal to fill the void left behind by the anticipated U.S. withdrawal, as there is an uneasy cooperation between the IRAQI military and the KURDISH Peshmerga forces, who worked together against their common enemy, ISIS, but where relations became strained in October of 2017, when IRAQI forces backed by IRANIAN militias retook control of oil-rich KIRKUK and other contested KURDISH areas held since 2014. In my opinion, ISIS is not finished, as they still carry out daily terrorist acts, especially in the areas called the disputed territories in KIRKUK, DIYALA, SALAHADDIN, MAKHMOUR and MOSUL, and have even grown in strength, such that ISIS is still a global terrorist organisation that may have lost the land, but it still exists and is dangerous, but should be able to be contained by local military forces.

 

SYRIA News – THE ROCK’s Opinions

 

As a friendly reminder, the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) along with its RUSSIAN ally recently retook a town, DERAA that was at the heart of the SYRIAN civil war, as SAA government forces raised the SYRIAN flag in the birthplace of the SYRIAN war. Thus, in my opinion, the shift now in focus of the SAA campaign to IDLIB was expected, as it is unacceptable that terrorists, particularly the AL-NUSRA FRONT, are using the de-escalation area of IDLIB to attack the SYRIAN army and to also attack the RUSSIAN military bases in the area by utilizing drones. However, in my opinion, TURKISH backed opposition groups in IDLIB that have attempted to unify into a new coalition, with some 70,000 fighters pledging to fight against SAA forces without the terrorist group, Hay’et Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), the most dominant rebel force in IDLIB in control of about 60% of the province, will not be able to indefinitely withstand the impending SAA and RUSSIAN military onslaught. Furthermore, in my opinion, a major military operation in IDLIB could pose a particularly threatening humanitarian crisis because there is no opposition held territory remaining in SYRIA, where people could be evacuated to, such that as many as 2.5 million SYRIANS could try to flee to the closed TURKISH border, creating a new refugee crisis of catastrophic proportions.

 

Hence, in my opinion, although RUSSIA’s worries about AL-QAEDA linked terrorist groups based in IDLIB are legitimate, a full-scale military attack is not the way to deal with this situation as it will certainly put the lives of all innocent civilians at risk and create a humanitarian crisis. Thus, TURKISH President Recep Tayyip Erdogan needs to receive full credit for being able to negotiate a ceasefire deal with RUSSIA to spare IDLIB from disastrous consequences for the time being. In my opinion, RUSSIAN President Vladimir Putin is by far the best negotiator currently in the region, who always seems to be able to remain cool, calm and collected, as he once again made the right strategic decision to hold back the SAA and IRANIANS from engaging in a full fledge military assault on IDLIB that in my opinion will have disastrous consequences for all parties.

 

Thus, I was not surprised to see an opposition government in IDLIB backed by HTS, imposing Islamic Sharia law, which calls for severe retribution for lawbreakers, in order to consolidate their power in the region. However, in my opinion, the sheer rigidity and brutality of Islamic Sharia law may actually have the opposite impact, and alienate local citizens, as perpetrators of abductions and armed robberies will be executed, have their hands cut off or be exiled, depending upon the crime. Thus, in my opinion, the threats coming from terrorists based in SYRIA’s IDLIB province to launch a large-scale operation on the northern areas of neighbouring Latakia and Hama provinces should be taken seriously. Thus, in my opinion, this week’s HTS signing of ceasefire deal with what was left of rival NLF alliance sees HTS supremacy and unison of the region under a HTS led administration creating more difficulties for the SAA. However, in my opinion, the U.S. announcement of its intention for a complete withdrawal from SYRIA, appears to have indirectly given the SAA the ability to prepare for a full fledge assault on IDLIB, as the war between the SYRIAN President Bashar al-Assad and rebel forces appear to be entering the final phase, as President Bashar al-Assad now appears ready, willing and able to consolidate all of SYRIA under his control, while the rebels vow to fight until death to hold onto their respective territories.

 

Thus, the Free Syrian Police (FSP), a symbol of SYRIA’s revolution and a recipient of international support, ceasing operations following the HTS takeover of IDLIB, is not surprising. However, in my opinion, the FSP operations should continue, instead of deploying other HTS elements connected to a military faction, as the damage in IDLIB will not likely be exacerbated as the FSP have stopped working on security, corruption and the spread of robberies and crimes. Furthermore, in my opinion, a large number of police officers who are defectors from the FSP will be harmed by becoming unemployed, and thus will further damage the safety network of IDLIB society in general. Thus, in my opinion, the announcement by the RUSSIAN foreign ministry that the situation was rapidly deteriorating such that IDLIB was almost under the full control of the HTS rebel group, previously linked to al-Qaeda, should trigger a coordinated military effort between RUSSIA and TURKEY to stabilise the situation in IDLIB. Thus, this week, I was not surprised to see the SAA launch a heavy attack across the southern countryside of IDLIB, targeting several areas controlled by terrorist organizations, consisting primarily of the governing HTS rebel group. However, in my opinion, it was quite disturbing to see the SAA forces and IRANIAN backed rebel groups violating IDLIB’s de-escalation zone on multiple occasions by striking HTS rebel positions, leaving dozens of civilians dead, including at least one child. In my opinion, with at least 30 people killed in IDLIB in January, including women and children, while another 180 injured, it appears blatantly obvious that HTS forces are unfortunately embedded within civilian societies. In my opinion, the HTS rebel group appears to be quite strong because the TURKISH government seems to be interested in IDLIB remaining occupied by opposition movements, controlled by TURKEY, so that IDLIB remains a huge market for TURKISH merchandise. However, in my opinion, a strong portion of IDLIB residents are supporting the SAA, as when the fighters of HTS took control of IDLIB, the humanitarian situation deteriorated sharply, arrests of civilians became more frequent, looting became widespread and several killings of civilians were reported.

 

Meanwhile, in regards to escalation of tensions in recent months between ISRAEL and IRAN, I am not surprised to see ISRAEL continuing to look to RUSSIA for help to protect ISRAEL from IRAN’s presence in SYRIA to prevent IRAN from gaining a permanent foothold in SYRIA. In my opinion, ISRAEL will not back down from its position that IRANIANS want to stay in SYRIA, and ultimately take over control of SYRIA, that will be a threat not only to ISRAEL but also for other countries in the region, such that IRANIANS should not be allowed to remain in SYRIA. However, in recent months, IRANIAN forces have pulled back from the Golan Heights that should be welcomed as a positive development, although ISRAEL clearly stated that such a pull back is insufficient, with no compromises or concessions from ISRAEL’s position of a complete withdrawal being necessary. In my opinion, tensions have obviously risen once again since IRANIAN’s were fuming at the re-imposition of U.S. sanctions to an IRANIAN economy already suffering from high unemployment and an IRANIAN Rial currency that has lost around half of its value since April of 2018. The recent sanctions that target IRANIAN purchases of U.S. dollars, metals trading, coal, industrial software and IRAN’s auto sector that took effect seem to reflect the U.S. belief that IRAN will eventually surrender via the pressure tactics of sanctions. However, in my opinion IRAN’s pride runs through the veins of a majority of IRANIANS who would prefer to eat sand and drink sewage water before conceding to U.S. pressure tactics via sanctions.

 

In my opinion, the U.S. withdrawal from the IRAN nuclear deal has already badly shaken IRAN’s economy, crashing its currency, the IRANAN Rial, such that IRAN will have to choose to either come back to the negotiating table with the U.S. or watch its IRANIAN economy suffer from re-imposed U.S. sanctions. Thus, I was not surprised at U.S. President, Donald Trump warning that the U.S. is developing a new strategy for the war in SYRIA that would focus more heavily on pushing IRAN’s military and its proxy forces out of SYRIA. In my opinion, the new U.S. strategy would probably not involve the U.S. military directly targeting and killing IRANIAN soldiers or IRANIAN proxies, given that the U.S. military only has the right of self-defence authorization in SYRIA, and thus should only strike IRANIAN targets if the U.S. feels threatened. In my opinion, the U.S. plan will likely focus on political and diplomatic efforts to force IRAN out of SYRIA by squeezing SYRIA financially. That is, the U.S. will likely withhold reconstruction aid from areas where IRANIAN and RUSSIAN forces are present and also impose sanctions on RUSSIAN and IRANIAN companies working on reconstruction in SYRIA. Ironically, IRAN seems to be heading in the direction of weathering the storm created by the crippling U.S. sanctions on IRAN’s oil industry that came back into full force during November’ 2018. Therefore, IRAN’s strategy seems to be heading in the direction of maintaining a status-quo arrangement until the fate of U.S. President Donald Trump becomes clearer in terms of whether he will ultimately be elected to serve a second term in 2020.

 

However, U.S. President, Donald Trump, then seemed to realize that he needed an ally in the Middle East and hence the U.S. turned its attention to SAUDI ARABIA who has been grappling with the KHASHOGGI scandal whereby there has been an international uproar over the alleged killing of a SAUDI journalist inside the SAUDI ARABIAN consulate in the capital of ISTANBUL, TURKEY. Nonetheless, I am not surprised that U.S. President, Donald Trump, seems to have sided with the royal SAUDI ARABIAN family by initially speculating about rogue killers, while insisting that the royal SAUDI ARABIAN family must be presumed innocent until proven guilty. Furthermore, I was not surprised that U.S. President, Donald Trump did not hide from the U.S. realities that he does not want the U.S. lucrative business relationships with SAUDI ARABIA to change. Hence, in my opinion, the Jamal Khashoggi scandal will shortly come to an end, with the Crown Prince Mohammed Ben Salman (MBS) and the royal SAUDI ARABIAN family walking away absolved, as TURKEY has not produced adequate substantive evidence to pin them with the crime, other than an abundance of circumstantial evidence that they ordered the hit as defacto rulers of SAUDI ARABIA. Hence, in my opinion, SAUDI ARABIA has appropriately indicted 11 suspects in the killing of Jamal Khashoggi, with five facing the death penalty, such that if SAUDI ARABIA proceeds with the executions, neither TURKEY nor any other country will ever hear the testimonies of the accused, such that the accused versions of the events will in essence be buried in their graves. However, in my opinion, it is to the benefit of SAUDI ARABIA for the truth about Jamal Khashoggi to disappear with the 5 planned executions, such that at this stage it appears that SAUDI ARABIA will execute a 5 to 1 exchange.

 

Thus, in my opinion, it was not surprising to see CIA Director Gina Haspel garnering extensive support for her conclusion, from both top Republican and top Democratic leaders. However, it was surprising to see the entire Senate Committee vote unanimously to overrule U.S. President Donald Trump, by officially blaming Crown Prince MBS for the killing of Jamal Khashoggi. Nonetheless, in my opinion U.S. President Donald Trump has made the right decision to stick with Crown Price MBS on the basis that there is no substantive evidence to link him to the crime. In my opinion, U.S. President Donald Trump hit the nail on the head when he clearly stated that Crown Prince MBS has vehemently denied involvement in the murder of Jamal Khashoggi such that the U.S. cannot condemn the leader of a good ally on the basis of circumstantial evidence. In my opinion, given that Crown Prince MBS vehemently denies involvement in the murder, the rule of international law must apply of innocent until proven guilt by a court of law based on substantive evidence. Thus, in my opinion, SAUDI ARABIA appropriately denounced the U.S. Senate resolutions blaming Crown Prince MBS for the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, as they were based on unsubstantiated claims. In my opinion, the Senate Committee vote was a rare rebuke to U.S. President Donald Trump, but largely symbolic in nature, as to become law, the Bill would need to pass the House of Representatives, whose Republican leaders have blocked any legislation intended to rebuke SAUDI ARABIA.

 

Nonetheless, this week’s preliminary conclusions by the U.N. special investigator on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions heading an independent international inquiry into the murder of Jamal Khashoggi are not surprising. That is, in my opinion, the official statement by the U.N. that the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, was a brutal and premeditated killing, which was planned by SAUDI ARABIAN officials, was expected. However, a further allegation from the U.N. inquiry that SAUDI ARABIA seriously undermined TURKEY’s efforts to investigate the murder was not expected although this clearly demonstrates that the Crown Prince MBS and the royal SAUDI ARABIAN family control the SAUDI ARABIAN consulate in TURKEY. Thus, SAUDI ARABIA appears to have been able to exercise control over the crime scene that obviously seriously undermined TURKEY’s efforts to investigate Jamal Khashoggi’s murder at the consulate in TURKEY. In my opinion, TURKEY was not allowed into the SAUDI ARABIAN consul where Jamal Khashoggi was killed for 13 days, in order to give SAUDI ARABIA enough time to insure that the trial of the 11 suspects in the case, would not produce any direct links to formal or informal authorization from the Crown Prince MBS or the royal SAUDI ARABIAN family. Therefore, I believe that Agnes Callamard’s assessment that efforts to undermine the investigation in TURKEY raises major concerns about transparency and fairness is valid justifying her request for an official visit to SAUDI ARABIA so that the SAUDI ARABIAN authorities can directly provide her with relevant evidence.

 

However, given that Jamal Khashoggi’s body was still not found and the fact that SAUDI ARABIA now controls the entire investigation in SAUDI ARABIA, I believe that Agnes Callamard will not be successful in finding any substantive evidence of formal or informal authorization from Crown Prince MBS or the royal SAUDI ARABIAN family. Therefore, in my opinion, the final report to be presented to the U.N. human rights council in June of 2019 will most probably rubber stamp all previous assessments by all Parties involved to date that although there is a high level of confidence that Crown Prince MBS was complicit in the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, there is no substantive evidence to pursue Crown Prince MBS or the royal SAUDI ARABIAN family any further. Thus, it appears that the final conclusion will be that an intelligence officer ordered Jamal Khashoggi’s murder, applying a lethal injection inside the consulate, when the officer had been tasked with persuading Jamal Khashoggi to return to SAUDI ARABIA. Hence, in my opinion, it appears to be futile at this stage, to attempt any further investigations with the goal of trying to pin Crown Prince MBS or the royal SAUDI ARABIAN family, as SAUDI ARABIA has managed to present a strong enough case to protect the current power structure, in essence insuring that Crown Prince MBS and the royal SAUDI ARABIAN family are in substance under armour and bullet proof. Thus, in my opinion, with power and wealth so concentrated with the Crown Prince MBS and the royal SAUDI ARABIAN family, it will be virtually impossible for the U.N. or any other international body to break through the veil of impunity, as the SAUDI ARABIAN inner circle is impenetrable, while sticking together like a pack of wolves.

 

Thus, in my opinion, the U.N. should leverage the current situation regarding the murder of Jamal Khashoggi to obtain concessions such as allowing a BRITISH panel of MP’s to go to SAIDI ARABIA to investigate allegations that women’s rights activists are being tortured and sexually harassed in detention. In my opinion, the U.K. has so far been stonewalled by SAUDI ARABIA in its efforts to access the eight detained women activists, arrested between May and July, and then branded as traitors in the SAUDI ARABIAN press. In my opinion, Human Rights Watch claims there have been credible reports from members of the women’s families that they have also been denied medical access, as well as maltreated. Therefore, in my opinion, this is an opportune time for the international community to pressure SAUDI ARABIA, as these women are celebrities of the international women’s movement, such that there is an enormous global focus on what is happening to them in the media. Thus, in my opinion, this is a clear opportunity for SAUDI ARABIA to send a strong signal to the world that things have changed in SAUDI ARABIA by agreeing to work with the BRITISH panel of MP’s to liberate the eight detained women activists.

 

In my opinion, the current situation in the Middle East depicts the new geopolitical realities whereby tensions between ISRAEL and IRAN represent the biggest concern, as the trigger for a potential Third and Final World War that would likely be triggered by a direct ISRAEL and IRAN conflict, such that all leaders across the globe must avoid the temptation to look away but rather should increase their efforts to identify creative diplomatic options to reduce tensions, minimize civilian casualties, prevent the further use of chemical weapons and alleviate the humanitarian crisis from a civil war spiralling out of control with no end in sight, by considering the appointment of THE ROCK as special envoy to the Middle East. That being said, the current situation between ISRAEL and IRAN depicts the new geopolitical realities in the region, whereby U.S. President Donald Trump seems to have realized that he needs an ally in the MIDDLE EAST, and hence the U.S. turned its attention to SAUDI ARABIA, who has been grappling with the KHASHOGGI scandal, whereby there has been an international uproar over the alleged killing of a SAUDI journalist inside the SAUDI ARABIAN consulate in the capital of ISTANBUL, TURKEY, with U.S. President, Donald Trump, initially playing public relations frontman and spin-doctor for the royal SAUDI ARABIAN family by speculating about rogue killers, while insisting that the royal SAUDI ARABIAN family must be presumed innocent until proven guilty, while subsequently being forced to qualify his initial unconditional support with a WOW, as the U.N. special investigator on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, Agnes Callamard, heading the independent international inquiry into the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, officially stated that the murder was a brutal and premeditated killing, which was planned by SAUDI ARABIAN officials, with further allegations that SAUDI ARABIA seriously undermined TURKEY’s efforts to investigate the murder, as TURKEY was not allowed into the SAUDI ARABIAN consul where Jamal Khashoggi was killed for 13 days, such that Agnes Callamard assessed that efforts to undermine the investigation in TURKEY raise major concerns about transparency and fairness, justifying her request for an official visit to SAUDI ARABIA so that the SAUDI ARABIAN authorities can directly provide her with relevant evidence, albeit given that Jamal Khashoggi’s body was still not found and the fact that SAUDI ARABIA now controls the entire investigation in SAUDI ARABIA, I believe that Agnes Callamard will not be successful in finding any substantive evidence of formal or informal authorization from Crown Prince MBS or the royal SAUDI ARABIAN family, hence, it appears to be futile at this stage, to attempt any further investigations with the goal of trying to pin Crown Prince MBS or the royal SAUDI ARABIAN family, as SAUDI ARABIA has managed to present a strong enough case to protect the current power structure, in essence insuring that Crown Prince MBS and the royal SAUDI ARABIAN family are in substance under armour and bullet proof, thus, with power and wealth so concentrated with the Crown Prince MBS and the royal SAUDI ARABIAN family, it will be virtually impossible for the U.N. or any other international body to break through the veil of impunity, as the SAUDI ARABIAN inner circle is impenetrable, while sticking together like a pack of wolves, hence the U.N. should leverage the current situation to pressure SAUDI ARABIA, to release eight women activists who are celebrities of the international women’s movement, as a clear opportunity for SAUDI ARABIA to send a strong signal to the world that things have changed in SAUDI ARABIA.

 

In my opinion, SYRIA desperately needs a ceasefire on all fronts with RUSSIA taking over a new round of negotiations between the regime of President Bashar al-Assad, the KURDISH YPG and the Free Syrian Army (FSA) along with all external parties actively involved in this conflict consisting of TURKEY, IRAN, U.S. and RUSSIA in order to put an end to this madness once and for all. In my opinion, although ISIS was literally disappearing from the face of the map in SYRIA, new showdowns between the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) under the control of President Bashar al-Assad and the Free Syrian Army (FSA) only serves to fuel the re-emergence of ISIS as a dangerous player in SYRIA. In my opinion, even without formal federalization, SYRIA is in substance divided into several regions controlled by different forces consisting of the government under SYRIAN President Bashar al-Assad; the anti-Assad opposition groups under the banner of the Free Syrian Army (FSA); pro-Turkish and pro-Iranian militias; and the KURDS. Thus, in my opinion, RUSSIA is the only player in SYRIA able to garner enough respect from ALL affected parties to negotiate a deal such that ALL parties need to put their big egos aside and give RUSSIA exclusive mediation powers to develop some sort of reorganized SYRIA that can once and for all put an end to all of this senseless never ending violence, bloodshed and utter madness.

 

 

Summary

 

In summary, I refer to “World Peace Lennon Ivan Style – Part 337” as the belief that IRAQ and SYRIA victories are critical to ISIS decimation, while SYRIAN negotiations must result in peace, while focusing on the new geopolitical realities, whereby tensions between ISRAEL and IRAN represent the biggest concern, as the trigger for a potential Third and Final World War, such that all leaders across the globe must increase their efforts to identify creative diplomatic options to reduce tensions, by considering the appointment of THE ROCK as special envoy to the MIDDLE EAST, as the current situation between ISRAEL and IRAN depicts the new geopolitical realities in the region, whereby U.S. President Donald Trump seems to have realized that he needs an ally in the MIDDLE EAST, and hence the U.S. turned its attention to SAUDI ARABIA, who has been grappling with the KHASHOGGI scandal, whereby there has been an international uproar over the alleged killing of a SAUDI journalist inside the SAUDI ARABIAN consulate in the capital of ISTANBUL, TURKEY, with U.S. President, Donald Trump, initially playing public relations frontman and spin-doctor for the royal SAUDI ARABIAN family by speculating about rogue killers, while insisting that the royal SAUDI ARABIAN family must be presumed innocent until proven guilty, while now being forced to qualify his initial unconditional support with a WOW, as the U.N. special investigator on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, Agnes Callamard, officially stated that the murder was a brutal and premeditated killing, which was planned by SAUDI ARABIAN officials, with further allegations that SAUDI ARABIA seriously undermined TURKEY’s efforts to investigate the murder, as TURKEY was not allowed into the SAUDI ARABIAN consul where Jamal Khashoggi was killed for 13 days, such that Agnes Callamard assessed that efforts to undermine the investigation in TURKEY raise major concerns about transparency and fairness, justifying her request for an official visit to SAUDI ARABIA so that the SAUDI ARABIAN authorities can directly provide her with relevant evidence, albeit given that Jamal Khashoggi’s body was still not found and the fact that SAUDI ARABIA now controls the entire investigation in SAUDI ARABIA, I believe that Agnes Callamard will not be successful in finding any substantive evidence of formal or informal authorization from Crown Prince MBS or the royal SAUDI ARABIAN family, hence, it appears to be futile at this stage, to attempt any further investigations with the goal of trying to pin Crown Prince MBS or the royal SAUDI ARABIAN family, as SAUDI ARABIA has managed to present a strong enough case to protect the current power structure, in essence insuring that Crown Prince MBS and the royal SAUDI ARABIAN family are in substance under armour and bullet proof, thus, with power and wealth so concentrated with the Crown Prince MBS and the royal SAUDI ARABIAN family, it will be virtually impossible for the U.N. or any other international body to break through the veil of impunity, as the SAUDI ARABIAN inner circle is impenetrable, while sticking together like a pack of wolves, hence the U.N. should leverage the current situation to pressure SAUDI ARABIA, to release eight women activists who are celebrities of the international women’s movement, as a clear opportunity for SAUDI ARABIA to send a strong signal to the world that things have changed in SAUDI ARABIA.

 

 

Spirit of John Lennon – THE ROCK’s News:

February 10, 2019